Nars

February/March 2016 Favourites!

Happy Easter! It’s hard to believe that the end of March is already upon us, and Spring has finally arrived. Here are some of the things I’ve been loving for the past couple of months:

1. Yankee Candle Company Tumbler Candle in “Chocolate Layer Cake”

If you want your house to smell like the most delicious chocolate cake ever baked (who doesn’t?), this is for you.  It’s rich, decadent, and incredibly fragrant (you can smell it without even lighting it!).  I purchased this candle along with an adorable cake-stand holder (that I featured on Instagram here) for Valentine’s Day, but I plan on burning this candle through Easter and beyond.

2.  NYX Micro Brow Pencil in “Ash Brown”

I’ve mentioned my love for the Anastasia Brow Wiz in a previous favourites post, and it’s still one of my favourite brow products to date.  Late last year, I attended the grand opening of the NYX store in Square One Shopping Centre, and decided to try out their Micro Brow Pencil.  It’s very similar to the Brow Wiz in performance and design (one side is a thin retractable pencil, and the other is a spooley), but it’s a fraction of the cost at just $12.00 (Brow Wiz is $27.00)!

3. Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer

I received this product in a gift bag during last year’s Spark Sessions conference and stored it away in my “products to try” drawer.  Recently, the life of my beloved Nars Bronzing Powder in “Laguna” came to an end, and I decided it was time to take this product for a test drive.  Truthfully, I was a little intimidated at first by the layer of gold shimmer on top (I’ve never been one for sparkle in my face makeup).  I simply took a tissue, and was relieved to discover it was simply a light layer on top of the product (for presentation purposes I’m assuming; it’s beautiful!). Once the gold sparkles were removed, the product applied beautifully and evenly, and created a subtle glow on the skin.  As the name suggests, this bronzer is actually infused with 100% Pure Argan Oil, which nourishes, conditions, and brightens skin.  It comes with a mirror and small brush, but I prefer to apply mine with a big, fluffy one.  You can purchase this product right now on Well.ca for just $13.99 (the Nars bronzer is $52.00)!

4. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo

I don’t get to read as often as I’d like to (time: there’s just never enough of it!), but occasionally, I ‘ll find a book that sparks my interest and I’ll slowly make my way through it after work or before bed.  I’d seen this book in stores and on social media, but was curious to read it for myself after checking out an article on a mother who had implemented the practices of this book on her home.  It’s undeniable to me, how many things we (more specifically, I), own that we keep “just because”.  The premise of this book is that you should declutter your life, keeping only things that “spark joy”: that, when you hold them, make you truly happy.  It seems like such a simple, almost obvious, concept when it comes to cleaning, but it’s one that is so easily and commonly overlooked.  This book is a short, easy read that’s definitely worth checking out.

5. Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco 3 Day Smooth Perfect Blow Dry Smoothing Cream

Now, that is a mouthful!  Using the power of Argan Oil, this product promises to hold hair “straight, frizz-free and shiny for up to 3 days”.  I’ve never really been one to use a blow dry cream, but received a sample in my monthly Ipsy Glam Bag, and decided to give it a try.  I really do notice that my blowout lasts significantly longer when I use this product.  My hair stays smoother, has less fly-aways, and is easier to manage.  I simply apply it when my hair is damp, focusing mainly on the ends of my hair.  This product is made for all hair types, and, if your hair tends to be especially frizzy, you can even reapply to to dry hair on days 2 or 3 for touch-ups.

What have you been loving lately?  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! 

The Ultimate Girls Giveaway!

Ultimate Giveaway

I’ve teamed up with some awesome bloggers for an Ultimate Girls Giveaway (trust me, you won’t want to miss this!).

 

The amazing prize includes:

-A Kate Spade Wesley Park Natalie Bag

-A Tory Burch Fit Bit Bangle

-A Kate Spade Bow Bangle

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anita Neutral

-A black and white heart printed scarf

 

How To Enter: 

Follow me on Instagram and follow the loop to enter (instructions below the giveaway picture on Instagram), and for a bonus entry, enter using this Rafflecopter link!

