Update & Hair Thoughts

There’s no way around it – I have slacked on the blog, going without a single post. In my defence, the senior slump is real – the last couple of months of my undergrad have been taking a toll on me. I’ve been exhausted (as always), but on a more psychological level and have been stress-paralyzed out of my mind. Anyways, enough of my excuses and ramblings. Actually, that was a lie. A little birdie might also be telling you to stay tuned for another post in the next few days on my February and March Favourites.

IMG_9122.JPG

A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut – and three inches off, not that anybody in my life seems to be able to tell – for the first time in what was likely a year in a half and now that my hair is not quite as heavy and unmanageable, I’ve been getting back into the game with experimenting with products for my waves. For you curly hair aficionados, I’ve been following the modified curly girl method, and have been using some of the associated techniques with some success. I will warn you that I do tend to use some products with silicones, as they don’t seem to cause me issues and that I do cleanse with a sulphate-free shampoo. Here are three products that I’m enjoying at the moment:

ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor: I will warn you that I’ve only used this inexpensive protein treatment once, but after using it once, as the directions instruct, I found my waves to have much more elasticity and bounce and significantly less lame and limp. Now, my hair is a fan of protein, as I have fine strands but loads and loads of them, which is something to keep in mind. It did boost the curls in some  sections that have been looking weirdly straight as of late, which I do appreciate. The only complaints one could have is the god-awful smell, the presence of mineral oil – some find that it builds up in the hair – and the one silicone towards the end of the ingredient list.

Joico K-Pak Conditioner: I remember having consistantly good hair days in high school when I was using the K-Pak line, so when I was perusing the beauty section of Winners – as I do so enjoy to do – I couldn’t resist picking the bottle up for $10. I knew that it contained silicones but I tend to not mind them because of their slip and the fact that I have hair that doesn’t seem to be particularly impacted by them; However, I was pretty excited to learn that there is only one silicone  in it and it’s water soluble. I’ve been really enjoying this conditioner for its banana-scented nostalgia and its slip and intense lightweight hydration. I enjoy that it has protein in it – and there’s enough to actually make a difference, – especially because it also has a nice balance of hydration for dry strands. It’s a nice daily conditioner that’s light enough to even be used as a leave in.

DevaCare Arc AnGel Firm Hold Defining Gel: There is no gel (or curl defining product) that I’ve tried that beats Deva’s s0-called hard hold gel offering in my book. There’s something about it that works best for me in the warmer months (but that might just be that in the summer, I have more bounce and defined curls on account of the humidity) but it works for me throughout the year. I’m onto my second of the huge 32 ounce offerings, having repurchased it on account of the value I get from it. I have so much fine hair that takes quite a bit of gel to be at it’s best and seems to eat up gel, so I can go through gel really fast – the fact that no gel seems to be hard-hold on me including this one might be a contributor though – so the fact that this one is concentrated and comes in a large size at a better value is appreciated. I would describe it as a medium-approaching-firm hold gel on me but what I love best about it is that it provides this hold while adding loads of definition without weighing down or drying out any of the sections of hair on my head. Ingredient-wise, it’s silicone-free and contains a high amount of wheat protein and glycerin.

IMG_9125
Second day hair with these products (among others) – appearing weirdly flat and undefined, likely because it’s still damp from being refreshed
Any general related thoughts?
Maggie, x.

Haircare Additions #1

IMG_6040

Lately I’ve been in a bit of a hair mood; although adding Pureology’s Precious Oil Masque has made a world of difference, I’m still working on the routine (my hair is rather problematic), after our exam I celebrated with a few friends, going out to lunch and we decided to hit up the drugstore (Shopper’s Drugmart if you’re curious) as well and this happened. I have hair that resides in the space between wavy and curly and is perhaps the tangliest thing in existence (I get those horrid clumps) and it’s dry but can get kind of dead-looking so I’m someone who really can benefit from some product cocktailing and TLC…

L’Oreal Oleo-Therapy Oil Infused Conditioner ($10.50 CDN)

As life-changing as the aforementioned Pureology masque is, it costs $50 for a container and I have the kind of hair that just drinks up conditioner regardless of how concentrated it is and therefore I’ve been on the lookout for a lower-priced product to alternate with without sacrificing the nourishment. As I’m a fan of the whole sulfate-free range from L’Oreal and being someone whose hair loves oils, I snapped up this product as soon as I spotted it on the packed shelf. It smells divine and I’m feeling optimistic about the high concentration of oils in the ingredients.

