Swatch: Essie Gel Couture Wedding Collection by Reem Acra*

Essie has collaborated with bridal and formal occasion designer, Reem Acra to create a collection of six polishes to capture the excitement of the royal wedding. This is in the gel couture formulation and I have swatched them all below. In addition, I have also noted how many layers it took to achieve the swatches below. 

640 - Picture Perfect - three layers ~ this is almost like a translucent formulation, with one layer you could very well pair it with a french tip manicure. 
610 - Handmade of Honor - one layer ~ the perfect metallic rose gold that went on effortlessly.
650 - You're Golden - two layers ~ this is a true gold that goes on streak free.
620 - Getting Intricate - two layers ~ one layer is enough but two gives you that bold baby bird breakfast blue.
630 - Moments to Mrs. - three layers ~ this is a sheer formulation that contains gold flecks within. It almost looks like a jelly finish and is very unique.
660 - Forever Family - one layer ~ this is my favorite shade out of the entire collection. One layer is all it took to give a flawless finish.
I'd love to know which one is your favorite! Mine would have to be Forever Family and Handmade of Honor.

Until next time, XO - M

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

My Journey with Postpartum Hairloss*

Postpartum hairloss is no joke, just when you thought that the tough part is over, you know the labor, delivery and recovery from the tear or c-section, you have another wave of things to encounter postpartum. For me, it included some minor swelling in my ankles (which is weird because I never had any swelling during pregnancy) and the worst of it for me is the postpartum hair-loss. My friend Jamie from Girl Loves Gloss and I were sharing our journey through this and we both agreed that it was quite traumatizing. CHUNKS of hair would fall out during the shower and my silver drain cover would turn black with hair once done. When you think that you've lost enough in the shower, you go to blowdry your hair and the same amount of hair falls out again, the entire bathroom floor is covered with hair. So all in all you feel like you can create cousin IT (from Addams Family) with the amount of hair you have lost during one shower. What is supposed to be a relaxing shower has now turned into IM GOING BALD frantic moments with a wave of anxiety. Needless to say I was on a hunt to find some products that would help me out through this ordeal and I think I've narrowed it down to the below items that have helped me through the roughest parts.

First up, we have the LUSH - NEW shampoo bar which is a a product I have been using for YEARS and have talked about on the blog many times. This product has helped me through a prior hair loss battle when I was in University when I was loosing chunks of hair due to stress. This helped me regain hair in my bald spots and helped maintain hair growth. I had recommended this to my previous coworker who was battling hair loss due to a thyroid problem and it helped her grow back so much hair as well. This is a great product and I highly recommend this! One thing to note is that it does dry out your ends a bit, so make sure you do a good hair mask session 2-3x a week or invest in a good hair conditioner. This product is so good though that it is worth it.

Next up, we have the Nioxin line. Nioxin is a haircare product that specifically focuses on hair loss/thinning in both men and women. Before purchasing I highly recommend using the consultation tool online to determine which line/range is best suited for you. For me, I was best suited to use system 4 which was created for colored hair individuals who were experiencing serious hair loss.  It came with a shampoo, conditioner and treatment. After using this, you could also include the Night Density Rescue which is a targeted hair treatment specifically created to reduce hair loss. Overall, I liked how clean my hair felt, it also allowed me to take a break between shampoos by controlling the oil production in my roots. I was able to wash my hair every other day (which speaks alot). I really enjoyed the Night Density Rescue out of the lot.

My friend Jamie had told me about this product that she had heard about, and being a previous fan of OGX products already (I have written about it alot on the blog before), I knew I had to try it out. It is also in a very reasonable drugstore price so what is there to lose? You can find this for under $10 a bottle and at 385ml I would say that is VERY reasonable. The Niacin3 + Caffeine Hair Shampoo and Conditioner is specifically created to exfoliate the scalp and combat hair loss. It made my scalp feel so clean and not in a squeaky kind of way, just in a weightless and fresh kind of way and it feels GREAT. I could go 2-3 days without washing my hair and the conditioner worked well too. I highly recommend this duo!

Lastly, there is the L'Oreal Serioxyl Line that again is a step system that includes a shampoo, conditioner and treatment. For additional assistance, there is the Serioxyl Denser Serum to be applied every evening directly to the scalp. This system is quite similar in terms of steps to the Nioxin above, except that in the kit, the L'Oreal line has a serum as Step 3, and Nioxin has a mousse. It is up to personal preference then to which you prefer. This product worked well, it reduced some hair loss but I found it to be a little drying to the hair shaft itself. 
Out of the four products above, the way I would rank them would be LUSH, OGX, Nioxin and then L'Oreal. My must buys would be LUSH and OGX :)

Do you have any products you use to prevent hairloss? I'd love to hear about them!

