14 April 2017

Skincare Empties! Mid-April Edition

Good evening, friends!

I have recently become quite addicted to intensifying my skincare routine. I have always had quite clear skin, without many issues or problem areas. My goal is to retain moisture, maintain the good skin I already have, and prevent signs of aging. My favourite community and resource for all things skincare, k-beauty, and "Asian skincare routines" is the subreddit /r/AsianBeauty. They have wonderful links for beginners, answering all your questions about products, routines, and the chemistry behind why certain products work for certain skin concerns. That's one of my favourite parts, no one recommends or suggests using a product without letting you know why it works. I have learned all sorts of wonderful things about how ingredients and chemical react to bring remedy to skin concerns.

Here are some of my favourite articles, blogs, or resources to get started:

I thought I would keep track of some of the new products I am trying and write small reviews when I empty a product. This past week, I emptied a few samples and one full sized product. 

1. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($79CAD at Sephora.ca for 50g): I do adore this mask treatment. It smells like black licorice to me, it feels very cooling and lovely while it is on the face, and it's easy to rinse off. It makes my face feel clear and clean. But I just can't justify the price. I received a sample from Sephora and I'm happy to have tried it, but it's not something I would purchase myself. I will nab one any time it's available in a gift/value set or as a point perk or other extra sample. I am looking into ordering the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask as an alternative.

2. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($77CAD at Sephora.ca for 30mL): I didn't notice a damn thing during or after using this. It is a thin, jelly formula that dries like a peeling mask, though it doesn't peel off. It is very expensive for a mask that doesn't really offer anything for brightness or pores like it claims. Easy to pass on, it wasn't like I loved it and lamented the cost.

3. Clinique Liquid Facial Soap ($22CAD at Sephora.ca for 200mL): I actually really liked this. I bought this set and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel has become my HG. I like lightweight, gel moisturizers a lot, this one is amazing and not too pricey.  I cannot say if this is extremely effective for specific skin types or not, I have quite normal skin that is pretty hardy and can withstand anything. I just felt like it was refreshing and combined with the toner and moisturizer, my skin was in very good condition. I'm not certain of the pH of this cleanser, so that's the only reason I haven't repurchased.

4. The Body Shop Oils of Life ($44CAD at TheBodyShop.ca for 30mL): This was the first facial oil I ever used and it was amazing for my skin. I actually finished this a while ago but held onto the bottle because I use the dropper for other products sometimes and I didn't want to forget the name of it so I could buy it again later. I have tried argan oil since but it made my skin a little irritated, so I'd rather shell out a bit more for this. It absorbs quickly, smells nice, makes my skin soft like velvet and I felt well moisturized. It has a lot of added fragrance ingredients, so I'm not sure how those with more sensitive skin will fare. But my face loved this stuff. I want to get some more ASAP.

5. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Facial Butter ($50CAD at Sephora.ca for 1.7oz): The second argan oil product I was using that made my skin a little icky and sad. And like I said, I'm pretty resilient. I'm not sure how to explain this feeling, but it was almost like it was too "rich." My skin felt greasy and clogged up in the morning.. I had a super oily nose which never usually happens, and obvious sebaceous filaments. I don't think moisture is usually a problem for me, so when I use too many creams and lotions it's just excessive for my skin. This may be better suited for someone with drier skin.

6. Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 ($18CAD at Sephora.ca for 200mL): I mentioned most of this already, it worked well for me but it might not be good for all skin types. It contains menthol and baking soda.. kind of odd and could be irritating for more sensitive skin types. I'm going to use other BHAs but this was okay for the small sample size and it seemed to be effective combined with the other Clinique products.

Overall, I think the only item I will be purchasing will be TBS's Oils of Life.

I am waiting for some new products in the mail and I'm working on finishing up a few more soon!

31 March 2017

Trend: Favourite Brown Lipsticks RIGHT NOW!

One thing that I always have a lot of in my collection is lipstick. I love different finishes and colours and formulas and brands, and there always has to be "the one" for each occasion. I've been trying to make sure all colours get equal love and use, so I thought I'd pick a colour or shade range as a theme for a few posts.

Here are 6 of my favourite brown lipsticks right now.

Left to right: Urban Decay VICE "1993: (cream), Urban Decay VICE Vintage "Roach'" (cream), MAC Styled In Sepia (matte, LE but something like Stone is comparable), NYX Matte Lipstick "Butter," Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick "Sanctuary," Colourpop Ultra Satin "Tansy."

Nude or brown lipsticks can sometimes be a challenge if you are fair, because the contrast of features and shades and pigmentation of your lips can definitely change how the lipstick looks. Some of these might be nudes or mauves on someone else, but for me they are distinctly brown.

