Thursday, 27 October 2016

Review of Foundations and Moisturizers for Oily-Combination Skin

The Good and The Not So Good...

I rarely post about negative experiences with products, but I was so frustrated with a couple of them that before I decided to toss them in the garbage, I thought I would share my experiences with them. And to stay positive I have also featured a couple of good products that have produced wonderful results - at reasonable prices!

Hydrating Care - Moisturizers 

I have total combination skin: oily in my T-Zone and dry on my cheeks. I love Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream by day on my cheeks and sometime on my forehead. For my breakout-prone skin I first tried Avene's Tolerance Emulsion and then Garnier's Pure Hydrating Care.

The good thing about Tolerance Emulsion is that it is gentle, soothing and perfect for skin that is sensitive or breakout prone. The bad thing about Tolerance is the awful packaging! They don't want air or dirt to get into the product, so you have to REALLY squeeze the tube to get any amount of lotion to come out. I have strong hands and I was squeezing VERY hard and of course, a MASSIVE amount of product (mostly wasted) shot out of the tube. I tried it for a few weeks and could never just get a small amount squeezed out. You can see the squeeze-beating the tube took below.

If only I could squeeze this out easily! 

Nice product, bad packaging Avene!

Moving on to a gem of a product that I found at the L'Oreal Warehouse Sale: Garnier's Pure Hydrating Care - Long-Lasting Shine Control Moisturizer. Even oily skin that breaks out needs hydration. In fact, when you over use anti blemish cream (zit cream) you will frequently dry out that area and even get flaky, dry patches. This comes to your rescue - you can safely hydrate without worrying about putting oil on your skin. My breakouts have almost disappeared since using this. I only use it on my chin and around my mouth - my breakout area. 

Fabulous Hydration for Oily Skin!

I love it and highly recommend it - and it is a great price! Hopefully you can still find this at most drug stores - Garnier sometimes repackages and re-brands their products. I hope they keep this one as it really works!


Now when you want to cover up mild breakouts and combination skin you reach for foundations. 

I tried Lancome's Miracle Cushion Liquid Compact Foundation and did not like it at all! They sell it as buildable coverage, but even with 2 layers of this on, you would think I was bare faced. It is probably the only foundation I have totally given up on and tossed out in years. I can usually give one I don't like to a friend, but this was utterly useless. I know Lancome has recently launched a new Cushion compact that promises more coverage, but I'm not even tempted to try it. Lancome makes some amazing concealers, so I will still try Lancome in the future, but we're on a break now! 

Worst Foundation I have tried in years!

Nice packaging, bad product. I applied 2 LAYERS of the Lancome to my nose below - barely covers and it seems to clog my pores. NOT impressed!

2 Layers of Lancome

For a good product - see below ALMAY Clear Complexion Makeup! It helps clear and prevent blemishes as it conceals and evens out your complexion with the use of salicylic acid - one of the best pore un-clogging ingredients in the skincare world. 

LOVE this - so great for blemish-free skin!

Almay products can be found at most drug stores. If you check out their range, also look for their AMAZING Oil Free Makeup Eraser Sticks - they are like Cotton Swabs literally injected with eye makeup remover. You snap off one end and the product flows to the swab at the opposite end. I love to use them at the end of the work day to tidy up my under eye area. Thanks AlMAY!

Tidy up your under eye area after work!

Well, this was the longest I have gone between posts! Hope it was a good balance of positive and critical. I'm here to share my honest and informed opinion. Make up and skincare are fabulous tools to help you look and feel your best. Experiment and have fun!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Best Eye Makeup Remover is: MAKE UP FOR EVER SENS'EYES

The World's Best Eye Makeup Remover!

I used to be satisfied with Lancome's Bi-Facil Double Action Makeup Remover for removing my waterproof eye makeup. You soaked a cotton pad with Bi-Facil, gently removed your mascara, but were left with an oily residue. Then one day, I was at Sephora testing out MUFE's Aqua Liner - their incredibly long lasting felt-tip liquid liner. It sure stayed on...and on. I tried using Bi-Facil to remove this durable liner. It wouldn't budge. Did I mention that MUFE's Aqua line was originally created for the French Synchronized Swim Team? It is hard-core waterproof. 

