Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sephora Limited Edition Holiday Makeup Brush Sets

Although many of us are still recuperating from the holiday festivities and getting ready to ring in the New Year, there may still be time to grab some of the beautiful limited edition holiday tools at your local Sephora before they disappear!

The Pure Luxury Antibacterial Brush Set is perfect for makeup lovers who are on the hunt for great brushes but don’t get around to cleaning them as often as they should. All of the bristles in this set have an antibacterial treatment that is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and resistant to most bacteria. This feature helps extend the life of your brushes and keeps them fresher for longer. They are also suitable for sensitive skin and are good quality!

The chic black and gold set contains 7 brushes:
*Powder brush
*Foundation Brush
*Angled eye shadow brush
*Eye shadow brush
*Concealer brush
*Flat eyeliner brush
*Brow comb
*Faux leather pouch.

I absolutely love the packaging of this collection! The pouch is adorned in silver glitter so it looks very stylish and the handles of the brushes are also sprinkled in pretty sparkle making the set appear glamorous and very appropriate for New Year's Eve tomorrow! It has a magnetic closure and each brush is held in its own slot.

The synthetic bristles are ultra soft, flexible, and feel luxurious and comfortable against the skin. The eye shadow brushes work well for patting on shadow to build up color and they also blend well. The flat concealer brush is great for spot treatments and applying product under the eyes.

My favorite brush is the fluffy powder brush; it picks up product efficiently and distributes it softly for seamless application.

The eyebrow comb is handy to have but for the price of the set it should have included another makeup brush instead since brow combs are rather standard. Overall this is a beautiful basic kit that is perfect for travel, beginners, everyday use and Makeup Artists. It retails for $75.

The All a Glow Brush Set also comes in an elegant travel-friendly black and gold case containing 5 essential brushes including:
*Countour brush
*Cream blush brush
*Foundation brush
*Highlight brush
*Concealer brush

I love cream blush but I don’t always like applying it, especially if I have to do so with my fingers so the cream blush brush is a nice addition. Like the Pure Luxury set this one also contains brushes with soft bristles although most of these are duo-fiber.

The handles of these brushes are rather short and small which makes full face makeup application a bit difficult to complete; they are however nicely designed for touch-ups on the go. The clutch is great to keep in your purse and I find myself popping it out when my makeup needs to be refreshed.

I am not a huge fan of the black contour brush due to the shape, texture of the bristles and its application ability but I do like the little highlight brush which also works great for spot touch-ups and placing product smoothly into the texture of skin. The compact size and overall travel functionality of the collection serves it purpose well, especially for a frequent vacationer like me! This set retails for $46.

**Disclaimer: products provided for review

Monday, December 29, 2014

Novex Deep Conditioning Treatment Review

A few months ago I received a small packet of the Novex Brazilian Keratin Deep Conditioner to try in my Beauty Box Five and just one use was enough to convince me that it was worth a more thorough review! Since I value soft, healthy, manageable hair I am always on the hunt for products to tame my mane and keep my tresses flowing beautifully.

This deep conditioning treatment by Embelleze Rio Brazillian Secrets has quickly become a must-have product in my hair care routine. Once a week I slather on a treatment to rejuvenate my hair and during the winter I definitely need more hydration.

The first time I used the conditioner I felt and saw results right away! As the product coats my hair, it instantly feels softer and looks smoother. If you frequently use heat styling tools, the conditioner helps erase some of the visible signs of damage and increases resiliency and shine.

This deep treatment is popular among Brazilian women and is used by hair stylist and professionals. It is described as “hair food” and the deep restorative properties come from the addition of vitamin E and keratin which is an important protein in the formulation of hair fiber. Keratin is also the component that minimizes damage by strengthening hair and this reinforcement leads to less breakage and split-ends. Unlike some keratin and protein treatments this one does not make hair feel brittle or stiff, in fact the results are quite the opposite.

With this treatment, keratin is able to penetrate the hair structure and begin working in just three minutes which makes it very easy to use. The large jar contains 35.3 Oz which lasts up to 42 applications and the high potency formula is enriched with vitamins and smells pleasant.

How to use:
The directions suggest that you apply the conditioner after shampooing, leave on for 15 mins, rinse well and style as usual. Although I do condition post-shampoo I also like to comb or finger comb my hair after application which distributes the conditioner evenly.

