Avène Ysthéal Intense Quickie Review

Since I hit my mid-thirties, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to anti-aging skincare. I have a lot of issues yet but I know they’re coming. Avène’s Ysthéal Intense is just that, intense. Made for anti-aging, people who have had recent skin treatments and people who just want better looking, hydrated skin; this nighttime moisturizer seriously covers all the bases. I have combination skin with definite dry patches and a couple tiny lines but other than that I didn’t really think I had anything that had to be corrected. The first week I tried Ysthéal Intense, I didn’t notice much of a difference. Sure my skin felt really nice in the morning and looked pretty good but two weeks later, all that changed.

All of a sudden, I noticed that my skin looked way more even and smooth. I didn’t even know I wanted it to be more smooth! After almost a month of using it on a fairly regular basis, I’m seriously impressed with the results. That said, if I’m going to continue using Avène for anti-aging, I might consider switching to the regular Ysthéal because the Intense formula is a little too much for my combination skin, especially in this crazy Toronto humidity. I can literally feel it drawing the moisture into my face, to the point where I look like I’m sweating. I’m definitely retrying this one in the winter because I feel like it’ll be perfect then. Until then, this is going to be my little secret for times when I want my skin to look amazing.

Essie Summer 2017 Collection

Inspired by all the sparkly, pretty pastel desserts of Paris, Essie’s summer collection fits right into that description and are some of the sweetest shades I’ve seen for hot weather. We received three of the six shades to try and while I still need to get my hands on S’il Vous Play, I do love these shades for summer. They’re so different from the typical neon polishes we get around this time of year. Unfortunately, Toronto is in the middle of a crazy humid heatwave and not all the shades cooperated.

Blue-la-la

Normally this ‘pastel Parisian blue’ would be my favourite of the bunch. I don’t know if it was the formula, my specific bottle or a combination that caused me to have major settling issues. I had to redo my ring finger three times before I could get it presentable enough for a photo. I’m betting on humidity being the culprit, so I’m hanging onto this bottle to try again later. Because it’s so, so pretty.

Fondant Of You

Lately, when I’m presented with an orange nail polish, my initial reaction is ‘another one?’ But this ‘shimmery apricot marmalade is so much nicer than I expected. Two thin coats were all I needed and while I saw more of the gold shimmer in the bottle than on my nails, I really like this for summer.

Baguette Me Not

This was the biggest surprise for me. This ‘pastel lilac macaron’ actually makes me think of french macarons and summertime. Two thin coats were perfect and it was a tiny bit patchy but settled down well. I’ve worn it out once and got a ton of comments about how pretty it is. Sold.

I wish I had the other half of the collection to try out but I’m really happy with the three I tried. Well, I will be if I can get Blue-la-la to cooperate.

Garnier Whole Blends Smoothing Leave-In Conditioner Quick Review

My hair has been struggling this year. It’s frizzier than ever before and doesn’t want to comply with any style. Enter this leave-in conditioner from Garnier. I’ve always liked Garnier’s styling products. They are affordable and leave my hair looking good without feeling like I have a ton of product in my hair. I would always prefer hair that I can run my fingers through versus a great complicated style. I like the natural feel. That’s what this coconut and cocoa butter leave-in conditioner gives me soft hair, less frizz and something that I can work with throughout the day without having to add a ton of products.

Spring Face Makeup

Spring is coming to an end, and it’s time to get a few last makeup products before you are in full summer mode. Try one of these new products before the heat gets turned up!

Gosh Brow Sculpting Fibre Gel

Unlike a lot of girls I know, I just can’t get excited about my brows. I’ve tried. I was blessed with brows that don’t need to be filled in and also don’t need to be trimmed, other than the occasional stray. The Gosh Brow Sculpting Gel helped me turn my lucky natural brows into a face defining feature. It held those strays in place while making my brows look more defined and put the focus there. It does it’s just well, I’m just not sure this is the look that I personally want. We will put this in the maybe pile.

Quo Cushion Concealer

What more can be said about the Quo Cushion Concealer that hasn’t been said about any other concealer.  This isn’t a bad product, but it does it’s job without making much of a scene or really being exceptional. I like the twist up cushion applicator, even though sometimes I find these types of applicators a bit gross. They tend to get dirty fast from touching your face every day. The makeup is tricky. It has a bit of a light reflecting shine, so I found it was most effective under the eyes. When I applied it on other blemishes, it covered up the colour, but made the spot more noticeable. It was obvious that I was trying to conceal something. It I applied it under foundation it was great, but then I didn’t really need it, did I?

