Monday, May 25, 2015

Travel Update: The South of France & The Italian Riviera!

For weeks we have been trying to decide where to go for our next vacation and with so many fabulous destinations to choose from it was a bit difficult to finalize our plans. Tomorrow I will be jetting off to the South of France and then on to the Italian Riviera. This destination is famous for it's sparkling beaches, beautiful mountains, pristine valleys, colorful hillside towns and being a posh hideaway for celebrity elite and yacht owners.

*Photo from:

We plan on stopping in: St Tropez, Toulon, Marseilles, Nice, Monaco/Monte Carlo, Menton and then Sanremo Italy. It is quite a lot of scenery to take in but we will be renting a car and driving at a leisurely pace along the coast. As many of you know I have been to France and Italy before- (Paris, Rome & Venice) and I am looking forward to reuniting with the delicious French baguettes and scrumptious Italian pizza!

While I am away don’t forget to enter the two awesome giveaways I am hosting:

* The Simple Skincare giveaway is open internationally until May 28th and the winner will be announced when I get back from holiday. (CLICK TO ENTER)

*The Murad Skincare giveaway is open until June 11th to residents of Canada. (CLICK TO ENTER)

You can also connect with me on TWITTER & INSTAGRAM as I explore the Riviera and I will have a detailed post on the trip + more great beauty reviews upon my return!

Au Revoir!  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yves Rocher Summer Creation Collection 2015

Yves Rocher’s summer collection inspires makeup junkies to boldly dive into scintillating color inspired by the beauty of nature and fresh floral scents. The theme is quite unique with an interesting range of milky sky blue, deep ocean blue, peach, neutrals, pastels, vibrant orange and even smokey prismatic grey. The inclusive variety of trendy pigments transcends all seasons and whether you crave subtle shades to balance busy prints or bright polish to make your pedi pop the selection is very appealing!

The Bleu Vegetal products are packaged in poolside hues laden with petals and monarch butterflies. The light feminine fragrance infused with jasmine, and sparkling notes of bergamot is a cool, refreshing summer cocktail perfect for social gatherings and fun in the sun. 

The playful notes blend beautifully with your body chemistry and fades into an alluring sweetness. The set also comes with a paraben-free body wash of the same scent that leaves skin smelling incredible! The rich lather is 98% natural and enriched with organic cornflower water for moisture and softness. The fragrance retails for just $29.00.

When I first saw the Healthy Glow Effect Blush in its test tube-like packaging I was impressed by the creativity. The vial is filled with a pink, almost red fluid that dispenses via rollerball directly onto the skin. The formula is very fragrant and designed to provide a natural flush of color for a healthy, rosy effect however the pigmentation is extremely faint and almost undetectable once applied.

If juicy, hydrating lip color is your thing then the Radiant Lip Crayons are lightweight, vibrant and smooth. The formula glides on effortlessly and melts into skin with a delicious scent and nourishing shea butter. Although some of the crayons are very sheer the brighter colors build-up to shiny, medium intensity just shy of full coverage. I also like that they twist-up for easy access and provide supple comfort with a layer of protection for parched lips.

The shades range from sheer neutrals and nudes to brilliant orange and red tints with both shimmer and non-shimmer finishes. Colors from top left to bottom right: Corail Doux, Rose Sorbet, Parfait Rose Clair and Tangerine Intense. The crayons retail for $13.00 each.

Some of the nail polishes beautifully match a few of the lip crayons so you will see a repetition of tones including Coral, Rose, Parfait and Tangerine. On the other side of the spectrum the blues make a bold appearance and include: Bleu Aqua, Blue Ocean and Anthracite Iridescent- (grey, green, purple chrome with shimmer). The wide brush applies efficiently and in about 2 coats the polish is opaque with a beautiful glossy finish. They retail for $6.00 each.

I have a love-hate relationship with cream and liquid eyeshadows because a few of the formulas I've come across dried flat and lacquer-like, settling into the skin’s creases for a look that was less than glamorous. The Ultra Long-Lasting Cream Eyeshadows in this collection are divine, especially Bleu Ocean which has a vivid aqua undertone.

