Thursday, 27 February 2014

February Faves

Happy Friday ya'll!
I've been looking forward to writing this because I feel like I've tried so many great things lately that I wanted to share.  It was actually a challenge to narrow it down to a manageable sized list.  Here are five of the products I've been using this month- almost all of which have become an everyday part of my beauty routine!

...these are a few of my favorite things

1. This month was a great for concealers because I actually found two that I've been using like crazy.  I found the perfect under eye concealer- I honestly don't know why it took me so long to try it because I know I'm not the first one to rave about it but the MAC Pro Longwear (NC20) is everything you've ever heard about it and then some.  I'm a full time student, and a part time employee so I don't always have enough time as I would like for my "beauty sleep." This concealer is great for not only concealing my under eye circles but highlighting as well making me appear more awake then I usually am.  If you're a little unsure for whatever reason go to your local MAC counter and ask for a sample!  The samples they give you last quite a long time (long enough to get hooked) This is what I did and I ended up going back for the full sized product immediately.

2. I discovered another concealer recently that I haven't heard anyone talk about- which is the Sephora collection "8 HR Wear Perfect Cover Concealer." I bought mine in the shade 26 medium peach.  I love this for covering random spot blemishes and reducing redness that I tend to have around my nose.  The blend-ability of this product is flawless! I used my BB and it buffs right in.

3. Speaking of the BB... Let's just take a minute to appreciate the Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser. It was recommended to me by a Sephora sales associate when I initially bought my Beauty Blender- but I passed on it at first because I figured soap is soap. Right? Nope. I starting using just regular Ivory soap and I found it left that grimy soap scum feel on my sponge. I would not recommend it.  However when I finally caved and bought it I discovered this solid soap is amazing! You just swirl your sponge into the bar and massage your BB until its residue free.  I also cleaned my other brushes with it and its incredibly simple to just swirl a wet brush on the surface of the soap and rinse it out.  It cut my cleaning time in half! Amazing.

4.  I had been eyeing up the Too Faced Better than Sex mascara (mainly because the gorgeous rose gold packaging) but was really hesitant to spend $30CDN on a mascara I'd never tried before.  When I looked into it it's reviews were kind of all over the place so I went to Sephora looking to see if it was possible to buy a sample size but instead I found a "Beauty Blogger Favorites" little promo pack filled with samples of all the most popular Too Faced products (for less than the cost of just the mascara!) The pack included the mascara, their Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (Medium/Dark), their "Primed and Poreless" primer, and "Shadow Insurance".  While I haven't had the chance to play with either primer I am loving the mascara- it does exactly as it claims and makes my lashes thick and voluminous- plus I'm in love with the hourglass shaped brush. I read reviews that said they thought it was clumpy but I promise it's not.  I like to apply one coat of the Better Than Sex and then one coat of Benefit's "They're Real" to get the best of volume and length. Holy lashes batman!

What was even more exciting (and unexpected) for me was that I loved the bronzer too! I normally lean towards more shimmery bronzers so the matte finish was different than anything I already had.  Initially I hated the chocolate smell but after using it a couple times I find myself reaching for this more than my NARS Laguna bronzer (usually my go-to)! I even love the smell now and the shade (medium/dark) is perfect- I use it for an everyday contour and also as a crease color when I'm in a rush for a quick and easy natural eye look.  If you've been wondering about any of these products I highly recommend this set- the primer samples are small but the price is worth it for the mascara and bronzer alone!

5. Finally, if you follow me on Instagram you know I went a little crazy this month at MAC so not surprisingly my last favorite is another MAC product.  I first saw a swatch of their "Nymphette Lipglass" on Pinterest and fell in love.  It's a pinky-peach shade with golden shimmer in it (the MAC website describes it as a "sunny golden pink").  I've been wearing the hell out of it- sometimes on it's own but mostly layered over top of lipstick.  It makes a killer combo with Fabby Frost lipstick (which is a very similar color but Nymphette seems to just give it that extra oomph it needs) but my all time favorite lip combo is Nymphette layered over Coral Bliss.  The combination of the coral and the pink is perfection.

Have you tried any great products lately?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Organic Hair Mask: What, How, Why

I have a lot of hair.

And I've dyed it a lot over  the years back and forth from blonde to brunette, pink once. My hair was even gray at one point- but that was an accident and a whole other story.  The point is I'm always looking for ways to keep my hair strong and healthy.  

What has worked for me?
I always always always recommend coconut oil.  
I've tried a lot of different hair masks and deep conditioning treatments but I always seem to come back to this.  I started using coconut oil a few years ago after it was recommended to me by a friend.  She used it for tanning oil (fun fact: coconut oil offers UV protection) but after I looked into a little more I learned that it can be used for so much more.  Not only can you use it in your kitchen as a substitute for butter- but its good for your skin and of course your hair! 

