moisture

Farmacy Lip Blooms: Natural Ingredients for Soft, Smooth Lips

A good lip balm is hard to find.  You want something that moisturizes and protects your lips, but also one that looks and feels nice (and if it can double as a lipstick or gloss, even better!).  Personally, I use lip balms around the clock: before bed to moisturize overnight, in the morning to prep my lips for lipstick, and during the day to revive my lip colour.

I was presented with the opportunity to review Farmacy Beauty’s Lip Bloom in “Lavender Mint”, and was excited to give it a try.  I’ve seen their products at Sephora, and have heard great things about their skincare made from farm-grown, hand-picked ingredients.  Their trademarked ingredient (and one that can be found in their Lip Blooms) is Echinacea GreenEnvy (a variant of Echinacea Purpurea), which is a natural antioxidant that helps protect and firm the skin, and inhibit collagen breakdown.  In fact, the Echinacea GreenEnvy is cultivated in upstate New York and travels only 2 hours to the Farmacy lab, where it is then cold-pressed.  Farmacy’s Lip Blooms also contain Castor Seed Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil for hydration, smoothness, and protection of the delicate skin on the lips.

So what do I think of the Lavender Mint Lip Bloom? Aside from the pretty (not overpowering) scent, what I love most about this product is its versatility.  You can wear it as a lip balm on its own, pair it over top of a lipstick for a glossy shine, or even wear it on the eyelids over top or underneath eye shadow for a high-fashion, dewy finish.  The packaging is simple, chic, and compact, making it perfect to throw in your purse or makeup bag.  It applies smoothly and evenly, is a nice (not sticky) consistency, and leaves lips feeling soft and moisturized.

Lip Blooms are available for purchase on the Farmacy Beauty website and also in-store and online at Sephora.  Other flavours include Strawberry Basil, Honey Ginger, Vanilla Mint, Citrus Lemongrass, and Apple Rosemary. Yum!

Have you tried Farmacy’s Lip Blooms, or any of their other products?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Product provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

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A Trip to the Beach (In your Shower!)

I love pretty much anything that reminds me of the beach: Pina Coladas, pineapples, seashells, and, of course, coconuts (fun fact: I used to wear sunscreen to school in the Winter because I loved the scent that much).  Thanks to Hask Beauty, taking a trip to the beach is as easy as taking your morning shower with their Monoi Coconut Oil collection.  So what is Monoi Coconut Oil, you ask?  It’s a mixture of pure coconut oil and Tahitian gardenias; a combination commonly used by Polynesian women to nourish and protect their hair from the elements (sand, wind, and sun).  Even better? All of Hasks’s products are free of sulfates, parabens, gluten, artificial colours, and drying alcohols.  Their products are also used on many film and television sets (more than any other brand!).   I mean, who doesn’t want to use the same styling products as Olivia Pope?!  You can find their products in many countries throughout the world; visit their website to find a retailer near you! But for now, keep reading to learn more about the products pictured above from the Monoi Coconut line (which are safe for all hair types).

1.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo

This shampoo is perfection:  from the scent, to the formula, and the results.  As someone with oily hair, I’m always looking for products that won’t add any weight or residue.  This shampoo lathers nicely and evenly, leaves hair feeling clean, and obviously, smells amazing.

2.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Conditioner

As I mentioned before, having oily hair means that conditioning products can sometimes be a little scary.  I want my hair to feel soft and look shiny, but most importantly I want it to look and feel clean.   I apply this conditioner in the shower after shampooing, and leave it in for a few minutes while I wash my body, shave, or sing (come on, you do it too!).  When I wash it out, my hair is left feeling soft, detangled, and moisturized without any extra weight or greasiness.   Oh yeah, and did I mention these products smell fantastic?…

 3.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner

Used 1-2 times per week, this deep conditioner helps moisturize and repair damage.  Just apply to wet, clean hair, leave in for 10 minutes or so, and rinse well.  My preference is to start by applying it to the ends of my hair (where I have more damage) and work my way up to my scalp.  This product (along with the SHINE Oil below) is so popular that one is purchased every 5 seconds!

 4.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing SHINE Oil

I’ve always used and loved hair oils because of their versatility.  You can use them on wet hair to help moisturize and detangle, or you can use them on dry hair to help tame frizzy hair and add shine.  This oil is the perfect consistency and weight, allowing it to absorb quickly and work its magic without making hair greasy or oily.  Just remember to use a small amount, and concentrate on the ends of your hair (avoid applying directly to your roots).

