Swatches + thoughts – MAC x Star Trek collection

MACST

I was at San Diego Comic Con last week and got a sneak preview of the MAC x Star Trek makeup collection that had a pre-launch sale there for one day. I steathily swatched everything in store for you while I was deciding what I wanted to buy. Sadly, and regrettably, I did not get anything, even though the Trip the Light Fantastic Powders are seriously out of this world (ha ha).

Trip the Light Fantastic Powders

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From left to right: Luna Luster (sheer wash of soft rose shimmer), Strange New Worlds (sheer wash of golden coral pearl) and Highly Illogical (sheer wash of golden plum with fine pearl)

The textures of the Trip the Light Fantastic Powders were my absolute favourite out of all the products I swatched. Luna Luster is a great highlighter for light skin tones, Strange New Worlds is a gorgeous golden coral, and the quality was just super smooth and pigmented. Highly Illogical is a beautiful plum that would look amazing lightly dusted over any skin tone, especially in the fall. I seriously regret not buying one – the boyfriend and I were in a rush to meet some friends before a panel, and I couldn’t make up my mind over what to buy, so I just left and thought I would come back later, but of course I did not. Not I gotta wait until September, which is a long time away. I suspect this collection will sell out quickly too!

Pressed Pigment Eyeshadows

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From left to right: Bird of Prey (dark olive green with sparkle — frost), Midnight (cobalt blue with pearl sparkle — frost), The Naked Time (taupe pearl with sparkle — frost), and To Boldly Go (reddish copper with sparkle — frost)

I wasn’t a fan of these as I felt like they mostly swatched patchy, dry, and not super pigmented. To Boldly Go was the only exception, as it had the most pigmentation and rich colour. The Naked Time swatched a lot more sheerly, and barely looks taupe (even though it’s taupe in the pan). It would look great layered over other shadows, though, for a pop of glitter.

Lipsticks and Lip Glosses

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Lipsticks from left to right: Kling-It-On (deep purple with fine pink glitter — frost), Where No Man Has Gone Before (pink with gold pearl — lustre), and The Enemy Within (neutral gold shimmer — frost), not swatched is LLAP (icy rose champagne — frost).

Glosses from left to right: Set to Stun (light silver with gold pearl), Khaaannnn! (berry with red reflects), Warp Speed Ahead (plum with blue and pink reflects), and Pleasure Planet (muted gold shimmer).

Personally, I’m not a gloss person, and I especially dislike MAC’s glosses because they are quite sticky and thick, so these are all passes for me. The lipsticks were all pretty frosty, and not super wearable for me, so I also didn’t consider these. If you like frosts and shimmery lipsticks, you will definitely like these. They applied pretty sheerly, and felt lightweight on, so they may be great for layering as well.

I didn’t get a chance to photograph the display or the packaging, but you can see the packaging of these products on BeautyGeeks.

Overall I would recommend going for the Trip the Light Fantastic Powders as your top purchase choice. I seriously could not decide which one to buy, so I guess the answer is all of them… the MAC x Star Trek collection launches September!

Supplement your skincare with Miracle 10 Retinol, Mask, Enzyme, and Vitamin C! (part 2)

miracle 10 skincare review

A few weeks ago, I shared my first batch of review for Miracle 10. In addition, I was prescribed some additional products to help treat my main skin concerns, which were treating dehydration, reducing hyperpigmentation, and improving skin texture.

Miracle 10 Retinol 30 review

The first product was something I was excited but also nervous about – Retinol 30 (C$82) – is my first retinol product. It contains 0.30% retinol; Defensil Plus, a blend of oils and botancial extracts for skin repair; as well as vitamin B for hydration. I was told to use this one night a week to supplement my skincare (i.e., as a serum underneath moisturizer). After a few weeks of using this, I have noticed an improvement in my skin’s texture and an overall brightening effect (although that can be attributed to the Super C as well). I don’t have many fine lines or wrinkles, so I can’t tell if this is helping to improve them. While I like this product, I did feel like it was a bit too strong for me, especially at my current age, so I ended up passing this off to my mom who will likely see better results.

Miracle 10 Retinol 30 review

Miracle 10 mask review

Mask (C$65) contains aloe vera, a moisturizing ingredient safe for delicate skin; vitamins A, E, C, D3, K and B complex; and elastin to improve skin elasticity. I was told to use this two nights a week to help with exfoliating, hydrating, and firming my skin. This mask has peppermint oil in it, and that’s my biggest dislike about it – I really don’t like that cooling sensation, plus peppermint oil is a common skin irritant. Despite this, this clay-based moisturizing mask did leave my skin feeling more cleansed yet hydrated and supple at the same time.

