The Monthly Roundup #5: April 2014

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I’m going to do that typical-blogger cliched thing and begin with my disbelief with today’s date. It’s shocking that it’s May but I can’t exactly deny it anymore as it’s finally sunk in that University has ended and that those two hectic months are over. And it’s finally sunk into Spring weather here; although there was some snow going on at the beginning of the month, it has drifted back to perpetual spring rain with the occasional sunny day once in a while. That’s Spring on the east coast in a nutshell. I’ve worn short shorts outside and that should be evidence enough that the seasons have changed and the months have passed. Despite all of this months exam-related craziness or perhaps as a result of procrastinating by writing blog posts to keep insane during, I’ve written 21 blog posts this month and I’m actually pleased with myself. Here are some of my post highlights…

1. April 2014 Favourites:

I promise I won’t be forever including my monthly favourites posts in these round-ups but this month was another one that I’m proud of — I found an edited selection of fantastic everyday staple products and wrote about them in a passable way.

2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow:

I know I’ve been rambling on and on about my love for this expensive cool-toned pink blush but it really is that good and deserves the mention. As well, this represents my increase in actual full-on review type single-product posts. And I thought I would switch things up and represent this post with a shot of the blush on my face, as it seemed a bit excessive for the product to be shown four times in the above collage…

3. Drugstore Essentials #2:

While this was not a new post idea as it was kind of an updated post in the vein of my first post on this blog ever but I had been putting it off. I knew I had discovered enough new drugstore treasures that I wanted to show you all wrapped up in this one post but these ones are tough to write and deliberate so I hummed and haw-ed, scratching out various attempts to plan the post until I decided enough was enough and wrote the post up while procrastinating from school-related troubles — I’m beginning to notice a pattern with blog posts being posted and school-related procrastination but I’m not complaining, as writing here is the best form of escape!

4. The Daily Face Routine:

This was one of those post ideas that came to mind numerous times but I rejected out of fear of trying something different than the usual stand-bys and what I see every blogger alive constantly doing but I pushed myself for it to happen and somehow it did. I found myself getting into a constant daily face routine with a few products that was working for me (and still is) and I went for it and was pleased by the results as well as the escape from the monotony.

5. Spring Makeup Update:

For a while I’ve known that I’ve wanted to do a follow-up full on Spring edit kind of posts but rather than going for an excessive edit, I decided to go for more edited selection for updating your daily routine for spring rather than a huge takeover. I was particularly pleased with the result and that I wasn’t writing a nice excessive rambly novella of a post like I can tend to.

What were your favourite post(s) this month? I’m feeling like I’m being rather self-indulgent but I honestly want to know what kinds of posts you’d like to see in the next month and I’ll love you forever if you give me some feedback down below.

Maggie, x.

 

 

April 2014 Favourites

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April has been a unique months on two accounts, I’d have to say, and these two accounts are that whole University situation and the weather situation. Until the last week of the month, I’ve been overwhelmed by the mountain of work that I’ve had to achieve during the time and somehow ended up surviving the stress and sleep-deprivation of it all. Somewhere along the way, the weather here switch from April snow to a good number of gorgeous sunny days that actually make getting a burn possible in between bouts of spring rain. So this month has not been one of great experimentation or any sort of great dedication to a lengthy routine of sorts but I’m pleased with the staples that I’ve discovered. And below is a picture of most of the products in use i.e. the cream shadow applied heavily, the blush, mascara etc.

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 Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup in 11 Creme ($48 CDN): If you take a look at my posts in the last month, it should be no surprise that this was deserving of mention — I did mention my love for it a few times. I’ve reviewed it months ago and wrote that I like it but I have to say over the past few months it’s gone from a nice foundation in my books for that flattering everyday foundation that looks good without putting a lot of effort in. The finish is satiny with a side of luminosity but at the same time it doesn’t highlight imperfections and pores and it provides medium-coverage but cannot be built up past that without losing its ability to look and feel like your skin but perfected. It lasts for ages and ages; I may or may not have woken up with it still intact after New Years this year… And although it has alcohol, it doesn’t irritate my skin and it contains chemical SPF that doesn’t actually irritate my skin so I’m kind of convinced it’s sorcery. I’ve reviewed this before here but my thoughts have definitely improved!

Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil ($10-12 CDN): After picking this up at the beginning of the month as the beginning of my foray into cleansing oils, it’s safe to say that my verdict on this affordable offering is favourable. Whilst the packaging seems to claim that the cleansing and nourishing action comes from the high-quality nut oils, when in reality the concentrated ingredient is mineral oil. However, despite the bad rap that mineral oil tends to get, it’s one of those really gentle but effective moisturizing and makeup-removing ingredients and does not universally clog pores. It’s a super-effective and nourishing makeup remover that I apply onto my dry skin with dry hands and then wet to rinse off with the aid of a washcloth. It takes a wee bit more effort than the good ol’ Bioderma or regular cleanser but it’s removal powers are outstanding. And I’m not one to complain about the skin-soothing sensation that it leaves behind. P.S. this product leaks like nothing else…

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light-Medium Bisque ($30 CDN): I’ve always kind of held onto the promise that I would never be one of those bloggers who raves about a product being their absolute favourite find of a month when they only had it for a few weeks but here I am doing so and I don’t regret it. This is because I might have only tried this under eye corrector on Easter after receiving it as a gift but I’ve noticed the tremendous difference every other time I’ve put on makeup since — it’s pink undertone actually covers my hereditary dark circles without leaving that peachy-orange cast even without a concealer on top despite my fairness. And the texture is a really nice one, I must admit – creamy and flattering underneath my under eyes that can look cake-y with concealer and this does not happen with the corrector and despite its creamy texture, it does not crease on me but then again, I do not have a tendency to experiencing concealer creasing.

Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette in 1 ($45 CDN): This has been mentioned the odd time by me here and I seem to recall including it in a favourites post before but now that I have discovered that whole pinpoint-concealing thing with the aid of the Real Techniques Detailer Brush, the palette has hugely impressed me. The cream concealers have a high-coverage but creamy texture that doesn’t highlight dry patches unless they’re to that severe place when any type of cosmetic product will highlight them. Anddd, the colour selection is nice and versatile for my skin at least, although the peach-orange is not the right tone for correcting under eye circles in the slightest on me – but I have the corrector for that.

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara ($9-11 CDN): Let me put it this way, if the non-waterproof version of this wasn’t such a bitch to remove, it would have long ago beat out Maybelline The Falsies as my all-time favourite. But it is a pain in the ass to remove but it is worthwhile for such big and defined lashes that aren’t clumpy, even when applied haphazardly to the bottom lashes. Despite being a glasses wearer, I’ve been given quite a few compliments on my lashes since using this one which is impressive. But do keep in mind that I have naturally long and curled but wimpy eyelashes. I went back to the Falsies to compare and I have to say that I actually prefer this one now that it’s had more air in it, if the removing issue was not a problem. It looks like I’ve actually succeeded in putting the intended posts up this month as I have my full-review here.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow ($41 CDN): Now, I’m not saying that these shall-we-say-luxurious blushes are an absolute necessity but the texture, blend ability, longevity and overall quality here. Despite my lack of success with cool-toned pinks, this one remains on the skin in a flattering way — it appears on my skin like a natural rosy hue, not particularly cool-toned when it comes in contact with the skin but not warm-toned either. And the finish is a satin without any sort of shimmer but it weirdly leaves the skin with some luminosity as promised. I’ve been wearing his all month long with pleasure, as shocking as it might be, and I’m not growing tired of it; in fact, it seems to becoming that everyday blush for me as I had surmised in my review here.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Nude Compliment ($9 CDN): After giving my early thoughts on the limited edition shade of the famous cream shadows here, my love for the taupe-y shade did not falter in the slightest as I kept on wearing and wearing this cream shadow either on lid on its own or as a base. It’s quite versatile with how it can be built up and it has to have the best longevity in terms of any of these cream shadows in the range. The satin-finish gives that flattering gleam to the eyes but keeps shimmer overkill from happening when shades are worn over the top. Also, despite the grey-tones in the shadow, it doesn’t go overly cool-toned and draining on my warmer undertones. If you have a little opportunity to creep around your local drugstore for one of these beauties, I would definitely go for it. There’s more details on the product here!

L’Oreal True Match Mineral Gentle Mineral Powder in W1-2 Light Ivory ($14-16 CDN): With the weather getting warmer and the general exam-induced stress going on, my skin felt in need of a powder and despite not being a powder kind of girl, this one has impressed me big time. It leaves a velvety finish to the skin instead of totally mattifying it, is almost devoid of coverage and used in moderation, the powdery finely-milled texture allows for it to look undetectable on the skin.

The New and Improved Book of Blogging: I should begin by stating how cheap I am in matters excluding the purchasing of beauty products, lattes and the occasional indulgent meal; agendas or notebooks that cost more than a few dollars are not something I allow myself to go for. But I splurged (for me at least) on a trusty Moleskine at the beginning of the month and it’s impressed me with its durable hard cover and its handy elastic bookmark and for once I’ve stuck to my promise of keeping organized in the little book without constantly scribbling up pages and making new lists. If you’re someone like me who tends to take your little book everywhere with you, a more durable one like this is amazing in ways you cannot imagine. It may be nothing fancy but I’m happy to have it.

Hello October: Suzie’s blog has the perfect mixture of beauty-centric posts and lifestyle with some style thrown in and writes in a nice casual low-key story-telling kind of way. She’s one of my favourite bloggers all the time but I’ve been particularly obsessed this month, scouring through her posts as soon as they hit my Bloglovin feed. It’s one of those blogs that you read and look at the pictures of and have that whole relaxing unwinding experience and it’s completely genuine. It also may or may not be of significance that I relate to her eczema-induced angst. And she’s adorable.

So here it is, another unsurprisingly lengthy favourites post but it wouldn’t be one of these posts from me if it were any other way? What are a couple of things you’ve been loving this month?

Maggie, x.

 

Drugstore (Makeup) Essentials #2

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So I was feeling a wee bit nostalgic and strangely sentimental – sue me. An all around beauty product drugstore staples post was my first post ever, right after I discovered these fantastic beauty products that didn’t break the bank and since then I’ve tried um lots more, shall we say and I always like reading these posts so I thought a post with my budget-friendly staple products was in order as I haven’t been giving some of these workhorses as much credit as they deserve. As I’ve said many times before, in Canada drugstore makeup doesn’t tend to be nearly as affordable as it is in the states so I’m sure for many of you these hero products will be even more affordable, but price aside these are all fantastic products I always come back to. And I easily could have included 72835 products more…

Real Techniques Core Collection ($19-22 CDN):

I’m actually aware that everybody and their pet iguana declares their loved for this affordable hyped-up brush set but after spotting the set for the first time this summer, these four brushes have made their way into my daily makeup routine, so they are kind of a ridiculous bargain considering their quality. Everyone’s favourite, the buffing brush, was my first love from the set, initially seducing me with its ability to buff foundation into the skin to help it blend seamlessly, but I’m tempted to say that I now love the three other includes brushes as much; the contour brush is amazing for its intended use, namely sculpting the face efficiently, the pointed foundation brush blends concealer underneath the eyes like a dream and the detailer brush is responsible for my newfound ability to do Lisa-Eldridge-Induced pinpoint concealing.

Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie ($7 CDN):

I’m pretty sure this is one of the few beauty bits that ever existed that are easier to get ahold of in Canada and that is rather pleasing, I must say — but I know that Americans at least can order from the website for reasonable shipping rates on the already reasonably-priced brand. This is easily the best affordable liner that I’ve ever tried but it’s up there among the best liners I’ve ever tried regardless of price as well and it’s the first non-black liner that I’ve found worked. It has that kind of creamy, long-wearing and pigmented formula that I had hoped the cult-favourite Rimmel Scandaleyes had but most certainly did not. The shade is also spectacular as it’s a rich deep brown that adds adequate definition unlike the other brown liners that I’ve tried in the past.

L’Oreal True Match Mineral Pressed Powder ($14-16 CDN):

While I wouldn’t say that it’s an exact dupe – oh how I hate that word – for the MAC Studio Careblend, it’s very similar – the only difference is the more minimal coverage and decreased longevity – and I’ve been hugely impressed with this as a girl who doesn’t really like powderiness and is looking for a non-powdery powder. It is one of those soft powders that I adore unlike the typically powder-y powders that cling to my dry patches and take away all life from the face. Although it blurs imperfections in the way that powders do, it has more of a natural velvet kind of finish and doesn’t take all luminosity out of the skin. But like many L’Oreal products, it’s not actually all that affordable…

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN):

So a review of this luminous foundation is long overdue and I do plan on getting one done in the general near future but in short, I’m still loving this one. This is one of those foundation  that under ideal skin conditions – ahem, by skin isn’t in one of its tantrum phases – is undetectable on the skin while offering light coverage that is easily built up to medium with the help of the buffing brush. I believe I wear the third lightest shade, Shell, that is a really good match, particularly undertone-wise as it leans on the warmer side of things without being so yellow and in my humble opinion the shade range does cater to us fairer-skinned ladies. It’s luminosity is nowhere on the questionable greasy side of things but in my opinion, unless you have skin that’s as dry as the desert, some powdering – of the t-zone at least – is optimal. I’ve read from others that the finish on this beaut is a natural satin one but in my opinion its glowier than that and not in a bad way.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny ($3 CDN):

What would a drugstore post of mine be if I didn’t throw in another reference to how much more ridiculously expensive drugstore makeup is here compared to the US? There are very few beauty products that are as inexpensive as this that you can buy in Walmart, Target and the traditional drugstores so it’s particularly impressive that for a toonie and a loonie or less, you can pick up this bronzer. Regardless of price, it’s one of my favourites, that is, it’s better than high-end that I’ve tried and it’s matte while having a smooth blendable texture. I know I’m in the minority of fair-skinned girls on this one as it is so warm and can verge on the orangey spectrum of things but on my neutral-to-warm skin, it isn’t problematic in the slightest and unless you’re extremely cool-toned and fair, I would be tempted to give it a go.

Maybelline Colorsensational ‘The Buffs’ Lipstick in Nude Lust ($9-10 CDN):

When I mentioned this before it my review of the two lipsticks from the new line of nudes, the lighter but much-peachier in undertone Blushing Beige received more appreciation from me but as time has gone on Nude Lust, with its slightly more flattering formula and slightly deeper tone with more of a beige-y hue to it has become a favourite of mine. The lipstick formula reminds me of an improved-upon MAC Cremesheen, as it has the same creaminess with good longevity but is a smoother texture that’s more hydrating and much more comfortable on the lips. I would have to posit this lipstick as halfway in between the true typical nude offering, MAC Creme d’Nude and the somewhat-nudey-my-lips-but-better offering, Patisserie; it has true nude undertones and isn’t so pale that it needs to be worn with a full-on smoky eye to be flattering without looking brown on my pale lips. It has a play-doh scent but I don’t mind it so much as it’s not overpowering.

L’Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black ($9-11 CDN):

So this product pick probably has your eyes rolling if you’ve been following me for a while, but I had to mention it considering it didn’t make its way into my first post of its kind and it is the epitome of what this kind of post is about. In the last six months since I’ve picked the felt-tip inky liner, I don’t think I’ve ever used it less than 4 times a week. It still remains nice and wet despite its frequent use, I’m pleased to report, but it isn’t so wet that it ever smudges and makes a mess. It’s pretty much a precise and easy to use brush that quickly can produce those thin everyday kitten flicks for those with less dextrous hands like mine.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic ($8.50 – 10 CDN):

In an ideal world where I did not seem to misplace lip crayons at the most inopportune moments, the product mentioned here would be the Revlon Lacquer Balm in Enticing but in that place called the real world, I appear to have lost said lip product and so I’m going with the similar but slightly lighter-rustier red Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic which I like only the tiniest bit of an imperceptible smidgen less because it’s not quite as hydrating with the more obvious cooling-mint sensation that can irritate the sensitive lips (boo) but at the same time has ridiculous good wearing power and is comfortable to wear and doesn’t show hideously chapped patches on your lips.

