Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Essence Cosmetics 2017 Fall/Winter Collection – New Lip Gloss & Matte Shades

There are few things I enjoy more than uncapping a new lipstick or gloss and for the holiday season you may need a few new shades for parties or stocking stuffers. This season essence has released a collection of lip products with great formulas and finishes to keep your pout mistletoe ready and totally trendy.

My personal favorites are the Matt Matt Matt Long Lasting Lip Gloss ($4.99). They come in 5 shades (I don’t have the 2 deepest hues) and the creamy, mousse pigment is velvety, rich and highly saturated for excellent coverage. The texture reminds me of the NYX Lip Creams – very smooth and moisturizing but with a much better scent. Although the pigments are classifies as “gloss,”the finish is similar to liquid lipstick and resists flaking to keep lips doused in cushiony comfort. The applicator is a bit clunky but the color applies well and stays put for hours.

Shades (left to right) La Vie Est Belle, Girl of Today and Beauty Approved

If you still crave a pop of pretty pigment without going completely matte, the Water Kiss Glossy Lip Color ($4.49) may be more your style. The color payoff is vibrant and the consistency creates an aqua-like sensation so lips feel thoroughly quenched and drenched. The gloss applies effortlessly – bathing lips in lush liquid with a wet, shiny effect and medium coverage.

Ocean Girl, Aquatic Chic and Deep Sea Love

The Shine Shine Shine Wet Look Lip Gloss ($3.99) is available in a variety of sheer shades and frosty finishes that are simple, luminous and hydrating. The formula is very basic but the creamy consistency clings to the skin for longer wear and keeps lips soft, plush and radiant. I use these to transform matte lipsticks to gloss (usually at the end of the day when my lips feel parched). They are great for quick touch-ups and a little moisture but they don’t have much color payoff.

Behind the Scenes, Friends of Glamour and Smile Sparkle Shine

Essence Cosmetics is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Garnier Skin Active Moisture Bomb Collection – Winter Skincare

As I write this article, snow flurries are fluttering down in the cold wind and it’s as bleak as Gotham City. Winter is here and it’s getting ready to dry out your skin, but don’t panic. The new Moisture Bomb Collection by Garnier helps combat dull, flaky skin with a blast of hyaluronic acid, antioxidant-rich fruit extracts and revitalizing vitamins (told you not to panic).

Sheet Masks are pretty much a way of life for many of us and the Moisture Bomb Super Hydrating Treatments ($3.99) deliver immediate results. It only takes 3-15 mins although I leave mine on longer and steam my face prior to application for better absorption. The sheets are soaked in lush serum enriched with pomegranate extract and hyaluronic acid so when I peel it off, my complexion is plump, supple and dewy. The non-greasy formula is free of mineral oil and petrolatum so there is no need to rinse.

The range also includes a Soothing Mask (with chamomile + hyaluronic acid) and the Super
Hydrating/Mattifying Mask (with green tea + hyaluronic acid).

The Moisture Bomb Antioxidant Super Moisturizer ($19.99) floods skin with hydration and absorbs quickly with no residue. If you’re looking for a lightweight cream that works well under makeup and primer, this lotion is a great option. The antioxidant complex defends against daily aggressors while Vitamins C and E fortify and nourish. The formula coats evenly (so a little goes a long way) and skin feels soft and smooth.

Gel moisturizers are soothing, cool, and refreshing on tight, sensitive skin which is ideal for harsh climates. This formula ($19.99) has the same ingredients as the lotion to lock in moisture and create a protective barrier that shields, plumps and minimizes wrinkles - perfect for long, busy days. The box says that results last up to 48 hours (obviously not the case if you wash your face daily) but the effects are long-lasting and the gel feels amazing on parched skin.

The Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream ($10.99) infused with fruit water and Vitamin C, guards the skin from drying winds and sun damage while reducing roughness and enhancing radiance. Like the rejuvenating products above, this one also penetrates deeply to condition, heal and soften with an oil-free finish.

Garnier is available at major drugstores nationwide

Monday, November 20, 2017

Elicina Snail Cream Review

For the sake of clear beautiful skin, I’ve been slathering snail secretion on my face. I know how it sounds, I still can’t believe it myself but this odd ingredient has been gaining popularity and can be found in many Korean skincare products. The French sort of had the right idea when they made escargot a delicacy but Elicina was one of the first brands to create a cream with a high potency, effective formula. It is also important to note that no snails are harmed during harvesting and the moisturizer is composed of 80% organic Chilean snail essence – the only one of its kind on the market (according to the website).

