Lovin’ Lately: July Faves

I’m going to be starting a new monthly feature: favourites.  Original, I know.  While not a particularly unique idea, I think it’s a great way to share with you – my valued readers – what I’ve been lovin’ lately.

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Beauty Faves

Y’all know my fave mascara.  Without a doubt, hands down, Maybellimascarasne Lash Sensational.  You can’t beat the performance for the price.  However, this month, I’ve discovered that one coat of Benefit’s They’re Real before two coats of the Maybelline just pops those lashes even more.  It makes the curl hold just a little bit better and creates an even better false lash look.  I think I’ll be posting about this combo again!

Real Techniques brushes have been my go to set of tools throughout July.  Again, another drugstore find that work just as well as many other high end brushes I’ve tried.  You can find them here in Canada at Wal-Mart, ranging in price for individual brushes to a set of two or three designed for a particular purpose.  They apply product beautifully and blend products like a dream.  What more are you really looking for in a set of brushes?  These gems just prove you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to create a fantastic look.

You may remember this post here – I had to rehab my beloved BECCA highlighter in Champagne Pop after an unfortunate fall to it’s death.  Great news!  The rehab efforts were successful and I’m able to cbeauty favesontinue using the product with just as much payoff as before.  I use it on clients and myself {not the same one, of course!}; sometimes on the face for a pop of summer glow, and sometimes on the eyes for a gorgeous shimmer look with little effort.  It just is, hands down, the best highlighter on the market.

The Dior Coral Glow Nude Tan is an older product, from 2013, I believe.  I sort of shopped my stash and found this forgotten star and broke it out for the month of August.  I don’t believe it’s made anymore, but it’s gorgeous and I’m sure Dior has something similar still or the products separately.  The bronzer is light and provides a subtle shimmer to the skin, while the blush is a perfect coral/pink shade, just as the name suggests.  I was able to subtly contour with the bronzer as I like to do and top the look with the blush for a perfect sun-kissed glow all month.

I posted earlier this week about the importance of skin care.  What got me thinking on this particular wavelength, you ask?  This product:  Origins’ Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask.  My skin gets particularly dehydrated in the summer – join the club, I guess you’re thinking.  Well, this helps to solve the problem.  I apply before bed as an overnight treatment.  I wake up with super smooth skin and as an added bonus, it can be applied elsewhere for dry patches {read: elbows or knees!}.

 

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Lifestyle Faves

This month, I’m throwing in a few lifestyle faves.  That’s the beauty of running your own blog!  I can post about both beauty and lifestyle whenever my little heart desires!

First up, I’ve been lovin’ my Longchamp Le Pliage tote in the gorgeous coral colour pictured above.  It’s functional and cute.   I work a regular 9-5 in addition to running L’nL, and often have a bag full of a lunch, a laptop, agenda and miscellaneous other papers, my iPad and my phone(s).  This keeps it all together in a durable tote that can be popped in the wash if it’s dirty and folds neatly to a flat rectangle {with handles} should I need to pack it on my often taken business trips.

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Before {small, perfect for a purse} |  After {functional and still uber cute!}

I guess I’ve really been lovin’ bags lately.  I’m constantly on the go and always have a re-useable tote with me.  My preferred bag is the Striped Packable Tote from Henri Bendel, a NYC based company with a Fifth Avenue flagship that makes my girly heart pitter patterevery time I go in there.  In addition to creating this gem of a tote, they create tons of other gorgeous accessories – travel bags {of which I have too many…}, jewelry, mugs, and home decor.  The company is US based – and is rumoured to be making it’s way to Canada – but they do ship to Canada.  Select items can be monogrammed, and I, of course, had to put my initials on my bag.  Like the stunning and talented Reese Witherspoon once said, if it isn’t moving, monogram it.  Check out all of Henri Bendel’s goods here.


 

That’s it for this month.  What have you been lovin’ lately?

