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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Favorites



As soon as the calendars turn towards the end of the month, it's favorites time - a round up of all the products that you've been loving that month. This time around, despite the panic realizing that I've been a bit lazy when it's come to makeup this month, I've still managed to obtain a few kick-butt products...all in the name of a blog post.


Despite the vehement amount of 'no makeup' sort of days going on here at chez moi, you know I've been slapping on the skincare. 'No makeup' day heaven, wrapped in a tube - Origins Vitazing. It's appeared in far too many blog posts and favorites, but I just love it too darn much. Moisture, a pleasant scent, an amp of glow, and a bit of a tint. Achieves that 'put together' look when you're lazy as heck and looks just as fab with a bit of concealer over the top.


My night time skincare routine has had a bit of a kick, not to mention now turns out to take about half an hour. My skin seems to be liking the changes, though, and extra time put into it (unfortunately), and has especially been loving the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. Think of the perfect serum to tackle all your skin condition woes and you've got it right. For me, it means a serum which tackles spot prone, combination, dehydrated, scarred skin. Does it do it well? Oh yes.

On top, I've injected some extra glow factor with a mineral enriched moisturizer. Sounds fancy, eh? It smells fantastique and does the job quite well - Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Oil Free. I find the gel texture of the oil-free a tad to drying for my combo skin, but I top off the top with a bit of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask and it's perfect.

Once seen in my March favorites, the Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap is making another appearance  I've recently picked up the lavender scented one. A bit in the tub, as a sudsy shower gel, you get the jist. You dream it, it does it. I especially like using this as a hand soap, as it's quite moisturizing and smells divine (are you seeing a trend).

Alas, onto the makeup bits, or the lack thereof - Natural lashes is the name of the game, but ever since I've discovered the Shu Uemura's things have turned to natural, with a bit of curl. For the most curl holding power, the L'oreal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara is like super glue hold, without the fret and clumps. Adds a bit of volume, a load of length, and a load of curl holding power. A okay.

When I've been able to force myself to reach for an actual base, it's been the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint. It's just simple. No worrying about that shiny little visage, looks really skin like, and doesn't gather or go patchy on the skin, it's a no brainer that looks more than natural on the skin. Think the 'no makeup' day look, but, in fact, you're hiding a bit under there...yet nobody knows.

Quick, simple, and skincare heavy. Let the list making for May begin!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Spot of Shopping

If you read enough blogs and watch enough YouTube videos like me, you probably know that it's hard to constrain oneself, or shall I say wallet. Nevertheless, I've been quite constrained with my buying habits recently, so last weekend, I trotted out for a bit of spot shopping with gift cards in tow. Grab a cup of tea, because you know me and my rambly self...


I wasn't only drawn to this creamy cheek color because it is a peachy-pink (predictable), but I don't have any other cream blushes in my stash. I figured it was about time I experimented, and what better product to do so with than the Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera. Creamy and easy to blend, it leaves a subtle sheen to the cheeks, making it über pretty for a dewy makeup lover like myself. Did I mention it's one of the prettiest peachy-pinks...

As much as I love the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, my skin is still recovering a bit from the winter weather, so it can look a bit cakey on my skin sometimes, as my skin is still a bit dry. I picked up the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil Free, which seemed to be perfectly aimed at my skin type. A bit of oil control, while still aimed at dehydrated skin, it seemed to fit the bill rather perfectly. I also think it's genius that Laura Mercier has this mini tubes, as it's the perfect size for trying something out for only about $19.50.

Not only was there a gap in my stash when it came to cream blushers, but there was also a hole in the bronzer category. There were a few that had my fancy, but, at the end of the day, I went for the blogger, much hyped about favorite...NARS Laguna Bronzer. Not a hint of orangy-ness, just pure bronze, I can now see why people say it's as good as it is.

