February/March Favourites

So, erm, I’m alive. I don’t know whats wrong with me. I’m the worst. And I do promise that my 2016 favourites will make an appearance before June – not that I’d necessarily trust my promises at this point. Because I have this strange urge to release monthly favourites deep within my soul, I thought I might catch up by posting my February and March edit.

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Benefit Rockateur Box’o’Powder: After neglecting this seriously glowy blush for quite possibly an entire year, I’ve been consistently reaching for this beyond sheeny rose gold offering. It’s fast and easy, and leaves a highlighted rosy glow to my fair cheeks with one product. On medium and deeper skins, it would appear as a blush topper or highlighter but those of us on the fairer side can use it as a combination product. It’s great for making you appear alive and perking up the complexion.

L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in Brunette: I have a tumultuous relationship with brow pencils. In my experience, they tend to be oddly coloured, leave an unnatural kind of definition in the brows and are anything but cost-efficient. This offering I do like, however, as it has a nice slim tip and effective brush that creates natural ashy looking brows with minimal effort. I can see people going through this pencil quickly if they go to town with filling in their brows, but that’s not the case for me.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask: Throughout the winter, I’ve been loving this rich and almost impossibly soothing leave-on facial mask, even though I’m a skeptic of the difference between overnight moisturizing masks. I will note that I do enjoy that often these masks are extra rich and hydrating and that they often come in larger sizes and are less expensive than their moisturizer counterparts but, regardless, they are a rich moisturizer. It has a buttery texture but I’ve never experienced clogging issues from it and it’s one that stays with you even in the morning. It leaves my skin extra plumped and soothed with its hefty dose of emollients and oil-derived antioxidants. When my skin is upset in the dry and dehydrated sense, this is the closest thing to a cure. Its ability to decrease inflammation is noted. Plus, it’s an epic eye cream.

Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream: As someone who suffers from eczema, I must say that its awfully strange that my hands don’t tend to be an issue. However, from the dragging on winter my cuticles and my hands were suffering and I’ve been reaching for this hand cream as a result. Side note: it’s excellent for all around dry patches. The formula isn’t sophisticated but the petrolatum really sticks to your hands throughout the day and I’m sure the oat extract is soothing. Plus the natural scent of the extracts is soothing.

Sassy Girl Aroma Sleepytime Souffle Cup: Ever since I started venturing into the vendor wax world at the very beginning of the year, I’ve been enjoying myself tremendously and finding interesting scents that I’ve enjoyed melting. However, there have not been any blends that I’ve tried that have paralleled this seemingly simple offering. It’s a lavender, chamomile and spearmint blend that has something extra special and instantly soothes me. There’s something creamy about the chamomile that adds something extra relaxing to the lavender and peppermint which I adore. I will note that I also melted a chunk of Rosegirls Lavender Peppermint which I really did enjoy, just not to the same degree. I must acquire more…

Any thoughts or favourites to share?
Maggie, x.

A March Weekend Wishlist

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Rosegirls Cool Beans Muffins($7 US/5.2-5.6 ounces): I’m starting to get to the point where I’ve purchased more vendor wax than I will reasonably burn through, but I still feel the need to order a few more things when the vendors I’m interested in open. I should probably have prefaced this with saying that I’ve gotten majorly into burning vendor wax, though… I’m a major fan of Rosegirls’ Lavender Peppermint blend as an everyday kind of mellow scent and this features the same notes, along with the additional Vanilla Bean Noel. Too much bakery can be overwhelming for my sensitive nose, but i think the hint of VBN will be nice.

Rosegirls Strawberry Peppermint Coconut Milk ($10.50 US/ 8 ounces): With today’s Rosegirls opening, I actually struggled with what other specific scents I’d like because although I love her wax, I’m not partial to fruity bakery scents. Even though neither strawberry or coconut are my thing, I’m really interested in this scent because in my experience, her peppermint is amazing and I’ve heard that the strawberry and coconut are in the background of the scent. I’m also partial to the ease of the chunk bag format.