So why use these sluggish little garden dwellers for beauty? Well some of the benefits of snail extract include the following:
*Exfoliates and eliminates damaged cells.
*Destroys pathogens, heals and regenerates damaged tissue.
*Fades stretch marks, age spots, hyperpigmentation, blemishes, redness and imperfections.
*Increases density, moisture and firmness.
*Prevents acne and clears up scarring.
*Improves texture and tone.
*Protects from environmental hazards including UV.
*Diminishes the look of fine lines, wrinkles and crows feet.
*Minimizes enlarged pores.

Feeling a little less grossed out now? Good because this stuff is awesome! Once I began using the cream and started seeing results I got over my initial hesitation pretty fast.

The first thing I did when I received the products was sniff them. The cream is fragrance-free so the scent is quite neutral. It definitely doesn’t smell the way you’d expect (thank goodness) and the texture is lightweight and non-greasy (perfectly normal). I apply the lotion to clean, dry skin after cleansing and the lush formula seeps in deeply with a nice supple finish.

During the dry Canadian winters my face needs a serious moisture boost and the cream does just that. My skin feels plump, smooth, soft and refreshed plus the fast absorption makes it suitable to wear under makeup.

I knew the secretion was working its magic when strangers started noticing how clear my skin looks and inquiring about my beauty routine. At one point I had the attention of an entire table of beauty experts trying to explain the whole snail thing without grossing anyone out. They thought my skin looked “flawless” and “blemish-free” which is exactly what women hope for while loading their cart with skincare.

Along with even skin tone and texture, I haven’t had as many annoying pimple pop-ups and my blemishes seem to be fading nicely. My face also appears bright, healthy and rejuvenated. I do use a lot of luxury and high-end skincare which also play a part in the health and resiliency of my complexion but the cream works well with other products and seems to enhance results. 

The moisturizer has a blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that are compatible with the structure of human skin which may account for its success. Since the formula is all-natural, everyone can use it – men, women and children (the whole family will look amazing). It is also free of colorants and enriched with protein to fortify, regenerate and enhance youthful vitality. I like to layer oils and serums on top to create a night mask and in the morning my skin is dewy and velvety. Results may not be evident overnight but if you stick with it the process seems to work.

I’ve been using the Elicina Cream every night and I even have the pocket size (never thought I’d be carrying snail cream in my purse) but I’m totally hooked. My advice – don’t think about where it comes from just try it! Some of the best ingredients are harvested from nature and this weird secretion may be exactly what your skin needs to thrive.

Elicina Snail Cream is available online at and prices vary by size. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quo Cosmetics 2017 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

Shoppers Drug Mart is a one-stop-shop for the holiday season because they have a fantastic selection. My Husband (a chronic last minute shopper) used to scramble through the store frantically on Christmas Eve with no clue what he was doing. Luckily for him the expertly crafted makeup gifts were always a big hit and now I do all the shopping.

Quo has released a variety of gift sets to satisfy the beauty junkies on your list and I’ve picked a few favorites that you may want to include.

The Ultimate Color Vault ($65.00) would be my first pick from Santa’s bag this year. This set has everything you need to create a full-face of makeup with flattering colors for all complexions.
It includes: 48 eye shadows, 4 face powders, 4 color correctors, 4 blushes, 4 highlighters, 3 eyebrow powders, 3 eyebrow creams, 6 eyeliners and 12 lip glosses - quite impressive! 

Whether you’re a makeup expert or just starting out, this vault is very functional and makes an awesome gift for those looking to expand their collection. When you first open the shiny black case there are rows and rows of flattering eye shadows (it’s pretty exciting). I always recommend priming the lids to enhance vibrancy and intensity but the pigments have good color payoff and most can go from sheer to full-coverage with a few layers.

The first panel has a lot of neutrals - warm earthy tones and cool greys. You get everything you need to work your magic including shimmery gold, deep crease contours, blending shades and brow highlighters to create beautiful looks that last all day. The shadows apply smooth and vibrant without creasing and there is very little fall-out.

