moisturizer

January 2016 Favourites

There are many great things about Winter (personally, I can’t name any but Christmas), but with it tends to come dry and dull skin, frizzy hair, and hands you want to hide in your gloves.  My January favourites happen to be products that help with all of these problems (plus a little glitz).  Let’s get to it!

1. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

I received a sample of this primer a few months ago, and didn’t start using it until recently.  With all the acne products I’ve been using, there have been days where my skin just needs some serious moisture (dry skin + makeup = not fun).  It applies more like a moisturizer, with a yummy, coconut scent.  As someone who has very oily skin, I typically go for a primer that will mattify.  But what I love about this primer is that it gives you a soft, dewy finish without the oil and shine.  It absorbed quickly on my skin and makeup applied easily over top.  This primer is silicone free (a common allergen), cruelty-free, and vegan friendly.

2. Jergens Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Moisturizer

While I typically tend to choose a moisturizer more based on scent than anything, this Winter I’ve been more focused on finding a high-quality product that soothes dryness and lasts all day long.  This moisturizer by Jergens does just that.  It’s got a soft, clean scent, a rich and luxurious consistency, and applies evenly.  I wasn’t sure it would live up to its claim of leaving skin more radiant, but it honestly does.  It leaves my skin with a dewy sheen, but dries quickly.

3. Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush

This brush is as fun to use as it looks.  On wet or dry hair, the soft, flexible bristles gently fight tangles while fitting perfectly into your hand (thanks to its ergonomic shape).  You can even bring it with you in the shower to comb through your conditioner or hair mask.  Because it requires less pulling or tugging than a normal hairbrush, you’ll notice less breakage and increased shine.  Even better? It comes in a variety of colour combinations.  Which one will you choose?

4. Olive and Piper Floret Crystal Studs

I promised glitz, didn’t I?  I received these earrings in my gift bag at the Spark Sessions blogger conference late last year, and have worn them countless time since.  I love that they have a vintage-inspired look, and that they dress up nearly any outfit.  I’ve paired mine with sweaters, dresses, even a leather jacket…I just can’t get enough!

5. FarmHouse Fresh Marshmallow Melt Shea Butter Hand Cream

This hand cream smells good enough to eat (even my boyfriend asked “what is that?”).  But aside from it smelling amazing, it’s also seriously effective, leaving my hands soft and easing any itchiness or dryness (I love applying this at night before bed).  You can purchase this cream in-store at Blossom Lounge in Toronto’s Distillery District (or online), and can choose from a variety of (adorably named) scents including “Fluffy Bunny” and “Front Porch Punch”.  The compact 2.4 oz size means you can keep one in your purse, your car, your bedside, and beyond!

What have you been loving for the month of January?  Let me know in the comments below! 

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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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Review: Aveeno Fresh Essentials (and Giveaway!)

Aveeno2

Having experienced one of the coldest Canadian winters yet, and with Spring just a month (or so) away, I couldn’t imagine a better set of products to review than Aveeno’s Fresh Essentials line.  With its gorgeous floral packaging and equally beautiful scent, these products are essentially Spring in a bottle.

I was given the opportunity* to test out three products from this line: the Daily Exfoliating Scrub, the Night Cream, and the Daily Moisturizer SPF 30.  All of them are oil free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic (i.e.: they won’t clog your pores).  The concept behind the Fresh Essentials line is that it harnesses the power of Southernwood extract (a natural antioxidant) and vitamins A, C, and E, to keep the “good” in (moisture), and the “bad” out (drying environmental factors), therefore leaving the skin looking and feeling refreshed and radiant.

The Daily Exfoliating Scrub (145ml Tube, $9.97-$12.99 CAD)

Let’s start with my personal favourite, the scrub.  This product is, by far, one of the best facial scrubs I’ve ever used.  The exfoliating formula (with natural luffa and coconut pulp) is gentle but extremely effective: you can feel smoother skin instantly.  The product rinses off easily, turning into a silky cleanser which leaves no greasy residue.  It prepares your skin for moisturizer (and allows it to be more effective), and even helps makeup apply more evenly. What I also love?  A little bit goes a long way (I only use a dime-size amount of product for my entire face), so you’re getting great value for money.

The Night Cream (49ml Jar, $16.97-$19.99 CAD)

To be honest, I’d never used a night cream before trying this product.  For some reason, I always assumed that my daytime moisturizer was “good enough”. I was wrong.  I applied this product at night, (after using the scrub), and loved that it applied smoothly, evenly, and wasn’t greasy.  As someone who struggles from the occasional bout of acne, I’ll admit I was a little worried that using a thicker night cream would cause me to break out, but it actually helped clear my skin up!  Instantly, my skin felt and looked moisturized, and this lasted all through the night and into the next morning thanks to a blend of vitamins and antioxidants that replenish your skin’s moisture barrier while you sleep.

The Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 (74ml Bottle, $16.97-$19.99 CAD)

The first reason I love this product is that it has SPF 30.  As someone who burns easily, I love that this product works double-duty as a moisturizer and as a protector from the sun’s harmful rays.  I also love that it comes with a pump for easy use and application.  It applies and wears beautifully, leaving skin looking and feeling soft and smooth thanks to conditioning emollients that replenish moisture to the skin, and strengthen its moisture barrier.  I especially enjoy that this product has such a “light” feel when applied, allowing it to wear nicely alone or under makeup.

Where to Buy?

I’m truly excited about the results I see and feel from using this line, and will definitely continue to use all three of these products.  Want to try them out for yourself?  You can purchase them at various grocery stores, drug stores, and mass merchandisers across Canada.

Giveaway!

I am excited to be giving away all three of these products to one lucky winner!

To enter:

  1. Head on over to my Instagram account (@elyse270) and follow me.
  2. Like and comment on this picture letting me know what your essentials are for looking and feeling fresh (don’t forget to use the hashtag #FreshEssentials)!

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only (must be 18 years of age or older to enter), and will run from March 1st-March 3rd at 9:00pm EST.  The winner will be announced on Instagram at 12:00pm EST on March 4th.

Good Luck!

*Product provided for consideration; all thoughts and opinions are genuine and my own.