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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty & The Book #3

Just to state the obvious, it has been a lengthy amount of time since my last installment in my ‘Beauty & The Book’ series and while I am endeavouring to get back to it in the next few hundreds of words, this one is going to be a little bit different; there’s a connection between the beauty product and the piece of literature – as the book is a beauty-themed one – and they are created by the same company or individual.

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Paula Begoun’s “Don’t go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” Vol. 9 ($22.95): In any other circumstance I would be incredibly skeptical of taking complete (or even incomplete) skincare advice and information from anyone who had their own brand – simply because I wouldn’t be able to move past the suspicion that they were just saying what ever they wanted to spout in order to sell their product. However the visible improvement in my skin during the last couple of years thanks to her advice, the fact that she created her line as a response to the lack of products that performed well in respect to their claims, the truth that she is willing to recommend products from lines other than her own and that she cites studies to support her claims has all but eliminated this skepticism. This book provides a trustworthy account of her philosophy, the ways in which the consumer is mislead by marketing and general myths and how skincare can realistically work, whilst providing compelling evidence of why and educating the consumer on how what kind of ingredients and products to incorporate into their routines. It’s incredibly comprehensive and goes over skin concern, type and just about anything. And this is just before she reviews individual products from from a plethora of lines for a good 800 pages, which is incredibly helpful for sorting out what products you should include in your routine and the like. She and her co-writers somehow manage to do this without entering bland writing territory that bores one to tears.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($20): For ages I’ve understood that there were such things as toners with non-irritating and even beneficial ingredients, but I never truly understood the allure of these hydrating milky liquids until this calming offering has entered my life. Unlike traditional toners in their ingredients, consistency and questionable efficacy, this is a lightweight hydrating serum served in liquid form with a plethora of beneficial ingredients and absolutely nothing known to be irritating. Just as a good serum or treatment should, this toner contains the usual hydrating ingredients along with a healthy dose of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients and ingredients that can combat irritation and inflammation. I could see the difference hours after my first application of this cloudy milky toner – my skin was notably less dehydrated, much more plump and radiant and calmed significantly. It has a healthy dose of the barrier-repairing hyaluronic acid, vitamins c and e, the cell-communicating niacinamide along with the expected nourishing plant oils. I’ve only been using this toner for maybe two weeks, but I’m definitely hooked.

Any Thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

The Acquisitions | Another Paula’s Choice Order

I believe that I’ve already mentioned that I recently started a new job and since I received my first couple of paychecks and all, I’ve bought more than a few things – and four of those things were from a Paula’s Choice order that I made, so today I’m going to type on about it. It does indeed include a few of those products that I’ve been continuously featuring in my wishlist posts, which does excite me to no end.

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Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($48 US/ 0.67 ounces)

With my first foray into Paula’s Choice back in March, I received a lovely trial size of this potent vitamin C serum and I fell in love with it because of the almost instant smoothing and brightening results. I was heartbroken when I found myself without this a month or so back to such a degree that I was motivated to place this order when the company was offering a nice promotion – simply for the sake of this product. With its potent dose of vitamin c, this lightweight serum works as an antioxidant, fighting against all forms of environmental damage – including sun damage (alongside your SPF) – and helps to add serious radiance to dull skin, smooth the texture, help to diminish uneven skin tone and increase overall clarity. I tend to use it on its own every second night but it can be mixed into another product, and I’ve been incorporating it into my daytime routine for optimal effectiveness.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Lotion SPF 30 ($28 US/ 2 ounces)

My skin does not tolerate chemical sunscreen well in the least but I tend to find mineral formulas heavy and drying, so I tried this hydrating moisturizing sunscreen formula as a sample with my last order and was pleasantly surprised – it manages to provide adequate mineral protection without that bothersome texture, significant white cast while actually providing tons of hydration and soothing action to the skin. I definitely am very impressed with this antioxidant rich formula.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Toner ($20/ 6.4 ounces)

