Travel Packing List for Spain Part 2: Makeup

what to pack for makeup when you travel

If you tuned into the blog Monday, then you saw what was on my packing list skincare-wise for mine and Mr. Artist's upcoming honeymoon/first anniversary trip to Spain. Today I'll be sharing a funner post, which features my packing list for makeup!

Unlike skincare, makeup is even harder for me to narrow down. I usually choose what makeup I'm going to wear based on what I'm wearing and feeling that day and you just never know what you'll feel like in advance! Usually what I end up doing is bringing everything and then wearing none of it as I end up going makeup-free because it's too hot or I'm too lazy. Well not this time! This time I am going to be very selective in what I bring. This is partially motivated as well by the fact that I'm not doing checked luggage, so all my makeup must be able to fit in the Harajuku Girls pouch above.

Here's what I'm packing for my two week trip:

travel makeup packing list - base and face

First and more importantly are base products. If I'm going to be slack with my makeup, at the very least I'll have a decent base. All of these number among my ride-or-die products. The Makeup Revolution palette (reviewed here) can be used for contouring, as eyeshadow and the matte yellow shade makes a nice under-eye setting powder. The Guerlain Meteorites Baby Glow foundation (reviewed here) feels so weightless, gives my skin an amazing glow and also has SPF 25, and this Coola Mineral Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish is my HG sunscreen with its mattifying texture and use of physical suncreens over chemical.

travel makeup packing list - eyes
Realized later that I'm missing mascara here, but at this time I'm not sure which one to bring yet!

Next is eye products. Since Spain's weather at the end of September/beginning of October is still pretty sunny and warm, my makeup choices here are more reminiscent of spring than fall. Between this Stila The Natural and this Lise Watier Rivage palette (reviewed here), I can do looks from soft and pretty, to sultry, to soft touches of color with that mossy green. As for eye bases, it's all about my OG Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, but the Clarins Ombre Waterproof Shimmering Cream Color is a close second lately, as it gives my eyes a nice bronze tint and acts as a great primer.

travel makeup packing list - lipsticks

Lastly is lips. Since I couldn't decide on just a couple, I'm bringing four lipsticks to fit any and all occasions: vampy red for nights out in candlelit tapas bars, brown-rose for everyday wear and smoky eye looks, orchid purple for when I feel like having a fun splash of color, and a girly coral for walking around during the day.


Makeup travel packing tips:

  • Pick products that are multi-use e.g foundations with SPF, or cheek/lip sticks
  • Think about what types of activities you'll be doing on your trip and pick your colors accordingly
  • Opt for eye shadow palettes vs. singles so that you don't have to think of shadow combos



That's my makeup packing list and my last post until I get back - see you all in October!




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Lush Superbalm Review | Ultimate relief in a mini tin

lush superbalm review

As I've mentioned before, my saga to relieve my dry, itchy scalp continues. For some background, I think after a few too many misadventures with reviewing shampoos, my scalp decided to just rebel and now I'm super cautious about what I use. To counteract the incessant itching and flaking, I've tried a few different oils, but nothing seemed to work - nothing that is until I tried Lush's Superbalm.

This thick all natural paste is specifically designed to relief and repair flaking, itchy scalp:
  • Coconut oil - a natural emollient that deeply nourishes skin and can relieve psoriasis and excema
  • Candelilla wax - another natural emollient that's often used as a substitute for beeswax in vegan products
  • Salicylic acid - an exfoliant that helps encourage your scalp to shed buildup that causes scalp irritation
  • Rose wax - an emollient
  • Rose, chamomile and lavender oils - help soothe and calm irritation
Like all Lush products, Superbalm has a strong fragrance. While some reviewers were turned off by Superbalm's scent, I personally loved it. Superbalm smells like a mix of menthol, coconut oil and something almost medicinal, which really appeals to me as I find medicinal scents relaxing. 

The balm itself is housed in a cute 45 g tin that retails for $23.95 at any Lush store. It's a thick, pale green balm, with a texture similar to hair pomade. To use, simply scoop out a bit at a time and massage it directly into your scalp; wait 20 minutes and then wash it out. 

lush superbalm

The trickiest part of using Superbalm is knowing how much to use. After reading through the reviews, it's pretty common to over-apply and end up with super greasy strands; since you typically use this pre-shower though, that's not a big problem. I like to scoop out very little at a time, just slightly covering the pads of my fingers with product, and applying it a bit at a time wherever my scalp is irritated. 

I usually apply Superbalm before I shower, or if I plan to shower in the morning, then I'll wear it overnight. I've even taken to applying it during the day if I'm feeling particularly itchy and it helps a lot to keep my scalp comfortable.