I've currently got the Makeup-Forever Full Cover Concealer on the go, but, sometimes, it's so thick, it ends up looking really cakey on my skin. The Origins Plantscription Concealer is a bit more moisturizing since it's aimed at more dare I say the word 'mature' skins, and it works lovely both on spots, general areas of redness and under the eyes. Cutting down on my morning makeup application and my cake face self consciousness. 

My current eye cream has hit the dust and I wanted to try something new. I picked up the Lierac DioptiCalm Anti Fatigue Eye Balm and Mask, mostly because it's a French pharmacy favorite, but also because skincare goddess, Caroline Hirons, recommended it for tired, puffy eyes. Dare I say what mine look like in the mornings.

The new packaging, shopping bags, and receipts galore, all make some new things ever bit more appealing  In reins this month's beauty purchases. The 'one in-one out' policy will have to be stemmed at the moment...or for a bit longer, perhaps.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint | Review

Back in September, the makeup newbie picked up a matte tinted moisturizer that seemed to fit into her budget wallet and her not-so-beauty-know-about mind. Yup, we're still talking about me. Fast forward a few months and the tube is nearly empty and I've realized just how good it was and still is. Meet the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint - a matte, yet dewy, perhaps more natural finish than any of the other tinted moisturizers in my stocks (and trust me, I'm no newbie to tinted moisturizers).


Dewy skin lovers, don't be fooled by the 'matte' part. Instead, it imparts a more natural finish - quite matte, but still a bit sheeny in all the right places. It's a quite thick texture, quite similar to the Chantecaille Just Skin, and blends really easily into the skin. It's not wet like the Laura Mercier counterpart, rather, more of a velvet texture. 

In the coverage department, it's more than you're average tinted moisturizer. I find it is quite covering, but never looks too covered like foundation sometimes can. The lasting power follows the rest of the trends. It lasts all. day. No touchups, powder over the top...nihilum (and the Latin is finally coming in handy). By the end of the day, my skin looks just as good as it did that morning - even on my combo dehydrated skin (which tends to get a bit 'shiny' throughout the day). It never goes patchy on my skin like the Laura Mercier sometimes can making it a fantastic choice for oily, combo, or dehydrated skins.

So there you have it - a favorite that has stuck around throughout my beauty enlightenment, still as good as the beginning. I really wish I had more left in the tube...and not just because it might have photographed better.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hydrating Heros

The number one rule for a healthier lifestyle? Drink more water. I'm no nutritionist, and I've got the proof. Time and time again, I'll fall a bit short of my daily aqua intake, and my skin knows it. Whether you're dry, dehydrated, or oily, there is always a hydrating hero in place for you...even when you have sucked down a bit too much water.


A recent purchase, the Boot's Botanics Facial Oil is the budget pick out of the bunch. Now that I've used it a few times, the general consensus is that if you're acne prone, steer clear. I'd say it's a better pick for more dryer skins. It's not a pure, no frills oil by any means, but if you have nice skin (darn you) and are looking for a good beginner oil, I'd say pick this one up.

For more traditional moisture know it alls, the Origins Night-A-Mins Oil Free is a good pick. A night time (duh) moisturizer that imparts moisture with a light exfoliation. If you're oily skinned, this pick is for you, as it's more of a gel texture. Even for my combination skin, I don't find it gives me enough moisture, but it is really lovely, nonetheless.

Beauty bloggers alike all know the Caudalie Beauty Elixir like the back of our hand, but a more hydrating, less astringenty, version in the Caudalie Grape Water. Just imparting pure moisture, this is good for a spritz after toner as an extra hydrating step or as a makeup setting spray to get rid of any powdery finish. 

I love a good face mask and (oh boy) do I love Origins. The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is perhaps one of my favorite picks out of the bunch. Any skin type - you need this, and it's something I've become quite reliant on. I use a bit over Night-A-Mins as an everyday moisturizer and by itself as an intense treatment, especially after a detox mask. You're never going to go over board, as your skin 'drinks up' exactly what it needs. And now to sleep with an apricot scented visage...

