Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation Review

I’ve heard and read a lot of great things about Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation and when I was being color matched at their beauty bar a few weeks ago, the Makeup Artist informed me that among their selection this formula is ideal for good coverage and long-wear.

When you are in the medium-tanned range, finding a foundation can be an exasperating journey of trial and error but I was expertly matched with 4W2 Toasty Toffee which I was told would be my “perfect color” with no need to mix shades!

My first impression of the formula was favorable. I liked the consistency - it wasn’t too runny or thick and the application is quite smooth, lightweight and silky. The finish is semi-matte and oil-free so it retains some moisture and dewiness without making you look greasy.

The liquid is easy to apply with a Beauty Blender or Kat Von D's Lock-It Foundation Brush (which I am currently obsessed with) and it blends consistently for even coating. The coverage is light to medium and although I usually go for full-coverage the color is buildable so I am able to layer and conceal my problem areas for a flawless complexion. The foundation held up well through humidity and although it does transfer, I didn’t experience much fading.

The packaging is hard to use and a little messy since the opening is just a wide hole that you must pour from without much control over quantity. I’m not sure if the brand offers some kind of pump but that would be helpful.

Under my vanity lights this shade seemed to match well without harsh undertones that can make skin appear too red, yellow or grey. Luckily I always test foundation when I don’t have press events or anything important to do because by the time I arrived at my mom’s house an hour or two later, the formula had already oxidized. When foundation is exposed to elements like sun or even your own sweat it may change color and that is exactly what happened. My family actually noticed it first by asking me if I had tanned or been baking in the sun too long which I avoid doing to preserve my skin. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed and my sister informed me that she too experience similar results while testing this foundation. I don’t know if this issue is more prevalent within certain shades but I was really hoping to find my “holy grail” formulation.

I guess my tiring search for the perfect foundation must continue and until then I will stick to mixing, matching and using old reliable faves that work well enough.

The Double Wear Foundation retails for $45.00 and you can find Estee Lauder in department stores and Sephora.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Clarins Booster Review

We’ve all had those skin damaging experiences - grueling workdays, sleepless nights, long tiring flights and even exposure to damaging UV and pollution. Life can get pretty hectic but your skin doesn’t have to show it if you indulge in a rejuvenating complexion treatment with Clarins new skin enhancing boosters.

There are 3 boosters to choose from retailing for $40.00 each and I was also sent a portable cell phone charger for a little battery boost on-the-go! These fabulous elixirs (as I like to call them) are formulated for your busy lifestyle and backed by 10 years of extensive research!

The Energy Booster - for fatigued skin helps tone, re-energize and revive radiance to minimize the visible signs to exhaustion. Simply put - use this formula when you don’t want to look haggard and zombie-like. The serum is enhanced with a blast of ginseng which is known in the Chinese culture to stimulate the epidermis and minimize dullness. This is great for late nights, jet lag, tired parents, work related stress and even after a strenuous workout.

The Repair Booster strengthens weakened skin to reduce discomfort and minimize redness with Mimosa Tenuiflora (obtained from tree bark). This particular bark has been known to heal wounds and restore damaged skin with antibacterial and soothing properties. You can use this booster after exposure to extreme climates and it may help alleviate irritation from hard, salt or chlorinated water and minor cosmetic treatments. I also use it after exfoliation and when I get my eyebrows threaded as it nourishes the hairs and helps relieve those sensitive areas.

The Detox Booster was made for congested skin. It revives radiance, detoxifies with green coffee extract, and plumps to diminish damage caused by late night partying and booze, fatty fried foods, smoking and extreme pollution.

By simply adding 3-5 drops to your moisturizer or masks you can use the boosters any time your skin needs a little restoration. They can also be used on their own and I like to mix formulas after long vacations of staying up late, overeating, sun exposure and straying from my usual skincare routine.  

Although the bottles are small enough to slip into a purse or travel bag, the formula is highly concentrated for optimum potency and visible results. Instead of common medicine dropper applicators which can still distribute too much product, these tubes have a built-in dispenser button on the bottom which you press to extract the perfect amount of booster without waste.

The texture is similar to an oil-serum blend with the skin conditioning finish of a moisturizer minus the greasy residue. They absorb quickly and make my skin feel supple, soft and hydrated plus the scent is light and natural.

I’ve been adding the boosters to just about everything I put on my face and the results have been great especially on dry areas that need a little extra care. You can find Clarins products at, department stores and Sephora.