Coconut oil pictured at room temperature (top) and warm (bottom)
How do I use it?
I tend to wash my hair only every third or forth day (dry shampoo is my best friend) so I like to plan ahead. The night before washing I will coat my hair in a generous amount of oil.  It's solid at room temperature so I just scoop out a walnut size portion with a spoon, warm it up in my hands and massage it into my hair starting (and focusing) at the ends and working up. Whatever is left on my hands I'll work into my skin.  Then I braid my hair or twist it into a high knot until the next morning when I wash it out (making sure to shampoo twice!)  It's very greasy- so it's definitely not something you would want to put in clean hair but I promise it works miracles.  I bleached and highlighted my hair every 2-3 months for over a year and it felt so soft, healthy and shiny. I get asked if it leaves stains on my pillow cases and bed sheet and I promise it doesn't! 

Why it works?
Whereas most conditioning treatments just coat the surface of your hair and wash out after your next shampoo. Coconut oil has the ability to penetrate your hair, therefore making it stronger and less susceptible to damage from heat and everyday wear and tear.  This means less breakage and longer, stronger hair!!

Prior to over night coconut oil treatment

Post coconut oil treatment

The best part?
It's easy to find!  You can buy coconut oil at any grocery or healthy food store.  The oil I'm currently using I bought from Naked Naturals for around $15-20CDN. Its called Artisana Raw Coconut Oil and it's lasted forever. 

On a related note- I use "Penetrating Moroccan Argan" oil every single day.  Its  very dry and non-greasy which is great because when my ends are feeling dry I just rub some in and it soaks it right up.

Either one of these oils and your hair will thank you !

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

DIY: Depotting Lipstick

Removing a product from it's original package and placing it into much more practical packaging.

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging so initially the idea of ripping apart my products didn't seem like something that I was interested in doing.  Makeup is a hobby for me so I have no need for a "kit" and I have a manageable amount of makeup so storage is not really an issue (yet). 

Anyway, despite all this I decided one day that keeping my lipstick in my bra while working was a smart idea (it wasn't- I work in a kitchen) aaaaand it melted into an unusable mess.  Wah.  So here I am, reporting back from my first "depotting adventure". 

MAC "Lady Bug" A72
  1. Lipstick
  2. Sample pot or palette
  3. Spoon
  4. Toothpick
  5. Candle

I wish I had taken step-by-step photos of the process but I got too excited and forgot (woops) but don't worry- it was incredibly easy.

The Process:
I started out by using my spoon to cut off what was left of my lipstick bullet and then going back in with a toothpick (or any other small tool) to dig out what was left and unreachable in the tube.  I really mean dig- there's an alarming amount of product in the tube beneath the surface and by doing it this way you'll get more product into your pot than what you would have been able to use in it's original bullet form.  Next- hold your spoon full of lipstick a safe distance away from my lit candle and it will melt gradually.  It's important to be careful not to burn the spoon or the product because I read that overheating may alter it.  Once your lipstick reaches a smooth liquid consistency carefully pour it into your new container or palette.  You could stop here; however, my final step was to warm up the label on the bottom of the tube just enough to carefully peel it off and place it on the bottom of my new container. Voila!

Since, I only had one lipstick that I needed/wanted to de/repot and I only had about half the product left I went to my local MAC store and asked if I could have a small sample container- the ones they would give you if you wanted to try a small amount of any liquid product.  It fit perfectly for the amount of lipstick I had but I believe this container would have been too small for a brand new tube. The best part about this option is if you ask nicely most associates should have no problem giving you one for free.  Sephora also has similar small sample containers that you could use but I preferred the look of the MAC one.

Additionally, if you're interested in melting more than one lipstick (or even newer/less used lipsticks) but aren't interested in creating a palette-  MAC sells stackable travel jars for around $10CDN that can be easily labelled and screwed together making it easy to keep your depotted lipsticks organized. A definite pro to having your lipsticks melted into a pot is that they're clear it makes it easy to identify which color you're reaching for without having to open lipstick after lipstick.

The Conclusion:
After my experience I must say... It was a lot of fun! I'll admit if I were creating a palette and wanted to melt 25-50 lipsticks at once I would want try another (probably quicker) method.  I've seen palettes you can get that are microwavable so you simply crush your lipsticks and then pop them in the microwave for a smooth/ clean finish. I know some people prefer not to melt the product in fear that it will alter the formula.  Luckily, this didn't happen to me.

I felt just like a scientist.  Or Walt Whitman from Breaking Bad.  And its so cute. Lil' baby lipstick. 

The only con to my cute little pot of "Lady Bug" is that now in order to apply it I'll need a lip brush (preferably with a cap so it can stay clean and travel friendly).


Monday, 17 February 2014

Hello Internet!

This is harder than I originally thought it would be. 
There's something about a blank canvas that's intimidating to me- my art professor called it "white notebook syndrome" or something- then encouraged us to stomp on our brand new sketch books, rough it up a bit... Let's be honest. I couldn't do it. 

However, even though I can't throw this blog on the ground and stomp on it I have a vision in my head about what I'd like it to be.  I have great ideas for future posts and I have a passion for the world of makeup. I love watching girls on YouTube and my favorite beauty bloggers/vloggers have inspired me to dive into this exciting and beautiful online niche. 

So welcome !
I intend to use this blog as an online beauty diary.  My outlook is often to hope for the best but expect the worst.  So to those stumbling across this I hope you find something worth coming back for.