Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Spring Essentials & Accessories from Avon

To help get you ready for spring Avon has released a collection of cute floral accessories in coordinating prints and stylish colors! The canvass tote bag is sturdy, feminine and large enough to hold all your essentials. The dark background with pops of bright pink goes well with casual wear and is perfect for weekend getaways, beach vacations, picnics in the park, running errands and even a day out with the girls. I can already see myself strolling around Niagara Falls (one of my favorite places to unwind on a warm day) with this cute tote slung over my shoulder and the matching travel mug in-hand, sipping a caramel latte. It retails for $29.99.

The travel mug ($14.99) has the same trendy design as the bag (so you look totally fashionable) and the thick ceramic keeps beverages warm. The “hello beautiful” print and the vivid colors is an uplifting way to start the day.

Just when I thought this set couldn’t get any better I pulled out the adorable little manicure kit with the same motif. It comes with a cuticle clipper, nail clipper, file, scissors and cuticle pusher for $12.99.

When you’re breezing around town in style, why not wear a summery watch that effortlessly matches the rest of your outfit. This particular piece isn’t one I’d normally choose for myself but I love the bold stripes against the delicate hibiscus pattern and white band. The watch retails for $29.99.

If you travel frequently then you know how handy it is to have travel-size cases that can slip into a carry-on or weekend bag. The Be Inspired Set includes a clear sparkly bag and 3 reusable containers with room to fit more! It retails for $19.99.

Another great item for vacation is portable skincare and a sheet mask is easy to pack and very replenishing. The Anew Brightening Mask with White Pearl Essence is saturated in nutrient rich serum to correct skin tone, hydrate, soften and enhance your glow. I also use these masks when I get too much sun and want to bring my skin back to its natural tone. The Firming Mask with Royal Jelly Essence promotes firm, bouncy skin and helps diminish sagging and signs of aging. The refreshing formula also boosts moisture, balances and smooths. There are 4 masks per box and each box retails for $30.00.

For head-to-toe hydration the Skin So Soft Bath Oil fragrances the body with a sweet floral bouquet and locks in moisture with silky jojoba oil. You can pour this directly in the bath to soak the stress away or as I prefer – massage some into wet skin, lightly rinse and pat dry for supple results. The oil retails for $12.99.

You can find these items at avon.ca or through independent consultants.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Body Shop Drops Of Light Pure Healthy Brightening Serum and Tea Tree Oil Review

Today’s post is dedicated to blemished skin which is a pesky problem that can affect makeup application and put a damper on your self esteem. Currently my complexion is clear, bright and silky but occasionally I spend too much time in the sun, experience mild discoloration or get an annoying pimple that requires treatment. 

When applied on a regular basis, a brightening serum can help fade hyperpigmentation and scarring to even and correct skin tone. The Drops of Light Serum is enriched with natural plant extracts and Red Algae that contains high levels of Vitamin C to brighten, retexture, heal, smooth and nourish. This potent blend has a lightweight, non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly for a silky, supple finish and the scent is wonderful! I usually layer it under moisturizer for more hydration and after several trips to the Caribbean I’ve noticed a luminizing effect that has lifted my tan, revitalized my complexion and reversed some environmental damage. The serum retails for $38.00.

Another great product for blemished skin is the Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution Oil. The Body Shop has hand-harvested these precious organic botanicals and steam distilled the formula within 12 hours to yield the most potent Tea Tree elixir. This fragrant oil delivers an efficient dose to help balance, correct and amplify radiance for healthy looking skin. The strong herbal aroma tends to mellow with wear and 2 drops coats the entire face, absorbs deeply and leaves behind no residue. Although the texture does make skin feel soft and smooth I usually combine it with my face cream, night mask or serum for more moisture. The oil retails for $25.00.

I’ve also received some new makeup from The Body Shop including the Color Crush Matte Lipstick in the shade Osaka Plum. The formula is 100% vegetarian and enriched with Brazil Nut Oil and Beeswax for comfort. The pigment is lightweight, highly saturated and slightly creamy but there is some drag across the lips and just enough moisture to prevent dryness. It took a couple layers to achieve consistent, full-coverage color but the bold finish holds up for hours! The lipsticks are available in 7 shades and retail for $15.00 each.