Miracle 10 mask review
Miracle 10 mask ingredients and review

Miracle 10 enzyme review

Enzyme (C$77) contains papaya extract, porous fossilized rock particles to scrubs away rough skin, and hyaluronic acid. I was told to use this two nights a week, which I felt was a bit much because I was also using other chemical exfoliants at the same time. The Enzyme contains both chemical and physical exfoliants; the physical exfoliants are suspended in this pretty cool this gel that provides a cushion so that you never feel like it’s too abrasive. You want to be extra gentle with this one though, because if you do rub too hard, it will be too harsh on your skin. I made that mistake the first time I tried it, but I got the hang of it soon enough and I was left with amazingly silky soft skin. A little bit goes a long way, and because of the gel base, you can take as long as you want to gently massage your skin with the exfoliant and it won’t dry out or “fall off” your face.

Miracle 10 enzyme review
Miracle 10 enzyme review and ingredients

Miracle 10 super c review

Super C (C$92) is one of their most popular products, it is a 100% ascorbic acid concentrate that you can mix into your existing moisturizer. The concentrate comes in a powder form and it comes with a tiny spoon so you know the exact amount to use. The finely milled powder mixes in very well with my moisturizer, dissolving immediately so I don’t feel like I’m rubbing powder on my face. I was told to use this one night a week to help brighten my skin, and it really does work. My skin feels overall brighter and more radiant. Because you only need a tiny spoonful each time, and you only use this once a week, the 15g bottle is lasting me forever. One warning though, since ascorbic acid causes skin sensitivity, just make sure you use copious amounts of sunscreen every day and avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Miracle 10 super c review and ingredients

Overall I’ve had a pretty positive experience with Miracle 10. As a beauty blogger, it’s a big hard for me to stick to one routine, but these supplementary products I will definitely continue to rotate into my regular routine. I particularly enjoyed using the Enzyme and the Super C, although I have to be a bit careful when using the Super C with other products that aren’t from Miracle 10 in order to prevent chemical reactions.

You can purchase Miracle 10 products from the Ten Spot locations across Canada, as well as online at Miracle 10.

Miracle 10 skincare review

Review – Nail care essentials from CND! #CNDRescueKit

CND nail care review

A few weeks ago, I was sent a set of nail care essentials from CND. CND makes some of my absolute favourite nail products, and their Vinylux formula is my favourite mass-market nail polish formula because it just lasts so long on me – up to 10 days with minimal chipping and tip wear!

CND Vinylux Polish + Top Coat is a no brainer. I highly recommend that you check out their Vinylux formula because it is one of the most long wearing polishes on the market.

CND nail care review

CND Scrub Fresh cleans and dehydrates the nail plate, to improve adhesion, reduce lifting and extend the life of the service. I use this right before applying polish, and after using the Solar Oil and Cuticle Eraser. It’s an acetone-based nail bed cleaner, designed to remove all traces of oil. While this is great and does extend the life of my polish wear… I feel like any good ol’ acetone-based nail polish remover will do the same, so this isn’t really special by any means.

CND Cuticle Eraser micro-exfoliates cuticles with a rich, creamy blend of alpha-hydroxy acids that effectively moisturizes cuticles and helps prevent hangnails. I really like using this because I tend to get a lot of cuticle growth in between polish changes. This product really helps to exfoliate that dead skin and also makes it easier for bigger chunks of cuticle to be cut off without hurting myself. I’ll definitely continue to keep this in my nail kit.

CND nail care review

CND Solar Oil is their award-winning cuticle oil is infused with jojoba oil and vitamin E. This is my all-time favourite cuticle oil. It smells AMAZING, like almonds, and is just so good at keeping my nails, cuticles, and fingers moisturized. I have several bottles of this lying around, including one at my desk in the office, by my bedside, on my desk at home, and in my purse. I’m really bad at remembering to use this, but when I do, my nails feel great and also smells good. You can apply this over your favourite nail polish as a daily treatment, or as an in between nail polish changes.

CND Rescue RX is a highly effective new treatment from CND that repairs damaged nails with the power of Keratin protein and moisturizing jojoba oil. This is a very lightweight oil that’s meant to treat your nail beds with keratin protein. I use this on days when I’m not wearing any polish, and it’s very effective at keeping my nail beds feeling hydrated. Despite this though, I don’t really know if it’s making that big of a difference in terms of nail health, and I would reach for my Solar Oil more often than the Rescue RX, just because the Solar Oil is also hydrating on my cuticles. Rescue RX is a lot lighter and less greasy, so it’s better for when you’re on the go and need something that doesn’t leave grease marks.

