NEW IN BEAUTY | Charlotte Tilbury Exagger-Eyes, L’Occitane en Provence Almond Delightful Body Balm, and Givenchy Le Rouge Liquid

Review of Charlotte Tilbury Exagger-Eyes, L'Occitane en Provence Almond Delightful Body Balm, and Givenchy Le Rouge Liquid

A few beauty products launched earlier this spring that I wanted to share with you guys! First up is the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eye Palette in Exagger-Eyes (C$66). When I heard that Charlotte Tilbury was bringing out additional Luxury Eye Palettes, I was absolutely elated. Charlotte Tilbury eye palettes are one of my absolute favourites; I take them with me everywhere I travel because I know I can rely on them for a beautiful, long lasting eye look. She released two new variations – Transform-Eyes and Exagger-Eyes – both aimed at creating bigger, brighter eyes. I received Exagger-Eyes from PR and I can’t be more happy about it.

Of the two new palettes, Exagger-Eyes is the more neutral one (Transform-Eyes is very warm-toned). It is a fantastic palette to create a subtle, natural eye look that still has a bit of pop. If you love neutral palettes, you gotta pick this one up. Charlotte’s palettes are also completely foolproof and can be used by anyone with any makeup skill, so even if you are a complete makeup newbie, you can create a beautiful look from this one. Including this one, I own five of Charlotte’s eyeshadows so you know that they are definitely good enough to collect.

Next is a luxurious body care product from L’Occitane’s almond range, one of my favourite body care collections. I LOVE the Almond Shower Oil and it is a constant staple in my shower, both at home and on travels. The new Almond Delightful Body Balm (C$44) is such a luxurious treat. It is incredibly moisturizing and great for those with dry, scaly skin. I use this all over my legs before bed and I wake up with super soft, silky skin. It is a bit heavy for the summer, so I only use a little bit, and it can also be used to boost the moisture properties of your other Almond body products. I can see myself really indulging in this during the colder months. For now though, I’m using it sparingly both because it is so effective and because it is such a treat for the skin.

Lastly, we have something that I’ve been anticipating for a while – the Givenchy Le Rouge Liquide (C$44)! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Givenchy lipsticks. I own several of the Le Rouge lipsticks as they are one of my absolute favourites. They released a liquid version of this amazing formula that is housed in the same gorgeous leather case. At the media launch in Vancouver, received a PR sample of this lipstick in #412 Grenat Alpaga, which is a deep garnet red. I later went back a few days later and purchased the shade #101 Nude Cachemire, which is a gorgeous my-lips-but-better nude pink.

The formula of this is great – good coverage but still lightweight, and dries down to a powdery matte. It’s not drying at all, compared to other liquid lipsticks, and feels very comfortable on the lips. For a liquid lipstick, the applicator is great because the product twists up, but you can actually wipe clean the applicator so that it doesn’t get gunky. Overall recommend!

You can purchase Charlotte Tilbury and Givenchy at Holt Renfrew. L’Occitane products are available at their retail stores or online.

Product received as PR samples for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

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FOUNDATION REVIEWS | Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence, Diorskin Forever Undercover and Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude

Review of Shu Uemura Lightbulb Essence Foundation, Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation and Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude Foundation

Sorry for being missing for the last month! I misplaced my SD card and then I had to order another one, so I wasn’t able to take photos or blog, not to mention I lost all the photos that I had taken before… Anyways, I wanted to share some new foundation reviews with you today! Foundations are a staple to my daily face routine. I don’t always wear a full face of makeup, but I will usually wear a full face of foundation + powder to work to help even out my skintone. That also means they are one of my favourite things to test out. When I try a new foundation, I usually look for three main things:

  • Longevity of wear – I hate touching up during the day (and pretty much never do unless I’m going somewhere nice at night), so I need something that will wear all day without disappearing
  • Ease of application – I am almost always late in the morning, so I need something that blends easily with fingers
  • Good on dry skin – I have dry skin, so I look for foundations that don’t sink into my lines or pores

I’m not too picky on coverage, since I have various foundations that I use that vary in coverage, but the three things above are the most important to me. Today I’m reviewing three relatively new foundations that came out in the last 6 months or so.

Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence Foundation is a serum foundation, kind of like Diorskin Air Nude or Armano Maestro. This is my favourite type of foundation to use when I am having a lazy good skin day and just need a tiny bit of coverage to even out my skin. You can apply this with a sponge, brush, or fingers, and it is said to provide “deep hydration and 24-hour rich moisture with natural coverage that cocoons the skin with softness.”

I wear the shade 564 which is the perfect match for my NC25 light neutral skintone.

The biggest downside to this product is that I absolutely hate the packaging. It comes in a dropper bottle, which is great, but the dropper isn’t like the rubber squeeze type that has a bit more “suction strength.” Shu basically designed a sleek dropper that comes out of the top of the bottle when you twist the bottle a little bit, and then you press it down to get the foundation in the dropper, then you can drop it on your hand / brush / sponge / face. In theory, that should work, expect the dropper has zero suction strength so I pretty much end up dripping foundation all over the bottle itself and then on my bathroom counter. I am super OCD about foundation on the outside of the bottle so that bothers me to no end, and I have to clean it up right away. I would honestly recommend this foundation if not for the terrible bottle design. Shu, please don’t try to be innovative in the packaging and just use the traditional dropper like everyone else!