The Color Crush Single Shadows are silky, pearlescent and loaded with skin loving ingredients like coconut oil, sesame and honey. They apply silky and provide sheer to full-coverage intensity depending on the shade and finish. Cocoa Deluxe is a warm radiant bronze with plum undertones and great intensity. Gold Romance is a luminous sheer cream that makes a great highlighter for the eyes and face. The shadows retail for $11.00 each but are currently on sale for $5.00 at thebodyshop.ca. You can also find these great products in-store.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mary Kay Spring 2017 Limited Edition Light Reinvented Collection Review

While testing new spring makeup I’ve come across many grey tones, neutrals and smoky hues so the Mary Kay Light Reinvented Collection is like a breath of fresh air! These pretty pastel pigments are soft and bright with luminous finishes that enhance the complexion and help you stay on-trend for the season.

On cool spring evenings the Glistening Horizon Palette makes the eyes pop with shimmery silver, iridescent deep blue, flattering purple and sky blue. The lightweight texture is sleek and easy to blend with sheer to medium color payoff and little fallout. The pigments apply well, last all day (with a good primer) and tend not to crease. I would have liked a bit more creaminess or weight for better adhesion but layering helps enhance saturation and the color combination is vivid, dramatic and eye-catching on all skin tones.

The Sunlight Palette is soft and feminine but still quite radiant. The silky pigments apply sheer to medium with the ability to be intensified and I love the bright Barbie pink, mild lavender and dazzling orange. The magnetic backing makes it easy to transfer the shadows for travel and you can mix and match in various combinations to create interesting ombré effects. The palettes retail for $26.00 each.

Mary Kay was very consistent with the color theme in this collection and the polish matches the lip gloss and shadows perfectly so you can color coordinate! These creamy, full-coverage lacquers come in 4 summery hues: (left to right) Brilliant Violet, New Blue, Luminous Mauve and Vivid Sunburst (my personal fave). The smooth formula applies full-coverage in two coats with a rich, shiny finish. They retail for $10.00 each.

The Glossy Lip Oils are lip treatments with a sheer pop of luminous, plumping color. They contain a nourishing blend of grape seed, jojoba and avocado to keep lips soft, protected and hydrated without stickiness or grease and they melt in deeply for long lasting comfort. The finishes are very subtle yet beautifully reflective and even after they wear away my lips feel supple and revitalized. The oils retail for $19.00 each.

Mary Kay is available online at marykay.ca and through independent consultants.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Too Faced & Kat Von D Better Together Ultimate Eye Collection Review

When two of your favorite makeup brands unite to create one lust-worthy collection, the results are a match made in makeup heaven! Both TooFaced and Kat Von D Beauty are well known for their phenomenal pigments and this stunning collaboration is like two popular styles colliding to create one magical blend – fresh and trendy VS rich and dramatic.

Both brands are also known for their enticing packaging and they definitely amped-up the cuteness for The Ultimate Eye Collection. The kit includes a heart shaped magnetized palette that can be split apart into halves and each side contains 6 beautiful eye shadows. It also comes with a full-size Better Than Sex Mascara and Kat’s cult favorite Tattoo Liner with 24 hour waterproof wear – all for $79.99.

When it comes to high quality, intense pigment few do it better than Kat and this palette is no exception! The shadows are soft, velvety and creamy for full-coverage vibrancy and bold finishes. The shade selection is a bit unconventional (which I love) and they work together harmoniously to create show-stopping looks. The unique shimmery red with radiant metallic undertone is like nothing I have in my collection and although some may find it difficult to pull off, when applied right it looks amazing!

The gold shade called Lovestruck applies sheer to medium but the colors are long-lasting, non-creasing and highly blendable with little fallout. Even without primer these pigments are incredibly intense but I still recommended a good base for adhesion. The matte grey, matte black and shimmery grey are perfect for a seductive smoky effect.

The Too Faced Palette is a bit softer with matte cream, soft pink, sparkling gold, silvery green, deep plum and glittery brown. These shadows are also highly pigmented, vivid, silky and impactful with more versatility for day wear. You can also mix and match both color collections for a variety of stunning creations and the shadows are well formulated for professional results.