Immediately after applying, it feels like my scalp just breathes a sigh of relief. My head just feels so relaxed and I have no nagging feeling of itchiness like I normally do. Yes, it is a bit of a pain to wash this stuff out and if I don't wash my hair for a couple days then the itchiness returns full force, but based on my experiences so far, this is the closest to actual relief I've gotten yet. I'll definitely be repurchasing this again and again!


Final Verdict
Buy - a powerful balm that instantly reliefs dry, itchy scalp. Must have!




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Travel Packing List for Spain Part 1: Skincare

Only eight more days till Mr. Artist and I leave for our Spain trip!! I can't remember if I had mentioned or not on here, but the past couple months I've been slowly researching and planning out our trip to Spain for our honeymoon/first year anniversary. Hard to believe we've been married almost a year already, but I'm thrilled to celebrate it in beautiful Spain.

We are going away for two weeks and four cities in Spain: Barcelona, San Sebastian, Seville and Granada and most of my trip planning has centered on researching attractions, figuring out accommodations, transportation and of course food! Now that things are getting down to the last few days though, it's time to get down to business, namely putting together a packing list.

Normally my toiletries make up the majority of my suitcase as I can't bear to mess up my skincare routine while travelling, but this time I'm really forcing myself to pack light so I can avoid checking luggage. What you see below is literally all I'm planning to bring with me skincare-wise, minus some eye cream and toothpaste:

travel packing skincare essentials

Doesn't look like much right, but the trick here is to use up those samples and trial sized items that I've been storing away for just a time like this!

In more detail, here's what on my skincare packing list:

OGX hair care for travel

These travel sized satchels of shampoo and conditioner are just what I need to keep my hair from getting dried out in the arid plane air and Spanish climate. Each of these has plenty to last me through several washes and is a great chance to try out three different OGX lines for free!

laneige water bank hydration kit

I've been wanting to try the Laneige Water Bank line since forever, so when I saw this six-piece hydration kit set for sale on Sephora, I snatched it right up! This kit contains a moisturizer, sleeping mask, serum, emulsion, toner and exfoliator, and each are well under that pesky 100 ml limit. Depending on how heavy the moisture cream is, I'll use it in combination with the emulsion at night and solo or just the emulsion during the day. I also have a couple other mask samples too that I got from past Sephora purchases.

lush earl grey massage bar

The most annoying part of carry-on luggage is dealing with the liquid restrictions, so I opted for non-liquid formats wherever I could, such as with this Lush Shades of Earl Grey Massage Bar. Although meant for massage, this bar can also be used as a body moisturizer with its luxurious notes of organic cocoa butter, shea butter and bergamot oil. I also purchased this cute Lush tin for a couple bucks more, which you can use to store soap, more massage bars or little trinkets!

sephora coconut water makeup removing wipes

Nothing feels better than wiping off the dirt of walking around all day, whether you wear makeup or not and when I travel my absolute necessity is facial wipes. These Sephora Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes are gentle enough to use on eyes and will thoroughly cleanse away makeup and dirt while refreshing with hydrating coconut water. I love anything with coconut water (so long as I'm not drinking it) so these were a no-brainer to bring.

Travel packing tips for skincare:

  • Use up those samples!
  • Purchase travel sized bottles and jars from the dollar store to store your products in
  • Wherever you can, avoid liquid products so you don't have to worry about spills or security limits



Stay tuned for part two on Friday when I'll share my makeup packing list!




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Dr. Roebuck's EYE Regeneration Cream Review | The case of the missing lid


I have a funny story for why this review is missing an actual photo of the product I'm reviewing. The jar above you see is the Dr. Roebuck's EYE Regeneration Cream, which is new to Murale and Canada. Made in Australia, Dr. Roebuck's is a family run business started by twin daughters Zoe and Kim based on formulas first concocted by their father to create gentle, non-irritating products without unnecessary chemicals and fragrances. Dr. Roebuck's is well known for their PURE and FACE moisturizers and the EYE cream is the complimentary product to those for the eye area. This eye cream is designed to reduce puffiness, dark circles and fine lines with its potent mix of moisturizers, antioxidants and amino acids derived from natural ingredients.

Now back to my story. I'd been using this cream for several weeks and right before I was getting ready to actually photograph and review it, I somehow one morning knocked the lid off my counter. Not a big deal right? Well, apparently this lid fell into a black hole because I turned my whole bathroom upside down and could not find it! I looked behind the sink, on the floor, behind the counter and shelves and within my shelves, all to no avail. Thankfully I had a couple of travel jars available, but I am still disturbed at night about where that lid went!

Anyways...

I love trying out eye creams as it's so tricky to find a good one. Right off the bat, I was really impressed by the size of this cream. The jar is quite massive, but don't get too excited; when I had to depot this, it ends up shrinking down to a standard 15 ml.