Sassy Girl Aroma Black Sea Shaving Cream Chunk Bag ($9.95 US/9-9.5 ounces): I am well aware that I need to get a handle on this wax buying that I’ve been doing and not overbuy before I accumulate more than I have a chance of burning but another vendor that I’ve ordered from and enjoyed beginning to melt is Sassy Girl Aroma. I like that they are a ready-to-ship company with twice-monthly restocks and their sheer variety of scents. This scent was not available from this week’s opening but I expect that it will return again, especially with the trending of these slightly masculine shaving cream offerings from vendors. I’m really intrigued to try out this aquatic cologne and fresh scent, especially as a contrast to these other scents that I’ve been trying that take me further out of my comfort zone.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% ($7.90/30 mLs): I promise that now this post is returning to the expected beauty content here and is not going to entirely be dedicated to my newfound wax obsession. Those who have read my posts before will know my love of gentle acid exfoliants and in the same vein, I’ve been dying to try one containing azelaic acid and struggling to find one available to me. It functions as a brightening chemical exfoliant in the standard sense but is also known to function as an antioxidant while providing these benefits.

Nine Zero Lacquer A Night With the Cats ($9 US): I’m still really wanting to try Jessface90’s indie nail polish brand but still have not bit the bullet. This crelly-glitter-mix really strikes my fancy because I’m really into the sheer white combination glitters and that I know that she has reviewed a million of these polishes and would expect perfection from hers as a result.

I’m well aware that I’ve been the worst blogger as of late but I promise that I’m getting myself into gear. I’ve just been stressed about a whole lot of nothing and been left with zero energy and motivation. If I don’t get back to blogging on a semi-regular basis, I might scream at this point.

Any wishlist related thoughts?
Maggie, x.

Rosegirls Spa Sampler

I’m not one to beat around the bush – except in long-winded blog post introductions, that is – so let’s get to it. I’ve been the worst blogger, talking about how I was going to blog on a regular basis before dropping off the face of the earth. I had a good excuse this time – I’ve been sicker than I’ve been in years, I had major computer issues and I’m still dealing with this extreme fatigue. In December, I decided to make my first foray into the vendor wax world and I pre-ordered a sampler from Rosegirls in the Spa scented variety. I had heard amazing things about their wax blends and knowing that they shipped to Canada and didn’t charge excessively for the shipments, I couldn’t resist ordering. The base cost for each of the samplers offered in December was $41 US with a shipping cost (this includes the US only) of 9 dollars per order. I was impressed to learn that Rosegirls ships internationally, charging the customer only for the shipping costs incurred in the shipping process. It doesn’t seem like a lot but each sampler promised 2 pounds of wax – which was a really nice amount – and I was astounded by how much when it arrived in person.

To be honest, the shipping to Canada was not cheap, especially when you put our pathetic dollar into comparison. I paid the standard 9 dollars US for shipping along with a 25 US dollar surcharge for the cost of shipping to Canada. At first, I felt that this shipping was rather expensive but once I got the wax and saw its quantity and bounty, I got over it quickly. The shipping was not super fast for me. After the 5-6 week turn around time, I did wait almost two weeks but this was mainly because of the time the package spent waiting in customs on the border.

Despite my beyond picky nose, I had decided that it was worthwhile to try a sampler in Spa-themed scents. I was hoping to try some mint and lavender scents that the vendor is famous for along with some cologne or fresh blends and I got what I hoped for. There’s only one blend that I don’t particularly like in the entire lot and I’m becoming yet another adoring fan of the vendor’s wax. Here’s my lowdown on the particular scents blow and the *s indicate my absolute favourites:

