Skincare Sunday | The Cold/Allergies/Sleep-Deprived Routine

As I write this post, I’m sitting beside my well-loved bottle of artificial tears and a heaping glass of water (with loads of ice) because I have a major case of allergies and I’m exhausted. From what I’ve gathered, many of us are sick, tired and suffering from allergies so I thought I’d share my pampering skincare routine for helping when we’re under the weather and our skin definitely shows it. I’ll remind you here that my skin is dry and dehydrated for the most part, with a tendency to get eczema whenever it gets upset or the weather changes.

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1. Gentle Cream Cleanser

I used the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($18 US) to remove the residual skincare products from the night before and whatever grime was on my face. My skin was dehydrated with my allergies and change of season, as I think many people experience, so a gentle cream cleanser is essential.

2.Hydrating Toner or Essence

This is one of the occasions where I think incorporating one of these products makes the greatest difference. When your skin is dehydrated and a bit irritated, adding back those essential substances that make your skin glowy and hydrated immediately after cleansing helps. I used one of my favourites, the Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner ($24 US), which definitely helped calm my skin, adding back essential fatty acids to restore the skin barrier along with some antioxidants.

3.Azelaic Acid

Depending on your skin care concerns and the state of your skin, this could be replaced with a more traditional chemical exfoliant; after all, the verdicts still out whether or not azelaic acid performs technically as a chemical exfoliant. Because I live in Canada where azelaic acid isn’t available over the counter, I actually used Finacea, a prescription only product. It’s anti-inflammatory activity keeps my skin the most calmed, clear, bright and radiant that my skin has ever been.

4. A Powerhouse Serum

This step will differ depending on your skin concerns, but you want it to be gentle and loaded with beneficial ingredients. I went with Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59) because it has a gorgeous milky texture and soothes the skin while brightening, with niacinamide, squalene and liquorice root extract.

5.A Facial Oil

There’s something about the extra antioxidant boost from applying a plant oil that makes the skin look better. I’ve been reaching for The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil ($4.20).

6. An Eye Cream

I normally believe that eye creams and overpriced an unnecessary but when you’re suffering through a cold or allergies, you can typically use something a bit extra in the under the eye area, but it needs to be gentle. My pick was the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($39).

7. A Good Moisturizer

This seems like such a blah heading but it’s all I could come up with. This will have sun protection in it, if you’re going the routine during the day (and got your life together before 5 pm unlike me) and will perhaps be a little richer in the evening. Because my skin is so thirsty, I slathered on the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($35) but I’m sure this would entirely be too heavy for someone who is not on the drier end of the spectrum. This step is going to depend heavily upon your skin type.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

November 2016 Empties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

A Note on Serums

With the change of the cooler weather, – well at least in the mornings and evenings anyway – I’ve suddenly been forced to get back into that whole skincare she-bang. Why? I was spoiled this summer, not having to put much effort into my skincare routine because my skin was much more hydrated and less irritated than the rest of the year without putting a single product. To be completely fair, the fact that I wasn’t trying new products might have been a contributor. Regardless, the moment that the weather started to cool down, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things. As soon as the weather changed, I’ve been reaching for these serum kinds of products to add beneficial ingredients and hydration to my dehydrated and irritated skin. As I’ve thought about them, I’ve realized how confusing they are to navigate as a skincare consumer and figured that I would write a chatty post about them.

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I would personally define a serum in a two-fold manner – first they are distinguished by their light fluid texture and second, they are designed to treat a specific skincare concern in a targeted way. While the basic products of your skincare routine are typically selected on the basis of your skin type, serums are a welcome addition to treat your specific concerns. It’s also said that serums are the products with the highest concentration of beneficial ingredients. I do agree to a certain extent that because they are leave on products formulated without thickeners and SPF that they can have higher concentrations of these ingredients – but this is definitely not always true. Thinking on my definition of serums, I’ve come to the conclusion that whether or not a product is sold as an exfoliant, serum, treatment or liquid is dependent on the marketing, not on the virtues of the product itself. Here’s a rundown of serum-like products that I like, beginning with those that are traditional serums:

Paula’s Choice CALM Redness Relief Repairing Serum ($34 US/ ounce) is a fabulously formulated basic serum that almost anyone would benefit from. It’s plumping, soothing and hydrating in a weightless manner, formulated in a lightweight gel base. It contains loads of hyaluronic acid – it’s the second ingredient – along with skin repairing ingredients like ceramides, beta-glucan and sea whip extracts. Also, it contains skin -repairing antioxidants.

Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59/1.3 ounces) is a serum that specifically targets brightening of the skin and actually achieves the intended goal without irritating the skin with needless alcohol or breaking the bank. It contains a myriad of plant extracts with research showing to brighten skin tone and serve as anti-irritants but the real star of the show, is the high concentrations of squalene (an emollient ingredient with antioxidant qualities) and niacinamide (a proven cell-signalling, repairing and brightening ingredient) that it contains. This is a nice one if you’re concerned with an even complexion and hyper pigmentation. The only drawback is their inclusion of a hefty amount of fragrance in the formula.

While Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster ($48 US/0.67 ounces) is not technically a serum but instead a concentrate that can be mixed with another serum or product to dilute it, or used on its own, I think it’s the kind of product that most of us are looking for in a serum. It treats even the first sign of aging – sun damage – along with dulness, uneven tone and irritation. I think this product is for almost anyone, especially because the 15% vitamin c product can be applied in the daytime to counteract free radical damage from the sun that causes irritation and signs of aging. The formula nicely contains a mix of antioxidants.

I wouldn’t necessarily call the Pixi by Petra Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum ($24 US/ounce) a serum, except for the marketing, serum-texture and inclusion of beneficial ingredients. With a nice dose of glycolic acid (its the third ingredient), this is a hydrating fluid textured chemical exfoliant. However, the inclusion of antioxidants like arginine and  skin soothers like cucumber extract and aloe, leaves this product as a winner of a multitasker. The Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment ($33 US/ 1.7 ounces) is very much a product of the same vein, only differing in how its marketed – as a chemical exfoliant with treatment benefits. It’s a serum to the same degree as the aforementioned one. It’s a 5% glycolic acid and 0.5% salicylic acid product housed in a hydrating lotion base, enriched with ceramides, a myriad of antioxidants and skin calming ingredients. These are both nice options if you have your eye on a multittasker or do-it-all kind of product.

The Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($21 US/6.4 ounces) is somewhat of a far stretch to classify as a toner, but it provides lots of the same benefits of a nice all-around serum. It treats dry and sensitive skin and has that liquid milky base that almost seems more liquid serum like than that of a toner, and it houses high concentrations of beneficial ingredients because they are not diluted by thickeners and emollients. It does not have the intensive treatment benefits of some serums, however, it serves the purpose of a nice all-around option. It has a nice dose of different antioxidant rich plant oils, hyaluronic acid and a myriad of other antioxidants and skin soothing ingredients. In my mind, this makes it serve the function of a soothing serum. Perhaps, though, it fits more into the hybrid category of essence…

Any serum thoughts or favourites to share?
Maggie, x.

 

October Favourites

All September long to early October, we had an unusually late final surge of summer, but suddenly this month, Fall, that dreadful cold, the emergence of dry skin and the cooler weather hit me like a ton of bricks. These transitional months have me appreciating the skincare products in my routine because of my increasing needs in said routine and this month was the perfect exempli. And they just so happen to all be Paula’s Choice because the brand is precisely that impressive and all of my most recent additions have been from them. My other favourites that veered from the realm of skincare were themed around looking polished with minimal effort, especially whilst being ill, and hiding how crappy I was feeling.