 

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Maybelline Lash Sensational  |  Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Real Techniques Brushes {starter bundle here}  |  BECCA Highlighter in Champagne Pop 

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask   |   Longchamp Le Pliage Tote {similar}

Henri Bendel Striped Packable Tote

 

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Top 10: Drugstore Faves

Who doesn’t love a bargain? Truly, besides the obvious Kardashian’s of the world {and, I’d argue,there’s a few drugstore faves for them, too}, I’ve not yet met one person who doesn’t. If you’ve been reading for a while, you may have seen my similar post on my top 10 high end faves; it’s about time I do one for the drug store lover in you {sounds like a commercial, doesn’t it?}.

My criteria for what makes a ‘drugstore’ product is really quite simple: you can buy it in your local drugstore, Wal-Mart, Target, or grocery store, it’s not a department store product, and, generally speaking, it’s under the $20 mark. That’s it. Quite simple, really. I know the title of this post indicates it may be exclusive to drugstores, but I didn’t want to limit this post entirely. While your local drugstore may carry one or all of the items, I can almost guarantee there’s at least one of them available just at your fingertips.

 

Without further adieu, here goes:

1.) NYX Butter Lip Sticks and Butter Lip Glosses

{yes, it’s technically 2 products, but it’s my blog, so we’re going with it…}

There’s no particular shade preference here – I love them allllll!!! Y’all know that, though, right? The formula of both products are long wearing, highly pigmented, and keep my lips moisturized. The latter is the ABSOLUTE most important to me – I can’t stand the dry lip flakes that happen when a lippie dries you right out. NYX is quickly expanding their colour range, so visit your local drugstore to pick up one or both of these.

 

2.) Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

It’s no secret I love this stuff. You’ve read my rave posts before {see here}. It somehow manages to separate and volumize at the same time, while keeping a curl in my otherwise uber-striaght lashes. It doesn’t flake off and doesn’t transfer to my cheeks {unless it’s an unusually humid day, of course}. The price? You can’t beat it. I think the most expensive I’ve seen it for is $11, but if you’re savvy and watch for sales, you can get it for a cool $6. What’s not to love?

 

3.) L’oreal Color Infallible Eyeshadows

I have loved these since I first discovered Amber Rush many moons ago. They stay ooooonnnnnn without a primer, much like a pigment. The colour payoff? Insane. In fact, I’d compare these to the Armani Eyes to Kill Silk Shadows that retail for $42 here in Canada. Pro tip: save yourself the cash – stick to the drugstore version!

 

4.) Covergirl Shimmering Sands Eyeshadow Trio

This trio was, I believe, my first ever “palette” of shadows, and it’s still in my stash today {not the same one, of course}. It contains a matte, pearl, and shimmer finish shadow that all blend together effortlessly to create the perfect daytime look, or work well on their own. You can even darken this up with a little vampy liner and create a perfect evening look to go with a dark lip. They need a little primer to really pop, but don’t seem to crease or wear off when worn without. The trio of shades is universally flattering and a perfect foray into makeup for the newbie or teen girl in your life.

 

5.) Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer

The formula of this covers beautifully. It comes in a rather limited shade range, but does have acorrector option {though I don’t like it as much as my beloved MAC Prep and Prime!}. I’m not really sure how much it does to reduce fine lines – let’s be honest, makeup is really limited in what it can do to fully prevent aging – but it does cover any existing fine lines with ease! It doesn’t pull on sensitive under eyes and blends effortlessly into the skin. Top with your favourite finishing powder and I find this photographs like a charm, too!

 

6.) Wet ‘n Wild Eyeshadows

I find WNW can do no wrong when it comes to shadows. I’ve loved almost every single one I’ve tried, actually {faves are the Petal Pusher and Comfort Zone palettes, in case you were wondering}. They’re highlight pigmented, easy to blend, and last all day. I find that WNW are {bonus!} some of the cheapest shadows in the drugstore. What’s not to love?

