Easy Valentine’s Day Makeup

Whether you’re going out with a significant other or hanging out with the girls, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean super complicated makeup. So we’ve come up with some great products that’ll make your life a little easier.
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in The Vintage Vamp
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in The Vintage Vamp
Charlotte Tilbury makes her eyeshadow quads really easy for us. All the shades are colour co-ordinated, there’s a little diagram to show us where to use what shade and they pretty much work for any skin tone. I’m in love with The Vintage Vamp. I use the top two shades for every day and the bottom two for added drama. This pink, gold and plum palette goes on so smoothly that I barely need to blend. Plus it’s really pigmented so you can get away with one pass of a brush. The bonus is these shadows last for hours, so I’ve never had to use a shadow primer with them.
Yves Rocher Top Coat For Eye Makeup Fixing
Yves Rocher Top Coat For Eye Makeup Fixing
Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you can’t glam up your makeup. These gels transform any old eye makeup into something with more wow factor. It’s easy to use! First you apply your makeup as usual. Second, choose your finish whether it’s glossy, metallic or pearly. Apply the gel using the applicator brush on your lids over your makeup. When I used it with powder shadow, I found that it wiped off my eye shadow. It worked best for me with liner or something that was stronger. The finishes are fun and perfect for any celebration look.
Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick in One Of A Kind
Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick in One Of A Kind
This winter I have been all about dark lipsticks this winter. I love them so much. My biggest decision has been red or purple lipstick. Rimmel’s new shade and formula is the perfect mix of both. This lipstick is a rich berry that will satisfy your need to go to the dark side, in a day appropriate way. The lipstick even smells like berries. If you see me around, expect to see the shade!
Clarins 3 Dot Liner
Clarins 3 Dot Liner
This liner is supposed to make applying the perfect eyeliner easier, but for someone who isn’t confident applying liner it’s terrifying. The three dot pen tip looks like I will just make more mistakes rather than less. Instead it’s easy to get a slick black line. My own line is a bit thicker than I would normally apply it, but it looks great, so I’m not going to complain. Anyone who is trying find their perfect black eye liner should give this innovative pen a try. If you are more skilled than I am, you might be able to create some amazing looks.
FLOWER Miracle Matte Translucent Finishing Powder

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I get a little shiny, so I love a finishing powder and FLOWER’s new Miracle Matte powder is fantastic. It’s really silky and easily blends into your skin. It gives you a great matte finish while covering up any imperfections and really does a good job minimizing my pores. It’s the perfect way to finish up the makeup process and it’s a really easy way to make your skin look amazing without a ton of product.

St. Tropez Tanning Oils

St Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil

Oils are all the rage in beauty right now, so it was high time that we talked about the innovative oils from St. Tropez. Now your oil can moisturize and give you a bronze glow too thanks to the St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil and the Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil.

The oil is a great way to get a bronze glow without all of the commitment. You can also add some extra shimmer and shine to an existing tan (fake or real). If you have ever used a self-tanner then the luxe dry oil won’t be a surprise. You apply the oil in the exact same way using an applicator mitt on clean skin. It dries faster than most mousse tanners, so you can get dressed in just a few seconds.

You will get a glow with some golden shimmer right away. It lasts for about 10 days, but you can always reapply to extend your tan or darken it.

st tropez  Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil

For your face, St. Tropez has kindly developed a similar, but lighter version of their oil. Using the mini applicator mitt, you apply this oil to your clean face. Be sure to wait a few minutes before applying any makeup or anything over top. You may not notice the colour on your face right away, but don’t rush to any conclusions. The facial oil is more subtle. It takes time to slowly tan the skin. We recommend waiting until the next day to reapply if you want something a darker.

Like the dry oil, once you have reached a golden hue that you are happy with, this oil tan will last for about 10 days.

I love the ease of this product. Because it’s lighter oil, it is really easy to apply without worrying about streaks. It’s also nice to know that it doesn’t go on too dark. I don’t want to be left with a dark tan that looks bad. This St. Tropez oil allows me to choose how dark my tan is.

Acne Skin Care Tips From Neutrogena

If you are suffering from acne, it can be tricky to know which products are helping your skin and which are only making your skin condition worse. To get the fact, we turned to Neutrogena expert, Toronto dermatologist, Dr. Paul Cohen. Get ready to take notes and hit the stores to stock up!

