I am off on vacation. I will be spending a few weeks in Europe with all of the sun, rain and exciting adventures of England to look forward to. Here are some of the products that have made the cut into my suitcase for my trip:
Sephora Collection Blotting Papers – On my vacation there will be a lot walking, so I’m going to keep these little sheets in my purse to keep myself looking great no matter what happens with the temperature. They weigh practically nothing, so they don’t take any space in your bags. If you want to look great in all of your vacation photos, these things are crucial.
Caprina Fresh Goat’s Milk Soap – This gentle soap is naturally moisturizing, so when we are away there won’t be any worry of dry skin. I don’t really want to have to pack lots of extra body moisturizers, so this soap is hopefully going to be my saviour.
Mereadesso Face + Neck Cleanser – The packaging on this cleanser is great for travel. The packs are small and take up almost no space. The opening is even flat. These would be perfect for a backpacking trip where you have almost no space at all. It comes with an all-in-one moisturizer for added face care no matter where you are in the world!
Cake Satin Sugar Dry Shampoo – Nowadays, I never travel for more than two days without my dry shampoo. It really is a lifesaver. This year, I’m taking this powder one from Canada’s cake. I always feel weird about packing aerosol cans for some reason, so I like that this is a powder shaker. The sweet smell is also perfect as a body powder for an added bonus.
Demeter Pick-Me-Up Cologne Spray – These tiny little fragrances from Demeter are amazing for travel. Put them on your key chain to take them wherever you want. I got little 3 mL sprays of Linen and Laundromat fragrance to freshen up no matter where I go. It’s small enough to even take in your carry on so you can smell great after a long flight.
I’ve used a ton of skin care devices over the years and Stephanie has used even more. But somehow, I’ve never used a Clarisonic. We received the Mia3 (Aria) for our travel essentials series and I loved it so much that I decided it needed it’s own post. The Aria is a sonic cleansing device and to be honest, I don’t fully grasp what that means other than it’s supposed to cleanse your skin 6x better than using your hands.
The Aria comes with quite a few things, so let’s run those down first. In the box you get:
– the device
– sensitive brush head
– drying stand
– USB enabled Universal Voltage pLink® Charger
– wall adapter
– sample size cleanser
Charging the device it so easy (it takes 24 hours the first time!) and there are so many options for how you do it. I plugged mine to the wall and let it sit for a day. Once it’s charged, it’s supposed to stay charged for a long time and so far I haven’t needed to recharge it.
Using the Aria is simple. Wet your face, wet the brush head, apply cleanser to either and go to town. It gives off a buzz every so often to remind you to move to a different part of your face. Make sure you take off every last bit of your eye makeup first because the water will drip and you’ll end up with a clean face with raccoon eyes. That’s talking from experience.
My favourite features are actually the stand, which makes it super easy to dry and store and the little cover that will help me travel with it without ruining the brush head.
Now most people are going to want to know if it’s worth paying over $200 when they could probably just use a washcloth. But in the time I’ve been using the Aria it’s worked better than anything I’ve used before, whether it be my hands, other devices or a washcloth. My face feels cleaner, I’m using less moisturizer and my constantly looks like it’s glowing. That said, it’s not a miracle worker. It’s not going to instantly banish all your blackheads or dry patches, but over time, it’s minimized mine. When it comes time to replace my brush head, I might grab a couple different ones to see if I get different results but the chances of me ever being without a Clarisonic from now on is slim to none.
Hitting the road this summer? Heading off for a European vacation? No matter where you are going, try one of these convenient little sets that have everything you need!
Clean Rollerball Layering Collection – It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Clean scents. When I found out this little set existed, I was thrilled. These scents are perfect for travelling, because they are so… well, clean. You can mix and match the little rollerballs for a different scent every day. After keeping your clothes in a stuffy suitcase, the fresh scents are just what you need. They barely take up any space for endless possibilities. Added bonus, the White Woods scent is unisex and perfect for guys too!
Vita Liberata Tanning Travel Essentials – Make the most of this set before your vacation. Get beach ready with this tanning set that includes a 2-3 week tan lotion, 4-7 day tan mousse and super fine skin polish. I love that there are two different length options, so that you can get a tan that will last for your entire vacation, no matter how long it is. I know these are travel sizes, but personally I don’t want to have to worry about tanning while I’m away. I will be perfecting that tan a few days before I go though, so that I am golden in all of my pictures.
Phyto Paris Deep-Down Repair Travel Set – Being on vacation doesn’t mean forgetting to care for your hair. This three product travel size set allows you to care for your locks on-the-go without feeling like you are bringing tons of products. There’s a shampoo, mask and leave-in thermal spray that repair and strengthen hair. It’s not going to take you a lot of extra time to use this set, which is great because I have places to be. My favourite thing is that the bottles are solid and strong. Unlike squeeze bottles, I don’t have to worry about these exploding with cream in my suitcase.