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Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream ($32 US): At first I was concerned that I was actually breaking out from this highly emollient cream, as I was plagued with those weird bumpy breakouts around my lower cheeks and chin, but I can happily report that its not the case. It does have a thicker more emollient texture but I love using this rich cream at nighttime because it actually soothes my skin from all the irritation and dehydration from the day without leaving an unpleasant feeling. The combination of lower-dose retinol, sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide, miscellaneous plant oils and emollients must really agree with my sensitive skin has managed to heal dry patches overnight, leaving my skin radiant and plumped in the morning. It works fantastically as an eye cream, too.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Lotion SPF 30 ($28 US): It was not until my skin became so intensely dehydrated and sensitive that I fully appreciated the beauty of this almost impossibly hydrating lotion moisturizer with potent mineral protection. It only has the slightest white tinge that fades quickly but more than that it neither irritates my skin or dries it out, while still protecting from sun damage, and the minor issues I was having with the overly emollient texture during warmer weather have vanished as my skin has drifted back to the dry to very dry end of the spectrum. | review

Paula’s Choice Clear Acne 2% BHA Body Spray ($24 US): Funnily, I bought this lightweight but nourishing 2% salicylic acid chemical exfoliation mainly for use on the body to deal with breakouts but it’s been on the face that I’ve fallen for this product for. I was always sure that I was more of an AHA girl, suffering with drier skin and experiencing more impressive brightening benefits with exfoliants of that variety but adding the anti-inflammatory and pore-declogging product every day or two has improved my skin in terms of irritation and those stubborn bumps that I get. I will say, though, that bringing this high strength salicylic acid into my routine did cause some purging at first but it did go away after a week or two – this purging was part of why I thought the nighttime moisturizer might have been breaking me out.

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop ($46): Even when I could hardly be bothered with the full-on face of makeup, I’ve been happily applying a generous amount of the peachy gold highlighter to the cheekbones because the visible shimmer somehow fills the void in my soul and makes me look instantly more alive. In my laziness, I’ve discovered that it also makes a gorgeous eyeshadow, especially when paired with winged liner. It’s not that amazing highlighter that will instantly flatter anyone, though, despite what many claim.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Medium Brown ($23): There’s no way around it – brows make the biggest difference in terms of looking pulled together with minimal effort and now that my pot of the gel brow product has dried out somewhat and has become much easier to apply without looking like you’ve painted your brows on with permanent marker, I’ve been relying on the ashy shade to add shape to my arches and fill in sparse spots without regrets. I’ve never heard anyone mention this in relation to the product before, but like mascara, it does get better with time.

L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza Mascara ($9-11): In October I added this new mascara to the rotation and even before the formula dried out significantly, I was a big fan of the dramatic volumizing effect that it provided along with moderate separation and length – and its only gotten better. In fact, I’ve gotten numerous compliments on my lashes and I have to agree that it creates loads of drama without looking clumpy – and it does not feel heavy or require effort in the least.

What did you love throughout October?
Maggie, x.

A Skincare Update

Perhaps I was a little too ambitious with believing that I could get back to the 3-4 times a week posting schedule, while finishing up my degree and working twenty hours a week. Well, anyways I’ve been meaning to do a complimentary post to my morning skincare routine from this Summer, but I’ve realized that enough has changed that an update would make sense before moving onto the evening routine. My thoughts and philosophy on skincare haven’t changed, nor have my opinions on my favourite products but I’ve run out of certain previous staples and have been using others in the rotation… I will warn you, though, that this post will be more than a little Paula’s Choice heavy.

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First off, I’ve been more consistent with my use of the Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($48), every single morning before moisturizer, rather than just applied on alternating evenings. And even though I was feeling pretty great about my skin as a whole, I swear I’ve seen improvement from adding a few drops of the antioxidant serum in terms of skin clarity, brightness and texture.

