Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 2013 Pickups and Deliveries

March was a tame month in terms of pickups, as I am now unemployed and can't be buying things anymore. (It's a good time to exercise the "reductionista" part of the brain and get back on track with the blog theme.) But March was also birthday month, and that means gifts!

First up is the Sephora VIB birthday gift. I had the choice of picking up the Fresh lip treatment duo that was offered last year, or this Benefit mascara and highlighter kit. I've wanted to try Watt's Up! for a while, so the choice was easy.

Okay, so I bought one thing but it was only $4.99. It's the Maybelline Vivid Lipstick in Vibrant Mandarin, swatched here.

I'm also making a habit of sampling and testing new things once a month. March was devoted to Hourglass Immaculate Foundation, reviewed here.

And now the gifts!

Many thanks to Ashley, Xiao, my friend Jmeister and my lovely baby sister! I'm lucky to be loved by such wonderful people who know exactly what I like... and are savvy enough to check the wish list. ;-)

I also received some very interesting PR samples this month.

All will be revealed in due course. Reviews will be pouring forth in unstoppable waves, now that I have a lot of free time on my hands!

But the greatest thing I received this month is this homemade card. Remember the ponies?!??

April is going to be amazing, you guys. AMAZING.

Friday, March 29, 2013

BECCA Beach Tint Duo in Watermelon and Fig

During the last Sephora VIB sale in November, I picked up the BECCA Beach Tint Duo containing shades Fig and Watermelon. And as makeup hoarders are wont to do, I tucked it away in a drawer for months and promptly forgot about it.

Each Beach Tint from this set is 4ml / 0.14 fl oz -- as you can see, woefully small. But do not be dismayed, my obsessed makeup lovers. Even as I'm heartily sick of this phrase myself, it must be stated that a little goes a long way.

Beach Tints are formulated to add a natural wash of colour to cheeks or lips. My preference is to use it on cheeks as blush, because unless the shade is very dark, these dual-purpose products don't tend to show up on my lips at all. The product also claims to be oil-free, streak-free and water-resistant. It's often touted as one of the handiest things to carry in... *drumroll* a beach bag, for those precise reasons.

I had some doubts about the texture, because I tend to be really picky about non-powder blushers. Liquids are horribly messy, stain the fingertips and don't blend easily. The worst thing about liquids is that you have to work at the speed of light, which is not possible to do well first thing in the morning when you haven't even had the first cup of caffeine. And while I love cream blushers, I prefer the ones that go on velvety smooth as opposed to wet and emollient. (I will always opt for products that require less blending.) For some reason, I had fears that the Beach Tint was of the liquidy emollient variety. It's not.

It is incredibly easy to blend with fingertips, which is my usual preferred method for applying cream shadows and blushers. It glides well over cheeks primed with foundation. And while Watermelon looks at first as if it might be intense (described as "bright pink" on the Sephora website), it's actually a lovely rose that mimics the natural flush of my cheeks and ends up looking almost neutral. As for Fig, you can see how pale it is. It's described as "tea rose pink" but to me it looks just a touch darker than some BB creams out there. Since it was useless to me, I traded it away in a makeup swap and don't regret it.

As for its water-resistant claims, I look forward to testing out Watermelon during intense heat waves and humid days of a proper Toronto summer.

The Beach Tint Duo is available at Sephora online and in-store for CAD$24. That's $12 each, as opposed to the full size tints that cost CAD$30 for 7ml / 0.24 fl oz. I wish all the shades came in a mini size option. Even better, how about a complete set of all the Beach Tints in mini sizes??? (Please, BECCA.) Already my eyes are roaming to the other shades, primarily Papaya.

Have you tried BECCA Beach Tints?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Orangey Red Lips

I'm skipping over spring pastels and diving straight into punchy summer corals and aqua. Who's with me???

My desire for orange red lippies has been burning strong since late January. I'm looking at anything that uses the words "coral", "mandarin", "orange", "clementine" and such. Pinkish corals look awful on me, so I determined that orange reds will be the thing. It turns out I already have a goodly amount of those shades within my own stash.

