Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NARS lip gloss in Turkish Delight

I've been eying NARS glosses for a while now.  But I couldn't justify the price, $28.00 CAD.  When Sephora sent me a coupon for 20% off any purchase in-store, I finally could sort of, kind of, justify my purchase.

I was torn between Chihuahua (for obvious reason that I own one and she's super awesome) and Turkish Delight (because it's freaking delicious and it was featured in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", by C.S Lewis). Ok, getting over the names, Turkish Delight won me over with its beautiful pale pink color, and no glitter chunks in sight.

I tested the colors on the back of my hand. That's as far as I go with in-store testing of any kind of a product that could have possibly had many, many different fingers in it.  I then easily follow with some sanitizer or makeup remover. I do not try any products in-store on my face that others can as well, no creams, no lipsticks, no lip glosses, no shadows, absolutely no mascaras or pencils of any kind. I'm not a huge germaphobe or anything, after all I have two dogs, a cat, and I share a washroom with a boy, but publicly shared cosmetics of any kind just have a certain ick factor for me.

I will take samples if they are individually packaged, or they come from a container fingers can't get into. Otherwise I'll just buy my product and hope for the best. 

So, loved it on the back of my hand. Not so much on my lips.  The gloss isn't clear, its opaque. A kind of milky pink, and it settles into the fine lines on your lips, even if I put lipstick on first.  So personally I do not like that look, but I'll use it up because I bought it, and it was pricey. It's actually a bonus for me that it doesn't wear very long at all, it needs constant reapplying.  I tried to take a picture of it on my lips to show what I mean, but it turned out gross, so you'll have to be satisfied with the swatch on the back of my hand.

A couple of pluses, because it's not a total disaster. It has nice consistency, it's not sticky and doesn't have a strong taste or smell.

I know many people out there love NARS glosses and Turkish Delight in particular, but I'm just not one of them.  One day when I have more money to burn I might buy another, but right now, I'll take a pass.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nail Polish Swatch: YSL - Pink Gold (140)

I saw it, I loved it, I bought it. YSL has three different gold nail polished for this Holiday Season: white gold, gold, and pink gold. I felt I had someting similar to the white and regular gold polish, and so I acquired the pink.  In my eyes it's not really pink, the color is more of a brand new copper penny.  Beautiful, original, but I wouldn't call it pink. Pictures don't do this shade justice.  It's nearly impossible for me to capture  the loveliness of a metallic shade, I just don't have the skill.

Application was nice and easy, no streaking.  The gold cap slips off so you have a small brush handle to manage. Great coverage in one coat, but two makes everything that much better. Definitely no regrets about this purchase.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

it's bath time...

A couple of weeks ago I really wanted to take a bath.  I wanted some pretty bath stuff, so I ventured to Lush.  I've always passed this store by, I don't know why. But watching some online videos and reviews, made me think I've been missing out on some serious goodies. And so I went, and walked out with a bagful of bath bombs, bars, and melts. I couldn't help myself, they have a huge vegan selection.

Now before I take a bath I have a shower, because the idea of soaking in my own dirt grosses me out.  So I shower, I apply super rich conditioning mask to my hair, I fill the tub, drop the Golden Slumbers bomb (my choice that night, as pictured) and soak, and read, and relax... heaven...

Now a bit about the bomb, it fizzled out super quickly.  It smelled lovely. But the lavender pieces stuck to me and to the sides of the tub. Still, I enjoyed it. Can't wait to try more.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nail Polish Swatch: Butter London - Knees Up

I picked it up at Holt Renfrew. It retails for $17.00 CAD. The color in the bottle is a gorgeous metallic red, and the name Knees Up is Brit slang for getting drunk... and so I think it's perfect for the Holidays...