Quo Brow Kit – This little kit is great to pack in your suitcase to ensure that you have beautiful brows without a lot of stress. There are two brow powders in different shades of brown (so everyone can use this kit without the hassle of worrying about the right shade), a brow gel and a brush. It’s simple, foolproof and one less thing you don’t have to worry about.
Jack Black Jet Set Traveler – Of course, I can’t forget about the guys too. If your house is anything like mine, I have to make sure that my husband has everything he needs to travel as well as managing my own toiletries. That’s why I like this set. It has a Daily Cleanser, Moisturizer and Shave Lather from a brand that I trust and he likes. Shaving cream is one of those things that is easy to forget, but important for him to stay vacation photo ready. Now I can check three things off of my list in one shot.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your closet. Give your face a little TLC with these face masks that are just what you need.
Lush Cup O’ Coffee Face And Body Mask
Bring your morning coffee into the shower with you courtesy of Lush. This new Face and Body Mask is amazing for revitalizing your skin. We already knew that coffee was great for increasing blood flow in the skin, so it’s no wonder that Lush would tap into this natural product. The main component is fresh coffee grounds, which is great for exfoliating. The addition of the agave syrup is sweet and moisturizing. It really makes my face feel and look amazing. It’s a huge added bonus that it smells like my morning cup of joe.
Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask
Freshen up that face the all-natural way with this great green mask from Acure. The main detoxifier in this little bottle is the green clay. It helps to pull out everything from your skin and leave it feeling full refreshed. This mask dries, but it doesn’t get so tight that it pulls or dries out your skin. Thanks to the addition of argan oil in the mask, my face feels moisturized after rinsed. My face feels oh so smooth. I didn’t even need to lather on moisturizer like I do after some masks. My face felt refreshed and looked perfect.
StriVectin Oxygen Infusion Smoothing Mask
Need a face mask that is undoubtedly different from anything you’ve ever used before? This Strivectin Oxygen Mask is so much fun to try. The foam goes on fairly smooth, but when it touches your skin the mask activates. The mask bubbles up against your skin and you can feel the little oxygen bubbles popping. It gives you a light exfoliation that leaves your face feeling very refreshed. There’s none of the drying out that you sometimes get with intensive masks. Just nice soft skin!
The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder Pink Peony Overnight Water Mask
If you love masks but hate waiting, an overnight mask might be a good idea. The Pink Peony Overnight Water Mask does everything you want a moisturizing mask to do. It soaks into your skin really quickly but instead of waiting ten minutes to take it off, you go to sleep and wake up with soft, hydrated glowing skin. It has pink peony to soothe your skin and a goji berry, blueberry, cranberry and hyaluronic acid combination gives your skin energy and a long lasting boost of moisture. It also smells as great as it works. Why do the work when you can get results from just sleeping?
It’s almost the middle of April but in Toronto we still haven’t seen spring. Which means my skin is still a dry, itchy mess and hasn’t started it’s yearly transition into greasiness. I’ve come up with my five Most Wanted products that have made winter bearable for my skin.
Lotus Aroma Hand Soap in Pomelo Flower
I wash my hands pretty constantly and while all anti-bacterial soaps are banned from my house, most regular soaps are still pretty drying. Lotus Aroma’s hand soap is almost gel like but lathers beautifully. It also cleans really well and doesn’t dry out my hands even a little bit. The Pomelo Flower scent is really light but still fruity and I really want to try the Jasmine and Grapefruit scent. There are so many good things in this soap, and all the bad has been taken out. But those lists are really long so if you’re interested, you can find out here.
Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Infusion De Rose Nourishing Creme
We use so many things on our faces that usually they’re not quite as dry as the rest of us. But if you’re like me and get patchy areas, you need a really good face cream. Laura Mercier’s Nourishing Creme has Mango and Shea butters added into the cream to really get your face hydrated. The gorgeous rose scent is an added bonus.
Lush Dream Cream
I had somehow never used Dream Cream until this winter and now I’m hooked on this lightweight cult fave lotion. I was relieved that it doesn’t just smell like lavender and while it does take a while to absorb, I use this on my more sensitive skin areas, like my legs. This is one of those year round products that you’ll be able to use for any skin sensitivity like dryness or sunburns.
StriVectin Overnight Replenishing Moisture Mask
I love a good overnight mask and this new one from StriVectin is probably my favourite. While it dries pretty quickly, I usually apply it half an hour before I go to bed and I wake up with really soft skin. It also leaves me looking pretty radiant and it smells amazing. I love that I can get results when I’m sleeping.