The texture initially applies a little wet but still highly blendable and ultra creamy with a satin, metallic finish. Although the shades are gorgeous and the color pay-off is rich the formula takes a long time to completely dry which makes them transferable and easy to rub off. If you blend them out well or a bit thinner the color take on more of a shimmery powder finish and as long as you don’t touch your lids before the cream sets you may be able to keep the pigment in place. Once dry the colors do adhere well to the skin and they seem quite resistant to touch and water. The coverage is also very buildable, going easily from sheer to high impact and I would love to have these marvelous shades in a loose formula which I think would be more effective. The shadows retail for $20.00 each and you can also pick up the matching eyeliners for even more of drama!

The Illuminating powder with its pink and gold marbled pattern brightens the face with a touch of stunning shimmer. The highlight provides a radiant summer glow and because of the beautiful tint you can even skip the blush. 

The formula is highly saturated so no need to over-apply when sweeping it onto the cheeks or along the nose and the silver undertone revives dull complexions to bring health and vitality to sallow skin. For a bit more glitz you can also use it as shadow to enhance the eyes and it retails for just $9.95.

From ravishing sunset hues to impeccable ocean blue the Summer Creation Collection will definitely help you shine this season! These products will be available as of June 2015 in all Yves Rocher stores and via the website at: 

*Press samples featured 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Purminerals Flawless in Bloom Limited Edition Collection

When a brand offers an impressive abundance of fresh seasonal colors and trendy finishes it can be difficult to make a selection, especially if you are unfamiliar with the products. The Flowers in Bloom collection by Purminerals makes the process easier by combining an exciting range of bestselling essentials infused with eye-catching hues and warm weather faves!

The cute makeup bag is super trendy, fits all of my spring must-haves and stylishly slips into a purse, tote or beach bag. Although it doesn’t have compartments the flashy print is fun and feminine and if you want to spruce up your outfits you can also use it as a clutch!

When things heat up I love getting my blush-on and the pinks and corals are always a great choice. The collection includes a petal perfect shimmer-pink blush called Rosebud which has a luminous finish and buildable coverage. When applied on the skin this light, radiant hue highlights for beautiful dimension and a subtle flush of color. I think this shade would adapt beautifully to most complexions and the smooth, silky texture feels luxurious and covers consistently. I love the slight sheen it produces especially when illuminated by the sun and it is definitely going with me on my next vacation! (This blush is limited edition).

For fun summer socials, evenings with the girls and date nights lashes and lip color is a must! The lip gloss in the shade Tickled provides sheer coverage and a dose of creamy hydration for days when your lipstick has worn away and you need something shiny and moist to soothe dryness and make your pout pop. The color is very subtle and void of glitter for those who prefer something simple without the extra pizzazz. It can also be applied on top of your favorite pink lipsticks for a boost of moisture and the texture is non-sticky with a hint of sweetness. I think a neutral, comfortable lip color is always handy to have on-hand.

The Big Look Mascara in the kit is travel size yet the brush is full size so you can still coat all of your lashes in one swipe. Although the top of the wand does tend to collect a lot of the liquid which can get a bit messy I love the study, spindly bristles that efficiently grip to volumize, separate, lengthen and plump!

No spring or summer look is complete without some highlight and I love shimmering-up for a radiant finish. The Mineral Glow/Afterglow Highlighter may not look very exciting in the pan or photos but when applied to the skin it gives you the best of both worlds- shimmery silver highlight and shimmery gold highlight to compliment your creations. The silver brings out an iridescent glow while the gold warms up the face with a summery bronze tint. Both shades are lightweight, velvety and buildable with great coverage and pigmentation. This compact is ideal for travel since it is the only highlight you need to pack!

The Collection retails for $39.00 and you can pick it up at Shoppers Drug Mart.  

*Press samples featured

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bioderma Review: Must-Have Beauty Essentials

Most makeup lovers would agree that creating glamour is fun but removing it is a pain in the butt! When it comes to painting on the glitter, extending my lashes to the limits and indulging in pouty, lip staining hues I don’t hold back and with Bioderma pore clogging makeup and waterproof formulas don’t stand a chance! 