The big rectangular cap slips right off the bottle, so you're left holding a comfortable small brush handle, and not an awkward chunky one. I don't know if you can tell in the pictures, but the color has a bit of a gold sheen to it, and the color changes from a gorgeous bright red to a more burgundy one, depending on the light.  The formula had perfect flow consistency, and I got flawless coverage in two coats. It's a metallic red, but there are absolutely no brush strokes visible on my nails. Loooove it....

They also have a metallic purple... I haven't bought it.... yet...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jo Malone Obsession

Jay (my fiance) introduced me to Jo Malone years back.  It just wasn't affordable on our shoestring budget... actually most of Jo Malone is still beyond our budget, but we do splurge on a couple of things.  Well actually it's mostly Jay.

I own only one Jo Malone cologne in Orange Blossom. I've had it for about 4 years now.  And let me tell you this scent hasn't gotten any worse with age.  It's still as wonderful and powerful as the day I got it.  Now when you hear Orange Blossom, you may think of an orange scent... don't... instead in your mind try to picture and imagine the smell of an orange blossom orchard... heavenly. This cologne has unbelievable staying power, one spritz in the morning, and I can still smell it on myself well in the evening.  Usually I can no longer tell I am wearing a scent within a couple of hours. Not so with Jo Malone.  As you can see in the picture, I have used just a tad... it's expensive... approx $130.00 CAD, and I have a few perfumes. It's hard for me to stick to just one.

About 3-years ago I also bought a Jo Malone candle. It was a birthday treat.  The scent was grapefruit, sooo good... the price was a bit  over $100.00... ouch!.  But it was the best smelling candle I ever bought, it delicately perfumed our whole condo.  If I ever have more money than sense, that is all I'll burn in my home. I love candles.

Now onto Jay. I think I was the one to introduce him to Jo Malone shampoo and conditioner. They make only one flavor Lime Basil & Mandarin. Originally I purchased it for myself, but as much as I loved the scent, I found it too masculine for me. So I asked Jay to use it up, and he hasn't changed brands since.  The set is about $50.00 CAD, but since the bottles last him for at least three months (if not longer), super short hair... it's not such an exuberant amount.

He loved the sent of the shampoo and conditioner so much, that I bought him a cologne in the same flavor.  I love it, he loves it. :).

And last year, when he was repurchasing some shampoo, we got a few samples. (I actually always request a sample :)).  One of them was Sweet Lime and Cedar.  At the time the SA told us, it is a limited edition cologne, so if we like it, we might want to purchase it.  Well I didn't find the sample until last week, when I was organizing my drawer. I sprayed it on Jay, and didn't love it. But 5 min later, wow.... what a change, it was one of the best male cologne scents ever. I remember her saying "limited edition", but I guess it is now a part of the permanent line, because Jay used up his gift certificate he got for his birthday, and added another Jo Malone bottle to our collection.

Other than candles, I really want a Jo Malone Linen spray.  But I can wait on that, I'd need some super pretty sheets to spray it on first.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Healthy Hoof

This is my replacement for Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails.  It retails for around $7.00 or $9.00 CAD for 1oz.  A fraction of the price, for much, much more product. I think it will last me at least 6 months, with daily use. I bought my jar at Trade Secrets.

So far my nails love it.  It's a rich, emollient, ivory colored cream.  It's not sticky, it's not smelly (it actually doesn't seem to have any scent at all). It keeps my cuticles all lovely and pampered, and slowly getting my nails back in shape.

It states on the jar "The Trainer's Choice"...  so if it strengthens and protects actual horses' hooves it's definitely good enough for my claws. It's not a vegan product but for now it's a keeper.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kalaya Remedy Acne 2 Piece System

This was bound to happen to me sooner or later.  I saw this set on The Shopping Channel.  I don't know if anyone out there noticed that their beauty section has expanded dramatically, and now they have some truly luxurious lines; for example Giorgio Armani and Shu Uemura (lines that you can only get at Holt Renfrew). The only drawback is that the lines aren't complete, so sometimes finding what you want is not possible.  But a big plus are the short videos and demos of product use and application.

