June Empties

Hello friends! I’ve had a busy few weeks, filled with birthdays (mine, my dad’s and my mom’s) and Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, but I have managed to use up a lot of products this month.

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Starting off with skincare, I finished the Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting HydraSwirl, which I reviewed a few months back. It did help brighten my undereye circles, but was not hydrating enough for my liking.

I finished my second sample size of the Neostrata Acne Clear Clarifying Gel Cleanser, which contains 2% salicylic acid. I actually enjoyed using this cleanser in terms of the texture and feel of it, but I am currently using the corresponding 2% salicylic acid leave on treatment, I don’t really feel that a cleanser containing the same ingredient is necessary at this point.

The Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner was a product that I really wanted to try out when it first launched, so when it came out as a 100-point perk at Sephora, I snatched it up. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to its hype; it was an interesting consistency going on, but I don’t feel like it did anything for my pores or keeping my face matte.

This is my second sample of the Tarte Maracuja Oil, and I didn’t like it as much as I remembered. I had used this oil a few summers back and I remember it feeling great on my skin at night, but this time around I felt like it left my skin feeling greasy, with the oil sitting on top of my skin instead of absorbing into it.

The Olay Touch of Concealer Eye Regenerating Cream is a tinted eye cream. To be honest, I have had this sample for maybe 5+ years? I haven’t even used it in the last few years, so it’s more of a toss than an empty.

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I finished two micellar waters, a travel size of the Bioderma Sebium Micellar Water (for oily skin) and the Garnier Micellar Water. I did a comparison between the Garnier and Bioderma micellar waters a few posts back, and in a head to head comparison, the Bioderma won, but I’m not averse to repurchasing the Garnier option because of the price difference. I didn’t find much of a difference between the Sebium and the Sensibio versions of the Biodermas either; both worked great in cleansing my skin.

I picked up the Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Essence on a whim a while back, and I really liked it. I’m not sure what it really did for my skin, but it felt really good applied to the face, and worked great as a base under my sunscreen. I think this product was recently replaced by the Dior Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence, but I probably wouldn’t have repurchased it anyway, since that it didn’t work any miracles on my skin that I would have expected given the price tag.

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I also finished the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, which I reviewed a few months ago. I felt like it did brighten my skin quite a bit, but the fact that it leaves a slight white cast and takes a few minutes to absorb into my skin throws me off from repurchasing it immediately. I have also picked up another niacinamide product that I have been testing, so I’m not in any rush to repurchase immediately.

The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is very hydrating. I used it mostly on my legs, which were super dry during the winter months. It did a good job, but I didn’t like the fact that I had to dip my hands into the huge pot. I think I will purchase the lotion formulation instead, which comes in a pump bottle.

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The L’Oreal Color Riche Lipstick in 339 Stone Crystal is actually a product I received in a grab bag. I have barely used it, but it’s getting tossed because 1) the colour makes my lips look dead, and 2) the texture of the product feels like sand on my lips. It is a light pink metallic shade that is terribly unflattering on my skin tone, and when applied on the lips, it feels very gritty. I have tried to make this work, but it is a lost cause. It also smells like old lipstick, which doesn’t make me want to purchase any other colours from this line.

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The Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in tbt was part of a set that I bought with the Tartelette Tease Palette and the Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara. I think I have used this product less than 5 times since I got it. The colour was very unflattering on my lips, and made my lips look dried out and cracked. I actually took this product out to swatch it to compare it to the one I got as part of my Sephora birthday gift this year, and found that it was dried out, which honestly is no loss for me.

The Benefit Roller Lash and the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascaras are supposed to be dupes for each other, and I did a comparison of the two here. I liked the Maybelline one better, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite drugstore mascara, and I probably won’t repurchase either.

The NYC Big Bold Curl Mascara is actually a repurchase. I received my first tube in an Ipsy bag and loved the effect on my lashes, mostly because of how wet the formulation is. This time around, I did still enjoy the formula, and as you can see in the picture below, it hasn’t dried out any. I have had this tube for too long though, but I will consider repurchasing this in the future again.

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The Essence SuperFine Waterproof Eyeliner was a terrible purchase. I have heard great things about the Essence eyeliners, but this particular one flopped hard. The whole selling point is the felt tip that’s supposed to draw a super fine line right? Well, that would be great if the product actually would get to the tip of the liner. The tip is super long, and the liquid would get stuck in the middle of the tip, so when you try to draw a line, nothing comes out. It was such a frustrating experience, and I don’t think I even go a single use out of this liner. Don’t waste your money on this, folks. Get the dip liner if you want to try an Essence eyeliner.