Since watching the Paula’s Choice videos and learning more about their products and general skincare philosophy in the past couple of months, I’ve wanted to try one of their milky toners, as they supposedly added weightless hydration – which I’m always looking for – along with some calming action. Let me tell you, I’ve been converted – I adore how light but nourishing this toner is and I love how it gives a healthy dose of antioxidants along with nourishing oils with a featherlight texture. I imagine these would be ideal for more combination skins too because they add hydration without that heavy feel…

Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless 2% BHA Body Treatment ($25/ 7 ounces)

It has been mentioned before that since my early teenage years, I’ve struggled with body acne and while I’ve definitely managed to reduce the severity of the breakouts, it remains a concern. I’ve also mentioned before that I’m prone to eczema and find it difficult to tolerate potent treatments because they are irritating and/or drying. However, after having such success with using BHAs to prevent and treat my milder acne on my face without irritation, I was tempted to try out this antioxidant-rich BHA body lotion. I’ll keep you posted on my results but at least so far I haven’t experienced any irritation. This is also supposed to be great for treating KP and general dry skin.

As for samples, I chose the PC Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask, the PC Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment and the PC Skin Recovery Cleanser, so if you’re curious I could provide my thoughts on these.

Have you tried Paula’s Choice?
Maggie, x.

 

The July Wishlist

Seeing as I don’t feel exhausted or anything of that sort today, I have the day to relax and that I’ve missed my regular blogging schedule as of late, I knew as soon as I woke up this morning that I wanted to write a blog post. However, I have so many different ideas for blog posts that choosing the first one on the list proved difficult but I did eventually figure that a wishlist would be most appropriate – it is a new month after all and after starting a new job and working a good amount, I actually might have some business buying at the very least some of these things…

Desktop2Wilfred Minou Printed Silk Camisole ($50 | Aritzia)

I’m still fixated on simplifying and generally sorting out my wardrobe and a nice semi snazzy camisole like this one that can be dressed up or down and does not show a ridiculous amount of boob has caught my eye and made it to the to-buy list. I saw this one in the store and it’s gorgeous and not ridiculously overpriced and I’ve got my eye on it now.

Ruth Crilly Colab Sheer Invisible Dry Shampoo in Monaco ($?)

I’ve always really wanted to get into the whole dry-shampoo shebang, but I’ve found that  they either don’t seem to do anything at all – least of all, add some texture and lift to my often drab roots – or that they leave this ridiculous white residue. I’ve been a long time follower of Ruth Crilly and I’m tempted to believe that her line does what it says so now that it has landed in Canada at an affordable price, I’m ready to try it out. I’m the most tempted to try out this unisex-leaning aquatic scent offering.

PF Candle Co. no 4 Teakwood & Tobacco Soy Candle ($24)

I might have managed to go a month without including a Bath & Body Works scented candle in my wishlist post but don’t think that I’m doing one without discussing a scented candle that I’ve got my sights set on. I’ve always wanted to try the kind of expensive more sophisticated masculine-leaning candle scent but I only knew that it was available online and I didn’t exactly want to pay shipping and all that but now that Urban Outfitters has opened and is stocking the gorgeous scent I’m not going to be able to resist for much longer.

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette ($64)

I don’t necessarily think that the shades in the new Urban Decay Naked Palette are so unique that they warrant a purchase if you have one or two other rendition of the neutral palette series – especially if you own the UD Smoked Palette as I do. However, there is something about the collection of a dozen shadows featuring smokier tones, nice matte colours for the crease and practicality along with shimmery everyday paler lid colours for the less daring of us that makes me lust after it.

Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($48 US)

Both this concentrated antioxidant treatment and the next Paula’s Choice product has been featured a good number of times on my wishlist posts without actually being purchased but now that I’ve finished my sample of this product and am running low on all my products in the next product’s category, I’m ready to bite the bullet and make the purchase. I definitely saw a difference in the brightness and overall texture of my skin from adding a few drops of this pungent liquid to my everyday routine and I’m missing it in my life.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Lotion SPF 30 ($26 US)

When I tried Paula’s Choice’s impressively hydrating and soothing mineral sunscreen, I was blown away because it managed to succeed in texture and formula as a moisturizer for my demanding skin while protecting it from the sun without irritation. Now that I’m almost out of every moisturizer in my possession, I’m ready to go all out for this relatively affordable one.