 

Good Luck!

WhatDidSheFind Gift Guide: Day Fourteen

Photos and logo as seen on Sephora.com

Photos and logo as seen on Sephora.com

This value set is almost too good to be true.  Filled with 12 of Sephora’s best sellers, this “Sephora Favorites: Superstars” set retails for $90.00 CDN, and comes with 7 full-size products and 5 deluxe samples: a $270.00 value!  What’s great about this set, is that you can either gift it as-is, or separate the items and give to multiple people.  I’ve personally tried (and love) many of the items in this set including: the blush, eye shadow, eyebrow pencil, liquid liner, primer, mascara, and lip treatment.  Check out the full product list, below!

Full-Size Products: 

-Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown

-Chloè by Chloè Rollerball

-Formula X Nail Color in Ignite

-Nars Cosmetics Blush in Orgasm

-Smashbox Cosmetics Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Light

-Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner In Intense Black

-Urban Decay Eye shadow in Sin

Deluxe Samples/Minis:

-Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional

-Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara In Jet Black

-Fresh Sugar Rosè Tinted Lip Treatment

-Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil

-Bumble And Bumble Surf Spray

Previous Days:

Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day Seven, Day Eight, Day Nine, Day Ten, Day Eleven, Day Twelve, Day Thirteen

September/October Favourites

September October Favourites

While I much prefer the heat of Summer over the brisk Fall we’ve been having, September and October did at least mark the discovery of a few new holy-grail beauty and fashion items.  Let’s get started!

1. The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish in “Almond Kiss”

The Body Shop’s newly released nail polishes can definitely play in the big-leagues.  Their polish applies easily and evenly, dries fast, and has impressive wear-time.  I especially love the colour “Almond Kiss”, which is the perfect neutral for pairing with your every day work-and-play attire.  Other favourites?  The colour “The Body Shop Green”, (an ode to the colour of their logo), and “Crazy for Blue”, a gorgeous, glossy navy.

2. Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Fast Dry Nail Color in “Cleary Quick”

I always find waiting for nail polish to dry so inconvenient; there are a million other things I’d rather be doing.  That’s way this product has become a staple in my nail polish routine.  Paired with The Body Shop polish above, my nails were fully dry in about 10 minutes, and lasted upwards of 8 days with little to no chips (which speaks to the quality of both this top coat, and the nail polish above). It’s also extremely affordable, and can be purchased for around $4.00 a bottle at Wal-Mart.

3. American Eagle AEO Denim Vested Hoodie

This jacket has been a part of American Eagle’s line for the past few seasons (and has come in other colours as well).  I toyed with buying it in the Spring, but finally purchased it at the end of Summer.  I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d get the wear out of it that I’d like to, but I was wrong.  This jacket is extremely versatile (not to mention super comfortable).  I’ve most recently paired it with a black t-shirt dress, and also with leggings (which you can see in this post, and on Instagram here).  American Eagle offers great sales fairly often (usually around 40% off with free shipping), so be sure to sign up for email notifications!

4. Urban Decay Naked2 Basics

If you invest in one pallet, this should be it.  The eyeshadows are perfection: thick, creamy application, and beautiful tone and pigmentation.  All you need to create a subtle day-look, or evening smokey-eye drama is in this 6-eye shadow pallet.  My favourite colours are “Stark” and “Cover”, which give eyes a “no-makeup” makeup look.  All you need to do is add a little bit of “Undone” to the outer corners of your eye, and your ready for after-work cocktails or a night on the town!

5. NARS Audacious Lipstick in “Audrey”

Newly released by NARS, these lipsticks are flying off the shelves, and all with good reason.  Beautiful pigmentation and smooth application, one swipe is all it takes to obtain long-lasting lips that are sure to make a statement.  The luxe packaging also includes a magnetic-closure lid.  The colour I’ve been loving? Audrey: described on the Sephora website as “red currant”.  In the tube, this colour looks like a darker-toned red, but on the lips, it’s much more like a rich berry or wine tone.  I wore this to a recent event (where food and drink were involved), and never needed to reapply throughout the night.  You can check out a picture of me wearing this on Instagram, here.

