Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Velvet Finish Foundation Round-up

Rummaging through my foundations, I decided to round up the ones that I own that provide the most velvet/matte finish since that is a finish that a lot of us gravitate to during this time of year (especially if your skin is on the oily side). On the dock we have:

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, Giorgio Armani Maestro and Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder foundations. I have more comprehensive reviews of the Chanel here and Hourglass here, but I find that reviews by comparison are even more helpful. I am going to provide you with a nerdy list of my likes and dislikes for each of these. Alas, let's begin.


- this is the best if you have any texture issues/concerns. I have some deeper acne scarring on my cheeks and this smooths out the skin surface perfectly. 
- feels incredibly lightweight and is easy to blend with fingers or a brush (not the beauty blender)
- doesn't oxidize pink on me and it's a decent colour match
- looks incredible when you first apply it on the skin, it's a true velvet finish, with a slight glow from within


- lasting power. It starts looking weird after about 3-4 hours. The coverage gets patchy, the oils break through... not impressed. I actually get longer lasting power from Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.
- it transfers way too easily. This is the only foundation I've owned in my life where it actually transferred on a boyfriend's face after kissing him. OH HELLZ NO. Unacceptable. 

Verdict: if your skin is normal and you don't get oily patches, I think this is more suitable for you. This has a medium coverage yet feels very light on the skin and gives a nice smooth look to the skin even if you have acne scarring/texture issues. Sadly it just didn't last on my oily skin so I won't be repurchasing.


- the most lightweight and easy to blend foundation I own (best used with fingers)
- the colour doesn't oxidize at all (!!!)
- evens out the skin tone extremely well, has a soft skin-like finish
- really pleasant soft soapy scent
- good lasting power


- the application is a hot mess. It has a dropper... and any accidental drops on clothes do not wash out easily since the pigment of this foundation is suspended in oil
- a nightmare on dry patches. If you have even a hint of dry flaky skin (which can sometimes happen even if you're oily and battling acne) this foundation will cling to it and it will look terrible.

Giorgio Armani Maestro #4
Verdict: if you have normal/slightly oily skin and don't have any texture concerns or dry patches this foundation is perfect for you. It's easy to apply with your fingers and gives a light/medium buildable coverage. Just don't drop any of your clothes unless you want to rack up your dry cleaning bill.


- lasting power. This stuff is water resistant, you can take a swim and this shiz will still be on your face.
- you don't need to set this foundation with powder since it dries exactly to a powder finish
- this is truly the most long-lasting foundation of the bunch


- be careful when selecting a colour since it dries up to a full shade darker.
- hard to apply since it sets to a powder finish quite quickly... you don't have much time to blend it into the skin or to customize the coverage (which is medium coverage, I'd say)
- the pump gets clogged every time because the formulation dries down to a solid powder

Verdict: Maybe I just sucked at applying it.... but I think that this feels slightly heavy on the skin and it's hard to work with. The result is nice and long-lasting, however, so it's a good one to keep on hand for long-haul summer days where water may be involved but you still want your face to look done up.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other matte/velvet finish foundation recommendations for me?



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Wishlist: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

Such sale. Very Nordstrom. Wow.

The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is upon us now until August 3rd and there are a ton of awesome beauty exclusives to take advantage of. Here are my picks:

1. NARS Cheek Palette ($49)
Perfect for travel. Cult favourite bronzer and blush shades in Laguna and Orgasm as well as two pink shades.

2. Ciate Sundae Best Nailpolish Trio ($25)
I love Ciate nail polishes. They are creamy and apply well - most of them give opaque coverage in one coat. This is a great trio consisting of a sophisticated latte brown shade, a creamy teal and a hot pink.

3. Kiehl's Creme de Corps Lavender Whipped Body Butter ($38)
This is one of my favourite body moisturizes. It's incredibly hydrating without feeling greasy and the scent of the original formula is heavenly. The limited edition Lavender version would be fun to try and the perfect moisturizer to apply before bedtime.

4. Voluspa 3-wick Candle Set ($35.90)
Voluspa candles are awesome. They burn for ages, they are coconut wax based and they have very interesting and luxurious scent combinations. One candle generally retails for about $20-$30 so this is a great value!