The tubes nearly done and I will definitely be picking up another bottle of the Origins Vitazing Moisturizer. Moisture, SPF, a nice scent, all with a bit of tint... It's the perfect day moisturizer and a 'no makeup makeup' sort of staple.

Skincare sorted, now if only I could drink more water without having to go to the bathroom so often...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfecter | Review



The idea of 'lipgloss' makes us all a bit flustered. The gloopy, glittery, and sticky Lip Smackers that we used as an adolescent don't necessarily prime us for lip gloss in the real world. A bit of a beauty blogger favorite, the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfecter left me a bit skeptical. Nevetheless, you know how much I love a good 'natural' makeup. When the N word braces itself in the title of a beauty product, you've got me scrambling for my cash. 

As per the ultra chic tube, it is, rightfully so, not the strawberry kisses flavored stuff we used to slater on as a kid. Instead, a rosy, shiny, moisturizing lip gloss takes the place. Not a hint of stickiness and no gloop, the shade Rose Shimmer graces my lips nearly everyday of the week. Is it natural? Oh yes. By dosing just the right hint of color, no matter what your lip color or shade you pick up, it will transform into the classic 'your lips but better' sort of shade.

Casual sundays knocking around the shops or black tie weddings complemented by nude pumps, I'll always carry around this beaute in my pocket or clutch. Oh la la!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

And Now to Sleep | DIY Pillow Spray


In all honesty, my bed rarely is a made bed. I'm usually rushing out the door and the nightly essays and math problems tend to be completed and revised in the same fashion of my nightly slumber. My eyes have been drawn to the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray for a good, long while. Last weekend, a few extra minutes, and a scouring for a spray bottle, and voila! 

A spray bottle, alcohol (not the drinking type), lavender oil, and peppermint oil - the works of a sleep inducing mist.

For a bottle this size, I did about six drops of lavender oil and three drops of peppermint. Fill the rest up with alcohol, shake (after putting the cap on...I learned it the hard way) and mist.

A budget pillow spray good for weeknights to complement the midnight studying or for weekends to complement the Sunday night pamper.

And now to sleep...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Origins Night-A-Mins | Review

Found next to the bottle of fish oil pills, vitamin C supplements, and the rest of my beauty stocks, the Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Oil Free has nestled it's way into my hands, or shall I say my face.

Enriched with vitamins and minerals, this not-your-standard moisturizer gently exfoliates the skin while you sleep while leaving you with a radiancy glow. Good? Just add a sleep inducing scent, perhaps a placebo affect, and it makes the perfect bed time treat.

A gel consistency, it's not too heavy on the skin while still dosing a good bit of moisture. For my combination skin, I do find that have to layer a bit of oil on underneath for more normal skin days, but for more oily days, it fits the bill. In all honesty, I love this stuff. If you lean a bit more on the dryer to normal side of things, I'd recommend the regular version, but if you're more oily, I'd go with this one no doubt.

*Opens pot and applies to face*...and now to sleep.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Budget Beauty Booty

It's no lie that I love a good high-end makeup product, yet sometimes, my bank balance admires the opposite and just isn't in the state to take the blow of a Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer. I'm not too big of a 'drugstore' beauty kind of purchaser (I just love the samples and pretty packaging too much), but, more often then not, a few gems inch their way into the basket along with the toilet paper and pain killers. 

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle
You all probably know that I'm not too much of a hair person, so the extent of my shampoo-ing stash is found along the aisles...next to the baby products. Nevertheless, this miracle conditioner does wonders for damaged, thristy locks. Leave it in for up to a three-er for a regular conditioner or longer for a thirst quenching treatment.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Charm
It's true - you won't find any vampy reds or red wine lip products in my stash. What takes their place? A whole lotta peachy pinks...one of them being Charm and charming. Adding a touch of peachy-ness to your natural lips, it sticks around for a good while and while being a stain, isn't too drying.