Lise Watier CC Crème

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a new CC crème to the market. Lise Watier released this one to the market recently to do double duty as a colour correcting cream and moisturizer. It definitely does both. It’s like your most trusted moisturizer turned into a foundation. It has some of the best properties of both. People who are loyal to heavy coloured foundations won’t be able to stick with just this, but I like it as a happy medium that allows me to apply just one layer or product to my face. Otherwise it’s pretty no fuss.

Wander Beauty Carryon Lip and Cheek Gel

If you haven’t discovered Wander Beauty yet, it’s a really interested brand that makes travel makeup. The lip and cheek gel is the perfect refresher to give you colour without taking up any space in your bag. The crayon is a shimmery pink that is perfect to highlight your lips and cheeks after a day in the sun. It gave me just the right hue that matched bronzed colour.

Tarte Hair Goals Dry Shampoo

Until this arrived I didn’t know that Tarte made hair products, but I was excited to be introduced to their hair care with a dry shampoo. I feel like you can really learn something about the line through a dry shampoo. You can’t hide anything. It’s when I need help the most!

Tarte’s Dry Shampoo has a great smell. It’s a bit perfumed, but not in an obnoxious way, just subtle enough. Like most other dry shampoos, the aerosol sprays out a bit aggressively, and you need to really tousle your hair and mix it up good. I found that if I left it for too long, it was hard to brush through and left a little residue in my hair.

It DID really help to boost the volume and dry up any oil in my roots. I would avoid the ends of my hair moving forward. It dried those out a little too much.

From writing this I am thinking that maybe less is more with the Tarte Dry Shampoo. Once you have learned the tricks to it, you are ready!

Rimmel BB Cream Quick Review

Rimmel is one of my favourite drug store brands, but this BB Cream is a miss for them. I’m surprised because they have made some great foundations lately. The biggest issue with this makeup is that it’s too watery. I don’t mind light products necessarily, but this one feels thin. It applies to my face really thin, not giving any proper coverage. I suppose it might last a long time, but I end up applying layers of concealer and powder over it to get the look I want, so I don’t know.

May 2017 Most Wanted – Steph’s Picks

This month has been one to remember thanks to amazing makeup from these four brands!

Strivectin Hair All Smooth Collection

This might be the best smoothing and frizz controlling hair care line I’ve ever tried. I’m not joking at all people! The shampoo and conditioner don’t foam up in the shower the same way your other favourite products do, but just believe. I think I ended up using a bit too much on my hair in every shower, but it still worked. Post-shower I have been getting even more protection power with the Strivectin Hair All Smooth Frizz Control Mist. It doesn’t matter whether I air dry or blow dry, my hair has been looking amazing afterwards no matter what. The mist does make my hair a bit stiffer than I would like, but it is worth it. It’s not just one day of frizz protection, but multiple days of amazing looking hair. I’m not done yet folks, because there is also the Overnight Frizz Serum. This is the best to apply a few days after your wash when frizz is threatening to return. You just apply it all over your hair before bed. When you wake up, you have nice smooth bed head without the morning frizz fight.  It’s hard to describe when something just works exactly like it promises and fulfills all of your dreams. Strivectin has done that.

NYX Ombre Blush

I love ombré blush. I wish all blushes were ombré. I love ombré blush because my face isn’t one colour. It has different tones and levels. It needs products with that same feel. Regular blush is good, but sometimes you have to apply it specially to get it to be different tones on the different areas of your cheek bones. Ombre blush has depth, that same way that my face has depth. This NYX blush in Mauve Me has the rich mauve tone that moves into a shimmery light pink. It’s like combining your highlighter and blush all in one. It isn’t one colour, because I’m not one colour.

The Face Shop Multi Stick Contour

In all my time using contouring makeup, I have rarely come across a contouring stick. I was worried that it would be too harsh or wouldn’t blend enough. The Face Shop’s Multi Stick is actually a really easy to use contour tool. The makeup is somewhere between a grey and beige. It should be versatile enough for many skin tones. Unlike a lot of contouring makeup, The Face Shop contour stick is quick and easy to use. Simply swipe it under your cheekbones, jaw line and nose for contouring in seconds. I used to save contouring for special occasions only, but now it’s an everyday thing. For just $15, this is an amazing investment.

