Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Burt’s Bees 2016 Holiday Collection: Gift Sets & Stocking Stuffers

I’ve already begun wrapping gifts and putting them under my Christmas tree and this year I’m giving wonderful skincare and lots of beauty surprises! If there are loved ones on your list sensitive to fragrances, synthetic additives, dyes and parabens, Burt’s Bees is an excellent choice for the holidays.


What girl wouldn’t love a pampering mani-pedi set with amazing natural ingredients?! This kit comes with an invigorating peppermint foot lotion, moisturizing hand cream (for very dry skin), lemon butter cuticle cream and an exfoliating foot brush for just $19.99. The skincare is infused with nourishing sunflower, coconut oil, witch hazel, rosemary, orange, parsley, tea tree and a long list of fruit and plant extracts that soften, heal and rejuvenate rough hands and feet. The foot brush is double-sided and comes with a pumice stone for sloughing away rough skin cells and the creams are non-greasy and refreshing.


The Facial Cleansing Cloths are fantastic because they remove dirt, oil and heavy makeup while gently conditioning the skin with aloe, cucumber and white tea extract. I love that the cleansing formula doesn’t burn my eyes while removing crunchy, waterproof mascara and this little pack (10 wipes) is great for travel. You can stuff these in stockings for just $3.99.


Burt’s lip balms are cult faves and are now available in fun flavors and tints. The Kissable Color Collection is another great stocking stuffer idea. It comes with three juicy shades – apricot, watermelon and grapefruit with sheer radiant finishes and a pop of shimmer.


These light, luminous tones hydrate parched lips and shield them from winter’s wrath with loads of oils and supple butters. The set retails for $9.99 and is also available in deeper hues.


Burt’s Bees is available at major drugstores, grocery stores and mass market retailers. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Girls Night In with Calgon, Lypsyl, Finesse & Sensationail Gel Mani

Every so often I need a night of rest, relaxation and cocktails with the girls and once a month my sister and I get together for some sibling time. We order take-out, watch movies, sip champagne and occasionally indulge in a little pampering. Our night often includes facials, hair care, manis, exfoliation, eye treatments, serums, creams and more until we are polished, glowing and ready for more snacks.


Recently I got a few new products to incorporate into our spa day including the Calgon Hawaiian Ginger Skin Nourishing Body Cream and Shea Sugar Scrub! If you can’t travel to the tropics this sweet, exotic scent will awaken your senses and transport you to a white sandy beach. The body scrub softens rough winter skin with a velvety, cleansing lather and invigorating exfoliation granules. It also makes an awesome hand scrub and I use it on dry skin without dampening to enhance friction and slough away dead cells. After a warm shower the body cream moisturizes without a greasy residue and absorbs quickly for light, fragrant hydration. Initially the scent is a bit strong but it mellows over time. The cream and scrub retail for $7.99 each.


Keeping with the vacation theme, the Lypsyl Tropical Oasis is very Caribbean and moisturizes dry lips with the power of coconut oil. It glides on with a nice creamy texture, soothes on contact and provides long lasting protection against harsh climates. The balm retails for $2.29.


I have have little patience for doing my nails but when I paint with my sister while watching a movie time seems to fly by. The Sensational Polish to Gel Kit contains everything we need for professional results. 


The box contains an LED lamp with plug so you don’t need batteries, cleanser, primer, polish to gel transformer - (turns any nail polish into a smooth, smudge-free gel formula that lasts up to 2 weeks), lint-free wipes, mixing pot, nail buffer, manicure stick and an instruction booklet. The kit is great for extending the life of your favorite polish and you can do it right before vacation so your mani lasts through your trip. It retails for $49.99.


Nothing rejuvenates my hair like a good deep conditioning treatment and the Finesse MAX Protein Shot strengthens and repairs damage from heat styling, chemicals and daily stress. This little pack is great to take on getaways or girls night and retails for $2.37.

You can find all these pampering products at Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Walmart and Loblaws. 

Beauty Box Five Review: September, October & November

Recently there have been a lot of media events and I’ve been on a few press trips which left little time for Beauty Box Five updates. Today I’m featuring the last 3 boxes which will give you a good idea of the variety and quality offered. 


Before I delve into the box let’s review how the service works. Beauty Box Five is a subscription that starts at $12 for the monthly box, $30 for the quarterly subscription and $99 dollars for a year. You receive a mix of luxury items and common brands with products for: hair, skin and nails as well as fragrances and beauty accessories. The box contains 5 products and usually includes 1-3 full sized items. It is a great way to sample a variety of new brands!

