My Sephora Sale Picks/Recommendations

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It has reached that time of year when many are beginning to have access to the promotional sales at Sephora that begins with the Friends & Family Sale (I don’t have access to that one unfortunately) and will continue soon with the VIB sale so I figured it was due time to share some of the products that I consider essential and worth picking up, especially at a substantial discount for once. I’ve also been wanting to share some of the higher end products that I adore for some time now so it only seemed fitting to share.

Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($40 CDN)

If you’re looking for a moisturizer that doesn’t break the bank – but keep in mind that it’s not uber-affordable either – that delivers on the intense hydration and soothing front, look no further than this one (or the lighter Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet if you’re more of a true combination skin type and worried about the t-zone situation). It’s almost like a moisturizer and treatment at once and it is quite possibly the gentlest and most soothing thing on my delicate skin and it’s magically effective while being lightweight.

DevaCurl B’Leave In ($26 CDN)

This certainly isn’t a product that will suit a wide variety of hair types and this is perhaps tied to the fact that despite the name, this is not a leave in conditioner. Instead, this is a leave-in protein treatment that when used with other styling products with hold adds vitality to the finer or sad limp curls and waves in my hair – there’s nothing else like it. I would recommend it if you have hair of the wavy or curly variety that falls flat and/or limp in spots, particularly towards the front and at the roots.

Diorskin Star Fluid Foundation ($50 CDN)

There are two things of crucial consideration that must be said before I truly get on into this about this foundation: one it’s expensive and has some crazy hype and claims and that I might have only had this for under two months. It’s a real testament to the wonder that is this foundation that despite these two factors, I believe that it is worthy enough of praise to make my edited down list here. It’s a ridiculously long wearing foundation that true to its claims offers that brightening luminous effect with a satiny finish and medium-buildable coverage. I love that it does all of these marvelous things without including harsh alcohol in the formula. This has to be my newest foundation love and I’d say its worth the price, however it’s not quite a seamless second-skin foundation; it is slightly visible on the skin but it covers and brightens like nothing else so it’s a worthy trade off.

Bobbi Brown Corrector ($30 CDN)

It might not look all that special but this discoloration camouflaging cream concealing product covers my dark circles like nothing else. I know that you’re technically supposed to apply a concealer on top but on the everyday basis where I can’t be bothered, I get away without applying one on top without sacrificing on the coverage front. It can settle into creases within the first couple of minutes but after some patting in and some setting if I’m not to lazy, you’re set for days. I wouldn’t expect to be matched to Light to Medium Bisque given that I’m on the fairer side of things but its slightly deeper shade helps to conceal my horrific dark circles with minimal product, effort and visibility. The seemingly small pot lasts ages too.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush ($41 CDN)

It would be an understatement to even intimate that my love for this blush formula in Ethereal Glow has not been documented in a frighteningly redundant frequency but I couldn’t resist mentioning it now that there is an opportunity to get the magical formula at a price that is slightly easier to stomach. There’s something just so beautiful about the formula of these blushes, especially in how they add that subdued glow while actually blurring imperfections on the skin as opposed to highlighting them. I’ll either be picking up the palette version of this or another shade…

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($67 CDN)

I will admit that this has certainly been talked to death, both the standard miraculous blurring powders and the palette itself, but if you’re eager to try them out for themselves but have not yet had the opportunity, I would recommend going for them now in the nice palette form. I’ve reviewed these extensively and in short I find they create a beautiful subtle effect and these three shades offer a nice selection – Radiant Light to add warmth, Dim Light to blur the skin with the nice beige hues and Incandescent Light to serve as a lighter more traditional highlighting powder.

NARS Contour Blush ($46 CDN)

You might be aware that I’ve waxed poetically on the middle shade available (Paloma) but I stand by my assessment that these powder duos are exquisite but the truth remains that they are a pricy investment so they seem to be an ideal sale item. The powders are pigmented and smooth, working nicely to contour the face and highlight and set the other areas in a flattering and seamless way. If you’re looking for a more natural contouring product and matte highlighting powder, look no further – if one of the three shades strikes your fancy at least.