The Dr. Roebuck's EYE retails at Murale for $39.95 which isn't too bad for a mid-priced brand. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any info on its ingredients so no comments on that. What I can say is that this cream is deliciously rich and creamy. I love to pat this all along my under-eye area and immediately my skin feels softer and less papery. It absorbs quite readily as well, so you can use it during the day too.

As for long-term effects, I haven't noticed any change in my fine lines yet, but rarely anything does for those *sigh* I think this cream did give a slight improvement on the darkness under my eyes, but primarily I think this one just does a good job at hydration.


Final Verdict
Buy - reasonably priced and has a rich, moisturizing texture that feels really nice after a long day at the computer.




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Eminence Organics Skincare Review | Officially in love

eminence skin care review

Warning, this post is going to have a lot gushing! Today I'm thrilled to share with you my first experiences trying out Eminence Organics Skin Care. Although founded in Hungary, I always think of this brand as Canadian, as they have a large office here where many of their products are developed. With a focus on providing quality natural ingredients in gentle, yet effective products, Eminence has long been on my radar.

A few months ago, Eminence was kind enough to share with me four products spanning across the entirety of my skincare routine: the Eminence Firm Skin Acai Cleanser, the Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist, the Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Gel and the Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant. Each of these are designed to turn back the clock, revealing younger, smoother and more radiant skin.

Eminence Firm Skin Acai Cleanser
Price: $38 for 248 ml

What it is: A gentle cream cleanser enriched with that antioxidant powers of Acai berries and seabuckthorn oil to refine and repair dull skin.

What's in it:
  • Corn oil - an emollient (helps skin retain moisture)
  • Sunflower oil - an emollient
  • Acai berry juice - an antioxidant 
  • Blueberry juice - an antioxidant
The ingredients list for this cleanser is incredible! I love that Acai is right up there, alongside blueberry juice. This cleanser also contains hyaluronic acid (moisturizing), lactic acid (exfoliating), vitamin A and E, coenzyme Q10 (anti-aging), and salicylic acid (exfoliating) - all great ingredients for ensuring skin renewal and repair.

My thoughts: In case you couldn't guess, I love this cleanser! It's become an instant favourite of mine and I almost don't want to use it for fear of using it up. First of all, it's a cute bright purple color, reminiscent of crushed blueberries. Second, it smells like a juicy bowl of fruit and I love fresh, fruity smells! Thirdly, it cleanses effectively and quickly without that tight, drying feeling. 

I'd recommend applying this to slightly damp skin and just massaging it in for a minute. It rinses away easily and leaves your skin feeling so refreshed and soft. If you're used to foam cleansers then you'll notice a distinct lack of foam, but that's probably a good thing as foam cleansers tend to be more drying. The only thing this cleanser is not amazing at, is cleansing off makeup. I do need a good pre-cleanse beforehand and a toner after just to be sure my skin is squeaky clean of makeup. Other than that though, this one is a must-have!

Verdict: Buy


Eminence organics review

Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist
Price: $38 for 142 ml

What it is: An anti-aging facial mist that rejuvenates tired skin with a mix of antioxidants and collagen-boosting ingredients. Eminence claims this mist will increase collagen levels by 25% in a week and reduce crow's feet in a month.

What's in it:
  • Coconut water - helps hydrate and soothe skin
  • Chicory root oligosaccharides - helps tighten skin and improve collagen production
  • Glycerin - a humectant (draws moisture into skin)
  • Tara tree gum - firms and moisturizes skin
This mist also contains squalane (moisturizing), coenzyme Q10, vitamin E and C, salicylic acid and neroli flower oil (fragrance).

My thoughts: I love to use 3-4 sprays of this facial mist in the morning right after cleansing. It leaves my skin feeling so refreshed and awakened. Thanks to the neroli oils, this mist has a light, floral scent, but it's not overpowering in any way. This mist is quite wet, so I'd only use this as a toner and not as a setting spray, but you could use it as a mid-day refresher as well if you're not wearing too much makeup. It's hard to really attribute any true skincare benefits to a mist as they're just so fine, but they're one of those products that just makes you feel good to use and the mist format helps ensure an even application of toner across your entire face.

Verdict: Buy


Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Gel
Price: $59 for 35 ml

What it is: A mattifying oil-free moisturizer that provides deep hydration without any greasy feeling. Stone crop cactus juice and green tea reduce fine lines and bring back suppleness to skin, while reducing blemishes and scars.

What's in it:
  • Stone crop pulp and juice - an antioxidant that also helps reduce hyper-pigmentation
  • Bearberry extract - brightens skin and reduces hyper-pigmentation
  • Green tea extract - an antioxidant
  • Glycerine
This moisturizer also contains soybean oil (moisturizing), coenzyme Q10, vitamins E and C.