September’s Box


*Pur~Lisse Blue Lotus Essential Moisturizer with SPF 30 (sample size)
This brand has been included in many previous boxes and I like that the cream is formulated with nourishing white tea, soy protein and algae extracts. It is also safe for sensitive skin and the light finish is ideal for use under makeup without leaving behind a white, sticky residue.
*Be A Bombshell Smooth Criminal HD Finishing Powder (full size included - $7.00)
I didn’t expect to like this setting powder as much as I do but it smoothes and mattifies expertly for a flawless finish. When applied over foundation I don’t need a makeup base and it makes my complexion look poreless, even and silky!
*Simple Skincare Cleansing Wipes (sample included with 7 cloths)
I love these makeup wipes from Simple and this little pack is perfect for my next weekend getaway. The formula is gentle and removes makeup, dirt and oil efficiently.
*Happy Hair Tuban (retail value - $18.00)
Micro-fiber towels are great because they help dry my hair without causing frizz or breakage. I can pop on a shower cap, wrap my hair with the towel and use the heat generated to enhance deep conditioning treatments. This one is large enough to handle my long, thick hair.
*Go Smile Teeth Whitening Gel (sample included)
I’ve been looking for a non-painful teeth whitening solution for a while now so I'm excited to try this out.

October’s Box


*Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil (full size - $18.00)
This multi-purpose, creamy pencil can be used to highlight and conceal under the eyes, brighten the inner corners or waterline and define the brow bones.
*Color Me Femme Gold Perfume (sample included)
I’m definitely a perfume lover and this scent is bold, sexy, robust and elegant. The composition includes citrus, floral notes and fruit with hints of spice. I just wish the sample had a little spray top because the tube is difficult to open.
*Emery + Ivory Custom nail Appliques (full size - $12.99)
If you want to add some nail art to your mani these decals are an easy way to do it. The appliqu├ęs stretch and stick with the ability to be filed down to fit your nails and the marbled design is currently on-trend.
*Real Her Moisturizing Lipstick (full size - $18.00)
I was hoping to get the deeper shade that went out in the October box but I received the neutral hue instead. Although it isn’t my favorite color the pink undertone makes it more wearable and I like the creamy texture.
*Amlactin Ultra Hydrating Body Cream (sample included)
I’ve never heard of this brand before but the sample is a decent size. For winter the rich formula does a great job at deeply hydrating rough, dry skin but the scent reminds me of stale coffee.

November’s Box


*Briogeo Deep Conditioning Hair Mask (sample included)
When the weather gets cold I love a good deep conditioner and this one contains no parabens, sulfates, artificial colors, silicones or fragrance but it smells fantastic and has a nice creamy texture. It is formulated to repair damage and breakage for a strong, healthy mane.
*Manna Kadar Lip Lock Stain in the shade Shae (sample)
I love the creamy, full coverage pigmentation of this saturated lip color but the shade isn’t my favorite. I would have preferred a rich hue but at least I know the formula is great for future reference.
*Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (sample included – 7 wipes)
I’ve used the Neutrogena grapefruit wipes before and they stung my eyes so I hope this formula is gentle and effective.
*Peony Shadow Trio (full size included - $17.95)
Finally an eye shadow palette! I wish BB5 would include more shadow compacts since I love the colors in this one. The shadows are soft and velvety with good pigmentation.
*BB5 Cut That Crease Angle Brush (retail value $10.00)
A sharp cut crease is definitely trendy and although I don’t know if this brush will help you achieve that curvy definition, it does a decent job blending pigment.

For more information or to sign up for the subscription visit the website by clicking HERE

Monday, November 28, 2016

Winter Hair Care: Lisap Top Care Repair Collection Review

With the holiday season right around the corner many of us will breaking out the flat irons, blow dryers and curlers to achieve the perfect festive do. When you combine styling with extreme temperatures, pollution, indoor heating systems and frequent washing, hair can become dry, brittle and weak. That’s where Lisap’s new Repair Collection comes in. This salon quality, advanced system is designed to replenish, strengthen, hydrate and soften dry, sensitive hair.


The treatment is free of sulphates, artificial coloring and parabens and consists of several steps with each product doing a different job to recuperate and nourish. The Hydra Care Complex is formulated to seal raised cuticles for noticeable conditioning and detangling effects. The system also contains Papyrus - rich in minerals, sugar and moisturizing agents, Japanese seaweed - to fortify the hair structure and Ceramide A2 which restores cellular cohesion for vibrancy and shine. You may also notice that the writing on the bottles is in Italian because they are manufactured in Milan.

