Monday, 23 April 2018

Lipstick Recycling Success: Back-To-MAC

Hi, everyone! In the spirit of Earth Month, I thought I'd refresh your memory about a makeup recycling initiative that's good for the environment and your makeup bag: the MAC's Back-To-MAC program. All you need to do is collect 6 empties from the brand (which is pretty easy if you use foundation, powder, or any products you use regularly) and then trade them in store for a brand new lipstick. Easy peasy! 

I recently did an epic purge and reorganization of my lipstick collection (details in another post to come), which uncovered a few nearly finished, ultra old lipsticks. I combined these with a few other empty compacts and did a Back-to-MAC trade myself last week. 


As exciting as it is to realize you've stored enough empties for a trade, the next step can be daunting. What shade to choose? MAC's lipstick selection is famously vast, which is a blessing and a curse when you want to select a new one. It's always helpful to narrow things down to a specific colour family and this time around I wanted to find an everyday, versatile lipstick in the pinky-plummy-tawny-nude family. After peeking at multiple swatches online, I narrowed things down to four options: Creme in Your Coffee, Del Rio, Retro, and Twig. Each is a beautiful mid-tone neutral with various levels of brown, pink, and plum. Here they are, swatched:


After all the swatching, I ultimately chose... *drum roll*... Twig! I found it to be the best balance between pink, plum, and brown in that it was a true neutral but with a super flattering rosy undertone. MAC describes Twig as a "soft muted brownish pink", which I think is apt. It comes in the brand's Satin formula, which means it has a creamy and slightly luminous finish but with a medium to full colour payoff. 



Twig is one of the brand's most popular, iconic shades, so it comes in this extra colourful packaging (colourful for MAC, at least) that matches the shade inside. The lipstick itself comes in MAC's classic black bullet tube. Here's a closeup of Twig:


And a swatch of the lipstick on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

Twig in natural sunlight

Twig under artificial light

And wearing it in the context of a full makeup look:



I really love how wearable this shade is, yet it's not at all boring! It is far from your bare-lipped nude but is also miles from vampy, so it really can be worn with any kind of makeup look. It leans warm, but not overly, so I think it would be ultra flattering on a variety of skin tones. I wanted to choose a shade from this colour family so that I'd have something easy to swipe on during my maternity leave and I think Twig will be perfect to leave me looking polished with minimal effort. Plus, the creamy Satin texture feels great on the lips.

There really are few makeup programs as satisfying as Back-to-MAC. There is truly no losing in helping the environment while scoring a free product! It's the most glamorous form of recycling I know ;)

And for a hit of nostalgia, here are a few older posts about previous Back-to-MAC trades, including one from 2011. I've been blogging for 7 years now- holy moly! (Posts here, here, and here). 

Have you ever used the Back-to-MAC program? Do you own Twig or any similar lippies? Favourite MAC lipsticks at the moment?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


Sunday, 22 April 2018

Look of the Day: Spring Fresh Grunge

Hi, everyone! If you saw my last post you'll know that I recently swapped my Shoppers Optimum points for a selection of new Chanel makeup. I of course immediately put them to good use and I'm so loving all of it! I noticed that two of the products, the Ombre Premiere Longwear Cream Eyeshadow in Pourpre Profond (the prettiest plummy rust brown) and Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Eros (a stunning cranberry), are perfect for a warm, reddish smokey eye while the other two items, the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush No.24 (a sheer apricot cream blush) and the Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation (which gives a sheer, subtle glow to the face) were totally perfect for a glowing Springtime effect. 

I love combinations that contrast, so today's look is one part smokey grunge and one part sheer, glowy Spring freshness. 


For the eyes, I applied the Ombre Premiere cream shadow in Pourpre Profond all over the lid, blending up towards the crease. I used the small, dense brush that came with the product and it created such a strong, pigmented effect! The pictures here make the product look a bit patchier and plummier than in real life. It really is a bold reddish brown in person!

To add further warmth and smoke to the look, I applied the Stylo Yeux Waterproof liner in Eros along the upper lash line and the outer third of the lower lash line, also smudging a bit of Pourpre Profond along the bottom as well. 



For the skin, I wanted to keep things sheer and glowy. I applied minimal powder over top of the Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation, dabbing the Les Beiges Sheer Colour Face Stick Blush no.24 on the apples of my cheeks, sweeping up to the temples. It blends and builds like a dream and looks so natural. I added some extra luminosity by applying Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel (a gorgeous, unfortunately limited edition highlighter) on the high points of my face. 

