BEAUTY

Beauty Bite: Almay Intense Smoky I-Color & Smart Shade Collection Review

Almay Intense I-Color Smoky Collection

 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Almay Picnic at The Drake Hotel.

 

The event brought together Toronto beauty bloggers for a fun evening of demos, girl talk and a whole lot of delicious pineapple mimosas. Almay’s amazing makeup artist Jacquie Hutchinson lead us through a series of beauty tips and tricks to achieve the best results with their new line of Smart Shade cosmetics. Eye shadow palettes, skin luminizor, skintone matching foundation, coloured mascara and bright eyeliners were all stuffed into our beauty bags, customized for our own unique skin tone.

 

I was asked to be a demo model for each look, so I shucked off my nerves, downed a delicious mimosa (or 2…) and took my place on the stool to be stripped of all traces of my makeup.

photo

 The Almay Picnic at The Drake Hotel

 Jacquie quickly put me at ease with her hilarious quips about proper makeup application, and by the end of the session I was eager to try out the looks with my own rookie hands.

After trying out some of the products over the past few weeks, I’m happy to report that the application couldn’t have been easier.

 

So, the look:

 

SKIN

Primer: Passing on primer? You’re missing out! The Almay Shade Shade Luminous Primer is my new beauty best friend. To get my look, I used it as a highlighter on my cheekbones and brow bones, and will likely not ever skip this step again. See ya, sallow skin.

Foundation: Almay’s new Smart Shade Anti-Ageing foundation kind of blew my mind. It comes out of the tube a creamy white shade, then matches to your skin tone upon application. Perfect for those mornings when a 5 minute face is really all you have the time (or patience!) to apply.

EYES

Did I mention even the most shadow-phobic gal can apply these products like a pro? It’s true. The Almay Intense I-Color Smoky Collection Trio palettes were developed to specifically suit your eye colour, and are surprisingly flattering on everyone. I tried the Browns (pink) and the Blues (blue) and loved both of them! The look is shimmery colour that you can gradually build up to your preferred intensity. I’ll admit to being skeptical of the potentially tragically 80s blue palette, but it really does wear quite modern and pretty. Consider me converted.

LIPS

The Almay Color + Care Liquid Lipbalm in Just Plum Good is a barely there swipe of colour, perfect to pair with a more intense eye. I personally prefer a more pigmented lipgloss, but with a blue lid, I think this shade was most appropriate. Perfect for that “no-makeup” look.

 

photo 1-64

Almay Smart Shade Collection Primer & Foundation

Intense I-Color Smoky Collection Trios

Color + Care Liquid Lipbalm

 

photo 1-66

Almay Intense I-Color Collection Trio in Blues

photo 1-55

Almay Intense I-Color Smoky Collection Trio in Browns

 

Do you use Almay’s range of hypoallergenic products? What are your must-haves?

Beauty Bite: Is Your Cleanser Toxic?

Toxic Cleanser

 

When it comes to experimenting with new beauty treatments, most of our products can be grouped into three categories:

 

1. FREQUENTLY (low risk: immediate removal if not completely satisfied)

-i.e nail polish, lipstick, eye shadow

2. OCCASIONALLY (moderate risk: removal time required)

-i.e hair product, mascara, body lotion

3. NEVER! Until it stops working or something better comes along… (high risk: permanent, potential major breakouts, etc.)

-i.e face cream, hair colour, facial cleanser

 

Imagine my dismay when I recently discovered my favourite facial cleanser and body wash were killing the environment. The culprit? Plastic microbeads, or polyethylene (PE). The plastic beads are non-biodegradable, microscopic and eventually end up in our Great Lakes, where they remain forever or exit via the food chain. You read that right: fish are eating them. The polyethylene beads soak up toxins and unfortunately resemble fish eggs, so unless you’re hankering for The Catch Of The Day with a side of plastic, it’s time we searched for alternative solutions to our old beauty standbys.

 

So what products was I using? Popular drugstore brands:

OLAY Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser: I’ll admit it- once educated, feigning ignorance to polyethylene is impossible- the plastic scent is pretty powerful. The fact that it removes every trace of makeup, exfoliates and never breaks me out are all reasons why I love this product, but transitioning over to a non-toxic cleanser I can use without guilt is a priority, so the hunt is on. In the meantime, I’m using good ol’ St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which admittedly doesn’t perform as well my beloved Olay, BUT is microbead-free and has the added benefit of already being under my sink.

CARESS Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash in Burnt Brown Sugar & Karite Butter: I love this body wash so much, I cross the border for it: Caress isn’t sold in Canada. The smell is divine, it lightly exfoliates and leaves a sweet, lingering scent on the skin afterwards. The fact that it doesn’t clog up my razor if I use it for a quick shave is also major bonus. Giving it up will be tough. Damn you, Caress! Damn, you!!!