Sensitive Eyes? Try this ultra-efficient remover.

I removed the rest of my makeup, finished my evening skin care routine and decided to go back to the MUFE counter at Sephora the next day. I wondered if the Aqua range came with its very own Aqua remover. An artist with MUFE showed me their SENS'EYES Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser. The pale blue, creamy texture indeed made me think it would be suitable for sensitive eyes and skin. But wait...sensitive? I needed a hard core remover to take off what appeared to be permanent marker on my eyelids! Then I dabbed the creamy blue lotion onto a cotton pad and gently rubbed my eyelids. I looked down at the pad and the black liner was all over the cotton pad and no longer on my lids. There was no tugging required, there was no discernible fragrance, and my eyelids actually felt gently soothed by this product. 

I want to use words like "gentle" and "sensitive" to describe this product, but the fact of the matter is that SENS'EYES will remove the thickest, blackest most waterproof liner and mascara you own inrecord time. If you have ever made a mistake attempting to get that perfect winged out eyeliner - you will appreciate how quickly this product will erase those mistakes. For precision removal, simply dip a cotton swab in this magical blue liquid. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Stocking Stuffers - Need Ideas? You Can't Go Wrong With Lip Balm!

You may have done all your Christmas shopping by now, but did you remember to get your stocking stuffers? This is something that we leave to the last minute each year. We make detailed lists for gifts, but rarely for the stocking stuffers.

I can't wait to see what's in my stocking!
Something that works for everyone are lip balms. The radiators are turned up high and our lips are drying out. Now, there's nothing wrong with traditional Chapstick; but these carefully selected balms will please the fussiest person on your list.

The Most Perfect Lip Balms South of the North Pole

Not a chapped lip in sight!

eos Visibly Smooth Lip Balm Spheres 

Yes, I finally managed to pick up the hard to find "Coconut Milk" eos Visibly Soft lip balm sphere. Glam goddess Gwen Stefani tweeted a photo of herself using the Coconut Milk sphere and voila - it sold out everywhere. This eos product is 99% natural, and is enriched with shea butter and vitamins C and E. I love the round shape!

Gwen Stefani loves eos in 'Coconut Milk'

Korres Lip Butter

Now, for my personal fave: Korres Lip Butter. These tinted lip balms are formulated with shea butter and rice wax to deliver lasting hydration. I love Pomegranate during the day - it offers a coral tint for my lips with a hint of shine. The Jasmine lip butter is their best seller, and is currently the only shade sold in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques. It is a sheer, nude pink. I recommend using these with a lip brush, especially the darker shades. If you have very dry, sensitive lips and want to wear colour on your lips that also heals, Korres Lip Butter is for you. This is one of the only products that won't make my lips peel. It is magical!

Korres Lip Butter - my personal fave!

Rimmel Keep Calm Lip Balm

Get the London Look - and stay calm with these whimsical lip balms from Rimmel. They currently come in 5 very lightly tinted shades with sayings such as "Keep Calm and Rock" or "Keep Calm and Shop" - I picked up the more festive "Keep Calm and Kiss". I won't lie, I want every shade. They are fun, festive....and affordable.

Keep Calm and...Kiss!

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream and Lip Conditioner

Look at that price! Just $12 for Caudalie's amazing lip conditioner and their luxurious hand and nail cream! I found this duo at Sephora and now I wish I had picked up a few more. The value can't be matched! Caudalie's lip conditioner is free of parabens and sulphates and is made with antioxidant grape polyphenols and apricot oil. I'm sold! Must run out tomorrow to buy a couple more. 

Fantastic duo from Caudalie! Amazing value!

Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain

For those of you who want the pop of colour provided by a lipstick, go for the Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain. They actually stain your lips, so after eating or drinking, you will still have colour on your lips, especially if you've been wearing a deeper berry shade. They are moisturizing, but I wouldn't put them exclusively in the hydrating/treatment category of a traditional lip balm. Think of this as a lipstick that feels really good on your lips! I wear these every day, usually in the hot pink 'Lovesick' shade...with Korres Lip Butter in 'Pomegranate' on top for extra hydration and shine.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Balm Stain

Don't forget to pick up a lip balm for yourself! All that holiday shopping can be exhausting. Glide some balm on your lips to keep them smooth and kissable. You never know who you'll run into beneath the mistletoe!