 

7.) L’oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color #601 in Nude Ballet

Full disclosure: I’ve not tried the others in this line, but love this one so much that it made the list! Rumour has it that Kim Kardashian wore this on her wedding day, so if it’s good enough for her million dollar wedding, it’s good enough for us on the daily, right? It’s a great shade with a tan, and gives just a hint of gloss without giving the look that lips will slide right off of your face {I truly can’t stand that look…}. It doesn’t flake off and wears beautifully.

 

8.) Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation

This is an oil free formula that photographs like a dream. It is a heavier coverage foundation, but that’s why it photographs so well. It has a wide range of colours, and I’m almost guaranteed to find one to perfectly fit a client who needs it. Once set with a light dust of powder, it gives a flawless finish and sets all day. It’s supposed to have a built-in powder, but I like to set it anyway, just to be sure and to stave off any extra oil that may creep up during the day. I’ve seen this retail here in Canada for as low as $6, so definitely pick it up next time you’re in the drugstore!

 

9.) Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation

Can you see that drugstore foundations have really upped their game? I’m including this one, though only recently discontinued, in hopes that you can pick it up in a few drugstores before it’s all gone. It’s a great every day foundation that is very light and blends into the skin with ease. I can mix colours together to get a perfect tone, but this comes in a wide range of colours on it’s own. The glass packaging feels super expensive, but it’s a cheap $10 at most Wal-Mart locations. I sure hope Revlon comes out with something similar in short order.

 

10.) NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder in Sunny

I think I’ve posted about this one before. Sunny is my absolute go-to winter bronzer for the last few years. It gives a light, bronze-y glow to my skin when it needs a glow the most. I can apply this where needed to lightly contour {nothing worse than a dark contour when skin ain’t so dark,know what I mean?}, and it doesn’t oxidize on the skin throughout the day. I use this on my clients with a lighter skin tone, even in the summer, and it wears like a dream on them too. I’ve picked this up for as little as $4 at Wal-Mart, though I think most drugstores now sell NYC on the ready.

 


 

I’m always looking for new bargain finds.  What are your drugstore faves?  Sound off in the comments below!

 

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Original or Sequel: Maybelline Mascara Edition

As you all know, Maybelline Lash Sensational is my HG mascara.   When I saw the Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara, I had to give it a try.  Could my HG mascara get even better?

The Maybelline site says it reveals layers of softer, denser lashes and fans them out.  I thought “great!  It’ll make them even more black and bold and give a false lash look” {disclaimer: I bought it in the blackest shade possible}.  Boy was I wrong!

IMG_0103This stuff doesn’t hold a candle to the original.  I found that it certainly was bolder, but it didn’t hold a curl nearly as well, and my bottom lashes transferred colour to my under-eyes by the end of the day.  No one wants racoon eyes!

My lashes looked bold and false-y {is that a word?! Faux? Is that better?} when first applied and before my day really began.  However, the curl fell as the day went on.  My lashes felt as though they were hard and I assumed {incorrectly} that it would therefore hold a curl well.  Again: I was wrong.  So wrong, in fact, that I’ve only held on to the tube just for this post – it’s going in the garbage right now!

I also found that the original was far easier to apply.  With the Luscious version, I had to be very precise about how I applied the mascara, largely because of the shape of the brush.  I also found the formula to be far wetter and therefore prone to some serious clumping.  Uncool and so not cute.

It’s not terrible, don’t get me wrong.  There may be some people on whom it wears just fine.  But for me?  I prefer the original formulation.  Much like the cult fave L’oreal Voluminous, some things are just best left in their original form.

What are your thoughts?  Which do you prefer?  Sound off below!

 

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Current {and Forever} Faves

I store my makeup in a tiny, clear acrylic storage bin in my downtown condo-sized bathroom.  It works for me, and forces me to rotate out of my ever expanding collection.  I thought this was a good time {bi-monthly changeout time, of course} to post about some of my current loves and tried and true faves.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish – I’ve tried other powders across the spectrum in terms of price, and nothing holds a candle to this stuff.  Why would I spend the $60 on Chanel Les Beiges when I can use my PRO discount and get this for $15?  It’s long wearing, keeps {most of} my oil at bay, and gives an even finish to my overall skin tone.   I wear it in Medium Plus, but it comes in a broad spectrum of shades guaranteed to suit the gamut of ladies {or men, no judgement!}.

