February Favourites

IMG_5908

If January was all about the haze that comes with stress and exhaustion, February was definitely a continuation on the same spectrum, with the same constant anxiety and perpetual exhaustion but also with the complication of sleeping troubles (obviously deprivation ensued throughout the month and the threat of fast approaching deadlines that forced me to turn my stress into something productive. And although I love winter, it has to be said that I’ve been suffering through the drab and dreary winter blues, I’m afraid to say.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($62 CDN)

When I heard about this palette and saw pictures and videos featuring it for the first little while, I was not particularly impressed or planning to buy it but as time went on and I did more research, I had an itch that it would be a worthwhile purchase for me and man it was. This is one of the rare palettes that I can use to create a myriad of different combinations that I like without feeling compelled to reach for another palette – unless its for my eyebrows obviously. This wasn’t something I considered when I decided to buy the palette but the three matte shades are the hidden treasures of the palette, the workhorses in a sense. The rosy-taupe, Limit, works wonderfully as a transition shade on me, the darker rosy brown, Nooner, is one of my favourites for adding depth to the crease and Strange, the slightly pink-toned cream shade, highlights the eye without adding any extra shimmer. I’ve been rotating between using Burnout, Buzz and Trick on my lid and have been enjoying Darkside in the outer corner as well as Blackheart to deepen things up even more.

 Sally Hansen Kwik Off ($5 CDN)

Even after contemplating this all month, it shocks me that I’m becoming one of those girls who talks obsessively about something as mundane as nail polish remover yet here I am. This is the easiest way to remove nail polish ever. I keep this on the floor next to my bed and I can remove my polish effortlessly without truly moving. You just have to lazily swirl your finger around through the fluid-filled sponge and then you are done. What more could you ask for?

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN)

 After trying this foundation at the beginning of the month, I haven’t been able to take it off my desk since. Although I rotate through a few others, this has to be a new favourite of mine as I easily wore it most of the month. It’s a nice and lightweight foundation that can go on sheerly with a small amount of product applied with the fingers but it provides weightless medium coverage combined with my loved Real Techniques Buffing Brush while looking light and dewy on the skin. I appreciate that this foundation has that lightweight look and feel without being full of drying alcohols and I have to say Shell has been an impressive match on me. This is one of the few foundations I can go to if my skin is an irritated, dehydrated and flaky mess without worrying about it making the texture look worse. From what I’d heard I thought this foundation was one that offered more of a natural finish than a luminous one and I was going to pass it up but then I heard Lily Pebbles describing it as glowier and I decided to pick it up when it went on sale for ten dollars and a dime or two.

The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask ($22 CDN)

I’m not ashamed to admit that when I picked this up towards the beginning of the month, it was an impulsive buy, resulting from stress-shopping so I wasn’t expecting much so I was pleasantly surprised by my love of this after expecting very little from it. It’s an ultra-gentle fragrance-free overnight masque that feels sort of thick and gooey on the skin that seems to be absorbed quickly and results in less dehydrated and dull skin in the morning, making the skin look rested when I’ve hardly slept at all. I’ve been using it 2-3 times weekly since picking it up and I have to say it consistently helped calm my skin, made it look more luminous and helped makeup to apply smoothly. The ingredients are pretty basic but they are effective for truly hydrating the skin. I recommend trying this out (or at the very least some sort of moisture mask) if dehydration is a skincare concern of yours.

MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish ($35 CDN)

This has received a great deal of mention from me here lately (in my weekly post from last week, for instance) but this has remained the blush that I’ve reached for day after day and for once it’s actually available as it’s being repromoted with MAC’s A Fantasy of Flowers collection. The texture of the blush is finely-milled so it sits in synergy with the skin and really helps to illuminate with its coppery coral bloom of colour that is not overly shimmering on the skin. This is one of those blushes that I put on and look instantly alive. If you tend to be a fan of corals and haven’t tried this one out, I recommend giving it a look before it’s gone. I don’t say these words often, but the cult-product is completely worth the hype, however I do have a thing for coral blushes…

Pantene Curly Hair Series Curl Shaping Gel ($6-8 CDN)

When I picked this gel up a month ago because if you have hair that’s on the curly end of the spectrum and wear it that way, a gel can be a lifesaver for definition and control of your curls but if like me you have hair that soaks up product and you have a whole lot of hair, it can get expensive going through higher end gels that I know and love and I was in great need of a nice one that didn’t break the bank. I generally associate Pantene with weighed down and silicone coated hair so I was surprised when I found out it was silicone-free while not being drying on the hair, providing a good deal of hold – but in my opinion not the extreme hold advertised. This gel gives really nice curl definition on my fine strands that I would classify as wavy-curls while keeping my dry and tangly hair in good condition. After being unhappy with my hair for a good couple of months, when I began using this a dramatic difference was seen for the better. It doesn’t weigh hair down in the slightest, I’m glad to say, while still being kind on the hair. 

Maybelline Blushing Beige Lipstick ($9-10 CDN)

Lip products rarely seem to be featured in my favourites posts and it’s not because I don’t love them but rather is that I don’t tend to commit to wearing one over a long period of time but I’ve been wearing this one from the new ‘The Buffs’ collection frequently this month. The formula is comfortable on the lips while still having good longevity and it has that cream finish that I adore. Blushing Beige was one of the shades I recently reviewed and although it’s a true nude colour in depth, the warm pink-peach undertones keep the shade flattering on the lips and away from the concealer lips end of things. This shade is a difficult one to describe and in light of this, below is a picture of it on my pale lips.

IMG_5898

What have you been loving this month?

Weekly Medley #4

IMG_5608_fotor

This has been one of those weeks that requires limited elaboration so I’ll try to spare you my usual meaningless lengthy blabber. I’m pretty much in the same kind of zone as any other University student, stressed to the maximum with more work to do than she can handle. On top of this, I haven’t really been sleeping (at all) due to the stress of this and to be honest, I haven’t really been going for anything elaborate beauty-wise, as you can probably imagine. To be honest this has been one of those weeks when it’s a struggle to pull myself out of bed in the mornings.

After trying the much talked about Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($11-12 CDN) last week and using it on the daily since, I’m pleased to report that’s a foolproof slap er on kind of foundation that successfully masks the dreaded sleep-deprived and stressed face with minimal effort – and when you have about three minutes before running out the door, it can be applied with the fingers somewhat attractively in maybe thirty seconds. Score.

 

 

Generally speaking, I am a magazine fanatic and there’s always one that I’m subscribed to at any given time and at the moment it’s Elle Canada, which I subscribed to on a whim and I’ve been particularly impressed with the newly released March 2014 issue. While remaining on the affordable end of style/beauty magazines, it has interesting style and beauty content while still containing interesting and relevant nicely written articles as well. It can be difficult. It’s one of those rare magazines that seems to be written for those who have graduated from high school but do not quite have their lives sorted out yet for the next twenty-or-so years. This month featured a pull-out Spring/Summer 2014 Beauty Trend Report and as one would expect, I was all over it – I’m not a person who necessarily chooses makeup and other beauty products based on trends but I do like to see some inspiration, especially on dreary days like these. I particularly enjoyed the article titled “The Hits” that detailed ten spring fashion essentials.

 

 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noted that I have been running dangerously low on mascara – not a hyperbole – and after dropping into Walmart last week and seeing this on for eight or so dollars I picked up the L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara ($9-10 CDN) and I’m really loving it (even though it is not dried out yet!) thus far. I tried the original Voluminous Million Lashes years ago which I liked for big lashes but found rather difficult to remove. I like that it’s not a particularly wet formula so with the synthetic brush you can achieve perfect separation with buildable volume and length without the potential of clumping. This one is also foolproof on the lower lashes, even without taking some of the excess off of the wand. However, it’s not difficult like waterproof mascara to remove but it is more difficult than most mascaras (such as my long-love The Falsies). But I note I naturally have long curled lashes that are much too wimpy for my taste so I don’t need a mascara to perform miracles per se….