Where to shop:

eos Visibly Smooth Lip Balm

Korres Lip Butter 

Rimmel Keep Calm Lip Balm

Caudalie Lip Conditioner

Revlon Colorburst Lip Balm Stain 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Estée Lauder and MAC Warehouse Sale Spring 2014

Fabulous Finds at Super Savings!

There is nothing like the Estée Lauder - MAC Warehouse Sale. If you are lucky enough to get tickets, it is your best opportunity to stock up on high end cosmetics, fragrance and skin care at fabulously low prices.  

As you can see from the photo below, there was no shortage of fantastic gift sets of "Beautiful" and other fragrances. 

Stacks of "Beautiful" gift sets.
This is a no-frills warehouse sale, so the testers are roughly taped down to picnic style tables. You write down the code number of the item you wish to purchase and hand it to an employee who gets the product from another section.  

MAC Pro Glitter

Don't just pick up the first gorgeous item you see. I almost picked up this stunning MAC palette below....

MAC Palette....I almost bought this, until I saw....
BUT... then I saw an even better palette from Bobbi Brown. It is the "Twilight Pink Lip and Eye Palette" It must be fabulous, because the 2 ladies I was shopping with ALSO bought this take-anywhere palette - which was only $35 - about half he price it was when I saw it months ago in a high end department store. The shadows and lip colours are neutral, with a subtle shimmer.  

Bobbi Brown Twilight Pink Lip and Eye Palette 

Highlights of my haul:

Most of my Estée Lauder Warehouse Haul
My friend Tiffany is my lucky charm when it comes to shopping. She can spot a needle in a haystack. Or in this case, a rare and coveted bottle of Bobbi Brown "Beach" perfume in a warehouse full of Clinique "Happy". Thank you Tiffany. 

Bobbi Brown "Beach" Eau de Parfum evokes memories of your best beach day ever, in the Hamptons, of course. It smells like a more luxurious version of Coppertone suntan lotion mixed with jasmine. It sells for about $82 Canadian at Sephora. I picked up a bottle of the 50ml Eau de Parfum for $30! Wow! Tiffany managed to find me a second bottle AND a few mini bottles of the matching body lotion, which were only $6.00 each. I already smell like summer!

Do you enjoy the smell of Coppertone? You'll love BB "Beach"

The mini travel sets are great if you want smaller sizes to take with you in your handbag. One of my favourites was the Clinique "Lashes to the Extreme" set. It contains a High Impact Mascara in Extreme Black, a Cream Shaper for Eyes in Black Diamond, and a 30ml bottle of Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips. All for only $12! I picked up 3 of them! You can't go wrong with black mascara, liner and mini remover. This is a perfect gift for someone who may not wear much makeup, but focuses on liner and lashes! 

If you missed the Spring Sale, fear not: there will be another Warehouse Sale sometime in Fall 2014! Right now....I need to spritz on a little something to remind me that a day at the "Beach" is just around the corner.

Links below:

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sleek Blush for Coral Nights or that Downton Abbey English Rose Look!

From Coral Spice to Pink is Nice - There's a Look for You!

In this fast paced world of electronic messaging, I love nothing more than coming home to a handwritten letter in my mail box. Recently, I discovered an extra special delivery from the UK in my mailbox. My stylish friend Raphaela, who lives near some of the best shops in London sent me these fabulous British Beauty Products!

Look what came in the post from ENGLAND!
The bright colours brightened a grey and wintry Canadian day. I was excited to experiment with these products I had heard so much about. I can't tell you how much time and money I would spend in the British High Street shops if only I could be transported there right now. Of course, I would also have to visit Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England so I could see where the beautiful "Downton Abbey" is filmed. While I dream of visiting England, I need to practice my spring makeup looks for day and night. 