Dior 5 Coleur Eyeshadow in 734 Grege ($61 CDN)

Despite being quite an extravagant purchase, Dior eyeshadows have proven themselves to be my favourite of all time – they’re hella pigmented, buttery, long-wearing and have the least fall out that I have EVER experienced and Grege is the palette that I have that I find to be the most versatile. It has a nice caramel satiny shade, a shimmery pale ivory shade, a muted taupe, a shimmery mid-tone gunmetal-silver and a matte greyed deep brown that work together to create a multitude of different ‘looks’ and although it’s quite an investment at first, the shadows do last for ages as they come with an impressive amount of product.

Do you have any recommendations for me to check out? I’m always eager…. 😉
Maggie, x.

Testing, Testing

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It’s so easy to let products that you’ve purchased slip into the cracks because you’ve finished talking about them as an addition to your monstrous stash of beauty-related products but aren’t ready to devote an entire post in the product’s name and I wanted to remedy this somewhat — viola, these posts were born where I provide my thoughts on products that have likely been mentioned before but not discussed conclusively. Here are some products that I have been using (for either testing purposes or enjoyments sake) and an abridged account of my thoughts about them. I should warn you that there are a few affiliate links below, before your read on…

1. L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara ($9)

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Some of you may be aware that I gave the Miss Manga Mascara a miss in my previous ‘the verdict’ post and while I stand by my original assessment of the mascara — too wet and easily clumpy for my tastes –, it has grown on me as it’s dried out notably. I may or may not have accidentally left it without the cap on for a day or two and this may or may not have improved the formula in my view. It’s definitely a dramatic mascara that doesn’t require too much building to get to its effect and can look spidery if too much is applied or if you’re not careful but it’s definitely one that I’ve been liking when I’m just shoving on a brush or two on each set of lashes before running out the door. Like many other mascaras from L’Oreal, this can be a bit of a bother to remove and it does sit on the more wet side of things formula-wise but as it has begun to dry out I’ve been liking it for its ‘instant drama’ effect.

2. Revlon Highlighting Palette in Peach Glow ($11)

DSC_0530After hearing Amelia Liana and Lily Pebbles rave about the ‘Bronze Glow’ shade of this product, I had been keen on trying out this product and did so in June. In conclusion, it’s not a product that I am wowed by but it’s not a bad product by any standards. The highlighting palette serves as a very subtle highlighter and it does have less than stellar pigmentation – so those who are wary of obvious shimmer and glow-overload could very well find this ideal. The overall assortment of colours included in the compact strikes me as rather strange; on the one hand, there are two obviously deeper bronzy shades (top and middle), two paler peach-leaning champagne shades (second from the top and the bottom) and a very pale shade that is more yellow than neutral. Swatches would be appropriate here but there’s this issue where my battery of my camera is dead and the charger appears to have run off, so I hope you can let it slide. On the same note of my shortcomings, I didn’t actually attempt to use these as eyeshadows but I wouldn’t expect the lighter less pigmented shades to work well for this purpose…

 

 3. NARS Contour Blush in Paloma ($46)

DSC_0531If you’ve been keeping up with things around these parts in the last few weeks, you will likely be completely unsurprised by my glowing review of this contouring powder duo. The rosy-hued tan matte contouring powder is absolutely fantastic; with amazing pigmentation, blendability and longevity, this shade easily provides an instant natural-looking sculpted effect. I’ve found that it’s a tool that gives ‘instant cheekbones’ and I do thing it has surpassed my old love, the MAC Harmony Powder Blush for contouring. The lighter soft-matte highlighting shade isn’t as ideal for me as the darker shade as it doesn’t have any sort of sheen and I tend to love sheen in highlighter; however, it’s nice for brightening up the center of the face and setting the undereye area. Being the middle shade of the range, Paloma is an ideal shade for my skin and will suit neutral to warm complexions that range from moderately fair to maybe medium in depth. It’s natural-looking effortless sculpting at its finest.