5. Laura Mercier Travel Brush Set ($75)
Laura Mercier brushes are so underrated. They are among the best I have tried and the travel versions of her brushes are the exact same quality as the full sizes. This is an awesome set that is both a great deal and perfect for travel.

6. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110)
This has me buzzing with excitement - could it be that Charlotte Tilbury will soon be carried at Nordstrom???? AHSUAHAJKSAHSLAJASHAJKSA
You get her famous sculpting brush as well as the Filmstar Bronze & Glow (a beautiful universally flattering bronzer/highlighter duo) in this particular set.

7. NARS Dolce Vita Lip & Nail Set ($52)
NARS Dolce Vita is one of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's favourite lip colours and it's been on my wishlist ever since I read that fact from one of her makeup artists. This set includes the lipstick, a matching lip gloss and a limited edition matching nail polish. This is the perfect blushing rose shade that enhances your lips while still looking natural.

What do you have your eyes on this sale season?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Hair Holy Grails

I'll be honest, I don't like spending a lot of time on my hair. I am an avid supporter of the "messy hair, don't care" philosophy. My hair is long, fine, color processed and I don't have a lot of it. Thus I don't wash it often (about 3 times a week) and I look for volumizing product ranges.

The three products I am sharing with you today have truly stood the test of time. I've been using/repurchasing them for over 3 years now, and they deliver every time.

First on the dock we have Batiste Dry Shampoo. This was the first dry shampoo brand I ever heard of and the one I always go back to. Like an old friend, Batiste is always there for me. It's affordable, easily available (online or at drugstores) and comes in a variety of scents - "Original" (a clean powdery scent, "Tropical" (coconut) and "Blush" (a powdery floral). There are also "Cool & Crisp", "Cherry" and "Wild" scent options but I haven't gotten the chance to personally smell those yet.
After my last two unscented powder dry shampoos suffered the kiss of discontinued death (RIP Ojon and Fekkai hair powders) I am back to Batiste and I am a happy camper. The Blush scent is my personal favourite. It does leave a slight white cast when you first spray it on but with a bit of tousling it blends in effortlessly with my dark roots, soaks up the oils and adds a bit of volume. Every girl needs a bottle of this on their bathroom shelf!

Kevin Murphy Anti Gravity Spray – This. Stuff. Is. Awesome. Best volumizing mist for fine hair, it comes in a lotion formula as well but I prefer the spray. When you have fine hair, the last thing you want is to weigh it down with extra product. I use this on damp hair at the roots before I blow dry (or air dry) and I always notice the difference this makes. It adds weightless volume, doesn't look greasy and actually extends the style of my hair. I use the term “style” loosely. #messyhairdontcare
I get Kevin Murphy products at my local hair salon, you can use the salon locator on  their website for more info, or order from Amazon!

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue. *bows and prays* this is the best hair oil I have ever used. It smells divine and at over $70 it's expensive but 1-2 pumps are enough to go through the lengths of my hair and this bottle has lasted almost two years. You can get it online at FeelUnique with free shipping worldwide, or at salons that carry the brand. If you're in Toronto - the Bloor location of Holt Renfrew has a lovely corner dedicated to all things Shu Uemura.

What are the hair products you come back to time and time again?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: L'Oreal Sublime Fresh Purifying Gel Wash

Hey oily skin girls! It's absolutely gross outside and you feel like your skin could run its own oil refinery. You wake up in the morning greasy, you go to bed greasy... you're on a budget... WHAT DO WE CLEANSE WITH?

I have your answer - you cleanse with this: L'Oréal Sublime Fresh Purifying Gel Wash

I reviewed the foaming cleanser from this range a few weeks back and while I did enjoy that one, I used it up way too quickly... the downside of those handy foaming pumps.
The Purifying Gel Wash, however, is even better.

It's gentle, it has a pleasant scent (lighter and better than that of the foam) and is soap free. It doesn't leave my skin feeling dry, just comfortably cleansed.  Excellent with the Clarisonic or a regular washcloth. I tend to prefer using warm water and a washcloth when I have dry patches on my skin because it tends to slough off dead skin and leaves the surface smooth and primed for makeup.

This is my summer morning cleanser of choice right now! What's yours? Are you a cleanser freak like I am? :)



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What I Wore - Silk & Leather

Now I know why most fashion bloggers look down in their photos - it's infinitely awkward getting outfit photos taken. Or maybe just I am infinitely awkward... 