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Burberry Black - Perfume Review

As I make my way around the bustling city attending media events, parties and festivals, My Burberry has been one of my go-to fragrances for every occasion. I love how the sophisticated, elegant aroma puts the perfect finishing touch on all my outfits and the seductive scent lasts as long as my day does.

Recently the brand released Burberry Black - an intense, sensual interpretation of the original fragrance that was inspired by their iconic trench coat. Everything about this new scent is warm, bold and exhilarating! From the mysterious amber bottle tied with a sleek black ribbon to the expensive, richness of the well blended, intoxicating notes.

The brand has even gone a step further to etch my initials into the bottle which you can have done at select stores. For holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions, this personalized touch makes gift giving even more special.

The main notes include an intricate fusion of sun-drenched jasmine, scintillating peach nectar, candied rose and a base of warm amber and patchouli - reminiscent of an English garden at dusk. Although I can still detect similarities between the core notes of Burberry Black and the original, the new blend evokes a deep, smoldering essence paired with bright sweetness to create a provocative contrast. When I want to tone down the sugary elements, I simply apply the perfume more sparingly and I like that it works beautifully with my body chemistry without fading very much.

The 90 ml bottle featured here retails for $138.00 and it is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Hudson’s Bay, Sephora, Nordstrom, Murale and Jean Coutu. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Quo Limited Edition Fall 2016 Collection Review

I am so ready for cool temperatures, pumpkin spiced lattes, warm fluffy scarves and the rich colors of autumn. I enjoy summer but I’ve had enough of this hair frizzing humidity, so today I’m celebrating the coming season with new makeup from Quo!

The brand did a great job creating eye-catching packaging! The durable palettes are beautifully designed with deep purple casing etched with a sleek leaf design. 

There are 3 new eye shadow palettes to choose from including Plum Perfect, Clean Sweep and Neutral Ground - each with 10 expertly matched shades.

Clean Sweep is not your traditional fall themed palette of rich, seductive tones. Instead it contains neutral, cool hues like baby blue, cream, gold and champagne contrasted with deep blues and grey. I'm not usually drawn to this particular shade combination as there are quite a few shadows with white undertones but I do like that I can create smokiness with the navy and fresh day looks with the golds.

The light milky blue looks great against the dark blues and the cream is a nice brow highlight. I didn't think these shades were my style but once applied I really liked them!

If you crave traditional fall colors then the Plum Palette is probably your best bet. It has a dazzling array of shimmers including a pretty bronze embedded with golden flecks and a great range of soft mattes. The deep plum-brown, orange-red and black look stunning in the crease and you can use them to define and shape. I use the pink-cream hue to blend or transition and the glittery colors work well on the lids.

Throughout both palettes the pigmentation varies by shade and most apply sheer to medium coverage. With a good primer the deeper hues can be intensified substantially and even though the color pay-off isn’t quite as saturated as I prefer, with a little layering I can still achieve vivid results. The smooth, silky texture is easy to blend with no fall-out or creasing. The palettes retail for $18.00 each.

Here are a few swatches of my favorite shades from both palettes 

The Quo Matte Lipsticks are completely on-trend with the fall theme. Mysterious (my personal fave) is a deep, sultry berry-wine. Red Alert is a classic bright red and Brandy is a soft muted pink that I think everyone is going to love! The lipsticks are suitable for all complexions and they glide on buttery smooth with an ultra lightweight texture, creamy moisturizing formula and fabulous pigmentation. I love the comfortable matte finish and you don’t have to worry about the color settling into the skin or drying out the lips. If you need (or want) some new lipsticks for fall I highly recommend checking these out. They retail for $14.00 each.

The Brow Palette comes with two powders (light and dark), a small brush and an eyebrow cream that helps set the hairs and color. I think this is the only shade option available and unfortunately with my dark black hair the powder didn’t work for me, I’m actually more of a gel-filler kind of girl. If you are in the auburn range however you may want to give this a try, it retails for just $12.00.

There are 2 new face palettes in this limited edition collection and I have Perfectly Ordinary which has a beautiful balance of golden pink and brown tones. I absolutely love this compact! The two shimmery hues are incredibly soft and velvety for easy application and blending and the pigmentation is buildable and versatile. These pretty hues maintain your summer glow with luminous skin enhancing shimmer and they go from sheer radiance to high impact for a strobing effect.

The blush in this palette is matte, creamy and neutral so it matches well with the highlight. The pink-mauve undertone is a refreshing break from all the bright pinks and coral blushes of summer and it compliments my skin tone wonderfully. Hands down one of the best products in this range! The compact retails for $20.00.