 

 4.NARS ‘Radiant’ Cream Compact Foundation Refill ($45)

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Being a sample-sized pot from Sephora, this might not be the most attractive product to photograph but I have been using the generous amount frequently and have been on the fence of purchasing it for more than a little while — but I’ve decided I must have the luminous cream foundation. Fiji is ever-so-slightly pale for me at the moment but I’m convinced that it will be perfect as soon as I start to pale out and remain for the majority of the year – “the golden peachy undertones” actually seem to be working for me and my neutral-warm skin. It’s a medium coverage foundation that is kind to drier patches – although it doesn’t hide them by any means if they are extremely serious – and leaves the skin looking polished but still skinlike. The foundation is definitely luminous but it doesn’t venture into oily territory as hours wear on; in fact, it tends to remain looking the same until it is removed. Unlike heavier-coverage cream foundations that I’ve tried before, this looks like skin and adds some glow and doesn’t highlight every little patch of dryness on the face. It also is slightly moisturizing and feels like nothing. It should also be noted that the compact is purchased separately from the refill.

5. NARS ‘Pro Prime’ Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base ($29)

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Despite the hype this colourless eyeshadow primer receives around the blogosophere, I cannot report that it is either infallible or lifechanging, but I can say that it is the best primer I’ve tried on my weirdly crease-prone lids. Like other products of this kind, it’s performance depends on giving it the proper time to sink in before shadow application and applying the smallest amount and I find I can get some (mild) creasing with this, but the wear I get with this primer tops the wear that I get with the rest. Plus it doesn’t take much time to sink in and isn’t problematic to use in any other sense.

Note: The abundance of NARS products was completely accidental. Whoops.

6. Indeed Laboratories Facial Powdered Exfoliator ($30)

 

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This powder exfoliator, that turns into a foamy liquid when mixed with water, was an impulse purchase on my part, back in June when I spotted it for the first time ever around these parts, for ten dollars less than the typical price; I didn’t regret it and I still don’t. It’s definitely an effective and unique exfoliating product and not just because of its powdered format — It doesn’t have any sort of harsh microbeads and pairs the physical exfoliating action of the rice bran powder with those fruit acids that I love dearly. This is a product that I love and would recommend to anyone who would like to try out an acidic exfoliant (but doesn’t want to irritate their skin) and chemical-exfoliant lovers alike because there’s enough action for it to be effective in brightening, smoothing and refining the skin but there’s no painful sting or irritation after the fact – no stripping, redness, etc. However, because this is only going to remain on the skin for a small amount of time, it would not have the benefit of a lotion or gel that is not rinsed off, of course. ‘exfoliate’ is what I would call a revamped new-generation ‘scrub’ – without the negative effects of the scrubbiness. Did I mention that I like acids and hate that this brand refuses to capitalize the names of any of their products?

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Have you tried any of these? What have you been testing lately?
Maggie, x.

The Five Summer Essentials

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There are numerous ways in which I struggle with the whole task of narrowing things down but with a frighteningly long time of thinking and deliberation, I have found myself able to narrow my absolute favourite beauty products of the summer to a mere 5. Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, the summer is quickly coming to a close and therefore a roundup post strikes me as appropriate. Honestly though, don’t expect a post with products you haven’t seen featured here before — these are my staples after all. Before I bore you all to tears, I’ll try to move on to the products.

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Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream

Slowly but surely, I fell in love with my first BB Cream this summer and although I’m not one to buy into the hype of these all-in-one skincare-makeup hybrids, I actually have to agree that this one kind of does it all. With it’s soothing and hydrating abilities — it contains a good amount of moisturizers and ingredients such as niacinimide –, this makeup product actually has visibly improved my skin. Although I do use a multitiude of other products along with this one, I actually do find it somewhat brightening on the skin and this makes sense with its ingredient list and the high sunscreen content never irritates my skin but is extremely protective. This isn’t a product that you can quickly slap onto the skin without giving it a thought and expect it to look stunning, however. With it’s thick texture and high sunscreen content, it really has to be worked into the skin but once it is, it looks almost undetectable on the skin while providing medium but buildable coverage with a glowy finish. I’ve found myself wearing this on days when I hardly wear any makeup because of its ease of use and skincare benefits but it’s also one that I go for when I’m doing a full face. In other words, it’s a versatile product. Review here.

