Monday, 17 April 2017

A Springtime Sephora Haul

Hi, everyone! I know that there's a Sephora sale upcoming later this month, but my wishlist had grown so large and tantalizing in March that I could not help but snag a few goodies! Sephora has welcomed some new, exciting brands of late (like Milk Makeup and IGK) and some of my fave brands (like the ever-fabulous Bite Beauty) have released some great new products, so there was plenty to choose from. 

Here's a peek at everything I picked up: 

Bite Beauty Prismatic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss in Oyster Pearl ($25 CAD)
Metallic finishes are everywhere nowadays and when Bite Beauty does metallic, it's time to take notice. These new glosses are inspired by the real multi-faceted pearls found on tropical beaches. They promise a foiled finish and a hydrating formula thanks to shea butter. I opted for Oyster Pearl, which is a wonderfully unique shade. Bite describes it as a "metallic taupe with silver shimmer", but I find it to be even more multi-dimensional than that. I'd call it a warm, plummy taupe with silver, green, and plum shimmer. It's so gorgeous and surprisingly wearable and versatile! 

IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel ($17 for 50mL trial size)
Whenever I get my haircut shorter my interest in hair styling products is always renewed. With a long bob, I'm motivated to harness my hair's volume and waves while adding a bit of messy texture. Because hair isn't my forte, I asked a helpful sales associate for recommendations and she pointed me towards IGK's Rich Kid. She promised it would encourage waves and texture while also hydrating the hair. And she was right! I use this as a final product before air drying or blow drying and it gives my hair lightweight, airy texture without any frizz. And it's super hydrating too. Definitely curious to try more from the brand. 

Bite Beauty The Lip Pencil in no.14 ($20 CAD)
Given that I'm generally smitten with Bite, it was no surprise that their recent lip liner launch caught my attention. These pencil liners promise a creamy, yet precise texture with an opaque finish that's also lightweight. The range offers an impressive selection of neutrals, each inspired by the spectrum of natural lip tones. As I had recently purchased a warmer-toned neutral lip liner from Lipstick Queen, I opted for a cooler-toned shade this time around. I chose no.14, which Bite describes as a "dusty mauve". I find it to be just that- a cool-toned light- to mid-tone mauve that really is a perfect "my lips but better" shade for me. I agree that the texture is wonderfully smooth and creamy, but the wear time and precision are also on-point. Will definitely be grabbing more shades from this collection! 

Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel ($29 CAD)
This is an eternal repurchase for me- I love this stuff! The gel-cream formula promises to add control and shape while also plumping up the appearance of brows. I use it as a final step in my brow routine and it's wonderful at grooming and adding a touch of multidimensional colour that prevents the brows from looking too flat. Caramel adds a bit of warmth to my brows without looking at all orange and it really wears all day without any flakiness or dryness! 

Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova ($34 CAD)
Milk Makeup is a brand I'd been curious about for a while, as it's cruelty-free and wonderfully playful. So when the line arrived in-store last month, I was jazzed! There were several tempting options to choose from and I ended up with an ultra special highlighter- the Holographic Stick in Supernova. It's a cream-based stick highlighter that claims to contain real meteorite powder for an ultra-pigmented, ethereal sheen. Supernova is a killer opal hue with tinges of purple, blue, pink, and silver. I am still trying to find the best mode of application to make the most of it, but boy the shade is stunning and the wear time is impressive, especially given the cream base. 

Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray ($32 CAD)
As I mentioned above, whenever I get my hair cut shorter, I want to buy all the styling products. All of them! Ouai is an ultra trendy brand at the moment and I was drawn to their Texturizing Hair Spray because it promises to be a modern hybrid of hair spray and texturizing spray that offers hold, grit, and volume while remaining lightweight. I have to say that I really love this! It does just as promised- it refreshes the hair, helps my hair hold its waves, and gives a great amount of volume and subtle grit for the softly messy look that I love. 

I also had some VIB Points built up, so I topped off my haul with a couple fun minis. I chose the Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay, as I'd heard nothing but raves for it, especially for combination skin like mine and I've generally had great experiences with Origins masks. I also snagged a little Sunday Riley Good Genes, a cult-status leave-on exfoliating treatment. I've sampled it in the past with mixed results, so I thought I'd give it one final try so I can settle my opinion. 