After I ran out of the two moisturizers that had been in my rotation, I took the opportunity to order the Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream ($32) a month or so back and I’ve been using it on a nightly basis with pleasure. It does contain retinol in a decent concentration, but I find that I can use it on top of my topical Retinoid, along with a plethora of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients – including anti-inflammatory plant oils, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Although its touted as an anti-aging moisturizer, the ingredients do work wonders on younger skin to combat irritation and inflammation, while preventing signs of aging and the like. It does contain petrolatum and plant oils, however, so it does not have the lightest feel, but I wouldn’t call it particularly heavy. It just has a thicker, emollient texture that might not be suitable for those who have issues with clogged pores and any sort of oiliness. I do find it intensely soothing and hydrating overnight and also suitable for use underneath the eyes. It’s been a real saviour as it’s gotten a whole lot drier and colder here and my skin has gotten majorly dry as I’ve been suffering through a wretched cold.

To be completely honest, I’ve switched the moisturizer up on occasion with the Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Multi-Correcting Cream ($92) that I received a sample size of in my Fall Luxe Box, even though I know that the jar packaging ensures that essentially any beneficial antioxidants will become unstable and that the ingredients aren’t impressive to begin with. I kind of just enjoy the soothing cream-gel texture and the light scent – that is not good for the skin. I will not be purchasing this, though, I assure you.

With the same aforementioned order, I’ve added the Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Body Spray ($24) into my daily (morning) chemical exfoliation, alternated with my usual Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment for increased pore-declogging and anti-inflammatory action – but this is its secondary function, as I’m using it to deal with unsightly body breakouts. I enjoy just how light it is without drying or irritating my skin and how it adds something extra to my regular AHA-based regime.

Thanks to my work, I’ve had the opportunity to sample two different products from the seemingly luxe essential-oil based line, Aroma Actives, and while I’ve been trying them out for about a month, they haven’t firmly found a place in my routine – nor have I completely decided my feelings on them. The Aroma Actives Omega Rich Facial Oil ($28) is definitely an indulgent oil that smells delightful and feels delightful on the skin, bringing increased radiance and all that facial oils do for a decent price, but it does only come with 15 mLs and when my skin is at its most sensitive, I find the ylang ylang essential oil content slightly irritating. But it’s still lovely.  I’ve also been adding the Aroma Actives Perfecting Day Serum ($24) to my regime on occasion with pleasure. I love the high rosehip oil content and how its enriched with these extracts in higher concentrations, along with how soothing and lightweight it is on the skin – I’m just not seeing phenomenal results.

Have any skincare recs for me?
Maggie, x.

On My Radar #1

I’m beyond exhausted – and beyond sleep deprived as well – so I can’t be too sure of what might follow but I’ve compiled my thoughts on five newer launches that I’ve been curious about trying. Here I go…

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  • Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette ($64): This is an outward lie – the latest Naked release from Urban Decay has been out for perhaps near a month and I actually own it, so it’s not on my radar. However, it was on my radar until last week when I picked it up at Sephora’s bonus points and gift bag promotion and I’m definitely impressed.
  • Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Body Spray ($24 US): Unfortunately the most of my acne struggles have been on my body and even more unfortunately, they haven’t seemed to dissipate with time but gentle salicylic acid products have really seemed to help me and this spray formula is particularly interesting, given its ability to spray at any angle. Also, you get a good amount of product and it has a formula loaded with other beneficial ingredients, such as anti-irritants that could also be used on the face without missing out. I am in the market for a BHA for the face…
  • Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed ($46): While I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere as obsessed as most of us in the blogosphere, I do want to get my hands on this limited-edition “white gold with pinky peach undertones” shade because I’ve been speedily falling in love with Becca’s highlighter formulas and have been tempted to try a powder variation. I’ve been torn between trying Opal and Moonstone because I truly would prefer a combination of the two shades and from what I’ve deduced, Champagne Pop is that mix – with champagne-peach undertones but still suitable on fairer skins.
  • Sephora Collection Oil Infusion Color & Care in 03 Peach Tea ($18): Having such dry, chapped and sensitive lips and favouring low-maintenance formulas, the concept behind the YSL Volupte Tint-in-Oils has really appealed to me, where the lips are nourished with a balmy formula while a tint is left behind even after the balm dissipates, but I was not ready to shell out 35 dollars – and these seem like such an intriguing alternative. The peach-coral hybrid shade is also pleasantly up my alley and firmly in my comfort zone.
  • Bath & Body Works Flannel 3-Wick Candle ($22.50): Flannel, the androgynous warm and musky candle with that enticing pear kind of note, was my favourite candle discovery last Fall so surely it’s not a product that has just been released for the first time. However, it has re-emerged again after disappearing before the winter last year and I’m counting the days until I can justify picking another one up so it is most definitely on my radar. If you’re into “mandles”, this one is a must.
Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