 

THE MASCARA WITH MINIMAL EFFORT
THE MASCARA WITH MINIMAL EFFORT

 

A few weeks back I was enticed into picking up some products at The Body Shop and along with the body milk I picked up the Aloe Protective Restoring Masque ($22 CDN) – however it’s on sale on the site at the moment for $13.20 if you’re interested in all honesty because I was feeling nostalgic wanting to try a product back from the line I used back in the day and for ages I’ve been wanting to venture into the overnight moisturizing masques but I’ve been non-committal. I’ve been using this a few times a week for the past few weeks and let me tell you, I could tell the difference right away – and that is not something I can say about a lot of skincare products. The tub is completely unhygienic and would be completely inefficient if it contained high concentrations of active ingredients but it is extremely economical, containing 100 mLs of the goo-like substance. It smells unenticing but I could not be more thrilled as it has not been fragranced-to-the-nth-degree as per usual at these natural sorts of stores (I might possibly be making reference to Lush here) but it’s not awful, but rather smells slightly medicinal like the gentlest unfragranced products. It has the texture of goo and is ultra-concentrated with moisture that stays in the skin after it has drunk it up. For the first half hour or so, the mask feels kind of tacky and gooey on the skin (due to its first ingredient aloe vera, I would hypothesize) but then the skin ‘drinks it up’. In the morning, I consecutively woke up dewy-looking and luminous skin that was quite soothed. It really helps to take down redness and irritation (particularly from breakouts I’ve noticed) and keeps the skin plump and hydrated even after it is washed off. And makeup sits so much nicer on the skin the next day, I’ve found.

 

Ummm, in terms  of post and video obsessions there’s one clear standout in my book: The Drugstore Beauty Chat with Lilly Pebbles on Anna’s channel (Vivianna Does Makeup). I always love their “beauty chat” videos as they are entertaining to watch, amusing yet helpful at the same time. I love the laid-back style of them and I’m constantly cracking up while watching one and this one was no different. There were some great additions to my wishlist as a result of watching but I couldn’t be happier. I just loooooove when these two get together and make these.

There are no words.

How was your week and what have you been loving?

Maggie, x.

holed up in the library again and indeed, I do wear glasses and warning I'm not actually wearing foundation here
holed up in the library again and indeed, I do wear glasses and warning I’m not actually wearing foundation here

 

The Daily Face #7: A More Minimal Approach

IMG_5396

I’m going to make my understatement of the year in the following sentence so be forewarned. I’m not the kind of girl who rocks the minimal makeup look. It’s not that I feel the need to wear makeup in public constantly – I’m fine going out without makeup and I do enjoy it on a regular basis – but I don’t see the point of the whole natural minimalistic makeup as I feel like slapping on mascara and foundation to be missing the whole value of makeup. I have the kind of face (especially my large eyes) that really benefits from more definition than that, however I love the look sported on the runway and whatnot of makeup with a slight pop of colour on the lips that looks like skin everywhere else without losing the benefit of makeup. Can anyone follow my logic here?

It’s actually frightening to think of how many occasions that I’ve attempted to write a post of this variety but failed in some drastic way. Inspired by the makeup goddess we call Lisa Eldrige (she embodies the not overly-made up makeup), this happened.