You begin by shampooing to cleanse the roots and lengths. The gentle formula is free of harsh soap additives but still lathers into a rich, fluffy foam to eradicated dirt, build-up and excess oil. It leaves the scalp and hair fresh, revitalized and lightly scented. (The shampoo retails for $11.95)


The conditioner is fragrant and light so it doesn’t add weight or cause limpness. You can leave it on for 5-10 minutes, detangle and allow the shower steam to activate the formula and soften. For my long, thick hair the conditioner didn’t provide quite enough slip for combing out tangles and I would have liked more richness for moisture and retexturizing. (The conditioner retails for $13.60)


The Mask Treatment is thicker and creamy so I prefer to use it as a regular conditioner after shampooing. I leave in on for 15-20 mins and apply a generous amount on my lengths and ends for body, bounce and smoothness. It does a good job at softening parched, stressed strands for silky, manageable hair that smells fantastic! (The mask retails for $17.95)


Before styling I apply a few pumps of the Nourishing Cream Leave-In for a blast of hydration. It doesn’t provide thermal protection but it does seem to prevent fly-aways and frizz for a glossy, sleek finish. I also like to apply some sort of serum after styling for extra smoothness. (The finishing cream retails for $15.75)


You can find Lisap Hair Care in salons throughout Canada or visit lisap.ca

Friday, November 25, 2016

Quo 2016 Holiday Gifts: Colour Wonderland Eye, Lip & Cheek Collection Review

If you really want to impress the makeup lovers on your holiday list, surprise them with an all-inclusive, multi-purpose palette that will knock their socks off. The Color Wonderland Set is impressive! There are a whopping 52 eye shadows, 6 cream liners, 18 lip glosses, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, a face powder, liquid eyeliner, mascara and applicators – everything you need to create a wide variety of amazing looks!


At first glance the palette looks like a simple black box but as you lift the lid, three large trays of makeup slide out one after the other revealing a wide array of pretty pigments in complexion flattering hues.


The first layer contains 26 eye shadows in neutral tones, gold, purple and pink with both shimmer and matte finishes. Usually I’m attracted to sets like this because of the amazing variety but from experience I know that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. In this case I was pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation. Overall the shadows aren’t super saturated but they do have decent color pay-off when layered over primer. Some start off sheer to medium with the ability to be intensified nicely when applied heavier and the deeper hues reach full-coverage for pretty contrast against the softer shades.


The silky, soft texture blends nicely so you can contour, define or fade them out for a beautiful gradient. Although the palette comes with old-school sponge tip applicators that loosely sit in their slots, they are actually quite effective for grabbing loads of pigment at once. The small, flimsy blush brush didn’t fare so well but I have a ton of other options in my collection and to be fair there isn’t much room for anything larger.


The blushes are very sheer and the colors didn’t work for my complexion. I would have liked at least one rich shade and a lot more pigmentation. The bronzer is way to light for any type of sculpting and actually works as very subtle highlight.


The second tray slides out from underneath the first to reveal another 26 eye shadows. The blue row (as I like to call it) contains a gorgeous navy and pretty grey tones for a fabulous smoky eye. In the adjacent row I love the cranberry, deep brown and light rose but the shades are quite neutral and there are a few that seem to repeat including a couple creams, gold, pink and shimmery grey. It would have been nice to see a bit more color variation but there are a lot of usable basics and everyday hues.



The third tray at the front of the palette slides out to display a pretty selection of lip colors. I expected these shades to be very sheer but to my surprise they are vivid and beautiful! There is a great range of deep berry, bright red, orange and nude plus a unique selection of gold, soft pink, bronzy-pink and a stunning rosy-bronze-mauve that I can’t get enough of! The finishes are not as glossy as anticipated (which is great) and most have a creamy, comfortable formula with a hint of shine. Some shades show up metallic, shimmery or satiny and most have good color pay-off from medium to full with just one or two sheers. I should also mention that most of these look much better applied and some don’t show up on the skin like they appear in the palette.



Once all the trays are open there is a sunken compartment in the middle containing 6 gel liners in grey, blue and black. The cream applies smoothly to create fluid, lines but the formula isn’t water-resistant or smudge-proof which have been ideal.