Anyways this line comes on. It is created by a pharmacist and a doctor, it is Canadian, it contains no benzoyl peroxide or alcohol, it is non-drying, non-peeling, and the well spoken gentleman in the lab coat (a true pharmacist) along with the host and testimony videos had me convinced.

Both products smell like tea tree oil; not offensive but not lovely either.  The tubes are huge, more like body product sized (150ml lotion and 250ml cleanser), they'd last for a while; and the price was right too $34.98 CAD for the set. They felt nice for the first couple of days.  Then I got the rash.... well no... I wouldn't say rash, more like red blotches, which were super, super itchy and felt hot.  They covered my ears, my neck, my chest, my belly, and my hips, but not my face.  I don't know why I decided to test this out on my body first, but I'm soooo glad I did. My t-shirt rubbing against my collarbone was driving me insane, that's how itchy I was.

I stopped using Kalaya products, and treated my itchy spots with argan oil. It took a couple of days but the blotches disappeared. It seems I'm allergic to something in either the cleanser or lotion or both, Could it be tea tree oil? Either way, it's a big pass for me on these products.

Oh, and I'm also annoyed with myself, because by the time I remembered that the Shopping Channel has a 30 day money back guarantee, it was too late....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

I read it somewhere that a toner isn't a necessary step in your skincare routine if you use a proper cleanser.  But I've used one for so long, skipping this step seemed wrong.  So I decided to try a spray.  Instead of soaking a cotton ball and wiping my face, I simply spray my face, and let the goodness absorb (you can also pat it in if you'd like). I think that's the most unnerving part to get used to, closing your eyes and making sure the nozzle is aimed at your face, not above your shoulder :).

It was a tough choice, but in the end I bought Caudalie's Beauty Elixir, because its all natural, contains no parabens, no sulfates,  no synthetic fragrances, no synthetic dyes, no petro-chemicals, no phthalates, it's a serum as well as a toner, I heard grapes are excellent for your skin, and I loved the name.

You have to shake it up before spraying, there is a thin layer of essential oils that you want to incorporate. At first I was put off by the smell, too much rosemary or mint or something. But after a while I actually started to enjoy the scent, and found it invigorating, especially first thing in the morning, after washing my face, when most of my mind is still asleep and I'm going through the motions.

I used it as a toner, but I read it can also be used after foundation before powder to set your make up; and men can use it as an after-shave (maybe next time).

It made my skin feel, refreshed, awake, and dewy.  It never stung, even when I over did it with acne medication an my skin became uncomfortably dry.  I actually found it soothing, calming and a bit moisturizing (but not in a greasy way). This I think would also be delicious to use, in the summer when it's stifling hot outside. I might pick up a to-go bottle to keep in my purse when the season rolls around, or maybe I won't even wait that long.

I think this stuff is worth trying.  I won't be repurchasing a full sized bottle, because this wouldn't be much of a beauty blog if I just stuck with the same products. I sprayed the last of it this morning and already have a replacement on the shelf for tomorrow.  The price is also an encouragement to move on, currently it retails for $46.00 US for 3.4oz or $16.00 US for 1oz. But if after a while I won't find anything satisfactory out there, I'll definitely take a break from my search and purchase this again; sometimes quality is worth the price tag.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Anastasia Beverly Hills: Brow Ex-press

A whole company built with a simple purpose to keep those two tiny hair trails above our eyes in place and looking their best.  I am amazed at our obsession with eyebrows.  But they do frame our faces. I mean have you ever seen someone without any, with just one, with crazy bushy ones, crazy arched, or simply two thin lines drawn on... Many make us giggle and stare, and some make us envious.

Well Anastasia seems to be on a quest to let each woman have the brows she's always wanted; perfectly shaped with appropriate thickness.

I saw her work her magic on Oprah once, and then again on the Shopping Channel.  When my Sephora got the Brow Ex-press in stock I finally splurged on one ($38.00 US).  There are two options: blonde and brunette. I chose the blond.  It is a very convenient traveling package, if you do that a lot.  But one needs not to travel to own it.