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Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth-Effect Makeup

Since picking up the latest foundation release from Chanel at the very beginning of June as a birthday present to myself, I’ve been adoring this foundation and often discussing my love for it around these part;this love has not since faded and it was my most worn traditional foundation through these summer months. I haven’t done a formal review but I still feel the same way (if not slightly stronger towards it) as I did in my much earlier acquisitions post here. In a nutshell, this velvety foundation manages to give that luminosity to the skin that few foundations can match while being less ‘shiny’ or ‘dewy’ and more of a satin-like finish that is suitable for oilier skins while providing good medium coverage and looking and feeling like bare skin. I only wish there wasn’t so much added fragrance and alcohol in the product. Oh, and I’m the palest shade (10) but it’s not that pale, if you’re wondering.

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L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sun

Like the Chanel foundation above, I fell in love with this product instantly and haven’t wavered in that love since but fortunately it’s more than a little bit more of an affordable product. I don’t even want to count how many times that I’ve raved about my love for this product because I have more than a slight inkling that such a count would be rather high in a slightly embarrassing way. Anyway, this is a slightly deeper soft-matte bronzer that has those natural warm red undertones to mimick natural colour but it’s most impressive feature is its creamy, finely milled and smooth-textured formula. Review here.

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MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in Quiet Brunette

Considering the depth of my love for this tinted brow gel, I’m somewhat shocked that I haven’t actually dedicated a full post to this product. Regardless, this is a brow product that has impressed me with it’s amazing longevity (that lasts through swimming etc.), effect and ease of use; it’s much easier and time-effective to apply than a pencil or brow powder, has a slightly more natural look that also seems to mimick the texture of brow hairs and is the perfect slightly grey-toned light brown shade for my medium brown hair.

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Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Milan Moment

The last in this quint of products strikes me as remarkable for it is neither atrociously expensive or has been talked to death by me in recent months but it’s a favourite, nevertheless. The formula of this liquid lip-stain is really unique as it’s lightweight and non-sticky with a hydrating balmy texture — this also allows for it to glide comfortably over lips with even the driest of patches — and it manages to leave a stain behind, as well. The sheer tangerine shade has been a great everyday shade to slightly brighten up my lips without adding anything too drastic and it can only be faulted for the slightly uneven/patchy way that it applies at first. More on this here.

Have you tried any of these staples of mine? Also, what were your staples?
Maggie, x.

Summer Edit

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I’m not sure if I’m in the small minority of those who notice this or what, but since devoting more than a little bit of my portion of free time to this whole beauty blogging thing, I’ve become a walking contradiction, promising one thing one minute and then something contradictory the next. The significance of this seemingly abstract musing? A bit inspired by Anna’s “Summer Edit”, here I am bringing you the standard summer edition post despite declaring these standard posts overrated and going for slightly different ones in the past and I’m excited.

I’m sure I included this in my ‘Spring Edit’ post, but to be honest, the non-irritating mineral sunscreen only did make an appearance on my face on the sunny days so the Avene High Protection SPF 50 Mineral Cream ($30 CDN)is a much more accurate pick for Summer. The sunscreen performs like nothing else with its hydrating texture that isn’t greasy (but doesn’t exactly help to control oil) and has a tint to mask the dreaded white-cast, adding a bit of coverage with it’s slightly pink leaning beige cast. Although I’ve gotten a wee bit naughty on the whole getting sun front, the Jergen’s Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer ($9 CDN)has remained a staple for actually hydrating and soothing the skin my skin whilst adding some gradual colour that looks natural. In my opinion, this takes the edge off of the pressure to escape pastiness.

On the polish front, Essie’s Van D’Go ($9 CDN) has been brought into the rotation, especially on the feet. It was a gift that I received for my birthday from family friends and it was a much-appreciated one, considering that the pink hue isn’t usually something that I’d usually try. The lighter pink has a coral tinge to it and leaves a flattering salmon pink hue to the nails that compliments a bit of colour. It doesn’t hurt that the formula is a standard great Essie one that’s fully opaque in two coats and is relatively goof proof. Because I haven’t been completely converted to the pink side, I’m sure that I’m also going to be rocking the muted cornflower blue, Essie Bikini So Teeny Nail Lacquer ($9 CDN)that has the same great formula but might be slightly sheerer.