Organix Kukui Oil Frizz-Defying Curl Cream ($8 CDN)

I believe this curl cream is also a new product, as I haven’t seen it before and I was pleasantly surprised to find it for a few dollars off. I’ve always been a fan of curl creams (generally used along with a holding product) as they tend to nourish the hair while defining it and preventing it from going as crazy as my hair usually does but after being completely disappointed with the Garnier offering, I haven’t been tempted to pick up another one but my dry tangly hair needs all the help it can get right now.

John Freida Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Daily Styling Spray ($11 CDN)

I’m someone whose hair becomes flat and undefined after being slept on but my hair is much happier when it’s washed quite minimally (twice a week on average) so I struggle with my hair in the morning. I always thought that these refreshing sprays weren’t worth their price tag and then I almost convinced myself to pick up the much pricier Bumble and Bumble alternative but then I saw this – the magnesium sulfate should help define curls, the glycerin and olive oil should help condition the hair and the use of amodimethicone should prevent it from weighing my hair down.

It feels weird doing another ‘products I bought’ type post so soon but I was excited for these three things and I’ll definitely keep you all posted. Have you tried any of these? Hair recommendations for me?

Maggie, x.

 

January 2014 Favourites

Pureology Precious Oils Masque, MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder, Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation, By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil, Maybelline Hi-lighting Bronzer in Deep Bronze, L'Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black, MAC All That Glitters Eyeshadow, MAC Coquette Eyeshadow
Pureology Precious Oils Masque, MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder, Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation, By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil, Maybelline Hi-lighting Bronzer in Deep Bronze, L’Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black, MAC All That Glitters Eyeshadow, MAC Coquette Eyeshadow

I’ve mentioned stress in passing before but I’m someone who legitimately suffers from anxiety and I’ve been anxious this month, not sleeping well, constantly tired and the like. It’s been one of those months when I’ve both felt and looked disheveled constantly, barely able to remember to wash my hair, apply nail polish and to slap some makeup on my face on the regular. However, I’ve had some good discoveries and rediscovered some products this month – this is a lengthier list than my usual but I’ve been loving some different things and continuing loving some of the same.

Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation ($11-14 CDN)

This was one of those products that I bought at the worst possible time for testing it; It was during that sore and irritated winter skin phase that I’m sure we all can relate to hating every product during – even more than that I was having texture issues from breakouts, you know how that goes. Pretty much I arbitrarily thought that this foundation was worsening my skin frustration and was convinced it was the wrong shade when in fact, although it’s not absolutely perfect it is still pretty good. I wear the lightest shade, 110 Porcelain Ivory, which I will note is not a particularly fair shade but rather a moderately fair one with relatively neutral undertones. This formula is dewy but not so overwhelmingly so that I don’t think a combo skin could wear it and provides medium coverage that is slightly build able but what I appreciate about the cream foundation is its hydration factor and it’s ability to sit nicely on drier skin after being worked in. The only thing about this foundation that is slightly irritating is that it takes some work to apply and isn’t a slap-and-go kind of foundation.

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

If you’re both as fickle and as beauty obsessed as me, there are very few products that remain constant in your routine as the months go by and the seasons change but this has proven to be one of the rare exceptions for me. I’ve used it almost daily ever since I picked it up a few months ago. It’s a rich black shade that is long wearing and the felt-tip applicator is foolproof for creating thin kitten flicks on the regular in under a minute.