CND products are available now at Chatters salons, Trade Secrets stores and select salons that use CND products.

Review + swatches – Dior Skyline Fall 2016 makeup collection – Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer, Diorblush Light & Contour Sculpting Stick Duo, and Dior Addict Lipsticks

Review of Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer for fall 2016

It’s my birthday today and I am writing about one of my favourite brands ever! I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with these brands, and I wanted to take this chance to say thank you to all of my amazing readers, as well as the generous and gracious PR and company representatives who believe in me and are willing to work with me. It sounds so corny but it’s truly coming from the bottom of my heart.

Onto the product reviews… today I am sharing with you the cheek and lip products from the Dior Skyline Fall 2016 makeup collection.

Review of Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer for fall 2016

The limited edition highlighter, and one of the star products of the collection, is the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer (C$68, limited edition). This highlighter is one of my favourites from this entire collection – the highlight is a gorgeous gold-toned highlighter that looks so glamourous on all skin tones, in particular those with light to medium, yellow or olive toned skin. As with all Dior powders, this highlighter is very finely milled, and just feels beautiful on the skin. It’s quite pigmented as well, and not glittery or chunky. You just get a very nice highlighted effect.

Review of Dior Light and Contour Sculpting Stick for fall 2016

The newest cheek product is the Diorblush Light & Contour Sculpting Stick Duo (C$48, limited edition). These are a dual-ended stick that contains a contour colour on one side, and a highlighter on the other side, both in cream formulas. The two shades I have are 001 Soft Contour and 003 Intense Contour. The contour side is extremely creamy so you can blend it out for a very natural look (be careful not to blend them out too much though because you lose the contour effect).

Personally, I find it a bit too creamy with too much slip – while they do blend out more naturally, it’s easy to overblend and then you end up having to layer more product, and it may end up looking muddy. The contour shades are also a bit too orange for my liking, I would personally prefer contour shades that are more neutral-toned. The highlight side is the perfect consistency. It is slightly drier, so that you can concentrate your highlight on just the high points of your face.

Review of Dior Light and Contour Sculpting Stick for fall 2016
Review of Dior Light and Contour Sculpting Stick for fall 2016

I like that they are named Soft Contour and Intense Contour, because these do work well on most skin tones depending on the type of look you’re going for. My skin tone is light, and I can safely wear both of these depending on if I want a more natural look, or a more weekend-evening-club-night sculpted look. I am a bit disappointed that these are limited edition though, because they seem to be products that would fill a need in the current Dior makeup collection.

Review of Dior Addict Lipsticks for fall 2016

For lips, there are six new Dior Addict Lipsticks (C$43, all permanent except for 927 Sophisticated). The four shades I have are:

  • 316 Incognito is a cream cool-toned mauve brown
  • 927 Sophisticated is a warm taupe
  • 951 Too Much is a beautiful cool-toned coral red
  • 987 Black Tie is a beautiful raspberry

I love the formula of Dior Addict Lipsticks. I’ve been using them for years, and this is the first time I have one in the new packaging with the magnetic closure. They are creamy, gel-like, lightweight, lightly hydrating, and just wear beautifully both casually and to formal occasions. I definitely recommend them as a great starter luxury lipstick, or if you’re a mum or aunt buying for your daughter or niece.

Review of Dior Addict Lipsticks for fall 2016

These colours in particular looked really intimidating in the tube, but actually translate to very wearable gel lipsticks. I was most worried about how Black Tie would look on the lips, and it surprised me with how beautifully fall it looked; it’s my favourite of the four! You can easily wear these layered, or sheered out. They’re probably one of the most versatile lipsticks out on the market.

Overall I’m pretty in love with this collection. My favourites are the Dior 5 Couleur Palettes, the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer (omfg so beautiful), and the Dior Addict Lipsticks.