Until next time, XO - M.

*Products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

June 2018 Favorites

It's been a while since my last favorites post - so I thought I would share with you my newest loves i have been keeping in my rotation for the past few weeks. As always, I narrow it down to 10 items and for convenience I have also seperated them into categories - makeup, skincare/misc & lipsticks. 

Clarins - Everlasting Compact Foundation - in the summer, I love to keep my makeup as minimalistic as possible. This Clarins powder foundation has been a godsend. It offers a sheer to medium buildable coverage (I still tend to just do one sweep on the face and keep it to a light layer). It makes my face look flawless and imperfections are diffused. 

Sephora - Bright Future Skin Tint - on days that I want a bit more coverage I will go for this skin tint. It is cooling to the skin and just covers a bit more than the powder above and lasts all day. This also makes my skin look beautiful and airbrushed.

L'Oreal - LUMI Glotion - who doesn't want to look tanned and glowy in the summer? I know I do and this is a great product to use in the summertime and is a great price point too. If you want an overall glow, I like to use half the amount of Glotion mixed with foundation and apply that concoction on the face. In addition, you can of course apply the highlighter to the high points of the cheeks.

Touch in Sol - No Poreblem primer - this has been a saviour for the hot summer months. It keeps my oil control at bay.  It also smooths out my face and allows for a good base for further makeup application. 

Dior - Diorshow On Stage Liquid Eyeliner - it is hard for me to find a liner that delivers an even line with a semi flexible brush tip thats super pigmented. My ride or die has always been the Clio Kill Black liner but this one is a great alternative on the luxury end.

L'Oreal - Micellar Water - I have been telling everyone about this Micellar Water, I apply this to a cotton pad and it removes all traces of makeup with one pad. It is amazing! It is a great duplicate of the Lancome Bi-phase makeup remover. 
Avene - Eau Thermale - I like to use this to refresh my makeup or just to make me feel refreshed throughout the day. Also, my friend told me this is great for eczema prone skin and I have been using it on my hands. 
ThisWorks - Deep Sleep Pillow Spray - To relax in my beauty room,  I love to use - one spritz is all it takes. I wish I could use this in the bedroom but I currently have baby in my bedroom so it says I cannot use it just yet around babies. 

L'Oreal - Colour Riche Shine Glossy Lipstick - These are AMAZING! If you love lipbalms and want something a bit more pigmented then this is what you need. It delivers beautiful color that keeps your lips looking glossy and moisturized. I literally want these in every color possible!
Givenchy - Le Rouge Lipstick - Couture Edition - this is another gorgeous berry toned lipstick that is a true pigmented buttery one. It's great for summer with my tanned skin, really makes it pop!

Until next time, XO - M.

*this post features products that were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review: Kérastase Paris - The Réflection Collection*

I had previously tried and written about Kerastase products before, specifically the Densifique collection made specifically to address fine hair. If you're interested in reading my thoughts on that collection, click here. I was recently sent a few other collections to try and I thought I'd share my thoughts on the Réflection items to address colored hair first. For those who don't know I do dye my hair as I inherited greys quite early on so I have to dye my hair every 2-3 months to cover them up. As for my other hair concerns, I have thin hair that is prone to be oily quite easily.

If you're interested in learning my thoughts, then keep on reading below.

Review: Mary Kay TimeWise® Miracle Set 3D™ Skincare*

Mary Kay has been a company that I have been using for a long while now, if you do a search on my blog you can see that I have been a fan of their make-up and as such, I am excited to try their newest product launch in skincare, called TimeWise. This is a line dedicated to combat early signs of aging and is separated into Normal/Dry and then Oily/Combination so that it can work with everyone.

The products can be purchased separately, or in a set (as featured above), which includes:
1. 4-in-1 Cleanser ~ prepares your skin for the rest of the skincare routine by removing dirt and exfoliating it. A little bit of this product goes a long way, so I recommend a dime size to begin with! It left my skin feeling cool and refreshed and super soft and hydrated. 
2. Day Cream with SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen ~ helps to neutralize free radicals on the skin and leaves your skin moisturized for 12 hours and providing UVA/UVB protection.
3. Night Cream ~ prepares your skin for the stressors of the next day with a boost of bedtime antioxidants and leaves your skin hydrated for the remainder 12 hours.
4. Eye Cream ~ brightens the eye area immediately and moisturizes the eye area for 12 hours. This eye cream is suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. 

