Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top10 Drugstore Makeup Items

When shopping for makeup, I rarely make decisions based on brand name. I'm all about finding something that works the absolute best, regardless of its name or price tag. That being said, I've tried some of the cheapest, and most expensive makeup items on the market. In this post you'll find my ten(ish) favourite drugstore finds that work just as well, sometimes even better, than their high-end counterparts.

1. Eye Primer - ELF Mineral Primer
Eye shadow primer is an absolute must whenever I'm doing a full face of makeup. See an in depth review of my favourite options here.

2. Blush - Powder: Wet n' Wild Heather Silk, Cream: Joe Fresh
A good powder blush can be hard to find at drugstores. Many of the inexpensive options are super powdery and sparkly, which isn't always flattering. These Wet n' Wild Color Icon blushes are amazing, but are only available in Walmart and some Loblaws in Canada.
For cream blush, I love the ones from Joe Fresh. They're only $6 and come in an array of unique colours. See my swatches in this post.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trends For Spring 2014

Ahh, Spring. How nice to finally see you again. A few weeks back I found an email in my inbox outlining some fun and fluttery fashion trends for this warmer weather. I felt so inspired by this Holts Muse link that I had to create a shorter report of my own. I've highlighted two trends which pull together some of my favourite clothing pieces in my current wardrobe.

Camisole- Talula, Skirt- Club Monaco, Cardigan- Forever 21, Heels- Nine West, Bag- Banana Republic
 1. Pretty Pastels
Nothing says spring like some cute pastel hues. With Easter right behind us, this is the best time to start incorporating light, bright colour into our lives. I'm not always a fan of pastel overkill, but I find that the varying chiffon fabrics and patent accessories make this look quite wearable.

Pants- Forever 21,  Shirt, Wedges, Bag- H&M, Sunnies- Zara
2. Punchy Prints
I absolutely adore a good print. When it comes to printed pants, I really hesitate to splurge especially since many prints can really accentuate the thigh area, in a not-so-hot way. Luckily, there are lots of cheaper options available for printed items, especially when the material is a polyester or cotton blend as opposed to silk. These Forever 21 pants have an cute and intricate pattern on very comfortable and flowy cotton fabric. 

When buying any printed clothing item, remember that loose-fitting is usually the most flattering and will make the item look most expensive. A tight, cotton, floral tee won't look as "high fashion" when compared to a looser, polyester blouse.

"Shopping my closet" is one of my favourite things to do at the beginning of every season. You don't have to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe to fit the trends, simply pick up a few trendier items and pair them with your existing favourites.

Happy Spring!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Top 10 Beauty Myths

A few weeks ago I highlighted 10 common nail myths, seen here. Today I'm shifting gears to the beauty side of things, focusing on some other common myths which get tossed around every so often. See the truths listed below:

Photo via Marie Claire
1. Drinking water keeps your skin from drying out.
What keeps skin moist is oil, not water. Drinking water will surely help your body function properly, and too little can dull your appearance. But your skin may still look dry even if you drink 8+ glasses a day.

2. Makeup causes breakouts.
Not true, poor hygiene and crazy hormones do.  Mistakes like falling asleep with your makeup on, not cleaning your makeup brushes often enough, or using the wrong skincare can surely cause breakouts. Keep your makeup products in a constant state of cycling in and out and don't go thinking that a collection of 40 blushes from 2010 is going to do you any good.

3. Toothpaste banishes blemishes.
Although toothpaste may have a drying effect, it’s not a product recommended for clearing skin. The ingredients in toothpaste like mint or fluoride can be major irritants to the skin. See my thoughts on skin clearing ingredients in my last post, here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Skin Type

Although I haven't had naturally horrible skin, I have experienced some pretty bad reactions to various skincare products in the past. I also have a terrible habit of picking at any spot of unevenness on my skin that I see, or feel. What I have come to realize over the past few years is that one of my most prominent values in life, happens to now play a huge role in my skincare: everything in moderation. That extra huge dab of acne cream is not going to kill the blemish faster, and washing your face 4 times a day will do far more harm than good. My skin is super sensitive and can be quite troublesome. I began to get small breakouts about 6 years ago, which started to get progressively worse a few years later, and now has begun to taper off. There are many factors to skincare, some being internally and the others externally.