Underneath there are 2 lines of lip gloss with sheer, luminous finishes and a hint of juicy color. I love the berry tones, orchid and bright red but there are also a few soft nudes.

For a night out the second panel is a little more colorful. It contains deep blues, purples and greens. Each row is color coordinated to help you mix and match like a pro and there is a great range of mattes and mild shimmers for textural contrast.

Under this section you will find cream liners in all your basic shades – deep blue, black and grey plus some brow pigments in light, medium and deep.

Shadow swatches

When you slide the panels to the side – BAM! Even more awesomeness! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better your eyes feast upon rows of blush and highlighters in coral, gold and pretty pinks with lilac undertones. These radiant shades brighten and enhance the skin for a healthy flush.

The correctors and face powders are a nice touch but the options are a bit limited. I would have liked an orange pigment for medium to deep skin tones and dark circles or a rich bronzer but for redness and other color discrepancies these may help.

When you open the palette you will notice that there are plastic dividers. Make sure to keep these because they separate the colors and prevent the shadows from getting into the gloss and cream formulas. The only thing missing from the vault is applicators, there are no brushes or sponge tips but it is still a spectacular gift and Quo has some amazing brush sets available.

Another one of my top picks is the Liquid Lipstick Bar ($20.00) not to be confused with the Lip Gloss Bar because these shades are creamy and matte. The formula is excellent - it glides on evenly and coats lips in intense full-coverage color in just one swipe. The mini tubes are perfect for travel and small bags but I would have liked a bit more color variation since there are a lot of neutrals.

Who doesn’t love a good advent calendar?! With the Quo by Orly 12 Days of Colorful Healthy Nails ($40.00) you get a cute surprise each day and a beautiful one-step manicure.

These mini bottles are perfect for travel and no base or top coat is required. Simply apply the polish and get a bonus nail treatment with a nourishing blend of Argan Oil, Vitamin B5 and C. There are a variety of trendy colors and the formulas have a glossy finish.

Skin looking a little drab this winter? The Lip & Cheek Tints ($14.00) will perk-up the complexion with a pop of sheer color and they make great stocking stuffers.

Quo is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Thursday, November 16, 2017

no!no! Pro Hair Removal System Review

I’m just going to come right out and say it – I hate shaving! We live in a hairless society where everyone (including men) have rigorous grooming rituals that include plucking, waxing, shaving, lasers, bleaching, electrolysis and threading. Despite all the hassle, money and pain one thing is certain - smooth skin is in and hairy legs are out so I decided that it was finally time to try no!no! - the #1 selling hair removal system in the world.

If you watch TV then you’ve probably seen the infomercial for this device – it promises quick, painless results in the privacy of your own home. Instead of razors or lasers, no!no! uses Pulse Thermicon Technology – gentle heat that glides over the skin and into the follicles to crystallize and remove unwanted hair. With repeated treatments, hair growth is supposed be slower, finer and less frequent.

The sensation is actually quite pleasant - very warm and soothing (I didn’t experience any burns). The smell of singed hair however isn’t so great but in return I get no cuts, nicks or scrapes which also means no scarring or bruising. It is important to remember that the smell is normal and part of the treatment.

The device comes in 3 shades (blue, black and pink) and the kit includes a user manual, charger, cleaning brush, 2 thermicon tips of different sizes and a large buffer for $249.99 USD or $311.99 CAD. I did not receive the travel case but the website does make reference to it.

no!no!, thermicon tips and buffing pad

no! no! can be used on the face, arms, legs, torso and back - anywhere except your private parts. Treatment is safe for all skin tones and hair types but it is recommended that you do a patch test on a small area (an arm or leg works best) to make sure there are no adverse reactions or sensitivity. I also suggest using it on clean, dry skin for best results and follow-up with a moisturizing cream or oil. There are 3 intensity/treatment levels that can be adjusted for different areas of the body. I began with level 1 and soon moved onto level 3 which works best for me.

Using the device is very simple - just glide the no!no! towards your body and against the grain in a smooth, steady motion and avoid going over the same area excessively (just to be safe). You must follow-up with the buffing pad to remove lingering strands and it is also a great way to gently exfoliate for soft, silky skin. I do not use the device on my face but it is important to read the manual carefully before proceeding.