NEUTROGENA Oil-Free Acne Wash

Q: When choosing skin care lines, are there ingredients that people with acne should look for?

A: It really depends on your skin type and on the severity of your acne. Most people who get acne will develop mild acne and this can usually be treated with OTC (over-the-counter) medications. OTC medications can be bought at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription and they are usually applied to the skin (e.g. topical medicines that most commonly contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid).

Benzoyl Peroxide helps kill bacteria and slows down your glands’ production of oil, and is a very commonly used antibiotic agent found in acne treatments. While benzoyl peroxide is a topical antibiotic, it is not something to which we can develop a resistance. Although Benzoyl peroxide can be very drying to sensitive skin types, it’s usually well-tolerated; however, the main downside is it can bleach clothing, pillow cases, sheet, towels, etc. and I usually like to warn my patients in advance of this.

Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory topical acne treatment derived from aspirin. Salicylic acid is good for cleaning the skin, and takes excess oil off when used for cleansing. It is good for the face and body too – especially since it doesn’t bleach clothing or towels. It can be drying and slightly irritating for people with sensitive skin, particularly people who have a condition like rosacea. I recommend the NEUTROGENA® Oil-Free Acne Wash for the face and body (it comes in a body wash that is great for the chest and back). The Pink Grapefruit version is great.

If your acne is more severe, you should see a derm. You should visit a derm when traditional over the counter products aren’t working, and when all of the “best practices” are being taken into account (wearing oil-free makeup, practicing proper hygiene, etc.) – but you are still having issues with acne flare-ups. Prescription medications for acne come in many forms, such as creams, lotions, etc. – and your dermatologist will decide what is best for you. You may be prescribed an oral or topical antibiotic for inflammation, or birth control pills if it’s hormonal.

Q: Are there ingredients that they should avoid?

A: For some acne-sufferers, it can be helpful to avoid oil-based makeups, moisturizing creams or lotions, as these contain oil, which can speed up the blocking of your pores.  Always look for products that are non-comedogenic, which will not block pores.

Q: There are many different types of skin care products (creams, foams, gels). Is there a type of skin care product people should use?

A: Look for oil-free, non-comedogenic skincare products. People with acne-prone skin tend to have oilier skin and tend to do better with gel-based products and more watery formulas, versus thick, rich creams. Gel-based products and foaming cleansers tend to have more alcohol in them, helping with drying the oil build-up in pores.

NEUTROGENA Oil-free Moisture SPF 15

Q: What are the top products someone with acne should use regularly?

A: A mild cleanser, a light and oil-free moisturizer. NEUTROGENA Oil-free Moisture SPF 15 is one of my favourites. Sunscreen – the sun can aggravate acne-prone skin – use sunscreen regularly. For acne-prone skin, look for oil-free sunscreens with a light, watery and fluid formula. One of my favourites is the NEUTROGENA ULTRA SHEER WATER-LIGHT Daily Face Sunscreen SPF 60. I would say to avoid clogged pores that lead to break outs, consistency is most important. I would also recommend a gel based or spray sunscreen that has alcohol and works well on more oily skin types.

Demeter Foolproof Blending Kits

There’s pretty much nothing I love more than scent and while I loved the idea of creating my own, I’ve never really been great at blending. So when the Canadian Beauty Bloggers network offered us a chance to try out Demeter’s Foolproof Blending Kits, we jumped at the chance. We received two kits; the Foolproof Blending Duo Clean Skin/Sunshine and the Foolproof Blending Base Note Trio in Vanilla.
Foolproof Blending Duo in Clean/Sunshine
Demeter Blending Duo Box
This kit comes with the Clean Skin and Sunshine scents, a refillable spray bottle, four droppers and a funnel. Perfect for mixing and matching the fragrances.
Demeter Blending Duo Back
On the back there are some very helpful instructions. I started off my spraying each wrist with one of the scents to see how I felt about them individually. It turns out that I really like Sunshine and I don’t like Clean Skin. I honestly thought it would be the other way around.
Demeter Blending Duo Contents
Luckily, I love them mixed together. I didn’t end up using the funnel, droppers or extra bottle because the scent I loved came when I just layered them on top of each other.
Foolproof Blending Base Note Trio in Vanilla
Demeter Blending Base Note Box
I was a little more skeptical about the vanilla kit (vanilla is definitely not one of my favourite perfume options) but the addition of Gingerbread to Angel Food and Hawaiian Vanilla gave me a glimmer of hope. This kit comes with blending strips so you can test the scents as you go.
Demeter Blending Base Note Back
The back of this box gives you a little more insight into how fragrance and it’s layers work. Again, I started with testing each scent on it’s own and while I liked Gingerbread and Angel Food, I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t like the Hawaiian Vanilla.
Demeter Blending Base Note Contents
Layering Gingerbread over Angel Food ended up being my favourite combination of all the blending I did and that includes the other kit.