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  1. Clean Linen and Snuggle Baby – While this scent was not one of my absolute favourites of the bunch, it only missed the mark slightly short of being included among them. It’s a clean and fresh kind of laundry scent with a hint of vanilla sweetness underneath.
  2.  29 Olive Street – At first I struggled to grasp what the name of this slightly zesty and refreshing scent was in reference to – I’m usually pretty good at figuring these kinds of things out, after all – but the genius of google informed me that it’s one of the original elusive Lush fragrances – or at least that’s what I’m most tempted to believe. I don’t adore it but I’m sure that I will enjoy melting this zesty lemon-lime but maybe ylang-ylang infused offering. I’m also convinced that it has that brightness that Lush’s The Olive Branch has that many wax brands try to duplicate. If anyone knows anything definite about this scent, I would be thrilled to know…
  3. Lavender Peppermint*– At first glance, this is a simplistic scent, largely dominated by that cool peppermint note but with herbal lavender lurking underneath. However, there’s something about it that is a mixture of calming and revitalizing. It’s so good that I couldn’t even resist waiting for it to cure and the throw is all kinds of amazing.
  4. Peppermint Ocean* – This peppermint and fresh water cologne scent wasn’t on my radar when I looked at the possibilities for spa scents to get in my sampler, but I cant wait to melt this springy scent. It has that touch of that watery cologne scent that I know and love and it blends nicely with the cool mint.
  5. Raspberry Zen – While this berry-infused spa scent might be my least favourite in my sampler, I’d have to say that most people will probably be head over heels for it. I do quite like the calming Zen note but I’m too particular about my berry scents to enjoy this one. I can see the mix of fruity and spa scents appealing to the masses though.IMG_9336.JPG

6. Singing In The Rain – From my research in the Rosegirls Facebook group, I have deduced that this scent is a secret blend. It’s a quintessential fresh scent that only leans a bit on the cleaner side of the spectrum and has that beach air sort of quality to it.
7. Lavender Perfect Day – Being a lavender-loving freak, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that the scent is so subdued in this scent. The floral notes are subdued by the zen and herbal lavender and what remains is a fresh feminine floral scent.
8. Zen Goddess – I would describe this scent as a quintessential spa kind of scent that isn’t overwhelming but invokes feelings of relaxation. It’s definitely fresh but it’s softened with maybe a hint of sandalwood or ylang-ylang and a hint of sweetness.
9. Lavender Tangerine Satsuma* – This was another scent that was on the simpler side – classic satsuma with some herbal lavender in the background – but I was so enamoured with it that I had to warm it first. It’s not super intense, but I gave it hardly any cure time and there’s something about it that’s calming but revitalizing. These kinds of scents are my jam, if you haven’t guessed yet.
10. Clean Linen and Pink Sugar – After hearing wax lovers sing the praises of vendor Pink Sugar scents, I was some pleased to be able to try it in the sampler without having commit to a bag, muffin or pie. The sweet perfume scent is comforting but I’m not sure it’s perfect for my likes but I do like how it blends with the classic laundry scent. I’ll be curious to see how my liking for this develops as it melts.

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11.Sandalwood and 29 High Street (Type)* – I might not be brilliant as describing scents (in the slightest, in my opinion) but I can usually place the specific category that a scent belongs to with ease, however, this one threw me for a loop. My research clearly indicates that it is a duplication of an elusive perfume that is now difficult to come across that was sold at Lush’s 29 High Street store, blended with sandalwood. My best attempt at explaining it is a warm and musky offering that leans unisex rather than overtly masculine, with lots of sandalwood, patchouli, a blend of essential oils, a hint of jasmine and some citrus lurking underneath. I don’t love all Lush scents but I can assure you that this is one of those intoxicating ones that strikes the balance between tranquil and inspiring.
12. Biolage, Pink Sugar & Cotton Candy Frosting – If it weren’t for the Biolage and Jenny’s blending ability, I’m sure that this scent would be far too sugary sweet for this fresh and cologne-scented lover’s nose. I love the fresh spa scent of Biolage and because I used it for years growing up, I find something completely nostalgic about smelling it, so at first I was disappointed that the note wasn’t more dominant in the blend. However, I do think that it adds a freshness to the perfume-y and bakery blend. I’ll be curious to see if it comes out more when melted.
13. Spring Renewal & Shampure (Aveda Type)* – When I ordered a Spa Sampler, this is the exact kind of scent I expected and hoped to be getting. It smells exactly like an Aveda spa – which is completely unsurprising because it’s a duplication of one of their old-school shampoos – with that subtle and intoxicating herbal and essential oil based blend.
14. Winter Snuggles – This complex scent came incredibly close to being included in my top favourites of the lot. It strikes me as a seamless blend and with a name that gives nothing away about the particular notes, giving a scent description frustrates me to no end. My best attempt is to describe it as a blend of baby powder, sandalwood, patchouli and slightly woodsy warmth. The baby powder and cologne hybrid scent is unique to say the least.
15. Lemon Basil Sage Mint – Thankfully for my sanity, the final blend is a straightforward one with a straightforward name to boot. In a nutshell, it’s a zesty lemon blend that also includes some herbal notes. I can smell the basil, sage and mint in the background but none of these notes stand out in particular – I do note that the mint is a fresh mint rather than a peppermint or spearmint. This would be a great spring or kitchen kind of scent.