L’Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Body Cream
While anyone can use this cream, this is my hero product for anyone with super dry, itchy skin. Literally nothing else has worked as well for me. I was already a fan of L’Occitane’s Shea line (I went through the 150ml Shea Butter Hand Cream this winter alone) but I’d never tried the body cream. It fixed everything I put it on. Dry, scaly legs? Fixed. Rough Elbows? No problem. Any issue I could find with my skin, I could fix with this cream. And while it’s really thick, you only need a tiny little bit and it sinks in almost instantly. I’m going to start making sure I always have some in the house.
Hopefully spring shows up soon and gives our skin a break, but in the meantime at least we have some relief.
The idea of waxing my own eyebrows seemed ridiculous to me. I imagined all of the horror stories that you hear about accidentally waxing off too much of your eyebrows. I figured this was something better left to the pros. I liked having two full eyebrows.
Sometimes, you convince yourself to do crazy things in the name of beauty. Waxing my own eyebrows at home is one of those things I have convinced myself to do.
When I opened the box I felt instantly more relaxed. I feel like Parissa understands that this is a pretty stressful decision to make, so they have made it a bit less scary.
It all starts with the instructions. Since I was so nervous, I was sure to read it all! The instructions come full of great tips, picture guides and different shape options for your face. It made it all seem a little more achievable.
The next step was in the strips. The Parissa wax strips are very small. This means there is less chance for me to accidentally pull off half of my eyebrow. They are easy to cut apart and separate for use. The small size allows me to get it right beside my brow without getting too much. My outlook was better to take too little and have to use another strip than take off too much. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t hurt, because waxing doesn’t feel great. But it’s no different than going to the salon.
The final step is to apply the oil, which only take a minute and soothes your tender skin.
I was shocked at how quick and easy it was. I don’t need a lot of work on my brows. If I did, I might not think this was such a seamless process. Parissa might have made me a convert. I don’t need to go to get my eyebrows done all of the time when I can do it at home in just a few minutes!
Biore seems to always be thinking ahead to some new and exciting skin care innovation. This time it’s your trusty household baking soda. They have infused a line of face washes with this pantry staple. It makes me wonder what else I have been missing in the cupboard. I tried the Biore Baking Soda Pore Cleanser and the Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub.
The Pore Cleanser has become my new daily face wash. I am undeniably hooked. The addition of the baking soda to this gel cleanser helps turn it from a regular face wash to a gentle exfoliator. You can feel the little granules cleaning your pores. It’s soft enough that you can easily use it as your everyday face wash. I found that my skin was noticeably fresher looking after I added this facewash into my routine.
If you are looking for something more unique, look no further than the scrub. This scrub comes in powder form. Every time I looked at the bottle I was picturing those volcano science experiments you did in school. I was hoping that when it touched water, there would be some sort of volcanic eruption! While the results aren’t something out of Pompei, this Biore scrub does activate with the help of a little water. Apply the powder to your wet face to create a deeper scrub. You can keep adding water for a softer clean on the skin. This is exactly the product you want on your side when you want a little more scrub to your rub-a-dub-dub.
I have to say that when I received these products from Influenster I was excited to begin with, but I never dreamed the outcome would actual live up the hype in my head. I am pleased to say that it did!
I am the worst at keeping regular salon appointments. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hair or waxing appointment. I am always a few weeks later than I should be. I save up my Sweetease Waxing Kits in case of emergency. Sweetease has developed these little easy to use waxing kits for your legs, face and bikini area at home.
Using a Sweetease Waxing Kit is as easy as it sounds. The first step is to warm a strip between your hands. Don’t skimp on the warming time. You want to be sure that it’s very warm so the wax sticks. I found it helpful to sit on the strips that I wasn’t using yet to start warming them up early.
Next peel apart the wax strips slowly. If they aren’t warm enough, you won’t be able to get them apart. You will smell the delicious vanilla scent when you peel them apart.
Now press on the strips in the direction of the hair growth.
Make sure that they are good and stuck! And rip them off quickly in the opposite direction quickly, just like they do in the spa. The success of how well they work depends on how long your hair growth is, how well you stuck it down, how well you ripped it off and your own hair texture.
Overall, it did a great job at getting the hair off. My only complaint is that to do my whole leg, it took quite a long time. I kept trying to find shortcuts to make it go quicker. Like I mentioned, I tried sitting on the strips to warm them. Because my hair is thin, I was also able to use some of the strips twice on the lighter areas.
I don’t think that I would ever use the Sweetease strips for my entire leg again, but they are perfect for touch ups when need be. You can use them on date night or vacation when you don’t have time for a full shave.
Spring really does a number on my face. The dryness from winter isn’t gone yet and my allergies from all the growing things make my skin way more sensitive. That sensitivity causes more redness, which in turn results in me wearing more makeup than normal. It’s a vicious cycle but I’ve found some new products that are quickly becoming essentials in my spring face routine.