The Sensibio H2O makeup removing micelle solution annihilates stubborn formulas including foundation, water resistant mascara, eye shadow and even heavy SPF moisturizes. The refreshing solution does a great job at cleansing the skin while removing dirt, build-up, impurities and excess oil with a paraben free, hypoallergenic formula compatible with all skin types including the most sensitive.

I use the Bioderma makeup wipes prior to deep cleansing and the micelle water takes care of whatever is left behind including eye makeup that has been plastered on for the long haul. There is no need to rinse after use so for long flights, or late nights when all you want to do is face plant on your bed this helps eliminate the need for soapy cleansers. Although the Sensibio H2O does have a refreshing effect similar to toner it revitalizes and hydrates without drying alcohol or fragrance so skin is not tight and stripped. It retails for $19.95.

I go through makeup wipes as fast as Carrie Bradshaw changes stilettos so I've used many brands and I've learned that “sensitive” doesn't always mean non-irritating. One thing that makes these plush wipes a beauty bag essential is that they don’t burn my skin and eyes. They lovingly obliterate your artistic placement of blush, bronzer and highlight while soothing fragile, intolerant skin.

The wipes are also soaked in an active micellar solution compatible with the skin’s fatty acid esters that help rebuild the hydrolipidic film- (aka the skin’s natural protective barrier that retains moisture and protects against germs and bacteria). They also do a decent job at removing the majority of makeup and if I don’t have cotton pads on-hand I use some of the liquid H2O micelle solution to dampen the soft fabric and soak off crunchy mascara and water resistant formulas. The wipes retails for $14.95.

In anticipation of bright summer colors I've been exfoliating my lips more often and partaking in a little moisture binge. Vibrant red, orange or pink lipstick smeared over chapped skin is not cute so treat peeling and roughness with the Atoderm Lèvres Moisturizing Stick. As someone who is no stranger to hoarding lip balms in every crevice of my house I know what I’m looking for in a formula and this creamy stick has it all! It provides instant relief of dryness, deeply hydrates and repairs with nutritive oils, extracts and butters.

The scent is mild yet deliciously fruity and the results are long-lasting for kissably soft lips. The balm retail for $6.95 and has been added to my first line of defense when battling dehydrated skin.

Last but not least is the Atoderm Crème for dry to very dry sensitive skin because no one likes ashy elbows and knees when trying to look cute in a stylish summer dress. This formula is ultra-rich and restructuring with active ingredients that reinforce and strengthens the skin’s moisture level. It is light enough for summer and effective enough for harsh winter wind by creating a protective barrier that deflects the penetration or irritating elements.

Enriched with conditioning agents the cream holds water in the upper layers of the skin which prevents evaporation and recurring dryness. I love how silky, healthy and supple my body feels when I use this and the results last all day! The lotion retails for $28.95.

If you haven’t tried anything from Bioderma yet I recommend doing so. They are very accessible at drugstores across Canada and although the products cost more I don't cut corners when it comes to my skin and the quality speaks for itself!

*Press samples featured 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mark Cosmetics Buenos Aires Vibe Collection

Mark Cosmetics is channeling warm sunny vibes and the electric tango fuelled excitement of Buenos Aires with a vibrant new collection. The sizzling tropical colors, wild, sensual fragrance and floral prints set the mood for a summer of fun!

The Buenos Aires Eau de Toilette Spray is an indulgent, fruity-floral escape that awakens the senses and evokes playful simplicity. With fresh notes of juicy passion fruit, mauve violet and warm musk the sent is light enough for day wear and sensuously romantic for evenings. I love the combination of deep sultry notes with the crisp, refreshing sweetness and it fades beautifully into a stimulating, modern aroma that you will want to use again and again! The fragrance is packaged in an eye catching tropical bottle and retails for $28.00.

The new nailed it mini lacquer set retails for $9.00 and you get two travel friendly, trendy limited edition shades. Futbol Blue inspired by the Buenos Aires hometown soccer team is a mysterious dark blue with a beautiful duo chrome purple infusion. Palermo Purple is a stunning purple-pink with a swirl of silver shimmer!

