Friday, November 30, 2018

Clarins Joli Rouge Velvet Lipstick | Review & Swatches

Last week I attended a glamorous holiday soiree and I wore shimmering gold eye shadow paired with Clarins Deep Red Velvet Lipstick. The rich color saturates my pout in creamy moisture and accentuates the curves of my lips to create a voluptuous effect. The new formula is exquisite so today I’ve swatched 7 of my favorite must-have shades.

Infused with conditioning emollients, apricot extract and glasswort, the sumptuous pigment glides on buttery smooth and envelops lips in layers of nourishment. The lightweight finish is incredibly comfortable with amazing saturation and stunning vividness. Each seamless swipe delivers full-coverage pure color that instantly enhances the complexion.

The quality of these lipsticks encompasses everything you’d ever want in a non-drying matte formula with beautiful shades that range from nude, pink, sexy red, zesty orange and ultra-chic plums.

Although the color isn’t transfer or fade-proof, it hugs the lip contour without bleeding and lasts a few hours before having to reapply. The classic shape defines and accentuates but you can also use the matching Velvet Lip Pencils for more precision.

The deep plum and seductive reds are my favorite for the holiday season! 

Dusty rose and soft pink are very trendy and these beautiful hues look ravishing on all skin tones.

Swatches from left to right: 754V Deep Red, 737V Spicy Cinnamon, 756V Guava, 738V Royal Plum, 732V Grenadine, 742 Joli Rouge and 760V Pink Cranberry.

The Joli Rouge Velvet Lipsticks retail for $29.00 each and Clarins is available at department store counters, Shoppers Drug Mart and online at

Thursday, November 29, 2018

L’Occitane 2018 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

Santa stopped at my house early this year and he delivered pretty boxes filled with irresistible smelling bath and body products. If you really want to pamper the people on your holiday shopping list, stop at L’Occitane and pick up some decadent hand creams, rich lotions or luscious shower oils that delight the senses. The pretty gift sets are loaded with winter essentials to keep everyone soft, hydrated and happy all season long.

My personal favorite is The Best of L’Occitane Gift Set ($134.00) featuring the most adored scents and textures. For those yet to discover the sheer pleasure of L’Occitane, this beautifully packaged collection is a luxurious starter kit. The Almond Milk Concentrate and Almond Shower Oil have a warm heavenly fragrance and nourishing formulas that soften and moisturize dry flaky skin.

The Precious Cleansing Foam enriched with immortelle flower water envelops the face and neck in a sumptuous lather that eliminates stubborn makeup, oil, dirt, bacteria and impurities for smooth skin and clean pores.

My family cannot get through a Canadian winter without the L’Occitane Shea Butter Collection. My husband loves the healing foot balm because it soothes and refreshes achy feet while moisturizing calloused soles. The highly concentrated hand cream is infused with honey, almond and coconut oil to condition and replenish without greasiness.

The box also includes the Lavender Foaming Bath to help you unwind and relax after a long day.

Once you try a L’Occitane hand cream you’ll be hooked for life! I always have one in my purse and on Christmas morning everyone gets one in their stocking. The Hand Cream Bouquet ($54.00) includes: rose, verbena, almond, cherry blossom, shea and lavender, packaged in a gorgeous box. The fragrant formulas have a nutrient-rich blend of essential oils, butters, natural extracts and botanicals to smooth, soften, hydrate and repair dry skin, damaged nails and ragged cuticles. For men who work outdoors or with their hands, I highly recommend the shea butter treatment to alleviate chapping, peeling and roughness.

Every year my sister and I look forward to the Signature Advent Calendar ($59.00) because we open it together, taking turns to reveal the cute little treats within. It makes a magical gift and the samples are a great way to discover new favorites. I stuff a few bottles in the stockings and use the rest for weekend getaways and short trips.

These fabulous gift sets are available at L’Occitane boutiques nationwide and online at

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Holiday Accessories and Jewelry Gift Guide

Whether you’re planning a big family dinner, visiting friends or attending the office Christmas party, you’ll need jaw-dropping jewelry to accentuate your outfit. A little bling during the holiday season is a must and I’ve recently acquired a few statement pieces that I think you’ll love!

One of my favorite colors this time of year is emerald and Avon’s Sparkling Royale Collection does not disappoint. They’ve even gone a step further by combining the rich green with royal blue sapphires and clear crystals in extravagant broach-like clusters. This piece is absolutely stunning and if you decide to part with it (you probably won’t), the receiver of this gorgeous gift will be speechless.

The set is great for women of all ages because it is trendy, dramatic and elegant. The first time I wore it I received so many compliments! My mother-in-law told me that she saw it in Avon’s brochure a couple weeks ago but questioned the quality so I let her examine it up close and she was impressed by its beauty.