I love the idea of blending fragrances to find the one that suits you best and Demeter has made is really easy by putting together a bunch of kits with complementary scents. But if there isn’t one that catches your interest, you can build your own. I might go that route and see what I can come up with. You can find all the set options at the Demeter website.


Lush Valentine’s Day Collection 2016

Lush Valentine's 2016I always look forward to any kind of holiday collection from Lush and considering how much I enjoyed their Valentine’s Day products last year, I was really happy they brought most of them back and added a few, even more pink products.
Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar
Lush Unicorn Horn 2016
I was really happy they brought back Unicorn Horn, its super calming lavender and neroli scent is great and this one isn’t quite as sparkly as last year. It’s a really good size, so you’ll be able to break it up and get a few really bubbly baths out of it.
Prince Charming Shower Cream
Lush Prince Charming Shower Gel
Prince Charming is another returning product but instead of a shower gel, this year it’s a shower cream. From what I can tell, shower creams are pretty much the same as the gels, only a little more moisturizing. Either way, the delicious pomegranate-vanilla scent is the same and I’m going to be using this one pretty fast (and maybe stocking up on some more).
Roses All The Way Soap
Lush Roses All The Way
I love anything with rose in it, so I was thrilled to get this soap. I wish it was part of the permanent line up. It’s on the creamier side of the Lush soaps and the shape is so pretty, but a little difficult to work with. I actually cut it up into chunks to make it easier to use but other than the shape, this is basically my ideal Lush soap. Soft, creamy and smelling like roses.
The Kiss Lip Gloss
Lush The Kiss Lip Gloss
The Kiss was released last year in a tub and I still have a little left, even though it expires soon. This year’s version is almost exactly the same but in a tube. It has the same super sweet almond and tangerine scent and flavour with a hint of pink and shimmer. This one feels a little grainy going on but it smooths out and feels really moisturizing. I adore the fact that it’s in a tube and I hope this is a trend that Lush continues. One of the reasons I don’t buy their lip balms is because of the tubs.
The Kiss Lip Scrub
Lush The Kiss Lip Scrub
While I love Lush’s Lip Scrubs, the only flavour I’ve ever liked is Mint Juleps. But now that I have The Kiss, I have another one to love. It’s a pretty similar mandarin scent as The Kiss lip gloss but it also has edible red hearts in it. It’s scrubby, but not harsh and leaves your lips feeling really soft. The combination of The Kiss Lip Scrub, followed by the lip gloss, is basically perfection.

While I really liked Lush’s Valentine’s collection last year, I’m full on in love with it this year. I just wish some of these products were permanent.

L’Occitane Soothing & Comforting Skin Care

We could all use a little more comfort in our lives. L’Occitane is here to help with new products for soothing and comforting your skin during the driest and harshest skin season.

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Replace your regular moisturizer with the L’Occitane Soothing Fluid. I’m not sure why it’s called a fluid. This is a moisturizer with a similar creamy formula as some of your other favourites. It’s here to both comfort and protect sensitive skin. I don’t have sensitive skin, so I don’t usually use these types of products, but I have to say this is really nice. This moisturizer is extra light and airy. It has a light powder scent that is, dare I say, comforting. It dries very quickly on the skin and leaves no residue or dewiness on my face. I love moisturizer that leaves no trace. I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t notice your moisturizer. That makes this product a winner in my books!

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For the evening, we have the L’Occitane Comfort Oil. Oils are the biggest thing in moisturizing right now. Every brand is releasing an oil to add serious moisture to your skin. This product is 100% natural and perfect for all skin types.

While it says you can apply this oil morning and night, I find it a little too thick and oily for day time under my makeup. It leaves residue on your hands that you have to wash off. It’s ideal for applying before bed though to get your moisture while you sleep.

So curl up with L’Occitane this winter to get nice and cozy.

