Friday, May 30, 2014

Forever Awkward: Outfit Of The Day

One day I'll learn how to pose for "outfit of the day" posts and not look like a total tool. Today is not one of those days.

Here's what I wore the other weekend for a night out:

Top - The Wilfred "Capucine" shirt from Aritzia. I have it in almost every colour they make. Such a fun shirt to wear. Looks great layered under crew-neck sweaters in the winter time because of the way it is scooped in the front and back.

Blazer - H&M. I've had this for over a year now and it's no longer available but similar cut and style can be found here. H&M do great basic blazers that hold up well over time.

Pants - Current/Elliot leather trousers. Genuine leather pants are expensive but if they suit your style they are a worthy investment to make. I have had these for over two years now, I wear them a lot and they are still as soft and luxurious as ever. If you are not ready to splurge for the real deal, Aritzia carries the best faux leather pants/leggings I have found to date (click here to see for yourself).

Necklace - Zara

Shoes - Rag&Bone Harrow Booties. I've stalked these for almost three years and finally took the plunge. They are super comfortable and easy to wear with a ton of different outfits.

Hope you have a lovely weekend :)



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: Ole Henriksen On The Go Cleanser Review

It's Wednesday and I'm still cleansing!
Welcome to Cleansin' Wednesday, an (almost) weekly installment on this blog where I thoroughly use and review a key component of every woman's beauty routine - the cleanser!

This week's subject is from Ole Henriksen. Ole Henriksen is quickly climbing the charts to be one of my favourite skincare brands. I am totally impressed with their Lemon Flash Peel and currently testing out the Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, but let's not get too off track and focus on cleansing. 
Ole's On The Go Cleanser ticks all the boxes for me. It's a light foaming gel geared towards normal/combination/oily skins, has a gorgeous citrus scent and keeps the skin feeling refreshed and thoroughly clean without feeling stripped. It is great at taking makeup off (when used in conjunction with a cleansing cloth or Clarisonic) but my preferred time to use it is in the morning since it has such a pleasant invigorating citrus scent. It contains Vitamin C, helps brighten the skin. While it doesn't work any wonders by itself on hyperpigmentation, adding this cleanser to your routine will certainly not hurt.

Would I repurchase? Absolutely. Especially for summer, this is a treat to use when you're feeling greasy and gross. 

Only downside? I prefer pumps/tube packaging for cleansers since otherwise things can get a bit messy.

You can find Ole Henriksen products at Sephora (that's where I order from!). They usually have samples of their stuff available at checkout, which is a nice way to get into the brand. I have a pretty hefty wishlist growing...

What's rocking your skincare boat at the moment?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Long live the false lash!

I am not the most daring individual when it comes to wearing false lashes, but every once in a while I find that the extra step of applying a pair of false lashes can enhance the eye in the most beautiful way. I prefer strips of lashes as opposed to individual lashes, and tend to opt for pairs that are designed to add more volume rather than outrageous length. With the shape of my eye I find a lot of the longer lashes hitting my brow bone and they're not so comfortable to wear. I also prefer lashes that get gradually longer towards the outer corner of the eye (MAC #7 lashes and Ardell Demi Wispies have been my go-tos for years, just so you get an idea of my preferences).

Enter my first foray into slightly higher end lashes... ESQIDO mink lashes

I got the Unforgettable pair to try and I have to say that hands down these are the most naturally flattering and comfortable lashes I have tried. They come in a gorgeous box, they are incredibly soft and were so easy to apply. 

I have worn them three times so far (I use the dark Duo lash adhesive and a pair of tweezers to apply them) and they still have plenty of mileage left in them. You can get them online on their official website (shipping is free for US orders, $5 for international) and they have a 60 day return/exchange policy, which is pretty great if you are unsure of which style to pick for your first purchase. I'll stop blabbing now and let the pictures speak for themselves. The pair I got are probably the most natural offering of the bunch but I cannot recommend them enough! I'm eyeing something more dramatic next...

What are your favourite false lashes?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Nailpolish Edition

Last week I jokingly posted a picture of my nails sporting an old cult favourite nail polish on Instagram (follow me on there for more nonsense - @ssnardd) and this week I decided to apply another old favourite - OPI Lucky Lucky Lavender.

A gorgeous soft pink/lavender mix that is feminine and young. This was the nailpolish for me in the summer of 2010. I was obsessed with it. I wore it religiously for months and then it somehow got lost in the shuffle and in the madness of my nailpolish storage system (read: giant bottomless plastic bin). I was inspired by a pretty bunch of tulips in my house and after two coats I was transported back to that happy summer. Don't you love how some beauty products can do that?

It's easy to get lost in the shuffle of endless new collections and formulas, especially with nail products since the shellac/UV/LED gel formulas have had such a huge moment... but it's always great to revisit an old favourite. So this weekend I challenge you! Rummage through your bins and pick out an old favourite that you haven't worn in a while. You'll be happy with the result.