Have you tried any Hask Beauty products before?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Miracle 10 for Acne Prone/Oily Skin

Whether it is uneven skin tone, wrinkles, breakouts, or dryness, we’re all looking for a miracle when it comes to our skin.  More recently, I’ve been facing my own struggle with acne.  So, when Miracle 10 reached out to me, asking if I’d like to review their kit for acne-prone skin, I couldn’t have been more excited and optimistic.  The kit includes 5 products: a cleanser, solution, serum, AHA gel, and veil, all specially formulated for oily, acne-prone skin.  But the benefits go far beyond just blemishes and oiliness; they also helps with hyperpigmentation and scarring, minimizing pores, and fighting signs of aging.  So why Miracle “10″, you ask?  Because the brand is confident that you’ll see real results quickly: an increase in smoothness and clarity in just 10 hours, a decrease of discoloration and dullness in 10 days, and a lessened appearance of wrinkles and pore size in 10 weeks. There are also products and sets specially formulated for Normal/Maturing Skin, and Delicate/Dry Skin.  Keep reading to learn more about my experience and personal results, and also, to get a sneak peak of an upcoming Instagram giveaway!

The Products:

Cleanser II:

This cleanser leaves my skin feeling smooth and clean, without any residue.  Antioxidants deep clean and exfoliate skin without any irritation (thanks to its pH balanced formulation).  This product is used morning and night.

Solution I:

To be honest, I’ve never really used toners (they tend to irritate my skin).  But what I loved about this product is that, thanks to Glycolic and Lactic acids, it is more of an exfoliant (with pore-minimizing and antibacterial benefits) than a toner.  It leaves my skin feeling extra clean and balanced without any redness or irritation. This product is used morning and night.

Light Serum:

This is my favourite product of all.  It gives your skin the moisture it needs without being heavy or greasy.  Vitamins A, B, D3, E, and K replenish and balance your skin, and makeup applies beautifully overtop.  This product is used in the morning.

AHA Gel I:

Formulated with Glycolic and Salicylic acids, this gel helps resurface skin while also combating acne bacteria while you sleep.  The gel feels light and applies evenly, and a little bit goes a long way.  This product is used at night.

Veil:

This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer soothes and calms the skin while working to re-texture and reduce oily skin conditions.  This product is used at night.

My Experience and Results:

My favourite thing about all of these products is that they are super light-weight, which is something oily-skinned individuals such as myself really appreciate.  Every single step left my skin feeling calm, smooth, and clean.

Within just a few days, my skin’s texture and appearance had dramatically improved and my makeup was lasting longer throughout the day.  The scarring from previous acne was disappearing (I even stopped using a concealer!), and each morning I’d wake up to a face that was better than the day before (which I credit in part to the AHA Gel I; I love it!).  I also appreciate that each of the products applies evenly and easily, and you only need a small amount of product for your entire face.  I like that the packaging is simple and chic, and that most of the products have their own pump for easy application and reduced waste of product.

All in all, these products truly are impressive.  They are high-quality, made of effective ingredients, and are part of a foolproof system tailored to your skin type.  They are all fragrance-free, paraben-free, not tested on animals, and made in Canada, and are developed by skincare experts themselves: The Plastic Surgery Clinic, which specializes in non-surgical skincare. There’s a reason why these products are raved about in magazines, on TV, and beyond!  If you’re curious about learning more, or want to determine your own skin type, simply visit miracle10.com, or visit a Miracle 10 boutique if you’re in the greater Toronto area.  And don’t forget to sign up for emails to get 15% off your first order!

The Giveaway:

Miracle 10 has generously offered to provide one of you with your very own travel kit customized to your skin type (a $135.00 value)!  This giveaway will be hosted on my Instagram account in the coming days, and will be open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Stay tuned!

*The products in this post were provided by Miracle 10.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 Products to Help Heal and Hide a Breakout

Breakout Survival Kit

First off, happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season.  My holidays were filled with lots of food, fun, and family activities, and unfortunately, a breakout that proved trying on my nerves and emotions.  I’d struggled with acne for a few years in my late teens and early twenties, but have been lucky enough to have it under control for the past 5 years or so.  In early November of last year, my skin went crazy.  After changing all of my makeup, skincare, laundry detergent, even pillows, I finally came to the realization that it was likely a hormonal breakout (lucky me).  Let’s face it (pun intended): acne is not fun, but the good news is that there are some amazing products out there that can help you treat, heal, and hide your breakouts.  Today, I want to share with you 5 of the products that have helped me out these past few months; ones that I’m super happy to have found and will continue to use long after I’ve broken up with my breakout.

