Thursday, January 30, 2014

Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Color Save Silver Shampoo

Before 2013 became last year, I managed to narrow down my list of potential salons to just one, booked an appointment and got a new do. While my style might not be everyone’s cup of pretty, I am truly happy with the results, and will pay the colourist and the stylist another visit when the time comes. 

My goal was to mask the massive amount of greys I have at my tender age of 30something (stress + genetic predisposition = hair that no longer cares to have pigment). But I didn’t want a solid all over colour, because in a matter of days new growth will appear, and I have a pet peeve when it comes to my head and what I call the “division ribbon” (the natural colour vs enhanced). I also did not want a semi-permanent job, as I wash my hair daily, and that wouldn’t be worth the money.

Also after over 2 years of doing my own henna dye job at home, I just didn’t want to anymore. 

Now I haven’t used henna on my hair for 3-4 months prior to visiting the salon. But the colourist informed me that the part of my hair that was at one point henna shade of brown, may turn a shade of green under salon colour. I said “wow, if that happens it will be one short hair cut”… she said “yeah……”… I said “ok, let’s do it” :).

Hair did not turn green… if it did, I can’t tell… and no one else said anything to me :)

What we decided to do to my hair to mask the grey without covering my hair in a solid shade, is a massive amount of thin ash blonde highlights. It took a while to put them all in, but I had my nose buried in a book, and didn't mind the time.

Now to keep my highlights ashy not brassy my colourist recommended I wash my hair once a week with a purple shampoo. She did not recommend a brand, I didn't ask for one... I wanted to do my own homework.

 What I learned in point form:
  • Washing once a week (or every other shampoo), should be enough. But that depends on your hair's texture and brassiness. 
  • You need only a purple shampoo or a conditioner, not both. Once again I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, but my hair isn't one.
  • The shampoo must be a deep rich purple, not lavender, not light purple, and not transparent.
  • Purple shampoo isn't a great cleanser, you might need to shampoo twice, if you're also going for cleanliness. My hair is fine, I don't need to.
After some time spent with Google, I decided on a bottle of purple shampoo from Schwarzkopf. I've always wanted something from this brand, this was a perfect reason to finally indulge. 

I wash my hair daily, but I only use this shampoo once a week. The colour is gorgeous, suddenly dark purple is becoming my favourite colour. The scent is not my favourite. I has a bit of a chemical "treatment" scent, not something I want to linger with. It's not oppressively strong, I'm just not a fan.

Rinsing this out is my favourite part, not only because the scent is gone, but for the gorgeous lavender suds that spin down the drain.
Using this once a week has not dried out my hair; but then again I've been using a bit of leave in oil in my hair daily. And my highlights continue to look ashy, not brassy. Yay to purple shampoo.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beauty Haul Part I - January 2014

I don't know how I manage to have so much to say :)... but I picked up some nice goodies this month.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Too Faced - Better Than Sex Mascara

Here is the mascara I've been using daily for the past month. I bought it after one of my fave youtubers dubbed it "awesome".

Although when I went to Sephora, I flinched at the price tag just a bit ($30 CAD). I reassured myself that I'm due for something upscale after using this disappointing product. So I dropped it in my basket, and here I am a month later with my opinion.

1. I HATE THE NAME!!!! It's nails on chalkboard in my head... just tacky. Seriously I want to meet the person who after trying this said "I shall never have sex again... I have mascara!!!" This is not better than sex, not even close... unless you're having really bad, bad sex... or none at all... in which case you should get yourself a tube of mascara :)
2. I LOVE THE PACKAGING. This tube is gorgeous. Feels heavy and substantial for it's size. The frosted pink metal colour is beautiful, as is the embossed name (but not the name itself). 
3. I like the product. This a good mascara, maybe even very good... but not so good that I'd give up sex for it :) I like how the hourglass brush grabs onto my lashes and deposits colour evenly. It does not clump, it does not smudge, it does not crumble.
It also does not live up to it's ridiculous claim. No, it does not give me 1,994% more volume, if it did I'd probably wouldn't be able to keep my eyes open, however I must point out that I stick to just one coat over my IT Cosmetic primer.  That doesn't mean it doesn't add volume, it does, my lashes definitely feel and look fuller, just not obscenely so. See for yourself below.