PS: I get my OPI polishes on eBay or Amazon. I am currently trying to grow my nails back to the glory days of last year so that means copious amounts of Nail Envy and regular cuticle trimmings. I can do a post on nail care later on if you would like

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Cleansin' Wednesday is a weekly instalment of this blog in which I review a different cleanser (until I run out... and start hoarding cleansers again!)

The Clinique "Take The Day Off" Cleansing Balm is my first foray into cleansing balms. I purchased it late last year and have been using it regularly for makeup removal at night. It’s a rather stiff lard-like mass in a plastic purple pot. It reminds me of coconut oil, texture-wise. The writing on the packaging rubbed off pretty quickly within the first month of use so it’s not very aesthetically pleasing but the product itself is an excellent makeup remover. Dare I say I prefer it to Bioderma? I just feel like I get a more thorough cleanse when I use this balm.

I massage it onto dry skin and watch it melt all the makeup off before rinsing it off and going in with a second cleanser. It’s more effective at removing stubborn mascara however if you are super conscious about massaging the delicate skin of the eye area, a separate eye makeup remover might be a better option for you (I’m a fan of the Dior Instant Eye Makeup Remover or Lancome Bi Facil).

At $35 (available at Sephora) it is a great value. It’s an effective makeup remover, it is free of fragrance and irritants, making it ideal for all skin types. Aside from the packaging fading and the fact that being scent-free it literally feels like putting lard on your face, you really can’t go wrong with this cleansing balm. It does its job and it does it well.

Have you ventured into cleansing balms? What are some of your favourites?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dior Sundeck Eyeshadow Palette, Summer 2014

I love eyeshadow palettes for their convenience but when it comes to actually buying them I am incredibly picky and often times would rather purchase individual shades and be an embarrassing makeup overpacker on trips. But sometimes, only sometimes, a beautiful unicorn pops up on the horizon - Dior's limited edition eyeshadow palette for Summer 2014: #564 Sundeck

It's my first ever Dior eyeshadow palette and what grabbed my attention is the fiery shade in the middle... then I fell for excellent texture of the gold & rosy champagne shades. They have the most beautiful metallic sheen that illuminates the eye, they blend easily and still manage to stand out but in a subtle way (oxymoron). Metallics are fun in the summer but texture-wise a lot of them can come off looking a bit too harsh and inappropriate for daytime. These colours can be taken from day to night with ease.

The cream shade is an excellent base/brow highlight and I used the dark warm brown shade to line my upper and lower lash line. I used the warm orange goodness in the center to warm up the crease. It reminds me a bit of NARS Taj Majal blush but without the scary intensity. I don't think I'd ever let Taj Mahal blush near my eyes... I can barely handle that on my cheeks but that's another story for another time! Let's "ooh" and "aah" over these pretty shades together, shall we? :)

The Dior Sundeck eyeshadow palette is limited edition for Summer 2014 - available at Sephora and other fine Dior counters near you!

Friday, May 9, 2014

La Mer: The Radiant Concealer (the holy grail)

I can't remember the last time I fell in love with a product upon first try but here I am, world. Here I am, singing the praises of a concealer I avoided to purchase for so long. I always had an aversion to the La Mer brand. Not really sure why, but I never fell for the seaweed broth miracle and why that warranted a high price tag for a tiny pot of cream. 
Once La Mer started to dabble into makeup products, though, I was hearing nothing but good things left and right from credible sources. I finally caved, prompted by fellow beauty addict friends Tayler and Rachel, and purchased the La Mer Radiant Concealer

The packaging is downright luxurious. Sturdy box and a crisp white leather sleeve housed the small concealer case. It also came with a brush that I seem to have misplaced. 

I got the shade 02 medium which will work for most medium-light skintones. It has SPF of 25 and a slew of skincare benefits that I cannot speak for just yet but as a makeup product - wow. This concealer is everything I want for the under eye area, and more!
It is a neutralizing beige shade (so if you have green/purple/blue tones under the eyes you are best off correcting those tones with a corrector separately - I am a huge fan of the Giorgio Armani Master Corrector). In the photo I used a thin layer (one dab of the ring finger) of La Mer concealer on bare skin on the left side of my face so you can see the brightening and neutralizing effect:

The texture is slightly dry to the touch but it emulsifies quickly with the warmth of your finger tip. If you have a very dry under-eye area I do recommend layering this with a thicker moisturizer since the texture of the concealer is slightly on the dry side. It's definitely more dry than MAC Studio Finish concealer or Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer.
A little goes a long way... and for good reason - this costs a whopping $70 for 3.5g of product but for me it's worth every cent. It doesn't settle into fine lines, it doesn't look too wet/greasy, you don't need to powder it and the coverage lasts all day long. 