I then apply a plastic shower cap and sit under my dryer attachment cap for 15-30 mins. The heat/steam from the cap always seems to produce best deep treatment results and makes my hair ultra soft. If you don’t have a dryer cap another method is covering your hair with a plastic shower cap and applying heat from your blow dryer over the cap to heat it up and increase absorption. Please note however that the use of heat is not required to use this conditioner. (I purchased my dryer cap at Sally’s Beauty Supply, you can check it out by clicking HERE

The treatment is amazing for dry hair types and puts the spring back in my natural curls! I also like using it prior to flat ironing or curling because it strengthens and makes my hair look less frizzy and unruly.

Below is a photo I recently posted after testing a new curling iron; I had used the conditioner before drying and styling and about 3 times prior. I really like that the results are long-lasting and it makes my hair look healthier, shiner and more moisturized. The treatment is also available in packets which are great for travel.

I also have the Revitay Brazilian Keratin Protect and Repair Shampoo which is formulated to deep cleanse and repair for shine and body. Although this shampoo may work well with the other products in the line, I stopped using shampoos that contain sodium laureth sulfate because I try to cleanse without removing too much natural oil. The shampoo does smell good and contains no salt.

Overall I am definitely sticking with this deep conditioner for a while because I love having healthy, hydrated hair! You can check out the products by clicking HERE.

**Disclaimer: products provided for review

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beauty Box Five December

This holiday was busy as usual so my Beauty Box Five was mailed out late and Canada Post didn't get it to my door until Christmas Eve! After the last piece of cake was eaten and the stockings were packed away, I finally got a chance to take a look in my box and it was well worth the wait. This month’s theme is all about taking the time to indulge and brighten your complexion as the hustle and bustle of the holidays simmers down.

Before I delve into the box let’s review how the service works. Beauty Box Five is a subscription service that starts at $12 for the monthly box, $30 for the quarterly subscription and $99 dollars for a year. In this box you will 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 one or two full sized items. It is a great way to sample a variety of new brands.

Jaqua Hand Cream in the scent- Cocoa Buttercream Frosting: (sample size included)
I am a sucker for delicious smelling body products so as soon as I took a whiff of this cream it was love at first sniff!  It smells like decadent frosting, cake, vanilla cupcakes and delicious sweet cocoa! It also contains great ingredients to nourish dry winter skin including: meadowfoam seed oil, soybean oil, cocoa extract, kiwi fruit extract, aloe leaf, flower extracts, mango, peppermint, and vitamins A and E. Although this is a sample, it is perfect purse-size and smells good enough to eat!

Nanacoco Nail Polish in the shade- Diamond: (full size included $3.95)
This is a great polish for New Years Eve or anytime you want brilliant diamond sparkle! I love the chunky, gleaming glitter combined with the micro shimmer particles swimming around in the clear formula. I did have some difficulty transferring the glitter consistently to my nails. I seemed to be getting more clear polish than glitter and with each attempt to transfer more glitter the polish became thicker which also lead to longer drying time.

Absolute New York Nail Polish Remover Pads in the scent- Lemon: (full size included $2.99)
 I can never have too many of these cute compact nail polish pads, they are perfect for use on the go and vacations. I like the fresh lemon scent as opposed to the harsh smell of acetone; in fact these pads are acetone free and contain vitamin C & E. They are salon quality, contain real citrus extract and the jar is small enough to slip into a pocket or purse!

Lucky Brand Lucky Number 6 Perfume: (sample size included)
I often take these sample sized perfume bottles on trips so that I can bring a variety of scents with me. This perfume contains notes of: lotus, tiger lily, cashmere woods and jasmine. It has a musky, floral scent with a hint of cherry blossom, I think it smells okay but it isn't my favorite.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Moisturizer: (sample size included)
In my last beauty box I received a face mask from Juice Beauty which I enjoyed so I am looking forward to trying this one. It is formulated to “restore your skin with a blend of organic, antioxidant rich plant and fruit oils to help reduce wrinkles, combat sun damage and hydrate.”

Overall this month’s box was great! You can find more information on this beauty subscription by clicking HERE

**Disclaimer: Beauty Box provided for review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas! (My Birthday & Holiday Makeup!)

By now many of us have finished our Christmas shopping and have settled in to spend some quality time with family and friends. The year has passed by in a blur of amazing experiences and I can’t believe 2015 is just around the corner!

Christmas Eve is also my birthday which I look forward to every year! Although December 24th may not be the ideal day to celebrate a birthday with everyone busily preparing for Christmas, the cold weather and most businesses closing early, I still manage to make the most of it!

This year I had a simple pre-birthday celebration with the girls that included dinner, drinks and cake! My sister Amanda baked my cake from scratch and slaved away for 3 days making it perfect! For her first cake I think it looks splendid! 