On the lips, I first dabbed the blush stick for a subtle coral flush and amped the colour up slightly with Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Catherine, a creamy warm peach. 


The Breakdown:

Foundation: Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B10
Concealer: Nude by Nature Flawless Concealer in 02 Porcelain Beige 

Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Creamy Natural
Bronzer: NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium

Blush: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush No. 24
Highlighter: Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel 

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel
Primer: Essence I Love Colour Intensifying Eye Shadow Base
Eye Shadow: Chanel Ombre Premiere Longwear Cream Eyeshadow in Pourpre Profond (all over lids, blended up to crease) and The Body Shop Colour Crush Eyeshadow in Oh, Honey (on brow bones and inner corners)

Eyeliner: Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Eros
Mascara: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara 


Lipstick: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush No. 24 layered with Chanel Rouge Coco in Catherine 


                                                    And a few more shots of the look:





I don't opt for a smokey eye often and I love how easily I can create on with this Chanel cream shadow. And the stick blush will be so very perfect for maternity leave. It creates a healthy flush so easily, even on bare skin. Gotta love easy when you'll be running on a few hours' sleep! 

What shades and textures are you loving for Spring?

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Friday, 20 April 2018

Shoppers Optimum Haul: Nothing Beats Free Chanel

Hi, everyone! Last weekend Shoppers Drug Mart had one of their Spend Your Points events where your Optimum points get to stretch a little further. The deal was that, if you had at least 50,000 points, you got an extra 25% value on your points, which I thought was a pretty great deal! I found myself with about 140,000 points (regularly worth $140, which is pretty sweet on its own), but with the promotion I now had around $175 to burn. 

As Shoppers has gotten quite good at sending along relevant coupons and deals, I do my very best to bulk up my Optimum points by buying the basics: shampoo, cat food, toilet paper and other boring necessities so that when events like last weekend's pop up, I can shamelessly spend my points on some luxury. I've always had a tendency to redeem my points on Chanel makeup, as there are few things more satisfying than scoring high-end makeup for free. I had not purchased any Chanel in ages, so I went full tilt. 

With my points balance and the promo, the entire haul below cost $5 plus taxes. No complaints here! 



I ended up choosing two products I'd loved and finished in the past and two new-to-me goodies that looked gorgeous. 


The first item I chose was Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation in 10 Beige ($52 CAD). I went through a bottle of this a couple years ago and was kind of unsure why I hadn't repurchased it before because it's amazing. The texture is light and fluid and blends into skin like a dream. The finish is matte, but not flat and the wear time is fantastic. The coverage is perfectly medium and the shade is an excellent match. Yes, it has alcohol and fragrance in the formula (which usually bother my skin), but for some reason this doesn't irritate my complexion one bit. Can't say anything bad about this one! 



Next up I chose Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush No24 ($53 CAD). I love the way the Les Beiges range offers shades and formulas that are ultra flattering and wearable and give an ultra-subtle glow. Reviews of this suggested that this product was no exception and, going into maternity leave, I'm all about makeup products that will help keep me looking alive, effortlessly. 


The Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Sticks come in handy twist up packaging and are a similar size to NARS Multiples (slightly longer and sleeker). Shade No 24 is a gorgeous apricot peach with a sheer, but buildable formula and a glowing, luminous finish. There is visible shimmer in the stick but this is very subtle on the skin. 



I'd had been curious about the brand's newer Ombre Premiere eye shadow ranges and I ultimately chose Longwear Cream Eyeshadow in Pourpre Profond ($40). I selected this in a similar spirit of quick and easy, but opted for a shade that was a bit smokey and sultry. Pourpre Profond is a warm reddened deep bronze with subtle plummy undertones that I thought would be perfect for summertime. The formula is quite dry but applies smoothly. I actually really like the small, dense brush that comes with the product- it's great for a full-on pigmented finish. I've worn this once so far and I can agree with the claim in the name- the wear time is great! 



My final pick was the Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Eros ($35). I love the formula of these liners. They are so creamy and apply effortlessly and then set and truly wear all day. I actually finished a liner in Eros in the past, as it's the most unique and flattering cranberry red that works really nicely with my brown eyes. When I first bought it it was part of a limited edition collection, so I was glad to see it's been made permanent! 



