Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tops on Tops on Tops!

I go through phases when shopping for clothes. Jacket phases, dress phases, denim...
Now, the time has come for tops. Form-fitting tops, to be exact. I have had a passionate love affair for oversized voluminous shirts and blouses for so long, I found myself in a crisis when I realized that I had zero form-fitting options. I find it harder to buy these types of tops because they often are cut wrong  (too long/too short) or are unflattering in the stomach area.

Alas, that all came to an end when I was shopping a few weeks ago and came across the brand Bailey 44, who make beautiful and flattering yet form-fitting pieces. The quality is wonderful, they manufacture in the USA (which kind-of justifies the higher price point), and the pieces I chose are basic yet with a slight twist that make them stand out above the rest.

I also found some more budget-friendly options in a style that still rocks my world - the embellished collar. I absolutely love the look of a high neck line, slim cut top and a funky collar. You can add a chunky statement necklace & red lip stick to really dress it up or you can let your hair down and rock a smudgy smoky eye, nude lips and grunge it down.

So here are my top picks for... well... TOPS!



In true "Sandra" style - none of these are colourful. Oops!

I guess I will stick to the bright shades in lipsticks this spring :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All In The Lips

I wanted to do a blog post on the two lip products that have been rocking my world recently, so here goes. It also happens to be the best and most simple "day to night" look transformation. 



Look #1: Dior Addict lipstick in the colour "Beige Casual" (link)


I had to take an extra photo of it to fully capture its brilliance. It's a real "my lips but better" colour for me because it's sheer and meshes well with my natural lip pigmentation while enhancing them subtle shimmer and a glossy finish. It makes my lips look so much fuller and more plump. Love it!

Look #2: NARS Matte Velvet lip pencil in "Red Square" (link)

I could go on and on about my undying love for these NARS lip pencils but I'll spare you the ramble. If I could own every single one of them, I will be a very happy woman. They're perfect. Matte, lightweight, long-lasting and not as drying as you'd think! Red Square is a stunning bright orange-based red that I will be rocking all spring long. I highly recommend it. I wear it both during the day and night.

All I need!
The rest of the makeup was my usual go-to blend of neutrals. Dior Nude bronzer, a hint of Burberry Earthy blush, and Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow along with a warm brown from Guerlain's Les Fumes eyeshadow quad in the crease. Black liner, mascara, done!

Have you stayed loyal to any lip products in particular this past month?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Exfoliation Heroes

It's no secret that I am a fan of chemical exfoliation for the skin. I had been using products with 8% glycolic acid on a regular basis for the better part of the past year (Alpha H Liquid Gold, Neostrata Toning Solution Level 1) and the results and changes I had seen on my skin were remarkable.
My main skin concern is hyperpigmentation from stubborn acne scars, so that is why I turn to exfoliating products (and I have tried a myriad of different ones) to help even out the skin tone and texture. 
Despite loving my Neostrata toner a lot, it did have one major drawback: it contained alcohol. Alcohol can be super drying and irritating and while I never really reacted negatively to my toner, it always bothered me that it had such a high alcohol content... so I ventured out to the drug store (Rexall, in my case) on the hunt for something new.

Enter Lierac!


I had never tried anything from the brand, but I do know it's from France and that they have a relatively good reputation when it comes to skincare. They had a set with these two "peel" type products on sale - basically a get 2 for the price of one - type of thing so I picked them up. 

Comfort Peel, which is a light cream containing a 5% glycolic acid and salicylic acid mix in a time-released formula that supposedly continues working throughout the day. I've been using this every morning under my SPF (which is a must when you're using exfoliants). It's gentle, absorbs easily into the skin and has a light floral fragrance.
High Peel is the "heavy duty" product of the lineup containing a 10% glycolic and salicylic acid mix. This also has a light lotion texture but with some gritty particles in it that almost make it feel like a gentle scrub when you massage it into the skin. This product does sting a bit on application but it subsides quickly and sinks into the skin. I apply this at night and I don't put anything else on my skin aside from eye cream or my blemish treatment on blemishes, if I have any.

After about 3 weeks of using these products in conjunction I have noticed more improvements in my skin texture than ever before. Those super stubborn old marks from cystic acne that I was never able to get to with other products before are starting to fade. This year I am really focused on keeping my skin in great shape (even if eventually I have to resort to professional lasers on those annoying indented acne scars... woof, acne. I had it bad in my early 20's!!) and these two products are definitely keeping me happy.

Any skincare additions that have been rocking your world lately?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Recent Acquisitions

A quick post on a dreary, snowy Monday featuring a round-up of some recently purchased products that I have been enjoying lately -


Brushes

Finally got my hands on a couple of Real Techniques brushes (a friend kindly picked these up for me from Ulta in the US, but they are available on iherb.com if you are interested). I have been loving the Expert Face Brush for buffing in foundation. It's not quite as dense as my Sigma F80 which means it gives slightly less coverage, making it perfect for light daytime makeup. The smaller Setting Brush has been great for powdering smaller areas such as the under-eye or just the T-zone of the face. 
Good price point and I'm excited to try more of these!

Foundations

My good friend Dara kindly sent me an extra bottle she had lying around of the Armani Maestro Foundation. I got a couple of samples of this foundation from the counter when it was first released, loved it and was planning to purchase it anyway so when Dara offered to send me her extra bottle I was beyond excited. Shade #4 is quite similar to B20 in Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, for reference. It's a sheer coverage foundation that is super lightweight, blends like a dream and dries to a satin/matte finish. It's awesome for oily skin. I don't even need to powder it. I will be doing a more in-depth review of this :)

Another foundation that I purchased on the recommendation of a friend is MAC Face and Body. I got it in the shade C1 which is the perfect match for my "winter face". This foundation is super sheer. More sheer than the Armani Maestro or any other foundation/tinted moisturizer that I have tried, actually. I apply it either with my fingers or the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and get a beautiful, natural finish. It leaves a more natural finish than the Maestro foundation and lasts a decent time on the skin. However it definitely needs to be set with powder, especially if you get oily in the T-zone. It's not an ideal formula for oily skins but I love the texture and finish so much, I don't mind busting out the blotting sheets every once in a while!

Eyes/Lips

Urban Decay "Naked" eyeshadow is the latest to join my collection and it's the perfect warm mid-tone brown. I've been using it all over the lid or in the crease. Great texture and easy to blend.

For the lips, MAC lip liner in "Half Red" is perfect for a natural-toned defined lip. It enhances the lip line beautifully and even looks good worn all over the lip topped with clear gloss. And speaking of clear gloss, Lip Fusion's collagen-boosting clear gloss formula makes my lips feel plumper than ever.


All in all, I am super happy and excited with my recent acquisitions. 
For now I am just anxiously awaiting warmer weather and days that don't involve me scraping ice off of my car fpr half an hour before trying to go somewhere.

xx

Sandra 
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