The cake is 2 layers of moist, decadent chocolate with a middle layer of Oreo cheesecake surrounded in cookies and cream frosting! Not only is it rich and delicious but it means so much to me that she took the time to make it and it is so much better than store bought! She is a wonderful baker and is becoming quite the pastry chef. 

My hubby also has a history of planning some incredible birthdays for me including: a Caribbean cruise, hanging out on beautiful South Beach in Miami, romantic dinners, and a surprise trip to Montreal to see Cirque Du Soleil! 

This year I was told to pack an overnight bag with no clue where we were heading and he surprised me with a trip to one of my favorite places in Ontario, Niagara Falls! We stayed twenty two stories high above the falls with a spectacular view! Dinner was at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the very edge of the falls and at night the festival of lights and fireworks lit up the entire area. It was a wonderful birthday!

Gift wise I received a very eclectic mix of goodies including: clothes, a sandwich grill, face steamer, makeup, money, a waist trainer, a beautiful Michael Kors bag, acrylic makeup organizers, tea and brunch for 2, liquor, cookware, bath & body products, lingerie, hair products, gift certificates, perfume, chocolate/sweets and a whole bunch of other things that will no doubt come in handy!

For makeup this year I decided to keep it rather simple. Instead of sparkle and glitter I used the Hello Kitty Pop-Up Party Eye Shadow Palette to create my holiday look. I kept it bit festive using a teal/green shade and the crease color fades from deep and smokey to a reddish hue.

On my eyes: (Lid)-  Hello Kitty Three apples, (Crease)- Hello Kitty Celebrate + Blackout from the Naked 2 palette , (Brow bone)- Foxy from the Naked 2 palette and black liner. For a full review of the Hello Kitty Palette click HERE.
Lips: Wet n Wild Just Garnet lipstick (this lipstick was only $1.47)
Face: (Primer)- Garnier 5 Sec Blur, (foundation)- MAC Studio Fix NC45, (Concealer) MAC Pro-Longwear, (Setting powders)- MAC Studio Fix & Make Up For Ever HD powder, (Blush)- Jordanna #46 Terracotta Treasure

For my hair I did something simple, I used my Kiss InstaWave to create some quick curls and I absolutely LOVE this curling iron! My hair stays curly and wavy for days with no hair spray! For a full review click HERE.

This holiday season I will be opening gifts with my family and since no one likes to spend Christmas cooking and washing piles of dishes we usually go out to dinner, take in a movie and celebrate the rest of the night with wine and dessert.

How will you be spending the holiday this year?

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and stay tuned for more great posts in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hello Kitty An Apple a Day Trio Lip Balm Set

Recently I reviewed the beautiful Hello Kitty Pop-Up Party eye shadow palette from the limited edition 40th anniversary collection and today I ‘m featuring more adorable items to enhance your pout with a hint of delicious color!

When this collection was released they definitely captured the cute, iconic style of this famous feline and the Apple a Day Trio Lip Balm Set is no exception. Packaged in a little pyramid, the set includes 3 tasty balms shaped like delectable little apples!

The shades include: Red Delicious, Think Pink and Natural all of which have a sheer,  juicy tint that coincides with their names.

Infused with scrumptious strawberry, vanilla and apple extracts the balms deliver bright color and nourishment to moisturize lips and prevent dryness with a light, sweet scent. 

The formula is very creamy to the touch and quite glossy which makes it easy to apply and distribute. The neutral shade has a bit of shimmer although it doesn't show up very much once applied and the red and pink hues add a pretty flush of color to the lips.

Below is a swatch of the red shade which is my favorite! As you can see it is very vivid with a wet, shiny finish.

The texture feels and looks more like sheer lip gloss which is perfect for the days you don’t feel like wearing a solid lipstick and I love the little mirrors on the inside of the apples!

For lip balms the red and pink shades are quite vivid and although you do have to wipe the color off your finger after each use, I think these are great!

The set retails for $26 CAD at Sephora and the balms make great stocking stuffers! 

Disclaimer: products provided for review

Monday, December 22, 2014

So...? With Attitude Holiday Gift Sets

The holidays are a time for friends, family and giving but if there are a lot of people on your list you may find yourself stretching your budget! All of those stocking stuffers, secret Santa’s and small tokens of appreciation can add up fast, so finding affordable gifts may help ease the strain on your wallet!

The So...? With Attitude fragrance line has released some colorful holiday gift sets starting at just $5.99. These fun products are fittingly named to suit a variety of moods, attitudes and styles such as: So Kiss me, So Sinful, So Sexy and So Chic. Some sets include body lotion, lip balm and scent trios.

The fragrances are packaged as body sprays and in perfume bottles and the sets include a variety of items. You won’t find complex aromas and expensive ingredients in this line but the scents are light, sweet and pleasant. 