My picks: Dior 5 Couleur Palette in 806 Capital of Light, Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer, Dior Addict Lipsticks
Skips: Diorshow Pro Liner, Dior Brow Chalk
Worthy to look at: Diorblush Light & Contour

Dior Skyline fall 2016 makeup collection is available as at August 1, 2016 at Dior counters, as well as at thebay.com, sephora.ca, holtrenfrew.com, and beautyboutique.ca

The swatches

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer

Swatches of Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer for fall 2016
Swatches of Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer for fall 2016

Diorblush Light & Contour Stick in 001 Soft Contour and 003 Intense Contour

Swatches of Dior Light and Contour Sculpting Stick for fall 20169

Dior Addict Lipsticks in Incognito, Sophisticated, Too Much, and Black Tie

Swatches of Dior Addict Lipsticks for fall 2016

Review + swatches – Dior Skyline Fall 2016 makeup collection – Eyeshadow Palettes, Diorshow Brow Chalk, Diorshow Pro Liner, and Dior Vernis Autumn Lacquer

Dior skyline fall 2016 makeup review

Fall products are some of my favourites because of the maroons, plums, oxbloods, and gold-tone colours. I find that these colours are generally very flattering on everyone, and also convey a sense of elegance and luxury. Dior’s fall 2016 makeup collection, inspired by Parisian architecture, is aptly named Skyline. The entire collection is classy, modern, and incredibly gorgeous. I have several pieces from the collection to show you, as the collection is quite large, so we will start with the eye and nail products today.

Dior eyeshadow palettes in Parisian Sky and Capital of Light for fall 2016 Skyline collection

First up is the Architecture Palettes (C$73, limited edition), which are part of the Dior 5 Couleur Palette range. This is available in two variations:

  • 506 Parisian Sky is the more cool-toned of the two, it contains three very beautiful neutral browns, as well as a silver highlight, and a cool-toned blue pop of colour
  • 806 Capital of Light is the warmer of the two palette, it contains the gorgeous plum, olive, and a rusty pink

Dior eyeshadow palette in Parisian Sky review for fall 2016 skyline collection
Dior eyeshadow palette in Capital of Light review for fall 2016 skyline collection

I sometimes find variations in quality in Dior eyeshadows, some of them are smooth and silky, with lots of pigmentation, others are more chalky. These palettes remind me more of the eyeshadow palettes from last holiday (amazing!), than the recent palettes from summer (not so great). Both palettes from fall were gorgeously soft, pigmented, and applied very smoothly on the eyes with good colour payoff. I like that there is a mix of pop colours and also more subtle colours so that these palettes become versatile for all-day use. I would consider both of these neutral palettes, and they would work well on a variety of skin tones.

Dior Brow Chalk review

Next we have the new Diorshow Brow Chalk (C$40, limited edition). If the eyes are the window into the soul, then the brows are the frames. Dior has been very well known for their extensive brow collection, and this new Brow Chalk is a nice addition. The thicker tip allows you to create a fuller, more defined brow, and you’re able to quickly create structure for your face.

Dior Brow Chalk review

Brow Chalk is available in three shades, 001 Blonde, 002 Soft Brown, and 003 Dark Brown. I would normally go for the 002 Soft Brown, but I’ve been super into dark brows lately (instead of a natural brow), so 003 Dark Brown, a beautiful warm chocolatey brown, is right up my alley. Despite the promising design, I found the texture way too soft, which means it was really hard to control how much brow product was applied. The soft texture, combined with the thick tip, means it was also hard to control where I applied the product, and then I’d end up having to do a lot of cleanup.

That being said, the latest trend in Asia right now is very thick, straight brows, which people believe will make you look younger. The Brow Chalk is perfect for recreating that look because of the thicker applicator.

Diorshow Pro Liner in Pro Grege review

The Diorshow Pro Liner (C$36) range is being expanded with two new shades for fall, 062 Pro Grege (permanent) and 092 Pro Plum (limited edition). The shade I have is 062 Pro Grege and it is a beautiful, cool-toned grey-bronze shade. Sadly I’m not a huge fan of this formula because it does smudge on me. I have relatively small lid space so the thicker applicator doesn’t work too well on me. I find the texture too hard and I really have to press it in on my eyelids to get the colour to show up. Lastly, I also find that the formula is quite brittle – don’t wind it up too much otherwise your tip will break off… mine did!

Dior Vernis fall 2016 skyline review

Lastly, there are two new shades to the Dior Vernis line, 112 Minimal and 848 Skyline (C$33, limited edition). 112 Minimal is a nude creme light pink, and 848 Skyline is a plummy brown. The main reason why I love Dior nail polish is that they are masters at creating cream polishes with shimmer so subtle that it make the cream look like it has depth to it. It’s hard to explain, and you’ll have to see it in person yourself, but it’s just the most gorgeous microshimmer that’s embedded in the creams. Dior polishes generally last a week for me, with top coat.

In my next post, I’ll be reviewing the cheek and lip products, including the new sculpting contour sticks!