My thoughts: Out of all of the Eminence products I was sent, this is my least favourite, entirely because of the smell. I hate to let fragrance affect me so much, but smell is such a big part of one's skincare experience. This moisturizer smells strongly of I guess, cactus juice, which apparently is very herbaceous; other than that, this moisturizer is really nice. It's one of the few actually mattifying moisturizers I've ever used and it leaves my skin feeling comfortably hydrated. It's a gel texture so it feels very light and leaves a kinda strange stickiness to the skin, but not in a tacky way like most face creams. Although I think this gel is meant for daytime use, I've only been using it at night as it does not play well with my sunscreen and makeup as it causes it to pill like crazy. As a night cream, it's not bad for summer, but not heavy enough for my liking so I usually top it with a facial oil and mist. For these reasons, and for the high price point, I have to give this one a pass.

Verdict: Ditch


Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Gel review

Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant
Price: $48 for 124 ml

What it is: This rice powder based exfoliant is quite unique as it's a fine powder that you combine with drops of water to make into a paste. This exfoliant combines physical and chemical exfoliators in the form of lactic and salicylic acids to renew skin's surface and allow for better absorption of skincare treatments. 

What's in it:
  • Rice starch - an anti-inflammatory to help even skin tone
  • Chickpea flour - helps brighten skin and exfoliate
  • Thermal mud - detoxify and deep cleanse pores
  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate - a cleanser
This scrub also contains oat starch and oatmeal (exfoliating), salicylic acid (exfoliating), grapefruit seed extract (astringent), strawberry fruit seed (astringent), and rhubarb root extract (repairs skin to retain moisture).

My thoughts: Out of all the products I tried, this scrub is definitely the best value as you need to so little per application. The Dermafoliant comes in a tall metal bottle that contains a sifter lid. It's a bit tricky to figure out a good ratio of powder to water and I recommend adding a single drop at a time until you get the right consistency. The powder itself is super fine, but when applied feels surprisingly coarse (in a good way). I love how this exfoliant feels on my skin; it never feels harsh or causes my skin to sting and it just deep cleans into every pore. Afterwards, my skin feels super clean and smoother. Eminence says that you could use this scrub daily, but I think it's is a bit too strong for that and would recommend only a couple times a week. 

Verdict: Buy


Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

As you can see, each of these products were winners for me. with the only exception being the moisturizer due to the smell and price. The quality of the ingredients and packaging for all of these products is impeccable. Some of you may balk at the prices, but considering Eminence's positioning in its category, I think the price point is pretty fair and the results are awesome. I would compare these to a more grownup, more hippy version of Lush and I'm definitely looking forward to trying more in future!



* This post contains PR samples




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THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cushion Foundation Review | Finally, a full coverage cushion foundation!

thefaceshop cc intense cushion foundation in pure beige review

One of the more popular Asian trends to translate over to Western beauty shelves lately are CC cushion foundations. Instead of your usual bottle or compact, CC cushions consist of a cushion literally soaked in foundation, which is applied by using a separate sponge to gently press down on the cushion and then onto skin. The idea is to stipple foundation onto your skin, for a more airbrushed, dewy effect. CC cushions are perfect for the type of hot, humid weather that is typical in Asian countries, and lately here as well (although Vancouver got skipped from that!).

Recently, my favourite Asian beauty brand, THEFACESHOP debuted a slew of new CC cushion foundations to tempt Western consumers into jumping in on the CC train. These foundations not only help give flawless coverage, but were also designed to help resolve common skin afflictions as well.
  • If you have oily, shiny skin, then try the Oil Control Water Cushion for a long-wearing, full coverage, mattifying effect
  • If dullness is your concern, the CC Intense Cover Cushion will help with its 25 hour moisturizing and brightening complex and full coverage
  • If you have mature skin, then try the Therapy Anti-aging Cushion, which contains a mix of avocado, palmarosa and sandalwood oils to deeply replenish moisture and provide medium radiance and coverage
  • Lastly if your skin is pretty awesome already (lucky you!) then the CC Ultra Moist Cushion is for you, with its emphasis on dewiness, moisture and light coverage
My only other experience with CC Cushions was with the Pur Minerals Air Perfection compact, which gave me excellent glow, but which was super super light coverage and I was hoping to try something with more oomph for everyday wear, so THEFACESHOP was kind enough to give me the CC Intense Cover Cushion to try. 

The Guts
Since CC products are supposed to correct as well as conceal, THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cushion does contain some skincare benefits, such as rose oil (moisturizing), lavender oil (moisturizing, soothing), hyaluronic acid (moisturizing), niacinamide (brightening), vitamin E (anti-aging), sweet almond oil (moisturizing), and borago seed oil (moisturizing). 