 

Toxic Cleanser 2

 

Do you care if your facial cleaner and body wash are polluting our waters? If transitioning over to non-toxic products is important to you, check out this list of products that are contributing to the toxicity.

 

Beauty Bite: Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain Review

photo 2-53

 

Guys, I still wear lipgloss. I know there’s some kind of unwritten beauty rule that once a woman reaches “a certain age” she should toss the gloss and exclusively embrace lipstick, but on casual summer days, a little slick of gloss with a subtle shine just looks right. If it comes in a hybrid formula, I’m even more game, which is why I absolutely adore Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain.

photo-25

 Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Barcelona Nights

Revlon’s newest lip lube is the perfect blend of gloss, liquid lipstick and lip stain, and it’s a pretty fab product overall.  Over the past few months I’ve tried out 3 of the new shades:

Miami Fever (orange-coral)

Barcelona Nights (cherry-pink)

India Intrigue (fuchsia)

 

photo-28

 Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in India Intrique 

photo-21

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Miami Fever

Application: 2 or 3 coats are definitely required to achieve maximum colour for this product. If you have the patience for that, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful colour that lasts for a least 3-4 hours.

Hydration: A BIG plus for me-  this stain is super hydrating! A finishing coat of balm isn’t needed with this product. My lips are never dry after the colour wears off, and the shine lasts for a good 2 hours after application.

Texture: The texture of this stain is almost gelatinous, which I personally prefer over a liquid stain (no spillage).

Pigmentation: Bravo to Revlon for creating a hybrid gloss with long-lasting pigmentation! When the shine eventually wears away, you are left with a beautiful stain that lasts a solid 5 hours.

 

If you’re looking for a no-mess stain that won’t dry out your lips, try Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain. It retails for $12.

 

Have you tried this product? Which colour is your favourite? Let’s discuss! x

 

Essie Nail Polish Review: Resort 2014 Collection

photo-13

 

I’ve already professed my love for drugstore cosmetics, so when Essie graciously sent me a few bottles of their new Resort 2014 collection, I knew it was a no-brainer review.

 

photo 2-48

 

Essie Nail Polish is like the holy grail of drugstore polish. You remember a time when they were exclusively a salon product, and often have to pinch yourself when you score the latest shade for a mere $8.00! The sleek square bottles, vibrant colours and of course, the punny names, make lining your vanity with these little darlings a stylish affair.

Resort Fling (pastel coral) and Under The Twilight (smokey purple) were my selected shades from the Resort 2014 collection. Having short nails, I favour darker shades on my tips, so Under The Twilight was my obvious favourite between the two shades. The colour is definitely richer and darker on the nail than in the bottle (a good thing!), so after 2 coats I was satisfied with the application.  Resort Fling wore slighter lighter on the nail than in the bottle, but after 3 coats the colour was gloriously rich and opaque. I can’t wait to try it out for a pedicure- with my toes, anything goes!

 

What is your favourite Essie Nail Polish shade?


photo-14

 

 

 

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Nail Enamel Review

Revlon Colourstay Gel Envy

Confession time: I’m cheap. There, I’ve said it. Aaahh, it feels so good to get that out there in the open! Before you start flooding my inbox with applications for Extreme Couponing, allow me clarify: Not cheap to the point of sacrificing good quality for crappy product (snapping up loads of subpar product, simply because you get more for your buck, is just plain dumb IMHO), but if there is a great brand to add to my beauty arsenal that doesn’t break the bank, I will happily choose it over its luxury counterpart.

photo 1-49

That’s why I love Revlon. High quality product. Trendy colours. A plethora of finishes to suit every taste. And last- but certainly not least- affordable price points that allow a little experimentation with your favourite shades. When the lovely ladies at Revlon hooked me up with a few bottles of their new Colorstay Gel Envy formula, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.  So how did it perform? I’m happy to report, way beyond expectations!

photo 4-43

Two coats of Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Winning Streak is all you need for completely opaque coverage (a MUST for me with pastel shades). If you’re in a rush, or prefer a more translucent finish, one coat of this nail polish will yield a pretty, pearly effect. Drying time? Less than 5 minutes. I swiped on a coat of the new Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat, and my quick, at-home mani lasted a good six days without a single chip. For $7.95 a bottle, I will definitely be stocking up on more shades when this line hits the shelf next month.

What are your go-to Top 3 drugstore nail polish brands? Let’s discuss!