The necklace ($89.99) looks fabulous against solid colors and you can even wear it with jeans and a nice blouse. The thick velvet cord is non-traditional but unique and has a 1 cm extender for length adjustment. The set also comes with delicate teardrop earrings.

I highly recommend adding the Sparkling Royale Statement Studs ($9.99) to your collection. These are a bit larger and the rectangular emeralds are framed by glittering diamond-like crystals that make a bold statement, especially when your hair is in a graceful up-do. These beauties are perfect for December/winter weddings or you can gift them to the bride!

The sparkling bracelet ($29.00) and regal ring ($24.99) will catch everyone’s attention as you clink champagne glasses on New Year’s Eve or shake hands with new friends.

The ring looks large on my finger without being gaudy and the variety of stones surrounding it is aesthetically pleasing. The collection is affordable but looks expensive so I can take it on vacation (instead of packing my real jewels) and wear it to dinner without worrying about it being lost or stolen. (Available at

I’m not one for antiquing or thrift stores but while desperately trying to find a new battery for my phone (aka my lifeline), I stumbled across a jewelry display in a flea market selling traditional designs from India. I spotted these intricate earrings a mile away and just had to have them! They cost just $10.00 and don’t hurt my ears.  

Avon also sent me the Festive Red Flower Earrings ($34.99) and I wore them to an event the very same day. I didn’t have anything like these in my collection and they are super cute!

When you want something simple for every day wear, these black earrings from Joe Fresh are quite stylish and they go with almost everything. 

Joe Fresh has a lot of modern accessories from just $10.00-$24.00 including this long beaded chain necklace that goes great with sweaters, dresses and most tops for a chic layered look. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Quo Cosmetics 2018 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

Early in our relationship (before getting married and settling down) my husband did all his holiday shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart. He usually had no idea what to buy and he always waited until the last minute before running to the store in a panic.

Like most men he is totally clueless when it comes to makeup but lucky for him Shoppers always carries the latest beauty trends. These days he knows exactly what to get me (because I tell him) but if you need a little help this season, Quo has a great selection of beautifully packaged gift sets, brushes and palettes.

For eye shadow lovers, the All About Eyes Kit ($65.00) has 54 versatile shades, a wide brush for lid application and 12 eyeliners that range from white, brown, silver, blue and everyday black. You might need primer to enhance the colors but they are buildable and silky with shimmer and matte finishes. The palette is very large and has everything you need to create a variety of trendy looks including holiday glam, neutral and smokey. My favorite shades are the coppery gold, pretty purples, icy silver and chocolate brown.

For The Love of Makeup ($45.00) is another big palette that comes with 15 eye shadows, 3 blushes, 3 highlighters and 2 bronzers. The pigments are warm and neutral for subtle definition and contour – perfect for those who prefer an effortless no-makeup look.

The Matte n’ Metal Eye Shadow Palette ($25.00) is a cute gift for ladies who like to keep it simple and fresh. The smooth pigments blend well and enhance the eyes with soft, sophisticated colors that are office appropriate. Sweep some shimmer over the lids, accentuate the crease with deep beige or taupe and finish with a coat of jet black liner winged to perfection. These classic shades are also suitable for mature women.

There is nothing like digging into a stocking overflowing with nifty little gifts and Quo’s Lip Gloss Trio ($10.00) comes packaged in a long tube with 3 easy to wear purse-size shades.

One of my favorite items from the holiday collection is the gorgeous Highlight & Glow Palette ($25.00). The powders have fantastic color payoff and the velvety texture blends seamlessly with no chunky glitter or scatter. The finishes range from elegant bronze and gold to cool holographic shimmer and frosty winter tones.

The Sweet Cheeks Blush Set ($25.00) is a great gift for friends and co-workers or you can break it up for stocking stuffers. The duos have some nice colors and although the lighter powders are not my style, the pigmentation is decent.

With all that makeup you might need some applicators and the Quo Must-Have Brush Set with Roll ($50.00) definitely comes in handy. It includes brushes for powder, blush, foundation, buffing, crease blending, eye shadow, concealer, smudging and brow definition which is pretty much everything you need. The bristles are soft, flexible and a tad flimsy on some of the face brushes but they get the job done with minimal shedding. I’d probably gift this to new makeup enthusiasts or use it as my travel set.

The latex-free Blending Sponge is only $8.00 and comes in a little ornament box. This particular shape gets into hard to reach areas and if you dampen it with water, makeup will appear even and smooth.

Quo is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Monday, November 26, 2018

10 Best Serums and Facial Oils for Glowing Hydrated Skin

Researchers and dermatologists suggest modifying your skincare routine to reflect temperature and seasonal changes. Skin responds to environmental variation and reacts accordingly so it is important to maintain a healthy balance of hydration, nutrients, antioxidants, UV protection and anti-aging components.