Bourjois Cream Blush in 04 Sweet Cherry ($20 CDN):

I know, I know, this isn’t actually exactly budget-friendly in Canada but it is in the UK for certain – I’m jealous of all of you who live there, by the way – but it is still more affordable than anything resembling higher end and is generally fantastic so I’m counting it here. For a true cream blush, this creamy-but-not-wet-feeling texture is much easier to work with than say the very creamy and emollient Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges without setting to that cream-powder finish that kind of negates the point of cream blush for me. I should mention two slight downsides to the product, however; not a ton of product comes in the compact product and it has that typical heavy and perfume-y scent. I have the deepest shade in the range because in the lighting I was working with the others looked deceptively sheer and light and I’m a fan of it nevertheless, despite its less exciting neutral rosy deep pink shade.

Sooo this turned into one of my marathon posts but I’m telling myself — and I mostly believe it — that it is completely acceptable and concise because it’s not an abstract tangent on a single product but instead one of my essential picks posts. What are some of your drugstore essential products?

Maggie, x.

 

 

 

 

Finals Survival Guide

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I’m less than half-way into that lovely time full of general life crises, experimentation in sleep-deprivation, inescapable stress and way too much to actually complete with some semblance of sanity left. The time I’m referring to is finals, exams, and whatever you want to call all that jazz. Well, I thought I would put together a little post full of my staples (with some of my questionable humor injected of course) and reveal the pathetic level of joy I get from beauty products in my life even at a time such as this. I have a weird attitude towards makeup at times like these — I’m perfectly fine without wearing it but putting a wee time into a beauty routine can bring a much-needed break from studying, release you from the stress from your impending doom and superficially uplift your spirit from this kind of blah-ness. I may or may not have two final papers due on Monday as well as an exam that evening and this is some of how I plan to cope. When I say some, this is the good majority of it.

The Do-It-All Cream Shadow: So, you feel disgusting and need to escape but you don’t have the kind of attention or balance to effortlessly select some colours to turn into a miraculously defined eye and rather than putting yourself through all that faff you can go for one of these Maybelline Color Tattoosthat help with the whole creasing situation while simultaneously depositing some gorgeous albeit neutral colour. My picks are first and foremost the permanent bronzy-taupe Bad To The Bronze, but the limited-edition-but-still-around Nude Compliment with more of a satin finish and a lighter taupey colour had to be mentioned.

The Two Foolproof Lip Options:The first one is a no-brainer — you know that lipstick shade that doesn’t look like lipstick and makes you resemble a functional human being that can be safely applied in moving transportation — and without dedicating a single post to it, I’ve rambled on about my love for the sheer pinky-brown warm nudey MAC Patisseriemore than anyone should ever ramble on about a single product so you might not be surprised that it’s my choice here. It might be strange to label a bold lip offering as foolproof but there’s nothing more uplifting than a bold lip but the last thing one needs during this loveliness is to worry about the state of their lips, exfoliating and all that so I recon that an option that doesn’t emphasize lip weirdness and require care is necessary. Although it’s completely out of season to go for such a deep vampy red shade, the amplified creme formula is a dream for gliding over my poor irritated lips, I don’t even mind that I’m wearing MAC Dubonnet in April. See pictorial evidence below:

Caffeine and The Agenda:I’m naturally someone who would scoff at the idea of writing down what you have to get done and breaking it down day by day as being helpful or necessary in any shape or form but I’ve found in times like these it’s particularly helpful when you’re as organizationally impaired as me. Caffeine is essential but my ideal form is the latte and it serves two precious functions in my life: (1) it can help me actually be productive for a few hours on end and (2) it makes that whole not-sleeping thing a whole lot easier. Lattes taste good and provide that intense caffeine rush to boot.

Dry Shampoo and Micellar Water:I find it difficult to remember to wash my hair and put on clothes before leaving the house during my regular daily life so actually washing my hair is a challenge during times like these and a little dry shampoo is in order. It’s just a bonus that the Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoohappens to also add some much needed life to flat, limp hair. Washing my face is generally a little easier for me but when I’m in a zombie-state like this it can be impossibly difficult and this is where Bioderma Sensibio H20 comes in; I normally only use it to remove eye makeup but it also doubles as a way to wash your face without the effort of actually washing the face or having to go all the way to the bathroom.

The Effortless Foundation: I have sensitive skin but not the kind that breaks out easily but rather the kind that becomes easily irritated and this irritation grows exponentially when I’m under stress so foundation can go all kinds of awry especially when I don’t have time or energy to make a real effort. The solution to this is the undetectable but brightening Revlon Nearly Nakedthat requires minimal work but provides light-medium buildable coverage that never makes my skin look like a pastry.

The “I’m Alive” Blush:Although I do naturally have some redness in the cheeks (this has been much reduced with skincare though), my face looks dull and really could benefit from some blush. Despite my self-admitted frustration with those illuminating cooler-pink blushes, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow seems to add life to the face without any chance of blush craziness occurring.

The Does-It-All Healing Balm:In the past I may have underestimated the value of the ultra-soothing La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume due to sheer stupidity. Having skin that suffers from stubborn stress-induced irritation on both my face and body, the anti-bacterial rich but lightweight balm instantly soothes these patches everywhere from the face to my eczema-covered legs. And this is the best lip balm despite its unfavorable cream texture.

The Overnight Mask:While to be honest, during makeup-free days while trapped at home studying and essay writing myself off a cliff, I have worn the soothing The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask throughout the day rather than just at night, this overnight moisture mask kind of thing is a godsend for stressed skin and is just plain relaxing to boot.

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What are your staples for times like these?