First two shots, BTS over bare lashes on the left and nothing on the right.
Next two shots, BTS over my IT Cosmetics Tightline on the left... just the Tightline on the right.
Ok, maybe I'll bump this mascara up to great. It really does a wonderful job of adding oomph to my lashes (with or without a primer), it hold a curl beautifully, and my lashes are soft to the touch (not dry hard little sticks coated with tar).

Would I repurchase?????? Hmmmmmm.... If I'm willing to spend 30 bucks on a mascara, I might as well shop around some more. I hear Giorgio Armani's Eyes to Kill is seriously to kill for :) So not at this time... but this is something I might eventually come back to, despite the tacky name.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

IT Cosmetics Tightline

I purchased this during the last IT Cosmetics airing on the Shopping Chanel for 2013. They had quite a number of deals and sets for the Holidays. I gifted my mother a set of IT brushes, and then added a duo of lash primers for myself (it was a deal of two for the price one one).

Now I’m not a big eye lash primer kind of gal; after giving my lashes a gentle curl I usually slap on some mascara and I’m good to go. What convinced me to buy this, was the model on tv. This was pure magic on her lashes, it defined them, made them seem thicker, and ohhh soooo long…. umm but I have to say she had great lashes to begin with… this just made them even more fabulous. 

Also I liked that this was black, not white as most primers.

First thing the packaging. I like it, I like the slim shiny tube and the print on it. However the product is in the smaller half, the top is about 2/3 of the packaging. So not a lot of product.
The wand is extremely thin, as is the brush. The brush is as thick as the wand. Tiny. However this enables me to work this into my lashes at the very base and work it all the way up. I find it takes a while to get my lashes good and coated, however this never clumps so I can take my time.
This primer is filled with all kind of good Jamie stuff for your lashes: collagen, olive, jojoba, avocado, & peptide. Food for your lashes... I don't know how much to believe that these ingredients will have an effect on my lashes.
Below, left eye with primer and right eye without. You definitely can tell the difference... but I think I can achieve the same effect with mascara alone.
I should mention that you can apply mascara on top of this if you wish. But I didn't in these shots.
Ok so here is what I love about this stuff:
- I love the tiny brush
- I love how well this separates and defines
- I love that it has no obvious scent

What bothers me:
- The fact that the product is only 1/3 of the tube
- The fact that either a) I'm using this up very quickly or b) this is drying out very quickly. Either way I've been using my tube about 1 month, and I'm running dry. There isn't a 3 month supply of product in one of these, you need a new one every 1 1/2 months.

I paid $26 CAD for two, usually one retails for $24 CAD. I will not repurchase singles, but should another double deal come up, I'd probably open up my wallet... I just love that freaking tiny brush.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dior Blush Trianon Edition - Corail Bagatelle # 763

So even before the first calendar month of winter has passed, spring collections started to hit the shelves. I must say that part of me goes “this is so ridiculous”, but a bigger part says “Christmas is over… yay for spring!”.  And honestly I was trolling the web for sneak peaks at spring 2014 collections on Jan 2nd… so who am I to complain.

Dior hit the shelves at Holt Renfrew on Jan 15th. It was next to impossible to find any posts that weren’t stock photos of the collection. I wanted to see swatches and maybe read some first impression reviews, because I wasn’t going to go to HR personally, and I needed help making a choice.