The bright packaging is geared more towards the younger generation and teens are sure to find the cute bottles and flashy packaging appealing.

The So Kiss me set retails for $5.99 and comes with a mini body lotion and a mini fragrance. This is one of the brand’s best sellers and a cult favorite among girls worldwide. The aroma is citrus based, sugary sweet and suitable for both day and night.

The So...? Body Fragrance Set comes with three body sprays in the scents:

*So Kiss Me: blackcurrant, pineapple, citron, muguet, freesia, musk and vanilla.
*So Sinful: warm violet, mint, juicy pineapple, strawberry, creamy vanilla, praline, musk and dark chocolate.
*So Sexy: mandarin, blackcurrant, rose, jasmine, sandalwood and musk.

Sometimes when I sniff the body sprays they irritate my nose a bit but this could just be an individual reaction and when I wear them they don’t cause any skin irritation.

Since I don’t care very much for citrus, So Kiss me is not my preferred fragrance, my favorite by far is So Sexy. To me this scent most resembles one that I would find in drug store brand perfumes, it is sweet but not overly so and the smell is quite alluring. My second choice is So Sinful, the musky notes tone down the sweetness which makes it more wearable for all ages. This set retails for $9.99.

The So Sinful set comes with a body spray and a mini perfume for just $5.99.

You can find these products at Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall and online by clicking HERE.

 **Disclaimer: products provided for review

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hello Kitty Kawaii Nail Set

Nail art is very trendy right now and although I haven’t mastered the art myself I love embellishing my nails with creative decals, stickers and stamps. Recently Hello Kitty celebrated her 40th anniversary with the release an adorable limited edition collection that exudes her cute, feline style perrrfectly!

The word Kawaii=cuteness and if you are a Hello Kitty fan that is exactly what your nails will be after you use this kit.

The set includes:
*1 Hello Kitty tin
*3 sets of nail appliqu├ęs
*Hello Kitty nail stickers
*1 nail file
*Stamper set including: stamp, scraper and stamping plate
* Hello Bling! Rhinestones
* 3-D Tiny Apples nail art
*2 nail polishes in: Bright White and Ruby Red

There are enough colorful pieces in this kit to create a Hello Kitty work of art or if you prefer something more subtle you can simply decorate with an accent nail.

Aside from Hello Kitty herself the stamps and nail decals also include flowers, bows, fruit, balloons and hearts so you can also create different designs and themes.

The ruby red polish is rich, pretty and pairs well with the little rhinestones however for the price the inclusion of a clear top coat and a few more mini lacquers would have been a great addition. 

This is a charming gift for anyone who loves creative nail art and embellishing their manicures, it retails for $47 CAD at Sephora.

**Disclaimer: products provided for review

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments: Holiday Gift Sets

This holiday give the gift of  healthy lips and help everyone on your list battle winter weather with beautiful gift sets from Fresh. I have been using these colourful, fun lip treatments for years and this season you can stock up on all your favorite shades for the ultimate Sugar stash or pop one in everyone’s stocking!

The Sugar Legends gift set is a $93 dollar value and retails for $65. It contains 7 luscious shades including: Petal (pink blossom), Tulip (sheer hot pink), Rose, Honey (warm nude), Cherry (sunny red), Passion (vibrant red) and Berry.

These nourishing treatments provide up to 6 hours of hydration to help alleviate and improve the appearance of dry chapped skin. They are formulated with an exclusive blend of sugars that prevent moisture loss and luxurious oils including meadowfoam, grapeseed and black currant to protect, soothe and soften.

Some of the shades offer buildable coverage for a subtle, beautiful tint and all of these lightly scented treatments have SPF 15 for youthful looking lips. I love the trendy packaging and the balms condition and smooth roughness for supple, kissable lips!

If you prefer an even softer look then the Sweet Nudes Collection offers 4 flattering shades that are more neutral. This set is a $66 value but retails for $42 and also includes the sugar lip polish which I love!

Formulated with sweet sugar crystals and natural humectants to prevent moisture loss the polish exfoliates to buff away dry skin and smooth roughness. Shea butter and jojoba nourish lips for up to 6 hours to improve skin texture and revitalize for a healthier, softer pout.

The polish paired with the Sugar balms makes a great treatment and may help all of your lip products glide on smoother and look better. With no parabens, sulfates or phthalates these Sugar treatments are cult favorites at Sephora and among beauty lovers.  

Since the Sugar lip treatments retail for $26 each these collections are a great value! You can purchase the gift sets at Sephora.

 **Disclaimer: products provided for review
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