I may have placed another order set to ship at the end of this month… Does anyone have any experience or interest in/with vendor wax?
Maggie, x.

November 2016 Favourites

I’ve mentioned before that I work in retail and with everything getting so busy at Christmas-time and the unfortunate luck of losing some employees around this time, I have been picking up the slack at work and I’ve had no time or energy to blog. Most of all, I’ve had no daylight to take pictures and I’m not the kind of person who is organized enough to take them all in advance. Regardless, I’m forcing myself to get this favourites post up and before long, I would expect another empties post around here – I’ve been finishing up even more products.

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NUDE Skincare Nourishing Cleansing Oil: Ever since getting this omega-rich cleansing oil as a gift last Christmas, I have enjoyed it but it wasn’t until November that I fully appreciated it. Rather than using mineral oil (which I have no problem with) and other emulsifiers and emollients to melt away makeup, its beauty lies in the gorgeous nourishing plant oils that it contains. It’s fairly good at melting away makeup – and it does this without irritation – but it’s real beauty is its value as a soothing skin treat.

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil: Despite the fact that I find that Sunday Riley’s facial oils are extremely expensive and filled with some questionable claims, – mainly that they are Hydroactive and act on a cellular level in a way that lesser oils do not – I picked up her essential-oil-free offering during the Sephora VIB Sale. I’m pleased (or horrified, I’m not entirely sure) to report that it’s the nicest facial oil I’ve ever tried. I like the natural salad dressing scent (lol) but most of all, I like how rich it feels on the skin and how soothing and hydrating it is. It’s been a godsend in this cooler weather that has left my skin in a less than hydrated state.

Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster: I’m a massive fan of Niacinamide for its barrier repairing and cell communicating nature, along with its soothing and brightening qualities so obviously I couldn’t go without trying her fairly recently released booster. It’s water-light texture definitely was a learning curve for me but I’ve been loving applying it as a serum when my skin needs extra calming, a boost of hydration and some general oomph. I haven’t had pore issues in ages but I do believe that this has improved their appearance even more!

MAC Fix Plus: As someone with quite dry and dehydrated skin, I really like the instant impact that spraying my face has in terms of giving a glow. However, I find that most of these so-called ‘setting sprays’ fail to add longevity to makeup and are filled with alcohol and fragrance, making the skin look better before making it look worse in a few hours time. However, I find that the cult favourite MAC one to improve the way that my skin looks throughout the day while providing skincare benefits. It has loads of glycerin and a decent amount of antioxidants and bridges the line between skincare and makeup. The mist is also very fine, making it ideal for refreshing makeup and eliminating that powdery dull look.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone: As someone who is always after naturally luminous skin, – especially this month apparently – it’s not exactly shocking that I’ve been enjoying the effect of this liquid highlighter. To be honest, I love the truly luminous finish of this golden highlighter – and the way that it has less visible shimmer particles than Becca’s powder highlighter offerings – all the time but it’s been with the cold weather that I’ve been willing to go to the extra effort with liquid highlighter.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Stereo Rose: I had gone months without wearing this sheeny rosy-coral blush but as soon as I started reaching for it again, as a blush that adds some instant brightness and glow, I’ve remembered why it’s one of my absolute favourites. Unfortunately, it is limited edition and MAC releases it about once a year – with some shade variations. It can pull a bit red on the skin but there’s something about it that I find adds the right kind of rosy flush  on my moderately-fair skin.