Sleek Blush By 3 Palette in Lace

The Sleek MakeUp "Blush By 3 Palette" in "Lace" is a product that has been on my wish list for ages now. The palette contains 3 complementary colours and they are RICHLY pigmented! Apply this blush palette with a light hand, and I would advise using a large, fluffy brush to softly distribute the blush. 

If you want a hot coral look, pair the deeper blush shades with a bright red lip. The middle shade in the "Lace" trio is very similar to NARS "Orgasm" as it is a strong peachy pink with a touch of gold shimmer. 

Wearing the Sleek Blush by 3 in Lace as well as 2 of the Primark lip products.

The peachy and coral shades of the Lace palette inspired me to go red....for a day! As you can see from the photo above, the coral shades work well with even the most intense red hair. I paired the Sleek blush palette with a fairly strong red lip. Above, I am wearing the Primark Lip Stain Pen - it gave me a wonderful "berry" stained look, as though I had been eating raspberries all afternoon. To warm it up, I topped it with one of the Primark mini Lip Glosses in the warmer red shade.

Lipstick and mini lip glosses from Primark! Perfect for a tiny handbag.

And now for a different look with the same blush, but a lighter application. Have you been enjoying the visual feast known as Downton Abbey? Each time I see Lady Mary's porcelain complexion, I make a mental note to increase my SPF lotion from 30 to 45, and I look for the perfect soft pink lip. Unlike Lady Mary, I look sleep deprived if I forgo liquid liner, so I have added it to my  "English Rose" inspired look below. 

Downton Abbey meets a dash of liquid liner! 

If you have applied too much blush, you can easily fix that by dipping your blush brush in some face powder to soften the look. The lip look above features the Primark Lip Stain Pen topped with the pale pink Moisturizing Lip Gloss Crayon. The Moisturizing Lip Gloss Crayon also features little sparkly bits, so it can look a bit frosty worn alone. See what happens below when I add the "Barbie" pink Primark gloss! The gloss is really pink, but because the base colour is not too intense, it offers a softer look. And look how well the pink lips work with the peachy blush of the Lace palette - yes - it is the same blush as featured in the look above with the red hair.  

Primark lip gloss in a Barbie pink shade changes the look again.

I have kept my eye makeup fairly neutral in both looks. I am just wearing ivory and sandy eyeshadows, Lancome mascara and a soft purple liquid liner. 

Simply changing your "lip look" can make a dramatic difference in your appearance and even your mood. A strong red lip makes a confident statement! A softer pink lip is the perfect choice for a weekend brunch, or even a job interview. 

Don't be afraid to experiment with new colours! Places like Primark in the UK, or Target in North America offer a wide range of high quality cosmetics at very affordable prices. If you want to change your makeup look in seconds flat, makeup wipes are your best bet. You can try the Primark Beauty "4 in 1" Deep Facial Cleansing wipes if your are in the UK. If you live in North America, try the Neutrogena All in One Makeup Remover Wipes. The wipes are also very refreshing and are wonderful to use after a workout. 

Try changing your lip colour every other day next week and see how many compliments you'll get. Don't get stuck in a beauty rut. Change it up for Spring and have fun! 

Find some of these products below!

Sleek Makeup  

Primark Beauty

Downton Abbey

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The best makeup look of 2013 goes to Nigella Lawson!

Best Makeup of 2013: Nigella Lawson's Flawless Court Appearance

Get The Look!

My award for best makeup look of 2013 goes to Nigella Lawson as she strode into court in December during the fraud trial of her former assistants. Nigella looked so regal - like a, I mean...a Domestic GODDESS!

Nigella is a big fan of the powers of makeup. Although I'm sure Nigella is good at applying her own makeup, her makeup was FLAWLESS here, so it's likely that her makeup artist, Tricia Woolston was on hand. Nigella recently gave us a look inside her makeup bag when she did a sixties inspired photo-shoot for Stylist magazine.  

