2015 Beauty Favorites

This year went by with the blink of an eye it seems and to round up 2015, I thought I'd share with you all my beauty favorites! There were so many new products I was introduced to, so it was really hard to narrow it down. Being a beauty blogger, I always try to try what's new and coming in the market, however, it is just impossible :) 

Anyways, enough rambling! I separated my favorites into different sections to make it easier for you :) If you don't make it to the end of the post, then I'll wish you a Happy New Year now!! See you all in 2016!! 

1) Smashbox Primer Water - gives you a hydrated surface for the rest of your makeup
2) Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - keeps my oily/combo skin at bay and mattifies my foundation.
3) Smashbox - Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer - the BEST pore filler primer ever. My holy grail product!

1. Dior Airflash Foundation - the best foundation that comes in a aerosol format :) feels weightless on your skin and gives you buildable coverage. I love it. 
2. Amore Pacific - Cushion Foundation - I tried a few different cushion foundations this year, and Amore Pacific has got to be my choice this year. The color matches my skin perfectly and lasts all day. 
3. Giorgio Armani - Luminous Silk Foundation - I've been using this foundation for the past 3 years and I keep coming back to it. It gives you luminous skin and doesn't have a cakey finish. 
4. Charlotte Tilbury - Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder - I LOVE this powder. Even though it is pricier, I will keep using it. I use this on days that I do not feel like putting on any liquid foundation, or if I wanted touch ups mid day, this can do the job. It makes you look airbrushed - really, it does!
5. Maybelline - Hydrate and Smooth Foundation  - this is my choice for my drugstore foundation of choice. It gives a medium coverage and is very adorable at less than $10.

1. Sephora Gel Serum Concealer - I discovered this a few months ago, and it has taken over the few concealers I have been using on rotation. It gives good coverage and has 20 different shades to choose from. From the site, it says that it has 21% pigment, allowing for effective coverage without feeling heavy, and doesn't settle into fine lines. 
2. Maybeline Instant Age Rewind Concealer  - A great drugstore find! Be careful which color you go for though, I like the neutralizing one, and I have a feeling I'll like the medium shade as well but it is always out of stock. I tried the brightening one once, and absolutely hated it - so stay away from that one! 

My absolute weakness - it really was quite hard to narrow it down, however my top selections high end, drugstore and cream based are:
1. Clinique - Color Pop Blush - not only is the packaging of the product adorable, but the product itself is great. I have three different shades - Heather, Rosy and Ginger and I reach for Heather the most. It gives you great color, buildable but the way it applies on your face is almost sheer-like. It doesn't look powdery or cakey. LOVE it!
2. Annabelle - Blushes * - Great pigmentation, great lasting power, great drugstore find and you can usually find them on sale for around $5-$6 a piece.
3. Inglot - Cream Blush - I find myself quite picky when it comes to cream blushes. I don't want anything with a greasy feeling and I want it to last all day and I found everything I want in a cream blush here :) If you haven't tried it before, I highly suggest you do. It's cheaper than Bobbi Brown or Becca and outperforms them.

1. Kat Von D - Shade and Light Contour Palette - my choice for contour powder. Three different shades, all works for my medium skin tone. 
2. Charlotte Tilbury - Bronze and Glow Palette - this is my choice for favorite hilight. It gives you a subtle yet beautiful golden glow to your face. LOVE! I will be taking this with me on vacation to the Dominican in March! With a tan this will be utterly fabulous!
3. Charlotte Tilbury - Wonder Glow - My FAVORITE liquid hilighter here. I add this usually to my liquid foundation and it gives me a gorgeous dewy finish. You can also add this to the high points of your face. 

1. LORAC Pro Palette - My palette of choice this year. I was coveting this for years, and finally got my hands on it. You can create a neutral to bold look with it... you really just need this one palette with you when you travel. 
2. Colour Pop & Milani - at around $5 this would be my "drugstore" shadow of choice. While I know that you can't pick up Colour Pop shadows at the drugstore per say, the price of it is really comparable to what you can find at a drugstore. My second drugstore shadow of choice, would be the Milani Gel Shadows
3. Make Up Forever Artist Shadows - with 198 colors to choose from, you can't ever say that you can't find your perfect shade. The pigmentation of these are incredible and so is the performance. I picked up a few at IMATS this year and I LOVE them :)

1. Marcelle - Extension Plus * - This drugstore mascara gives me length and volume. It does better than over half of the high end mascaras have done for me. 
2. Dior Show Iconic Over Curl - I use this if I'm feeling a bit fancier as afterall, it is higher end. It gives me a beautiful curl without having to manually curl my lashes before hand.
3. Estee Lauder - Little Black Primer * - This has been my HOLY GRAIL product. I use this primer every time now before applying any type of mascara. In addition, I love the length and seperation it gives me. Sometimes I wear this alone as the primer is black. Paired with any mascara, it takes the mascara to a new level. I highly suggest you all to try this. It is a little drier in texture - so if you buy it, don't be shocked. I will be definitely getting another when this is done. 
4. Kat Von D - Ink Liner in Trooper - Ultra black, ultra pigmented. Gives you an amazing wing. There is no other. 