Dior Skyline fall 2016 makeup collection is available as at August 1, 2016 at Dior counters, as well as at thebay.com, sephora.ca, holtrenfrew.com, and beautyboutique.ca

The swatches

Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in Parisian Sky

Swatches of Dior Eyeshadow palette in Parisian Sky for fall 2016 makeup

Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in Capital of Lights

Swatches of Dior Eyeshadow palette in Capital of Light for fall 2016 makeup

Diorshow Brow Chalk in Dark Brown, and Diorshow Pro Liner in Pro Grege

Swatches of Dior Brow Chalk and Diorshow Liner in Pro Grege for fall 2016 makeup

Sultry summer date night makeup with Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look

Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look kit review and swatches

Charlotte Tilbury makeup looks in a bag are one of the most versatile and convenient makeup kits you will find on the market. Today I have the Dolce Vita Look to share with you, which is inspired by glamourous red carpet stars such as Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, and Monica Bellucci. The look focuses on sultry bronzes paired with a seductive, juicy pink lip. The Dolce Vita look is also Charlotte’s most popular look, being transformative on every skin colouring. Previously, I’ve also showed you my interpretation of the Bombshell Look, as well as reviewed the Sophisticate Look and the Vintage Vamp palette.

Spoiler alert, I wasn’t expecting to love the Dolce Vita look so much, especially the palette, but it has quickly grown to overtake the Vintage Vamp palette as my all time favourite Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palette.

Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look kit review and swatches

The Dolce Vita Look kit includes:

  • LUXURY PALETTE – The Dolce Vita (Eyeshadow)
  • THE FELINE FLICK – Panther (Eye Liner)
  • FULL FAT LASHES – Glossy Black (Mascara)
  • CHEEK TO CHIC – Ecstasy (Blusher)
  • LIP CHEAT – Pillowtalk (Lip Liner)
  • K.I.S.S.I.N.G – Penelope Pink (Lipstick)
  • LIP LUSTRE – Seduction (Lip Gloss)

Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita palette review and swatches

The Dolce Vita palette contains a shimmery champagne prime shade, a shimmer warm copper enhance shade, a shimmery neutral dark taupe smoke shade, and a warm gold glitter pop shade. I’m a fan of Charlotte Tilbury eye palettes and I wish she would create more in other shade variations. The texture and pigmentation are just beautiful, and the quality is very consistent across all palettes, including this one.

My reaction when I dipped my finger in each of the pans was literally “ahhh.” It’s just so soft, smooth and pigmented. The champagne shade makes a gorgeous all over base and highlighter for the inner corner and brow bone. The warm copper is slightly warmer than what I’m usually used to, almost like a rusty orange red, but it’s simply beautiful and makes a very nice core shade. My favourite is the dark taupe shade, which is a very nice metallic that’s ultra smooth and works very well on its own as well. The warm gold glitter elevates the entire eye look, making it look luxurious and glam. I can easily see why this palette is a fan favourite, as well as one of Charlotte’s own favourite looks.

The reason why this has quickly become my absolute favourite Charlotte Tilbury palette is that the colours are so wearable for both a day and night look; it doesn’t require a primer to show up with full pigmentation; and it stays put ALL DAY without fading, creasing, or smudging, which is completely unheard of for an eyeshadow palette on me without primer. I’ve worn this for 10+ hours straight with no touch-ups and no fading, and the eyeshadow looked as good as when I just applied it.

I’m not going to lie, the colours are pretty dupeable, but the texture, finish, and overall wear time are definitely not, so you absolutely need to add this to your eyeshadow collection!

Charlotte Tilbury blush in Ecstasy review and swatches

The Cheek to Chic blusher in Ecstasy is a shimmery coral peachy pink blusher. Charlotte Tilbury blushers are some of my absolute favourites – they are ultra finely milled, very pigmented, and just create a beautiful warm glow on the skin. I also have the blush in Sex on Fire (reviewed here) and I just can’t stop wearing them. Ecstasy is the perfect summer blush because it just drapes my skin in warmth. While the shade is relatively dupable, the high quality in the powder texture makes up for that. It is super pigmented though, so just be careful when you dip your brush in this.

Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look kit review and swatches

Charlotte’s K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick is also one of my favourite formulas. I own five of her lipsticks in this formula, So Marilyn, Bitch Perfect, Hepburn Honey, Kiss Chase, and now Penelope Pink. The formula is ultra creamy, very pigmented, hydrating, and generally very comfortable to wear. Penelope Pink is a pink creamy nude that’s a few shades lighter than Bitch Perfect (my favourite of the bunch). I think this colour is a bit too nude for me, so I don’t see it getting too much wear, especially because I am going through a bright lip phase right now, but it’s a great nude for those with very fair or light skin. Lip Lustre lip gloss in Seduction is a pale milky nude, which works very well with Penelope Pink.