Because Mom Doesn’t Want A Gift Card: The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Although practical, giving a Mother’s Day card padded with a gift card is kind of a cop-out. Mom spent your entire life hunting for the perfect gifts to make your favourite festivities memorable (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, graduations…) so why not return the gesture with a gift that doesn’t scream “I picked this up at the gas station on the way over here”. She’s worth the effort!

The art of gift-giving isn’t easy, but there is the perfect something out there for every Mom. Making her happy is easy for under $50, so put down that gift card and get shopping!

 

pillow $45 | candle $20 | bracelet $38 | scarf $10 | tote $39 | pullover $28.94

Beauty Bite: Trind Nail Care Review

In regards to daily beauty rituals, I like to keep mine fairly simple, but like most women there are certain products I feel positively naked without. My big three? Mascara, concealer and my ever-rotating nail polish shade. Without these beauty mainstays I might as well be wearing a stained ribbed tank top, sheer leggings and Uggs, because I feel like an absolute schlub.

Looking polished is an essential component to my confidence and as a recovering nail biter (gross, I know), turned bona fide nail polish junkie, the thought of socializing without colour on my nails was cringeworthy enough to lead to multiple PDBs (Public Displays of Beauty). Frantic streetcar nail painting, cubicle cuticle trimming sessions and terrible touch-ups on the way to an event, because even a slightly smeared paint job was better than au natural- or so I thought, until I discovered the Trind nail care system.

Week 1: BEFORE Trind Nail Care

photo 3-4

After years of buying nail treatments that promised to transform my weak, short, dry, brittle, thin (I could go on…) nails into unbreakable talons that promised to defy even the stiffest soda tab, I must admit, I had my doubts. But as I cracked open the Nail Balsam, something unexpected happened. The scent. It was pleasant! Fresh, even. A nail treatment that didn’t get the slightest “What’s that smell?!” grumbling from the Hubster? Major Point #1.

As I brushed it on my nails, it absorbed completely in less than 5 seconds. Fast working. Major Point #2. I continued this treatment for the next 2 weeks, and to my surprise, my stub nails had grown! They were obviously longer and stronger, and coupled with the Nail Repair I applied before painting my nails (old habits die hard), there was no denying the product was working.

Week 2: AFTER Trind Nail Care

photo 3-5

The instructions advise using the product for 4 weeks to achieve maximum results. Considering this is only Week 2, I am convinced that Trind nail care treatment actually does what it promises to deliver. The proof is in the pics! Stay tuned for my final review of this product in 2 weeks time and be sure to check out Trind nails complete lineup of products if you are ready for a major nail makeover.

Manicure Monday: Deep Purple

I don’t know about you, but when the snow hits, the idea of wearing pearly, pale nail polish is downright cringeworthy. Pale, chapped hands + pearly shimmery polish= NOT the look! Bring on the deep, passionate purples! Below are my top picks to vamp it up. 

Deep Purple

NARS Fury | YSL Violet Baroque | JIN SOON Debonair | GIVENCHY Lilas D’Exception | OPI Honk If You Love OPI | ESSIE Soul Mate | ZOYA Pinta

 

Fab Finds: Pretty Pouches!

The holidays are approaching, you’re a tad strapped for cash, but the ceremonial gifts must be exchanged. Step away from the discount wine rack (undrinkable swill!) and reach for something that won’t be re-gifted the minute you walk out that door: pretty pouches! Think about it: pouches are the perfect little gift for just about anyone. Every gal needs something to stash her stuff in- whether it’s cosmetics, gadgets or cards and cash. Nearly every major retailer is offering one this season, so picking one that’ll rock her stocking shouldn’t be a problem.

Happy Friday! x

Perfect Pouches

1. Ann Taylor | 2. Asos | 3. Chapters | 4. C.Wonder | 5. Rebecca Minkoff

Currently Loving

Currently Loving

1. Jin Soon Metaphor Nail Polish: How perfect is this deep green? Definitely my favourite hue for Fall.

2. A Girl Called Jack: I’ve been following this thrifty food blogger for a while now and her resourcefulness never ceases to amaze me. When Jack (a woman), was faced with the harsh reality of feeding herself and young son with a very meagre unemployment income, she was forced to get creative in the kitchen. Every meal under £1 (approximately $1.60). Inspirational stuff.

3. Zara Jumpsuit: The perfect blend of slip dress and jumpsuit, this piece is the perfect addition to my Fall PM wardrobe.

4. Pumpkin Spice Everything: Lattes and muffins and scones- time to step up my workouts! Eek! Although I’m usually not one for Halloween, I am one for sweet treats, nutmeg and cinnamon in regular quantities.  If they were meant to be enjoyed in moderation, then they would be available all year. (Right?!)

5. Shoptiques Ankle Booties: Textured, buckled and pointy- I think I’m in love.