You can purchase Shu Uemura at The Bay or on the Shu website.

Diorskin Forever Undercover is a new-ish product in the Diorskin Forever range, which promises ultra long wear and full coverage. There are 24 shades in total, and the shades pretty much match the normal Dior shade in other foundation ranges (I wear 020 in all Dior foundations).

This foundation is one of the most long-wearing foundations in my collection. It blends super easily just with fingers, and wears well over most skincare products, preferring those that don’t dry down completely. I use only a little bit on a day-to-day basis, and it gives me medium coverage, blending over my redness and pores to leave a relatively flawless finish. It does dry down almost completely matte, so no powdering is required. I see this as being a better foundation for normal, combination, or oily skin types. If I’m having a particularly dry skin day, this tends to not wear as well because it will cling to some dry spots on my face. Otherwise if I’m looking for a long-wearing, medium to full coverage foundation, this will pretty much always deliver.

You can purchase Dior at The Bay and Holt Renfrew.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude (C$61) is an extension of the Guerlain Lingerie de Peau foundation. The original Lingerie de Peau is a light-to-medium coverage foundation that gives a dewy, radiant finish. The Aqua Nude version is even lighter, claiming to hydrate and plump the skin. I would describe this almost like a milky-gel foundation. It is super lightweight, and provides barely-there coverage.

The original Lingerie de Peau clinged to my dry spots, but the Aqua Nude definitely is much better for those with dry skin. It blends into the skin very well, and doesn’t settle into lines. I wear the shade 02N Natural, which is my usual Guerlain foundation shade – a light neutral beige. I love this for perfect skin days, as it doesn’t mask my natural skin. It just barely covers the redness in my cheeks, and it lightly smooths out skin texture. Finish is a dewy-satin, and because it is a hydrating foundation, there is very poor oil control so powdering is a must.

There are a few things I love about this foundation – how easy it is to blend into the skin, and the bottle. Most Guerlain foundations come in a glass bottle which is tedious to bring around with you. This foundation, despite it being 30mL like most foundations, is in a plastic bottle that’s just very easy to transport. This is great for travelling when you want a little bit of coverage but not so much, or to bring with you to touch up after the gym.

That being said, it’s just an okay foundation. I would wear it, but it doesn’t wow me. For $61, I’d say skip.

You can purchase Guerlain at Beauty Court, Holt Renfrew, and the Bay.

Products featured in this post were provided by PR; all opinions are my own.

Essence lotions, what are they, how to fit them in your routine, and some recent discoveries from Tatcha, La Prairie, Sekkisei and Omorovicza

Essence lotions have been in Asian skincare for as long as I can remember. Back when Western skincare brands were heavy on the alcohol-rich astringent-type toners, Asian skincare was all about that enriched essence water. Long story short, an essence lotion (or essence water) is basically a supercharged, nutrient-dense watery serum. There are a ton of them on the market, but the most famous one is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. In recent years, a lot of Western brands have also started to release more of these essence lotions, or global brands have started to bring their previously Asia-exclusive essence lotion products to Western countries. What makes these different from an acidic toner (such as Pixi Glow Tonic), is that in general essence lotions tend to be more on the hydrating side, and you also are encouraged to apply this by patting it into your skin with your palms rather than using a cotton pad.

In terms of how to fit this into your usual skincare routine, generally you want to use the lightest/most watery products first in your routine. I use my essence lotion after cleansing and after my exfoliating toner (such as the Pixi Glow Tonic), or to replace my exfoliating toner. Then I apply my serums and moisturizers, and sunscreen during the day. You can use essence lotions during the day and at night, and I love it for both.

Tatcha The Essence (C$114 for 150mL) was probably one of the launches by the brand that I was the most excited about. It contains 98.7% of Tatcha’s proprietary blend of Japanese superfluid made with green tea, rice, and algae. It is marketed as a skin plumping skin softener, which is a very Japanese skincare concept. I’m not sure if it was the hype or how much I was looking forward to this, I was actually just okay about it. It is completely scent-free, which I appreciate in the morning when my senses are just waking up, and it does do a pretty decent job at hydrating and softening my skin, in preparation of the next steps. That being said, for something to be called an essence, I expected a bit more than just basic hydration. I didn’t notice that it did anything to help smooth fine lines or firm my skin over time. It’s decent, but didn’t blow my socks off.

The La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion ($330 for 150mL) contains primarily Caviar Water, which is active water infused with Caviar extracts. This is the thickest of all the essences here,it felt more like a light serum than a water essence. It used this on a trip to Toronto on a cold spell and I was very happy to say that it kept my skin feeling very hydrated, plump, and smooth. My skin was also smoother and more radiant after a few weeks of using this. That being said, it has a super strong scent that is very fragrant. I generally love La Prairie’s scents but this one seemed too potent and was a bit bothersome after a while. It does work, so if you are able to stomach the strong scent (and the price), then I would recommend this.