Full Fat Lashes and The Feline Flick liner were previously reviewed, so please take a look at my review on the Bombshell look for more info (spoiler alert: not a fan of these two products). I’ve also previously reviewed the Lip Cheat lip liner in Pillowtalk in my review on the Sophisticate look, which is one of my favourite products in these kits.

Of the products in this kit, my must have is definitely the Dolce Vita eyeshadow palette, followed by the Cheek to Chic blush in Ecstasy.

You can purchase Charlotte Tilbury products online at CharlotteTilbury.com, HoltRenfrew.com, as well as Holt Renfrew in stores.

The swatches

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in the Dolce Vita (these are one swipe wonders!!!)

Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita palette review and swatches

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic blusher in Ecstasy

Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Ecstasy review and swatches

Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in Penelope Pink and Lip Lustre in Seduction

Charlotte Tilbury Penelope Pink review and swatches

The look

Wearing the Dolce Vita palette on eyes, Cheek to Chic blusher in Ecstasy on cheeks, KISSING Lipstick in Penelope Pink on lips, as well as Filmstar Bronze and Glow to contour and highlight.
Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look
Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look
Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look
Charlotte Tilbury the Dolce Vita Look

Summer travels – top packing tips for short trips!

Ila Spa travel set review

I’m off to San Diego Comic Con in a week and I am incredibly stoked for it. We’ll also be spending a day at Harry Potter World in Hollywood, which recently opened last April. The trip is about a week long, and I prefer to pack super light when travelling because I really dislike waiting for my luggage at the carousel, so here I have some tips for how to pack light when travelling. It’s all about planning in advance, preparing for contingencies, and making sure that you’re properly hydrated and comfortable!

1. Design your outfits in advance

Like most girls, my closet at home is just bursting with clothing options. When I’m travelling though, I really like to pack light so I try to design my outfits in advance and just pack the exact outfits I plan on wearing.

Some additional tips include packing shoes that are comfortable but go with most of your outfits. For summer trips, I usually pack a pair of sandals and a pair of walking sneakers, both in neutral colours so that they go with most outfits. I recently purchased a pair of Adidas Pure Boost X runners that are super comfortable for walking. Not only were they designed especially to fit the curvature of a woman’s feet, they are also super light, which makes them great for packing on the go.

2. Bring travel sized skincare

I use a TON of skincare products at home, but when I’m travelling I prefer to keep it practical by simplifying my skincare routine by reducing the number of steps in my routine, as well as packing travel-sized skincare. I love to hoard travel-sized skincare for this purpose because it just saves so much space in my luggage.

This travel set by Ila Spa has everything I need to keep my skin looking and feeling great while travelling. It contains a face oil for night time, a face cream for daytime, cleansing milk, hydrating toning essence, and a mask for that desperate after-flight skin perk-up. The only things I would pack in addition to this kit are makeup remover and sunscreen. Ila Spa is a newly discovered skincare brand that I am already in love with. The Face Mask for Revitalizing Skin is one of the best face masks I’ve ever used – it’s a clay based face mask but also contains essential oils and leaves my skin feeling so soft, supple, detoxed yet incredibly hydrated.

3. Bring a fold-up bag

I am very guilty of buying too much while on vacation, so I almost always bring my Longchamp large Le Pliage bag with me so that I can pack my overflow products in it. And yes, I always end up using it – when I came back from Hawaii, I used my Longchamp to carry a bag of chips I wanted to bring back. Because the Longchamp is so lightweight, it takes up no room in my suitcase and I can also use it when I’m out as a beach bag, or to use as a shopping bag on the trip.

4. Pack an insulated water bottle

For trips like San Diego Comic Con where I’ll be spending a lot of time walking around, waiting in lines, and generally being busy doing something, it’s important to stay hydrated. I recently acquired a S’well water bottle that has absolutely changed my life. I’m constantly dehydrated, but I am also pretty terrible at remembering to drink water (or am too lazy to go refill my water bottle), so this huge 25oz/750mL water bottle is perfect for me.

Not only is the size great for travelling because you don’t need to refill so often, the best thing about this S’well bottle is that it keeps your cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and your hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. In the hot summer heat of Southern California in July, this is a much-needed attribute.

What are some tips you have for light travel packing?