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Last but not least, I finished another box of the Shiseido Cotton Pads. These are the Japanese ones that I picked up during my trip, and they are 100% worth it. They go for $3-4 CDN in Japan, which is a lot cheaper than the $11 CDN that they sell for here. If you have a chance, stock up in Japan.

There we have it, folks. Another month of beauty trash. Hopefully the trend of working through my stash will continue, though I have picked up several new skincare products recently…

Talk to y’all soon!

Love, B

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3 Things to Help You Stay Hydrated This Summer

One of my biggest problems throughout the year is staying hydrated. I used to get dehydrated all the time, which would make me dizzy and miserable by the end of the day. About a year ago, I made it my goal to stay as hydrated as possible, and these are a few of the things that I use to help me achieve my daily water intake:

1) A hydration app for your phone: I started using an app called Plant Nanny in March last year, and surprisingly I have stuck with it so far. It’s basically an app that calculates your daily water intake goal based on your weight and level of activity, and every time you drink some water, you can “water” your plant and help it grow. If you don’t drink enough water for a few days, your plant dies. It’s somewhat of an incentive to drink enough water to keep your plant alive, and it’s more fun than using a traditional health app to track your water intake. You can even set reminders to drink more water throughout the day, if you look at your phone often like I do.

2) A good water bottle: I find that a good water bottle makes all the difference in helping me drink a sufficient amount of water. I am currently alternating between two, depending on the day. The first is a S’well bottle, that claims to keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. I have not tested out the 24 hour claim, as that doesn’t really go along with my current goals, but it definitely keeps my drinks cool for several hours. The second bottle I have been using is the Brita water bottle, which has a built-in filter. I find this super convenient when travelling or the days where I don’t have access to filtered water.

3) Flavour enhancers: As much as water is my beverage of choice, sometimes it gets a bit boring to drink 3 litres of it a day. One of the things that helps adding flavour to my water. The most obvious one is fruit – fresh lemons make water refreshing to drink, while frozen fruits like strawberries help to keep my water cool and tasty. A substitute for the winter is concentrated lemon extract, the one they sell in the grocery stores in the fake lemon squeeze bottle. You don’t have to worry about the lemons going bad before you get to use them, and it’s a lot faster to squeeze it into your water bottle when you’re rushing out the door in the morning. A third alternative are artificial water enhancers that come in a variety of flavours. Most use artificial sweeteners, so they have the taste of juice without the calories, but I try to limit the use to once a day.

Those are my top 3 tips for keeping up with my water intake. Hope this gives you a few ideas for drinking more during the upcoming summer months!

Comparison: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution vs Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

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I was first introduced to micellar water through YouTube – more specifically, the Bioderma Senisibio H2O Micellar Solution, a cult classic. It was touted as a skin cleanser that removes makeup without having to use water, and I have to agree with all of that. It is gentle on my skin, and does a decent job at removing make up without leaving an oily residue, which makes the nighttime cleanse a lot more enjoyable. It has never irritated my eyes when I use it to remove eye makeup, though if I am wearing waterproof liner or mascara I usually need a second round with an actual eye makeup remover. I use micellar water as either my initial makeup removal step, followed by a cleanser, or as a second step after a makeup wipe if I am wearing a full face of makeup, before cleanser.

When Garnier released their own version of micellar water several months ago, the online beauty community blew up, calling it a dupe for the Bioderma, so of course I had to try for myself. The Bioderma retails for $24.90 for the 500 mL bottle or $18.90 for the 250 mL bottle at Shoppers Drug Mart, whereas the Garnier one retails for $7.97 for 400 mL at Walmart. Price per mL, the Garnier is a lot cheaper, but in terms of effectiveness, how does it compare?

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Here are some swatches of the ELF Molten Liquid Eyeshadow, the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil, the Essence Waterproof Dip Eyeliner (excuse my crooked line), and the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon. Using the Garnier micellar water on the left and the Bioderma on the right, the below images show the results after a single swipe of micellar water on a cotton pad, and then after 5 seconds of rubbing with the cotton pad.

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I was actually surprised to see that the Bioderma was better at removing the makeup than the Garnier. When you use a product individually, it’s hard to tell that there’s a difference since you’re not comparing them directly, and it’s been a while since I’ve used the Bioderma, as you can tell by the fact that my Garnier bottle is almost empty and the Bioderma bottle is freshly opened. Neither product did much to remove the Marc Jacobs Highliner, but both removed the other three products with a bit more rubbing.

The conclusion from this little experiment is that the Garnier is not quite as effective as the Bioderma, but can result in the same end result with a little bit more work. It’s a good drugstore alternative, but doesn’t quite hit the mark as a dupe.

My Sephora Summer Wishlist

June is my favourite month of the year, mainly because my birthday falls right in the middle of the month. I thought I would put together a wishlist of the items I am currently lusting over from Sephora.

1) Ciate London’s Glow-To Illuminating Blush in Date Night is an “amber pink” that is meant to be a highlighting blush. I admit, half the appeal of the product is the gorgeous packaging; I am a closet astronomy nerd and I love the stars that adorn the outer packaging as well as the imprinting on the actual product itself. After watching livloveshermakeup’s YouTube review on these babies, Date Night went straight onto my wishlist.

2) Becca’s new Light Chaser Highlighters just launched and they are so OMG-worthy. I have several of Becca’s highlighters already, and I definitely don’t need any more, but that doesn’t stop me from drooling over these, particularly Opal Flashes Jade (golden opal pearl with a teal sapphire shift) and Pearl Flashes Gold (creamy pearl with a golden shift).

3) NAILS INC.’s Unicorn Nail Polish Duo has two holographic nail polishes that I am dying to get my hands on. It has been out of stock since I discovered it on the Sephora website, so I am desperately hoping it will come back in stock soon.

4) Tarte’s Make Believe In Yourself Eye and Cheek palette is another unicorn-themed product that I wish could be in my collection. It’s not the most practical set of colours, but they are so pretty and I am so in love with the unicorn trend. Unfortunately this hasn’t gone on sale in Canada like it has in the US, so I haven’t bitten the bullet just yet.

5) Becca’s Liquid Crystal Glow Glosses go with #2 on the list. There’s definitely a theme with this list, but holographic is all the rage right now and I can’t help but be excited by all the gorgeous looks I am seeing with these products. I am not sure how well this will translate to my lips, but the initial swatches look stunning.

These are my top five wants at the moment. I may or may not be picking a couple of these up this weekend while I celebrate another year of getting older, but who can resist the call of beautiful makeup?

Review: Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation

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When my best friend mentioned that the Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation was a dupe for the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, I was sold. I headed straight to my local Walmart to pick it up and while I was there, I also picked up the concealer and pressed powder from the same line to test out. The foundation retails for about $7 CDN, and comes in 20 shades, at least on the Wet n Wild website.

Wet n Wild is not the most accessible brand here in Canada. The only store that carries it near me is Walmart, and oftentimes their shelves are bare, so it took me two trips to get the right shade of foundation for me. I first tried Rose Ivory (light cool shade) but it ended up being too pink for me. I then exchanged it for Nude Ivory (light neutral shade), which was a much better match.

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The formulation is medium coverage that can be built up to full. It has a thin consistency and smells like paint to be honest, but luckily the smell doesn’t linger once applied to the face. The bottle comes with an applicator, which is a step up from a pour bottle, but I just use the applicator to transfer foundation to the back of my hand anyway. I use a beauty blender to apply it, as it was pretty streaky the one time I tried using a brush.

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The foundation claims to have a matte finish, and it definitely does settle matte on the skin. I find that I have to work quickly to blend it in before it starts to set, so I have to work with a small section at a time. I have oily skin, and usually matte foundations work out pretty well for me, but this particular one seems to actually make my skin look dry upon initial application when I use it with one of my mattifying setting powders. However, it looks great when used with the Photo Focus Pressed Powder, but starts to break up on my skin at the  3-hour mark. It’s a trade off that I have to consider every time I wear this foundation, so what I usually end up doing is using the Photo Focus Powder for days where I am only out and about for a couple of hours, and a mattifying powder like the Rimmel Stay Matte or the Essence Mattifying Compact Powder when I have to go to work.

My thoughts on the foundation? For me personally, it’s not worth the effort. It takes me longer to apply my foundation in the morning because I have to keep going back to the bottle instead of being able to just put a dab on the back of my hand since it dries so quickly. It doesn’t last on my nose either, which is admittedly a common problem that I have with most foundations, but it doesn’t even wear away gracefully. My nose is constantly looking patchy after even an hour’s wear, regardless of whether I wear a primer underneath or not. At the end of a longer day, more often than not my face looks like a hot mess, oily down the T-zone and dry on the sides of my face. It does have good coverage, but I find that it sinks into some of the fine lines that I’m starting to develop around my eyes.

I feel like I have given this foundation a good trial. I’ve tried changing up my sunscreen and moisturizer, tried it with and without primer, and with a few different powders, and I just can’t get it to work out for me. It’s disappointing because I have heard so many good reviews on it, and I honestly don’t remember seeing anyone not like it, so for me to struggle with it so much is discouraging. Also, upon speaking to my friend again, she admits that even though it goes on like the Luminous Silk Foundation, it doesn’t have the same lasting power as Luminous Silk, which I guess makes sense as you’re comparing a $7 foundation to a $66 foundation. For me though, this foundation was a flop.

Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying

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I initially picked this product up after hearing that it was a dupe for the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment, which I adore, but cannot justify dishing $79 on every few months. The Sephora Mud Mask retails for $25 CAN for 60 mL, containing 10 mL more for less than a third of the price. I figured, why not give it a go?

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The mask is made in France, and comes in a hefty jar with an inner stopper to help maintain the integrity of the product. In the jar, it looks very similar to the GlamGlow product, right down to the chunks in the product itself. However, I believe the chunks in the GlamGlow mask are leaf chunks, whereas I am not really sure what exactly the chunks in the Sephora mask are.

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The package suggests using this once or twice weekly, massaging for one minute into the skin and allowing it to sit until it dries. You can definitely tell when it’s dry; it changes into a lighter gray colour and starts to crust around the areas around the mouth where my muscles have been moving. It doesn’t have that same effect with the GlamGlow mask, where you can see darker spots where the oil has been sucked out, but that just may be a gimmick anyway.

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Going on the skin, it does tingle a little, though not enough to cause my skin irritation. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to dry completely, depending on how thick of a layer I slather on. After washing it off with warm water, my skin feels very soft and cleansed without being stripped. It doesn’t make my face red, and my pores do look smaller. My makeup also goes on a lot smoother post-application, though the effect only lasts a day or two.

All in all, I think this product gives good results for the short-term, and is good value for money. Would I consider it a dupe for the GlamGlow mask? Not really, but I think it’s a good stand-alone product that doesn’t break the bank.

Comparison: Benefit Roller Lash Curling Mascara vs Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara

I am starting a new series where I compare a mid or high end product to a drugstore product. Today, I’ll be starting with a comparison between the Benefit Roller Lash Curling Mascara vs the Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara.

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The Benefit Roller Lash was all over the web when it came out. It was marketed as the mascara to keep your lashes long and curled, and it was so hyped about that I almost jumped on the bandwagon right away. However, I was talking to a sale associate and she mentioned that the formula of Roller Lash was the same as the Benefit They’re Real Mascara, which flaked on me to no end, so I decided not to pick it up.

Fast forward two years later, I received a sample size of the Benefit Roller Lash in a mascara sampler kit that I bought over the holiday season, so I decided to give it a shot.

Roller Lash retails for $31 CAN, whereas you can pick up Lash Sensational for $6-7 or cheaper at the drugstore. The brushes are quite similar in shape, where one side is curved outwards, and the other side is curved inwards.

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Going on, both look pretty similar when first applied. They also both flake onto my undereye, which is a very common problem that I experience with the majority of mascaras. The Maybelline is a little less flaky, but I think that is in part due to the fact that it is a waterproof formulation, whereas Roller Lash is not.

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On the left is the Benefit’s Roller Lash, and on the right is Maybelline’s Lash Sensational. They look pretty similar, with Roller Lash giving slightly more volume.

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At the end of the day (after my gym workout), you can see the rings of darkness underneath my eyes, where the mascaras have flaked. The curl in my lashes have dropped on both sides (again, a common problem I have), but the Maybelline side (right) is slightly more curled than the Roller Lash side (left). Again, this may be due to the waterproof formula, as I seem to have more luck with those types of formulas.

Final verdict? I would say the Lash Sensational mascara gives a pretty similar effect to the Roller Lash mascara, except that it’s less flaky and holds a better curl than the high end option. I would definitely recommend it over the Benefit Roller Lash for someone like me, who has difficulty holding a curl and struggles with flakiness under the eyes.