Each item features their Age Minimize 3D Complex, including encapsulated reservatrol, vitamin B3 and an age-defying peptide - as described on their site. 

What is great about this collection is that it has been dematologist-tested and has been tested and is suitable for those who have skin irritations and allergies. It is also fragrance and oil-free.

Based on their studies, their website indicates that after 4 weeks, users saw a reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, and have improved in luminosity, smoothness, softness and overall feel. The set retails for $159.00 Canadian, or again can be purchased separately as well.

Until next time, XO - M

*Products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review & Demo: Multi-Masking with Avon Anew Masks*

I am a huge fan of masking and Avon recently launched three new clay masks from their ANEW line. The three listed from left to right in the above photo include: Anew Calming Clay Mask with Aloe, Anew Purifying Clay Mask with White Charcoal Powder and Anew Brightening Clay Mask with Citrus Peel Extract.  The titles of each mask are pretty self explanatory, and the way I go about multi-masking is to use a specific mask to address different areas of concern on my face. 

What I have loved doing is using a brush to apply the mask on to my face. It feels super luxurious and just takes the mess out of things. It also helps to apply the mask much more evenly for a full coverage. When it comes time to remove the mask, I use a sponge like the one pictured below. I wet it and squeeze dry, leaving it just damp enough to wipe off the mask. The sponge acts as a natural exfoliator to help take off the product from my face. The set above is actually from EcoTools and is called the Facial Mask Mates. I highly suggest you to purchase this product it's a drugstore item but honestly is even comparable to high-end brands.

Here is what my face looks like when multi-masked. I applied the Purifying Mask to my T-Zone and nose, the calming mask to my forehead and chin and then the brightening one to my cheeks and lower jaw line. 

I decided to film a quick 1 minute tutorial below as well if you want to take a look!

Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.

Review: Dove Shower Foam*

I don't know what took me so long to try these out because I was sent these a few months ago - I was so caught up with motherhood and before that obviously I was pregnant so time just flew by. Anyways, I just started using them and I am in love. It is so lightweight, yet it does a great job cleansing the skin effectively while leaving me feeling moisturized after. 

This is the Deep Moisture Shower Foam from Dove and it is sulphate and paraben free. I found that 3-4 pumps is enough to wash the entire body, which means that this bottle will last a long time. It washes off easily and does not leave behind any residue. It comes also in a variety of fragrances and formulas like Shea Butter with Warm Vanilla that is divine and comforting, Cucumber and Green Tea that is so refreshing, I think that is perfect for summer and there is also one sensitive skin.

This product is a definite must by!

Until next time, XO - M

*products were sent to me for consideration. all opinions are my own


The Spring 2018 Collection from Essie is centered around a Nautical Theme and attached in this post features 5 of the 6 polishes in the collection. What is missing is a bright coral tone named "At the Helm". 

Just a quick review of the shades - Pass-Port to Sail required three coats to achieve the swatch below as it is more of a sheer polish. Bon Boy-Age and Perfect Mate required two coats and Anchor Down and Stripes & Sails only needed one. 

As always, the polishes go on smoothly, and I have been wearing Anchor Down for a few days now and have not had any chips. It's great that the darker shades only require one layer. What's your favorite shade from the collection? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, XO - M

*products were snet to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review, Swatch & Tutorial: Flights of Fancy - Wet n' Wild Summer 2018 Limited Edition Collection*

The Summer Collection from Wet n Wild is curated and inspired by the feathers of the Allen's and Costa hummingbirds. This collection is vibrant and colorful, perfect for summer. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Los Angeles Audubon Society, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect birds and their habitats. These funds will benefit a habitat restoration project for the Allen's Hummingbird, an endangered California native. 

This collection includes the items listed above, which are:
- 3 Color Icon Eyeshadow Quads: Stop Ruffling My Feathers, Flock Party, Hasta La Costa Baby
- 3 MegaLiner Liquid Eyeliners: You are my Wingman, Winged n' Wild, Gilded Wings
- 4 Color Icon Lip Glosses: Fly Gal, Featherless, Pout of Paradise, Shut the Pluck Up
- 3 Color Icon Baked Blushes: Don't Flutter Yourself, Hummingbird Hype and Dare to Soar
- Perfect Pout Lip Scrub - Watermelon
- Photo Focus Primer Water

The below look is created with my favorite palette of the three, Hasta La Costa Baby, which is the purple and teal one. 