1. Neutrogena Naturals Acne Foaming Scrub

What I love about this scrub is that it’s gentle but effective.  Naturally derived salicylic acid treats your breakout while also exfoliating by removing dirt, oil, and dead skin.  When you have a breakout, you’ll want to resist the urge to use harsh, grainy exfoliants which will only irritate and inflame your skin.  This cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh, clean, and calm.  Aside from a few ingredients to help maintain freshness, it is 93% naturally derived, meaning it won’t harm the environment on the way down the drain, either.

2. Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ Mask

While you can use this product daily as an exfoliating cleanser, my preference is to use it as a mask (1-2 times per week).  Clay, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid create a “peeling effect” on your skin to help with uneven texture, acne, dilated pores, and excess oil (results that last up to 3 days!).  Simply apply the product to cleansed skin, leave on for 5 minutes, and then rinse with warm water, moving your fingertips in circular motions to help further exfoliate the skin.  Oh, and don’t attempt to carry on any serious conversations during the 5 minute drying time: this mask seriously dries and hardens (which is actually really fun to experience).  A soothing agent avoids any dryness or discomfort once the mask is removed, and it is hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.

3. Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer

I was lucky enough to receive samples of this product during the most recent Spark Sessions blogger conference, and haven’t looked back since.  Whether you have acne or not, this product is impressive (for all skin conditions).  Hydrablur locks in moisture (thanks to Abyssinian Seed Oil), decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduces the appearance of pores (courtesy of Mushroom Extract), mattifies, and enhances skin’s radiance (Wu-Zhu-Yu Fruit Extract boots microcirculation).  Essentially, it creates a soft blurring effect on your skin helping to hide imperfections, while also helping skin look and feel moisturized throughout the day.  You can pair this primer with your favourite foundation, or, thanks to micro-encapsulated tint, you can also wear it alone.  It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and really does create the perfect canvas for makeup application.  Because of all these amazing benefits, this product has proved especially helpful in covering up acne and other imperfections.

4. Vichy Dermablend Corrective Fluid Foundation

This foundation has become one of my all-time favourites.  I went to Shoppers Drug Mart in search of a high-coverage foundation (my exact words: “I’d like the highest coverage humanly possible”), and was recommended this product by the Beauty Boutique representative.  Note: new packaging means you might find it as Dermafinish instead of Dermablend.  This foundation is extremely lightweight, but provides impressive, full coverage (so much so, that you might not even need a concealer).  It boasts an impressive 16 hour wear, has SPF 30, and is non-drying.  It’s hypoallergenic, allergy tested, and is safe for sensitive skin.  I wear the shade 25 Nude and like to apply this product with my fingers.  I apply a base coat first, and if needed, go over any visible imperfections with a second layer.  Highly recommend!

5. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

Until recently when my breakout started, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the coverage abilities of this product.  It applies evenly, is non-drying (in fact it moisturizes the skin), and builds from medium to full coverage.  I pair mine (in the shade “Custard”) over top of the foundation above, and they blend perfectly.  This concealer is also effective at covering dark circles, hiding fine lines and wrinkles, and reducing redness.  Perfect for all skin types and in a range of 10 shades, there’s a reason why it’s a blogger, vlogger, and makeup artist favourite!

Have you tried any of these products? Are there other must-have products that help you with breakouts?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Beauty Innovations to Make Your Fall Days a Breeze

Fall Beauty Innovations

As someone who’s not much of  a “morning person” to begin with, Fall’s late sunrises certainly do not make things any easier (not to mention the cooler, drier temperatures that wreak havoc on your hair and skin).  The good news, is that there are some awesome (and fun) products available to help you make your Fall mornings and days easier, and some that may even allow you to catch a few extra zzz’s.

1. Deborah Lippmann “Genie In A Bottle” Illuminating Nail Tone Perfector

In Fall especially, I love a gorgeous oxblood or navy nail polish.  But we all know the frustration that is removing it: stained nails and cuticles, and yellowed tips…ugh.  However this handy polish by Deborah Lippmann is changing the Fall nail game.  Simply apply a coat under your favourite polish to  protect and enhance your natural nail tone.  You can also wear it on its own for natural, luminous looking nails.

2. Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil

Much like my choice of nail colour, Fall also inspires me to bring out my darker berry, brown, and purple lipsticks and glosses.  After all, what better way to change up your look than with a statement lip, right?  The problem is, sometimes the “statement” is that your carefully-applied lipstick is now feathering and bleeding outside the lines (grrr!).  Solution? Urban Decay’s Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil.  Line the outside of your lips with this clear pencil for long-lasting lip colour that stays where it’s applied.  Want even more staying power?  Apply it under your lipstick to help it last all day.  But wait, it gets even better.  You can also use this product as a primer when covering up blemishes and fine lines, and as a beauty eraser to correct any makeup mishaps (example: for those fun times when your mascara ends up on your cheek instead of your eyelashes).  This multi-tasker is a Fall must-have!

3. Conair InfinitiPro “The Ultimate Brush”

The dry air this time of year means there’s a good chance that your freshly straightened hair is going to be visited by Fall’s good friend: static electricity.  And no matter how much product or water you add, sometimes it just seems as if it’s never going to leave.  This handy hair innovation by Conair, “The Ultimate Brush“, contains a battery-powered (2X AAA) ionic generator that acts to “neutralize the static charge, smoothing the cuticle for an instant shiny, frizz-free finish” (conaircanada.ca).  That’s right, the static in your hair can now be turned off with the slide of a switch. Dreams do come true.

4. Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer

Now that we have our dry, static-y hair problem solved, it’s time to show some love to our skin.  There’s two things about applying moisturizer that frustrate me: 1. waiting for your skin to dry after the shower, and 2. waiting to get dressed while your moisturizer soaks in.  Luckily, this Wet Skin Moisturizer by Jergens solves both of these problems.  Simply apply to your skin before you exit the shower, and then pat dry with a towel (no need to rinse!)  Because your pores are open from the heat of  the shower, your skin is more receptive to absorbing moisture.  In fact, studies have shown this product actually moisturizes 2X’s more, and in half the time, than with ordinary lotion.  In a nutshell, this means you can sleep in a little longer and have gorgeous, moisturized skin.  Where can I sign up for a lifetime supply?

Have you tried any of these products?  Are there any beauty innovations you’re loving?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Review: Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser

Garnier

Aside from loving the feeling of a fresh, makeup-free face, one of the reasons I remove my makeup at night is because my eyes and skin are extremely sensitive (blemishes, dry spots, and eye irritations are not uncommon).  As many of you already know, finding the perfect cleanser or remover can be far from an easy task…until now, that is.  Enter Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser: a product that is extremely gentle, but impressively effective at dissolving all traces of makeup and impurities (including waterproof mascara!).  The formula is infused with the Moringa seed and plant extracts, and is fragrance, alcohol, dye, and oil free.  It is also dermatologist, allergy, and ophthalmologist tested, making it well-suited to sensitive skin.

I was given the opportunity* to test this product out, and was excited to see it work its magic.  The instructions state to apply the product directly to dry skin with your fingers and gently massage.  To remove, simply wipe away with a cotton pad, or rinse clean with water.  I first tested this product out on a day where I had on a full face of makeup (including waterproof mascara and eyeliner, and a lip stain).  Truthfully, I was a little skeptical that a lotion, especially an oil free one, would effectively be able to break down the long-wearing makeup formulas I had on that day. So, I applied as per the instructions on the bottle, gently massaging the lotion and focusing extra attention to my eye area.  I was especially excited when the “sting” in my eyes I normally get with other eye-makeup removers never came! I washed the product off with warm water, looked in the mirror, and my makeup was completely gone.  Even better, the product left my face feeling like I had just applied moisturizer: soft, calm, clean, and refreshed.  I also tried using this product with a cotton pad, as per the second recommended method, and found it worked just as well (see the picture below, where I removed waterproof liner and a lip stain from my hand).

A lip stain and waterproof liner are easily removed.

A lip stain and waterproof liner are easily removed.

Because this lotion works to remove not only makeup, but also the various impurities that collect on your skin, you are able to use it morning and night.  Additionally, you’ll continue to see and feel the benefits of using this product over time as you continue to use it (I did!).  I’m excited to have found this product, and consider it a permanent addition to my beauty regime.  I’d definitely recommend trying this product out…your skin (and eyes) will thank you (and don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below)!

*Product has been provided by Garnier Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Garnier Canada.

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