6.  Minicci (Payless Shoe Source) Ultra Low No-Show Socks

Time for some real-talk: the truth is, that every time you wear your favourite heels without socks or pantyhose, the dead skin and bacteria left behind (gross, I know) is there permanently.  Shoe cleaners and sprays will help mask any build-up or scent, but the bacteria will always remain.  An easy way to prevent this is by wearing these no-show socks from Payless.  A pair will run you around $3.00 (they come in nude and black), and will help ensure your new shoes stay fresh for many walks and dances to come!

 

What have you been loving? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Haul: Sephora

Sephora Haul

 

1. Clinique Wash-Away Gel Cleanser, $24.00

Clinique Gel Cleanser

This product is a re-purchase, and has been my go-to makeup remover for a few years now.  Though you can use it by itself as a cleanser before moisturizing, I use it to remove my makeup prior to washing my face with another (different brand) product.  I’ve yet to find a cleanser that removes makeup as well as this does (including waterproof makeup).  It is great for oily skin, and a little bit of product goes a long way, so one bottle will last you at least a few months.

2.  First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream, $25.00

First Aid

I’ve heard great things about this product, and since I’m in need of a new moisturizer, I decided to give it a try.  I’m typically hesitant about trying new brands and products when it comes to skincare as I have sensitive/acne prone skin. However the fact that this cream is oil-free, fragrance free, non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores), and is listed as “safe for sensitive skin”, eased my concern.  My only wish is that it contained some sort of sun protection.  I’ll be sure to provide a review in a future post!

3.  Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Custard”, $32.00

Nars Concealer

Nars products are quickly adding up on my “favourites” list.  I currently use their bronzer, blush, eyeshadow primer, eyeliner, and lipgloss (just to name a few), and so I thought I’d give their concealer a try as well.  I mostly wanted this concealer to use in my under-eye area, so it was important to find a perfect colour-match.  Luckily, this product comes in a variety of colours to match any skin tone.  Because my skin is more yellow-toned than pink, I find that some products oxidize on my face, and by the end of the day, I look orange (not flattering).  I have had the chance to try this concealer since purchasing, and am happy to report that the “Custard” shade matches my skin perfectly (this is also thanks to the great descriptions on Sephora’s website).  I have had no issues with creasing or smudging, and am happy with the medium-to-full coverage it provides.  Definitely another Nars product I intend on repurchasing when I run out.

4. bareMinerals High Shine Eyecolors in “Meteorite” and “Bronzed”, Set $12.00

Bare Minerals

This set is an incredible value for your money.  For just $12.00, you’re getting 2 full-sized High Shine Eyecolours (normally one on its own retails for $15.00!). The colours are beautiful neutrals that can be worn every day: “Meteorite” is a beautiful shimmery neutral-plum tone, and “bronzed” is a shimmery brown-gold tone (I guess the name “bronzed” sort of speaks for itself!).  The built-in applicator makes it perfect for travelling or keeping in your purse.  Interested in this set?  Grab it soon: it is limited edition!  I’m really excited to try these out, and will follow up regarding wear/creasing in a future post.

**5. Freebies!**

A. Sephora Earbuds

Sephora buds

I’m not going to lie, I was a little too excited when I realized I would get these free with my purchase.  Cute, compact, and contained within a velvet carrying case, these are one of the best gift-with-purchases I’ve ever received.   Interested in a pair of your own?  Check out my previous post, here.

B. Sample Trio: Hourglass, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs

Deluxe Samples

I’m a big fan of the deluxe samples that Sephora offers: 1. because they allow you to try a fair-sized amount of product before you decide to invest in the full-size, and 2. because who doesn’t like free stuff?!  I received this fun trio of products for free with my purchase (I made 2 separate orders, and was able to take advantage of free shipping).

 The trio included the following:

1. Marc Jacobs Beauty Lash Lifter-Gel Definition Mascara

2. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15

3. Givenchy Le Rouge in “202 Rose Dressing”

I’ve heard great things about all 3 of these products, especially the primer.