Below are swatches of the liquid liners, blushes and glosses. From top down of :
- The liners, we have: Gilded Wings, Winged n' Wild, You Are My Wingman. 
- The blushes: Don't Flutter Yourself, Hummingbird Hype and Dare To Soar
- The lipglosses: Featherless, Fly Gal, Shut the Pluck Up and Love Bird Affair

All of the products are beautifully pigmented, and I really have nothing negative to say about it - as you can see from the lip swatches below with one swipe you get a very generous delivery of color. 

The shadow palettes below, we have from left to right: Hasta La Costa Baby, Stop Ruffling my Feathers and Flock Party

The shadows are gorgeous and hard to believe are drugstore formulations. The mattes are creamy and finely milled and the metallics as you can see from the picture above packs a punch, especially when layered on top of a cream base. On the lid I preferred putting it on a cream base, but my arm swatches were done with no base or primer at all. 

The only one product I would have to comment on is the spray - it is a bit aggressive if its too close to the face, so you have to spray it from a bit farther than usual to get the mist vs. droplets. 

Products below are what was used to create my featured look in this blog post. 

Here's a quick video of how I used the products to create the look:

Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.

Review & Demo: Pink Gellac Gel Polish Starter Kit

Ever wanted to get those beautiful gel polish manicures but never wanted to pay for it? The last time I got one was many years ago and they were charging about $45 canadian for a manicure with gel polish. It honestly just got so expensive it wasn't worth it for me to continue getting it done considering it grows out and you have to probably get it done every 2 weeks or so. I had tried a few brands of do it at home gel polishes over the years, some I loved, some I hated so when I was contacted by Pink Gellac with respect to trying out their starter kit, I naturally had to say yes! I love painting my nails and since having a baby I wash my hands so much that regular polish doesn't seem to stay as long anymore. In comes gel polish, it stays put after application and stays fresh and glossy for as long as you have it on. 

The starter kit that was sent to me retails for $99 on their website but is currently on sale for $49.50, which in itself honestly is the price of two salon visits. I used to be so intimidated with doing this at home, but I have now mastered the craft of doing this that if you keep reading below, I'll give you some tips and tricks on what to do to achieve salon results at home! 

The Starter Kit comes with the below:
1 x Free Primer 
1 x Free Color Dynamic Pink

4 x Free online courses
1 x Pink Gellac LED Lamp
1 x Pink Gellac Base2

1 x Pink Gellac Ultra Shine 15ml

1 x Nail file 240-180 grid 
1 x Orange Woodsticks 
10 x Cleaner pockets
10 x Remover pockets

In my honest opinion, that is a VERY reasonable price for everything to get yourself started at home! Everything is packed in a small box for you, compact and doesn't take up alot of room either.

As you can see, the lamp is about the size of my hand. Gone are the days where there are HUGE lamps that take up a quarter of your desk (I still have those types of lamps from years ago). 

Below you will find everything you will get in your Starter Kit (plus three additional colors I was personally sent for review) ~ for yours, you will have one color (Dynamic Pink) as mentioned above.

How I do my nails! 
1. Take a nail buffer and buff the surface of your nails to smooth out all ridges (those will show under the gel and make the surface look a bit bumpy). If you want to get rid of your cuticles, you can use a cuticle eraser gel/liquid or trim them with some cuticle scissors. I personally do not like to trim my cuticles as I find that it makes the cuticle area peel after a few days, but that is your personal choice.

2. Brush off with a fluffy brush (I do not recommend washing your hands, you want to keep your nails as dry as possible). If you do want to wash your hands, then wait about an hour or two afterwards to start your gel polish application.

3.  Before starting your gel application, check around the nail bed for any skin tags that can affect the gel curing. If you see them, gently trim them with the cuticle scissors. 

4. File your nail to your desired shape and dust off. 

5. Start with brushing a light layer of primer on the nails - I cannot emphasize the LIGHT layer part enough. Every layer here on out has to be THIN or you will be left with a thick cured gel mess on your nails not looking like salon quality.

6. Apply the color, first coat super thinly (yes sometimes it will look super faint and like you want to put on a thicker layer, but do not be fooled!) Once it cures and you put on the second thin coat, it will work itself out and both layers will miraculously come together to show the true desired shade. 

7. Apply the final shine gel top coat and make sure that you horizontally seal the nail tips, this helps water from entering and seals the nail if that makes sense and cures it. 

8. Take the cleaner pocket and wipe the nail (the sticky layer). Once the stickiness is fully removed, I like to cure my nail under the LED lamp TWO more times to ensure that it is fully cured and hard. (This is something I personally do, the instructions do not say this, so do as you wish! But I found that this worked out for me!)

Finally, above you will fine the Cleaner Pocket packets and the Remover Pockets. I love that the remover pockets are all individually packed for each individual finger and is already in a pocket shape to slide your finger in which makes removal super easy. Before with competitor brands, you have to soak a cotton ball, put it over your nail then wrap the entire nail with tin foil and wait. This is much more practical! 