Eventually Google search paid off and I set my sight on two items: Corail Bagatelle Blush #763 and Lip Addict Glow in Coral #004. And guess what, lip glow wasn’t available at HR, supposedly it will only be available at Sephora? and not for another 3 weeks? what????? Sephora online has it in stock already… and so one Coral is on its way to my house.
So let’s take a look at the blush. I feel as if the velt sleeve encasing the compact is softer, more luxurious than ever. I do love these sleeves and actually use them to store the compacts they contain. 
Then we have a gorgeous, glossy, Dior embossed compact itself.
Which opens to reveal one of the prettiest blushes to join my collection. The actuall product on the left and 50% of the packaging taken up by a brush on the right; mine will remain in the plastic sleeve, I have no use for it, but I don’t want to throw it out either.
The pearl and bow design on the blush is almost too pretty to disturb… almost.
The colour a gorgeous pink-coral with barely discernible gold shimmer.  (Left - heavy swatch, Right - light handed).
Finely milled, easily picked up by a brush with a gentle swipe or tap.
Blends in smoothly, for a pretty flush.
Now before I conclude that is a unique one of a kind addition to my collection, I decided to take a look at any shades that might be close to Dior's Corail... and well I think YSL's 1AA (Pink Bloom) comes very, very close.
Nars Orgasm and Benefit Coralista come off as to orange compared to Dior... and CHANEL's Blush Horizon a tad too pink. But if you miss out on Dior's Corail Bagatelle and wish you had a shade like it to play with, check out this YSL square and see if it's to your liking... although in Canada that YSL cost me $11 more than Dior.... so love at first swatch is required :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Love - Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

In my 2013 Favourites video I listed this product as being one of my best purchases in the past year, but I haven’t done a proper blog review of it… and I do want to rave about this product, which has been absolutely wonderful for my face.

I purchased this to serve as my nighttime moisturizer, because having an oily forehead at bedtime doesn’t bother me at all, and although I can be oily, my skin was entering the winter dry spell. Prior to using Fresh Seaberry Oil I was applying this Ole Henriksen disappointment. I must point out that so far this has been the only OH product that my face seriously disagreed with. I have nothing against the brand as a whole, my beef is with this cream only.

But moving on to this wonderful oil. The directions suggest to use 1 to 2 drops to moisturize your whole face… I use 3-4. Even by doubling the dosage I will not be running out of this anytime soon. The dispenser is a dropper, easy to control the exact amount… and since we’re talking drops here, the price justifies the amount ($59 CAD for 1.7oz).

Now Sephora highlights these ingredients with their respective properties”
-Seaberry Oil (Seabuckthorn Oil): A powerful antioxidant rich in moisturizing omegas 7 and 9 noted for protecting the skin from aging free radicals. 
-Cranberry Seed Oil: Maintains the skin’s elasticity and smoothness. 
-Omega 7: Enhances the skin’s healing process. 
-Omegas 6 and 9: Improve elasticity, softness, and smoothness. 
-Omega 3: Calms and soothes.

What they don’t list is the benefits of the the first ingredient in the ingredient list: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, which is rich in vitamin E, has anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties, prevents the pores from clogging, which leads to fewer breakouts. Potent concentration of linoleic acid means it is easily absorbed by the skin, making it a very effective moisturizer, leading to skin tightening, toning and of course smoothing out of wrinkles.

Second ingredient is Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil. Another oil rich in omegas 3,6, and 9, vitamin E and polyphenols. This oil is also highly moisturizing, a natural antioxidant, non-comedogenic, and it helps to maintain a healthy pH of the skin. Nicknamed the “olive oil of Asia” as the plant grows in East Asia and China it has been used for centuries in diet, skin care, and hair care in those parts of the world; and has thankfully made it’s way over to my part of the world.

I can go on with a few more oils included and their benefits but I’m sure if you’re interested you’ll do the homework yourself. I don’t wish for this post to become a 5 page essay :)

I will point out that this product does contain Fragrance, a deal breaker for at least one person I know, but not for me personally. Speaking of scent, I don’t think this product really has one. It’s soft and herbal, and not a distraction. Although if you take the time to scan through the reviews on Sephora there are plenty of people out there who'd disagree with me on this.

In the first 3 nights I used it, it has transformed my skin. Breakouts I was experiencing at the time calmed down significantly, skin became less irritated, more comfortable, pleasant to the touch. Now about a month later, I am of course kicking myself by not giving this oil a chance so so so so much sooner. I am having the best skin days since I hit puberty. Granted I still have much acne scarring and dark marks to face each day, but not having any new bumps to deal with makes me very happy. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use this once hot, humid days of summer roll around, but this has been and currently is my winter saviour.

A winner hands down… and because of it’s success on my skin, now I’m wondering if Tsubaki by Boscia or ProGenius™ Treatment Oil by Nude might be even better… need to acquire some serious samples to test. For now this Fresh Seaberry Oil gets 5 stars from me.