The Argentinean inspired set also includes a blush+bronzer compact, waterproof gel eyeliner and the caliente eye shadow palette all of which you can pick up at or through independent consultants. The cute triple compartment makeup bag featured above is also from Mark.

*Press samples featured 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Beauty Box Five May 2015

I can’t believe it’s almost June! The days seem to be flying by in a blur of great events, scrumptious food, glam makeup and sunny weekends! This month’s beauty box theme is “S.O.S” – aka: super outstanding skin, plus great makeup and grooming tools.

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. 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 1-3 full sized items. It is a great way to sample a variety of new brands.

Essenza Luxury Hand Soap (sample size included)
If you enjoy the scent of fresh herbs and botanical goodness then you will love the rosemary mint hand soap infused with essential oils. As someone who likes living a germ-free life (or as close to germ-free as possible) I wash my hands frequently. Mild, nourishing formulas keep my hands from drying out and my manis looking fresh and this one is enriched with shea butter, aloe leaf juice, flower extract, grape, witch hazel, horse chestnut and all sorts of  natural bark and stems. The 16.9 oz retails for just $4.99.

Bio Swiss Stainless Steel Mini Tweezers (value-$4.99)
I always pack my tweezers when I travel so this is a great inclusion and a nifty tool to have for touch-ups on the go. The tube conveniently slips into your purse just in case stray hairs needs to be kept in check.

Styli-Style Blush/Highlighter Stick (full size included- $5.99)
When I first saw this blush it didn't wow me but after swatching it I fell in love with the color! These little tubes are also great for travel or short weekend getaways and you can quickly sweep them onto the cheeks without a brush which makes them super handy to have around. The shade I have is called Bittersweet- a pretty apricot gold that provides warm color plus sheer, subtle shimmer for that coveted summer glow. The formula is smooth and creamy so it glides on well for great coverage and a little sculpting. The box also included a voucher for 25% off my next Styli-Style order and I do love their spring lipsticks

Dermalogica Active Moist (sample size included) & Coastal Scents Classic Synthetic Brush (full size included- $1.95-$2.49)
I am a huge fan of dermalogica products and their fabulous range targets all skin types and concerns. The oil-free moisturizer has silk amino acids and a super lightweight texture that softens, smooths, conditions, evens texture and provides a great base for makeup. It is also very gentle on sensitive skin.

Getting another makeup brush is always a bonus and although this one from Coastal Scents is soft and ideal for patting on eyeshadow it is a tad large, especially for smaller lids. For the price however the quality of the bristles are quite good.

Although May’s box didn't have as many full-size products as its predecessors I still enjoyed everything in it and I’m looking forward to next month’s goodies! For more info on this subscription click- HERE.

*Press samples featured 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Essence Cosmetics 2015 Spring and Summer Collection!

A few weeks ago Essence Cosmetics rolled out the purple carpet and hosted a princess themed party to debut their spring/summer collection. The event was a royal affair complete with sweet table, signature cocktail, manicure booth, makeup retouch station oh and did I mention it was hosted in a castle! Casa Loma to be exact, one of Toronto’s most beloved historical sites.

As we “princesses” for a day perused the room swatching beautiful colors and munching on popcorn, purple cotton candy, cupcakes and hors d’oeuvres The Princess Bride was playing in the background for those who wanted to kick back with a fluffy pillow and enjoy a film. After getting my nails decked out in some fabulous glitter I had a chance to take a closer look at all the makeup and play around with the bold shades, quality formulas and classic favorites.

The goodie bag was loaded with beautiful summer must-haves all for under $5 and since I am a total fan girl and frequently stalk the Essence booth at my local Shoppers Drug Mart I'm excited to dig in and start creating some summery makeup looks!

I love the packaging of the mini lip gloss set in 06 Paris, ma jolie - (Pais, my pretty). These cuties slip into the smallest handbags and you can even take the entire box on the go. The shades are all on the nude side with 2 pale pinks and 1 clear sparkly finish. 