Transform your skin in just 10 hours with Miracle 10 (part 1)

Miracle 10 Travel Kit review

Miracle 10 is a cosmeceutical skincare brand created by The Plastic Surgery Clinic, a non-surgical skincare clinic. The products utilize a variety of active ingredients such as Rapeseed Oil, Vitamins C and E, to Retinol, and EMC10. The brand’s products aim to reduce and slow the signs of aging, minimize pore size, heal the look of acne, and greatly improve skin elasticity, texture, and tone. Miracle 10 claims to produce noticeable results in skin smoothness and clarity in just 10 hours, improved discolouration and dullness in 10 days, and diminished pore size and appearance of wrinkles in 10 weeks.

Earlier this year, I met with two brand representatives over coffee to learn about Miracle 10, and I was also prescribed a personalized skincare routine based on my skin’s needs.

Miracle 10 Travel Kit review

My skin was defined as being dehydrated, with a focus on reducing hyperpigmentation and improving skin texture. I was prescibed with Travel Kit No. 3 (C$135) for Delicate/Dry skin to replace my regular skincare routine. The Travel Kit contains:

Cleanser I is a pH-balanced gel cleanser that contains Aloe Vera, a moisturizing ingredient safe for delicate skin; antioxidants, to protect cells against free radicals; and grapefruit extract, which contains refreshing and energizing properties. It foams up lightly and cleanses very well without stripping. My skin feels seriously smooth after using this, and it’s gentle enough to use both in the morning and evening. This is probably one of my favourites out of all the Miracle 10 products I’ve tried.

Toner is a pH balanced toner that contains witch hazel extract, known for its anti-irritant, astringent, skin clearing, softening, and soothing properties; aloe vera, a moisturizing ingredient; and allantoin, known for its therapeutic properties. This is one of my least favourite Miracle 10 products. The witch hazel is a bit too much for my skin, and I really dislike the cooling sensation. It tones really well, removes the last bits of makeup and grime off my face, but I just don’t like how it leaves my skin feeling.

AHA Cream is a cream exfoliator that contains lactic acid 6% – a gentle exfoliant derived from sugar; vitamin E, an antioxidant with hydrating properties; and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. I was prescribed this to use at night as a gentle cream exfoliator, which will help with lightening hyperpigmentation. I love this cream; I use this every other day in place of my night time serum, and I wake up with super clear, smooth, bright skin thanks to the lactic acid. I make sure I wear at least SPF30 every day because the chemical exfoliation will make my skin more sensitive to the sun, and I don’t want even more freckles to pop up while I use something to smooth out my skin tone.

Miracle 10 Travel Kit review

Light Serum was prescribed as my daytime moisturizer, which contains vitamins A, B, D3, E and K, which stimulate cell growth, increases enzyme activity and normalize cell division to improve the appearance of UV damaged skin; oligopeptides whch triggers collagen renewal; and hyaluronic acid. On its own, this serum is a bit too light and didn’t prevent my skin from looking flakey throughout the day, however I used this under a lightweight moisturizer and it was perfect – my skin felt plump and my foundation went on super smoothly.

Night Cream is a lightweight nighttime cream which contains hyaluronic acid; silicone to lock in hydration overnight; and allantoin. This cream is super lightweight, but definitely packs a punch. The gel-cream texture is perfect for use during the summer when your skin needs the extra hydration but you don’t want to wake up with greasy skin.

In general this is a greater starter kit, or travel set, to try out Miracle 10 products. It claims improvements in 10 hours, 10 days, 10 weeks, and I do have to agree, but mostly because of the products with certain active ingredients, such as the AHA Cream and the Light Serum. I could skip the other products, such as cleanser toner, and night cream, and just use my usual products, but I highly recommend checking out the AHA Cream and Light Serum. You can purchase Miracle 10 products online and at select The Ten Spot locations across Canada.

I will have a part 2 of my Miracle 10 products review coming up soon, featuring additional products with awesome active ingredients. Watch for it!