Anyway, outfit was worn and photos were taken!! 
Let's start off with me trying to answer an imaginary telephone, shall we?

Hello? It's me, Sandra, I don't know what I'm doing. I should probably look down.

Both these pieces were sale finds from this last week. Faux leather shorts from H&M - super comfortable, black AND they have pockets (my favourite!). Found very similar ones online click here.

I like the juxtaposition of leather-like textures with more feminine silk/chiffon blouses. The blouse in question is by ASTR, which is exclusive to Nordstrom from what I understand. They have a collection of cool, well-made blouses that don't break the bank.

Rose gold sandals by B Brian Atwood (similar ones here) to finish off the look.

I'm still obsessed with rose gold and I don't care who knows it.

Hope your week is a great one!


Friday, July 11, 2014


I wore this outfit out shopping and it made me happy so I felt compelled to document it with my mature and professional looking iPhone (thank you eBay). One day I'll get "Outfit Of The Day" posts right but today is clearly not one of those days. Bare with me :)

I broke down and bought a skort from Aritzia a few weeks ago when I was in Calgary and I am so happy with my choice. It's the Liah skort by Wilfred Free and you can still get it online here (as part of their summer sale, woo!)

I paired it with this bright tomato red thin knit short sleeve cropped sweater from Topshop (available here) and black blazer by Helmut Lang (available here).

Yes I still like to dress like the grim reaper in the summer months but today I threw in a splash of colour. I'm really into this bright warm red at the moment - especially if you have warm undertones. It makes you look more tanned and stands out in the most flattering way!

Shop the colour:



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: Shiseido Benefiance Cleansing Foam

I'm the Mary Poppins of cleansers. Just when you think it's over, I bust out another cleanser out of my magical purse.
This week's Cleansin' Wednesday post is more luxe than the rest, the subject being Shiseido's Benefiance Extra Creamy Cleansing Foam. It's $35 ($42 in Canada because the Universe hates us) from Sephora and it's a beautiful cleansing experience.

I love creamy foaming cleansers and I don't care who knows it. This one is amongst the most "dense" that I've tried in terms of consistency. They say extra creamy and they mean it. It's supposed to be loaded with anti-aging properties (which to be honest I can't really vouch for) but it smells divine, lathers well and you need a very small amount of product to thoroughly cleanse your entire face.

This cleanser has tiny beads in it that do some (very gentle) physical exfoliation as well. They're not abrasive like walnut shells by any means, but there is some grit to them. It's not going to magically get rid of any texture issues on your face like a microdermabrasion does, but it does help thoroughly cleanse the skin without irritating it at all. The skin is left completely clean while feeling nourished and not dried out.

All in all, this is an awesome cleanser. In terms of cleansing performance, the La Roche Posay Toleriane Foaming Cream does the same thing albeit without the pretty smells and it is not quite as hydrating. If you are on the slightly normal/dry side and you like cleansing foams but are afraid of them sine they can get drying, you gotta give this a try.
It's such a nice treat to use at night after a long day. I did use the regular Shiseido foaming cleanser years ago and the Benefiance Extra Creamy is definitely more hydrating and dense in consistency. I remember my previous tube lasted ages and this will also last a long time since I find that a pea-sized amount does the job well.

100% Recommended!



Monday, July 7, 2014

4 Products to Get Your Makeup to Last Longer

It’s the season! Sweltering temperatures, humidity and oily skin… a dreadful combination. Fear not, because I have a small round-up here of products that have saved my butt this summer and it’s not too late for you to try them out! You’ve seen some of these products in action in my Summer Foundation Routine video but I wanted to go a bit more in depth about the 4 key products to a no-fuss no-budge summer complexion. 

NARS Reflective Translucent Powder is the best translucent powder I have used. It sets your makeup (adding about 1-2 hours of extra wear) while not actually altering the finish of it. It’s nice to look a little glowy in the summer, and this powder won’t make your skin look dull. 

Becca Poreless Priming Perfector is a great oil-controlling primer. It so oil controlling that in fact it can be quite drying so using it in small amounts is key. If I cover my whole face in this it feels like someone vacuumed all the moisture out and it’s uncomfortable. I take small half-pea sized amounts at a time and cover the areas where I am prone to get the most oily. This primer also makes pores appear less obvious.