By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil ($13/26 CDN)

This would be another choice of mine that should not be a surprise as I’ve featured it in a few posts in the last little while but it’s deserving of mention here. I’ve used oils in the past with minimal success as all-over facial moisturizers but after I picked this one up to use on top of moisturizers and nightly treatment, my feelings changed. It brings that much needed luminosity to the face, has impressive soothing powers and really helps to heal skin irritation and fade fresh scars that are left behind. It’s dry oil texture took some getting used to, however – it’s not that typical oil-y texture that I’ve come to expect.

IMG_5152

MAC All That Glitters eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN)

This has been granted a few mentions here in the past month  so I’ll try to give a quick recap but I can’t promise that it’ll be truly brief. After going through two of these in the past and repurchasing this at the start of the month, I’m confident to say that this is the perfect everyday lid colour. It’s a sheeny, nicely-textured peachy gold shade that is darker than a traditional champagne but darker than say a gold or brown shade. It instantly makes me look alive when I apply it.

MAC Coquette eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN)

At the very beginning of the month, I walked into MAC and after not buying anything there in what felt for ages, impressed myself by only picking up a few things and this “satin” shade that is matte in my view but exceptionally blend able for the finish was one of the shadows. I complained to the MAC girl about my brows always looking too ‘red’ and she said she suffered from the same thing as well until she used this shade and I was sold even before she put it through my brows. It’s a disgusting-looking cool toned medium grey-brown that looks quite ashy but it’s perfect on – natural while still providing definition. Charcoal Brown, you’ve been replaced; cool-toned brunettes take note.

Pureology Precious Oils Masque ($50 CDN)

If you haven’t just stumbled on this post by chance, you had to know that this was coming. After experimenting with more affordable conditioning treatments for months and suffering dry hair and tangles galore, this wow-ed me upon first use – and I’m not easily wowed. It’s a concentrated treatment, rich and nourishing containing a good quantity of oils that both helps to detangle the hair and helps to stop the tangles from forming and manages to keep my fine wavy-curly hair nourished without being weighed down and looking limp. I know it’s ridiculously expensive but I’m pleased to report it’s worth it.

MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder ($30 CDN)

One of my first posts on this blog was my review for this powder which I wear in Light, which is the fairest shade with yellow undertones. I had stopped using powder at all for ages but I rediscovered this one and fell in love all over again. It’s one of those rare finely-milled powders that does not highlight dry patches and minimizes the appearance of imperfections and takes shine down slightly without leaving the skin ‘matte’ and devoid of radiance.

IMG_4934

Maybelline Face Studio Master Hi-light Hi-lighting Bronzer in Deep Bronze ($12-16 CDN)

I can honestly say that I wore this “bronzer” – I wear it as a blush – twenty days this month and this is not something regular for me. This was a big moment for me on the grounds that it’s the first drugstore blush that I’ve ever loved. The luminous rosy copper shade had the nicest texture and pigmentation without being overly dramatic and adds much-needed warmth to the face. I’m restraining myself from going on now because I’ve rambled on about this more than enough…

Civilization V Game ($30 CDN)

Yes, I’m talking about a computer game here. I’m not a huge gamer by any means and I’m selective but there are a few I really like and this month I was addicted to playing the strategy game. I find it challenging and for some reason its a thrill and the whole world domination concept starting from the ancient world to present day is always interesting. If you enjoy ancient things or history-based games, I recommend this one. It’s addicting and is flexible in the ways that it can be won (victory through culture, social policies, science, war etc.) — what more could you want?

What have you been loving this month?

Maggie, x.

5 Current Lusts

IMG_1436_Fotor1_fotor

I’m one of those pathetic girls who always as some sort of notebook on me to record my latest wish list and have about ten on the go at any given time on the phone and am constantly looking at the wish list but I’ve never done one of these posts because quite honestly I’m horribly fickle and have limited skill at putting the collage picture together – I have no shame.

Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator in Pink Light ($15 CDN)

I’ve heard that this “new release” from Revlon was actually the rerelease of a product they had discontinued but it’s irrelevant to me, all I knew was that I wanted this liquid highlighter. I’ve mentioned my love for the subtle but much-more-expensive Benefit Girl Meets Pearl but I wanted to try something more obviously luminous and this seems to fit the bill. I don’t have any true pinky highlighters and wanted to try one out but I must note that my lusting for this shade is probably some sort of justification to “need” yet another face product.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($62 CDN)

I’ve resisted getting this palette thus far but it’s no secret that it’s a struggle to not go to Sephora and nonchalantly “see if it’s in stock”. From my abundant posts on the Naked 1, you can see that I get a lot of use out of the warm-toned shades and I love their variety in shades but I struggle with the limited lid shades and Naked 3 is abundant in these. I don’t have a bunch of warm rosy shades but I really do like them and I find them flattering. It’s just so beautiful.

Urban Decay Blackheart + Darkside 24/7 Double-Ended Pencil ($19 CDN)

Urban Decay strikes again. This current lust has nothing to do with the fact that it’s the matching liner to the palette above but rather that I’ve been wanting to get into more interesting liner shades particularly for the waterline and the plummy-black and dark plum brown seem to hit the spot. As much as I like the formula of these liners, they’re not my absolute favourite as I have the driest eyes known to man and liner stays put in my inner rims like nothing else and these are hell to remove at the end of the night for me, their creamy texture makes you go through them so quickly and their waxy texture can be difficult on occasions but all in all I do like them and the shade selection makes it worthwhile.

Bumble & Bumble Pret-a-Powder ($31 CDN)

Roughly-speaking I have long, very dry and fine curly hair that tends to get limp and I’ve tried dry shampoos before to add volume in between my infrequent washings with little success, finding that they only dried out the hair and caused horrendous tangle without adding volume and I’m wanting to give this a try. I remember trying a similar powder from Aveda years ago and I remember it working well and this one gives more product and Bumble and Bumble make fantastic texturizing products in my experience.

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Creme Brulee ($6/8 CDN)

I haven’t ordered any Makeup Geek before and I don’t really have a reasonable excuse other than the fact that I’m not much of an online shopper but I’m really debating taking the plunge for this beauty. I’ve seen so many bloggers and vloggers talk about the warm brown transition shade and wear it that I’m convinced that I need to have it. I actually don’t have any of these warm transition shades that everyone goes on about because in store they seem to bore me.

x,

Maggie.

What are you currently lusting after? Have you tried any of these?

Winter Essentials Edit – The Miscellanious Edition

IMG_4553

IMG_4543

IMG_4551

It’s taken a bit of adjustment to get back into the swing of things blogging-wise now that school has started up again even though I was only off for a month and this post was long overdue, a companion to my recent makeup post. This is going to be a little more chaotic and disorganized – a summary of the beauty bits that have proved essential to me in this winter weather when it’s difficult to muster the effort to lift yourself out of bed in the morning.

OPI Lincoln Park After Dark Nail Polish ($9-10 CDN)

Recently I’ve mentioned that I’ve turned into a usual nail-painter but I haven’t been mentioning particular products because I can’t commit to anything, ever but this polish may be the exception to the rule – before starting the blog, this was the only nail polish that I mustered the effort to apply over and over again but then I lost it and it was tragic but luckily I got a mini-size for Christmas again. As cliched as it is, I love the vampy almost-black-but-not-quite shade, particularly in the winter with purple-undertones and a opaque cream finish. It has good longevity on the nails and is almost fully opaque after one coat. Because of the darkness of the shade, it makes a statement of sorts but doesn’t involve the effort of pairing everything with of a red or bright.

Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her Polish ($8 CDN/ 6)

I know I’m horrible for including a limited edition polish from what I believe was the Spring 2013 but I picked this up recently at the Canadian version of the TK/TJ Maxx enterprise called Winners which I’ve recently become very interested in rummaging around through. In the last few months, I’ve grew a little bit tired of the red polish and I think this is an alternative option that still is seasonally appropriate with it’s wintry iciness. The formula of the polish is phenomenal, very opaque and it lasts on my nails for the longest of any polishes I’ve tried – I can get a week out of this on my chipping-prone nails. The colour is a paled-out dirty green with a greyish lean to it, which does not sound attractive but I love it. It’s a lighter and dirtier version of the famous (but also limited edition) Mermaid’s Tears, that is my staple summer polish.