Let's pretend that it's summer...

Let's start with the sheerest of the bunch: Lise Watier Lip Kiss Crayon Gloss in Mango Punch, NARS Lip Gloss in Wonder, and Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in #14 Blood Orange.

Lise Watier Mango Punch - Looks sheer on the arm swatch but is buildable to near opacity on lips with a strong lean to red rather than orange or mango. It looks awesome on a bare face with giant sunglasses on.

NARS Wonder - The most orange of the bunch. It has medium opacity for a gloss and I like to wear it on its own without layering.

Clarins Blood Orange - It looks punchy on the swatch but applies much more sheerer on the lips. It's less stickier and more moisturizing than the NARS. It also contains gold micro-shimmer that's more evident in person than on the photo.

Next are sheer lipsticks or lipstick-balm hybrids: MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Korean Candy and Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti.

Revlon Tutti Frutti - Quite sheer on initial application but can be layered to near opacity with slight sheen. Like its sister Candy Apple, I love the shade and formula and texture but cannot deal with the packaging issues. It's now twisting in the tube and driving me nuts.

MAC Korean Candy - As you can see, it's much more pigmented than Tutti Frutti and has to be sheered out rather than built on for flexible coverage. Both shades are definitely in the orange camp, with Korean Candy being a darker version of Tutti Frutti, if you will.

Finally, the full strength lipsticks: MAC Matte Lipstick in Lady Danger and Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid in Vibrant Mandarin.

MAC Lady Danger - It's a stunning warm coral red which is much more obvious when held next to a cool-tone red. It's fully opaque in one glide and I'm actually still afraid to wear it full force. But I'm working on it!

Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin - It's close to MAC Korean Candy in colour but less shiny and more opaque in finish and pigmentation. The entire range of Maybelline Vivids are wildly tempting for summer. I was torn between this and Electric Orange but decided that Vibrant Mandarin was a more complex shade that could be enjoyed more frequently than a simple flat orange that's more difficult to pull off on a regular basis.

Well, I was going to leave it there, but now it's apparent that we need a showdown between Vibrant Mandarin and Korean Candy.

Huh. Vibrant Mandarin is actually more vibrant salmon next to Korean Candy. I noticed that the Maybelline Vivids all seemed to have a strong lean to pink, but when held up alone, Vibrant Mandarin seemed orange enough. Well, now we know. It seems that I may have to pick up Electric Orange after all.

Or do I?

I suppose that's enough punch orangey red lips after all. But I still have my eye on the new Clarins Rouge Eclat in Juicy Clementine. I'm convinced that it's oranger than these bunch without being totally full force orange, if you know what I mean.

For now, I'm slipping the sunglasses back on and pretending that it's 30C and humidity is making my hair go wild. Ahhh, summer, hurry!

What's your favourite punchy summer lip?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

End of the Nail Polish Slump with Essie Mojito Madness

I've been in a nail polish slump for 5-6 months. I used to change my nail polish every 2-3 days without break, collecting multiple bottles per month and always being on the lookout for new shades. Then one day, I just couldn't anymore. I didn't want to apply any, I didn't want to buy any, and I didn't care about the new stuff.

And when St. Patrick's Day rolled along and everyone featured green polishes and makeup, I was like, "Naaaaaah."

But all that pep -- it got to me. I was sequestered at home with readings and assignments and wishing desperately for spring to arrive, and green seemed like a good choice given the situation. So I pulled out the greenest of all my green polishes.

Essie Mojito Madness / OPI Green-Wich Village / OPI Jade Is The New Black

And in case I was overlooking something, I also pulled out the pastels.

Essie Mint Candy Apple / Essie Absolutely Shore / Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet

I had picked up Mojito Madness last year to cheer myself up. It came through for me again this year. It's such a peppy green! Cheer!

It does, however, emphasize any redness on the skin. But still. It tricks me into thinking that balmy spring weather is near.