The end result :)

Overall I highly suggest purchasing this starter kit if you are looking to do a gel polish at home, its so effortless and from start to finish it took me about 20 minutes. With the ability to remove this at home, and not spend an arm and a leg at a salon, what do you have to lose!

Until next time, XO - M!

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review: My Oily Haircare Go-To's (all price points)*

Live Clean Mineral Clay Shampoo & Conditioner - $7.99 each for 350ml
I am so absolutely in love with this drugstore find ~ it contains 3 mineral clays: Kaolin, Montmorillonite and Bentonite and is enriched with certified organic botanicals of Apple Cider, Witch Hazel, Tea Tree and Green Tea.

It contains moisturizing ingredients as well like Vitamins C, E + Provitamin B5.  I really liked how this product cleansed my oily hair and kept it clean for 2-3 days after. I typically have to wash my hair EVERY DAY because it gets oily so quickly and I just feel so gross afterwards. This is the first product that has been able to give me a few days in between washes and makes my hair still feel soft and weightless.

The bonus thing is that these products are silicone, phthalate, SLS, Petrolatum, DEA, Paraben, Phosphate and Dye Free! It is Vegan and never tested on animals. The price is SO fair so this is my definite recommendation for you to try out.

Phillip Adam Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo & Conditioner - $14.50 for 355ml

This is a natural product that helps to maintain the pH balance of your hair. It is also said to gently detangle and smooth the hair while keeping it healthy and shiny. It is SLS free, biodegradable, contains no parabens and is vegan, cruelty and gluten free.

This product really helped to cleanse my scalp and make it feel extremely clean and detoxed. I really like the scent of apples in this it is so refreshing! I do not smell any of the "vinegar" notes at all so do not be intimidated to try this! It left my hair super soft, shiny and straight. I normally battle my waves but this is not an issue when I use this. I was able to go an extra day in between hair washes. I look forward to having the full-sized for my shower. I'll save these small sizes to take travelling with me!

Kerastase - Specifique Bain Divalent - $45 for 250ml

If you feel like splurging on your haircare and want a salon-quality product, look no further than this.

This product works to deeply cleanse the scalp while nourishing the hair shaft so you are left with balanced roots and healthy shiny hair. This shampoo contains Salicylic Acid, to cleanse the scalp. Lipacid to regulate the sebum production, which means it helps on the oil control front. It contains a cooling agent to help your scalp feel cleansed and fresh and contains Vitamin B6 for nourishing and a detangler.

This product worked well, it's pricey i'm not going to lie so if you want to splurge yourself then get this! Again, it works like the products above to cleanse the scalp and regulate the oil production. It does not weigh my hair down and gives me an extra day between cleanings.

Until next time, XO - M.

*products featured in this post were sent for review, all opinions are my own

Review & Swatches: TARTE H2O Lip Gloss - Rainforest of the Sea Collection*

I have been fortunate enough to be sent this gorgeous collection of glosses from Tarte. To do them justice, I have swatched them for you below on both my arm and on my lips. The lip glosses come in two different formulas - the High Shine Finish, which is solid opaque colors and the Shimmer Finish which as the name suggests, is shimmery or metallic duo chrome in finish. The Tarte H20 Lip Glosses retail for $23 each Canadian.

As you can see, the High Shine Finishes are extremely pigmented and what you see is only with ONE swipe! I truly love the formulation and it makes your lips look glossy and juicy.

I have also included a video I made of them swatched on my lips below :)

Until next time, XO - M.

*products were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own

Review: Cleanse while hydrating your skin with CeraVe*

For those of you who do not know, CeraVe was developed in 2005 with dermatologists to create a line of skincare products that contained their special blend of three essential ceramides (ceramide 1,3, and 6-II). It contains fatty acids and other lipids to help repair and strengthen the skin's natural barrier.  Currently, they offer over 70 products to cater to everyone and they are affordable, easily obtainable and recommended by dermatologists. CeraVe has also been awarded more Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association than any other brand. If you want to learn more about their story, then click here

I had never tried their products before until I was recently introduced to it when they were sent to me for review - I had posted my reviews of their famous moisturizing cream in the end of April, if you're interested you can search for it. But that cream has been great for eczema prone hands. The one thing I appreciate about this brand is that it is literally a no frills brand - meaning nothing extra, nothing unnecessary. It is just a reliable product, packaged simply and elegantly and does what it says. 

If you're interested in reading about their cleansers, then keep on reading below