Are you already a fan of any of these products? Let me know!

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.” ~Rosalind Russell

Beauty in the Nude: My Favourite Neutral-Toned Products

Nude

As much as I love getting dressed up every now and then (fake lashes, contouring, the whole nine yards), there are times when looking like your headed to prom isn’t really appropriate, or necessary.  Below are some of my favourite neutral-toned products for those days when you want that ethereal “no makeup, but yes I’m wearing makeup” glow.  Some of these products are drugstore purchases, others are higher priced items.  Click the links below to buy the products online.  A certain product not in your budget this month? No worries, just use it as inspiration to find similar products on your own, or send me an email/leave me a message below and I’ll do the work for you!

1. Revlon Color Stay Nude Expressions Nail Polish in “Nude Beige” (Limited Edition)

When it comes to nail polish, I tend to lean more towards unique, vibrant colours (like this one I blogged about recently).  However, as soon as I applied this nude polish, I fell in love.  The colour complimented my skin tone perfectly, applied beautifully, and lasted for days.  No need to layer 5 coats to achieve colour-payoff, I only needed two to obtain a perfect, even hue.

2. Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in “N4”

A good nude lipstick is hard to find.  They’re either too pink, too brown, or leave you looking like you have no lips (not cute).  Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist Natural line is full of beautiful neutral tones, including my personal favorite “N4, Pink Beige”.  Wear it alone for a creamy finish, or layer it under a pink or brown gloss (like the one below) for an extra shiny finish.

3. Bath and Body Works Liplicious Lip Gloss in “Amazon Coconut”

Introduced as part of their Summer collection, this gloss is not currently available to purchase online (though I did see some fairly recently in-store).  This gloss is a bronzy-gold tone, that applies sheer and smells like heaven (aka: coconut).  My personal favourite pairing is with the lipstick above, but it looks great on it’s own too.  Fingers crossed that Bath and Body Works brings it back again this Summer!

4. Nars Bronzing Powder in “Laguna”

Not shimmery, not too dark, and not too thick: all these things make this bronzer my daily go-to.  It creates a believable “I just got back from the Bahamas” glow, and is finely milled so it won’t cake when applied over your foundation.  I’ve yet to find a bronzer that I love as much as this one.

5. Covergirl Bombshell Shine Eye Shadow in “Copper Fling” and “Gold Goddess” 

Newly released, these creamy, highly pigmented shadows work great as a base underneath other shadows, or on their own.  As someone who has oily skin, I didn’t have any issues with creasing or melting, and the shine lasted the whole day.  What’s great about these shadows is that they can be applied thicker for a rich, shiny finish, or applied with a lighter hand for a more subtle, shimmery look.  Other colours from this collection on my wishlist? “Ooh La Lilac” and “Platinum Club”.

6. Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in “Baked Starburst”

This pinwheel style blush is not only pretty, it’s also a serious multi-tasker.  Wear all shades together for a pretty, neutral, luminescent blush, or wear each shade individually as eye shadow, highlighter, or mix with a gloss to create a custom lip colour.  Because it can do so much, it’s also great for travelling!

7. Urban Decay Naked Palettes (1, 2, 3, and Basics)

All or any of these pallets are an amazing addition to your makeup collection.  The shadows are highly pigmented, apply smoothly, and blend easily.

The original Naked palette is a collection of matte and shimmery bronzed-toned shadows (some of my favourites: “Buck”, “Naked”, and “Half Baked”).

Naked1

The Naked 2 palette is a collection of matte and shimmery taupe-toned shadows (some of my favourites: “Busted”, “YDK” and “Foxy”).

Naked2

The newly released Naked 3 palette is a collection of matte and shimmery pink-toned shadows (some of my favourites: “Nooner”, “Factory”, and “Blackheart”).

Naked3

Lastly, the Naked Basics palette is a collection of 6 matte, neutral hues (which are perfect for work or every-day).

Naked Basic

The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural ~Calvin Klein