It was difficult to narrow down my list but I chose formulas based on regenerating components, ingredients and effectiveness. I am also highlighting a few new products that I think you'll love!

1. Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Oil ($75.00)
Infused with real rose petals, antioxidants, fatty acids, fruit oils, ginger root and potent herbs, this healing elixir diminishes discoloration, scars, hyperpigmentation and blemishes while moisturizing, softening and restoring radiance. I’ve been using Wild Rose as a jet lag recovery concentrate for years since it is particularly effective at alleviating irritation, bumps, redness, rough patches and common skin ailments. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, and

2. L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-In Serum ($69.99)
This sumptuous formula works overnight with your body’s natural healing process to replenish dull, tired skin by the next morning. I noticed a substantial difference in my complexion after just one use and the caviar-like capsules are immortelle essential oil bubbles that melt on contact to moisturize, brighten and correct visible signs of aging. All evidence of stress, blemishes, dryness and fatigue dull to an undetectable level so my makeup appears flawless! (Available at L’Occitane boutiques and online at

3. Teaology White Tea Miracle Drops ($49.00)
I’ve been using Teaology’s Miracle Drops for months and can’t get enough of the nourishing formula. The lightweight non-greasy elixir is free of synthetic additives, parabens and mineral oil so I can layer it with other skincare without clogging pores. It is loaded with organic tea, antioxidants, emollients, vitamin C and peptides that boost radiance, soften, fortify and totally replenish. (Available online at

4. Vasanti Brighten Up Glow Boosting Serum ($39.00)
During the winter skin can appear parched, flaky and lackluster but thanks to Vasanti’s Glow Boosting Serum you don’t have to lose your radiance. The lightweight, fast absorbing formula is enriched with vitamin C, bearberry, vitamin E, aloe and Abyssinian oil to give your complexion a luminous glass-like finish. After the first application I noticed a supple brightening effect and it works wonders under makeup or as a night treatment – locking in moisture and essential nutrients that are depleted on cold days. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart and

5. Eve Lom Radiance Face Oil ($104.00)
Even Lom is well known for their amazing cleansers but the new Radiance Face Oil is a must this season. Not only does it protect skin from environmental damage and drying indoor heating, but it also locks in moisture for up to 12 hours so you awake to a dewy glow. This luscious formula is rich in texture so I don’t have to layer it with cream or serum and the botanical blend is infused with hemp seed oil, Abyssinian, avocado oil (high in fatty acids), antioxidants, rosemary extract, amino acids and vitamin C. If you suffer from parched peeling skin, wrinkles, lines or sun damage, this regenerating formula works wonders and dryness doesn’t stand a chance! (Available at Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart.)

6. Estee Lauder Night Repair ($88.00)
For those looking to reduce or prevent dehydration, dullness and multiple signs of aging, Night Repair does not disappoint. Skin appears fresh, youthful, plump, smooth, even, and lifted. I’ve been using this serum for years and it has always kept my complexion clear, hydrated and balanced. (Available at Estee Lauder counters nationwide including The Bay).

7. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($40.00)
Pai’s bestselling facial oil deeply conditions and soothes with a pampering complex of omega oils, fruit extracts, vitamins and herbs. The powerful active ingredients fuel overnight regeneration without irritation and improves the appearance of dry flaky patches, blemishes, scars, sun damage, fine lines and sagging. It also contains 5X more carotenoids - (plant produced pigment) than most cold pressed rosehip seed oil which gives the liquid a unique orange hue. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart and online at

8. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($51.00)
I haven’t tried much from Kiehl’s but this bestseller is one of my favorites! A few drops of the distilled botanical extracts and a little beauty sleep is all it takes to kick-start the formula's healing properties for clear, younger looking skin. The blend is 98% naturally derived and contains: evening primrose to boost radiance, lavender essential oil to soothe inflammation and squalane to restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier. (Available at Kiehl’s stores across Canada and online at

9. Indeed Squalane Facial Oil ($19.99)
If squalane is so effective at maintaining moisture then why not use oil composed of mostly squalane? Indeed has created a lightweight, non-irritating formula derived from sugarcane that deeply hydrates, controls sebum, boosts collagen, improves circulation, reduces acne and eases symptoms of eczema. The finish is silky and silicone-y, (similar to face primer) so it smooths and evens skin texture. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart).

10. Dior Capture Youth Glow Booster ($120.00)
This illuminating treatment is 100 times more concentrated in vitamin C than oranges and contains AHA to even skin tone, fade blemishes, correct, soften and smooth. During periods of extreme cold, fatigue, jet lag or stress, this energizing serum replenishes, fortifies and hydrates for a glow that doesn’t quit! The lightweight formula melts in quickly without any residue so you can use it under makeup to improve application. It also layers well with other products. (Available at Dior counters nationwide).