China Glaze Nail Polish in Ingrid ($8 CDN)

Years ago, when I was going through one of my brief periods when I was determined to give nail polish a go (before quickly abandoning the seemingly futile effort) I picked this one up after OPI You Don’t Know Jacques was sold out pretty much everywhere and the salesgirl told me this one was very similar. The formulation is fantastic (as all of these mentioned are as I’m very impaired at nail polish application), not quite as long-lasting as the Essie but it wears for a long time and applies very opaque with minimal streaking. I’m beginning to notice that I seem to like slightly-grungy and dirty colours; yet again this is a dark taupe with fine golden-brown microshimmer running throughout and it’s much more amazing than this description is suggesting. I usually hate shimmery and absolutely detest sparkly polishes but this one is the exception for me. It’s easier to wear on my warm-leaning skin because it leans slightly more on the brown side.

Aveeno Skin-Relief Body Wash ($8 CDN)

I suffer from eczema along with generally very sensitive body skin and this is a great gentle body wash that does not irritate my skin even in it’s fragile state. I didn’t realize that this contained fragrance as it’s hardly detectable and non-irritating but I do want to give the fragrance-free one a go sometime. The worst eczema I suffer is on my legs and it’s quite painful and by far this is the best thing to shave my legs with due to it’s gentleness and the instant hydration in provides. I sort of can’t believe I’m talking about body wash but alas…

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright Serum ($40 CDN)

With sore winter dry and irritated skin, a chemical-exfoliant with acids sounds like the last thing you need but it’s been a saviour for me. The formulation of this serum is hydrating but concentrated with the lactic acid that exfoliates the skin without being abrasive and it’s one of the only things that has helped to reduce the severity of the dry patches I do get. It doesn’t burn on the skin either and beats manual exfoliation in ways other than gentleness, as it helps with pigmentation and dullness – the latter which is a large concern of mine and I imagine it to be an issue that many face with winter pale skin.

By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil ($26/13 CDN)

I’m an avid blog reader myself and before I was always dismissive when I read posts boasting about the wonders of oils on the complexion. It’s not that I was worried about the oiliness or anything of that sort but more of that I’d been down that road before with minimal success. This one has been a recent addition in my routine every night and every morning or two, bringing much-needed radiance to my face paired on top of moisturizer (or the serum above). It really seems to moisturize and soothe irritated and dry skin but also works wonders on angry breakouts – but mine are the dry itchy kind so keep that in mind. This was another purchase from Winners.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($26 CDN)

This glorified lip balm is very expensive and I haven’t purchased a tube as I’m still working on the sample from the Sephora birthday gift but as much as I hate to say it, it’s worth it. I have naturally dry and chapped lips and this performs the best at hydrating them after the balm wears off rather than just coating the lips which many others do. It outperforms the close contender, the more affordable and popular EOS balms.

Pureology Precious Oil Softening Hair Masque ($50 CDN)

Yes, this masque is ridiculously expensive and I’ve only used it a handful of times but I already know it’s worth it. I have the kind of hair that is death to untagle, eats up conditioner and is difficult to keep hydrated and this product is worth it to me. It has that amazing spa-like scent but I would purchase this even without the scent – It’s one of the rare masques that actually is concentrated and a quarter size is more moisturizing than palmfuls of other (not cheap) intensive conditioners and I rarely find that. It doesn’t weigh down my insanely dense mass of fine-textured wavy hair while leaving it feeling nourished for longer than a few hours. I find it keeps the hair soft and helps my hair to curl in the way I like. It’s beautiful, that is all; it’s that perfect wintry hair-saving treatment.

Bumble & Bumble Texture (Un)dressing Creme ($17/34 CDN)

I’ve rambled on about this before but in the winter my hair really begins to lack life and just hang and regardless of your hair type, this treasure adds texture and vitality without tangling and drying the hair. This has really become a staple product when you’re headed out the door in a minute or two and your hair is catastrophically flat and dull.

x

Maggie

What are your winter essentials? Have you used any of these?