Rimmel ScandalEyes Liner in Nude
Along with the lack of bold lip products, I also have a lack of eye liners. I'm not too interested in the raccoon look and sure as heck can't rock the Indian kohl look, so I'm sticking to nude. Waterproof and soft, yet with a good long lasting formula, these Rimmel eyeliners are da' bomb...and perfect for 'puffy-eyed' days.

L'oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Waterproof Mascara
I'm a convert from my regular Maybelline Full' N Soft. It may not leave your lashes feeling like a onesie  but the curl holding power is unbeatable, while still adding a nice balance of length and volume.

Wet'n Wild Comfort Zone Palette
The works of the Wet'n Wild black nail polish from my eighth Halloween is gone by now, but I've revisited my go-to-goth-nails makeup brand for eyeshadows. Believe it or not, this contains my most used eye shadows. They're über soft, blend effortlessly, and are really nice shades as well.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny
If you're pale like me, 'sun', 'bronzer', and yourself are rarely said in the same phrase. On the other hand, when you're complexion resembles gauze, you may need a bit of 'warmth'. Matte, subtle, cheap, and cheerful, this bronzer adds a bit of summer-ness to the skin without the harmful rays.

Blistex Lip Medex
I do love myself some golden goodness (aka Nuxe Rêve de Miel), I'm a layering kind of gal, so when my lips are super chapped, or simply for during the day, I'm bringing the doctor with me. No frills, fancy scents, or excess baggage here. Just some good ol' chapped-lips-saving formula.

Boot's Botanics Facial Oil
I. Love. My. Oils. A nice one for beginners I'd say, botanical, natural ingredients make a nourishing oil made for layering under moisturizer for a bit more nourishment or for no makeup days when your day coincides with that of a potato chip left under the cushion from last night's feast.

L'oreal Lumi Magique Concealer
Bed time is overrated. Considering mine varies per night and isn't earlier than 10, it's no surprise that I need some under-eye help in the mornings. Equally highlighting and covering, non-creasing and light, this concealer is perfect for early mornings and all else in between.

Cash saved and beauty booty in tow, the drugstore is full of all kinds of fantastic finds. Just find them on aisle ten.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Detox Facial

I. Love. Sundays. Getting out the scrubs, detox shampoos, body oils, and most of all, all the works for a detox facial. Je l'aime.


With the works of my usual skincare routine and a few extra bits popped on, it makes up my favorite part of the weekend...forget sleeping in late.

I start by using my usual cleanser, the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser either with or without my Clarisonic Mia, depending on how I feel, but to make things ultra luxe... I wet a wash cloth under hot to warm water and lay it on my face to open up the pores. I get crack'in with a dime sized amount of cleanser and apply that all over. I usually end up waiting for around three to five minutes, usually spent cleaning up the flood made on my bathroom counter, and then follow up with the Clarisonic or my hands to massage it all off.

Now, for the fun part. I plop a bit of the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask on an old foundation brush and apply that all over my face, focusing through the t-zone. It's cooling and leaves my skin feeling über clean. Warning- use may result in zombie-like appearance.

Alas, onto the good stuff. A spray of the Caudalie Beauty Elixir works as a toner, while similarly leaving my skin glowing. Not to mention, it is incredibly cooling and amazing feeling on the skin. Then, I follow up with my usual serum, my beloved Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, which I wrote a whole ode to here. To get back in there and really nourish my skin with some moisture, I use the Boots Botanics Facial Oil, my recent cheeky purchase. In the states, you can pick it up at Target for no more than nine dollars and it's a really nice oil. When I'm all oiled up, I use Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Oil Free for some additional moisture, but mostly to wake up with glowy skin.