UD Roach is described as a cream finish, but I think it is comparable to their other VICE lipsticks with a "metallized" finish. I love the newer VICE lipsticks and highly recommend checking them out, there is a ludicrous number of shades (in the 100s if I recall correctly) and there is certainly something for everyone.

I love MAC matte lipsticks, 98% of my MAC lipsticks I own are actually in this formula. I find it very comfortable and long lasting. This exact shade was in a limited edition collection, but Stone is a similar shade.

NYX Butter is a lighter, daily wear brown that can look a bit like a "greige." It isn't as long lasting as some other lipsticks I own, but it's a safer way to wear a brown to work.

Sanctuary is gorgeous and leans a bit cool, I think KVD actually describes it as a cool toned sepia which is a bit strange. It is quite dark on my colouring so I save it for evenings but it's a nice formula and colour.

Colourpop Tansy is the closest to a true "brown" that I have and I love it. Honourable mention goes to its sister brown. the Ultra Matte shade called Limbo. They are similar save for the formula, and I just prefer the Ultra Satin at this point in the game. I own a lot of their matte liquid lipsticks and they're not as consistently good as the Satins.

The 2 Urban Decay lipsticks are definitely my favourite of them all, it's nice to have so many options and I'm coming back around to love bullet lipsticks over the liquid trend that's been reigning for the last couple years.

Do you like brown lipstick and what's your favourite one?

10 January 2017

NEW SHADES! Kat Von D Beauty ELL Dupe for "Sanctuary"

        Kat Von D announced on December 29th 2016 that there would be 25 new shades of the well known Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks in the new year. No one knew what was coming next, as this announcement didn't have much in the way of release dates. Sephora launched an exclusive 48 hour pre-release of the "cool sepia" shade Sanctuary the next week, where beauty addicts alike would be able to order Sanctuary but were warned it would likely sell out fast. Kat Von D Beauty's plan is to have a new shade released on the first Wednesday of each month, in the same "Everlasting Flash" fashion. There are rumours that there will be a "nude" 6-shade bundle released sometime in February and some shades may be available at Sephora on January 24th, according to an Instagram post at katvondbeauty.

I bought Sanctuary last Wednesday because I have to admit, I have never purchased an Everlasting Liquid Lipstick for myself. I know, they are a cult favourite and I'm way behind! I had a tiny one in the shade Bachelorette, but I'm much more interested in purchasing the nude shades and a dark, dusty purple called Nocturna (pictured below).

I should let readers know, I am fair with red hair and my usual foundation is MUFE Y215. What is usually described as "universally flattering," "the perfect nude for everyone," or any such thing tends to come out quite dark and vampy for me. This isn't a complaint, as any lip colour is going to look wildly different against different skin tones and lip pigmentation plays a huge role is how the product looks when applied. Arm swatches are never enough, and so I hope that my little review and "dupe" comparison to a lip product available in drugstores will be able to help you make some informed purchases. This should not be read as a promise that what something looks like on me will be the exact same for you.

I had no idea what to expect with Sanctuary, described as a "cool sepia." I recall a user on Temptalia mentioning how strange it was that something can be described as cool and sepia at the same time, as they are opposite colour temperatures, but I suspect with the number of popular lip shades out at this point in time, you have to be a bit creative. I was hoping for a deep but wearable nude, but unfortunately I found it was pretty much an exact dupe of a NYX Liquid Suede shade I already own and sort of destashed. The shade in question is.. Brooklyn Thorn.

I tried some various lighting, flash and without flash, to try and capture the subtle differences. I applied Kat Von D's Sanctuary on the top of my lips, and NYX Brooklyn Thorn on the bottom.

Bottom: Sanctuary
Top: Brooklyn Thorn

It's not too bad! It does appear to be a bit less grey in the swatches on my skin, and it pulls quite purple on my lips. I don't think I can wear it to work every day, but it's definitely wearable.

I also prefer the Kat Von D formula to NYX, and I love the Liquid Suede formula. NYX's formula takes a very long time to dry down and is easy to transfer for the first hour or so after application. However, if you are patient, it is not very drying and lasts all day (even with drinks and meals for me!). But there's no denying that if you are looking for a rough rider, Kat Von D wins. It dries down quicker and is difficult to remove when you finally want it off. I didn't notice it being particularly drying, but your mileage may vary.

I'm personally going to destash the NYX one as they look and perform nearly identically, but if you missed the Flash and are missing a "cool sepia" in your collection, try Brooklyn Thorn!

I'm anxious to see what shades they released on January 24th, and I'm also curious about their release plans in general. I wonder how long the Everlasting Flash releases will go on for? If she releases 6 shades this month, another one the following week.. that's 8 we've seen. Will it go on all year, or just the spring?

What shades are on your LOVES list that you want to buy?