Herbal Essences Naked Collection

herbal_essences_naked_volume_collection

I’m going to try very hard during this whole review to not make a single pun, because I am serious about this Herbal Essences Naked Collection.

I have tried hundreds of new products over the years. The shelves in my bathroom have been filled with shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, gel, hair masks, mousse, oils and so much more. I tend to switch out the products in the front of the shelf regularly. It’s hard for any product to remain in the front of the shelf. How long a product stays in the front of the shelf is often how I measure the merit of a product.

The Herbal Essences Naked Collection has been on the front of my shelf for years. I just had to share my passion for this line with the world!

My favourite part of this hair care line is not the shampoo, which leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean. It is also not the conditioner, which replaces that moisturize without weighing down my hair. It’s the additional products in the line that I love. The Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo is light and airy. The Volumizing Souffle is a mousse that doesn’t leave my curly locks feeling hard and crunchy. The Flexible Hold Spritzer is a light spray gel that holds down flyaways, while my hair is still bouncy and light.

I love the Herbal Essences Naked collection because all of the products are light on my hair. At the end of the day, my hair always still feels natural. It feels like my hair.

It’s also a very affordable line! We all know that Herbal Essences products can be found in your local drugstore at a great price. It’s so rare that good products are also very affordable too!

What are you waiting for? I know I said no puns, but come on, it’s time to get naked!

MAC Flamingo Park Collection

MAC Flamingo Park Collection
If you’re like me and not a fan of winter, you’ve probably been dreaming of spring since November. And while it may feel more like spring in Toronto right now, we’re not quite there, but MAC’s Flamingo Park collection with it’s pinks and peaches can help it feel that way just a little quicker. Flamingo Park is a huge collection consisting of mostly lipsticks and blushes but with tons of gorgeous shades.
Beauty Powder in Pearl Blossom
MAC Beauty Powder - Pearl Blossom
I’m not exactly sure what we’re supposed to use a beauty powder for but Pearl Blossom (light pink with silver pearlized pigments) would make a great light blush or highlighter. It’s subtle but it’s gorgeous.
Powder Blush in What I Fancy and Let’s Be Friends
MAC Powder Blush - What I Fancy + Let's Be Friends
I adore MAC’s blushes and these are definitely a great addition to my collection. What I Fancy (soft bright apricot) is my favourite of the two and really flattering on my fair skin. Let’s Be Friends (blue hot pink) isn’t quite as scary on me as I was expecting but will look a lot better on Stephanie’s medium skin tone.
Pigment in Rose
MAC Pigment - Rose
This pigment in Rose (rose with copper sparkle) was the biggest surprise for me. I’ve never found a MAC pigment I was willing to use on a regular basis, until this one. The shade is stunning and would make a fantastic eye shadow.
Cremesheen Lipstick in Flocking Fabulous and Matte Lipstick in Have Your Cake
MAC Lipsticks - Flocking Fabulous + Have Your Cake
I usually prefer MAC’s matte lipsticks over the cremesheen but Flocking Fabulous (bright coral red) is a really great shade for my skin tone and it’s looks fantastic on. Have Your Cake (bright magenta) is definitely a different shade for a matte lipstick but I actually really love it.
Technakohl Liner in Raisinette
MAC Technakohl Liner - Raisinette
I haven’t used too many of the Technakohl liners in the past but I love the mechanical pencil style of it and how precise you can get a line. Raisinette (brown purple) is great if you want to start trying coloured liners but don’t want to jump into the deep end.
Powder/Blush Brush 129SH
MAC Powder-Blush Brush 129SH
If you haven’t tried a MAC brush before, this is a great one to start with. It’s an all-purpose brush that you can use with blushes, powders, even the beauty powder. I’ve been using one of these for blush for years, even since I got it in a holiday set. Mine’s old enough that I’ve been thinking about replacing it and boom, this one shows up. My original one is still in perfect condition by the way.

MAC Flamingo Park Swatches

Pearl Blossom, What I Fancy, Let’s Be Friends, Rose, Raisinette, Flocking Fabulous, Have Your Cake

I’m loving the Flamingo Park collection. The shades are all gorgeous, there’s a ton of variety and it makes it feel like spring will get here just a little sooner. Flamingo Park is only in stores February 4 – March 19, 2016. It’s available online right now.