From what I have read about Nigella's makeup preferences, I would guess that her court look included some the following items:

  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in "Espresso Ink"
  • Smashbox lipstick in "Pretty Social"
  • NARS Lip Lacquer in "Chelsea Girls"
  • NARS Guy Bourdin blush in "Day Dream"
  • False eyelashes - try Ardell demi wispies in black

I picked up the Bobbi Brown liner and the NARS lip lacquer at Sephora the day after I saw Nigella's fabulous court look! I already had some black false lashes, but when I saw these Ardell "Colour Impact" lashes in plum at Sally Beauty - I couldn't resist!

Nigella's complexion looked creamy and her cheekbones looked very sculpted. She has excellent bone structure, but she did get a little help...(from her makeup artist). Nigella goes to great lengths to shield her skin from the sun and has even been known to wear a full-body covering  "burkini" to the beach. Google it. I'm not kidding.

To get the look: start by protecting your skin. Apply a primer with SPF. Try Cover FX SPF 30 Protection Primer.  

Even out your complexion with a liquid or cream foundation for that dewy look. Nigella is wearing a pale ivory shade here. Try NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in "Mont Blanc" to get that look of porcelain perfection. Naturally, you have to select a suitable shade of foundation for you.

Take a large, fluffy brush and dust loose powder all over your face to set the foundation. Now it's time to sculpt those cheekbones! You will need a matte bronzer or a pressed powder in a shade that is one or two shades darker than your foundation. Use a blush brush to apply the bronzer just under your cheekbones and under your chin and jawline. Now apply a peachy-pink blush such as NARS Guy Bourdin "Day Dream" or MAC "Melba".

Nigella knew she would face a long day or two in court, so it is likely she wore a primer on her eyelids to ensure that her shadow and liner would stay in place all day. Try MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in "Painterly" as a base. Now apply a pale ivory eyeshadow on the brow bone. Try MAC Eye Shadow in "Vanilla". You will want to use neutral shades to contour your eyes. Charcoal browns and matte grey shades will work well in the crease as long as they are matte and you blend them very well for that flawless look.

For liner, envision an almond shaped eye and try to extend the liner out and up a little bit. Although it may appear to some that she is wearing black eyeliner, it is likely a very dark brown cream liner - perhaps it is her go-to product: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in "Espresso Ink". Apply this with an angle brush or another skinny liner brush. Try to get as close as possible to the lash line as you apply it. For extra impact, first apply a kohl liner in dark brown before applying the gel liner.

For the lashes, you will want to first curl your lashes and then apply a waterproof mascara in jet black. Try Maybelline Great Lash - the champion of mascaras! Nigella appeared to be wearing false lashes here. You can't go wrong with a pair of Ardell Demi Wispies in Black. Trim them and apply them to the outer edges of your eyes for a more subtle look.

Brows. Nigella's brows are immaculately groomed and her arch is well defined. Have your brows professionally shaped with threading or waxing to start. You can pencil them in or you can fill them in with powder and a little brow wax. Don't go too dark. Like Nigella, I have very dark hair but I use a medium shade of brow powder. Focus on definition. Brows frame your face. When you fill in your brows, remember to do so in good light (daylight is best) and step back a few feet from your mirror to check how they look before you finish.

Lips. If your lips are on the dry side, apply a lip balm first. If you feel like a real treat ($$$) try By Terry Baume de Rose as a hydrating base. Nigella went for a pale lip with a touch of peach at for this look. Try NARS Lip Lacquer in "Chelsea Girls". For a more sixties inspired look, whiten out your lips first by applying foundation to your lips before you add the gloss with a lip brush.

Last, but not least, you must hold your head up high as you exude tons of Goddess-like confidence. 

Nigella's former assistants did their best to tarnish her name and reputation during their fraud trial. Nigella felt as though she herself had been unfairly put on trial. Nigella controlled what she could manage in an out of control situation: her image. It worked. #TeamNigella was trending throughout the trial and there was endless internet chatter about how incredible Nigella looked at court. #TeamNigella won the people over. Did her makeup help? You bet!

Where To Shop



Bobbi Brown



By Terry


Cover FX




Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Sunless Tan - Beautiful Options from St. Tropez and L'Oréal

Bronzing Options, No Beach Required.

In the '80s, we had an Ozone layer.