The set includes two different shadows (to blend and customize), wax (to set), cream highlighter, 4 brow stencils, and an angled brush. Now for the break down:
- I'm using up the wax the quickest, my set has quite a groove in it already, but it's been a couple of months. That will be the first thing needing replacing.  Even-though it is very nice, I don't know if I'll stick with Anastasia. Time will tell. 
- The next thing I will run out of is the cream highlighter.  I don't know how I'm using up more wax than this, but I am.  I really like the highlighter, its perfect creamy formula, the ease of application, and blendbility (mmm I just made that word up), and of course how it looks.  It is a perfect brow highlighter. 
- I mix my two shadows for a custom shade. These are highly pigmented, so I don't need a lot. The color matches my brows perfectly and fills in any gaps that need filling in flawlessly.  Those two shadows will last me for a very long while. In my set they look barely used.  Love it. 
- And the brush is a nice addition as well. It's angled for easy application and blending of the shadows and it doesn't shed.  I use it only with the two shadows. (I use separate and different ones for the wax and highlighter).

The only thing I'm not too crazy about, and don't use are the stencils. Maybe I've messed up my brows too much over the years, self shaping and grooming.  But none of the stencils fit my brow shape closely enough. Plus even if one of them did, I'd need help using them.  They are kind of stiff and awkward to manage by yourself. You definitely need two people to make sure they don't slip or shift, or maybe I'm just too uncoordinated. Anyways I decided not to use them. The fear of  butchering my two caterpillars was too great.

Overall I like this little set. I won't be repurchasing another one. But I will definitely pick up pieces as I run out of them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

love at first sight...

When I spied this silk taffeta skirt on Talbots website, I knew I had to have it.  It just called to me.  I'm a bit Mad Men obsessed, and this skirt reminds me of the ones worn in 50's-60's.  I could just see it coming together with the pieces I already own. 

Thankfully Toronto has Talbots stores, and I acquired one in festive blue yesterday (as in photo).  Other options are cranberry, black, plaid, and gold foil.  (Not all stores carry all colors.) So if you love this skirt as much as I do, you might want to check them out online.

Couple drawbacks, stores sell out of smaller sizes pretty quickly (sometimes shopping online is the only option), and it is kind of pricy, $149.99 CAD + taxes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nail Polish Swatch: Lancôme Le Gris L'Wren Nail Polish

I picked up this little beauty at a Lancôme counter.  It is part of their 2010 holiday collection collaborated with L'Wren Scott. The color is called gray, but when I pointed to what I wanted at the counter, the girl said "ahhh the blue nail polish".  So which is it?  It's both... a gorgeous gray-blue or blue-gray. I'm in love with all things gray, and I adored this color the moment I saw it.

Lancôme has changed the size of their nail polishes. I'm not sure if it's only for this collection or if it is permanent.  The two polished in the 2010 holiday collection are both 6ml, as compared to their regular 10ml.  For someone like me, whose nail polish collection is taking over their drawer space, this is no big deal. I love changing my color all the time, smaller bottles mean less space, means more room for new additions. Plus the price is lower as well, so win-win.

As to application, well the formulation in my bottle was a bit thick and on the goopey side. Not so easy to apply. My second coat was much thicker than my first to even everything out.  But the final look, made me smile, this is definitely a unique shade, and worthy of any polish fanatic.  I think next time I decided to wear it, I might add a tiny touch of restore to the bottle to thin it out just a tad.... otherwise I have nothing but love for this gray...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Favorite Pimple Blaster

My skin is far from perfect. Once I hit puberty, my face exploded.  As a young teen, I was convinced that the minute I turned 18, my face would magically clear up, 21 at the latest.  I truly believed that acne is a teen problem, and as an adult I will finally leave the grossness behind.  Can we all say seriously deluded???