Moving onto the makeup, not only has the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth-Effect Makeup ($48 CDN)found a place in my heart as this foundation-obsessed girl’s latest obsession but I’m convinced that for my dehydrated skin (and for loads of different skin condition’s) it’s the Summer foundation that gets as close as possible to perfection. I’m the lightest shade (10) so it’s definitely not one that caters to the fairest of skins and it does contain a good amount of fragrance with some alcohol thrown in (less than Chanel VA, though) but it feels like absolutely nothing on the skin (even in the hottest of weather) and looks like perfected bare skin. More than this, it offers surprisingly good coverage (medium that’s buildable) and controls oil with its velvety but luminous finish that somehow doesn’t cling to dry patches. Hallelujah. Even though I’m a drier and dehydrated gal through and through, one of those non-powdery powders is a godsend in the summer with the increased heat and my normal t-zone. I might not need one to set the foundation but if I’m wearing the Avene underneath, it’s nice to have one to freshen things up with and for this I like the L’Oreal True Match Mineral ($14-16 CDN).

I’m not strictly a warm-weather bronzer girl by any means, so they’re a constant in my daily makeup rotation but as soon as the warm weather comes around, the uber-affordable NYC Sunny Smooth Skin Bronzer ($3 CDN)never leaves my sight. Whilst the bronzer isn’t exactly orange-y, it does have stronger warm undertones to it that make it much more flattering on skin with a bit of colour to it and despite it’s price, the matte bronzer lasts and applies like a champ with its pigmented and creamy texture. The Maybelline Master Hi-Light Hi-Lighting Bronzer in Deep Bronze ($12-16 CDN)might be sold as a bronzer but as I said in my initial review during the Winter, it’s a bronzier blush in my opinion and is an amazing offering for the summer as it provides that bronzy glow like nothing else. The rosy copper hued formula offers on the longevity, texture and glow front and no doubt will be found on my face constantly in the warmer weather as it’s one of my favourites regardless of the weather and this is the season for it. Being the blush-addict that I am, I couldn’t confine myself to one (or even two). The second blush worthy of mention is my favourite, the unfortunately limited -edition MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish ($38), the lovely sheeny rosy coral pot of magic that instantly brightens up warm skin and adds a glow like nothing else. And of course I couldn’t resist mentioning a third one that to-be-honest is not miles different from the former, the cult-favourite NARS Orgasm Blush ($33 CDN)that I talked about my love for yesterday in great depth here. And although liquid illuminators such as Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator in are typically more of a Spring (or even winter) product with the subtle dewy luminosity that they provide because things can much to easily enter into sweaty territory but I’ve been going for less overtly glowy foundations as of late and enjoying more of a highlighted look. And look I did more swatches here:

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                                                                    Left to Right: NYC Sunny, Maybelline Deep Bronze, MAC Stereo Rose, NARS Orgasm

Moving onto the eyes, I’ll be bringing the expectedly coppery, MAC Coppering Eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN) into the rotation, both as something a little bit different on the lid on an everyday basis and perhaps as the base colour for a more interesting smoky eye. I’m aware that I’m not really a minimal eye makeup kind of girl but as Summer rolls around, I definitely tend to go for less fuss (and less in general) in this region and my-go to product for this is the ever-hyped Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad To The Bronze ($9 CDN),  for it provides that gorgeous bronzed-taupe hue to the lids that is flattering without looking like you’re trying or putting in loads of effort. Another fantastic shadow that I always go for in these warmer months constantly is that golden bronze sheeny shade named MAC Woodwinked Eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN) and I’m sure many of you have this laying around. In terms of summer shadows, I definitely go for these warm and bronzy hues and if I’m not reaching for these three shades, I assure you, I’m sporting the good ol’ Urban Decay Naked Palette ($64 CDN).

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Left to Right: Maybelline Bad To The Bronze, MAC Coppering, MAC Woodwinked