I am absolutely thrilled with this and can safely say that my under-eye concealer search has come to an end for the time being. This, combined with the Armani Master Corrector in shade 1 and a dash of Hourglass Dim Ambient Powder are a bulletproof combination.

You can find La Mer products at Holt Renfrew (Canada), Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and other luxury department stores worldwide.

Have you found your holy grail concealer?

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel

I've been using the SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel for a year now and my bottle is almost reaching the end. This can mean two things:
1) this is great value for money since only a small amount of product is needed for the job
2) I didn't like it

Well... the answer lies somewhere in the middle. SkinCeuticals is a brand that has a clean, science-backed philosophy that I always admired. They are famous for their antioxidant serums (which I still would like to try) and their website is incredibly easy to navigate and offers great information and product recommendations for whatever skin concern you might have. You can buy the products  at some dermatologist offices/med spas or online from a variety of retailers like Amazon, Skinstore or Dermstore (hint: the last two always have good 20% off codes floating around).

The LHA Cleansing Gel is my first foray into the SkinCeuticals brand. It retails for $38. I bought it because I liked the ingredients list and the description was spot-on for what my skincare concerns are:

SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel is a deep-digging facial wash that penetrates your pores to decongest and offer cell-by-cell exfoliation, while washing away impurities. A combination of LHA, glycolic and salicylic acid encourage cell renewal resulting in more refined skin texture, even skin tone and a brighter appearance.

I liked this cleanser for its decongesting capabilities and I did find that with regular use it help keep those pesky under the skin bumps at bay but a word of warning if you have sensitive skin - this stuff is strong! It has a high menthol content, which not only can irritate your eyes but is an irritant for sensitive skins. I'm really not sure why they put it in there. I mean, I guess it adds to the whole "feeling cool and extra clean" sensation but I am not a fan of it at all. This cleanser also bleached my washcloths... which I guess means it works actively at fading dark spots on the skin but that might be a bit too intense for the skin on your face, if you think about it. I also wish it came with a pump. All other SkinCeuticals cleansers come with pumps so I am not sure why the LHA one got the short end of the packaging stick.

The LHA Cleansing Gel performed as expected and I am happy that the product description did not disappoint. This will definitely keep your skin more clear. However, I do not recommend it if your skin is even the slightest bit sensitive. This is geared towards more resilient skins. If you like menthol/the feeling of Vicks VapoRub - you'll like this cleanser. Unfortunately for me, the strong menthol sensation is the main reason I won't be repurchasing this. I am keen on trying some more products by SkinCeuticals, though! Recommendations are welcomed in the comment section below :)

Until next Wednesday with a different cleansing story...


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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation

Whenever Chanel releases a new foundation, I can't help it... I have to to try it! With Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua being one of my all time favourite foundations, I was excited to see the new member of the Chanel foundation family in a very similar packaging. 

The packaging is compact, sleek and super easy to travel with. Perfection Lumiere Velvet is slated to replace Mat Lumiere, which I owned and liked before (albeit not as much as V. Aqua). I matched myself to the shade Beige 20, which is near perfect. As with most Chanel foundations, on my skin this does dry down about half a shade darker and warmer. It doesn't oxidize as badly as Vitalumiere Aqua, which turns more pink on me. It is quite a runny liquid formula and blends effortlessly with fingers or a brush. It has a peachy scent, similar to that of Soleil Tan De Chanel/Bronze Universal.

Although it shares the name with the Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation (which I reviewed here  and *spoiler alert* I didn't like it), I liked this so much more. 

The dry down is powdery but the finish is not dull and matte. You won't want to powder it at all after applying it, it looks absolutely great. I find the "velvet" description to be very accurate. You can see in the photo (no concealer or powder was used) that the finish is mattifying but not dull. The coverage is a true medium coverage, but can be built up to full in areas. If you use your fingers to apply it, you can build the coverage up more easily. I preferred using a Real Techniques buffing brush to apply it since it was the quickest. It does not cling on to dry patches and it looks really really good when freshly applied.

Lasting power - without powdering, on oily skin, this foundation lasted only about 2-3 hours before I had to blot. That's nothing a good primer/powder can't fix but I must say I am a little bit disappointed that it didn't have better lasting power. It ultimately has the same wear time as Vitalumiere Aqua which isn't bad, but I expected it to be better since the finish is geared towards oilier skins. Another disappointing factor is that it transfers easily. Don't wear white shirts with this. I'm serious.

In conclusion - I liked this foundation a lot but it did fall short for me in the wear time category which is important to me when looking for a foundation. If your skin is more on the normal/slightly combination side I think you will really love it. It has a gorgeous velvet finish, great buildable coverage and it's super lightweight on the skin.

It retails for $45 and can be found at Chanel counters worldwide. I got mine at The Bay (Canada). You can also find it at Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus, etc. in the USA.

Have you tried this foundation? Would you want to?

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