Oh, lastly, I should mention the packaging; it is all glass, bottle and dispenser. I know “butter fingers” out there have fear of breakage and injury, but thankfully I am not one of them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Love - Phyto Paris - Express Conditioner and Color Protect Radiance Shampoo

I purchased this duo a couple of days before I coloured my hair. Although I don't think I coloured my hair, I do believe that ash highlights equate stripping colour from your hair to desired lightness. Regardless… I am not a hair colourist… next time maybe I'll ask for clarification. For now I am supremely happy with my small but plentiful ash blonde streaks that mask my greys beautifully, and I don't regret making this purchase.

First the shampoo, "Phytociturs" which contains grapefruit extract (naturally acidic) seals the cuticle to impart shine, sea buckthorn extract locks in colour and prevents fading, and sweet almond protein restructures.

This shampoo is so thick it borders on being a conditioner. Pouring out this thick as molasses pearly product feels so rich. Yet this stuff feels gentle on my mane and leaves it soft and clean. I've used a lot of nice shampoos in the past, but the scent of this one is hands down my favourite. It smells exactly as a freshly cut pink grapefruit... so delicious and irresistible... Ever since I've started using it, I've been on a serious grapefruit kick... I carve it constantly... can't get enough :)

Next the "Phytobaume" conditioner which contains some of the same fabulous ingredients as the shampoo... namely, grapefruit and sea buckthorn extracts, as well as castor oil, sunflower extract, hibiscus flower acids which helps to seal the cuticle for shine, and mallow extraction (78%).

I love this conditioner for it light feel yet lustrous results. It's thick and creamy, feels dense but doesn't weigh my hair down. Sadly it does not smell of grapefruit, at all... it smells, well "creamy", light and pleasant, and not much like anything. Labeled "express" this an apply and rinse conditioner, no waiting required, which suits me perfectly well in the morning when I do not have time to linger in the shower.

Together this duo has delivered promised results. Soft, shiny, manageable hair. No fading (although as I mentioned I don't think I have colour as much as lack of), and no dullness.

My only beef is with the shampoo packaging. This opaque aluminum bottle with it's large opening is not very user friendly. Dispensing the right amount is a bit of a challenge and it's too easy to pour out more than needed. I hope they reconsider it soon and repackage to something more practical.
Otherwise thumbs up for this duo.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Love - NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

As I was nearing the end of my Laura Mercier Eye Basics, I've decided to explore the world of eye primers a bit more, and my next purchase was the one from NARS. It wasn't a random purchase, this stuff seemed to be on everyone's eyelids other than mine. I just had to find out for myself if it's that good... so I ventured to Sephora and parted with $29 for a tube.

I must say, if I had the ability I would change the packaging in a couple subtle ways. First I would shorten the top... somehow this black part just feels too long. Also I would make the tube clear... I just want to see how much product I have left... or how much is in there to begin with. Because honestly mine felt a bit light... I'm not sure how long it will last me.
However the primer itself is fantastic. I understand the popularity and the following it has.  With the doe foot applicator I smear some on my lids and blend in with my finger. The product is transparent, and I find it easily smooths out and disappears. The shadow I choose to wear that day (powder or cream) applies evenly, and stays put for as long as it has too (which is usually around 14 hours).
No regrets here as you can gather. NARS you have a fan.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow in Poodle and Eyeshadow Brush

Bobbi Brown’s Sunlight wasn’t the only gold I acquired this past holiday season. On Boxing Day my husband and I ventured into Sephora for no other reason that it’s the “mother land” I need to pay frequent and regular visits to.

They had a nice display of items on sale ranging from $5 to $12. Many of these items retail for a whole lot more than that prior to Christmas, but the day after suddenly the festive packaging is no longer in demand and I scored some nice items at a fraction of original price. 