If you want brows on "fleek" you need these two in your life. On days that I have time to perfect my brows , I go for the Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade. If I am on the run, and need to be out the door ASAP, I go for the Anastasia Brow Wiz.

* I forgot to put my favorite brow gel here - that is the Milani Brow Gel :)

1. Estee Lauder - Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lip Volumizer *- this product is really great. I keep it in my purse and use it any chance I get. It contains the fancy self adjusting color property that gives you a beautiful shade of pink to your lips and also adds a bit of volume without ever feeling like you rubbed a chili on your lips. It is ultra nourishing and even gives my lips comfort in this cold weather for my chapped lips.
2. Tom Ford Lipstick - My luxury lipstick of choice. Beautiful colors, pigmentation and goes on like a dream. One swipe is all you need. 
3. Essence Lipstick - My drugstore pick . These lipsticks are so cheap and so worth the money. It comes in a bevy of colours as well. 

 My favorite lash glue has to come from Esquido*. You do not need to wait 30 seconds for it to get tacky before applying, Just swipe on your lashes and wait about 2-3 seconds and then place on your lashes. Best part is it helps your lashes stay on all night and you can even peel the glue off the band with your fingers without having to force it.

To keep this post as short as possible, I said to myself, no skincare, or else it could last all day, but I had to add this one last product (I will include some names of the brands that carried some of my favorite products this year - B.Kamins and Paula's Choice)

This is the Indie Lee Blemish Stick. I have introduced this to countless of people, I even have one coworker so hooked on it I think she's on her.. 6th? bottle? Anyways, this stuff is marvelous. A little dab when you feel a flare up coming, and it's gone the next day. It doesn't burn like mad and it just simply works for me.

What are some of your beauty favorites for 2015? I'm so looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings in the world of beauty, but until then - Happy New Year everyone!

Lots of Love, XO - M.

2015 Sephora VIB Sale and Black Friday Haul

I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas this year - I spent mine with family starting with Christmas Service on Christmas Eve and then various family events on the 25th. This is a long overdue post, instead of opting to forego posting this since a significant time has passed since the VIB sale, I decided to still post it and have it count as some light reading for you guys :)

Like always, I take advantage of this sale to stock up on items that I always use, and also on Christmas gifts :) This year was like no other, I picked up a few items I have always wanted to try out, and also, since Christmas has now passed, I also picked up a few gifts for my friends and family.

Ever since being selected by Influenster to try out the Laneige Water Gel Sleeping Mask, I was hooked on Laneige products. My husband needed some toner, so I picked up the toner and sparkling foam cleanser. 

I actually had picked up TWO of the Bumble and Bumble thickening dryspun finish sets, however one of them was already gifted to my friend, and the other is for me. The Holiday season is the perfect time to pick up value sets - for the same price as a stand alone thickening drys spun finish spray, during the holidays in this set, it comes with deluxe thickening shampoo and conditioners. 

The Shiseido Benefiance was a gift for my mom. She had told me that she wanted one, so I took advantage of this 20% off sale to pick one up for her. 

The Tarte palette was for one of my really good friends, Meagan

For those who were invited to the VIB Rouge Pre-Sale event, were handed loot bags that were actually really good this year. I never had the heart to drop $150 on the Fresh Honey Mask, so to get a deluxe sample was like wining the jackpot for me. Also, a few other items included were things that I've wanted to try (Glam Glow eye mask, Benefit Brow) and products I already love (Clinique - Moisture Surge and Kat Von D - lipsticks).

Finally, I picked up the Fresh seaberry hand cream and the Too Faced Hangover Rx Primer for the coming cold winter weather in Toronto :) 

The second haul below is from the Black Friday sale - at $13 each, I also picked up the below items as advanced holiday gifts for people as well. In addition, there was a Sephora promotion where you got the below sample bag included with your purchase. 

Note to you guys, always take advantage of Sephora promotions. to get a sample bag with a makeup bag is always a nice bonus.

Come back soon to see my 2015 Favorites Round-Up.