Newly released last year from Omorovicza is the Omoressence (C$150 for 100mL), a product developed in collaboration with a Hungarian Nobel-prize winning lab. This product contains primarily Hungarian Thermal Water, which will help to balance, hydrate, and prepare the skin for other products. It also helps to guard against environmental stress throughout the day. I love the way it smells, very fresh and energizing. I also love that it’s very nicely hydrating and helps to smooth my lines. It leaves my skin feeling moist, which is what I want after using an essence, and then other products cling onto it for better absorption. I’m a little bit disappointed that the bottle is a bit smaller than I was hoping – it comes in only a 100mL size, compared to other essence lotions which tend to come in bigger sizes.

An oldie but serious goodie is the Kose Sekkisei Lotion (C$57 for 200mL) and the Sekkisei Enriched Lotion (C$77 for 200mL). These were one of the first essence lotions that I was ever exposed to, so I’m very happy that they are now available in Canada through Shoppers Drug Mart. These lotions were designed by the Japanese to create luminous, smooth skin. I use this as a toner at night because its not the most hydrating of essences. It contains quite a bit of alcohol, which may not be great for sensitive skin folks. It does a fantastic job at keeping my skin clear, even-toned, and also improving brightness.

I’ve also previously reviewed the Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence, Pixi Glow Tonic, as well as some essences in spray form.

Do you use essence lotions in your routine? Which ones are your favourites?

Product received as PR samples for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Treat yourself with a Garnier SkinActive Sheet Mask… without breaking the bank!

Sheet masks are the fastest and easiest way to treat yourself to a salon-quality facial without leaving the comforts of your own home… and without breaking the bank! Today I want to share with you three sheet masks from Garnier SkinActive that I’ve recently been introduced to. At $3.99 a piece, these sheet masks are incredibly affordable, and still deliver fantastic results.

The first one is the Moisture Bomb Glow-Boosting Super Hydrating Mask with Sakura Flower Extract and Hyaluronic Acid. This incredibly juicy sheet mask is chock full of serum, so much so that after 15 minutes, the mask is still dripping wet. It smells very fresh, with a light floral scent that isn’t overpowering. The mask textile itself is nothing special, like a cotton-fibre weave, but the fit is perfect for my face. It sticks to the contours of my face very well, and I didn’t once have to adjust it. I can do stuff around the house without worrying about it falling off. The serum is very lightweight and super skin-plumping. After one 15 minute session, I felt like my skin indeed felt a bit brighter, and significantly more hydrated.

Next we have the Moisture Bomb Anti-Fatigue Super Hydrating Mask with Lavender Essential Oils and Hyaluronic Acid. This is such a wonderful face mask to relax in after a long day at work. Similar to the Glow-Boosting Mask, the mask fits very well to the contour of my face, and is also drenched in hydrating serum. Again, this is a great face mask to use if your skin is feeling dry or dull. The amount of serum in the pack also makes it a great mask to use on airplanes because it won’t dry up as fast.

Lastly, for those who are looking for some skin purification, the Super Purifying Charcoal Sheet Mask with Black Algae, LHA and Hyaluronic Acid is amazing for those living in the big city and are in need of deep detox. It contains charcoal powder, pineapple fruit extract, and papaya fruit extract to exfoliate and purify the skin. For regular use, I found this to be a bit too drying for my dehydrated / dry skin type. That being said, I can see this mask being amazing for those who live in Toronto / Montreal during the summer where it is very hot and humid and there is significant pollution. I would probably also take this on vacation with me if I were to visit China or somewhere else that has a hotter climate with elevated levels of pollution.

For just $3.99 per mask, you really can’t go wrong with any of these. My top pick out of these three is the Moisture Bomb Glow-Boosting Super Hydrating Mask – it really helped to brighten and plump my skin.  You can pick these up now at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada, including London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, and more.

Product received for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Review + swatches – Dior Summer 2018 Cool Wave collection

Dior Summer 2018 makeup collection review and swatches

I was super lucky to receive a few products from the Dior Summer 2018 Cool Wave collection to share with you. Dior’s summer collections usually tend to be similar to fashion’s resort collections, featuring bright colours and beautifully tanned skin.

The first two products I want to share are the Dior 5-Couleur Eye Shadows (C$73) in shades 367 Cool Down and 597 Heat Up. Cool Down is, of course, the blue-toned palette, featuring all shimmery shades of blue. Heat Up is a beautifully warm-toned palette featuring shimmery corals, gold, and warm browns.

For a blue-based eyeshadow palette, Cool Down is actually surprisingly beautiful. I used to be drawn to blue shadoww palettes way more when I was younger, but I’ve fallen out of love in the last few years. I’ve also owned a number of Dior blue shadow palettes and this one is probably the best quality I’ve seen in a few years. Normally Dior blues tend to be chalky, sheer, and not very blendable, whereas Cool Down applied and blended beautifully.