December Favourites

20131230-113315.jpg

December was a weird month in particular this year; I won’t purposely try to make you all gauge your precious eyes out with cliched phrases such as ‘it passed so fast’ and ‘it was so stressful and busy’, although life seems to be full of the two lately. University kept me crazy busy and stressed for the first two weeks but as soon as the fourteenth hit, I was done and it was weird.

My skin has been duller than ever with abundant dry patches and I’ve perhaps gone a little too highlighter happy and my product of choice has been the old limited edition MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Semi-Precious Pearl, which is a gorgeous glowy shimmery golden champagne.

It should be no secret that I’ve fallen in love with L’Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black($10 CDN) this month. It has more pigment than Maybelline Master Precise and is more precise and slightly easier to control. With this, it’s quick and easy to create a subtle wing on an everyday basis. This liner is fine enough to create the thinnest line, which I tend to struggle with.

I’ve had the MAC Eyeshadow in Sketch($12/18 CDN) since the end of the summer but I’ve previously found it to be chalky and difficult to pair with other shades without effort but this seemed to change this month. I’ve really enjoyed placing the “velvet” but pretty much matte plum shade in the outer v and it’s been gracing my face frequently, most often paired with rosier and taupe-y shades. 

The contour powder, sold as a blush, MAC Harmony ($25 CDN) is easily one of my favourite beauty products of all time – I included it in my recently posted yearly favourites – but it’s made it’s way back into the daily rotation this month as it functions nicely as a contour shade but has some warmth to it, without looking overly warm and orangey. It has enough rosiness to it that I can go without blush when wearing this and I adore it, especially with bolder lips.

In the cold weather as of late, I’ve been finding that my natural loose curls are determined to fall flat and lifeless along with their characteristic dryness. I’ve found that applying Bumble and Bumble Texture (Un)dressing Creme ($17/33 CDN) straight out of the shower adds volume and texture while still providing control either by itself or in combination with a curl-enhancing product with hold. I think this cream manages to be one of those universal products that adds great texture among all different hair types without leaving the hair dry — it’s concentrated and even with my abundance of hair, I’m still using my travel-sized product that I bought in the spring.

My daily use of Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance($24/40 CDN) and my love for it snuck up on me. This is the first foundation primer that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a few) that proved to be worthwhile. A little bit prior to starting the blog, I saw the 15 mL size at my Sephora in the 100-point-perk case and it had to be mine… I can’t resist a good free beauty product and as a sample, the size was very generous. It’s tinted a peachy-gold sheeny shade that adds notable luminosity to the face (which I adore), doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin in the slightest and seems to help the foundation glide on more smoothly with the touch of hydration it provides. The thing is that, as I’ve mentioned far too many times before, I do not have issues with foundation longevity and this is generally what primers are aimed to do but I like this one because it helps to blend the foundation seamlessly along with illumination but I do not think it helps with longevity or prevents oil from breaking through. I think this is a great primer for drier and duller looking skin, especially for those who haven’t had the greatest success with traditional foundation primers.

Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright ($40 CDN) is indeed one of those products that takes you by surprise with its efficacy — that was horrible, I know, but I couldn’t resist. It’s a chemical exfoliant in serum form with lactic acid in a moisturizing base that I’ve been using pretty much nightly since the beginning of the fall and I didn’t notice the results at first but within a few months, it helped with the formation of clogged pore bump-like things on my forehead, faded the textured marks that blemishes always leave behind on my skin and seemed to brighten and even out my skin. I’ve received some compliments on my bare skin recently and I know it’s because of this cream-serum that exfoliates without being harsh or irritating – even on my sensitive skin, all I can feel is a slight tingle (and I tend to feel the tingle with even the gentlest of products).

This month I’ve been playing The Neighbourhood‘s I Love You($7 CDN) album nonstop this month. I’m sure everyone is familiar with them because of “Sweater Weather” but the whole album is just as good. The music is moody, slightly-grungy and angsty deliciousness. I don’t know else to explain it — if you like music that iTunes places in the “alternative” genre, give this a listen if you haven’t already heard it.