NYX Lip Lingerie in Ruffle Trim: Surprisingly, my favourite lip product of the month was a liquid lipstick. The surprising part of this is that my dry, sensitive lips typically rebel against the drying nature of these lip products. The shade is a warm neutral rosy hue with some brown to it, but that isn’t what I liked most about it. The product dries down to a kind of texture-less finish that isn’t particularly drying and doesn’t feel products either.

Bath and Body Works Flannel Scented Candle: After I missed out on this scent for a few years in a row in the full three wick offering, I started hoarding this candle – the one pictured is an unburned three wick from this year because I finished the medium jar and it’s not a particularly attractive sight at the moment. Now, it’s a scent that I love to burn the moment that I crave that cozy feeling which happened in November when the chilly Fall weather hit and slowly drifted into Winter. It’s a sweeter cologne kind of scent that features bergamot, a hint of vanilla and warm musk. It’s one that I certainly love and would also recommend even to those who are usually wary of so-called ‘cologne’ scents. I’ve been happily burning it throughout November and plan on burning more throughout the Winter.

Any thoughts or faves to share?
Maggie, x.

 

 

November 2016 Empties

While I wasn’t blogging or was hardly blogging at all, I was still using beauty products and gathering thoughts that I was itching to share. Truth be told, they amounted to such a degree that I may have thrown out some of the less interesting products that I finished. However, I held onto the more interesting ones and today I’m going to share a hopefully abridged version of my thoughts on these products. The funny thing is that I thought I would be overjoyed to have used up so many skincare products but I learned that I was somewhat sad to no longer have some of these in my life. Spoiler alert: there’s loads of skincare ahead.

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  1. L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion in W2 ($22-26/0.51 ounces)

I’m starting with the most shocking product here – a finished face product and one that I purchased not even six months ago at that. I adored this cushion foundation so much that I reached for it every single day that I wore makeup for months on end and actually repurchased it without a thought – not something that this foundation hoarder hardly ever does. It’s my favourite tinted moisturizer kind of product, with light-medium coverage and an undetectable dewy skin kind of finish.

2. Rimmel Volume Colourist Mascara ($9.99/ 11 mLs)

I should start by noting that I got this mascara for free to try by chance at work, not that that sways my opinion on it in the very least. It was a good medium wetness mascara that offered a nice amount of volume to the lashes but obviously it did not darken my lashes by any means. There was something about it that I found left my sensitive eyes irritated by the end of the day. I wouldn’t repurchase but the formula was nice for volume and I quite liked the large natural bristle wand.

3. Equate Mega Hold Styling Gel ($2.27/355 mLs)

I have naturally wavy/curly hair that I wear in its natural state – when I’m not lazy and leave it permanently coiled to the top of my head in a bun as I have of late – and I do try to follow the Curly Girl Method. I picked up this cheap-o gel because it was silicone free and had a similar ingredient profile to the LA Looks gels that I don’t have access to here in Canada. It was nice but not holy-grail status, leaving hold to my hair that was not helmet-like. I wouldn’t repurchase as I own so many gels, but I did enjoy this, particularly diluted with water and conditioner as a refresher. And this is it for the non-skincare items.

4.Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA ($33 US/50 mLs) | review

Since I’ve been out of this lotion-textured AHA/BHA combo product for over six months, I’m in complete disbelief that I have yet to include it in one of these ‘finished products’ posts. I’ve talked about how much I love this combination lower concentration of AHA and 0.5% BHA serum-exfoliant hybrid time and time again because of the manner that it makes it easier to tolerate these acids on a daily basis, while injecting your skin with a nice dose of peptides, ceramides, anti-irritants and antioxidants. I’ve managed to hold of repurchasing thus far but I will try it again in the future.