The Better Together Cheek & Lip Makeup Bag Set is adorable! The Too Faced side is sparkly pink with a little puppy and Kat’s side is black featuring a doe-eyes kitty. Inside the heart shaped pouch you get the Candlelight Glow Highlighter, the Love Flush Blush in the shade Happy Together, Kat’s Everlasting Lipstick in XO and the Studded Kiss Lipstick in Muse.

The highlighter is one I use frequently and although the blush is soft and shimmery it needs a bit more pigmentation. 

I am totally in love with the liquid lipstick, in fact I think I found my new signature red and the golden-nude tone of the mini lipstick is very flattering. This set retails for $47.00.

Too Faced Cosmetics is available at Sephora, Ulta Beauty and online at toofaced.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Replenish Dry Skin With LUSH Moisturizers & Cleansers

The weather has finally started to warm up and here in Toronto many people are enjoying the transition. Although spring is around the corner, extreme seasonal change can cause all sorts of skin issues and dryness is a problem many of us have to deal with. Today I’ll be sharing some cult favorites from LUSH including cleanser, body conditioner and moisturizer to help start your day off right.

When I wake from my beauty sleep I groggily brush my teeth, cleanse my face and shower before starting the coffee maker. I haven’t always taken the extra time to deal with my skin first thing in the morning but adding this simple step to my daily routine has helped balance and invigorate my complexion. The Angels on Bare Skin Face & Body Cleanser is very unique! The texture is like soft Playdough made from Kaolin Clay and laden with visible pieces of dried lavender, ground almonds, rose, chamomile and more. Simply mix a piece with warm water to form a milky emulsion and massage in. The chunky bits gently exfoliate and soften while refreshing natural elements calm, smooth and hydrate. The scent is quite strong with predominate notes of fresh lavender and herbs that give off a relaxing meadowy aroma. The only downside is that it doesn’t really remove makeup or deep clean (so I don’t use it at night), it is a bit tedious to use on the entire body and cannot be applied on a cleansing brush/device. Although the crumbly consistency can be messy, the formula makes my skin resilient and supple so I use it daily to enhance my natural glow. The 100 g tub retails for $15.95.

Moringa is a “superfood” many people are raving about and in my house we use the organic powder in smoothies. The plant is rich in vitamins, nourishing fatty acids and antioxidants that have amazing anti-aging and healing benefits. The Magical Moringa Moisturizer is a thick, creamy balm loaded with Argan, Rosehip, Shea and Coco Butter for smooth, hydrated skin. Many use it as a makeup primer to create an even canvass and prolong wear. For something that looks and feels so rich in my hands I was surprised at how lightweight and matte the finish is. The balm melts in and creates a silky layer that controls oil and shine while subtly revitalizing the complexion with no residue. If you have very dry skin I wouldn’t recommend layering with oil or cream since it doesn’t seem to mix well other products and can start to flake-up when combined. Other than that Magical Moringa works well and would make a great summer moisturizer. It retails for $24.95.

After reading many great things about the African Paradise Body Conditioner I had to try it for myself. Infused with Shea Butter from Ghana, Aloe Gel from Kenya, juicy mango and nutritive oils, the lush formula softens, brightens and perfumes the skin with a buttery sweet scent that smells very exotic. Unlike a regular body cream, you apply this in the shower on wet skin and lightly rinse. It is always a good idea to use products fresh out of a warm shower while skin is slightly damp as they tend to sink in deeper, absorb more efficiently and last longer. I have also tried the conditioner outside of the shower and it hydrates thoroughly with no sticky film or residue. For winter skincare it greatly improves texture, increases moisture levels, eliminates dry, flaky patches and alleviates discomfort. It retails for $40.95.  

LUSH is available in stores and online at lush.ca

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vichy Idéalia Skincare Review

If you’re 30 or over and haven’t started an anti-aging regiment it’s time to give your beauty routine a makeover. My motivation to invest in good skincare comes from growing up and watching my mom habitually slather on sunscreen, moisturizer and masks. She is always on top of her game which is probably why at age 55 she has the skin of a 30 year old with no wrinkles, sagging or harsh lines (let’s hope I inherit those genes). I began using preventative anti-aging products in my early 20’s and I’m happy to report that I have no visible signs of aging!