Quo is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart and this collection will hit stores mid-September. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Estee Lauder Fall 2016 Beauty Collection: Skincare, Makeup & Fragrance

Recently we’ve been experiencing cooler weather and I am so thrilled! The changing temperature signals a seasonal transition and today I am going to share some of the new fall launches from Estēe Lauder.

I adore Aerin’s Tangier Vanille Eau de Parfum so much that I have been wearing it to all my recent soirees. Perfume is very difficult to review because it is one of those things you have to experience for yourself to really appreciate. I’d describe this aroma as sensual, bold, fiery, feminine and sophisticated. The scent was inspired by the legendary gardens and exotic bazaars of Morocco and although it does emit an aura of mystery it smells very elegant, expensive and timeless which is perfect for a night out and still suitable for day wear.

At the heart of the irresistible scent there is warm, soothing Madagascar vanilla that beautifully combines with top notes of crisp sun-drenched bergamot, rich Bulgarian rose and base notes of velvety amber, lush sandalwood and feathery-soft musk. I think this fragrance would appeal to most women because none of the ingredients are overpoweringly sweet, floral or deep and it lasts all day without fading very much. The standard size - 1.7 oz retails for $130.00.

I am a big fan of the Pure Color Envy Lipsticks and recently the popular collection gained a new light sculpting formula for a hi-luster finish. There are 12 sultry shades available in luxurious magnetic packaging. The formula is buttery and smooth for effortless glide and the saturated pigment drenches lips in layers of gorgeous satiny color. The light reflecting sheen makes lips appear full, pouty and dazzling without feeling glossy or slick. I also like that it provides lots of lustrous moisture with nourishing fruit oils and rich butters. The shade below is 410 Power Mode which is a soft pink-mauve. The lipsticks retail for $36.00 each.

For someone who has tried and tested countless amount of skincare, it’s a pretty big deal when I award a product “holy grail” status but I have! The Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme is a must if you crave supple, silky, resilient skin. The luxurious formula is infused with Moringa Extract which firms and amplifies collagen and elastin to help tone your profile and reduce the look of lines and wrinkles.

For me the biggest selling point is the velvety dose of hydration and the instant transformation I feel in the texture of my skin. If you have dry to very dry skin you need to get your hands on this! When I first applied it, I literally gasped at the results and how soft and conditioned my skin felt. The ultra-rich consistency makes a fabulous regenerating night cream and in the morning I awake to dewy, fresh, glowing skin. It may be a little too heavy for day wear during the warm summer months but it is definitely one of my new “holy grail” creams for a complete complexion boost. The 50 ml jar featured here retails for $94.00 and the smaller size is $64.00.

I also received the Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum which is new to me since I hadn’t previously tried this line but I assume that it is also owned by Estēe Lauder. The serum treats redness, evens the complexion and calms sensitive skin including rosacea. I don’t usually suffer from redness (unless you count the occasional pimple) but I do experience some irritation. I didn’t find the formula particularly hydrating and the texture is a bit runny but it does help alleviate discomfort. I couldn’t find a Canadian price but the serum retails for about $88.00 U.S.

The Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam is a milky, hydrating emulsion that can be massaged over damp skin to cleanse. The airy cream helps rinse away dirt, excess oil, pollutants and makeup to purify and refresh. Although I appreciate how conditioning and soft the cleanser leaves my skin, I do have to use a makeup wipe first to remove the majority of my foundation as the formula takes a bit longer to break down oil based substances. The foam is very gentle and non-stripping so my face doesn’t feel dry or tight after use. You can pick it up for $36.00.

Estēe Lauder can be found in department stores including Hudson’s Bay, Sears and Sephora.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks & Refillable Eye Shadow Palette

Today I’m attending the Arden Beauty VIP Dinner hosted by Dave Lackie - Cityline’s Beauty Expert. In the spirit of celebrating my final few summer parties before fall events begin, I decided to feature some bright, fun lip colors from NYX.

The Liquid Suede Lipsticks have been around for awhile but for those who haven’t discovered the vibrant, bold color, you may want to grab a drink and get comfy. These products have become so popular that many shades are often sold out and beauty junkies on Instagram have been on a swatching frenzy!

The shades I have are: Tea & Cookies (muted tea rose pink), Pink Lust, Amethyst and Life’s a Beach (bright coral). The deep, sultry purple is a very hot shade right now and one of their bestsellers.