I assure you this lengthy post is nearing its close now, as I come to you with my narrowed-down lip options. I talked about my love for the muted tangerine MAC Sweet & Sour Lipstick ($19 CDN) during the spring season but I think this shade is equally on point for the summer as it has that oranginess to it but is more than a little bit more wearable. In terms of a sheerer balm-colour hybrid offering, I’m sure the medium-toned pinky coral L’Oreal Sunset Angora Colour Caresse ($12 CDN) is the surefire winner, not only because the formula is spectacular on chapped lips like mine but that it offers on the pigmentation front as well. It might not seem like it but it did actually require some deliberation to narrow down my picks for lips down to these four and on some level I knew that choosing the Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Milan Moment ($15 CDN) was more of a questionable one given that I haven’t had it for a week yet but the colour and formula screamed summer perfection and I couldn’t resist; the balmy liquid-lipstick that impressively doesn’t seem to have a scent both felt weightless on my lips and offers on the longevity front with its muted papaya hue so I suspect that it won’t be leaving my sight for long. Going along with the more minimal eye makeup theme, a nice bold lip is essential and my pick has to be the vibrant warm pink hue from my favourite balmy-crayon line — the Revlon Lacquer Balm in Vivacious ($9 CDN).

DSC_0619Left to Right: Revlon Vivacious Lacquer Balm, Revlon Milan Moment Moisture Stain, L’Oreal Sunset Angora Colour Caresse, MAC Sweet & Sour
For those of you who have stuck around to the end of this post, you’re kind of sort of amazing and I’m sure you know the drill already – I’m curious and want to know a few of your Summer picks below in the comments!
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rainy Day Edit

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Here in my small corner in the realm of beauty blogging, I seem to see Spring constantly depicted as a season of sunshine, warmth and clear skies but here Spring may have the occasional really warm day, but is generally rainy, overcast and not overly warm on most occasions. Honestly, most of the time it’s all gross, rainy and wet. I thought I would share some of my most appreciated beauty products for getting me up and at ’em on days like these.

By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil ($26 CDN):Although beneficial oils like this one has much more benefits than purely radiance-boosting but it really is a lifesaver for saving lackluster dull skin and adding in some luminosity while being soothing. Because it is a dry oil, this oil can be used during the daytime without leaving that heavy oily residue and this is what sets it apart from others.

The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask ($22 CDN):Do you want to know a secret about my daily beauty routine? Well, it’s not particularly novel or interesting but I don’t wear makeup every day of the week and with no shame I rock the bare face out and about but on those no-makeup days during this dull and dreary weather, I slather my face with this soothing moisture mask with nice results — although this is a thick mask, it does absorb over time and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin so it’s no sort of irritation to use. I always use this a few times a week but at the moment I’m reaching for it more frequently because it seems to soothe the skin like nothing else and add vitality back in instantly.

Dove Refresh + Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo ($6-8 CDN): I have naturally curly hair so it shouldn’t be a shock that when my hair comes into contact with this kind of humidity, it falls flat and frizzes and turns into knot central and this can be a lifesaver to add life to the roots of my hair and avoid the flat and limp effect with the added texture and body.

Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation ($26 CDN): Gross days like these call for a truly dewy kind of base product that looks like skin and this is my pick but I must admit that it is likely that I chose this one because I can finally wear it; I have it in shade 73 from when I picked it up in the early fall last year when I apparently still had some colour and with the little bit of fake-tanning that I have going on at the moment its perfect. The coverage is only a touch more than light but it works wonders at providing gorgeous radiant skin and evening out some tone. 

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder in Sunny ($3 CDN):Normally I’m quite a blush girl, gushing about relying on it to add some life and brightness to the face but lately in this gloomy rainy weather, I’ve been enjoying skipping the blush in the name of some more all-over bronzing and I’ve been using this matte warm-toned bronzer. When applied more liberally on the cheeks as well as on the sides of the face, I find it keeps everything from looking so drained and dreary.

Maybelline Coloursensational ‘The Buffs’ Lipstick in Nude Lust ($9-10 CDN):Although I’m an advocate for the bold lip in general, there’s something that doesn’t sit well in me when I wear these brights on days like these, so the neutral lipstick that does not wash you out but rather does the opposite is needed and this darker nude with a hint of brown in it does the trick flawlessly. If only the formula were slightly more forgiving on chapped patches…

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish ($37 CDN):As strange as this may seem given that I’m drier-skinned and are always searching for that glow, I’m not someone who goes for a highlighter on a daily basis, however when everything is a little dark and dreary, in need of light, I go for this one. Now, I have the long-gone Semi-Precious Pearl shade but I’m sure any of these smooth highlighting powders would function in the same way, instantly perking up the skin.

What do you find yourself reaching for on these Spring rainy days?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.