Y’all know my fave mascara and it hasn’t changed:  Maybelline Lash Sensational.  I use the regular formula in the blackest shade they make.  It doesn’t budge, holds a curl, adds volume, and doesn’t flake.  It checks all of my mascara boxes and you can get it for $7 on sale at the drugstore.

Fresh Sugar Lip Tints – these are great on their own or with a lipliner.  They are keeping my lips nice and soft as the weather here in Toronto cools.  I’ve taken to wearing the sheer hot pink {of course!} shade in Tulip with my favourite lip liner {see below!} as my daily lip combo of late.  You can get perfect little mini lip tints to try during the holidays and generally throughout the year as Sephora gifts – a bonus, they fit perfectly in your purse!

Marc Jacobs lip liner in Peony – This is just my most perfect neutral and looks great with the Fresh Sugar Lip Tints or under a lipstick.  The liner glides on smoothly, and stays on ALLLLLL day.  It gives me a perfect over-lined effect when I want it, and if I colour my lips in, it looks oh so natural.  Love this stuff, but only in this specific colour.  Go figure!  I’m not a huge fan of the other shades, as I think they’re easily dupe-able.

Another Marc Jacobs product, for the win!  The highliners.  They’re gorgeous and I love them.  They glide on smoothly and are easily smudged, but once they dry, they ain’t goin’ anywhere! Sephora recently had this set on sale for the Christmas season, and I wasn’t able to snag it – there must be tons of other MJ makeup freaks out there too, I guess.  I use this mainly in my waterline since purple compliments my shade of hazel eyes very well, so I can attest to the staying power and the fact that it doesn’t budge.

Mac Prep and Prime Highlighter in Radiant Rose  – I’ve used the Touche Eclat.  I’ve used the Dior Skinflash.  I’ve used the bareMinerals luminating highlighter.  NOTHING.  I repeat.  NOTHING.  Holds a candle to this stuff.  I use it daily under my eyes to brighten {I need it.  The corporate world can really wear a girl down} and on my cheeks if I want an extra pop of colour.  You can’t beat the price at $26 online and in MAC stores — it’s even less if you’ve got a PRO card like I do — and it lives up to all claims it makes and far beyond.  This is a staple I’ll never give up…ok, well at least not for the foreseeable future.

Anastasia Brow Whiz in Medium Brown.  I have very sparse brows.  It’s a combination of genetics and a former illness that resulted in substantial hair loss.  This stuff stays on, creates a natural or a not-so-natural look depending on what I’m feeling or the look I’ve created.  It’s {almost} waterproof, easy to work with, and works better than some higher priced brow pencils I’ve tried.  Editors’ note: make sure you work with it while it sets. Once it sets, it ain’t budging. {do you see a trend here in long wearing products?}

**I’m a bad beauty blogger and didn’t take a before pic…I remembered the post change-up pic.  I’ll do both next time, promise!**

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Here’s the aftermath and what’s currently in my rotation for the next month or two.  Maybe one of these will make it into my next faves post!  See one of your faves?  Let me know below!

What are your current {or forever} faves?

 

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Mascara Battles: Roller Lash vs Lash Sensational

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for packaging. The smooth, sleek look of a Chanel compact. The chic, eye-catching glimmer of a YSL palette. Charlotte Tilbury’s rose gold accents and rose gold counter at my local Holt’s? Don’t get me started. Benefit packaging is no exception. Just LOOK at this Roller Lash packaging and super unique brush. Sooooooo cute.s1728492-main-hero-300

As a reformed shopaholic I try not to let packaging sway me, but when I read some glowing reviews on the Roller Lash product, I made a mental note to pick up a sample if I saw one. Remember when I said in my last post about those little bins in the Sephora checkout line that just nick me {and my credit card} every time? Well, that’s where I found this little gem, a perfect sample size of the Roller Lash screaming at me to try it. I couldn’t resist.