Maggie, x.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monthly Roundup #4: March 2014

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Despite how March was not fun, I managed to write 19 posts here and even to my pessimistic self, this isn’t another example of failure. March was the kind of month that characterizes the whole University as suffering ordeal. I was exhausted but I survived without any major regrets. On the positive side, I was blessed with good health aside of the stress. As I write this, I’m suffering through that one horrendous cold that I get per year that leave me feeling like I haven’t slept in two days when you’ve woken from a long night of sleep along with the usual headache, runny nose and cough. So, I’m lucky to be someone who doesn’t tend to get dragged down by the bugs of others, thankfully, but I’m frightening myself at the moment to be honest as well as anyone who tries to communicate with me. On a less overdramatic note, I can’t seem to shut my brain off so here’s my belated monthly roundup post.

 

1. March 2014 Favourites:

I know ever since starting this series I’ve included my favourites posts consistently but I promise its just that I’ve been particularly pleased with my favourite product discoveries and the posts themselves as of late and this one is no different. The post itself is veering into essay territory hitting significantly over the 1k mark…

2. Weekly Medley #9:

Being someone who bores easily and tends to abandon things about as frequently as I start them, I’ve been proud of myself for sticking to my new series of (unoriginal) weekly roundup posts. I was beginning to feel somewhat trapped into a mundane routine, so with this addition I gave the whole series a kind of revamp of sorts and while it’s not perfect, I’ve been pleased with the results.

3. Hello, Spring:

It’s kind of funny looking back on my premature enthusiasm now, claiming that because it was regularly rising in temperature about freezing that the whole beauty routine needed a bit of a shake-up in terms of the changing seasons — little did I know that the next week would bring a blizzard and some stereotypical good old Canadian weather… But nevertheless, I was pleased with this restrained edit of mine.

4. The Basic Smudgy Eye:

This blog has no shortage of ‘what’s on my face’ kinds of posts, detailing the makeup that graces this square-shaped pale mug on a daily basis but I’ve been kind of intimidated by writing posts on a specific feature of my face, wanting to share my thoughts but not wanting to be  interpreted as thinking that I have some sort of makeup mastery by giving the lowdown and this was the post I finally went for a focused eye chat (with details of what I did and the like) and I was pleased with it.

5. An Ode to the Neutral Blush: MAC Tenderling

I will admit that I’m not thrilled with my less-than-stellar application of lipstick here but after having this blush for a while, I finally got around to reviewing it and was happy with the result. I’m making an active effort to get around to writing more full-on reviews this year and I made progress this month, this being a prime example of said progress. Oh, and I love the product in question – spoiler alert.

What were your highlights of the month?

Maggie, x.

P.S. If I sound slightly delirious through my writing, it’s cause I am. No cause for concern. Really.

 

March Favourites

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I know that since the beginning of the new year, I’ve been constantly rambling on and on about my workload and stress but this has just been quite a semester for me schoolwise but as we head into exams, this month has been the busiest and most stressful yet and it wont stop for another three weeks or so. Because there’s been so much on my plate, I haven’t really had time to put any thought into the beauty routine or put all that much time into it and oddly enough I discovered a fairly large mix of products that we’re essential this month – I think because of the lack of time to experiment or really think about it all.

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Dove Refresh + Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo ($6-8 CDN)

I’m kind of new to the whole dry shampoo thing, having hair that can go for ages without needing to be washed, but I found that this one brought some much-needed texture and volume to my loose curls.

Organix Kukui Oil Frizz-Defying Curl Cream ($9-12 CDN)

I have the kind of hair that (a) refuses to conform to any style other than my natural wavy-curls (b) is dry and the tangliest hair that I’ve ever heard of despite not being damaged on account of not being dyed and not using heat on it on the regular and despite my past experience with curl creams being reduced to weighing down the hair rather than defining the curls (with a few exceptions) and providing no sort of hold, I was tempted to pick this one up to try out. Yes it is silicone-based but I think the cream redeems itself with its high concentration of nourishing oils that does not feel heavy in the hair. This is much appreciated in the moisturization and tangliness department for me and the cream also helps to define the tighter curls I have towards the end of my hair into more of a spiral-y pattern.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume ($16 CDN)

I actually only picked this up a bit before the middle of this month but it was an instant love, providing results in the nick of time and generally just being a lifesaver. Towards the end of the month, the weather got really chilly (-20 C) and then we had a blizzard and this balm with vitamin b was sort of an absolute lifesaver. It really soothes and repairs the skin when it gets in that irritated fragile state – presumably because of its anti-bacterial and protective properties – and while being affordable is a savior for healing the lips, sorting out eczema while reducing the itching factor and sorting out dry patches on the face like a champ despite being that thick balmy texture. I don’t know why I put off picking up the versatile balm for so long, unless I go to that place where I recognize my lack of rationality…

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OPI Nail Envy ($18 CDN)

I’ve had this “nail strengthener” for a good year now and while I’ve liked it, I haven’t been compelled to rave about it until now. In my stressed-out state, I had taken to peeling and picking my nail polish off and this left my normally strong nails quite weak and flaky and this sorted it out rather quickly while also performing well as a top coat and base coat. Although I haven’t tried Seche Vite (but want to), I’ve tried a good number of topcoats and this one while nourishing the nails helps to keep polish on my chipping-prone nails for the longest out of the bunch. I wouldn’t normally be tempted to spend this kind of money on a topcoat but after receiving this one as I gift, I plan on forking out the eighteen bucks again.

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Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer ($7-8 CDN)

After loving the foundation from the same line and hearing great things about the medium-buildable coverage liquid concealer that blends seamlessly into the skin, I picked the bright tube up. I reckon that it’s similar to the Maybelline Fit Me concealer (albeit more illuminating) but the Very Fair shade in this concealer is a much better colour match for my fair skin with yellow undertones than any of the shades that the other concealer offers. Something more pink-toned would be ideal for underneath the eyes but this shade is a good match for the actual skin on my face and covers up discolourations effectively without highlighting dry patches.

Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It ($22 CDN)

This was one of my riskier purchases, as it not only provides manual exfoliation with its grainy texture and it promises to control the oil and unclog pores — products that have these claims tend to irritate and dehydrate my dry sensitive skin — but after going without a manual exfoliant for ages and wanting to go for something very gentle, being interested in trying the UK-based brand and seeing that it contained AHA’s (chemical exfoliant) in high quantities without irritating alcohol or drying detergent agents, I gave in. The risk paid off, let me tell you. It comes in a hygienic tube and comes out as a green clay-based textured scrub that promises to do double duty as a mask if left on for a few minutes. It smells lovely and minty due to the menthol and while it doesn’t irritate my skin per se, I know it’s not one of the ingredients I approve of in my skincare. It decongests the skin when left on for a few minutes while also buffing off dead skin cells and I find my skin afterwards is brightened and smoothed, with improved texture. Although it feels quite clean afterwards, it was not the kind of clean that results in patches of irritation and dehydrated skin – it was merely the clay. I quite enjoy how this performs double duty, especially when I’m both a little congested and dull as it remedies both issues at once with good results. I like to leave it on for the 4-5 minutes most of the time because it allows the AHA’s to stay on the skin longer and remain more effective. It is one of the gentlest of scrubs, just slightly grainy in texture rather than having microbeads, and it doesn’t make my skin react and become red as it tends to. I suppose I couldn’t talk about this without giving a mini-review, whoops…..

Victoria’s Secret PINK Warm & Cozy Body Spray ($8/ travel size)

As odd as it is, this is the first body spray that I’ve ever bought. They’ve never really appealed to me in the slightest and I tend to associate them with those sweet fruity smells of that I’m not a fan of but this one was different — while being sweeter than what I usually go for on account of the vanilla, the warmth and slight floral kick to it keeps it from going to far in that direction. Being a body spray, it doesn’t last for ages but lasts for a good few hours and is non-offensive. Overpowering scents aren’t my cup of tea and this is far from overpowering.

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 MAC Tenderling Powder Blush ($21/25 CDN)

After having this for a couple of months with a decent amount of use, I think I fell into love with this one this month. When you’re short on time but are a blush-bronzer-and-maybe-highlight-too kind of girl, these multitasking products are essential. The sheer tone finish is matte but the powder is a nice and soft one bringing that warm rosy-tan shade to both add definition and a little bit of colour to the face. It doesn’t look like anything on the cheeks, which I have been really appreciating as it both adds life to the face while pairing with any different sort of lip option. This is my first neutral blush love and it stood out for me when I wanted to wear a bolder lip while still looking relaxed.

MAC Dreaming Dahlia Lipstick ($19 CDN)

This has received a fair amount of mention from me in the last month, but I couldn’t go without mentioning it here. While still being actually hydrating and low-maintenance on the lips, the lustre formula provides a nice pop of coral on the lips. I’m someone who loves coral blushes and lipsticks as they seem to bring my fair skin to life and I expected to like this lipstick but I didn’t expect it to be as versatile as it proved itself to be. The forgiving formula lasts for around four hours without minimal eating and a bit of drinking and not only looks nice with minimal makeup but adds some colour without clashing with brighter cheek and eye products. It’s nice to have a slightly brighter but still easy-to-wear shade that suits minimal makeup to add some instant impact while still being wearable with any sort of makeup look. When you’re in a rush like I’ve been this month, it’s nice not to have to think about what I’m grabbing. Oh and it’s limited edition, sorry….

a moderate swatch

 

MAC Coquette Eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN)

This trio of MAC makeup was not intentional and to be honest I didn’t notice the high volume of MAC products in this post until I began to write it. I know that as of late, many in the blogging/vlogging world of beauty seem to be set against MAC, and while I can see why in some instances, the brand remains one of my greatest loves. At the end of last month, I finally plucked my eyebrows again and in doing so, I somehow gave my unruly-yet-sparse brows some shape and my love of the ashy-taupe MAC Coquettesolidified further. The shade dubbed a member of the “satin” family (but matte in my view), delivers a punch of pigmentation with impressive texture, adding natural definition to my brows without delivering any sort of reddish tinge. The shade is a workhorse in my routine and I’ve been wearing it in the crease and outer corner of the eye and enjoying the quick resulting definition. I talked about this in January’s post but believe me when I say that it deserved another mention.

If you made it through my long-winded essay of a post, then well done. I’ve been strangely decent on the buying front lately and would perhaps enjoy hearing your favourite product(s) of the month in the name of research…

Maggie, x.

 

 

Hello, Spring

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If our weather yesterday was anything but the typical Nova Scotian (yes that’s a province in Canada, above Maine for reference) disgusting gloomy but not shivering-inducing rain, I wouldn’t have believed that Spring could have come so early but it wasn’t. And nothing says Spring like temperatures rising above zero for the first time since early October – and funnily enough I’m neither being sarcastic nor ironic here, it’s just spring isn’t all flowers and sunshine here, but to be honest I’m glad our weather doesn’t get too scorching because I’m not a happy camper when overheated. Alas, I wanted to share some product picks that are appropriate for the new season without doing a full-out edit post…
Avene High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50 ($30 CDN)

Although I admit there’s not much sun going on here that could lead to sunburn and damage this time of year (I know I should always wear spf) but it’s nicer to find a formula to incorporate into your routine as soon as the skies are clear and this is the one for me. I’m someone who can rarely tolerate chemical sunscreen on my face without my skin turning reactive so this mineral-based one is a godsend. It’s fast-absorbing but moisturizing and has a slight pinky tint to avoid the white cast but the tint is rarely problematic as it is so sheer – but I do like to work it nicely into the skin as I have undertones that sit on the warmer side. Being someone who suffers from hyperpigmentation from past blemishes, wearing sunscreen daily especially when spending time outdoors is essential for worsening the uneven tone and not only does my skin like this one, it is easily the most effective sunblock that I’ve ever tried and it does not run into my eyes and burn.