5. Paula’s Choice RESIST Intensive Repair Cream with Retinol ($33 US/ 50 mLs)

This ultra-soothing and nourishing cream wasn’t necessarily a wow product for me – but do keep in mind that I purchased it for the barrier-healing and soothing properties rather than the distinctive anti-aging ones – but it was excellent at keeping my skin from becoming flaky, dry and irritated. I hadn’t realized how great this cream was until I ran out of it suddenly – after a year of use. It does contain petrolatum, which some would detest but I didn’t mind as it keeps moisture in the skin and protects from the outside elements. It had an impressive ingredient list for a moisturizer as well, with a multitude of cell communicating ingredients (including the retinol), antioxidants, ceramides and peptides. Its rich texture was a god-send for my truly dry patches, but it would be too much for someone with oilier areas.

6. Paula’s Choice CALM Redness Relief Repairing Serum ($34 US/30 mL)

To be honest, I’m not sure whether I want to repurchase this product or not at the moment for any reason other than to try it again to determine whether or not it is repurchase-worthy. Unlike the previous two products that I’ve mentioned, this was not a product where I found a little to go a long way and, consequently, I went through this product very quickly. It was quite possibly because the product was so lightweight and weightless while providing the deep hydration, hefty dose of hyaluronic acid along with antioxidants and anti-irritants. It was definitely soothing and hydrating but I’m not sure that it’s the serum for me and my concerns. It might be more suited for a dehydrated and combination or oily skinned individual.

7. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 ($29 US/60 mLs) | review

I would normally say that this moisturizer-sunscreen hybrid was impressive in its ability to provide sun protection that my uber-sensitive skin can tolerate without dryness or irritation, but not impressive enough to rewarrant an instant repurchase, however, I accidentally repurchased the same product under a different name. The last time I ordered from Paula’s Choice, I quickly added the CALM Redness Relief (Normal to Dry) SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer to my cart because it promised mineral protection and soothing hydration. Little did I realize, that it’s the same formula repackaged. I do really like this stuff, though, as it does not irritate my skin and is hydrating, with its antioxidant and anti-irritant rich formula.

8. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($32/100 mLs) | review

Given that this product is essentially a mix of emollients and nourishing plant oils with a side order of potentially irritating essential oil derived fragrance, I shouldn’t love it as much as I do. I’ve currently got the Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask on the go but I do plan on purchasing this one afterwards. It leaves my skin plump and dewy afterwards, even when my skin is sahara-desert dry and miraculously does not seem to irritate my skin – I do feel a slight tingle when I apply it after I’ve gone a little too intense on the acids or retinoid front. I do also like that you get a lot more product than you would expect of this overnight mask. I will warn you all that this is a seriously thick and rich cream.

9. Naisture Pearl Mask Pack ($7.99/110 mLs)

I’m someone who enjoys a good sheet mask – which should not be surprising as they are particularly good for dehydrated skin types like mine – but I find that even drugstore offerings are obscenely expensive for the single use that they offer. I like purchasing these packs of five that they always seem to have at my local Winners as they offer more bang for your buck and have nice ingredients. These ones were pretty nice, hydrating and soothing with trehalose (a hydrator), shea butter, betaine (an amino acid) and panthenol (an anti-irritant), all in decent concentrations. I would recommend these but I won’t necessarily repurchase these exact ones.

10. Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59/40 mLs)

If this brightening serum did not include so much unnecessary fragrance – it smells like a designer fragrance and contains a hefty dose of it – I wouldn’t have any reservations about repurchasing the serum. Luckily, my skin tends to be much more bothered by essential oils than fragrance itself but this milk-textured brightening serum would be an easy to recommend brightening offering without them. I saw results from this serum but not drastic ones – but keep in mind here that my skin tone is much less dull than it used to be and my regimented sunscreen and vitamin c use has left me with little hyper pigmentation – and found myself quite enjoying the formula. It has an impressive amount of squalene, niacinamide, liquorice root extract and reservatrol and I found that it was soothing, hydrating and brightening as a result. Although the texture and ingredients are different, it reminded me of Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright. I’m still thinking about repurchasing this…