The '80s were so AWESOME for so many reasons: for instance, we had a way better ozone layer protecting us from the burning rays of the sun. I remember NOBODY used anything higher than SPF 15 when they went in the sun. Today most drugstores line their shelves with minimum SPF 30 or 45. And for good reason: our ozone layer is much thinner than it used to be due to pollution and climate change, and we are much more susceptible to sunburn and long-term sun damage than ever before.

Still - the beauty of the sun, and the benefits of a little vitamin D are irresistible. Are you one of the lucky ones heading to the beach or cottage this weekend? So, you have that trendy polka dot bikini, but unlike the bronzed supermodels in fashion magazines, your "tan" is closer to chalk white than cocoa butter. Even if you're skin is naturally dark, adding a bronzer is very flattering. Just look at Beyoncé and Rihanna for example.

Guess what? All of those models have makeup artists applying fake tanner and body makeup to them prior to their photo shoots. And their images are further perfected post-shoot thanks to Photoshop. You too can turn to a bottle of self-tanner to get that coveted bronzed look.

A makeup artist bronzing Kate Moss on a St. Tropez shoot

Fake tanners have come a long way from their original carrot toned hues of yesteryear. Today, the self-tanner/bronzing line that almost every celebrity, including Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss turn to is St. Tropez. I first tried St. Tropez several years ago when it was carried exclusively at Sephora in Toronto.

The St. Tropez line has expanded to now include bronzing lotions and mousse, as well as a nifty applicator mitt. They really cover everything when it comes to getting your bronze on. Today, I wanted to try the Dark shade of the St. Tropez lotion, and of course, in order to show you the results, I will compare it side by side with L'Oreal's Sublime Bronze.

Shoppers Drug Mart recently started carrying the St. Tropez line. You can pick up the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze at most drugstores - but I picked up mine for the bargain price of $3 at a L'Oreal Warehouse Sale!

St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion

Sublime Bronze (bought at the L'Oreal Warehouse Sale!)

The St. Tropez lotion came out really quickly - so the "swatch" you see on the left is a little wide - and DARK! It really features a "stain" effect - it actually was such a dark brown it almost had a green hue. Similar to what the hard core body builders apply for competitions when they turn super dark brown.

Side by Side - Without Flash

The L'Oreal Sublime Bronze goes on a little lighter - but has a shimmer effect. The photo below was taken with a flash so you can see the shimmer in the Sublime Bronze.

With Flash - check out L'Oreal's shimmer!

When I applied the St. Tropez Dark lotion on my arm, it was obvious that they make the "stain" dark so you can see exactly where you have applied it - and - you get instantly dark. For those of you who can't wait the 8 hours or so for some self tanners to develop - the St. Tropez is for you.

Now here are both the day after application:

Day after: both bronzers give identical results.
The next day I was relieved to see that the St. Tropez dark lotion's "stain" effect washed off and left me with a subtle tan. You can see in the photo above - the "tans" side by side look identical. Neither one is orange - both give natural looking results.

The L'Oreal Sublime Bronze does have shimmer, so it is not for everyone. I really like applying the Sublime Bronze to my legs before a night out. Good enough for J-Lo - good enough for me.

What I like about St. Tropez:

  • No tell tale "self tanner" smell
  • If I have the sudden need for the deepest, darkest tan I can conjure up - this is my go-to product!
  • Their line features an applicator mitt and more!
What I like about L'Oreal Sublime Bronze:

  • I like that I can build a darker tan with daily applications. Subtle colour on the first day, and more dramatic results a few days in a row.
  • The shimmer effect is quite glam - this is the product you want to bring on holiday. When you are baring a bit more skin at night, the shimmer acts as its own accessory - like a jewel.
  • This product mixes well with a basic moisturizer. I've "diluted" it with Neutrogena body lotion during the winter to achieve a light glow.

Because the results the day after applying both products were nearly identical, I can't see myself splurging on the St. Tropez lotion anytime soon. L'Oréal wins this round.

Where To Shop:

The St. Tropez line can be found at:

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze and other L'Oreal Bronzing products can be found at drugstores worldwide, including Shoppers Drug Mart (see link above.)