The primary ingredients though in this cushion are:
  • Water
  • Cyclopentasiloxane - a silicon that helps give a temporary plumpness and smoothness to skin
  • Titanium dioxide - brightens and provides sun protection
  • Phenyl trimethicone - an emollient that gives a silky texture
  • Triethylhexanoin - a solvent and emollient 

Price & Packaging
A single compact with cushion inside retails for around $29 from THEFACESHOP. Based on what the bottom label of the compact says, this compact contains 0.52 oz, which is about half the amount of a normal foundation which is 30 ml, or about 1 oz. It's pretty normal that cushions contain significantly less product than regular foundations and this can be quite controversial as consumers are left feeling outright conned as the price remains the same. Now if you compare the amount and price of the THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cushion to say, a mid-range foundation which will retail around $50 for 1 oz, then this is a fair valuation; however, if you compare the THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cushion to the similarly priced THEFACESHOP Intensive Glow BB Cream, which is about 3 oz for $25, you can see it's not so good! 

Packaging-wise, THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cushion is a winner. The compact is thick and easy to hold and comes with an interior lid that protects the cushion further from drying out. Simply flip this lid open to get at the cushion. The interior mirror with this compact is also super-handy.

thefaceshop cc cushion review

Pigmentation & Wear
I wasn't sure what to expect with this cushion, seeing as the one I've tried before was super sheer, but boy was I impressed! A single dab with the cushion delivers so much product that I can cover a whole side of my face and the coverage is truly medium-full. Instantly my hyper-pigmentation is greatly reduced and all redness and unevenness is eliminated. The finish of this foundation also has a very luminous quality, so it totally checks off that claim fully.

I was also quite impressed by the fact that despite being luminous, this CC cushion didn't make me shiny at all. You get a truly bright, yet satin finish that when paired with other mattifying products gives my skin the most matte look it's ever had. This effect doesn't last forever, maybe a few hours, but the foundation continues to wear well after that with minimal fading and no oxidation (although to be fair, I rarely ever have that problem with foundations).

My only complaint - the shades. There are four different shades available for the CC Intense Cushion: Dark Beige, Natural Beige, Pure Beige and Apricot Beige. For some reason, I received Dark Beige first to try and it's actually nice to see a truly medium-dark shade, as usually CC/BB products lean way more towards the fair spectrum. Unfortunately Dark Beige was way too dark for my NC25 skin, but if you have maybe NC30+ it might do you better. 

My second attempt at shade matching was to try the Pure Beige, but alas this is more suited for NC15 skin. It actually doesn't look too bad if I apply a light layer and then generous bronzer all over, which is how I've been wearing it, but solo it's quite scary looking so I'll spare you any photos. 

My guess would be that maybe Natural Beige is a closer match to me and as far as I can tell, Apricot Beige is similar to Pure Beige, but with a slightly pinker undertone. 

thefaceshop cc intense cushion foundation in pure beige swatch

Overall
I was pretty impressed with this CC cushion. If you like CC cushions, then I think you'll really enjoy this one and the other versions THEFACESHOP has come up with. It gave excellent coverage, was fairly mattifying and also brightening. Despite the coverage, it was really comfortable to wear and felt super light. The only detractors keeping me from really loving this foundation is the price for value as you get less than half of a normal BB cream and it was really difficult to get the right shade if you're not able to test in-store.


Final Verdict
Buy



* This post contains PR samples


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Review: Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil and Korres Wild Rose Brightening Targeted Tone Corrector

korres wild rose brightening targeted tone corrector review

A few months ago I first spotted the Korres Wild Rose line at a media preview and I literally could not take my eyes off of them. Out of everything at that event, the Korres products were just beautiful. Having never used Korres before, I was so eager to get my grubby paws on these and onto my face!

Korres believes in using natural ingredients to their fullest to give you the best skin of your life. Inspired by Greek homeopathic techniques, Korres strives to create the most environmentally friendly formulas that are compatible with all skin types and conditions.

The Wild Rose line by Korres is inspired by the age-reversing powers of the wild rose. With nine times more vitamin C than oranges, wild rose is a potent antioxidant against free radical damage and the ravages of pollution and the sun. On top of that, Korres also pumps their Wild Rose products up with super C, which helps increase the absorption of vitamin C into the skin by 1000%!

All Korres Wild Rose products are formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates and are suitable for all skin types.


korres wild rose oil review

Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil
Price: $54 USD for 30 ml

What it is: A brightening and moisturizing facial oil infused with real rose petals and ultra-concentrated vitamin C to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging, brighten and even skin tone, and leave it plump and smooth.

What's in it:
  • Isoamyl laurate - an emollient (seals in moisture)
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride - an emollient
  • Apricot kernel oil - an emollient and antioxidant
  • Squalane - a moisturizer and antioxidant
This oil also contains in lesser amounts: sunflower seed oil (emollient), rosa canina fruit oil aka dog rose oil (moisturizing, antioxidant) and rosa gallica flower powder (moisturizing). Sadly the much touted camapu and ginger root extract, both of which are anti-aging and anti-irritation ingredients, don't figure much into this product as they linger near the end of the ingredients list.