Pantone Color of the Year? Sure. Next I'll be going through my eye shadows to see what kind of greens I've been neglecting. This could be the beginning of a new madness.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Been a while since the last one.

It's been a hell of a quarter, guys. I turned another year older and quit my day job to look for a career that will bring progression, fulfillment and self-satisfaction. Last year taught me that life is too short to wallow in misery and self-pity. At the same time, I learned how to be happy and satisfied with less money, which is an invaluable lesson to learn. I'll always want new things, but I know that I don't truly need them to be happy. From now on, I'm seeking daily fulfillment via use of my skills and talents. It may or may not involve writing or makeup or writing about makeup. :-)

Currently I'm...

...dreaming of Earl Grey Tea macarons...

... embracing Pantone colour of the year with Essie Mojito Madness...

...watching the snow melt... s l o w l y ...

...slugging through finals and speed-reading books that should be savoured...

...dabbling with bright lip colours...

...trying new dishes...

Deep-Fried Pickles

Jerk Meatloaf

...and discovering what's within when you take a chance...

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying Oil Free

Damn, that's a mouthful. I will be referring to this foundation simply as "Hourglass Immaculate Foundation" from now on. According to the Sephora website:

What it is:
A mattifying, antiaging foundation that absorbs oil, camouflages imperfections, and ensures a long-lasting flawless finish—without the need for touch-ups.

What it does:

Consider Immaculate your miracle for oily skin. This innovative liquid-powder formula delivers an unparalleled matte finish with real longevity that lasts all day. The oil-free and water-resistant foundation goes on smoothly and dries down instantly to a soft, velvet finish that is ideal for oily or blemish-prone complexions.  

Long time readers should know the following about me:
  • I love Hourglass. If I could spend the rest of my life with only one makeup brand, it would be Hourglass. The quality of every single product I tried is superb and flawless. It is the one brand that I consider 100% worth the price.
  • I have oily skin. It has "normalized" somewhat over the course of this past year and is less prone to breakouts, but I devoted half of my life to the pursuit of effective mattifying products.
  • If I could wear only one makeup, it's foundation. I have a list of insecurities about my appearance like everyone else in the world, but high on that list is my scarred complexion. I like pretending that it's flawless.
Given all of the above, if this foundation doesn't sound like it was custom-made for my skin, then... I don't know. Life won't make sense anymore!

I finally decided it was time to dabble with liquid foundations again. Or liquid powder hybrids or whatever. The Eaton Centre Sephora has a limited range of the shades, and the closest as far as I could tell in that dim lighting was Shell and Beige. (I'm anywhere from NC25-NC40, depending on the season.)

As you can see, there's a world of a difference between Shell and Beige. Since I'm at my absolute palest at the tail end of winter, Shell turned out to be a fairly decent match.

A small, chick pea-sized dot is required to provide substantial coverage on each side of my face. It dries fairly quickly, miraculously transforming to a powdery velvet texture that makes layering difficult. You need to work quickly to blend it out, and the coverage is on the medium-heavy side without being mask-like. I still need concealer to spot correct the worst of my acne scars, but I often skip that step in order to look more natural and less "done."

While I love the overall effect of this foundation on my face, it is horrible on any areas that are the slightest bit dry. Do not apply on flaky skin and dehydrated surfaces. Winter skin is a bitch. Even after exfoliating and moisturizing, the areas around my nostrils and hairline/scalp are flaky and dry. I avoided those spots and focused application on forehead and cheeks. Then we got along splendidly.

Due to its powdery finish, there was no need to "set" with additional powder. In conjunction with the Becca Resurfacing Primer, it wore flawlessly for 12 hours during the course of one full work + school day. My nose did get shiny after the 4-5 hour mark, but considering that most foundations go shiny on the nose after one hour, this was no small feat.