Heat Up is my absolute favourite though out of the entire collection. I was gawking at how beautiful the shades were, and how smooth and buttery it all applied. The burnt red-orange in the middle of the palette had a bit of gold flash as well, which worked very well to tie all the colours together. The one shade that was a low-performer was the highlight shade on the top right – Cool Down also had a similar highlight shade and it was also not the greatest.

Next, we have two new products, the Diorshow Cooling Sticks (C$41). These are creamy eyeshadow sticks that feel cooling upon application. The two shades I have are 001 Bronze Wave and 003 Fresh Pink. Bronze Wave is a pretty neutral-toned bronze, and Fresh Pink is a metallic cool-toned light pink. I love Bronze Wave as I can wear this on its own as a quick eye look – it blended so seamlessly to create an easy neutral eye. Fresh Pink is a bit too cool-toned and a bit too light for me so I don’t really use this as much on its own, but it does look nice as an inner corner highlight.

There are a few lip products to pick from to complement the eye look. The three formulas available this season are the Dior Lip Maximizer in a limited edition 011 Pool Blue shade, as well as the Dior Addict Lip Tattoo in four different shades, and the Dior Addict Lipstick in two shades. The Lip Maximizer (C$42) in the limited edition Blue Pool is really cool. Its a super sheer baby blue gloss with subtle shimmers, and it also has lip plumper properties. A few years ago, blue gloss was super popular and several brands released blue glosses, and I remember really wanting one to try. The blue tint helps your teeth look brighter, which is pretty cool. This gloss isn’t too sticky either, which is good for someone like me who isn’t too into gloss.

The Dior Addict Lip Tattoo (C$37) shade I have is 571 Cranberry, which is a really nice mauve-y dark pink. The other shades are 341 Litchi, 551 Watermelon, and 641 Orange. I love the Lip Tattoo formula – it is an incredible lip stain that feels cooling on the lips and leaves a stain that lasts all day, through meals. The Dior Addict Lipstick (C$44) comes in two shades – 040 White Splash and 411 Nude Chill. White Splash is the one I have and it’s a clear lipstick with mint extract and subtle blue shimmers, which again helps to plump the lips and brighten teeth.

For the nails, there are also three Dior Vernis (C$34) shades available 404 Splash, 541 Wizz and 894 Blop, in blue, orange-coral, and pink tones, respectively. Lastly, for your face, you can also upgrade your bronzer to the Diorskin Mineral Nude Bronze (C$58), available in four shades to suit most skin tones.

My top picks are the 5-Couleur Eye Shadow in 597 Heat Up, Diorshow Cooling Stick in Bronze Wave, and Dior Addict Lip Tattoo in 571 Cranberry. I would skip the Dior Addict Lipstick in White Splash since it’s basically just clear.

The Dior 2018 summer Cool Wave collection is available after April 13 in Canada, at Holt Renfrew, The Bay, Nordstrom, Shopper’s Drug Mart, and other places where Dior Beauty is sold.

P.S. My apologies for the quality of today’s photos. I could not find my SD card so I had to use my phone to take photos instead…

The swatches

5-Couleur Eye Shadow in 597 Heat Up

Dior Summer 2018 makeup collection review and swatches

5-Couleur Eye Shadow in 367 Cool Down

Dior Summer 2018 makeup collection review and swatches

Diorshow Cooling Stick in Bronze Wave and Fresh Pink, Lip Maximizer in Blue Pool, Dior Addict Lipstick in White Splash , and Dior Addict Lip Tattoo in 571 Cranberry

Dior Summer 2018 makeup collection review and swatches

Product provided for review consideration; opinions are my own.

Celebrating 50 years of cleansing oils with Shu Uemura

Shu Uemura cleansing oil review

I can hardly believe that it’s already been 50 years since the creation of the cleansing oil by Shu Uemura. Indeed, Shu was the first brand of cleansing oil that I’ve ever tried, over 10 years ago. At the time, there were only a few formulas available, so it’s amazing that there are so many different variations available for different skin types. I was generously sent a beautiful gift box containing the top four formulas, made for specific skin types.

Shu’s cleansing oils are made to effectively remove makeup and impurities from the skin, and prepping the skin for the follow-up steps. Shu claims that double cleansing is not necessary since it rinses completely and doesn’t leave behind any residue (although I personally still prefer to double cleanse).