While it’s improved drastically in the last day or two, I’m going through quite a breakout on my face and one that’s quite difficult to cover on account of texture and general skin irritation at that and had to think about what foundation wouldn’t highlight all of that loveliness and I went with my recently purchased Revlon Nearly Naked for its luminous but seamlessly blending texture that provides a true medium coverage. I’m very pleased to report that it didn’t highlight the warzone currently occurring on my forehead while still covering the uneven tone. But first I did apply some Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, I might add. Inspired by Lisa even further, I used my Real Techniques Detailer Brush to do some pinpoint concealing with the second-lightest shade Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette – the colour was spot-on enough that I could actually see the benefit of the technique. Hmmmm. Oh, and the lightest shade was blended underneath the eyes to highlight and cover the bags.

I’m not always a powder kind of girl but I do find the MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder to help cover and blur texture imperfections and that’s sort of essential on a day like today. With my square face and all, I rely on doing some sort of contouring regardless of how casual I want to look and I used the contour/blush hybrid, MAC Tenderlingthat looks like skin while adding some shape.

I wore the hyped Rimmel By Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 107 on the lips, applied with a brush for a more natural, precise and effortless sort of effect. Note: this is a lipstick that I find difficult to wear as I don’t know what to pair with it – truly minimal makeup makes my lips look overly pronounced and too much going on makes the lipstick stand out in an unflattering manner on me due to its pink tones. The formula is one of my favourites, wearing for a long time without drying the lips and wearing evenly. There’s something I love about a bold lip with minimal looking makeup and the whole effortless but polished and awake look that it brings. I must take note of how I applied it today because I’m feeling it.

Of course, I wore my Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette today and continued with my consecutive wearing streak but these flattering warm shades are ideal on me for an effortless yet defined makeup look. Having weirdly creasing-prone lids, I put the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Barely Branded on my lids underneath the shadows.

IMG_5404

First I put Burnout, the peachy golden shade on the lid and then I blended the mauvy-taupe Limit into the crease and the slightly darker Nooner lower down in the crease. Then I added some of the plummy-toned Factory into the outer corner and used the matte Strange to highlight. This sounds like a lot, I know, but it was quick to do and reads as simple definition on the lid. Although I actually really dislike the Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner in Brown that everyone seems to be in love with, I find it overly waxy and unpigmented, I used this on both the upper and lower lashlines to add some definition to the lashlines without reading as liner. I really don’t understand the hype on this one. On the mascara end of things, I doubt you really even need to ask…. Same with the brows. I’m one of those people blessed with unruly yet sparse shapeless brows and filling them in is essential and obviously I used the ashy MAC Coquette eyeshadow and an angle brush from the same brand.

Recently Updated

IMG_5367

Do you frequently sport minimalistic makeup? What do you reach for when you go for minimal makeup?

Maggie, x.

The Sort-of-Snowed-In Edit

IMG_5325

IMG_5310

Being a typical Canadian, living a bit out of the city, I’ve come to expect these winter days frequently when mittens, scarves and hats are a necessity and if you lived anywhere else, nothing would be open and you would have the liberty of having a ‘snowed-in’ day but alas you must venture into the blowing snow and today is one of those days. I thought I’d provide a snapshot into the products I reach for. Er scratch that note about not having to venture through the blowing snow – my second class was just cancelled and I cannot bring myself to make the effort to go to my first class but I got ready as if I were going.

IMG_5330Benefit Rockateur Boxed Powder ($36 CDN)

This is a flattering and instantly brightening, effortless sort of blush for me and although I raved about this after I bought it and then stopped mentioning it, it has remained a staple in my collection since I purchased it at the very beginning of October. The luminous warm rusty-pink shade is worth the rather hefty price tag especially on mornings when you resemble a breathing zombie.

IMG_5324

Maybelline ‘The Buffs’ Lipstick in 915 Blushing Beige ($10 CDN)

Like all good makeup tales, this one begins with an unsuspecting stroll down the drugstore aisles that resulted in a new product find and even better a discounted one – they’re on at Lawton’s at the moment for $8, if you were curious. I’ve been in a major nude lipstick phase for the last little while and ever since I’ve heard about these I’ve wanted to try one. They’re creamy with decent longevity on the lips but can highlight dry chapped lips slightly. I’m horrible with the whole name description game but I would have to say that it’s a warm-toned nude that’s fairly light with peachy-orange undertones. It strikes me as the shade that I wished MAC Shy Girl was – I backed to MAC’ed the shade – but somehow wasn’t, a peachy nude that doesn’t appear ghastly.