Friday, November 23, 2018

Laura Mercier Holiday 2018 Collection | Review & Swatches

Over the next few weeks many of us will be battling pushy crowds as we elbow our way into Sephora to find the perfect party makeup and presents. If you survive being jostled around by swatch-crazy women and end up at Laura Mercier’s display, you will find a beautiful selection of luxurious eye shadow, scintillating cheek color and gift sets adorned with silver and gold.

My palette of choice for elegant evening wear is Nights Out ($65.00). The sophisticated spectrum features 12 magnificent shadows ranging from light to dark and cool to warm. Use it to create subtle day looks or a sultry smokey eye for the office Christmas party. The versatile pigments are suitable for women of all ages with light reflecting shimmer, silky satins and creamy mattes that define and accentuate. I love the velvety texture and rich color pay off. Even without primer the shadows apply smooth and seamless with minimal fallout, no creasing and excellent saturation.  

When you’re out on the town dancing the night away, the Custom Setting Duo ($48.00) will keep your makeup looking fresh. This bestselling set makes a great gift because it comes with the Matte Translucent Powder (one of the brand’s most popular products) and the Glow Loose Setting Powder for a light dusting of luminous shimmer. The powders set makeup to prolong wear while blurring lines, imperfections and pores with a soft-focus finish. They also control shine and smooth skin texture so bronzer, blush and foundation appear flawless. The small jars are perfect for touch-ups on the go.

Glam holiday makeup and glowing skin go hand-in-hand which is why I’ll bee been using Laura Mercier’s Mood Glow Face Illuimator Trio ($65.00) all season long. These multidimensional powders can be used on the cheeks, eyes or d├ęcolletage to brighten and enhance with weightless radiant color. The smooth texture applies consistently with no scatter, flakes or chunky glitter and the pearlescent particles reflect light to capture the skin’s youthful luster.

Laura Mercier is available at Sephora, Saks, Nordstrom and online at

Thursday, November 22, 2018

NARS Holiday Collection 2018 | Review & Swatches

NARS is known for bold, high quality color and this holiday they’ve combined edgy packaging and glam finishes for the perfect balance of naughty and nice. If you’ve been good this year, expect Santa to bring you trendy gift sets and sensational palettes to enhance the eyes, lips and cheeks.

The ladies on your shopping list would be delighted to receive the Limited-Edition Riot Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Set ($62.00). I’m not a fan of sharpening but I’ll make an exception for this festive collection featuring Deep Crimson, Bordeaux, Magenta and Dusty Rose. These beautiful hues compliment all skin tones and the non-drying supple formula is enriched with vitamin E and unique silicones for softness, hydration and comfort.  The creamy buildable pigment glides on buttery smooth for seamless full-coverage color. Unfortunately the pencils are not immune to fading or transfer but they do come with a stylish cosmetic case inspired by rebellious 70’s fashion.

The Limted-Edition Provocateur Eye Shadow Palette ($62.00) contains 6 scandalous shades that definitely get the party started. The deep purple and blackened navy are perfect for creating a seductive smokey eye while the silver and dusty rose light things up with a brilliant dose of shimmer. Don’t shy away from the burnt red, it transforms into a lovely burgundy- pink for beautiful contrast. The saturated formula provides vivid color payoff that lasts all day without fading or creasing.

If you’re wearing sexy shadows you’ll need a good mascara and Climax ($30.00) delivers buildable volume and length with no clumping or smudging. The brush was a tad dry the first time I used it but pumping the wand up and down in the tube gets the color flowing. The spindly bristles comb each hair up and out to separate and fan both top and bottom lashes. I like a lot of drama so I usually layer Climax over another mascara for more thickness.

The Little Fetishes Bronzer & Highlight Set ($32.00) makes a great gift for friends and comes with an adorable little canister. The Laguna Bronzer is a cult favorite among contouring queens of all skin tones and the finely milled powder fills in lines and pores for a smooth even finish. Fort de France melts into the skin for a dewy pop of radiance and the scintillating gold delivers “next level luminosity.”  Layer it lightly for subtle iridescence or go all-out for a goddess glow.

The Hot Tryst Cheek Palette ($74.00) is the star of this collection which is probably why it has sold-out in some stores. When I attended the NARS holiday party a few weeks ago this was the item I was most excited to try. The color payoff ranges from soft and sheer to intense shimmer but overall the pigments are silky, weightless and buildable. I’ve been searching for cheek shades like these for years! I love the magenta, coral, raspberry and bronze but the top middle color is not very prominent on my complexion. 

The PowerMatte Lip Luster in the shade Hardcore ($34.00) is a lightweight metallic gold that is perfect for the holiday season! The formula is thin, liquid-y and a bit messy (be careful of tube leakage) but the finish is dazzling. Although the frosty stain tends to transfer and smear, I can use it on my cheekbones as liquid highlighter because it blends similarly with a lustrous finish.

NARS is available at Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom.
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