The four formulas I received are:

  • Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil – the richest formula created by Shu, this is the all-rounder product that targets all skin products. Created primarily for those with dry or aging skin types, the Ultime8 is made with traditional Chinese medicine in mind. This is an amazing cleansing oil, particularly in the winter, as it is very effective at removing all makeup, including eye makeup, without getting into my eyes. It smells a bit medicinal, like something that would be good for you. It’s not stripping at all, unlike some cleansing oils, and is great for all skin types except the super oily types. Shu often makes limited edition bottles of the Ultime8 so if that’s also something to be on the lookout for.
  • Anti-Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil – created for those living in highly populated big cities with pollution, this cleansing oil is anti-pollution and will remove polluting impurities from deep within your skin. It contains the potent anti-oxidant green tea extract, as well as moringa, to improve skin dullness and sallowness. I really enjoy this one, as it is not too rich and not too light. It’s a very effective makeup remover, and doesn’t strip the skin. I’m not sure how good it is at anti-pollution, but my skin usually looks pretty good when I use this (in combination with other products). The Anti-Oxi is one of my top picks in terms of a cleansing oil from Shu.
  • POREfinist2 Sakura Fresh Cleansing Oil – the lightest Shu cleansing oil, made for oily skin types. Blended with sakura and cinnamon bark extract, it helps to regulate oil production as well as shrink the appearance of pores. This is probably my least favourite cleansing oil – not surprisingly because I have dry skin. It feels too light on me and also strips my skin a little. The lightness of the oil also means that if I am removing eye makeup, the oil migrates into my eyes and then it stings. Regardless, it’s an effective cleansing oil for removing base makeup, and because of the slip, a little goes quite a long ways.
  • Nutri-nectar Cleansing Oil in Emulsion – this is a brand new formula for this year to celebrate Shu’s 50 years in the cleansing oil market. Created for sensitive skin types in mind, it blends together acai, magnolia, and reishi mushrooms. It has a thicker jelly-like texture that is really fun to use. Because of the thicker consistency, I find it a little bit harder to rinse off (you’ll need a bit more water and a bit more effort to massage the skin and emulsify the jelly). I also prefer to use this on days where I am not wearing so much eye makeup because it doesn’t have as much slip compared to one of the lighter oils. That being said, it feels really nice and gentle on the skin.

Shu Uemura cleansing oil review

My top pick is definitely the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil.

Lastly, of course everyone knows Shu Uemura also for its lash curlers. Over the years, I’ve purchased and repurchased this lash curler a number of times, and it’s still my #1 go-to lash curler that I bring with me everywhere I go. I’m a fan of the classic silver design, as well as of their various limited edition designs such as gold, black lacquer, and more. A lash curler is such an essential part of the makeup kit, and Shu’s version is definitely a top cult classic.

You can pick up Shu Uemura cleansing oils and lash curlers, as well as other Shu Uemura products, at The Bay and Sephora.

Shu Uemura cleansing oil review

Product provided by PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Brighten up your spring nails with CND Chic Shock

It’s no secret that CND Vinylux quickly made it as my favourite nail polish formula. This is the only formula I wear regularly now, and I’m loving the variety of shades that get introduced every season. For Spring 2018, CND releases Chic Shock, an Easter candy and K-beauty inspired collection that contains four beautiful pastel shades.

The four shades are :

  • Candied – a cool-toned baby pink creme
  • Taffy – a light turquoise mint creme
  • Jellied – a muted yellow creme
  • Gummi – a light violet creme

In the photo above, I’m wearing the Shellac equivalents of Candied, Taffy, and Jellied, dotted to look like a cute French manicure. It reminds me of candy, marshmallows, balloons, and Tsum Tsums at the same time! Thanks to Onyx Aesthetics Studio for the amazing manicure, as always.

In addition to the new shades, CND also revamped its bottle design, which correlates with its reformulation of the Vinylux formula. Vinylux now contains more conditioning oils to keep your nails healthy while still looking chic. The brush is also redesigned, featuring a wider and flatter brush that makes application super easy.

Vinylux polishes are super long lasting – I literally wear mine for 7-10 days and the only reason I need to remove and reapply is because of growth. I rarely get chipping, and the colour stays shiny throughout the entire time. You can now find CND Vinylux at Shoppers Drug Mart too, which is super convenient.

Chic Shock is now available wherever CND products are sold!

Products provided for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Top 4 favourite foundation formulas of ALL TIME, featuring La Prairie, Guerlain, Dior, and Too Faced

IMG_7129

As a beauty blogger, I go through so many products. One of the things I love testing out the most is foundation. In addition to great skin, it’s also important to start your makeup with a beautiful and smooth complexion, with the help of a good foundation. Today, after nearly 10 years of blogging and foundation testing, I want to share with you my top four formulas.

La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation

If money was no issue and I could have an unlimited supply of any foundation, it would be this one. My go-to foundation for when I need my skin to look flawless for endless hours, the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation never ceases to amaze me with how amazing it can make my skin look and feel. It does an incredible job at smoothing out my fine lines and pores, and also hides any dryness really well. Every time I use this, I am basically guaranteed to have good skin. It’s so expensive though, so I really only use this when my skin needs it, otherwise I’m so scared to run out because the high price means I am likely to pick up another one. I did a full review here. I wear the shade Warm Linen, which is the perfect match for me.

Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation

My second favourite foundation, and something I am actually very likely to repurchase is the Parure Gold Foundation by Guerlain. Again, this is something I use when I need good skin, whether its for an event or wedding, or maybe I have something after work and I need my makeup to look good all day. This doesn’t have as good staying power as the La Prairie, but it does make my skin look lit from within. This is my go-to foundation to take with me when I travel, because flying wrecks havoc on my skin so I need a good foundation to balance out the dryness and also give back some of that glow. You can check out my full review here. I wear the shade 02, which is a 95% good match to my skin.

Diorskin Air Nude

My go-to foundation for when I need to cover a bit of redness, or on a good skin day, the Diorskin Air Nude is a “serum foundation,” super lightweight, easy to apply, and generally foolproof. It doesn’t have very good coverage, so I only really wear this when I have nowhere fancy to go, and it’s also great in the summer when I want something lighter. The only thing is because the foundation is so light, I tend to go through this very quickly. That being said, it’s not too too expensive that I can definitely repurchase this when the time comes! I wear the shade 020.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

I was so in love with this foundation when it first released that I wore it nonstop for months. I was later introduced to a few other foundations and then forgot about this in the back of my foundation drawer. I recently took it back out because I remembered how much I loved it, and alas, it was like falling in love all over again. The Born This Way foundation is the most high coverage of all the ones here, and in addition to being a high coverage foundation, it also soft focuses my skin and blurs out all of my imperfections. I can layer this over itself and it never looks or feels heavy or cakey. It is also extremely long wearing – after a full day’s work without touchups, it is still mostly intact on my face. I wear the shade Warm Nude, which is a great match for me. You can see my previous review here.

You can purchase La Prairie, Guerlain, and Dior at Holt Renfrew, and Too Faced at Sephora.

What are some of your favourite foundations?

Products provided by PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own. My original Diorskin Air Nude was purchased by me, but then the Dior PR graciously sent me another one.

Morning and evening skincare routine, featuring Tatcha, Bioderma, Reversa, Sekkisei, Eve Lom and Acure

Morning skin care routine featuring Tatcha The Essence

I haven’t done one of these skincare routine updates in a while, but lately I’ve been really happy with the state of my skin, so I wanted to share all of the amazing products that I’ve been using. For a while last year, I’ve been experimenting with new skincare products, and including switching up my routine pretty much every night depending on what I was feeling like using. I was way over complicating it, and even though I had fun mixing and matching products, I didn’t feel like I was maximizing any of the products’ potential to really make a difference on my skin. One of the changes I made towards the end of last year was to simplify my routine, and go back to basics. This also helped me declutter my bathroom counter because there weren’t a million things floating around (which the boyfriend is also thankful for)!

My routine is pretty simple, I use a cleanser, pre-serum, toner / essence, serum, eye cream, then moisturizer.

For my morning routine, I try to focus on adding hydration. I have very dehydrated skin so adding water is the most important step for me. In order, I use these products:

  • THREE Balancing Cleansing Milk – I purchased this in Japan in the fall of 2016 and I finally got around to using this. Cleansing milks are tricky for me because I find that a lot of them don’t fully emulsify and leave a weird film on my skin. This one is simply amazing. It has a beautifully whipped milky texture that’s lightweight but feels so soothing on the skin. I use this on dry skin with dry hands, massage it in for 30 seconds, and then emulsify and wash off with warm water. I am left with incredibly soft, silky, and very balanced skin. It’s never drying, and is perfect if you have dehydrated, dry, sensitive skin. THREE is a Japanese brand that uses primarily natural and organic ingredients, this Balancing Cleansing Milk contains 94% natural ingredients. I honestly haven’t been able to find an equivalent product like this in the western market, which is another reason why I love this so much.
  • Freeplus Deep Pre Moist Essence – Another product I purchased in Japan is this pre-serum. I apply this directly to cleansed skin, before toner / essence and everything else. It has a super lightweight watery gel texture that absorbs quickly. My skin is immediately plumped up ready for other products. This is also a fantastic product for sensitive skin types because it is fragrance free and very gentle on the skin. A similar product in the western market would be Vichy Mineral 89.
  • TATCHA The Essence* – I will be doing a feature on essence waters soon, but just as a quick sneak peek of my thoughts, I’ve been using this off and on since it first came out, and I’m honestly torn about how I feel about it. It does hydrate my skin but that’s pretty much it. It’s a great basic skincare item, but I don’t know if it’s worth the high price.
  • Bioderm Hydrabio Moisturizing Concentrate* – I initially discovered this product and did a full review of it in 2013. This is one of my go-to hydrating serums, it really helps to seal in the hydration and prevent my skin from feeling tight all day. One thing I noticed when using this product this time around was that it feels a little bit silicone-y. It does have dimethicone in it, but lower in the ingredients list. That being said, I still rely on this a lot in the winter time.
  • Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream* – Another oldie but goodie, I did a full review of this back in 2015 and my stance has basically stayed the same. This is a super easy way to incorporate glycolic acid in your routine, especially if you use other active ingredients at night. It’s a super easy 2-in-1 glycolic treatment with sunscreen, and is super moisturizing at the same time. I still love it, and still absolutely recommend it.