Here are swatches of the liner, blush, and shadow: 

(L-R): Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Eros, Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush in no.24, Ombre Premiere Longwear Cream Eyeshadow in Pourpre Profond

I'm fully smitten with the items and I chose and the fact that they were (almost) free makes them extra sweet.

Did any of you take advantage of the Shoppers Optimum Points event last weekend? Any current faves from Chanel

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great weekend :)


Friday, 13 April 2018

April Beauty Heroes Box: De Mamiel

Hi, everyone! It has been a very long time since I succumbed to the temptation of a beauty subscription box, but when I learned about Beauty Heroes early last year, my interest was totally piqued. You all know about my serious love for natural skin care and makeup and Beauty Heroes really is the cream of the crop when it comes to sharing the best and most effective products in green beauty. 

Beauty Heroes is a monthly subscription box that is all about careful curation of skin care from the clean beauty world. One of their tag lines is Use Less. Love More., meaning that there is no need to clutter your skin care shelves (or your face) with unnecessary or ineffective products; instead their monthly selections let you build a skin care routine of total staples that have been tried, tested, and deeply loved by other green beauty fanatics. One of the reasons I decided to subscribe this month is that I thought this regular curation would help me streamline my intake of skin care products during my maternity leave, where skin care will be an important aspect of my self care but my budget will be smaller. Beauty Heroes is available for an amazingly affordable $38.95 USD per month when you pre-pay for 3 months, with each box including a minimum of $90 USD. A steal! The membership also gives you a permanent 15% discount on the site's online store, so you can shop like a VIP if any products totally steal your heart. 


In addition to wanting to streamline my skincare intake and spending during maternity leave, I also chose to subscribe this particular month because the featured brand is one I've been dying to try for ages, de Mamiel. This brand has been so tempting because I've heard that their products are wonderfully beautiful to use, with super sensual scents and textures. At the same time, the brand is ultra dedicated to using cutting edge and effective ingredients based on science and research. More details about them below! 


Opening up the box, consisting fully of recyclable paper, the products were beautifully displayed with an ultra thorough, informative pamphlet about the goodies inside. 


The pamphlet included a full bio of de Mamiel, explaining that the brand's founder, Annee de Mamiel, created the line with the mantra of enhancing well-being with a serious background in a variety of scientific and healing traditions. Annee is trained in acupuncture, aromatherapy, Chinese medicine, and as an esthetician and is dedicated to creating products that reduce stress physically, emotionally, and chemically. 

All of her products feature organic, hand-grown ingredients that are carefully processed to retain the full vitality and effectiveness of the plants used. The line is fully cruelty-free, GMO-free, and vegan. 



Each Beauty Heroes box comes with two items: a Hero Product, a full-sized product that has been deemed a superstar and a Sidekick, a mini-sized product from the same brand that is well worth a sample. 


This month's Hero is the de Mamiel Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir ($135 USD for 30mL). It is part of the brand's Atmospheriques range, which is designed to protect the skin from environmental stressors. I'm tempted by anything called an elixir, really, and this potion is a potent serum designed to replenish, reduce inflammation, increase suppleness, and provide antioxidant protection. It features a variety of high-tech natural ingredients including malachite, Superoxide Dismutase, and a variety of essential oils to repair cellular damage and increase firmness and luminosity.

The Sidekick this month is the Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar ($12 for 5mL (the size in the box) or $115 for 50mL, the full size), a lightly tinted daytime moisturizer that offers sun protection. It was formulated to be lightweight, moisturizing, and sun-protecting (offering mineral UVA and UVB screens) with a finish that leaves skin looking flawless and glowing. It contains natural oils of raspberry seed, prickly pear seed, and avocado to nourish skin while it protects and adds radiance. 


I have only been testing these products for just over a week, so I'm reserving a fuller review until I can provide more reliable feedback. In the meantime, I can say that the scents and textures of both of these goodies from de Mamiel are absolutely beautiful and that both items give my skin quite the heavenly glow. That's a solid start for any product! 

With a value of $147 USD, this month's Beauty Heroes box was an impeccable bargain and a perfect introduction to the service. The box arrived quite quickly and everything was packaged with care. The experience has been great so far and I can't wait for more boxes to arrive! I respect Beauty Heroes very much because they balance a genuine passion for green beauty (true product junkies just like me) with a serious respect for the environment. I really believe that quality and ethics go hand in hand and that's what this subscription is all about! 

Look out for monthly Beauty Heroes blog posts to come! 