And here are swatches of the colour-based products:

(L-R): Milk Holographic Stick in Supernova, Bite Beauty Prismatic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss in Oyster Pearl, Bite Beauty The Lip Pencil no.14, Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel 

I'm super happy with this haul, as it included a neat mix of old faves, brand new releases, and cool new-to-me brands. From tresses to brows to lips, I now feel totally ready for Spring! 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful week :)


Friday, 14 April 2017

Kiehl's Apothecary Preparations: Tradition Meets Customization

Hi, everyone! It's been way too long since I've posted and I'm happy to be back! Work has been ultra busy and I have also recently submitted an important application that I'd been procrastinating on for ages- feels so fantastic to have that off my plate. Plus, Adam and I just returned from our honeymoon (more on that in a post to come!), so it's taken a few days to settle in to my regular schedule. But I'm now getting back into the blogging swing and I'm starting things off with a pretty amazing skin care product.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Kiehl's, as they offer unique products with an interesting mix of natural and more conventional ingredients with a fair price point. I've also mentioned on the blog several times that I'm an utter sucker for anything customized. Make something tailored just for me and I'm there! So when I learned that Kiehls' Apothecary Preparations service had made it to Toronto, I was eager to indulge in the process! 

The Kiehl's Apothecary Preparations system combines the brand's more than a century-old roots in customized apothecary service with modern ingredients for the demands of current skin care concerns. The process involves a one-on-one consultation that results in a personalized skin care serum that targets your central needs and goals. 

The process started in the Kiehl's Eaton Centre shop where I sat down with Peter, my new skin care bud, who presented me with a tome called the "Skin Atlas". It was essentially an encyclopedia of skin that featured diagrams of several common skin care concerns (e.g., texture, fine lines, redness, pores, dullness) and prompted me to choose where I fell on the spectrum of each condition. The process was fun an interactive and the setting and implements really gave it that old-school apothecary feel that I truly love. 

Based on my responses, it was determined that my two central skin care concerns are visible redness and enlarged pores. This made lots of sense to me, given my eternal struggle with skin that is both acne-prone and sensitive. And it's with this determination where the customization begins!

All Apothecary Preparations serums start with the Skin Strengthening Concentrate, which is a base of hydrating and protecting ingredients for all skin types. This base is designed to then be mixed with the personalized elements for your skin care concerns. 

Given my identified skin care needs, I was prescribed the Pore Minimizing Complex (featuring samphira extract and salicylic acid) and the Visible Redness Neutralizing Complex (featuring sunflower seed extract and vitamin E). Both complexes contain ingredients to hydrate and fight free radicals, but the Pore Minimizing Complex also has ingredients to tone and gently exfoliate the skin, while the Visible Redness Neutralizing Complex also has ingredients to calm and soothe the skin. 

The serum comes in a tinted glass bottle with dropper top (to protect the ingredients inside and also add to the apothecary feel) and is likewise customized- with your name, the name of your consultant, the date of creation, and other relevant details: 

The outer packaging is likewise labelled with relevant information as well as a full ingredient listing for all components: 

To complete the serum involves a bit of fun DIY.  The instructions guide you to squeeze in each of the separate complexes into the base (they are too potent to use on their own) and then give the bottle a proper shake for 20 seconds. After this initial mix, the serum is all set and ready to go! 

The serum itself has a lovely texture- all of the components are oil-based, but are far from heavy. The result is a mid-weight viscous oil serum that feels silky on the skin and absorbs quickly while leaving skin plump, but not at all greasy. The scent is light and pleasant and doesn't clash with any of my other skin care products. The instructions say to use 2-3 drops morning and night, but I tend to use more like 4-5 drops each time. What can I say? I'm a rebel (actually, I just have a big face ;)). Suffice it to say, a little goes a long way.

In addition to the whole process being fun and unique, I have to say that I am fully loving this serum. Since using it for the past 5 weeks, I can definitely notice that my pores look more refined, my breakouts are fewer and heal more quickly, and my redness is toned down. No joke- this stuff really works! It is often so difficult to find products that are suitable for both acne-prone and sensitive skin, which is why the customization process behind this serum is such a unique, effective offering.

The Apothecary Preparation serums retail for $95 USD/$105 CAD, but I find this price to be well worth it given the personalization involved and the fact that the formula is so concentrated. I could see my bottle lasting at least 6 months with twice-daily use! 