My take: It took me a little while to figure out how to use this oil. The instructions say to apply this as your last skincare step to seal in moisture, which makes sense as it contains a lot of emollients; however, when I did this, I found that this oil just sits on top of your skin and doesn't do much. Sheila recommended trying this oil as a serum, to infinitely better results! Now I use 3-4 drops of this oil at night, spread between my fingers and gently massaged into cleansed skin. As a serum, my skin just drinks up this oil and as my hands heat up the oil, the rose scent really warms up and is super soothing. I'm not a big rose scent fan and initially this oil just smelled weird to me, but applied this way, I found it really lovely. Each morning, my skin feels plumper, softer and almost velvety in texture! My skin also looks a bit more radiant and for further testament, when I went to get a facial last week, the esthetician declared my skin beautiful and with super tiny pores! 

Final Verdict: Buy


korres wild rose vitamin c active brightening oil review

Korres Wild Rose Brightening Targeted Tone Corrector
Price: $43 USD for 30 ml

What it is: A brightening daily serum designed to reduce dark spots and improve overall tone. Claims to visibly improve hyper-pigmentation in 12 weeks.

What's in it:
  • Water
  • Propylheptyl Caprylate - an emollient
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Apricot kernel oil
  • Denatured alcohol - helps vitamin C absorb easier into skin, but should be avoided if you have drier or sensitive skin. Some reports claim that this ingredient could have detrimental long-term effects while others directly counter this viewpoint. Personally I haven't had problems with this drying out my skin, but just a FYI to do your research!
This product also contains rosa canina fruit oil aka dog rose oil (moisturizing, antioxidant) and rosa gallica flower powder (moisturizing), acetyl rheum rhaponticum root extract (moisturizing and fights dark spots), allantoin (calms irritation), sea fern extract (fights dark spots) and sand lily extract (fights dark spots).

My take: Products like this are always a bit tricky to fit into your skincare regime. Do they come first? After or before serum? This one can be worn both day and night, so that's what I did, applying this after toner and serum. It has a creamy, light texture that kinda sits on skin, but doesn't feel heavy or occlusive. Now I've tried a lot of brightening products so I know it can take a long time to see any results. This one claims to show results in 12 weeks and I've been using it for about 4 so I wasn't expecting anything huge, but so far my results have been around 0%. That's a lot of diddely squat and even if it's only been 4 weeks, I'm kinda dying to see something. Throw me a bone Korres! If I'm going to shell out around $50 for something, it had better start working quicker when there are others out there that can! Now, to be fair, as I mentioned when talking about the oil I have noticed that my skin is a tad bit brighter, so maybe this tone corrector has something to do with that, or maybe not. I'll continue to keep using this and then we'll see after the allotted 12 weeks if anything has changed.

Verdict (for now): Ditch


What is your favourite fragrance for skincare?





* This post contains PR samples



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Battle of the Pink Highlights: Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick vs. Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight

Clinique chubby sculpting highlight review

Are you sick yet of highlighters? After a brief stroll away from the strobing bandwagon, I've since jumped back on when summer started and I'm still riding happily along with this trend, which doesn't seem to be dying anytime soon.

While summer is all about bronzes and golds, as the temperatures cool, so too should your choice of highlighting products. Now these aren't strict rules, but more guidelines per se, but if I want a more dewy, ethereal look, nothing does that easier than a pink highlight. While gold and silver can look too sharp if you're not careful, a soft baby pink is much more foolproof - especially when it's in a creamier formula!

For today's review, I've placed head-to-head two very similar pink highlighters: the Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick in Pink Light and the Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight.

The Similarities

Format: Both of these are cream sticks that offer light-reflecting pigments, long-lasting wear and claim to perfectly and effortlessly sculpt all skin tones for that coveted glow.

Revlon photo ready insta fix highlighting stick

Pigmentation: From the tube, both highlighters look almost the same. The Clinique in the tube looks slightly peachier and the Revlon cooler, but I think this might be an optical illusion due to the external packaging. When actually swatched, they are virtually indistinguishable in indoor light. Both swatch really well, with excellent opacity in one swipe.

I really love the soft focus effect of these highlighters. Even though my skin is more yellow than pink, these don't show up strange on my skin at all; they just give the softest illumination for that inner radiance look. As they're creams as well, you don't have to worry about this settling into pores or accentuating lines. The creaminess of these highlighters really give that nice, dewy look, as if you'd just moisturized.

pink highlighters
Left to right: Revlon, Clinique

The only differences between these two come if you look very closely in outdoor light only; in direct sunlight, the Revlon stick actually has a more petal pink color and the sheen on the Clinique highlight is more dense and uniform. Winner: Tie.