Smashbox Studio Skin foundation is a reliable medium coverage foundation (I like to use a beauty blender to apply it, so the coverage I get is slightly less than medium). What I appreciate about it the most is the fact that it has a good colour selection that matches my undertones and doesn’t oxidize and get darker/orange/pink. That seems to be an issue for me with a lot of foundations so it’s an important thing to note. The lasting power is great, too. Even though some oils break through after the 4-5 hour mark (nothing a good blotting paper can’t fix) the foundation itself doesn’t migrate and look bad on the skin. It has no SPF in it so make sure you apply SPF beforehand if you plan on wearing this out during the day!  

Finally, two sprays of Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray are an essential for me year-round but if your skin is rather normal and doesn’t need help keeping makeup on until summertime, this is a great product to try. Sephora carries little travel sized versions of it too if you don’t want to commit to a full size right away. I’ve been using this for years. I tried Urban Decay De-Slick Spray (the spray geared towards oily skins) and to be honest I noticed zero difference between the two, so I just kept repurchasing the All Nighter. 

All the products I mentioned in this post are readily available at Sephora

Shop this post:

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping the skin looking polished and good in the summer heat? 



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Weekend Wishlist 06.07.14

The beauty addict in me is stirring yet again as more makeup has weaseled its way onto my wishlist. Matte peachy nude lips, new eyeshadow offerings from NARS and a strong desire to revisit a cult favourite foundation:

Starting with my ultimate weakness - lip products. I was FaceTime-ing with my friend Vanessa and was mesmerized by the lip combination. MAC Kinda Sexy lipstick and Chanel Natural Lip Liner. It's only a matter of time (and space - I literally have no room in my lipstick box) before these are mine. Sidenote Chanel has some of the best lip liners I have tried and they are worth the investment if you are a fan of lip liner. I have to be in the mood to wear lip liner but when I do put in the extra effort, it's worth it. You can't beat a good neutral high quality liner that subtly enhances the shape of your lips and Natural seems to fit the bill.
Climbing up the luxe lip ladder we have Givenchy's Le Rouge lipstick formula. I was naturally drawn to shade 102 (a matte peachy nude, surprise surprise) and tried it on at Sephora this week. This formula kicks ass. It's on par with Tom Ford albeit slightly lighter weight in texture/less creamy... which I actually prefer. I am impressed. 
Moving on to eyes - the new NARS Dual Intensity eyeshadows are calling my name, namely the shade Callisto which is a gorgeous shimmering rosy taupe. I also need to get my hands on the new L'Oreal Miss Manga mascara to see what the hype is all about. My last wishlist item is something I used to own before but didn't get to experience and enjoy at the fullest because my colour match was so awful - Makeup Forever HD Foundation. I am still a pain in the ass to match - even though this foundation has a great colour selection I find myself yet again in between shades - 125 and 127 to be exact. I'm on the fence whether I should just wait it out until fall/winter when I am more pale and can get away with just 125. 

What piqued your interest this week??

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Drink Up! Keeping Oily Skin Hydrated In The Summer

If you're an oily skin girl like me, I know what you might be thinking - "ugh, the last thing I want to think about when I'm captain of the Grease Team is adding more moisture to my face!!" and I totally share the sentiment. But here's the thing: oily skin, even if you feel like you have to blot it 10 times a day, can be dehydrated at the same time. Even though your glands produce excess sebum (oil) your cells may still be lacking the hydration they need. So what do we do?

Step away from the lotions and creams and say hello to gels, serums and mists! These are lightweight and soak right into the skin. Right now I'm using (every other night) the Murad Hydrating Toner (stick it in the fridge for an even better feeling) followed by a thin layer of Hydraluron serum. The serum is quite sticky and doesn't play that well with other skincare so I stop here. This is why using it every other night seems to work out for me, especially on days where I used a more intensive exfoliating mask/peel (loving Ole Henriksen Lemon Flash peel, still) having a simple rehydrating night-time regimen like this one has worked out quite well.

As for the eye area, Ole Henriksen Eye Gel is rocking my world. One of the best under-eye products I have used and I'm gonna shout it from the rooftops. Let's not forget about water either, I know it can be a pain but guzzle up those 2L a day and you'll notice a big difference!

Do you have oily skin? How does your routine change in the summer months?
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