Night time skin care routine featuring Eve Lom Time Retreat Face Treatment

Like I mentioned earlier, my routine at night is basically the same as my daytime routine but just with the product switched up a bit:

  • Pre-cleanse with a cleansing oil – I’m currently using Jill Stuart Cleansing Oil, which I purchased from Japan. Any cleansing oil / balm / water will do to remove makeup, and I haven’t really noticed anything too amazing with the Jill Stuart one. I almost always (like 99.5% of the time) double cleanse, every night. The only time I don’t double cleanse are the nights when I am just lazy and forget to do it, but even if I have just sunscreen on, I will double cleanse. The trick to prevent stripping is to use gentler cleansers, instead of harsher foaming cleansers which strip your skin. Other cleansing oils that I use that you can find in Canada are by Shu Uemura, Palmer’s Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil, and L’Occitane.
  • Nursery Yuzu Cleansing Gel – I purchased this cleansing gel in Japan and it smells SO GOOD. It’s technically a makeup removing gel, and I have used this to remove light makeup in the past, but I prefer to use it as a second cleanse. It doesn’t foam up, and is just a gentle gel cleanser. It gently cleans my skin without stripping, and it leaves it feeling super soft and fresh. I am addicted to the scent, and I will likely be repurchasing this when I return to Japan later this spring. A similar jelly cleanser in the western market is the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, although that one isn’t really a makeup remover, it has the same gentle texture and good cleansing properties.
  • Freeplus Deep Pre Moist Essence – As described above.
  • Kose Sekkisei Lotion Excellent Enriched* – I first used this product in 2008 when I was still in university. It is a cult favourite in Japan and has been around for decades, with good reason. I will be doing a feature on this product as well in my essence lotions article, but the gist is that I love it and will repurchase in the future.
  • Eve Lom Time Retreat Face Treatment – Truly one of my favourite skincare discoveries of all time, this retinol serum is what I attribute most of my skin improvements to. For a product with retinol, it is incredibly gentle and very moisturizing, as it includes shea butter as a top ingredient. It smells so good, like lavender, which helps to soothe my spirits at night just before bed. Best of all, it has done a fantastic job at smoothing my fine lines. I tend to wrinkle my brows and forehead a lot, so I have a lot of fine lines there which this has pretty much eradicated. My pores are also more refined, and my skin texture overall is smoother and brighter. I will definitely be repurchasing this. It comes in a great size as well – 50mL – which is 2/3 more than other serums.
  • Acure Night Cream* – This is a great basic night cream for those who are interested in trying out more natural skincare products without the high price tag. The packaging is very simple and to the point, but the product is really good. It goes on emollient, but then absorbs and dries down without any sticky residue. I love using this in the winter, as it protects my skin throughout the night. They’ve actually repackaged this and renamed it the Brilliantly Brightening Night Cream, but the product is still the same.

I hope this gave you some inspiration to try some new products!

Products provided by PR are denoted by *, everything else was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Top 10 splurge-worthy luxury products, featuring La Prairie, Guerlain, Vintner’s Daughter, Charlotte Tilbury, and more

Guerlain Spring 2017 Meteorites 30th anniversary review

On this blog, I feature a ton of beauty products all the time. A lot of them are luxury products, some of them are worth buying, others not so much. I wanted to do a quick roundup of some of the luxury products truly worth picking up, and also give you guys a quick guide as to what to invest your money in to get the best bang for your buck.