Have you tried any of these? What were your favourites this month?

Top Thirteen of 2013

20131223-104343.jpg

I’ve only been blogging since the end of May this year but I can remember my product loves before then so I thought I’d share an edited selection of my absolute essential products of 2013. It’s been agonizing to do so but these products were staples this year that I’d recommend to all!

Boots Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm for Dry/Very Dry Skin ($10 CDN)

I’ve used this every night since I purchased it in the summer but I’m still on my first bottle of this divine creamy cleanser. It’s beyond gentle, actually hydrating the skin rather than stripping it, soothing and with the aid of a washcloth, removes face makeup. It contains fragrance but does smell luxurious, especially considering the price – an absolute bargain in my book!

Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Creme ($39 CDN)

The 40 mL tube of goodness lasted for five months with daily use and I used it throughout the entire summer and into the fall. I haven’t repurchased yet, but I plan on repurchasing in the near future. It contains Caudalie’s signature antioxidants and is free of drying alcohols (but does contain fragrance) and is a fast-absorbing, weightless but very hydrating product that feels cooling and soothing on the skin. This has made me intrigued to try more Caudalie – to be continued…

Bioderma Sensibio H20 ($22 CDN)

There are only two beauty products that I go through quickly: conditioner and Bioderma. I wear a good amount of eye makeup on a daily basis and use this micellar water every night to remove it. I have uber-sensitive eyes and this is the only product that neither irritates my eyes or clouds my vision and removes my makeup. It feels as gentle as water on the skin but removes makeup well with minimal effort and makes it easier to wear heavier eye makeup on a daily basis.

L’Oreal Professionnel Intense Repair Masque ($30 CDN)

This is easily the best conditioner/masque that I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried many, including others in the line and nothing else compares. In terms of silicones, amodimethicone is high on the ingredient list and I suppose could prevent the ingredients for working their best but at the very least it does not build up and weigh down my hair. The scent is an interesting fake banana scent and the product is coloured to match. The product itself is a thick texture and is intensely hydrating and really helps to detangle hair without weighing it down. I have fine wavy-curly hair but lots of it that tends to split easily and after using this from the start of the year until late fall when it ran out, I can say that it prevented the dry ends from forming that contribute to such breakage. The product is super-concentrated and easily worth the money as many cheaper options tend to run out more quickly and work less effectively.

Pureology SuperSmooth Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($29 CDN)

Sulfates are a nightmare for my hair, both drying it out and causing eczema on my scalp and this is easily my favourite sulfate-free shampoo I’ve tried, however it is very expensive. Luckily I managed to pick up the litre size of this on sale for about $50 CDN very early in the year and I’m still on the same bottle. This is easily the gentlest effective shampoo that I’ve ever tried and is definitely the most concentrated. I always find I go through hair product quickly but this one truly is the most concentrated. The ingredients are really great, the only silicones are water-soluble and do not build up on the hair and it contains high concentrations of nourishing oils like sesame oil and shea butter. This shampoo is one of the rare shampoos that manages to cleanse the hair without stripping it. The smell is to-die for, a luxurious slightly spicy and woodsy scent – easily the best smelling hair product I’ve ever tried.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in Ivory ($10 CDN)

I started using this foundation shortly before starting my blog and it was one of the products that got me into drugstore makeup – before the blog, I was a diehard MAC girl with a hint of Sephora thrown in there. This foundation I wore pretty much all summer long and never stopped using it afterwards. For me, this foundation is one that I can always wear and feel confident about putting on my skin without thinking about it. I can’t see the shimmer in it and find it slightly glowy with great longevity. It has that medium coverage that can be worn when your skin isn’t looking too great but doesn’t look heavy on the skin. The colour is one of the best matches for me as it’s fair with yellow undertones and sits nicely on my dehydrated skin. It’s weightless on the skin without including harsh irritating alcohol.