Hylamide Booster Series Sensitive Fix
I’ve tried so many things for redness that have done absolutely nothing for me. Imagine my surprise when I started using this Sensitive Fix Serum and saw results almost immediately. If I’m being good and actually using this twice a day, the redness in my skin reduces by a significant amount. It’s extremely lightweight and absorbs immediately without any stickiness. And if I’m feeling lazy, I mix some into my moisturizer. There also isn’t a heavy scent which is great for those who have really sensitive skin.
StriVectin Multi-Action Restorative Cream
I’ve been pretty obsessed with StriVectin lately. There hasn’t been a single product I’ve tried that hasn’t done what it said it was going to. Granted, I don’t have a ton of skin issues and I’m not trying to get rid of wrinkles but I’m definitely working on preventative measures. The Multi-Action Restorative Cream is supposed to address fine lines, wrinkles, density, firmness, sagging, texture, dehydration, dullness, discoloration, clarity, resilience and enlarged pores. This cream looks really thick but it’s not and it sinks in fast. I’ve noticed a difference in the dehyration, dullness and enlarged pore camps, but I was looking for those. In general I’ve just noticed my skin looks better.
Clinique Chubby In The Nude Foundation Stick
In the spring, I’m still looking for a creamy, hydrating foundation and Chubby In The Nude is definitely that. It also allows me to only cover the areas I need to. This is sheer to medium coverage so it’s extremely natural looking but if you’re looking for full coverage, you’ll want to skip this one. It blends into my skin tone really well and is really great for travel when you don’t want to deal with gloopy foundation.
Kat Von D Lock-It Color Correcting Eyeshadow Primer
I don’t think I have color issues on my eyelids but I do love the fact that this is the only Kat Von D foundation product that isn’t too dark on me. The fair shade is perfect for my skin tone and the crayon format makes it really easy to prime my eyes for shadow. Lock-It is kind of an understatement, once you apply shadow, it’s not moving. So if you want to blend, use my trick. Only apply this below your crease so you can blend above it.
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil
I love when products end up being multi-purpose. I was hesitant to try a primer oil because I wasn’t sure it would stick. I was partially right. I find when I use this with a super hydrating foundation, it feels like makeup is sliding off my face. But when I use it with something more dry, it’s perfect. I’ve also been using it on it’s own for a little glow and I mix it with a drop of concealer or foundation for a tinted moisturizer. It’s not greasy at all and is really, really hyrating. It might not be exactly what you’d expect from a Smashbox primer but I actually love how different it is.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve received an Influenster Voxbox and of the few I’ve tried I’ve had really great results. This time I received L’Oreal’s new Hydra-Total 5 skin care line. There are three variations to this collection; Ultra-Even, Ultra-Fresh and Ultra-Soothing. Of the three, the one I would’ve picked for my sensitive, combination skin would’ve been Ultra-Soothing, so I was a little skeptical when I received Ultra-Even. Yes, there are elements to it that make sense for my skin, I’d like to even out my skin and smooth it out a little but I wasn’t sure how well it would work on me. So, I’m going to write about them from worst to best.
This cream is supposed to moisturize, even skin tone, reduce dark spots, illuminate and smooth. It’s one of the thickest creams I’ve ever tried but it doesn’t absorb very well. It’s also extremely white and left my very fair skin even paler (I didn’t know it was possible) and it stayed that way the morning after. I was asked repeatedly if I was feeling ok because I was so pale. The scent is pretty faint but the moisture level was awful, I had to put another moisturizer over it, the paleness stayed anyways. Because I’m so fair already, I can deal with looking slightly paler but I’d love to know if people with darker skin had the same issue.
I’ve learned that alcohol-based toners are not my friend but since I was sent this collection to review as a whole, I couldn’t exactly leave this toner out. I wish I had, it burned quite a bit and made my skin feel really dry. It probably didn’t help that it’s paired with a scrub cleanser but I wasn’t about to try it with anything else. Too bad though, it smells amazing.
This day moisturizer comes with SPF 20 and that’s pretty much the best thing I can say about it. Normally I would add another SPF with a moisturizer but I had to use so much of this lotion to get any kind of hydration that I was basically good on the sunscreen front. This lotion really did nothing for my skin and I really didn’t enjoy the scent.
Now we finally get to the product I actually liked! This scrub did a great job exfoliating my skin. It has a really fresh, grapefruit scent and made my skin feel really clean without stripping it. It’s not too harsh for my sensitive skin but I probably wouldn’t use it every day.
I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed in this collection as a whole. Granted, this clearly wasn’t the right line for my skin but it’s very rare for me to absolutely hate a product, let alone three in a collection. Luckily the scrub was the saving grace but it wasn’t great enough to save everything.