July 2015 Favourites

My July has consisted of working, lounging around and trying to avoid doing any sort of strenuous activity in efforts to avoid becoming overly hot. My favourites this month have definitely followed a distinct theme – they are all products that stay put even while sweating in the heat and create the desired polished effect with the least amount of time and effort involved. Here’s the lowdown on the products:

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Studio Makeup Smooth Endurance Creme Eyeshadow in Souffle ($26): I succumbed to the allure of this smooth and pigmented cream eyeshadow towards the beginning of the month and there have been very few days since that I haven’t happily slapped on this metallic golden champagne cream shadow. I think that I might actually say that the texture is smoother and longer wearing than even MAC’s, even on my creasing-prone eyelids in the heat. Also, the truly metallic finish gives it the effect of MAC All That Glitters without the effort of a powder eyeshadow or even a primer beforehand.

L’Oreal Lineur Intense Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner ($10): While I do love putting that extra effort in and taking time and extra steps on my makeup on occasion, I have to say that trying to look really pulled together on a daily basis can get a little bit annoying and that’s where this liquid eyeliner comes in. I haven’t always been going for loads of eye makeup in general but I have consistently been reaching for this eyeliner to create that precise wing that makes it instantly look like you tried much harder than you actually did. I will say that this liner requires solid effort, drying time and a steady hand…

MAC False Lashes Mascara ($12-27): I repurchased this more expensive mascara a couple of months back because I remembered loving the formula years back when it was first released, but it wasn’t until July that I fully realized why I loved it so much; It adds definite volume, definition and curl to the lashes along with a bit of length but it does not feel heavy on the lashes in the slightest, nor does the brush deposit too much product. This is a mascara that I love for no-fuss days in the summer heat and during allergy season – and kind of the rest of the time, I daresay.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone ($23-50): I could have very easily started off this favourites ramble talking about how Summer and glowy illuminated skin are a match made in heaven, but in all honesty I love glowy skin all day every day – maybe even every hour? I’ve been happily dabbing this pale golden highlighter on my cheekbones, temples, nose and chin after foundation for that intense-but-naturally-glowing effect that makes you feel like a goddess. The hype is well deserved.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($20 US): Earlier on during the month, I made and received my second Paula’s Choice order and this milky toner was a last minute addition and was the instant runaway hit of my purchases, instantly converting me to believing the toner hype. It has a milky texture that instantly soothed and nourished the skin but was light as air at the same time – this was particularly handy since I’ve been experiencing more combination skin than I usually do, with a normal t-zone and drier cheeks and chin. I’ve also been loving how concentrated it is with extremely beneficial ingredients; it’s loaded with anti-inflammatory plant oils, antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients such as niacinamide and yet does not have a heavy feel or price tag.

Bath & Body Works Mahogany Teakwood Fine Fragrance Mist ($14): Particularly in the beginning stages of July before the heat really hit, I was happily spritzing myself with the cult classic scent that I picked up in body spray form at the Semi-Annual Sale. It’s not exactly summery but I do love the calming and somehow understated warm woodsy scent. I’ve been pleased that the body spray does not read to alcohol-heavy to my nose and that it doesn’t read too juvenile-and-Abercrombie-and-Fitch-esque. It also reads a whole lot more sophisticated than one would expect and it does last longer than one might expect.

What were you loving in July?
Maggie, x.