Ingredients:

Miracle 10 Travel Kit review

Miracle 10 Travel Kit review

Creamy pencil eyeliners for non-pencil liner users – Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils

Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils review and swatches

I’m a liquid or gel liner girl, but when I heard that Make Up For Ever launched their AQUA XL Eye Pencils (C$25), I was super excited to get my hands on them. I was sent a few shades from Make Up For Ever to try:

  • M-10 – matte true black
  • D-12 – soft black with silver shimmers
  • I-24 – metallic turquoise
  • M-60 – matte warm brown
  • D-62 – light brown with silver shimmers

Like I mentioned before, I usually use liquid liner, or gel when I want to create a more dramatic look. The reason being is that I like the pliability, creaminess and wear time of liquid or gel liner. iu have oily lids so generally pencil liners fade or smudge on me very quickly.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that these Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils are ultra creamy without sacrificing any pigmentation or wear time. I’ve been wearing the two black shades the most and they glide on easily on my lash line without tugging, to create very deep black lines. I generally find with most liners that if I use my liner before my lash curler, most of the product would transfer onto my curler rather than stay on my eyelids. With the AQUA XL Pencils, this was not the case – they managed to stay put during curling, and also managing to stay put entirely for the day. I’ve been wearing these for more than 10 hours on certain days with just minor smudging on the eyelid, and no transfer onto the lower lash line.

I don’t usually wear coloured liners much so I haven’t experimented much with the other shades, but the black liners are definitely solid and something everyone should look into. M-10 is more of a true matte black with D-12 is a softer black, so you have the option of whether you want a harsher or softer line. For a soft daytime look, M-60 is also a great option.

I’m generally very impressed by these liners. If you do makeup at all, then you need to check out these liners in store!

Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils review and swatches

Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils are available now at Sephora in stores and online.

The swatches

The swatches below are one swipe wonders! From left to right: M-10, D-12, I-24, M-60, D-62

Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils review and swatches

The look

I’m wearing D-12 with the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita look

Make Up For Ever AQUA XL Eye Pencils review and swatches

Review – Clarins Boosters – Detox, Energy, and Repair

Clarins Detox, Energy, and Repair Booster review

For fall 2016, Clarins introduces a new category of skincare products – booster supplements to add to your existing skincare routine. I first read about these on British Beauty Blogger a few months and I was so excited I immediately e-mailed Clarins PR about it, but was told that they don’t come out until September. Luckily a few months later, I got a sneak preview of this collection at the Clarins fall press event!

Clarins Boosters are highly concentrated serums that you add to your existing moisturizer, whether it is a cream, gel, oil, Clarins, or non-Clarins product. Only 3-5 drops are required per “dose” to get the additional boosted benefits. These Boosters are meant to be used as a once-in-a-while treatment, not for regular prolonged use. There are three different Boosters offered by Clarins – Energy, Detox, and Repair – and you pick one based on your skin’s needs at the time.

Clarins Detox, Energy, and Repair Booster review

The Clarins Booster Detox (C$40) is a detoxifying concentrate that contains green coffee extract, a plant from Africa that is high in caffeine. Added to your moisturizer, this product will help to plump the skin, revive radiance, and detoxify the skin. This is great for those who live in high pollution areas, or those who indulge in lots of smoking, drinking, and partying.

The Clarins Booster Energy (C$40) contains a highly concentrated formula that is enriched with ginseng extract, a Chinese medicinal plant that is popular for its stimulating properties. Energy will tone and re-energize your skin, minimize signs of fatigue, and also boost radiance. Energy is great for those who are running low on sleep and high on stress, and for jet lagged skin.

The Clarins Booster Repair (C$40) is a reparative product that contains mimosa tenuiflora extract, a Mayan bark extract that is used for antibacterial, soothing, and regenerating properties. This product helpos to reduce feelings of discomfort, improve the skin’s strength, and minimize the appearance of redness. Repair is great if your skin is damaged, such as if you have a sunburn, or live in or travel to extreme climates.

All three formulas have a very lightweight texture that melts instantly into whatever cream or oil you are using. They are not ultra hydrating, as that is not their main purpose, so you should still use a hydrating serum or rich cream if you need it.

I am the first to say that I need all of the three in my skincare rotation. I work a pretty high stress corporate job, so when it happens to be an ultra busy time of year for me, I tend to not get enough sleep. The Clarins Booster Energy is the first thing I turn to in order to get myself to look less drained. In the summer, my skin tends to burn very easily under the sun so with the Booster Repair, I can slowly heal my skin back to normal. Lastly, I am travelling to Southern California (San Diego, L.A.) in July, and then South East Asia in the fall, so I will make sure to equip my travel bag with the Booster Detox.

Priced at C$40 for 15mL, they are not exactly cheap but not super pricey either. A normal serum is 30mL and C$80 seems pretty average for a luxury brand serum. Also keep in mind you shouldn’t be using this every day, just only when you need an extra boost.

Clarins Boosters are available August 1, 2016 in store at Beauty Court, and then on September 1, 2016 at the Bay, select Shoppers Drug Mart, and online at Clarins.com

Ingredients: Detox, Energy, Repair

Clarins Detox, Energy, and Repair Booster review