Until next time - XO, M.

Paula's Choice Skincare - Resist Skin Firming Line Minimizer*

I was introduced to Paula's Choice Skincare earlier this year (see post here) and when I had my skin consultation, I was matched to the Resist line and I loved every product recommended to me and what it did for my skin. You can imagine how happy I was, when I had the opportunity to try out the newest product from the Resist Line recently - which is the Skin Firming Line Minimizer. It was just launched in November and can be purchased through Paula's Choice's website and retails for $50.

As skin matures, it begins to gradually lose its firmness. Collagen and elastin production slows down, causing the dreaded crow's feet and frown lines on your face. This new product is a silky, fast-absorbing and highly targeted treatment. Proven barrier repair and cell-communicating ingredients help repair damaged elastin. Its amino acid complex is proven to rev up skin's metabolism. It "reawakens" skin's ability to regulate healthy collagen production and elastin repair - so you'll see firmer, less wrinkled skin with time!

The treatment's firming results are similar to retinol, making it an effective alternative for those with retinol sensitivity- or it can be used in conjunction with a retinol product for enhanced results.

It is packaged in an airless vessel with a dropper to allow precise dispensing of the product. The packaging allows the ingredients within the serum to be protected from any light and air exposure, thereby making sure it delivers the highest level of efficiency for a healthier, youthful-looking complexion.

This product is meant to be put on as the last step of your nightly skincare routine. Remove the cap from the applicator and gently push down on the button at the end of the container to dispense the product. Gently massage it into the targeted areas where wrinkles or expression lines are present.

Here are some before and after pictures (on my hand) of the product and how it almost instantaneously removes a majority of the deeper fine lines on the back of my hand. I think that with repeated use, it can definitely help with erasing the lines and wrinkles on one's face. I had given this to my mom to try as well, and will report back on the results. Although I personally do not have any fine lines or crows feet on my face yet, I do have to admit that I have lost some firmness in my eye and upper cheek area. With continued use of this product for 2+ weeks, I have seen a plumper cheek area. I personally believe in preventing fine lines and wrinkles vs. treating it when I already see it. Therefore, this product is perfect to add on as a last step in my nightly skincare routine.

Until next time, XO - M.

Make Up For Ever - Lash Show Instant Drama False Lashes*

I've got some excited news to share with all of you! Recently, Make Up For Ever launched Lash Show - a new line of 50 HANDMADE, false lash styles designed for the easiest applications to intensity eyes in a flash. They retail for $22 Cdn each and can be found at Sephora, Sephora.ca and Make Up For Ever Boutiques. The line is made up of 27 Natural and 23 Creative Impact lash options to suit any style and occasion. These lashes are created for long wear and continued use over time - that means that you get more bang for your buck. You can wear them more than a few times, and they won't be destroyed.
The lashes are 100% synthetic fibers and are light weight and comfortable. The band on the lash is thin, so you won't feel it weighing down on your lids. In addition of the band being thin, it is also flexible making it easily adaptable to shape onto any eye shape. 

Each hygienic Lash Show set contains Make Up For Ever's gentle, latex-free adhesive with a unique, easy to apply eyeliner tip. The amount is generous enough that you can save it to use for any future lash applications as well. I love that the adhesive is actually from Make Up For Ever, and not some no-name brand which may end up irritating your eyes. 

The various styles of lashes means that you will be able to find a style that can cater to your tastes, whether you are an every day user or a pro makeup artist. 

The lashes are available in four different styles:
1. Natural Volume - 13 everyday lash styles that increase length or volume for natural-looking enhancement.
2. Dramatic Volume - 13 fuller lash options for a slightly more dramatic result. These are suitable for both day or evening looks. 
3. Winged - 9 beautiful cat-eye style lashes
4. Artistic - inspired by pro makeup artists, this dramatic range of 15 artistic styles set the stage for elaborate looks and show-stopping lashes. This collection gives you the opportunity to express your inner artist and transform lashes as your stand-out accessory. 

Application Tips: 
Some advise that you should always put mascara on first, prior to lash application, however, I find that the mascara causes a stiffness to my lashes, which in turn makes it harder for me to place the false lashes on my lash line. I prefer to lower the false lashes onto my natural lash line, and go as close to it as possible thereby creating a seamless look. For the glue, make sure you brush it on, and wait for a few seconds to become tacky - you will know when it's ready when the glue turns from a blue-ish hue to clear. I like to lower the false lashes and adhere the center of the lash first, then proceed with lowering the sides to glue it down.  You can finish off the look by applying liquid liner (I suggest liquid only because it has less product transfer which won't ruin your falsies as much as gel or something wax based) to hide the band. If you really want to, you can add a coat of mascara - but that will definitely shorten the life, and may possibly ruin your falsies faster. 