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

Skincare Sunday

As much as I love getting glammed up, – especially on the makeup front – there is nothing that I love more than a low key, relaxing day, where nothing strenuous is done AND  there is no expectation of looking pulled together. For me, this day is typically reserved for Sundays. I’m also quite a fan of dedicating some extra time to the skincare routine or ritual, and doing that whole pampering thing. I’ve mentioned recently that with the cold weather coming – there is snow on the ground now, after all – I’ve been dedicated to sticking to a twice-daily routine for maintaining my stressed, sensitive and dehydrated skin. However, I do like spending the extra time and doing something extra once or twice a week. This often falls on the Sunday, partly because of habit and partly because of my decree that it’s a makeup-free day. Here’s a rundown of today’s routine:

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  1. Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm ($60): When you’ve been fighting off a cold and the cold that I have been doing, a nourishing balm cleanser is an appealing place to start. I happily started the whole ritual with my smaller size of the essential oil laden balm – that I got in the Sephora Favourites Beauty Sleep Kit – despite my tumultuous relationship with essential oils. It feels nourishing and soothing on the skin, even with its slightly grittier texture.
  2. Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask ($20): After cleansing, I like to use some mask and the one I use will depend on my skin condition at the moment. I was feeling in need of some exfoliating and brightening action so I reached for this glycolic-acid, pumpkin and honey based option. I find it truly does provide some exfoliating action but I find that I can’t apply too much without finding it a bit irritating – with the cinnamon, pineapple juice and clove in the formula. The fact that its housed in jar packaging does irritate me to no end because it destabilizes all of the beneficial antioxidants and soothing extracts in the formula. I left it on for a half hour before removing with some water. This is a fun product to use but it by no means replaces a leave-on chemical exfoliant…
  3. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($21 US): This time of year, I can hardly wash my face without applying a soothing milky toner afterwords and this one is my absolute favourite. I’ve raved about the way in which it also acts as a serum  with its evening primrose oil, myriad of antioxidants and anti-irritants and weightless formula.
  4. Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream ($40): This is the first dedicated eye cream that I’ve ever tried and, to be honest, I tend to just use my facial moisturizer around the eyes most of the time – there really should not be much of a difference between eye and face creams – but I do like patting this simple but impressive formula around the eye area when I want some extra oomph. It has the subtlest peachy tint that helps to brighten the under-eye region in an undetectable way but most of all, I love that it’s fragrance free and contains both a peptide and skin-repairing niacinamide higher up in the ingredient list. It’s in a jar but at least there are no antioxidants in the formula to begin with…
  5. Aura Cacia Rosehip Oil ($15): I’m afraid that I have no product to show for this one because I’m at the very end and have transferred the antioxidant-rich plant oil into another container to finish it. However, I did apply the amber-hued antioxidant rich oil that combines the vitamin c and a that naturally occurs in soothing rosehip will with vitamin e in pressing motions over the face along with on my sensitive neck and chest. It works and doesn’t break the bank.
  6. Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask ($36 US): While it certainly is not ultra-affordable. as Paula’s brand has notably increased their prices in the last year or two 0 – and even more so for Canadians, as the Canadian dollar is horrific at the moment  – her foray into the world of leave-on masks has impressed me. It has a nourishing-but-lightweight gel texture that I think would suit a myriad of skin types but the most impressive thing is that it doesn’t contain fragrance and instead, has niacin amide, arbutin, vitamin c and hyaluronic acid. When I want an extra boost of moisture, I use this kind of product underneath my sunscreen-containing moisturizer.
  7. Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer ($29 US): Rain or shine, you must use SPF to keep your skin looking, feeling and acting the most optimal way. I use this mineral formula because I find it actually hydrating and my skin can actually tolerate its actives without being irritated. Note: this is an identical formula to the company’s Skin Recovery offering.
  8. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 ($16): When you have lips that are as sensitive and as naturally chapped as mine are, a lip balm that does more than temporarily seal in the moisture is a necessity. I quite like this multipurpose balm that soothes any sort of dry or chapped area with the humectant, panthenol, and shea butter.