Thank you so much for stopping by and have a great weekend :)


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Look of the Day: Spring Sunset

Hi, everyone! This week has brought with it the hermit lifestyle as I've come down with a cold that's totally knocked me flat. I'm still feeling pretty crummy (thanks, pregnancy, for stealing my immune system), but was also getting a bit antsy and bored, so I wanted a mini project. I decided to play with colour! Springtime always brings with it more vivid makeup and I was inspired by some gorgeous pink and purple eye looks that I'd seen lately. I reached for some of my favourite brights and I ended up with this sunset creation! 


I started the look with a warm peachy orange shadow, Inglot 407, on the inner third of my eye, with a shimmery bronzed orange (Make Up Forever Artist Shadow in ME740 Magma) on the centre of the lid and a matte red on the outer third (MUFE Artist Shadow in M846 Morello Cherry) to create a gradient base. I then reached for my favourite rainbow-hued palette out there, the (sadly limited edition) Kat von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette (reviewed, here). To overlay the base colours I'd already applied, I chose shades of yellow and orange (Legend, Fran, Analog, and Harpsichord) for the inner third of the lid, blending up to the brow. For the centre of the lid, I patted on hues or rich pink and red from the palette, Swoon and Destroyer shadows. On the outer corners I added a pop of rich violet in Anthem shadow and added some depth with Rewind, a deep matte cranberry. I blended out the crease using Strutter, a pale, cool taupe, and highlighted the inner corners of the eye and brow bones with a mix of Skulls and Lyric for pops of light. 

For the liner, I though a deep purple hue would bring all of the shades together. I reached for one of my longtime faves, Chanel Le Crayon Kohl Intense Eye Pencil in Rouge Noir and painted lashes with two coats of the fabulous Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara


I wanted to keep the skin fresh, dewy, warm, and natural. My foundation of choice was Alima Pure Satin Matte (the best mineral makeup I've tried) and then swept on some NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium for a sunkissed effect. I swept a tawny peach blush, MAC Canteloupe, across my cheekbones and temples for some added warmth and then upped the glow factor with Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer in Anthelion, a creamy champagne pink highlighter. I then spritzed my complexion with the incredible Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist to reduce any trace of powder or dullness.

I wanted to keep the lips Springy but subtle. I mixed MAC Sunny Seoul Lipstick and NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Torres del Paine for a muted peachy coral shade with a soft glossy finish. 

Here's a closeup of the eye look: 


The Breakdown:

Foundation: Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in Neutral 2
Concealer: Nude by Nature Flawless Concealer in 02 Porcelain Beige 
Bronzer: NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium

Blush: MAC Powder Blush in Cantaloupe
Highlighter: Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer in Anthelion

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel
Primer: Essence I Love Colour Intensifying Eye Shadow Base
Eye Shadow: Kat von D  Eye Shadows (from theMi Vida Loca Remix Palette) in Anthem, Destroyer, Rewind, Harpsichord, Analog, Fran, Legend, Strutter, Lyric, and Skulls, Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in ME740 Magma and M840 Morello Cherry, Inglot Eye Shadow 407

Eyeliner: Chanel Le Crayon Kohl Intense Eye Pencil in Rouge Noir
Mascara: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara 


Lipstick: MAC Sunny Seoul Lipstick layered with NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Torres del Paine


                                                    And a few more shots of the look:







This makeup didn't cure my cold, but boy was it a fun distraction that left me feeling much brighter and alive afterwards. The magic of makeup, truly! I hadn't played with colour in a while, so if there is anything good to come of this extended sick leave, it's that it forced me to tap into my creativity. And I'll never argue with that! 

What kinds of makeup shades do you like to play with for Spring? What's your go-to feel good makeup when you're sick?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Currently Obsessed: Cream Blush for Spring

Hi, everyone- happy long weekend! I hope everyone has had a lovely Easter and Passover, for those who celebrate. Easter has always seemed to signify an unofficial start to Spring, which has left me reflecting on what kind of makeup has been inspiring me with the change of season. As I mentioned in my last post, I have not been buying too much makeup lately, but there has been a definite trend recently towards some mild hoarding of cream blushes, particularly those from niche, indie, green beauty brands. There are some beautiful options out there! I thought I'd use this current obsession to review and swatch the cream blushes in my rotation. Maybe you'll find a new favourite! 


Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Abundance, Above and Beyond, and Blossoming
Kjaer Weis Cream Blushes are by far the priciest in my stash (at $76 CAD each, including a sturdy refillable compact; though I've always snagged mine on sale), but I have a few in my collection because they're truly great. They're 95% organic and have a sweet almond oil base (among other lovely oils like rosehip and jojoba), but have a slightly drier texture that my combo skin loves. They leave a beautiful dewy finish but are not at all greasy and do not leave a wet or tacky finish to the skin. And they really do wear all day, which says a lot both for cream blushes and for natural, oil-based products in general. 

Abundance is a unique cool-toned mauve pink that works incredibly well both as a contour and blush on my fair skin. You can see it in action, here


Above and Beyond is a total "me" shade- a bold warm, pinky coral that is so perfect for Spring and Summer. It's the most vivid hue in the range and I'm happy to have it. 


Blossoming is the most universally flattering of the three that I own. It's a fresh, slightly warm peachy pink that can be worn for a super subtle flush or built up for a rosier effect. 


Kosas Cosmetics Colour and Light: Creme in Velvet Melon
Kosas is such a cool up and coming brand that gives green beauty such a modern touch. I got to test out their Colour and Light (blush and highlighter) duos ($45 CAD) recently at Holt Renfrew's Clean Beauty Event and was super impressed with the subtle but buildable shade selections and beautiful textures of the products. 

They offer three powder and three cream options and I went for the fresh and dewy Velvet Melon, which includes a warm, whitened peach blush (very '60s) and a lovely champagne highlighter. The texture is quite wet and slippery, which does interfere somewhat with wear time. On the flipside, it makes application a breeze and I can see me reaching for this often during maternity leave when I want to add some life to my complexion, pronto! 
You can see it in action, here


Rituel de Fille Inner Light Creme Pigment in Delirium
Rituel de Fille is one of my favourite green beauty makeup brands because their range offers colours that are truly unique and a little subversive- think blackened purples and deep greens. Even their more conventional shades have a bit of an edge. Plus, the textures of their cream highlighters and blushes are incredible- they're creamy enough to blend easily but dry down to an almost-powdery finish that wears really well and doesn't feel sticky.

I recently picked up their cream blush in Delirium ($38 CAD), a bold, warm tomato orange with subtle pink undertones that make it totally wearable. A thin layer gives a healthy apricot flush and a bolder application gives the best 70s, Studio 54, sunburnt effect- which is so super cool in my books. 
You can see it in action, here



Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip and Cheek in B. Daring
Lilah B. was first brought to my attention several months ago when the goddess that is Lisa Eldridge mentioned the brand in one of her videos. I'd been eyeballing the range since then, but they had never been available in-store in Canada until Holt Renfrew launched them in their new Clean Beauty section. I was pumped! I went for a makeover during Holts' Clean Beauty Event (with the lovely and talented Sheri Stroh), where she used Lilah B.'s Divine Duo lip and cheek colour and I was instantly hooked! The shade range is beautifully bold but the shades are super buildable. And the texture! It's a totally non-sticky almost powdery finish and yet they blend like a dream. Can't ask for much more! The price tag is real ($56 CAD), but the quality is tops and the packaging is beautiful. 


I was lucky to get a sampler with a few shades in the store's gift with purchase during the event (I love them all), but I also purchased the shade B. Daring, a bold orange coral. I promise that it can be used lightly for a soft effect (it's beautiful on the lips too) but of course I love that it can also be built up for a more dramatic hue. 

You can see it in action, here


Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam
This is probably the most mainstream brand of the bunch, as everyone and their grandma has been into Glossier the past year or two. I was lucky enough to visit the Glossier Showroom in NYC last summertime where I got to play around with the whole range in person. It was lots of fun!

The Cloud Paints ($22 USD) had been on my radar and I ended up choosing Beam, a cheery coral peach. It blends like a dream and adds instant life and brightness to my complexion. The wear time is fab too! 
You can see it in action, here



And here are swatches of each:

Under artificial lighting

In sunlight


As someone with oilier skin (at least historically; pregnancy has left my complexion a bit drier), I avoided cream blush like the plague for years. I'm so glad that's not the case anymore! When you find the best formulas and the right application tools (I use the Real Techniques Stippling Brush with all of them), cream blushes can be such a snap to use and really create such a beautiful, natural, dewy finish. And no better time than Springtime to get fresh and dewy! 

What are your favourite cream blushes? Did I tempt you with any here?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo