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.

May Empties

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I have been making a real effort to finish up a lot of my minis over the last few months, and I think I did well in that aspect. I tend to enjoy switching up products on a day-to-day basis, so I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished this month.

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Of the three eye creams that I used up this month, the Clinique All About Eyes is my favourite. This is actually a repurchase; I have probably finished 3 or 4 of these over the years. I think it’s a great, light moisturizing cream that works well for day and night use, and it’s the one I default to when I don’t want to try a new product.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye is a sample size that I got in a gift with purchase. The consistency is almost like an ointment, but without the greasy feel to it. I liked it, but the gripe I have with it is the price. I know that it’s meant to be an anti-aging product, but I didn’t see any difference in my eye area while using it, so I don’t think I would dish out the $74 CDN to repurchase it.

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate Serum was more of a spontaneous purchase when I was putting in an order, and I probably won’t repurchase it. The rollerball felt great on the eyes, and the actual formulation felt more like a gel compared to a normal serum. It didn’t, however, have any visible effects on my eye area, and I didn’t feel like it was moisturizing enough for my liking. Also, there were little specks of glimmer in the product that I didn’t care for.

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The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair was another product that came in that gift with purchase. It was such a hyped up product that I expected a visible difference while using it, but again, it failed to deliver. I know that anti-aging products are meant for long term benefits, but I think this product is targeted towards an older skin type, and I don’t feel that I need this product right now in my skincare regimen.

The Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is one of my favourite Clinique products. I have gone through multiple samples of it, and I find that even though its intended use is for overnight, it works great during the day as well, underneath my makeup (see my previous post on the Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream). I probably will purchase the full size at some point, once I’ve whittled down some of current stash.

The Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb is a product that my friend recommended to me. She considers this her holy grail, and sent me a sample of it, along with the Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. It was indeed very moisturizing, but I couldn’t stand the herbal smell, so it’s a pass for me.

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The Equate Oil-Free Facial Cleansing Wipes are meant to be a dupe for the Clean & Clear ones. I haven’t tried the Clean & Clear ones, but the Equate ones did a good job at removing the makeup from my skin at the end of the day. I still had to go in with a waterproof eye makeup remover, but this worked as a good first cleanse. It did leave my skin red and a little irritated afterwards though, so I may or may not repurchase.

The La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel is actually a pretty enjoyable cleanser to use. It’s a soap-free facial cleanser that doesn’t strip my skin, and it’s meant to be for people who are oily and acne-prone, so it’s right up my alley. I might purchase this in the future.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam was again, part of the gift with purchase. It was not memorable; I didn’t like or dislike it, it was just a product that was there to be used up. It was actually used up quite quickly though, and it did foam pretty well as per its name.

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The Avene Thermal Spring Water was something I received as a sample for purchasing a different item. It feels really nice and cool coming out of the can. I enjoyed using it after I had cleansed my face at night, before applying my night time skincare. It was nice to have, but not something I would go out and purchase for myself.

The Dove Clinical Protection deodorant worked well as an antiperspirant, but I feel like I finished it really quickly compared to most others. I probably will repurchase this though, especially with the upcoming summer heat.

The Sephora Mini Blush Cleanser was my first venture into using solid soap cleansers for my brushes. It definitely made cleaning my brushes a lot easier compared to use liquid soaps, especially with the mat to work the makeup out of the brush head. I have already repurchased this in the full size.

The classic Beauty Blender was something that I hesitated over buying for the longest time. However, it is definitely worth the hype! The texture is so much softer than the Quo ones that I have been using, and now that it’s time to toss this and I’ve gone back to a Quo one, I can definitely notice the difference. I will be repurchasing this ASAP.

The Essence Waterproof Eyeliner Pen is not technically dried up, but the tip on this is so horrible that I can never get a clean line with it. I’ve just given up on it, won’t be repurchasing.

Well that’s a wrap! I am pretty proud of myself this month. Gotta keep working on my stash!

Review: Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream

IMG_7557I recently ran out of my Revlon Colorstay foundation and when I went to repurchase it, they didn’t have my shade in stock, so I decided to pick up the Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream in 510 Fair instead. A lot of people with oily skin seemed to speak highly of it, and I wanted a lighter base for the upcoming summer, so this product came home with me.

The Covergirl website claims that this product is oil-free that ‘provides the perfect amount of coverage to even skin tone, hide blemishes, won’t clog pores and keeps you shine-free all day long’. The shade fair turned out to be a perfect shade match for my current skin tone. I initially tried applying it with a beauty blender, but I found that it just soaked up all the product without providing much coverage. I then tried using clean hands to apply it directly to my face, and that seemed to build up the coverage to a solid medium. On lighter makeup days, I can get away with just building up layers with this product alone, but for most days I dab a bit of concealer under the eyes and on my chin and nose areas to hide the excess redness peeking through.

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The BB cream is definitely has a light consistency on the skin compared to many of my foundations. The first two times I applied it, I felt that although it was very dry and draggy going on, my skin became shiny with oil after only 3-4 hours of wear time, which I thought was very strange for something that advertises the word ‘matte’ in its product name. I then took this with me when I went away for the weekend and used a different moisturizer underneath, the Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, and my opinion of the product did a 180. It went on much more smoothly with less drag, provided more even coverage, and when set with a good setting powder, lasted about 10 hours on my skin. It also sat well over sunscreen, which is a definite must for the summer.

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I was honestly amazed by the change that one product underneath could make. One of the days I was trialing it was spent walking around in a  hot, crowded room, while nursing a head cold and blowing my nose every 20 minutes or so. The BB cream did an excellent job at keeping my face relatively matte everywhere other than around my nose, where I had wiped off most of it with my continuous use of tissue.

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Above is a blended out swatch of the Clean Matte BB cream on the top, compared to the Holika Holika Shimmering Petit BB Cream. As you can see, the Covergirl BB cream dries down to a matte finish, compared to the dewy finish of a more traditional Korean BB cream.

To sum up my experience with this product so far, I think it’s a great product for the summer as long as you moisturizer very well first. The only downside is that the colour range isn’t great, so if you are more fair than I am, you might be out of luck.

Review: Physician’s Formula Murumuru Butter Blush in Nude Glow

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When I saw the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Blush in Nude Glow, the thought that crossed my mind was, could this be a dupe for Nars Orgasm? The colour looked really similar at first glance, and I had heard a lot about the Physicians Formula butter bronzers and blushes so I figured I would purchase t and give it a go.

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The blush comes in a clear compact which flips up to reveal an applicator and a mirror. The applicator is made of foam, and honestly does a terrible job at applying the blush. Their Sexy Booster Blush from way back came with a much nicer brush that I actually used when I first started getting into makeup, so in comparison this was a flop.

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The shade Nude Glow is a beautiful pink with golden shimmers, but at first swatch it is pretty sheer. However, it does build up to a nice glow on the cheeks after a few layers. It lasts about six hours on the face before it starts to fade, and it eliminates the need for highlighter when you’re going for a more natural look.

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Here are some swatches comparing Nars Orgasm, Benefit Bella Bamba, and the Physicians Formula Blush. The Physicians Formula one comes out more sheer compared to the other two as a single swatch, but has a similar look on the cheeks after a few layers.

Would I recommend it? I usually like a little more pigment in my blushes, which Nars Orgasm has in boatloads, and I usually don’t have time to build up blush when I am putting myself together in the morning, so I don’t find myself reaching for this one all that often. I think it would be a good option for someone who is just starting off with makeup, as it’s pretty hard to overdo it. If you’re looking for a cheap dupe for Nars Orgasm, I would say you can get a pretty similar look from this shade. Warning though, it does have a heavy scent, so if you’re sensitive to smell, it’s probably one you’ll want to pass on.

Review: The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

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As someone who graduated with a science degree, the Ordinary is a brand that appeals to my inner nerd. The Ordinary markets itself as no frills, simple but effective brand with clearly labeled active ingredients so that you know exactly what you are getting. Their price point is so affordable as well; their most expensive product retails for $17.80 CAD (for a Vitamin C serum), which isn’t exactly breaking the bank. Another great thing is that they are a Canadian company, so we get fair Canadian prices and free shipping with a $25 purchase, which is pretty sweet.

The first thing I pounced on was their High-Adherence Silicone Primer ($4.90 CAD), which Wayne Goss raved about. The Ordinary actually has two different primers, the other one being their High-Spreadability Fluid Primer ($7.90 CAD), but of course with my oily skin I would go with their mattifying primer. The product claims that it “uses advanced adaptive silicones to act as a matte, hydrating, blurring primer for makeup that looks higher in definition and adheres for longer”.

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I have been trying this product out for about a month now, and my feelings are mixed. I have tried a lot of mattifying primers over the years, and usually they have a certain feel and texture when they go on. The Ordinary’s primer feels almost like a moisturizer when you put it on initially, rather than the dry, smooth feeling that the others usually have. It also looks a little shiny after application, as opposed to the instant matte look that I usually get with Benefit’s Porefessional or Dr Brandt’s Pores No More primers. It throws me off a little to be honest, because I’m not sure that I’m getting the matte look that I want with the primer.

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In terms of efficacy, once blended into the skin it does blur my pores and ease the application of foundation. However, I am not sure that it really extends the life of my foundation. At six hours post-application, my nose looks as shiny as it would be if I hadn’t used any primer. That being said, I am really oily, and the foundations I usually use tend to be long-lasting on their own, so it could be the lifespan of the foundation that is the limiting factor.

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Above is a comparison between the Ordinary’s primer and the L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother Finishing Cream. As you can see, the texture coming out of the tube is very different.

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Blended out, the Ordinary’s primer leaves a slightly glossy look on the skin, whereas the L’Oreal one is completely matte.

All in all, I like the pore smoothing effects of the Ordinary’s High-Adherence Silicone Primer, but it doesn’t give the matte look I usually desire. Not a bad primer, but not one I would use during the hottest months of summer. I will be trying it with the Ordinary Colours Coverage Foundation some time in the near future though, when I receive my order, so stay tuned for a review on that.

Review: Nature Republic Hawaiian Fresh Pore BB Cream

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As Korea is the motherland of BB creams, I’m always excited to test out ones from Korean brands. I picked up the Nature Republic Hawaiian Fresh Pore BB Cream while I was in Hawaii last year as a souvenir for myself, having been lured in by its claims, and have been using it on and off for the last few months.

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According to the box, this BB cream “covers blemishes and brightens skin by controlling the greasiness on the surface of the skin”. It has SPF 50+ PA+++, and I picked up the shade 21, which the sales rep at the store said was the more yellow-toned of the two shades. I’m not sure if this product is a Hawaii exclusive or not; I couldn’t find much information about it when I did a Google search. Nature Republic does have another product called the Botanical Pore BB Cream, which has the exact same claim on its box, word for word, so I’m not sure if its the same product that was rebranded as a “Hawaii” exclusive or not. It is made in Korea though, and comes as a 30 mL bottle.

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The product has a light, fresh scent. It has a little bit of a grey tinge to it, similar to most Korean BB creams that I’ve tried. It feels pretty thick on the skin, again similar to other BB creams I’ve tried, and dries down to a semi-dewy finish. The shade match is not bad; my skin looks brighter (i.e., whiter) after application, which is desirable in their target population.

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Right after application, my skin looks amazing. My pores have all disappeared and my face looks flawless. However, after about 3-4 hours, the tides turn. The BB cream seems to sink into all of my pores around the nose area, accentuating them, and my face looks like a total grease-ball. I mean, it does cover blemishes and brighten my skin, but the oil control claim is false, at least for my skin, and the pore concealing just isn’t happening.

I was pretty sad that this product failed for me. I only really use it if I’m going out for a hour or two to run errands, but for anything longer than that, this product is a pass.