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in N202 ($20)

I do completely acknowledge that twenty dollars is an awful lot for a drugstore highlighter that can’t be returned if it doesn’t fit my liking, but there’s something so appealing about this newly released mosaic one. I’m a fan of all things illuminating and more than that, I’ve been impressed with L’Oreal’s smooth non-powdery powder formulas in the last year that I have an inkling that this one will be right up my alley.

What’s on your current wishlist?
Maggie, x.

May Favourites

Having my twenty first birthday and two year blogging anniversary pass in the last few days, I was anticipating on writing a far more monumental and less mundane post but alas, I’m just sticking to my guns and keeping on schedule with sharing my favourites. There’s not much of a theme unless you count the emergence of summery weather influencing these choices…

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Guerlain Terracotta Joli Teint Natural Healthy Glow Powder Duo in 01 Clair – Brunettes ($60)

I’ve fallen in love with the subtle glow and warmth enhancing bronzer for it’s effortless and seamless skin-like perfecting finish. This limited edition product is quite light for a bronzer but has loads of warmth that reads natural on the skin and adds glow without having an ounce of sheen or shimmer. I also love the pop of peach to be used as a blush without reaching for an additional product.

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 2 ($29.99)

At the beginning of the month I bit the bullet and paid the rather hefty (for the drugstore) price for this rosy-plum hued neutral palette and lucky for me, the investment has been worthwhile – and I’ve been rather pleased with the quality of the shadows. Over half of the palette is matte and surprisingly that is where the shadows shine the most – they are blendable, pigmented and smooth in ways that more affordable shadows rarely are. I’ve particularly loved the dusty lilac matte shade, the rosy bronze deep shimmery shade, the pinky champagne shimmer shade and the warm chocolate matte shade.

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Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Medium Brown ($23)

After finally taking the plunge and actually purchasing the hyped gel-textured product back in April, I’ve discovered the trick to using this uber-pigmented brow product and I’ve been loving the effect since discovering said secret. I find that even though it can be more time consuming, using the tiniest amount of product and pressure and gradually building up the colour delivers a natural-looking brow that is filled in and stays in place.

Lush Ultrabland Cleanser ($16.95 – $29.95)

Early in May, I unfortunately found myself in the LUSH checkout with the smaller size of this beauty, the first authentic cleansing balm that I’ve ever tried. This thick balm emulsifies slightly but feels heavy so its not for everyone, or really anyone that is concerned with products feeling greasy – but I love how it removes makeup whilst leaving the skin soothed and hydrated and does not irritate my beyond sensitive eyes.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment ($30) | review

This hydrating lotion based chemical exfoliant has been an enjoyable step in my daily skincare routine since March and I’ve loved it for months so I’ve included it in favourites posts before but now I’ve fallen in love with it so much that I have to include it again. My sensitive skin doesn’t even feel a tingle from the 8 percent of glycolic acid or the 0.5 salicylic acid and instead feels soothed after being applied. I adore this lightweight product because its multitasking, providing that gentle chemical exfoliation along with nourishing soothing action with its antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients.

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish ($18) | review

With the warmer weather that came in May, the need to actually shave my legs on a semi frequent basis followed and I reached for this soothing and hydrating scrub to smooth out the skin on my legs that are always suffering from some sort of eczema breakout, reduce the flaky appearance and prime my legs for the most comfortable shave. The warm scent and residue are absolutely delightful as is the fact that it actually seems to agree with my skin.

Calvin Klein One Summer Eau de Toilette ($65)

I’ve been happily spritzing on my new perfume daily since gifting it to myself for completing yet another exam period. This scent is marketed as unisex and I definitely agree with that, as it does not read as overly masculine but it doesn’t have any overly perfume-y or sweet feminine notes either. Being someone who shies away from overly girlie scents, I adore this gin and tonic based scent. This year’s variation smells like the beverage in a fresh and not reeking-of-booze kind of way and has a nice citrus hint to it along with a bit of muskiness. I love how fresh it smells, along with its hint of zestiness.