Mani Monday: Essie Retro Revival Review + Swatches

Essie has released hundreds of nail polish shades since their launch in 1981 but unfortunately, a lot of them are limited edition or have been discontinued. Since Essie fans have been begging for them to bring back certain shades, they decided to release Retro Revival, six of the most popular Essie polishes ever. We have almost the whole collection, we’re just missing Starry Starry Night, which is probably the most sought after polish in the collection. I’ve never tried any of these shades before so I was pretty excited to get started.
Bikini With A Martini
Essie Bikini With A Martini Swatch - 3 coats
Bikini With A Martini first launched in 2006. This frosted iridescent pink is pretty sheer and required three coats to get even a little opacity. It looks good regardless of how many coats you use. If you’re piling it on though, you need to be careful of pooling.
Sequin Sash
Essie Sequin Sash Swatch - 3 coats, sheer
This sheer glittery bronze has silver glitter in it and comes from 2005. This one is also three coats but has a better reaction to more coats. Unfortunately, I’m just not a fan of the colour.
Birthday Suit
Essie Birthday Suit Swatch - pooling, settling, hour to dry
Birthday Suit is part of the original collection from 1981. Essie calls it a ‘cheeky, delicate nude.’ I just call it a complete pain to work with. There were pooling issues, settling issues and it took over an hour to dry, even with a good coat of Seche Vite over it. Just getting it to look presentable enough for a photo took way too much work. Luckily this was the exception of the collection.
Cabana Boy
Essie Cabana Boy Swatch - perfect
Essie calls Cabana Boy an ‘ultra-cool pearly white,’ but I think it tends to lean on the grey side, with a hint of blue. Originally released in 2005, Cabana Boy had the best formula of all the light shades and is just gorgeous on. I might have to stock up on this one, I love it that much.
Life Of The Party
Essie Life Of The Party Swatch - perfect
Life Of The Party is my favourite of the collection. This one is from 2002 and might be my favourite Essie red ever. A ‘pinot noir pearl,’ it stands out from most typical red shades and the formulation is pretty much perfect. I only did a second coat because I wanted it to stand out more and I’m completely obsessed with this one.

I really wish Essie had released more colour into their Retro Revival collection, Life Of The Party and Starry Starry Night just don’t seem to be enough. And while Essie is pretty well known for their neutral shades, the only one I’ll reach for again is Cabana Boy. That said, I love the idea behind this collection and hope they continue to bring back more shades.

January 2016 Most Wanted – Alyssa’s Picks

January always seems like a good time to be a little more low key with makeup, but there are definitely some staples that I don’t take a break from. These are my Most Wanted this month.
Kérastase Chronologiste Crème de Régénération
kerastase-chronologiste-masque
The dryness of winter basically demands the use of hair masks and I haven’t found a company that does them better than Kérastase. The Chronologiste Crème de Régénération is probably my favourite out of all of them. Not only does it make my hair smoother but it soothes my scalp and leaves my hair really soft and healthy instead of dried out.
Rimmel Fix & Protect Makeup Primer
Rimmel fix & protect makeup primer
Rimmel’s newest primer, Fix & Protect, is a great way to give your skin a little boost in the winter without drying it out. This slightly runny, white primer does a great job of evening out your skin and minimizing pores while putting up a block that’s anti-pollution and stress. Plus I’ve noticed my skin looks better since I’ve been using it.
Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment
fresh sugar advanced therapy lip treatment
Stephanie and I both love Fresh’s Sugar Lip line but somehow I hadn’t tried the Advanced Therapy until recently. This clear balm has the same lemon sugar scent as the others in the line but if feels a little more substantial. It has a really nice slip to it but it lasts a long time on your lips. I’ve been using it before bed and I wake up with super soft, smooth lips in the morning.
Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara
Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara
Maybelline has always been my favourite drugstore brand mascara and I always expect great things. Push Up Drama definitely delivers. From the first time I used it, the push up cup brush gave me amazing length and volume and it lasts all day. I don’t have to use an eyelash curler with this one and honestly, it gives me so much length and curl on it’s own, I’m kind of scared to.
Dermalogica Sheer Tint
dermalogica sheer tint
I don’t wear a lot of foundation and prefer BB creams or tinted moisturizers. Dermalogica’s Sheer Tint in Light is everything I want in a tinted moisturizer. It gives me light coverage, keeps my skin hydrated and actually makes my skin better while I’m using it. It has a slight medicinal scent but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a great way to even out my skin tone without wearing a ton of makeup.

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