Maybelline Master Camo Color Correcting Kit

While you are getting your skin all beautiful with blush and contouring, why not finish the job with a great concealer too. This set has 6 different creams to ensure your skin looks amazing. There are two correctors, two concealers and two highlighters. I really liked the concealers best. In all of my time using this little palette, there wasn’t a single blemish that I could find that didn’t give in to the colours. Blemishes were no match.

Kérastase Aura Botanica Collection


I’m a massive Kérastase fan, to the point where I hoard my products so I don’t run out. Their Discipline line is one of my favourites for combatting frizz. Maybe until now. Their newest release is the Aura Botanica collection, the company’s first foray into natural hair care products with over 95% of the ingredients listed as natural origin. The line comes with four products Shampoo Bain Micellaire, Conditioner Soin Fondamental, Oil Essence D’Eclat and Oil Concentre Essentiel. All of the products have coconut and argan oils and are supposed to eliminate frizz for 72 hours and make your hair 4x shinier. There are also zero silicones or sulfates and they’re 99% biodegradable. Everything sounds good so far, so let’s see how it went.

The shampoo and conditioner are definitely different than I expect from Kérastase. The shampoo has a gel-like consistency and where I normally use a dime size amount of shampoo with Kérastase, I need more with this one if I want to get any kind of lather at all. Even with more of a quarter size amount there isn’t a ton of lather, but my hair definitely feels better. You absolutely have to use this shampoo with the conditioner, you don’t get nearly enough moisture on it’s own. The conditioner on the other hand is very, very thick. Almost masque like, but it doesn’t weigh down my hair. I leave this one on for around 5 minutes and it leaves my hair incredibly soft and easy to manage.

The best part of the collection for me though are the treatments. The Essence D’Eclat is a bi-phase mist that you shake up and apply on damp hair. It’s formula of coconut, argan, jojoba and avocado oils plus Damascus Rose floral water; detangle, de-frizz and make your hair super soft and shiny. If you need a touch up, you can use it on dry hair as well and it won’t leave your hair crunchy. And then there’s the Oil Concentre Essentiel. I adore pre-wash treatment oils and this one is pretty spectacular. You can use it on your scalp if you have dryness or on the ends if your hair is thicker. You can also mix it with the conditioner. When I use it as a pre-wash, I leave it in for about ten minutes and because there aren’t any silicones, it washes out easily.

Aura Botanica might be the best natural hair care line I’ve tried. But if you have super fine hair like I do, it might be best to leave this one for winter. It’s a little too much for my hair right now and I’ve changed over to using just the treatments or my roots get greasy pretty fast. With the whole line, the day I wash my hair looks amazing and frizz-free and shiny and the next day, not so much. With just the treatments, I can go three or four days between washings. It looks like I’ll be continuing my Kérastase hoarding and pull these out next winter. And I can’t wait.

Most Wanted Summer Eye Creams

Since this is an eye cream post, I should probably start off by mentioning that I don’t get dark circles or bags under my eyes, but I just turned 35 and I’m starting to notice tiny lines so eye cream is my new obsession. I find most eye creams a little on the heavier side and super moisturizing, so I went on a hunt for something a little lighter for summer.

Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

Fresh makes some great products for sensitive skin and rose infused gel cream is great for someone with sensitive eyes. Since it’s a gel cream, it’s really light and you don’t need a lot of it. It doesn’t absorb as quickly as some of the others but that makes it feel like you’re getting moisture for a long time. It’s also great if you want to brighten up your eyes a bit.

Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream

If you need more of an anti-aging eye cream but want something a little lighter, I love this Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream. It comes in a tube that looks like a lip balm and absorbs almost instantly which works extremely well under makeup. Even though it has a blackberry complex, it doesn’t have a scent at all. Honestly, it just feels really nice.

MyChelle Fabulous Eye Cream

Stephanie recently did a post on a bunch of MyChelle products that happened to include her new favourite eye cream. Well we both tried different eye creams and it looks like we each got the right one for us, because the Fabulous Eye Cream is hands down my favourite eye cream. It’s not heavy but feels substantial and has a gorgeous botanical, floral scent. The best part though, are the results. When you apply it, you can literally feel it firming up the skin around your eyes. I’m going to be using this one year round.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye

If you’re like me and overheat in the summer, take this gel cream and throw it in the fridge. Applying it cold will be the most refreshing experience of your life. If you want to leave it in your bathroom, it’ll still cool you off and the hyaluronic acid in this cream will give you a ton of moisture without being too heavy. But trust me, cold is the way to go. This is called fragrance free but I still get a hint of a light, fresh scent and it leaves my eyes feeling moisturized for hours.

OPI Infinite Shine Fiji Spring 2017 Collection

We’re way behind on spring nail polish, but we’re working on it. OPI’s spring collection this year is Fiji and it comes in the regular polish, Infinite Shine and GelColor. Infinite Shine has quickly become my favourite type of OPI polish, so I was really happy that those were the ones we got. While I love the new IS base and top coats, all of these photos don’t use any.

Coconuts Over OPI

Go native and do Fiji in the buff with our subtle and toasty taupe.
This is a really nice taupe for my skin tone and two coats were perfect. I don’t know if I would call this spring, but if you’re looking for a good nude polish this is a good one.
No Tan Lines

What better way to complement a flawless island tan, then a warm sunrise orange?
This papaya shade had good coverage in two coats but did have slight pooling issues. It’s a little too yellow for my personal taste but I can imagine it could be a very popular shade.
Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet

They bask in their own golden glow, which is just what you’ll do in this radiant yellow.
I really hate yellow nail polish but if I had to wear one, this is a nice, bright one. It’s a tiny bit patchy but otherwise went on well in two coats. For a yellow, this is a great formula.
Getting Nadi On My Honeymoon

Not just for blushing brides, this pretty hibiscus pink has everyone feeling the heat.
This pink is really pretty but boy did it have patchiness problems. Even with two coats, you can see the unevenness and I really tried to get it smooth. I tried it was a top coat afterwards and it didn’t help much, so the photo is without.
Two-timing The Zones

Why stop with just one? More zones mean more time to flaunt this vibrant pink.
This bright pink was two easy coats and just gorgeous. It’s a great spring shade and definitely one of my favourites.
Living On The Bula-vard!

It’s “Well Hello There!”  up and down when this punchy red pops in for a visit.
I really liked this orange-red more than I expected to. One coat was good, but two was better. This one’s definitely an attention getter, but watch out, it stains.
Polly Want A Lacquer?

The paradise perfection of this lovely lavender has island birds all a chatter.
This really screams spring to me and I basically looked at it and thought ‘aren’t you pretty?’ Good formula, two easy coats, perfect for spring.
I Can Never Hut Up

And why should you? You’re mesmerizing in this iridescent, edge-of-dawn grey.
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to photograph the hidden shimmer in this polish, but I’m really happy I was able to capture a little of it. In the sunlight, this is stunning. It was a very runny formula though, so I had to apply the two coats very carefully. Worth it.
Suzi Without A Paddle

Who needs one when you’re up a creek with this cool and tranquil blue?
While I like the colour of this one, it was both runny and patchy. That’s not really a fun combination. Even though I managed to make this pretty blue presentable in two coats, there are too many similar shades to make this one worth it for me.
Is That A Spear In Your Pocket?

But of course everyone’s happy to see you in this lush, tropical teal.
I loved the last three shades so much that I have a bunch of hearts all over my notes, so let the gushing begin. This teal is not only a one-coater, but it’s pretty amazing. I haven’t found a teal this good in years, but it’s a stainer.
Super Trop-i-cal-i-fiji-istic

Take a day trip to get lost and found in this bottomless reflection of Sea and Sky.
The name of this polish takes way too long to type but the formula is basically the same as Is That A Spear In Your Pocket? One coat? Yes. Perfect Formula? Yes. Staining? NO! Plus it’s a fairly decent match to my Toronto Blue Jays jersey. This polish has win all over it.
Do You Sea What I Sea?

It’s easy to sea why this  shimmering ocean blue is the right color for you.
I don’t even have words for how much I love this one. It’s very sheer so I was wondering how many coats it would take me until I hit opacity. Turns out I only needed two. It’s just spectacular. Did I mention this is without a top coat?I just love it.

I’m really impressed with the Fiji collection and how good the Infinite Shine formulas were. I’ve heard some of the regular polishes weren’t quite as good, but I really had very few issues. More spring polishes coming soon.