What makes this formula so impressive is the highly saturated, intense color pay-off. If you shy away from vivid color and stick to nutrals then these striking pigments may be a little too much gorgeousness for you to handle. Since I love eye-catching color, I’ve totally embraced the suede ferocity and the shade selection is very eclectic including everything from nude, mauve, red and pink to bright sky blue, navy, lavender and black!

Since the colors are so high impact they apply full coverage in just one swipe with a creamy easy to spread texture. The more you apply, the longer it takes to dry and although there is some initial shine the color eventually sets matte with a waterproof finish. I don't find the consistency uncomfortable as the stain does retain some moisture but they dry quite flat - very similar to a lacquer. The Liquid Lipsticks retail for $10 each and I highly recommend checking them out.

NYX also sells magnetic refillable Pro Palettes which you can load with single shadows to create your own kaleidoscope of color. I got the 4 slot palette and added a frosty silver, glittery navy, coppery gold and a deep purple shimmer. The shadows are smooth, non-creasing, easy to apply and silky with great pigmentation and beautiful finishes. They retail for $6.00 each.

If you want to enhance your shadows the NYX cream base smooths the skin to creates a nice even canvass. It is available in 3 shades - white, skin tone and white pearl which is the one I have. The pearl has a shimmer-glitter finish so it is best used to brighten, intensify and prolong the durability of shimmer shadows like the shades above. The primers retail for $10.00.

I’ve also been testing the Multitasker which is another type of base that can be used under shadow to help control the texture, finish and application of your favorite pigments. The clear gel also prevents fallout and creasing plus you can mix some into loose eye shadow to make gel eyeliner! It creates a great surface for adhesion so that shadows cling to the skin more efficiently and last longer without smudging, creasing or fading. I actually really like this product as a primer and it retails for just $9.00.

You can find a NYX at their store in Square One, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs and Rexall

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche La Palette Lip in Ruby: Review & Swatches

I have quite a few lip palettes in my collection but many are too large for use on-the-go and they don’t usually come with a lip brush which I always seem to forget! L’Oreal’s La Palette Lip is different and definitely more usable. It contains 5 pretty hues in a travel friendly, lightweight compact that is equipped with a little mirror and a small but handy applicator.

The range of color is great for professional makeup kits or personal use and the pigments have a variety of undertones to compliment all complexions. You can also can mix, match and layer to customize and find your perfect red. My skin tone is in the medium range so I’m comfortable with all of these shades and the colors are tinted with deep berry, wine, brick-red, pink, and orange to help you transition through the seasons.

The texture is creamy and the base seems to contain  a bit of oil so you can also use a finger for quick application. The pigment glides on well and provides sheer, juicy color that can be amped-up to medium coverage for more intensity. The finish is shiny, vibrant and luminous yet still quite rich and the texture reminds me of a gloss-lipstick hybrid with a light, comfortable consistency and lots of glistening moisture to prevent dry skin.

If you like having a selection of trendy colors on-hand without having to carry around several different lipsticks this is a great option and the back of the packaging even has instructions on how to create a fun ombre effect with dark, medium and light shades for contrast and highlight.

The palette is also available in a nude collection and retails for $19.99 CAD. You can pick it up at drugstores nationwide.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Loreal Pure-Clay Mask Review

Monday is not usually a day we look forward to as another hectic week looms ahead but I’m in a good mood because L’Oreal has recently launched a new skincare collection! Sunday is when I pamper my skin, so yesterday I slathered on one of these clay masks, grabbed a book and relaxed as the summer breeze wafted through my bedroom window.

There are three masks in this collection and each contains three key ingredients sourced from regions around the world. Kaolinite (found in kaolin clay) is known for its absorbent properties and helps rid the skin of impurities, build-up and excess shine without stripping away too much natural oil. Montmorillonite (derived from igneous rock) purifies and rebalances while Rhassoul volcanic clay from Morocco removes toxins and dead cells to soften and smooth.

In addition to these nourishing minerals, each mask is enhanced with an ingredient selected for a specific skin concern. The terracotta colored clay (infused with red algae) exfoliates, diminishes imperfections and addresses clogged, enlarged pores by polishing, cleansing tightening and refining.

The grey mask purifies and mattifies with a calming blend of eucalyptus. It works by absorbing impurities, unclogging pores and eradicating excess shine and oil.

The black mask (my personal fave), uses potent charcoal to brighten, revive and even out dull skin. This formula acts like a detoxifying magnet to draw out dust, dirt, pollutants and makeup for a fresh, healthy complexion.