I had intended this post to be much more of a quick overview of the products that I reach for for an indulgent weekly regime but I see that ship has sailed.

What products do you reach for when you are in need of some extra skin pampering?
Maggie, x.

The Review | Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Long time, no foundation review, eh? Rest assured, I have not become any less obsessed with foundations in my quest to find one to cover imperfections whilst imparting the perfect glow to the skin – although I must pat myself on the back for my restraint on the buying front as of late. I’m coming at you with a review of a foundation that (spoiler alert) might just be one of the very few that approach holy grail status and demand repurchase but here are the details. At the moment, I’m dealing with a cold and that hormonal time of the month, so my skin is not at its finest – a little angry and congested, and a lot dehydrated – and I figured it would be an excellent time to show you how it performs over less-than-smooth skin.

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The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($68/ ounce) is a cult favourite of makeup artists and and I’d say that this is likely because it is a foundation that does what it says. The claims that the brand boasts of aren’t complex – they claim that it’s a lightweight foundation that achieves a seamless radiant finish that’s reminiscent of silk – but it’s a refreshing change to review a product that’s not marketed as a skin miracle in a bottle. I knew that I wanted to try the foundation as soon as Armani launched on Sephora last year and I don’t regret it in the slightest. It provides medium buildable coverage that feels lightweight, looks luminous but lasts. It is almost undetectable on the skin but it has a perfecting or airbrushed quality to it. The foundation does not have the dewiest finish ever, but instead sits somewhere in between a luminous and a satin finish – read: the luminosity of this foundation comes off as emanating from within the skin rather than from visible particles or shine.

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Ingredients: WATER, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, GLYCERIN, ISODECANE, ALCOHOL DENAT, POLYGLYCERYL-40ISOSTERATE, CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE, HEXYL LAUREATE, ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE, DISTERDIMONIUM HECTORITE, PHENOXYETHANOL, ACETYLATED GLYCOL STERATE, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, TRIHYDROXYSTEARIN, CELLULOSE GUM, NYLON-12, LIMONENE, BENZYL SALICYLATE, BENZYL ALCOHOL, LINALOOL, DIPHENYL DIMETHICONE, ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, PARFUM, DISODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE, METHYLPARABEN, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPINOL, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, HEXYL CINNAMAL.

Ingredient-wise, it’s not my ideal foundation because it does include drying alcohol – which is what gives it its weightless feel and texture – and irritating fragrance actives, but it performs so well, providing both lasting coverage and a luminous look to the skin that I’m not bothered by it. It does not contain SPF but that doesn’t bother me because my skin is so finicky to SPF actives that I like to choose a separate product and because it makes it a great flash photography foundation. Unlike some truly dewy foundations, Luminous Silk does set on the skin so it would not be ideal for severe dry patches and flaking, however, it is ideal for those who want some glow while giving their skin a blurring effect and coverage of imperfections. I don’t find that it clings to texture or small dry patches and I find that it wears beyond the 12 hour mark on me without issues.

I will mention that while the shade range is quite good, is confused the living hell out of me. I wear shade 2 – the lightest in the range I believe – which has a nice beige undertone but is a wee bit to pale for me. It matches my pale beyond belief neck that somehow is always 1-2 shades fairer than the rest of my body. It works well for me in the winter months, especially because I like contouring and adding some warmth on the daily but it could match someone about a shade fairer than me. As far as I understand, the range is numbered in terms of undertone – integers denoting neutral undertones, 0.25/0.75s denoting pink undertones and 0.5s indicating golden shades. Next time, I think I would try shade 4.

Because I had applied my skincare products hours before and my skin had drunk them up. I went in with the Make Up For Every Hydrating Primer to give the foundation a layer to stick to, although my moisturizer would have sufficed, if it hadn’t been applied so long ago. I applied one pump of the foundation with a buffing brush and did not set with powder, conceal my face or use any sort of setting spray.

Have you tried GA Luminous Silk?
Maggie, x