After going through the entire treatment process there were still a few spiky hairs poking up just above the skin (similar to new growth but not as stubbly) and several strands wouldn’t budge because the hair is cut off at the surface instead of being removed at the root. Essentially the device seems to be shortening hair instead of eradicating it while treating the follicles to slow growth. There is some hair left behind but you’d have to look very closely to notice. My skin looks smooth and almost hairless - good enough for me but not perfect. I was expecting a cleaner finish and more effective removal but my arm hair is thinner and less noticeable which is great. The best method for me is to start with 2-3 passes, buff, then do another 2-3 passes and buff some more. It is not a quick process nor does it eliminate every strand but with a little persistence the no!no! does seem to help reduce the appearance of body hair overtime.

To experience long-term benefits you really have to stick with it for a few months. If you have thin, sparse hair then the no!no! can be great for touch-ups but for thick, long hair this may not be the most effective method. It really depends on your individual needs and growth pattern.

I definitely notice a difference when I use the device. My hair isn’t as dark or abundant (although some of it is still there) and since I despise waxing I make it work for me.

For more information visit the website at

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick Review

So you’re at the drugstore looking for an awesome new lipstick. Maybe you have a hot date, holiday party or girls night but you need something that makes a statement without breaking the bank. Before jetting off in frustration (because there are like a million lipsticks to choose from) head over to the Maybelline display and swatch one of the new Super Stay Matte Inks – trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

These colourful Inks ($11.99) are super pigmented, bold, rich, bright and show-stopping. They are also very on-trend with the new lip paint craze that has taken over the beauty scene and there are 10 hyper-intense matte shades to chose from.

The pigment glides on smooth and creamy which makes them easy to spread and the pointed applicator helps trace the lip contour to create a sharp, defined pout. One swipe was all it took for me to become totally hooked – the saturated color drenches lips before it dries, sets and stays put for hours of wear (it lasted through an entire work day). Since the color adheres so well, the texture is a bit tacky and I definitely notice the stickiness on my lips.

Although the lipsticks don’t cause peeling or discomfort (not for me at least) you might need a little more moisture during the winter months. I like to prep my lips with a hydrating primer for more suppleness.

Through eating, drinking and partying, the formula resists fading and transfer requiring only minor touch-ups throughout the day. You can also transform the Inks and change the finish by adding a clear gloss on top - the pigment retains its intensity and you get a pop of shine.

I received 4 shades (all pretty) but my favorite is Pioneer – a deep, sexy red that puts me in a festive mood and looks fabulous with sparking gold shadow. The Inks all have vivid packaging but the actual pigment may not match the outside so make use of the testers (FYI- they do stain). Overall I think Maybelline did a fantastic job with this formula. The brand is available at drugstores nationwide. 

Swatches (prior to drying) bottom to top: 30 Romantic, 20 Pioneer, 35 Creator and 25 Heroine

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Victoria Beckham - Estee Lauder Collection Review

Victoria Beckham is a fashion icon and since her Spice Girl days she’s exuded style and posh sophistication that is very Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Being in front of the camera has taught her that the right light can create the perfect skin tone and give definition to bone structure which was the inspiration behind her new makeup line with Estee Lauder.

The collection is quite extensive and already in high-demand so I only managed to get my hands on a few pieces. The packaging is exactly what you’d expect from Victoria – sleek, elegant and trendy with shiny gold compacts and faux leather detail.

The Eye Matte Duo ($78.00) in Bleu Électrique/Nude creates graphic eye looks and stunning contrast. With only 2 colors (and no applicator) you really have to get creative with this little palette. The neutral hue is more of a base or blending shade so it's all up to the blue.

I apply the cobalt heavier on the lids to make the color pop and fade it lighter into the crease for a nice gradient. Wearing it this way creates the illusion of 2 different blues and the velvety shadows blend seamlessly. You can also use it accentuate the lower lash line and smoke it out for a bold effect. I always recommend using a good primer for longevity and saturation but the pigmentation is buildable and the blue appears deep and distinctive. The texture is smooth and easy to work with but since the camel shade blends into my skin tone, it would be nice to have another statement color instead – something with a little more intensity.

The Skin perfecting Powder ($110.00) is a universal shade that brightens and awakens all complexions. The formula is also ideal for photos because it blurs pores, smooths the skin, diminishes the look of imperfections and sets makeup for a flawless airbrushed effect. Victoria fashioned the compact after a vintage cigarette case she found in London so it looks and feels luxurious.