All of these deep cleansing masks have a pleasant aroma and efficiently eliminate blemish causing gunk that can also lead to acne. The creamy, lush formulas are easy to apply and they coat well for optimum results. The treatments only take ten minutes but if the clay dries out before then, I simply spritz my face with water from a spray bottle to remoisten.

Like many clay masks, these also make my face feel tight and stiff as they dry and suck out impurities but after rinsing my skin is soft, supple, clean and rejuvenated which is totally worth a little discomfort. I recommend following up with a good moisturizer and not using the masks after exfoliating, microdermabrasion or resurfacing as it can sting. Overall these make great weekly treatments!

The masks retail for $19.99 each and you can find them at drugstores nationwide

Friday, August 19, 2016

GOSH Cosmetics Review

As you know, I have tried many beauty brands but there are still some great collections that have eluded me. GOSH is one of many brands that has caught my eye while browsing the makeup isles at Shoppers Drug Mart but I never really stopped to play around with the collection until now and I have to say, the colors are SO my style!

After a little research on trusty old Google, I learned that the cosmetic line began in Copenhagen and has now branched out to 75 countries worldwide with development and distribution in Denmark. The most important thing is quality, color, ease of application and longevity which is what I will explore in today’s blog debut.

When I saw the Velvet Touch Matte Lipsticks I just knew I had to have them! There are about 12 swoon-worthy shades in the collection which is not a large range but the colors are very eye-catching! Of course I went for the bold, vibrant, glamorous hues that are great for all season and complexions. These lipsticks provide medium coverage when layered heavier and they adhere better if lips are completely dry, which means no lip balm underneath. Although the formula is a bit creamy, I wouldn’t say the color glides on effortlessly. I did notice some drag and certain shades start off quite sheer requiring a few more swipes to intensify. Once you get a good dose of color going, they do look good but I would have liked a little more smoothness.

Since these are true mattes, they make lips look full and vivid without any shine. The formula is also infused with natural waxes and hyaluronic acid which provides just enough moisture, comfort and suppleness. The texture is so lightweight I often forget I’m wearing lipstick and the color fades into a nice stain.

Classic Red, Raspberry & Plum

My favorite fall shade is 008 Plum which is a rich wine-berry. The lipsticks retail for $14.00 each.

It was difficult to capture the true gorgeousness of the Eyelight Trios in photos because they are much prettier on the skin and the quality is great. The luxurious texture is creamy, rich, soft, smooth and highly pigmented for easy blending with tons of high impact color. I didn’t expect the formula to be so impressive but they do rival some of the best drugstore brands. Don’t let their simple appearance fool you, these shadows have a beautiful range of finishes from radiant shimmer, brilliant sparkle and deeper mattes to create a nice contrast. The shades are expertly matched for creating quick, stunning looks.

002 Fairytale includes purple-silver, purple-pink and soft metallic pink. I am totally obsessed with this combo and since it fits the glittering fantasy theme, I recently used it for an event that was hosted in a castle!

004 Vanilla Sky is the perfect palette for anyone who loves blue. The middle shade has a bright shimmer finish which looks lovely paired with the deep teal blue. The palettes retail for $16.00 each.

If you need a primer to go with those pretty pigments, the Illuminating Eye Roll-On makes a good colorless base that slightly hydrates, prolongs pigments, diminishes fine lines and smooths the skin in preparation for shadow application. Because the finish has a colorless illuminating base, it blurs dark circles and bags for a refreshed, bright appearance. The primer is made without preservatives and retails for $18.00.

I enjoy a good lip lacquer because they usually pack a bold punch of color and these little bottles are cute! I don’t think these shades have quite reached lacquer status but the bright bubble gum pink called Crispy Lips comes pretty darn close. It has a moisturizing gloss-cream consistency that is easy to layer and the color is quite intense. The orangey red called Hot Lips is more of a gloss with a sheer, comfortable tint. Since the color pay-off varies, I suggest swatching the shades in-store but overall, not bad. They retail for $12.00 ea.

I also have The Forever Lip Shine in the shade My Valentine which is I assumed would be simple, sheer and shiny but it turned out to be bold, bright and fabulous! The twist-up pencil design makes it easy to shape and sculpt your pout and the pigmentation is full-coverage with a texture that glides across the skin buttery smooth and drenches lips in vivid, saturated color. I think the brand should have released these as lip lacquers instead because they definitely deliver on hydration, comfort, and intensity. The Lip Shine retails for $15.00.

GOSH Cosmetics is available at Shoppers Drug Mart
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