To help get you started Vichy had released a luxurious line of  paraben-free skincare infused with the power of blueberries (high in antioxidants), fermented black tea extract (also known as Kombucha) and mineralizing thermal water to shrink pores, smooth fine lines, prevent wrinkles and soften. Blueberries also contain essential vitamins to fight free-radicals, heal sun damage, diminish age spots and brighten skin tone for an even, healthy complexion.

After cleansing I like to start with the Idéalia Peeling Radiance Activating Night Care. The formula contains 4% Glycolic Acid which gently exfoliates and stimulates cell regeneration to smooth skin texture and enhance vibrancy. The concentration is safe for sensitive skin and can be applied with a cotton pad daily. The light water based formula refreshes with no residue and overtime dark spots, acne scars and wrinkles fade. The peel retails for $39.95.

I’ve also been using the Idéalia Smoothness & Glow Energizing Moisturizer which comes in two formulas: one for dry skin and the other for normal to combination. This potent, hypoallergenic blend combines the freshness of a gel with the lightweight suppleness of a cream and it makes my skin incredibly soft, silky and luminous! Upon application I experience an instant boost of hydration and radiance plus the wonderful fragrance has subtle hints of white flower and delicious tea extract. The lush texture eliminates dryness all day and at night I layer it with serum to create a nourishing sleep mask! The moisturizers retail for $45.00 each.

Although I love the Energizing Creams, the ultra silky texture slightly reduces adhesion of my foundation so under makeup I opt for the Smoothing and Illuminating Gel-Cream instead. The non-greasy, antioxidant rich formula makes skin feel smooth and soft while controlling shine, and shrinking pores. The matte finish is suitable for combination to oily skin and creates an even canvass for makeup application. It retails for $39.95.

The Radiance Booster Serum has an extra blast of citrus, licorice root and energizing ingredients that combine with the berry extract to speed up results and transform your skin in just 8 days. The light texture absorbs quickly and seeps deep into the epidermis for long lasting moisture and a beautiful glow. It retails for $49.95.

This collection is also great for women who have busy schedules and suffer from lack of sleep. The nutritive elements help perk-up the complexion and diminish dullness to reduce the signs of fatigue and stress. Vichy is available at drugstores nationwide and online at vichy.ca

Monday, February 20, 2017

Annabelle Cosmetics TwistUp Metallic Retractable Lipstick Crayon Review

If you haven’t tried the TwistUp Lipsticks from Annabelle you're missing out on some seriously gorgeous pigment. The cherry shade is one of my all-time favorite deep reds for a night out and the thin crayon design is perfect for lining, shaping and filling in color.

The recent popularity of bold lip trends like color-blocking, ombré, and glitter have inspired me to step-up my game and try the new Metallic Lipsticks. Available in 6 dazzling shades these crayons glam-up your pout with shimmering finishes and vibrant pigment. Although the effect is beautifully reflective, the sparkly particles embedded in the formula are well blended for smooth, consistent coverage. The creamy texture glides on effortlessly with no glittery mess and adheres well for hours of comfortable wear.

The metallic effect definitely adds a unique twist to these bright, flattering colors and the infusion of omega oils and shea butter keeps lips moisturized and soft. The crayons don’t require sharpening and the buildable color allows you to layer and enhance to full-coverage saturation. The only shade that applies sheer is Nude of Fame but the finish is still very luminous.

My favorite lipstick is Heartbreaker because the mesmerizing red reminds me of Dorothy’s ruby slipper from the Wizard of Oz. I also love Rock & Rose since the vivid fuchsia looks great on all complexions and Cozy Coral is perfect for spring/summer.

Swatches from left to right: Purple Panache, Rock & Rose, Heartbreaker, Nude of fame, Cozy Coral and Heavy Petal

Annabelle Cosmetics is available at drugstores nationwide and online at annabelle.com (with shipping to the U.S.)

Friday, February 17, 2017

L’Oréal Infallible Lip Paint: Review & Swatches

Bold, show-stopping lip paints are taking over the beauty scene and I love this vibrant trend! A few weeks ago I attended a press event to preview the new Infallible Paints by L’Oréal and since then I’ve been putting the collection to the test and transitioning my look into next season with brilliant spring hues.