What were your May favourites?
Maggie, x.

The Review | Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA

I was planning on putting up this post at the end of last week (er, on the weekend) but I was strangely busy and wasn’t exactly feeling all to great – hence the rationale for this post being postponed until today. Regardless, today I am reviewing a product that has perhaps impressed me the most in such a brief amount of time and my first real purchase from the brand, the Paula’s Choice Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA ($30). I’ve been using the lotion texture daily chemical exfoliant every morning for a good eight weeks and even though I’ve consistently had AHAs and BHAs in my routine for ages, I was able to see a visible improvement in my skin – in terms of the texture, overall brightness and clarity of my complexion.

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INGREDIENTS: Water, Glycolic Acid (AHA exfoliant), Cetyl Alcohol (thickener), Butylene Glycol (slip agent and penetration enhancer), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (cell-communicating ingredient), Ceramide 2 (skin-identical ingredient), Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuoylmethane (anti-irritants/antioxidants derived from curcumin), Epigallocatechin Gallate, Caffeic Acid (antioxidants), Salicylic Acid (BHA exfoliant/anti-irritant), Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates (vitamin E-based antioxidant), PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol (fatty acid thickener), Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Bisabolol, Allantoin (anti-irritants), Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents/texture enhancers), Tribehenin (texture enhancer), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate (thickeners), PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide (film-forming agents), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), C13-14 Isoparaffin (solvent), Laureth-7 (emulsifier), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Hexylene Glycol (solvent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

I figured I would get started with the product claims; it’s a daily chemical exfoliant containing 5% glycolic acid along with the 0.5% boost of pore-penetrating salicylic acid, in essence. The technically anti-aging exfoliating treatment “reveals youthfully radiant skin and counteracts sun damage – without redness or irritation” and renews skin texture, evens skin tone, smooths fine lines and stimulates healthy collagen production, all through exfoliation and the inclusion of a potent blend of antioxidants. Paula’s Choice markets this product as a silky treatment doubling as a lightweight moisturizer and here, like with the rest of the claims the brand (thankfully) does not make any ridiculous statements that research does not support, use known irritants and does not use marketing bullshit – in other words, the product does what it says, which I quite enjoy.

The glycolic treatment has an impressive formulation laden with active ingredients in solid concentrations, a good 5% of glycolic acid that is suitable for daily use – even in combination with other potent ingredients – and enough BHA to provide pore-penetrating and anti-inflammatory action, whilst still remaining easy for the skin to tolerate. The Daily Smoothing Treatment strikes me as the ideal balance of efficacy and gentleness, even for skin as temperamental and moody as mine; it also serves as both a daily exfoliant and a soothing serum with that thin absorbent texture with that slip to it, ideal for multitasking product for my dehydrated skin as it full of antioxidants and anti-irritants to boosts the skins response to the acid.

I adore that it serves as an AHA, yet still has that effective shot of BHA in the formula, so it sacrifices neither but does not aggravate the skin either – at least this is my experience on my drier skin that suffers from congestion, sensitivity and a general lack of radiance/clarity. In a nutshell, the Daily Smoothing Treatment is an excellent gentler daily exfoliant with both glycolic and a wee bit of salicylic acid that serves a myriad of purposes and provides a myriad of benefits (i.e. anti-aging along with the generally more even, bright, clear and more luminous skin). As I seem to with most potent acidic products, I did experience a slight tinge at first but this one was not unpleasant and stopped happening after a week or two – and I’m prone to this kind of adjustment period FYI. Priced at $30 US for 50 mLs or 1.7 ounces, the Daily Smoothing Treatment belongs to the brand’s pricier Resist range with more intensive formulas focused on reversing or lessening the skin’s signs of aging but it is worth the price increase in my opinion, even if you’re not concerned primarily with the aging process (as I’m not) because of the multitude of benefits it provides and its ability to serve as a product that multitasks. If you’re looking for a daily AHA product that isn’t too intensive and would enjoy a hydrating texture, I would wholeheartedly recommend trying this offering!

 Have you tried anything from Paula’s Choice?
Maggie, x.