My Skin's Qualities:
  • Enlarged pores and oily t-zone
  • Clogged pores and blackheads
  • Skin becomes red and flushes easily, gets tight and irritated by harsh products
  • Occasional blemishes and cysts 
  • Post-blemish red/dark scars that linger
  • Freckles and thin skin
My skin is very sensitive to these harsh chemicals:
- Vitamin A / Retinol
- Salicylic Acid
- Highly acidic food like tomato and pineapple
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Glycolic Acid
- AHA/BHA peels
- Vinegar

Monday, April 14, 2014

Exploring Kerasilk By Goldwell At Haartek Salon

Just last week I had the opportunity to attend a launch event hosted by Kao at my beloved hair salon, Haartek. The attendees were educated on Kerasilk, which is a new smoothing treatment from Goldwell. I've tried many products from  the Kao brands in the past, and have not once been let down by their impressive results. Now, what is this smoothing treatment, you may ask?

 “Kerasilk keratin treatment is the first customizable long-lasting smoothing service which leaves your hair feeling like silk for up to 5 months.”

After hearing this, my first question was, "does it damage the hair?"
This treatment could actually do the opposite. Since the smoothing effects last for such a long time, your unruly hair will need less heat styling to achieve that silky look. And as we all know, less straightening means far less damaged hair.

Before and after shots with sample tendrils, highlighting all 4 stages of treatment strength.
The Kerasilk product line which helps maintain and extend the life of your smoothing treatment.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Top10 Tips For Shopping Efficiently

Image via LouLou Magazine - read there article here
For some, going shopping is exciting, fun and generally enjoyable. For others, it is a dreadfully painful task which may rarely occur throughout the year. As a follower of fashion trends, I have grown to love the whole atmosphere and experience of shopping. This may sound superficial and all, but I am a controlled shopper and I stick to a budget, so that I can grow my savings while still indulging in the things that make me happy. The key element to my love for shopping is being comfortable. I hate carrying too much stuff, feeling constricted in my clothing, dealing with crowds, unkempt merchandise displays, and unnecessarily warm environments. I also do not enjoy paying full price for an item when I know that there could be an opportunity to save. Above all, I like feeling safe and happy when I am in a position of purchase to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Considering this list of (slightly high-maintenance) requirements, I have compiled my shopping tips for anyone planning on making some future purchases.

1. Time of day is crucial.
Tuesday or Thursday morning is the best time to go shopping. Right when the store opens, displays are pristine, sales assistants are helpful and stock is usually fresh. I especially love going to Sephora at this time since the testers and samples are clean, stocked and very inviting. For those who have regular commitments and don't have a weekday morning free, any day first thing in the morning is typically a safe time to hit up the shops.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bonne Bell Lip Smackers

Bonne Bell Lip Smackers in Dr. Pepper, Pink Lemonade and Merry Cherry Candy Cane (Limited Edition)
For some reason, collecting lip balms was a huge thing back in the 90s and early 00s. I used to live in Sarnia, which is a small city situated right across the boarder from Michigan. We used to take teeny road trips across the Blue Water Bridge, en-route to the infamous Target, where we would stock up on all the necessary 90s apparel and accessories. Sure enough, one of those staples were Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. My sisters even went as far as stashing their Lip Smacker collection in these fabulous tin boxes, just to make sure the labels stayed in pristine condition. We had all of the classic flavours, plus the snazzy limited-edition sparkly holiday collections, which always smelled divine. I didn't really appreciate it back then, but their quality is actually quite impressive. I recently started digging through my makeup stash and found a bunch of lip balms, many of them being some of the Bonne Bell classics (recently purchased, don't worry). They've been handbag staples ever since.

Friday, April 4, 2014

HowTo Make A Skin-Smoothing Oatmeal Mask

I was a big Arthur watcher in my childhood days. One of my most vivid memories of the show is the episode where Arthur has the chicken pox and takes an oatmeal bath. I never really understood the reason why, until recently. Not only is oatmeal absolutely delicious, (see my favourite recipe here) but it also has incredible skin-soothing properties. When combined with liquid, oats become moisturizing, soothing and protecting, serving for the most incredible face mask. My favourite concoction also incorporates honey, which is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. You know what that means... blemishes, be gone!