The Differences

Packaging: Obviously the Clinique Chubby Stick looks way nicer than the Revlon stick, although I give points to Revlon for having a clear lid so you can see what the actual shade is. However, I still prefer Clinique's packaging as it feels sturdier. The Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick has a flimsy plastic lid which feels like it will crack at any second and will certainly slip off if you threw this into your purse. Winner: Clinique.

battle of the pink highlighters
Left to right: Revlon, Clinique

Price: Of course, nice packaging comes at a cost! The Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight retails for $26 vs. the Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick sells at $17. I'm not sure the exact amount of product in each, but they look roughly the same size. Winner: Revlon

Texture: This is really getting nit-picky, but I feel that the Clinique melts into my skin more easily and has a more natural finish than the Revlon stick. The Revlon looks just slightly more frosty and feels slightly heavier for a more obvious finish. This is just personal preference however and only noticeable because I'm directly comparing the two. Winner: Clinique

Final Verdict
The final winner in my books then is... the Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight. Although pricier, I found myself reaching more for this one over the Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick. I was impressed how both of these highlighters had amazing opaque pigmentation that blended easily out to give a very soft, luminous glow. The cream stick format is super easy to use on your cheekbones, nose bridge, brow bones and cupid's bow and applies well over makeup and solo. Both products also had similar wear times, lasting only a few hours, but again with this easy stick format, you can easily touch up anytime.

What made me pick the Clinique in the end as the winner is that I felt the Clinique applied and blended easier with a more natural finish. As well, the packaging with the Clinique is much sturdier, so this makes it worth that extra $10 IMO.



Are you team pink or team gold when it comes to highlighters?



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FOTD: Purple Party Explosion featuring NYX Face & Body Glitter and Glitter Primer

nyx glitter makeup look

I have a love-hate relationship with purple eyeshadow. It's supposedly the shade for brown-eyed girls according to all those stupid "eye-color match" palettes and for awhile purple was my go-to makeup look until I just got sick of it. Too much of a good thing right? Well after a hiatus, purple and I are slowly becoming friends again, thanks to a plethora of gorgeous purple lipsticks and warmer purple shadows. Plus I just happened to have some loose glitter around that I've been wanting try, so presto magic-o, we have today's makeup tutorial!

I love just playing around with bolder makeup looks that I wouldn't normally wear and scaring Mr. Artist when he wonders what I've been doing in the bathroom for the past half hour. This purple inspired look was so fun for me to do and I love how it turned out, especially with that pop of glitter c/o the NYX Face & Body Glitter in Gunmetal.

A sparkly black with silver flecks, Gunmetal is the perfect accent to any smoky night look. This was my first time using loose glitter EVER so I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I love how it kinda looks like a speckling of black stars on my lids. Next time, I think I'd like to try packing it on way heavier and denser and more centered along my lash line for a glittery cat-eye.

nyx face and body glitter in gunmetal

Now here's how to get this look!

Eyes
In hindsight I should have started on my eyes first because damn is glitter messy!
  1. To do the eyes, apply your favourite eye primer. This will help extend the wear time and ensure your shadows apply true to color
  2. Apply a light pink-lavender shade all over your lid as a base. I'm using the shade Caregiver from the Tarte Tartelette palette
  3. Then apply a light taupe/purple shade from lash line to just above the crease. I'm using Natural Beauty, one of my favourite shades from the Tarte Tartelette palette
  4. Load up a dense short hair brush with a warm, yellow-purple such as Teeez Cosmetics Spectrum of Stars eyeshadow in Magical Fuchsia and apply on the outer corner and bring it up and through the crease (review of the shadow here!)
  5. Tap out some NYX Face and Body Glitter in Gunmetal into the lid. Spritz a stiff shadow brush with water or setting spray and then tap into glitter. Tap off excess and then tap onto lids as you like. I held a tissue under my eyes to catch any fallout
  6. Highlight like a disco ball by using a stiff tapered brush and a white-gold highlight like the first highlight shade from the Morphe 35F palette and apply to top of brow bones, inner corners and inner third of lower lash line
  7. Line lower lash line with a combination of Natural Beauty and Magical Fuchsia
  8. Line eyes with a thick slash of black liquid eyeliner. I'm using MAKE UP FOREVER's Graphic Ink Liner (review here)
  9. Curl and apply two of black mascara. I'm using the Stila Huge Extreme mascara
  10. Give yourself Insta-worthy cut brows by filling brows in heavier and more defined than normal to balance your crazy glittery eyes. I'm using my go-to, the Tarte emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse
makeup look with nyx gunmetal glitter