Overall I think this set makes a wonderful gift for any beauty junkie starting out with makeup or anyone who craves a large variety of pigment to experiment with. I like the eye shadow and love the lip color so I will definitely be using this to create fun looks for the season. The collection retails for $65.00 exclusively available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mary Kay Limited-Edition Pure Dimensions Eye Palette Review

This year Mary Kay’s winter escapes holiday collection combines two of my favorite things – makeup and travel! Inspired by exotic destinations and rich, trendy hues, these stunning palettes make great gifts or a nice treat for yourself.


The clear domed compacts are super chic and clearly display the artfully harmonized shadows etched with mesmerizing patterns. There are 3 expertly crafted color combinations to choose from that compliment all skin tones. You can use these versatile hues to create a variety of eye-catching effects including subtle day looks or glamorous smokey eyes and pair them with matte shades for contrast and depth.

Moroccan Dunes reminds me of beautiful seashells and the texture is velvety and luxurious. The bright silver and rose gold are incredibly light, radiant and shimmery. You can wear them sparingly or enhance the pigment by layering for more vibrancy. These two shades can also be blended out on the cheekbones, brow bone, nose and cupids bow to create a gorgeous highlight. The glittering bronze and green-grey shades are also lovely and very buildable.  


Maui Gardens is my personal favorite because the deep navy, sexy emerald, vivid gold and sultry bronze is totally irresistible! Although I do recommend a primer for optimum intensity, the color applies sheer to full-coverage (depending on how much you use) with great color pay-off and high-impact saturation for professional results. Whether its date night, a romantic dinner or festive holiday parties, these show-stopping shades are perfect for any occasion!


Paris Starlight is just as pretty as the other palettes...in fact there isn’t one shade in this collection that I don’t like! The smokey purple, bright silver, glittery black and flattering gold are silky smooth and apply consistently without creasing or fading. I would have loved a garnet or cranberry shimmer in one of the palettes but the quality is superb. I’ve also discovered that if you dampen your shadow brush a tad and apply them slightly wet, the metallic effect can be amplified!


The palettes retail for $46.00 each and you can purchase them at marykay.ca or through independent consultants.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fresh 2016 Holiday Collection and Gift Sets: Sugar Lip Seduction Review

When the Fresh holiday sets hit Sephora it’s the perfect time to stock up on your favorite items and gifts. Every year the women in my family receive a luscious Sugar Lip Balm in their beauty baskets, stockings or pull-crackers and they absolutely love them!


The Lip Seduction Set offers a beautiful range of tinted balms in trendy hues like Berry, Poppy, Ruby and Fig plus a few soft neutrals and cult faves. They come packaged in a beautiful festive box that retails for $70.00.


What makes these treatments so popular is the ultra moisturizing, conditioning formula infused with castor seed, jojoba, olive oil, grape seed oil, avocado, black currant, rose, meadowfoam, sunflower and raw sugar. These rich, nourishing oils and fruit extracts are high in antioxidants, nourishing fatty acids and vitamins to protect, heal, smooth and fight free-radicals. They also provide anti-aging benefits without any sulfates, phthalates or parabens.


I love the mild sugary scent and the light, comfortable formula provides layers of glistening shine. The creamy texture glides on effortlessly for up to 6 hours of dryness relief, hydration and softness. I also notice that prolonged use retexturizes and minimizes the reoccurrence of rough, chapped skin for healthier looking lips.


These radiant tints compliment all complexions with a sheer wash of juicy color - perfect for the days you don’t feel like wearing full-coverage lipstick. I like to keep a couple shades in my purse, at my desk and by my bed for night repair.


You can find Fresh Beauty and their incredible holiday collection at Sephora and sephora.ca.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Highlighter Review

Now that the season has changed and daylight hours are limited, it can be quite dull and bleak but your makeup doesn’t have to be! The new Pro Light Fusion Luminizer may be the best highlighter the brand has released and it has quickly become my go-to radiance booster for day wear, evenings out and parties of all kind!


I tested this golden beauty while battling a terrible flu and the soft, silky formula instantly transformed my complexion from tired to glowing with light layers of glimmering shimmer. The great thing about the micro-fine, light reflecting particles (aside from making skin look healthy and luminous) is how well they apply. Unlike some glittery highlighters that scatter messily across the skin, this pigment has a smooth gel-powder formulation so the shimmer particles hold together nicely for uniform, consistent coverage. As I sweep the vibrant color across my skin, it blends wonderfully with no sparse areas or patchy spots.