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN)

Ever since Lisa Eldridge (and her wonderful youtube videos) have come into our lives, we all seem to be on the search for the undetectable foundation that can’t be seen even in a magnified mirror and this inexpensive one seems to be the best fit for my skin. Its light-to-medium-coverage formulation glides over the skin, evening it out and adding some luminosity – foundations tend to sit really heavily and noticeably on my drier skin but this one doesn’t and 130 Shell is my perfect shade as it’s fair and slightly yellow-toned but not too-yellow toned for my skin that sits not too far from neutral in undertone and certainly not pink.

Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her Nail Lacquer ($9 CDN)

I really like the idea of pastel nails for the springtime but they tend to be on the streaky/sheer side of things and I can find them sometimes a bit too girlie on me but the slightly grungier offering works for me. While still being a light polish, this shade stays on the nails for ages and provides really opaque colour without streakiness; I’d describe the shade as a dirty grey-green but that’s not giving it justice. I picked this one up in the dead-of-winter at Winners (the Canadian TK/TJ Maxx) for a few dollars less and I’ve been waiting to wear it since. It’s my kind of colour and is the longest-lasting polish I’ve tried on my nails that tend to chip easily.

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MAC Dreaming Dahlia Lipstick ($19 CDN) – limited edition

As I reviewed this one a mere couple of days ago here I figure I don’t need to go into detail about the whole shebang. The shade is a comfortable and forgiving warm-toned coral shade in my favourite lustre finish, adding that pop of coral to the lips in an everyday sort of way. It’s limited edition with MAC A Fantasy of Flowers right now but it should still be available. Highly recommended.

Bourjois Cream Blush in 04 Sweet Cherry ($20 CDN)

There’s something energizing and flattering about going for that bright pastel pink flush to the cheeks as springtime rolls around but I have issues wearing those cool-toned shades (think MAC Well Dressed) and this is an alternative that I’ve been loving). The Bourjois offering has a gorgeous creamy-but-not-wet kind of finish (although I do wish it contained more product) and Sweet Cherry adds that rosy bloom to my cheeks, while being a little deeper and warmer but still maintaining that rosy hue. I must try more of these… note to self.

Happy Friday! What products have you added to your routine for Spring?

Maggie, x.

Another Three Things

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1. Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Mischievous
2. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Shadow in Nude Eyes
3. L’Oreal True Match Mineral Powder

It sounds completely reasonable that when I woke up this Friday morning that I would be in a good mood, ready to face the day for once and this was true when I woke up this morning but there is also the fact to consider that my weekend will be spent confined to my bedroom, staring at my laptop, doing that essay-writing thing that happens rather frequently in my world . On the positive side, I’m not nauseous from stress or sleep-deprived in the slightest. Is it sad that this is a source of comfort to me?

I must admit that it felt borderline ridiculous wearing my recently acquired Revlon Matte Balm in Mischievous, as it’s a bright (but not quite neon) tangerine shade and it was just above -10 today. There’s something about freezing outside in a winter coat while wearing an orange-hued lip that reads a bit strange but I liked it nevertheless. There’s something instantly brightening about the shade that I’ll admit I appreciate and it’s fun and a little bit more cheerful than the usual suspects. I love the minty smell myself, but I can tell that that menthol-tingle feeling on the lips is not a good sign for my still sore lips

Somehow I had forgotten about the Physician Formula Nude Eyes Eyeshadow after discovering the gem this summer and when I dug it out again I remembered why I had loved it in the first place. This is my favourite drugstore eyeshadow palette, I can safely say with it’s shimmery taupe tones that might be slightly sheerer than Urban Decay’s but they have great pigmentation and blendability and they last on the lids. I don’t own the Naked 2, but this has a similar theme at a fraction of the price. I must try another from this line in the immediate future…

After hitting pan on my beloved MAC Studio Careblend, I was in need of picking up a new powder and this registered in my mind and while cruising the aisles of the drugstore, stress-shopping with friends, this made its way home with me – this being the L’Oreal True Match Mineral Powder. I’m pleased to report that this is one of the most pleasing of my stress-induced recent purchases. While offering absolutely no coverage whatsoever (much less than the MAC), the powder smoothly sets the skin almost imperceptibly and leaves a natural finish that does not read flat in the slightest. This powder is a great one, if like me, you’re a girl who typically does not like powder.

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Well, happy Friday! These were my daily beauty musings. What were some of yours?

Maggie, x.

 

 

The Daily Face #10: A Little Less Typical But Really More Of The Same

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I apologize for the interruption in my regular posting schedule (erm that my posts have been lacking in frequency) but things have been crazy in the last few days and I’ve hardly mustered the energy to remove my makeup and wash my face when I’ve gotten home so posts weren’t really a possibility. I haven’t done one of these posts in a while so I thought I would share what I’m wearing, not that it’s groundbreakingly different or anything – but I did incorporate some cooler tones and I went for a darker shade on the lid that I’m used to.