sparkly makeup look with nyx glitter primer

Face
Now it's time to get your skin flawless to match your eyes!
  1. Stipple a medium-full coverage foundation all over. I'm wearing here the Stila Stay All Day Foundation in Light (reviewed previously here). Set as you normally would
  2. Chisel like a pro with bronzer. I'm using the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow as my contour
  3. Warm up your cheeks with a subtle rose blush. I'm wearing the Too Faced Love Flush Baby Love.
  4. Highlight like crazy with a pearly highlighter to match that killer eye highlight! The silver baked highlight from the Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour palette (reviewed here) is perfect for this.
Lips
Last, but not least, finish it all off with lipstick! I wasn't going to go for such a matchy-matchy color at first, but I think this was such a fun pairing, so why not. Here I'm wearing the Revlon Ultra HD lipstick in Orchid, which is a gorgeous grape color.

wearing glitter with nyx glitter primer


This look wouldn't have been possible without the NYX Glitter Primer. This stuff is majorly sticky and is perfect for adhering glitter to your skin. I had no idea what I was doing so I applied this as a regular eye primer... which works, but I think by the time you apply your glitter, the primer has set a lot so it wasn't as effective. In the NYX tutorial, they recommend applying it just before you apply the glitter. Be warned though that this stuff is fairly white and semi-opaque, so be rather judicious applying and maybe apply with a brush instead of your fingers for maximum precision.

At only $6 each for the glitter or the primer, these options from NYX are a super fun way to get out of your makeup comfort zone! I'm definitely really curious now about the other glitter shades, such as Bronze, Violet or the holographic looking Crystal! You can find the NYX Face & Body Glitter and the NYX Glitter Primer at drugstores everywhere, such as my affordable makeup go-to, London Drugs.

nyx face and body glitter review

I hope you enjoyed this look! What are your tips for applying glitter?


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Jergens Shea Beauty Oil | Where's the shea at??

jergens shea beauty oil review

Oils are all the rage for skincare lately and now they are popping up in the body and hair care aisles too. Previously if someone mentioned "body oils" to me, thoughts of edible massage oils and sex shops came to mind, but now I've become quite enamored with using them on a much more run-of-the mill basis.

Recently I was given the chance to try out an affordable option for a luxurious body oil, care of Jergens. Available in most drugstores, I've been a fan of Jergens' lightweight, yet richly hydrating body lotions, so I figured their new-ish Shea Beauty Oil would be worth a try.

Claiming to increase skin's radiance by six times its normal amount, the Jergens Shea Beauty Oil contains shea (duh) and argan oils to deeply moisturize and protect skin from the drying effects of the environment.

The Guts
So what's inside this oil?
  • Paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil) - a common emollient that seals moisture into skin and prevents further moisture loss
  • Isopropyl myristate - another emollient that also has the side-effect of helping oily products feel less greasy. Can clog pores so avoid use on the face or areas prone to breakouts
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride - another moisturizer
  • Carthamus tinctorius (safflower oil) - another emollient
The aforementioned shea butter and argan oils, round out the end of the ingredients list. 

Price & Packaging
A single 150 ml bottle of the Jergens Shea Beauty Oil costs around $10. The bottle itself is a clear plastic with a simple pump. I really really dislike this dispenser - not because it's a pump, but because of the type of pump they used. Rather than go for a more "beak" like one where the pump sticks out and away from the bottle (like so), the Jergens Shea Beauty Oil opted for a stubby pump more commonly used for face creams. The result is that the oil barely shoots out of the bottle and instead dribbles down the sides. The easiest way to apply this oil then, is to tip the bottle sideways and pump it into your waiting palms, which is awkward and tedious when one has small oily hands! As well, to up the annoying factor, each pump barely dispenses enough product and I have to pump 2-4 times to get enough to cover a single limb.

Effectiveness
As I mentioned above, I found the Jergens Shea Beauty Oil really tedious and time-consuming to apply. I love to really slather moisturizers all over my skin after a long, hot shower and the Jergens Shea Beauty Oil is just too much work for me compared to the benefits. I need a good 3 pumps to cover one arm and probably twice that to cover one leg.

The oil itself is quite slippery, but when spread across the skin, it seems to sink in quite rapidly so you end up needing more quite quickly, which is weird. Once applied, my skin does have that nice, soft suppleness that you get after applying a good massage oil, but the effects are sadly short-lived. I was really looking forward to using this oil, but there's nothing special about it. The thing I love about facial oils is that you get all the benefits of plant extracts without the fillers, but with this body oil, it's exactly the opposite. You could even go so far as to say that this is just a lightweight version of Vaseline as it's primarily mineral oil. Yes, it does moisturize, and yes, it doesn't leave you feeling super greasy, but for a more discerning consumer like myself, I found this body oil lacking.


Final Verdict
Ditch - cheap, but you get what you pay for.


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