The pigment is bold, versatile and highly saturated. You can apply it generously for a glamorous stobing effect or blend it lightly for natural iridescence. Layered over primer it makes a beautiful metallic eye shadow and for the holiday season sweep it over the body (legs, arms, back, and d├ęcolletage) for an all-over, golden goddess glow! A makeup brush picks up and distributes the pigment effortlessly or you can use your finger to amp-up the concentration in certain areas. Since the color pay-off is quite intense, start sparingly and layering until you achieve your desired look.



If you are on the hunt for an amazing, multipurpose gold highlighter I highly recommend this one! It is also available in Rose Gold and retails for $43.00 at Sephora, makeupforever.com and Make Up For Ever Boutiques.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Avon Limited Edition Ultra Sexy Body Mist Collection Review

The elves (aka – me) will be stuffing stockings with joyful scents this holiday season thanks to Avon’s scintillating new body mists! The brand offers a wide variety of amazing fragrances and these romantic bottles are perfect for fashionistas who crave trendy aromas in super cute packaging.


The boxed gift set includes a luxurious trio of sprays, each with its own delectable blend of notes.

Ultra Sexy Pink is innocent yet seductive with a fresh, sweet scent. The composition includes juicy raspberry, blushing peony and sheer chiffon musk which emits a fun, flirty essence. When you prefer not to wear a heavy fragrance, this blend fades into a soft fruitiness that smells wonderful!


Ultra Sexy Heart is bursting with luscious cherries, irresistible rose, chocolate marshmallow and intoxicating floral gourmand which creates a decadent aroma. Like many body mists, these start out robust and vibrant but tend mellow as the day progresses. Reapply as needed to enhance the ingredients and lightly mist your outfit so the scent lingers.


When you crave something deep and sensual, sprtiz on Ultra Sexy Lace with notes of pear, magnolia and golden amber. This simple yet provocative aroma is great for date night and to amp-up the sweetness I mix it with one of the other two scents. I also use the mists to make my bedroom to smell irresistible and to freshen up the inside of my purses. 


This limited edition set makes a great gift and retails for $20.00 (just $6.66 each!). You can purchase it at avon.ca or through an independent consultant. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

NARS Holiday 2016 Sarah Moon Collection: Give In Take Dual-Intensity Eye & Cheek Palette Review

If you haven’t checked out the NARS limited edition holiday collection by Sarah Moon you are missing out on some awesome pigments and beautiful gifts. After falling head-over-heels for the Audacious Lipstick Coffret I was excited to experiment with the new Eye & Cheek Palette which features a beautiful contrast of neutrals and deep sultry hues.

Since a sexy, smokey eye is always on-trend, I was drawn to the beautiful grey, dark navy, black and silver combo. In this case “dual-intensity” refers to pigment versatility and saturation. When swatched as is, the shadows appear sheer and muted but when used wet the color pay-off is somewhat intensified for fuller coverage and more depth. To amp-up the color I prefer to dampen my brush with MAC’s Prep+ Prime Fix Spray (instead of water) and layer the pigment heavier. When applied dry I use a good primer and really pack it on but it isn't easy to achieve the saturation I prefer.


Admittedly I am not a huge fan of sheer shadows but you do have the option of enhancing saturation and with some effort the shades mix and match nicely to create both day and night looks. If you are missing these particular hues in your collection then the palette is usable otherwise the selection is quite basic and falls short of having that wow-factor I usually associate with NARS pigments.


The chic packaging reminds me of old Hollywood and captures the 1920’s era.


The cream shadow is a bit chalky but works well enough as a sheer matte highlight under the brows. The taupe-brown is underwhelming and very flesh tone. Overall I expected a lot more vibrancy and richness but some shades are quite dull.


swatched over primer

Since I love multi-purpose products I appreciate the inclusion of blush and highlight. The yellow-silver shade looks great on my complexion and adds a nice pop of radiance that can be adjusted for a subtle effect or high-impact glow. I’m not quite sure if the middle hue is blush or bronzer but for me it looked like a very mute highlight with little shimmer, color or pizzazz. The blush is very sheer with a frosty finish. I didn’t think this shade would work for me but when layered I actually like the soft pink glow, I just wish the pigment was brighter and more present.


Although this collection has a great range of gifting options I have mixed feelings about this particular palette and found it to be good but not great. I highly recommend swatching it prior to purchase to determine if the colors work for you. It retails for $85.00 at select NARS retailers (including Hudson’t Bay, Holt Renfew, Sephora and Nordstrom).


To check out my review and swatches of the gorgeous NARS Glass Metropolis Audacious Lipstick Coffret from this collection click HERE.

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