Here's how I do it:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

HowTo Achieve Natural Looking Eyebrows

Properly shaped and groomed eyebrows are much more important than we might think. At one point in time, everyone has probably been a culprit of either over-plucking or over-filling their brows. Whatever the case may be, the result is never pretty. 

First off, I would recommend visiting a professional to have unruly brows shaped properly. It is truly an art and doesn't come down to just plucking away the strays. Believe me. The end result will blow you away. I go to the most lovely lady named Feri, who specializes in both threading and waxing. Threading is perfect for brows since the thread pulls on the hairs themselves, not the skin. Unlike with waxing, the skin will stay taut and won't be prone to stretching and wrinkling.

I'm fortunate to have pretty full brows, so I don't have much filling-in to do. If you have sparse brows, I'd definitely recommend using a pencil as opposed to a powder. The result will be much more natural since you'll have to draw in actual hairs to fill the voids. This pencil from Anastasia is supposed to be the absolute best. 

Using a small angled brush, pick up just a bit of matte powder in similar colour to your hair. I use the brow powder from The Body Shop in brown/brunette.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Staying Chic With Warm Layers

Vintage AirForce jacket, J Crew cashmere circle scarf, Material Girl burgundy wax denim, H&M fuzzy cardigan,
Vintage striped shirt, Gap belt, Roots Selina satchel
Before heading out to see Divergent the other night, I decided to snap a few quick pictures of my outfit. It's far too easy to fall into the routine of wearing the same neutral layers each and every week, especially with this fabulous polar vortex still holding strong. Changing up my typical outfit choices by incorporating colour into my weekly wardrobe has proven to be very fun and exciting. To stay warm, I made sure to throw on a layer in-between my jacket and shirt. This H&M sweater is so incredibly warm, but doesn't look bulky or boring. I loved pairing the rich army green with a deep burgundy plum, and finishing off with some splashes of neutrals to pull the look together.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Favourite Teas

I used to hate the taste of most teas, since they lacked the sweet and pungent flavour of the drinks I typically reach for. I began experimenting with mint tea after seeing one of my friends order a mint green tea from Tim Hortons (ask for a large, get two tea bags, one green and one mint). It was then that I realized I was doing things all wrong. Here is what I have learned about tea brewing and now follow religiously.

1. Adding sugar to most teas is a no-go
Sugar frequently throws off the natural flavours of herbal teas. I only add sugar to fruity teas since they can be a bit too tart.
2. I carefully read the packages and only steep the tea for as long as it recommends
Over-steeping especially ruins green tea, which can result in a bitter mess. You're usually safe with a 2-5 min brewing time, if not specified on the package.
3. Drink tea around 10 minutes after pouring in the boiled water, and finish within 15 minutes of that 
Cold herbal tea usually tastes nasty. Drinking my tea earlier than 10 mins in will typically burn my tongue, so I always wait.

Here are my three favourites:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HowTo Apply Natural Glowing Makeup

It is truly incredible what a bit of makeup can do to enhance a dull, winter-y complexion. Over the years, I've experimented with hundreds of makeup products and methods of applying them. A good face of makeup comes down to the principle of less is more. The important part is not what other people think of your makeup, but how you actually feel in it. Lots of product = a sticky, uncomfortable mess. If there is anything to practice in regards to applying makeup products, it's going to be detailed blending to create seamless divides between different colours and contours of the face. See the steps I take in the images below to achieve a natural, glowing, less-is-more makeup look.

*Note: I applied my daily moisturizer and a translucent face primer prior to step 1. 
1. Thin layer of tinted moisturizer or BB cream to even the complexion and work as a base. I use a damp sponge to give a very natural, airbrushed finish. *Don't try to cover every little imperfection with your base- it will look thick, caky and fake. Apply concealer last for the most natural finish.
2, 3. Pink toned concealer under the eyes, blended out to the areas beside the nose and up on the cheek bones.
4, 5. Cream bronzer to the contours of the face- under the cheek bones, around the temples, top of the forehead, etc. 
6. Cream blush to the centre of the cheeks, then blend up towards the tops of the cheekbones
7, 8. Powder to the under eye area and t-zone to lock in the cream products, which will help avoid creasing and shifting throughout the day.
9. Stipple concealer onto spots of darkness or redness still showing through. You do not want to try and cover up a red blemish with concealer before applying a pink toned blush over the top. It will just come right off! See this post on how to apply and set concealer over a blemish.