The pair I opted for was N - 403. N=Natural.

Here's a close-up of the lashes. The criss-cross pattern near the first half of the lashes creates a more natural fluttery effect that I always love and look for when I purchase a pair of falsies. 

Until next time, XO - M.

Holiday 2015 Nail Art Contest - Nail Polish Canada

Hey Everyone :) For those of you who have been a part of my blog for the past year, you will know that I love to do some nail art on occasion. The one I have been most proud of is the nail art I did for Halloween 2014 to enter the Nail Polish Canada Halloween Nail Art Contest. I ended up winning Readers Pick - which was quite the honor! You can see my submission here.

This year, while I am late in my submission, I still wanted to do one for fun for their 2015 Holidays Contest. There are so many talented artists and I really can't pick my favorite! If you would like to support me please vote for my entry here (I am Number #26) :) I decided to do something different this year compared to my last submission. I wanted to originally do characters and scenes from one of my favorite Holiday Movies - Elf, but I already did the Addams family for the last contest.

Here are some of the products I used to create this look:

Here are additional pictures of what I've done :) 

Until next time - XO, M.

Makeup Monday: Glitter Liner and Red Lip Holiday Look

This week I bring to you my second holiday makeup look. I decided to put my own twist on the classic winged liner and red lipstick look by adding some dark  glitter on the liner. In some angles and under certain lights, you will be able to see the dark blue/silver reflect which I think adds an extra something special to the look. Otherwise, from far away it really just looks like a classic winged liner. 

Ever since discovering Lit Cosmetics at IMATS, I've been trying to incorporate it into all my holiday looks this year! Also, Instead of doing such a bold red lip as some people (like myself) may find it intimidating, I decided to go for a red gloss instead. This way, it adds the tint of color without being too pigmented.

Here's a close up of the glitter liner paired with the KoKo by KOKO lashes. 

 Here's a list of the products used:

Foundation: Maybelline Hydrate & Smooth 
mixed with Charlotte Tilbury: Wonder Glow for extra dewiness
Concealer: Sephora Gel Serum no.11
Eyes: Make Up Forever Shadows - M-534 (leige matte beige all over the lid), M-646 (matte light brown) in the crease with a fluffy brush, and M-608 (matte dark brown) very lightly placed on the outer corners for some dimension, although it's not showing quite well in the picture from the lighting 
Liner: Kat Von D - Trooper
Glitter: Lit Cosmetics Seeing Stars
Blush: Buxom (Seduction) 
Contour Kit: Kat Von D Shade & Light
Lashes: KoKo by KOKO Lashes
Lash Glue: Esquido (holy grail)
Highlight: Charlotte Tilbury from the Filmstar Bronze and Glow Palette
Lips: Gerard Cosmetics - Candy Apple

I hope you enjoyed this makeup look! I have a feeling I'll be doing this exact look for my holiday events this year!
Until next time - XO, M.

Makeup Monday: Neutral Bronzed Glitter Holiday Makeup Look

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought that I would create some holiday looks for my Makeup Monday posts :) The first one I'd like to start with is a neutral bronzed glitter eye look. The holidays is a perfect time to bring out that glitter to add some extra sparkle to your look and you would never be blamed for being too glittery! When I went to IMATS this year, I bought some glitters from Lit Cosmetics  so I decided to play around with it and create this look for you.

Here's a close up of the eye look. I decided to opt out of using liner as I do not have much lid space and having included liner would take away from the glittery-ness I was trying to achieve. 

Attached below are pictures of the products I used to create the look. I will try my best to list everything, however for the eyes, I primarily used the Lorac Pro palette.  I blended Cream all over the lid and brow bone, took Mauve at the crease with a fluffy brush and used a finer crease brush and blended Sable and Espresso to the outer crease focusing in the shape of a V.

I then packed on Lit Cosmetics in Oprah with the Liquid Glitter Base focusing only on the mobile lid area. 

Foundation: Amore Pacific Cushion Foundation (Review coming soon)
Lipstick: Tom Ford Indian Rose 
Concealer: Sephora Gel Serum Concealer shade 11
Corrector: Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener
Contour: LA Girl Pro Conceal in Beautiful Bronze
Contour Powder to set the cream contour: Kat Von D Shade and Light Palette
Brows: Etude House and Milani Brow Gel 
Blush: Hour Glass Luminous Flush 

Lashes used are KOKO lashes in number 201 - I bought them at LadyMoss.com
I used the Esquido Lash Glue to apply them and it's amazing! It beats my old DUO glue x100, there is no drying time to wait for it to get tacky before applying and it holds all day and washes off very easily! I would keep repurchasing this for sure!