  1. La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation* (C$295 for 30mL) – Starting this list with a bang is my all-time favourite luxury foundation. I’ve talked about this a ton on the blog, and you can see my original in-depth review here. This is what I use when I need a guaranteed good skin day and night. It lasts all day and into the evening, and wears beautifully on the skin. It is expensive, and the price has actually gone up since the last time I reviewed it. Your foundation covers your face for usually 12+ hours a day, you really want something that will not just cover up your skin, but also treat it at the same time. If $300 is just way too much for you, I also love Guerlain Parure Gold foundation. It doesn’t have quite the level of skincare benefits in it, but it also gives me a flawless complexion that I can count on.
  2. Guerlain Meteorites Pearls* (C$76) – I love these and I’ve talked about them extensively on the blog as well (one review here). They are the perfect finishing powder to give you a blurred, glow from within look. They are truly the real life Instagram filter. I love them so much that I own four jars of the Pearls from the different releases, as well as two variations of the pressed version (the first few I purchased myself so I’m not just saying that because I received some as PR samples!). If you have the extra budget, the Meteorites Voyage Compact is the ultimate luxury version, but will set you back C$200.
  3. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (C$80) – My favourite bronzing, sculpting, and highlighting compact, reviewed here. Actually, my favourite highlighter of all time. Mine actually cracked recently and the highlight is now missing a big corner of it, so I can’t travel with it. I’m so devastated that I might actually go pick up a brand new one just so I can take it around with me.
  4. Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum* (C$240 for 30mL) – The ultimate in face oils, this is the best of the best. I originally reviewed it here, so you can hear my backstory about how I started using this. I love this for when I have tired, stressed, dry, or angry skin that just won’t cooperate. It has amazing active ingredients in it, and is so nourishing. It feels amazing on the skin, both during application and afterwards, and then the morning after. It also smells incredible. I use this whenever I need that extra oomph!Guerlain Spring 2017 Meteorites 30th anniversary reviewLa Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation review
  5. May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon (US$180 for 50mL) – Another favourite face oil / balm is this blue cult favourite. I’ve talked about May’s products repeatedly on the blog, and I can’t rave about it enough with my friends. I love using this when my skin is feeling congested, as it has amazing healing and soothing properties. Compared to Vintner’s Daughter ABS, it’s lighter and more soothing, less nourishing. Both are moisturizing, but I like them for different purposes. I love using this to de-stress, and the scent alone calms me. Yes you need both, yes both are simply amazing.
  6. La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil* (C$430 for 30mL) – The last oil on this list, this relies on high tech and science, rather than natural botanicals. Different than the other two, I love this one for its versatility. It is a very lightweight oil that dries down almost immediately, with no residue or leftover greasy feeling. It’s fantastic for mixing in with your foundation or moisturizer, or used on its own. It also smells really fresh, and I love that for my mornings when I want something lighter. I mostly use this in the morning, compared to the other two that I use exclusively at night.
  7. Diptyque Room Spray (C$89 for 150mL) – I used to love burning candles, until I got my princess Noodles the Siamese cat, and then I got really paranoid about candles because she might hurt herself (or burn our home down if she accidentally knocks one over). I fell in love with Diptyque Room Spray on my trip to New York. The one I picked up was Baies (berries, which is scented with rose and blackcurrant), and it smells so good. One spritz is all you need for a medium sized room and it lasts a really long time. The bottle is pricey but we’ve used it every night since we’ve been back from New York and we’ve barely made a dent. I plan on picking up Figuier next; that was boyfriend’s preferred scent when we went to try it out, but I really loved Baies and have been wanting a Baies candle for a long time, so I had to get it. Well now I have an excuse to pick up Figuier too!
  8. Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser* (C$104 for 125mL) – The only cleanser on this list because I don’t generally believe in splurging in cleansers, but this one is SO GOOD. It’s a physical scrub and enzyme-based cleanser in one, and it’s pretty much the only physical scrub I use. I actually have the 50mL one because I couldn’t bear to spend over $100 on a cleanser, and I’ve been using it sparingly. I really love it, and you can also layer it with the Resurfacing Mask for a deeper cleanse.
  9. T3 Featherweight Blow Dryer (C$320) – I’ve never talked about this on my blog, but I have a T3 Dryer that I purchased from Sephora in 2012, and it’s still my favourite hair tool. I’ve used other blow dryers after that but I always still go back to this one. It’s lightweight, relatively quiet, hot, and dries my hair in record time. I have the older, original model, the current one is the Featherweight 2i, so I don’t know how this one performs, but I really love the original. With a good hair dryer, you save yourself a lot of time every time you wash your hair.
  10. Laura Mercier Body Souffle (C$72 for 355mL) – It’s a pain for me to say this because for a body cream, it is SO exorbitantly expensive. It is so good though, which is why I have to put it on this list. I purchased a set of six minis during the holidays, which came with six different “flavours” of the famous LM Body Souffle. I really wish I didn’t, but I fell in love so quickly that I had to buy the full size. Thankfully I did have the $20 VIB gift voucher from Sephora so I paid “only” $52 for this. I love this stuff because it’s so moisturizing, but it absorbs really quickly without feeling sticky. I have perpetually dry skin and this body moisturizer lasts until I wash it off, leaving my skin feel silky and hydrated, and also prevents itching. I compared it with the Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum cream that a lot of people are obsessing over, but I actually prefer this one. The Bum Bum cream leaves weird residue on my skin that never fully absorbs, whereas this one will absorb fully. Both smell AMAZING, but the Bum Bum cream scent will pretty much never dissipate, whereas this dissipates after an hour or so (which is my preference).

In terms of products I generally don’t prefer to spend too much money on, those are usually products that get washed off, such as cleansers or body washes. I review some luxury cleansers but only a select few will get the thumbs up from me, and usually because it does more than just cleanse. I generally use pretty inexpensive body products; I will buy LUSH shower gel but that’s pretty much it.

Facial mists are the other thing that I don’t spend too much money on, there are a select few that I think are worth the price (such May Lindstrom The Jasmine Garden), but I won’t necessarily go out of my way to purchase it. You can get pretty inexpensive facial mists that do the same thing, and I’d rather spend my money on something more potent like serums or moisturizers. I was recently gifted a tube of Marvis toothpaste. They are $12 for a small-ish size tube here. While it’s a nice splurge once in a while, I don’t think it’s a total necessity, and in my personal opinion, I’d rather buy cheap toothpaste, then pool the savings together over a year and buy myself a nice serum, you know?

What are some luxury splurges you love?

Products that were provided by PR are denoted with *, others were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.