If you're in Toronto, you can have fun with the Apothecary Preparations process at the Kiehl's Eaton Centre shop. I would recommend this service to anyone, particularly if you're a skin care junkie like me, are in the market for a new multi-tasking super serum, or  have difficulty finding products that fit the exact needs of your skin. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and Happy Easter! 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Vibrant Beauty Meets Green Beauty: 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick

Hi, everyone! We all know that in the world of makeup, few things excite me more than a bold, vibrant lipstick. My collection is rife with vivid oranges, fuchsias, purples, and corals- they just make me feel so put together, wide awake, and fearless. Pretty simple therapy, I'd say! I've made a pledge to integrate more natural, green beauty into my makeup routine this year, so when I saw that 100% Pure had recently launched a range of ultra-pigmented matte lipsticks my antennae were perked! 

The 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks ($29 USD/$35 CAD) come in soft white cardboard boxes with brown lettering and pretty pink accents. 

The boxes also feature a full ingredient listing, which reveals several lovely natural components including cocoa butter, shea butter, various fruit extracts, chocolate(!), rose petals, and Vitamin E. Enriched by these beautiful ingredients, the Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks promise a lightweight, smooth, moisturizing texture, a semi-matte finish, long wear, and full-on opaque colour thanks to natural fruit pigments. The formula is 100% natural, vegan, gluten- and cruelty-free. 

The lipstick tubes also reflect the theme of natural beauty. They are made of lightweight rosy-taupe metal decorated by a silver leafy floral motif. The inside of the tube also reveals a silvery scripted brand logo when the cap is removed. 

What lured me most to the Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks was the amazing selection of bold, vibrant shades- so up my alley! The shade range includes everything from nude beige, to vibrant coral, to vivid red, to saturated purple. So many lovelies to choose from! 

I have three of these gorgeous lipsticks to share with you today: Prickly Pear, Sonora**, and Hyacinthus**

Prickly Pear is described as a "vibrant coral pink" and I fully agree with this description. The shade is decidedly warm and is a perfect blend of coral and pink with just a touch of pastel. I wear shades like this year-round, but it absolutely screams Spring and Summer! 

Sonora** is described as an "orange red" and that's just what it is- a warm-toned red. The warmth gives it a lovely retro feel and I like that, despite the orange undertones, the shade is still decidedly red, which keeps a classic feel and may make it more approachable to those who might feel intimidated to wear a full-on orange. 

Hyacinthus** is described as a "deep berry purple". It's a neutral to warm shade that is a beautiful balance of berry and purple hues. Its prominent purple tones make it wonderfully bold and modern, yet it has enough pinky elements that it's wonderfully wearable (I actually wore it to work on Monday and did not feel self-conscious at all). With one layer, the berry tones come through and, as it's layered, a deeper purple takes over. This effect makes the shade super versatile! 

Here are swatches of all three shades on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). As you can see, the shades are smooth and opaque and have a luminous matte finish: 

And here I am wearing each of the shades: 

100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Prickly Pear

100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Sonora

What I love about these lipsticks is that they are wonderfully pigmented and incredibly lightweight on the lips. They reach full opacity with one heavy or two lighter-handed swipes and, despite the rich colour, they instantly absorb into the lips and do not feel at all heavy or sticky. Also, the wear-time is so impressive! These lipsticks last quite well, even through meals, and leave a beautiful stain on the lips as they begin to wear. 

The only downsides to these lipsticks that I've noticed is that they are not transfer-proof and they can be a *touch* drying as the day goes by, at least during these colder temperatures. Even though these are matte and lightweight, they will leave an imprint on your glass or will smudge a bit if you were to wipe your mouth. Despite the transfer, though, the wear-time is not impacted because the pigments are so rich! Also, because these lipsticks dry down to a soft, powdery finish, I do find my lips to be a bit dried out by the end of the day. On the upside, though, these do not feel at all tight or uncomfortable when initially applied. 

I have set a goal for myself to incorporate more green, natural makeup items into my routine this year, so I am thrilled to have discovered the 100% Pure Matte Lipsticks. The shade range is absolutely stunning (especially for a vibrant beauty lover like me), the pigmentation is impressive, and the wear-time can't be beat! And, of course, they are 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and coloured by fruit. How amazing is that?!

If I've tempted you, you can find these lovely lippies on the 100% Pure website, here!

Also, 100% Pure is currently running an incredible Gift with Purchase on their website starting today! With all orders over $55 USD, you will receive a 6-piece gift set worth $134! Now's the time to try the brand if you've been curious!++ 

Do you have any favourite green beauty brands or lipstick launches at the moment?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


**Products marked by these asterisks were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own! 

++This post contains affiliate links (i.e., I will receive a small percentage of the sale of items should you purchase products using the links in this post)