The situation got a lot better once I went on the pill, but I would still get the occasional breakout.  A couple of year ago I decided to get off the pill, just incase I decide to have kids at any moment.  I have yet to crave a child, and I don't regret going off the pill.  But OMG!!! my face exploded, it was worse than anything I experienced as a teen.

I went to a dermatologist a few times. Got different prescriptions for different creams. They did nothing for my acne, but they sure dried out my skin like the dessert.  I remember once trying to put on foundation, and my face looked like I had snake skin.... scaly, sooo dry. God did I feel low about myself... Then my face became so dry, my skin started to crack around my nose area, that hurt even more.  When I informed my dermo about this, his response was "that's normal". I  was done, threw out his creams, and decided to find something on my own.  (Those of you who're thinking Acutane... that is not an option for me).

I'm still on the search, skin far from perfect, although better.  I change up my skincare routine, when after considerable time I see no results with the products I'm using, and trust me once I hit the winning combination I'll share it.

However while on my search I discovered Vichy's NormaDerm Active Anti-Imperfection Concentrate. This little gem has been a staple in my regimen for a while now. It's a bit expensive (a bit over $20 CAD for 15ml tube), but it seriously works to treat your spots.  It's a great creamy consistency, that you can rub into your spot during the day under your makeup or not, and at night if you're like me you can just slather it on like a mini pimple mask. It's not runny, or sticky at all, and it smells wonderful, a light refreshing scent, not medicinal at all.  It's pretty light green in color. This product has the highest percentage of salicylic acid I've ever seen without a prescription, 4%. Whenever I get the tingling feeling on my face of an oncoming eruption, I put it on, and voila, magic, most of the time, the pimple disappears and never turns into an ugly spot. This has even worked for me on my cystic breakouts, although not as quickly.

I love this magic little tube, and hope Vichy never discontinues it, or changes the formulation. Maybe I'll give more products from this line a try, once I'm done with my current testers.  I'll blog about it if i do :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ole Henriksen Rub 'N Buff Salt Scrub

I love to exfoliate my legs, because I hate ingrown hairs.  I do it every other day.  When I was running out of my favorite, I decided to try something new, and headed to my Sephora.  I picked out a scrub by Ole Henriksen because it read so very nice on their website:

"Create your own at-home spa experience while indulging body and mind with sea salt to clarify, and lavender oil to calm, soothe, and ease away tension. Uplifting lemongrass oil adds a zesty fragrance to this densely textured, spa salt scrub. "

, and because it's such a lovely seafoam color.

I don't know what spa these people hang out at, but I just could not stand the smell of this scrub. It's nasty, but I decided to hold my breath and use it anyway, because the size of the jar is generous and the price is not that bad either ($48.00 US for 28oz). I also hate returning things. I just don't do it. If I hate it I'll throw it out, or give it away if I know someone who'd want it, but I usually don't pass off my garbage onto someone else. 

So anyways back to the scrub.  I'm 3/4 done with the jar; I got used to the smell, but that doesn't mean I think it smells good, it just means I got used to it. It's not wonderful.  The instructions state to use it on wet skin, but that seems wrong, as when I tried it, it did not exfoliate but just melt off. I use it on dry skin, then shower.  But I'm getting ingrown hairs, seems to be a lot of filler, not a lot of exfoliation.  This product is a major pass for me. Once I'm done with the jar, I will not be repurchasing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails

I bought it because I was swayed by its "cult favorite" status, smell, color, and because my cuticles needed a little bit of tlc. Darn for a tiny little jar, this stuff is expensive ($23 US for 0.35oz). Personally I will not be repurchasing, I don't know what the big hoopla is all about. It's a thick cream which is nice, but jeez it's sticky. I applied it at bedtime, and tried not to touch anything before falling asleep.  It did not work miracles on my nails, and for the price, I expected something close to it.

Don't get me wrong I love Dior, just not this product. But hey you might love it and have money to burn, then go for it. Personally I'm going for something cheaper... blog about it soon.