The powder mattifies to control shine and visibly evens skin texture to minimize lines and roughness. The consistency is lightweight and long-wear plus it does not build-up or get cakey so you can use it for touch-ups throughout the day. As a finishing product it works well but the compact should come with an applicator.

The Matte Lipstick in the Shade Victoria ($65.00) is a new take on the nude lip – cool toned and suitable for all complexions. On me, the medium brown looks like a deep cocoa-beige and helps balance the blue shadow. The tube is quite small but the lipstick seems to be of average size and the color glides on effortlessly and creamy for great coverage and comfort. I don’t usually wear monotone neutrals but I like this shade.

Shadow & lipstick swatches

Every woman needs a good liquid liner and the Eye Ink ($58.00) has a wonderful formula for drawing jet black, graphic lines. The color applies totally opaque for one-swipe application and the intense pigment shapes and defines the eyes for precision and neatness. The flexible tip manoeuvres around the eye contour and deposits the right amount of color from corner-to-corner. It also creates a sharp wing for the perfect cat-eye.

This collection is available at Estee Lauder Counters nationwide including The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and online at and

Monday, November 13, 2017

Eos Holiday Collection & New Lip Balms

There is frost on the ground, a chill in the air and holiday memorabilia everywhere you look. It is finally time to start shopping for gifts and trimming the tree but amidst all the excitement don’t forget to protect your pout from harsh winter winds. As I always say – all the beautiful lipstick in the world can’t hide chapped lips and there is nothing worse than a pretty matte pigment on dry, peeling skin.

To help keep your pout mistletoe-ready, eos has created a delicious variety of new products that hydrate and heal. I’ve tried and tested countless balms, oils, butters and tints but eos has remained my absolute favorite. These little globes are totally trendy! The smooth buttery texture lasts for hours and the spherical shape makes them easy to locate in my chaotic purse.

The balms are organic and loaded with nourishing Jojoba, Shea Butter, Vitamin E and antioxidants for a blast of rich moisture that instantly relieves parched skin. The formula is also free of gluten, parabens, petroleum and phthalates with a rich texture that lasts for hours.

When lips are dehydrated, sore and peeling, the new Medicated Lip Balm ($4.17) comes to the rescue. Infused with cooling menthol and soothing chamomile, it alleviates pain, sensitivity, dryness and chapping. The texture isn’t as creamy as the other balms but it treats and restores effectively so lips appear soft and healthy.

The limited edition Peppermint Cream eos ($4.17) smells like Christmas and happiness. This is probably my favorite scent the brand has ever created (I’m currently trying not to eat it). If you love delicious candy canes then this is the balm for you – it feels refreshing, rejuvenating and wonderful so stock-up before it’s gone and drop one in everyone’s stocking!

I’ve never described a lip balm as beautiful before but the new Crystal Collection is. The unique translucent design looks like a snow globe and the sweet formula revives, softens and hydrates with tropical coconut and creamy avocado. A nutritive blend of oils provides luminous shine and the balms are vegan and wax-free. They retail for $6.96 each.

The limited edition holiday 3-pack ($11.39) comes with three delicious flavors – Peppermint Mocha, Organic Vanilla Bean and Natural Sparkling Ginger.

I love the striped packaging of the Peppermint Mocha and although the scent isn’t as strong as Peppermint Cream, it smells yummy and makes lips supple and plush.

The Ginger eos reminds me of gingerbread cookies yet it isn’t overpowering. This scrumptious spice helps correct skin tone, improve elasticity and protect against free radical damage with a powerful cocktail of antioxidants.

Vanilla Bean is a delightful aroma everyone seems to enjoy and this little snowball makes my pout feel luscious and smooth.

No matter what the season, UV protection is important so eos has created a balm with SPF 15 ($4.17). The zesty lemon scent is refreshing and the antioxidant-rich formula is water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes. If you’re escaping to the tropics this winter, don’t forget to shield your lips – it will help prevent fine lines, discoloration and skin aging.

Don’t let dull lips put a damper on your holiday party. When that cute lipstick starts to dry out and you need a pretty blast of moisture, simply smear on the Shimmer Balm ($6.96). Available in 3 luminous shades it provides lovely shine and a little glam. 

eos is available at drugstores nationwide
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