One of them was this great duo from Buxom. 
An open shadow pot enlightened me as to the colour, texture, and feel of Poodle; which is a gorgeous pale gold, extremely soft, and creamy.
 I did not know what the brush looked like, however I was willing to pay $12 for the shadow alone, so the brush just felt like a great bonus. For reference, the shadows retail for $23 and that brush for $21… so I scored this duo for practically 1/4 of the original price! You might be thinking the shadow is "sample size" but I'm here to tell you no, both shadow and brush are original size.
As already stated Poodle is a lovely, shimmery, pale gold, waterproof cream shadow. Texture can only be described as “spongy and bouncy”, I was truly surprised at how pleasant it is.
The formula is enhanced with aloe extract and vitamin E; and does not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs, or Triclosan.
The colour was and is a great base to press my BB Sunlight onto, and I used it to sort of mimic this look by the great Lisa Eldridge. Below attempts at capturing this stunner.
The brush came with this vinyl case. I don't really have use for this packaging. Daily this brush is kept together with all my other brushes, and should I take it with me when I travel, it will be packed with other brushes in one case to hold them all... so this packaging and I might be parting ways soon.
The brush is soft, dense, and compact. Feels like quality, and the shape is actually unique in my brush collection. I pat the shadow on with it, and it works great.
I must say that Sephora on Boxing Day will be on my annual to do list from now on. This was a great score, and I hope I’ll have many  more in the years to come.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bobbi Brown - Sunlight (#6 single eye shadow)

This was curiosity at first sight, which lead to love at first swatch. While I'm obsessing about items called "Dune", during the holidays I was simultaneously obsessing over gold shadows.  Well maybe obsessing is a tad too strong... let's just say I'm strangely drawn to gold shadows in December :)

This past season I added Bobbi Brown's Sunlight to my collection. 
Packaging simple and practical.
You can pop the shadows out, if you own or wish to create a custom palette.
As stated this is a sparkle shadow... it's a gorgeous sparkle as well. I used a finger to press this on top of a cream shadow, and simply loved the results. It was gorgeous without being overpowering. Applied with a brush, this gives very sheer, shimmery results, plus a bit of fallout... which may not be a look one is going for.
However this gorgeous champagne gold colour is a much loved addition to my collection.
Pictures don't do this shadow much justice. I suggest if you love gold and sparkle/shimmer to play with this next time you find yourself at a Bobbi Brown counter. 
Bobbi Brown has 6 different colours in this range. At this time I'm not interested in acquiring more... there is just so much sparkle one can get away with :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo - Dune

I am Dune obsessed… if a product has the word “Dune” in its name, I’m itching to own it. Already own “Dune” nail polish from Dior (I actually got that one prior to current madness), Michael Kors McGraw bag color choice came down to the name, and I needed to have the one called “Dark Dune”… and here we have an eyeshadow duo from Hourglass named “Dune” as well.
This duo has been out for quite some time, but it is only recently that it came up on my radar, and once it did, I simply justified acquiring it as a Christmas treat to myself.
These are my first shadows from Hourglass, an all vegan line, and most likely not my last based on the quality of “Dune”.
Let’s break this product down.
First the packaging… one word “sleek”. Highly reflective, and a fingerprint magnet, but still beautiful. It feels light and delicate… I wouldn’t want to drop it :) It is innovative with the “turn it any angle you desire” lid. It feels compact, doesn’t weight much, doesn’t take up too much space. It comes with a mini brush… can’t tell you anything about it, I haven’t and have not plans to use it.
The two shadows are complementary; on one side we have a pale cool champagne color, and on the other a blackened-shimmery-green. Both embossed with the Hourglass logo.
The quality of the shadows is superb and I mean superb. Incredibly soft (the word “buttery” suddenly has meaning when describing these shadows), highly pigmented, and so easy to work with. They blend incredibly well, and wear a whole day on top of my NARS eye primer without creasing or wearing off.
This Dune obsession lead to trying shadows I wouldn’t have otherwise considered…  the price point is a bit of a deterrent (this small duo retails for $44 CAD at Sephora).
Well I really shouldn’t start of the New Year with such an obvious lie :) To be honest eventually I would have splurged (out of sheer curiosity if nothing else), but it would have been most likely “Gypsy” that I would have chosen… and now that I thought it and wrote it down, it might be the next Hourglass shadow duo to find home in my drawer.... that or "Suede"... or both.... or all.... hahahahaha