There you have it - my weekly detox facial sorted. Perhaps this occurs more than once weekly, but in a more edited version. I'm really tempted by some new face masks and I've definitely got my eye on the REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. You know me and my radiance-y skin. Anyways, you know where I'll be tonight.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum | Review

It seems to be universal that all us beauty nuts are on the hunt for the perfect product, shade, texture, and what not that fits our taste. It drives our enthusiasm and leads us to spend perhaps a few too many big bucks on things we may end up using for only a month. The beauty world is ever changing. On the other hand, there are those products that have been classics for ages - Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair being one of them.


Nearly no one is really happy with their skin. For me, the skin that drives me though my skincare quest is a combination, dehydrated, acne prone semblance. I've read about this serum in magazines, on blogs, and through other beauty propaganda. It wasn't until I waddled my way to a counter, requested a sample, cleansed, toned, and applied my beauty booty that I was able to realize that this stuff was good...really, really good.

When the alarm beeped and I marched my way to the bathroom mirror the following morning, the results were impecable. All of my active spots had nearly gone, my skin was much less red, my skin tone was much more even, and the majority of the scarring on my skin was gone. A wonder product? I think so. Remarkably, what turned out to be an 'acne control' product for me also left my skin hydrated and plump. 

Most may think that Advanced Night Repair would be for more 'mature' skins, yet, without releasing my identity, I love it and I'm still a woman in the making. In the end, I think everyone should have this serum - dehydrated, acne prone, dry, oily, mature, you name it. It is expensive, but it's so so worth it. You're not going to get anything like it anywhere else...because it's patented (in the words of the sales guy). Just go get a sample. You'll see. And don't tell me I didn't tell you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shopping Without the Cash | Shopping My Stash


The satisfaction that I get from opening up a new box after une petite shopping trip is unmatched. I haven't been shopping for a while and, let's be honest, it's probably for the better. Without the usual case of shopping bags thrown around the room and the usual hoarding of packaging, I've been reaching for some items in my stash that have lost a bit of love. Alas...

My old friend, the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free, has been left to its own devices for more than a month now. A few new bases have entered my life and I've also been testing out a few new ones (*tries to ignore love of Chantecaille Just Skin sample*), but I dug this one out a few days ago and it's been gracing ma visage ever since. One thing to note - if you're dehydrated, I would steer clear of this. This used to be the case with my skin and the tinted moisturizer would go patchy through the day, but add a bit of oil to the mix and I'm good to go.

NARS Luster - what I like to consider the bronzer/blush all-in-one. My Laura Mercier Peach Whisper has stolen the show and I do undoubtedly reach for it most days, but I kind of forgot how much I love this. It doesn't look like much in the pan, but, side by side, it is a bit darker, more shimmery version of Peach Whisper. It's nearly meant to be.

Among all my other lusts and adorations, I love curled eye lashes. Makeup or no makeup, I'll always reach for the good ol' Shu Uemuras, and not just because they make me feel like Lisa Eldridge. Usually I turn to the L'oreal Telescopic Waterproof for curled lashes that last all day, but for the days when I'm a bit more lazy, I've been reaching for the Lancome Hypnose Mascara. It's not waterproof, meaning it comes off in one swipe, but it doesn't hold a curl like the L'oreal counterpart. Nevertheless, I'm lazy and I just can't pull and rub with the Bioderma sometimes.

Yes, I've stepped away from the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector *gasps*...for the time being. All the while, the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rosé offers a subtle pink hue with a whole lot of nourishment. If I'm honest, I've been stalking the Tom Ford Lip Colour Shine in Insidious, but I cannot spend that much money on a lip product à ce moment-la, so this must do for the while and I'm kind of enjoying it.

I'm on a French skincare kick. To a normal person, it may be more like a ridicuolous stalk. Nevertheless, I've been wanting to try the La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid for a bit now. Although I nearly never see the light of day besides out my window, I caught sight of this hanging around in my mom's stash and snatched it up as soon as she looked away...sorry mom.

The frugal author if Parisian To Be...it has a bit of a ring. For the time being, I'm liking it. On the other hand, we'll see how long it lasts.
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