FACE: Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + in 40, Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in 125 Very Fair, Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Creme Bronzer in Warm Tan, Revlon Photoready Skin Lights in Pink Light, Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty,  MAC Coquette eyeshadow (brows) EYES: MAC Prolongwear Paint Pot in Layin’ Low, Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (Strange, Nooner, Mugshot and Darkside), Annabelle Smoothliner in Brownie, L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black LIPS: Maybelline ‘The Buffs’ Lipstick in Nude Lust

Lately I’ve tended to do my eye makeup before my face makeup because as much as I like the oh-so-popular palette in question, fallout seems to be inevitable. I’m loving my recently-acquired MAC Layin’ Low Paintpot because it primes in an instant and leaves a flattering warm brown tinge to the lids that can help to make other shades look a little more wearable – not that today’s shades need it though. The look is a little smokier on the lid than I typically go for but it was nice to break the habit – I put the silvery-taupe Mugshot over the lid. The much-loved pigmented Nooner was blended through the crease, the bizarrely ordinary Strange (misnomer) to highlight and brighten the inner corner and the unique grey Darkside to do what I always do, add definition in the outer corner of my large round eyes. I thought the whole smoky thing called for some smudgy liner so I went for Annabelle Brownie which is a fantastic deep chocolate liner that’s a steal and did the usual swipe or two and I shoved some of the impressive L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess on both sets of my lashes. I was too lazy to grab the palette it was in to photograph it, but obviously I filled in the brows with an angle brush and the magical (not exactly kidding) MAC Coquette. 

On the face, I’ve been feeling a more matte and fuller coverage theme, not because my skin is not acting its best (because it actually is behaving), but I’ve been feeling the more done-up (but not heavy-looking) skin. I grabbed my Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + which I have almost used up and if you’re curious this was my first Sephora purchase ever and this was my absolute favourite when I had more combination skin a few years back. I bought the shade in the summer when I have more colour and for some odd reason when I get darker, my yellow undertones become more apparent so I have to be quite careful with blending in this one not because it’s a bit dark, but rather it can look weirdly yellow in patches unless I blend it. Because I started off on this tangent, I figure I might as well continue with my thoughts on the foundation. It’s a velvety semi-matte finish that hardly highlights dry patches at all (impressive) and provides medium-buildable coverage that I have in fact been out in the rain for an hour in with my foundation still intact. I shouldn’t know this but this foundation lasts for about twenty hours without powder on me even when my skins a little on the oilier side (normal skin for you) and if applied in small amounts with some effort, it can look skinlike rather than mask-like. I felt like going for some cream bronzer to add some shape and added some glow back into my skin with the luminous Revlon Pink Light liquid highlighter on my cheekbones. Although the formula isn’t my favourite (but I will admit that its longevity is legendary), I’ve been loving the matte watermelon-pink Tarte Natural Beauty on my cheeks for that flushed look. For how scary it looks in the pan, it looks surprisingly natural on the cheeks…

Out of the Maybelline The Buffs collection, I had first had indifferent feelings towards Nude Lust, favouring the peachier-undertone of the paler nude but lately I’ve been enjoying this darker nude with beigier undertones. However, note that if you have ghastly looking lips like mine, applying too much can make you look dead and as much as I love the formula, they do highlight dry patches (I have them aplenty – questionable grammatical usage there for an english student…….) in case you were wondering. So before I write myself in to a coma and cause anyone reading this to die of boredom, I’ll stop going on and on. I’ve been enjoying this slightly smoky look lately with a nude lip – it seems appropriate for the weird season right now where it’s most definitely not spring but sometimes it actually can reach zero degrees on a good day.

What have you been wearing lately? Am I the only person it’s by no means spring for yet?

Maggie, x.

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Unheard & Underappreciated #3: The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask

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It’s been an awful and crazy last few days, I’ll leave it at that. On a more positive note, there’s always miscellaneous beauty products (thankfully) to make these times a little more bearable. This is one of those products and for the life of me I cannot figure out why this isn’t raved about more – I know it’s the first moisture mask that I’ve tried but it’s become an integral part of my nighttime skincare routine.
Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Octyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Lanolin, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Levulinic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, p-Anisic Acid, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Water

As for basic details, The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask retails for $22 CDN (and it seems like promotions are always available as well) for a generous 3.4 ounce/ 100 mL container and in a nutshell, I adore it for its ability to sort out dehydration issues and soothe irritated skin. The formulation is quite simple yet effective so not much is lost with the jar packaging and for those of you with as sensitive skin as I do, the formulation is a safe one, completely without any sort of fragrance or drying alcohols, etc. Although the texture of the product feels quite goopy (because of the aloe) and thick on the skin, it absorbs into the skin quite quickly and by morning it will be completely absorbed and thankfully it doesn’t feel uncomfortable on the skin.

After using this for over a month with great results about three times a week, I’m pleased to report that it made a significant difference in sorting out my dull and dehydrated skin. Immediately after applying the mask, the skin looks more radiant and bright but after prolonged use I found my skin to be much more supple and notably less dull. Also, this is a godsend on my easily irritated skin and I’ve found it to be great on inflamed breakouts after they’ve reached that painful and irritated stage.

While it may not be a groundbreaking product by any means, this has become an essential to my skincare routine, soothing the skin and adding that extra bit of moisture to combat my perpetual dehydration. It helps my skin to avoid that state where my face is red, itchy and flaky, so I suppose the claim that it helps to repair the skin’s natural barrier is true.  I can also tell you that it’s a good night of sleep in a jar — when I wear this it’s impossible to tell that I’ve hardly slept the night before. Now this has got me curious about the whole world of these overnight moisture masks……….

Have you tried this mask or another moisture mask? What were your thoughts?

Maggie, x.