MAC Powder Blush in Harmony ($25 CDN)

Although it’s called a blush, this is definitely a contour powder. It’s somewhat cool-toned without being grey and somehow manages to add warmth to the face while providing some shape. I picked this up very early in the year and haven’t looked back as it’s remained a staple throughout the entire year. It’s a matte  medium toned mauve-y brown that is difficult to describe and works for me year round regardless of the season.

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara ($10)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, it will be no secret to you that this is my all-time favourite mascara and I discovered at the beginning of this year and repurchased it recently. It’s nice and volumizing, can be built up and doesn’t clump and the wand deposits the perfect amount of product. I should mention that naturally I have long, curled and wimply lashes and I enjoy volumizing drier mascaras as wetter formulas tend to look less natural and more spider-y on me.

Urban Decay Naked Palette ($62 CDN)

I agonized over whether to include this palette, as for the first few months of my blog I talked about how I didn’t love this palette as an all-inclusive palette for a variety of looks but then I slowly fell in love with it but prior to starting my blog, I wore these shadows on a daily basis – I wore Sin on my lids, Naked in the crease and Hustle in the outer-v- which is still a combination I adore. It has those flattering warm tones and contains a variety of shades of different depths and is easily my most used eyeshadow item of the year. If you enjoy shimmery warm-toned eyeshadows, this is the palette for you.

MAC Charcoal Brown Eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN)

This might seem like a really boring shade to include but it’s proven its value as a staple to me year round. It’s a medium toned slightly-cool toned brown with a matte finish. This was the product that got me into filling in my brows and it’s a fabulous shade for brunettes but it also adds great definition to the crease that cannot be duplicated with a shimmery shade and is the perfect balance of warm and cool for me.

MAC Lipstick in Patisserie ($18 CDN)

I swore I was only going to include products that I wore the entire year but although I’ve only been using this since October, it became my go-to shade and easily my favourite lip product discovery of the year. It’s a lustre so it doesn’t highlight dry patches and is somewhat moisturizing. It’s a darker nude that isn’t all that different in colour than my pale lips — a warm nude with some pink in it that doesn’t wash me out in the least but rather adds some life to my face and looks good with any makeup.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Rose ($30 CDN)

2013 was the year that I fell in love with the bold lip. Sure I wore red lips to prom but prior to this year that was the extent of my exposure to the red lip or even the bold lip in general. However the particular lipstick was a difficult to decide on as bold lipsticks aren’t something you typically reach for on a daily basis. After lamenting for a couple of days, I decided that I couldn’t put a particular one in but bold lips was perhaps my makeup discovery of the year overall. Easily my most used lip product of the year was this multi-tasking product. I like it as a creme blush as well but the iconic Bobbi Brown product is something I’ve reached for constantly all year for a warm rosy hue on my lips that doesn’t pull brown whatsoever. It’s sort of hydrating but not remarkably so and has the easiest on-the-go application and is that slightly darker but sought-after my lips but better shade on me that wears nicely for a few hours.

MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish ($34 CDN) – limited edition 😦

insert picture of me wearing it on December 13th w/o bold lip

Being the blush hoarder and obsessor – is that even a word? If it’s not I’m making it one…. – that I am, I knew I had to put one in my yearly favourites, however it was incredibly difficult to choose my favourite one that I wore the most throughout the year as I tend to go through blush phases. I know it’s rather evil of me to include a limited edition product but I discovered the hyped but worth the hype product this year and loved it throughout the year even though I didn’t necessarily mention it as much as it deserved. I bought it at the very start of the year when the Apres Chic collection came out. I was not intending on buying it but when I tried it on, the finely-milled glowy rosy coral wowed me. It’s a blush that is the most gorgeous when not too much else is going on with your makeup.

Seeing as I included a product that is rather difficult to get your hands on and I know how annoying it can be when someone rambles on about an amazing product that you can’t get, I’ll include my runner up – Nars Orgasm Powder Blush, a less-corally pinky-coral with gold shimmer running throughout that brightens the face while working with whatever makeup you’re wearing.

What were your favourite products of the year?