Here are a couple more pictures of the look I created

Tune in next Monday for another holiday inspired look! 

Until next time, XO - M.

September to November 2015 Product Empties

I have made it a mission the last few months, to use up as much existing open product as possible and I think I did quite well in the past 3 months! Keep on reading to see what I loved and would re-purchase again, and what other products made it on the regrets list!

Products Above:
1. L'oreal Ever Pure - Sulfate Free Color Care System Volume Shampoo 
Repurchase? Yes!
Why? I love everything about this shampoo, from the scent, which is a minty herbally scent to the results - it doesn't weigh down my hair nor does it strip my dyed hair color. I don't really see any VOLUMIZING properties, but I do love this shampoo alot! The only other one I may like more is the Herbal Essences Naked Volume Shampoo

2. Bath & Body Works - Harvest Body Wash
Repurchase? No.
Why? I didn't find it moisturizing, even though it says it contains Shea and Vitamin E. When I read the ingredients in the back, alcohol is one of them which may explain why I feel drier than normal especially in the winter months. The scent is also quite artificial and overly pungent.

3. Aveda - Rosemary Mint Shampoo
Repurchase? Maybe later on.
Why? It's really too expensive for shampoo and ever since finding Herbal Essences Naked Volume, I see no reason to really having to repurchase this again.

4. Living Proof - Flex Shaping Hair Spray
Repurchase? Maybe later on
Why? Again, this is a higher end product in terms of cost. While it does an amazing job and the scent is wonderful, I am trying to find a drugstore dupe that will do the same. This hairspray gives me a light feeling but strong hold and adds volume and texture. I really am quite fond of it and have repurchased it before.

5. Body Shop - Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser 
Repurchase? not now
Why? I just don't need it, I found the Indie Lee Spot Treatment Solution that works on targeted break out spots.

6. Miracle 10 - Solution 1
Repurchase? later on
Why? It is a pricier item, and while I got it in a PR package to review, I would like to try out other products first and see what else is in the market.

7. First Aid Beauty - Facial Radiance Pads
Repurchase? Yes, later on
Why? These are really good exfoliating pads that really do work to brighten your skin and get out your black heads and dirt.

8. First Aid Beauty - Dual Repair Face Cream
Repurchase? No. 
Why? I didn't like the texture or the product.

9. Nails Inc - 45 Second Top Coat
Repurchase? Yes! Always! Forever! 
Why? IT WORKS. It gives you a high gloss shine and dries your nails quickly. This is how i can afford to always change my polishes!

10. Saje - Tree Scent Eseential Oil Blend
Repurchase? Yes
Why? love it for my Saje diffuser! So relaxing and calming! I also like Mountain High

11. Atrix Beauty Charge - Honey Milk Hand Lotion
Repurchase? Yes! (if I can find it, because I got it from Japan, my sister in law got me 2 more on her recent trip)
Why? It works on my eczema prone skin in the winter. It's not greasy, absorbs quickly and the scent is very nostalgic to my trip to Tokyo 3 years ago.

12. EOS - Coconut Milk Lip Balm
Repurchase? No.
Why? I don't like EOS products, I don't find them entirely moisturizing

13: Algenist - Eye Cream
Repurchase? Maybe later
Why? It's expensive! I got this as a deluxe sample and will keep my eye out for when its available. This stuff is potent and it really works, but I don't think I'm ready to bite the bullet and buy it yet. I am trying out the GinZing Origins eye cream now and I'm quite fond of it, and it's about 1/2 or maybe even 1/3 of the cost

14: Origins - GinZing Mascara
Repurchase? No.
Why? Didn't work for me, My drugstore Covergirl and Maybelline mascara worked much better! 

15: Aurora - Eye Liner
Repurchase? No, good thing I got it for free in my Ipsy Bag
Why? Not pigmented at all - watery and patchy! Also has a weird scent.

16. Anastasia - Clear Brow Gel
Repurchase? Maybe later
Why? I'm pretty happy with the Milani brow gel right now, it does the job for less than half the price!

17. Indie Lee - Blemish Stick 
Repurchase? YES! 
Why? Anytime I feel a flare up, I put this on and it's gone the next day. I've recommended this to so many people and they all love it. My one coworker has repurchased it... four times now? She's addicted.

What are some of your empties this month? Have you tried out anything I've mentioned above?
Until next time, XO - M.