IMG_5322

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation ($12-13 CDN)

I know, I know, the last thing in the world I need is yet another foundation but I’m running dangerously low in Rimmel Wake Me Up and decided to try this instead aaaaand it was on sale (at Lawton’s again) for ten dollars and maybe a dime or two. I hadn’t tried it in the past because I heard that it’s finish was on the natural-matte side of things and when I’m looking for a lightweight foundation I want luminosity but after hearing some recommendations for it and seeing it for a good price (in the Canadian drugstore world), I couldn’t resist picking it up and I’m glad that I did. I only picked this up a few days ago but I’m impressed. Just using the chart at the store, I picked up the warm-toned Shell and it’s an impressive match for my fair skin. It’s lightweight in texture, offering true medium coverage (slightly less than the Rimmel) and a slightly-dewy finish without any sort of shimmer or sheen to it. Note: I haven’t powdered it here and am hardly wearing any concealer. If only it came with a pump…

Benefit Girl Meets Pearl Highlighter ($36 CDN)

I’ve had this product since I redeemed my Sephora points in the summer and I’ve talked about it before but I love highlighter; this liquid one is a subtle peachy-pink one that livens the face without looking ‘highlighted’.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($62 CDN)

I know I wrote about this in yesterday’s post but I’ve worn the palette every single time I’ve worn makeup since I picked it up and have been happy with the results every time. I think this is a versatile palette that provides every shade you need for a variety of different complete eye look. I’m enjoying the warm rosy palette more than I would have ever expected to. The matte shades are fantastic blah blah blah. Expect to hear more on this soon … cough-cough potentially at the end of the month in a certain kind of post.

Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer ($45 CDN)

I’ve been using this moisturizer since August and it soothes skin regardless of how irritated it is. It’s one that is lightweight but protects skin from the elements that is a breath of fresh air for winter days like these and I attribute the fact that my skin has not turned into a sore, itchy, flaky and red mass to this product. It helps to repair the skin-barrier with it’s antioxidants and the lack of irritating ingredients and has stopped my skin from getting into the fragile state that it normally does. It’s not a miraculous product that removes all the stress from your skin but it can definitely help.

IMG_5331

OPI Malaga Wine Polish ($10 CDN)

If the bottle looks tiny, it’s because it came in a larger kit and I haven’t worn it long enough to provide specifics about longevity but the red-berry cream shade applies rather opaque (I’m only wearing one coat) and smooth and doesn’t chip off noticeably in a day or two on my chipping-prone nails. I haven’t been feeling traditional reds this winter but this deeper shade is a nice alternative.

The Body Shop Moringa Body Milk ($12 CDN)

I don’t think I had gone as far as to step into The Body Shop in the last two years and I don’t always buy into the natural-product hype as natural is not always better and like Lush, they tend to be laden with potentially irritating fragrance, however I was bored and I ventured inside and came out with this and I’m in love. It is scented but the fragrance is low on the ingredient list and the milk contains high concentrations of Babassu nut oils so I gave it ago. Did I mention that it smells bloody phenomenal and I’m not even much of a scent person. It doesn’t irritate my eczema on my legs which is an impressive feat in itself and it smells lovely without being overpowering. I’m shocked that I like the floral scent so much but it’s not particularly, girlie, sweet, fruity or artificial-smelling. It smells fresh and so far I’m loving the multi-purpose product that smells nice while providing much needed moisture to the body that absorbs instantly.

IMG_5307

IMG_5301

What have you been reaching for on these cold winter days?

Maggie, x.