This line has something for everyone and the spectrum ranges from pretty purples, flattering neutrals, vivacious pink, bright orange and sexy red. The tubes come with standard gloss applicators for precise shaping and distribution plus I have no issue with feathering or bleeding. Whether you want to go dark and vampy, fresh and light or shockingly vibrant, there is a shade to suit your style, outfit and mood.

Although many of the shades are dramatic, they are easy to pull-off and the scent is pleasant. The lightweight formula glides on smooth and starts off sheer to medium with the ability to be amplified to fuller coverage by adding more layers. I do have to blend well for consistency and enhanced saturation but once spread evenly the cushiony color makes lips appear plump and juicy (which is also very on-trend).

The purples range from light, medium and deep so you can mix, match and experiment with color blocking or ombré effects. The lilac has a pastel finish and grey base which is quite unique.  

I have a love-hate relationship with nude hues, but these soft shades have pretty undertones which make them very flattering.

The comfortable formula is a gloss-cream hybrid with lots of moisture and a lovely high-shine, non-sticky finish. Because of the texture, the pigments do tend to transfer with wear or during meals but they hold up for a few hours, reapply well and don't really stain.

The vivid pinks are great for spring and look ravishing on all skin tones.

Although I would have preferred a bit more lacquer-like richness and hold, the versatility to customize intensity is generally more favorable. The formula is easy to work with and application only takes a few seconds so you can gloss-up on the go.

Coral and orange is always a good choice for summer.

I like that the brand included both classic red and deep wine to accommodate different complexions.

Swatches left to right: Lilac Lust, Violet Twist, Bewitching Bordeaux, Taupeless, Nude Star, Spicy Blush, Wild Rose, Fearless Fuchsia, Cool Coral, Orange Envy, DIY Red and Sultry Sangria.

The Lip Paints retail for $12.99 each and L’Oréal is available at drugstores nationwide.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Marcelle Cosmetics Eye Shadow Quad Review

Packing for travel is tricky when you have a large makeup stash and fighting the urge to take everything with you is a struggle only a beauty junkie understands. I’ve become somewhat of a packing expert over the years and I’m always on the hunt for products that conveniently slip into my carry-on, tote or weekend bag yet still provide the versatility to create professional looks. The Marcelle Eye Shadow Quads are great for a girl on-the-go and they come in a wide variety of shades to suit your style.

The collection includes 9 luxurious quads in a beautiful range of color combinations that can take you from soft day looks to deep smoldering effects for a night out. The shadows are so well matched that creating the perfect look is practically foolproof and the silky texture applies smooth, lightweight and crease-free. The color payoff is exquisitely rich, highly saturated and buildable so you can go from subtle to dramatic with a few layers and I love the brilliant satin finish! I always recommend using a good primer to enhance pigments but these need very little help reaching their full potential and the shimmer has a metallic tinge for bold accentuation.

Midnight Seas appeals to my dramatic side with a lovely contrast of bright blue and sultry navy. I use this quad for events, parties and date night but I’m also brave enough to show them off during the day.

It seems that every time I choose palettes I go for the gold but the Sundance compact is irresistible! I wear these shades on a daily basis because they are very flattering and adding sharp winged liner and classic red lipstick amps-up the glam.

Ultraviolet has a lovely mix of light pink-purple and deep plum with refined glittery flecks. This combo is great for spring and looks amazing on most skin tones. The shadows are also paraben and perfume free making them safe and gentle on sensitive eyes.

This may be drugstore makeup but the quality of these quads is comparable to some high-end brands and they retail for $15.95 each.

When you’re checking out the pretty shadow palettes make sure to head over to the blush section because Marcelle has a fabulous range! The satin finish Monochromatic Blush in the shade Raspberry is my new go-to cheek pigment and the formula is paraben and perfume free. In the photo the color looks quite light and basic but once applied it is actually deep and rich with a hint of bronze and a touch of radiant shimmer that highlights, sculpts and defines. It adds a beautiful pop of silky color that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum (not too light or too dark) and it is highly pigmented so I can even use it as eye shadow! The blush is hypoallergenic and retails for $15.95.

You can find Marcelle Cosmetics at Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Rexall, London Drugs and more plus order online at marcelle.com (shipping available to the U.S.)
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