Packaging aside, I’m still yet undecided as to whether or not drugstore mascara {or products in general, for that matter} are inferior to high end. I have been using the heavily reviewed and well-loved Maybelline Lash Sensational, which gets stellar reviews from myself and other junkies alike; I think it’s on its way to being a drugstore cult favourite. Never one to let a quest die, I decided to check out Roller Lash and see if it lives up to its hype and could take a spot as my high end must-have {a spot that’s currently held by another Benefit product, They’re Real}. Roller Lash retails on Sephora’s website for $31 CAD {the small sample size is $16, no small price tag in my opinion}. Because I’m cheap, I opted for the $16 option – I thought it was generous enough to give me a proper test sample while not breaking the bank.

The Sephora website indicates Roller Lash was designed to mimic hot rollers, curling and lifting lashes to give a sexy, wide-eyed look. The brush is called a “Hook ‘n Roll” and has a pending patent. It has little hooks to catch, lift, and curl any and all length of lashes. The formula is designed to instantly set the curl and hold for 12 hours, but still be easy to remove. It contains lash conditioners as well, which are most definitely an added plus. You can see from the picture below that my lashes are long, yep, I’m blessed in that department. BUT, there’s no curl. Not a one. Not a single one. So, I always use my lash curler prior to applying any and all mascara.

I have to start by saying that the formula is wetter than I’m used to. It may be best to open the product and let it dry a bit for a day or two before using. However, if you’re dying to get into it, it’s not terrible to work with, just out of my comfort zone and preference when it comes to mascara.   It went on with approximately 3 coats before it was as bold as I like it to be, but the coats didn’t dry quickly in between, so I found lashes got a little spidery if I didn’t let each coat fully dry. Once dried, I completed the look with a crimp of my lash curler {I’m well aware that’s not how you’re supposed to use it, but I’ve been doin’ it for 15 years without issue, so I’ma keep doin’ it. MMMMK?}  I did use the Roller Lash over the course of about 2 weeks, so I did find that it became easier to work with, as I indicated, when the formula dried a bit.

For this post, I was initially going to do a comparison of application, length of wear, formula, you know, the usual fare when it comes to mascara reviews. Instead, I’ve decided to do just some side by side photos to illustrate my conclusion: they’re dupes.  

Overall, Roller Lash gave great curl, made my lashes big and bold {just how I like ‘em!} and held all day. I was impressed! Now here’s a pic with my regular and much-loved {and cheap!} Lash Sensational applied in the same fashion {curl and set, if you will} with 3 coats and a final curl.

{DISCLAIMER:  Un-flattering iPhone photos to follow.  They did the trick, though, so let’s just go with it, shall we?}

*for all of these photos, Roller Lash is on top, and Lash Sensational is on the bottom*

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You can see they give the overall same look from the front.

When looking up to illustrate the length from the base and overall curl, it’s hard to see a difference.  Both formulas gave some serious length, bold colour and sweeping curl.

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By the end of the day, both mascaras were still on, not flaked or smudged on my face, and the curl still looked great. I was able to have my big, bold lashes all day no matter which of these two mascaras I used.

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THE VERDICT:  Roller Lash is a great product. Does it trump my beloved Lash Sensational? Not a chance. Lash Sensational delivers exactly the same results at a fraction of the cost for a far larger tube! If I’m lucky, I can get Lash Sensational on a drugstore sale for $6. How can you beat that? Roller Lash is a great product, and I like that it has a travel size. So, it’ll have a spot in my purse rotation of emergency mascara/makeup goods {yes, that’s a thing}. I do still think that They’re Real is the best high end product out there, however Roller Lash comes in at a close second.

Don’t waste your hard earned dollars on Roller Lash – grab Lash Sensational next time you’re at the drugstore!

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