Although the sweet formula is a bit sticky it adheres well which may extend the wear and keep lips supple and shiny.

The Lash Princess Mascara is designed for long, voluminous, fluttering lashes with a curved brush that lifts and extends. The rich black formula coats each hair to beautifully enhance the eyes and although over-applying may form clumps you can avoid this by combing the lashes more thoroughly. I like to pair it with my Essence I love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara for more thickness and intensity- the Princess Mascara retails for $4.99.

If you love smokey eye shadow like I do then these little sets will come in handy! Each palette includes 3 shades (deep, medium and light) with both matte and shimmer finishes for the lids, crease and brow bone. 01 Smokey Night is my favorite because I think the black-silver combo is very glam for evenings out. 02 Smokey Day is neutral with bronzy-taupe and silvery hues.

Although the formula is quite basic the pigmentation of the shadows can be intensified for more drama and the texture is smooth and silky. I recommend using a primer for best results but I had no issues with creasing and they are perfect travel size! The palettes retails for $3.99 each.

Since I am a bit of a lip product fanatic the Longlasting Lipsticks are some of my favorites and I now own the entire collection! They glide on super creamy, smooth and slightly shiny with buildable pigmentation and lush suppleness. The variety of shade options is wonderful with stunning hues suitable for every season and occasion and the buttery color is full- coverage, consistent and easy to apply.

The comfortable formula keeps lips hydrated and there are also a few gorgeous matte options if you prefer less shine. The lipsticks retail for just $3.49 each and if you haven't picked some up yet I highly recommend them!  

Shades from left to right: 11 Nude Love, 12 Blush My Lips, 07 Natural Beauty, 03 Dare to Wear

For all you gloss junkies Essence has also added 2 new shades to their popular XXXL Shine Collection. Cute Pink is sheer and luminous with fine micro glitter for a little dazzle. Fabulous Fuchsia is actually more of a berry hue void of sparkle but packed with a brilliant dose of shine to enhance your pout with a glassy effect. The formula smells delicious, moisturizes dry lips and applies creamy and smooth with no stickiness. The gloss retails for $2.99 each.

I've become a bit of a Metal Glam veteran as I've been using these shadows since they were released and my collection will happily welcome more glitz. Frosted Apple is a pretty shimmery pink I've used before but Choco-Chic is a gorgeous toasted bronze that I’m looking forward playing around with. The top layer of dense glitter is an overspray but the creamy color underneath is shimmery metallic and just as pretty! The shadows retail for $3.49 ea

Continuing with the metallic theme the 3D eye shadows are back “and better than ever” with a brand new texture and formula. The “high intensity pigments” range from neutrals to jewel tones with full coverage shimmer that highlights and contours. The shadows are paired beautifully for quick application and although the color payoff and consistency seems to vary by shade when paired with primer they work pretty well. I do prefer the texture and finish of the Metal Glam shadows but these retail for $3.99 and are available in 6 duos.

Shades: 04 Irresistible Caramel Cream and 07 Irrisistable Fullmoon Flash.

I'm all about a quick mani and a fast drying formula so the Color and Go polishes are also some of my must-haves. There are 18 fabulous shades that are rich, vivid, creamy and trendy! The polishes are now free of nail damaging ingredients and I love that many of them apply opaque in just one coat!

The Shake me I'm Pretty top coat is like a beautiful winter snow globe! As you shake the polish the mico-glitter particles disperse through the clear formula to mix and create a cool holographic effect. You can apply it alone or over any nail polish for extra bling, dimension and texture.

The Effect Nail Polishes come in an exciting array of fashionable effects like glitter, jewels, sparking sugar, denim and polka dots with bright, glossy finishes that create unique styles. These glimmering beauties make nail art a lot more doable and many of the formulas look amazing on their own or used for accent nails. They retail for $3.49 each.

A couple other items I picked up at the party were the Plump No Clump Volume Mascara and with a name like that who could resist! I also needed more blotting sheets since the weather is warming up and these are great for eliminating excess oil and shine.

Essence Cosmetics is sold at Ulta, Fred Meyer stores worldwide and Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada.

*Press samples featured 
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