In short, I think that the Immaculate Foundation is a mixed bag. Its longevity and coverage is almost without equal, and colour match is nearly spot-on. However, its absolutely unforgiving treatment of dry spots is a problem, as I seem to be transitioning from totally oily skin to something closer to combination skin. I would have adored this product 3-4 years ago when I was truly obsessed with mattifying foundations. For now, I'm sitting on the fence and doing some more hemming and hawing.

(Sorry for the lack of face shots! But you can see it in action on the lovely Toya of Beauty Obsessed here.) 

Available at Sephora (CAD$64).

Edited March 25, 2013: Was just informed that new shades have been added to the Immaculate range, for a total of 16 different choices. Make sure that your local counter carries all 16 before testing!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shower with Dove!

Until a couple of years ago, we used a lot of Dove in the house. My mother and sisters, sensible low maintenance creatures that they are (God bless them), would always rely on simple Dove soap and body wash for everyday cleansing. It was me who had to get all fancy and fill the house with other things. It has certainly been a while since I paid attention to Dove products.

Then the giant box of PR samples arrived last month, and I was happy to see that Dove was still turning out great products. The hair styling products were totally new to me, as was the scent of this shower gel. I gamely put them to the test for a few weeks and became rather impressed!

Dove Style + Care Nourishing Curls Mousse

My textured hair can always use some (a lot of) mousse. The easiest method of styling is to apply mousse throughout my damp hair after a wash and air dry the whole thing, sleep on it, and end up with tousled waves the next day with minimal frizz.

I like the sturdy feel of this mousse can which just stops short of being too big/heavy to shake (because you gotta shake-shake-shshshshake that mousse) -- and it distributes the right amount of product, depending on the pressure you apply to the dispenser. It's nice and foamy and smells pleasantly of fruits and flowers. But the part I'm really in love with is the whipped cream texture. It feels much more substantial than many of the other drugstore mousses I've used in the past. I honestly didn't expect much from a can of drugstore mousse, but this one left my hair feeling voluminous but controlled and shiny. I totally recommend it for all you wavy/curly-haired gals.

Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrofluorocarbon 152a, PVP, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethyl Ether, Parfum, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Amodimethicone, PEG-7 Propylheptyl Ether, Cetrimonium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone.

Dove Damage Solutions Color Care Leave On Conditioner

As you can see, this is a tiny bottle. The size of it is the only quibble I have with it however -- I definitely underestimated its powers! I know that this is bad for my hair, but it's really long now and I can't be bothered with styling it more than once or twice a week. More often than not, I'd shampoo and twist the whole thing up into a wet bun and let it sit like that all day long. To compensate for this cruel treatment, I added a leave-on conditioner to the routine to at least give it some nourishment.

Well, colour me surprised when upon untying the bun and letting it air dry at last, my hair dried soft and free of frizz. I have so much love for this tiny bottle! It's a product meant for colour protection, but I do think that it's just as beneficial to undyed hair that requires extra attention. Its scent is slightly more fruity than the mousse, but I hardly notice it once it's in the hair.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Behentrimonium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Petrolatum, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Dove Go Fresh Restore Body Wash (Blue Fig & Orange Blossom Scent)

The first thing about this body wash I notice is the heady tropical floral scent. I have no idea what real blue fig and orange blossom smell like, but for a few short minutes, my shower is transformed to a tropical paradise and I'm lathering and singing under a waterfall instead of a leaky shower head. If you don't like scented bath products, you need to steer clear of this one. But I like anything that reminds me of something non-wintery, and this does the job of cleansing well without stripping the skin. 

Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Sodium Chloride, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycerin, Fragrance, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, PPG-9, Lauric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, BHT, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Etidronic Acid, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.

I'm sure that these are widely available in most if not all drugstores across North America. It's nice to see a reliable drugstore staple expand to provide more reliable products in other arenas. I'm usually fuss-free when it comes to hair and body care and tend to look at drugstores more than fancy boutiques. Dove has won me back! Maybe I'll finally pick up a simple bar of soap and try a pared down routine for facial care as well.

Have you tried Dove products before? What was your last drugstore success?

Featured products were provided by PR/company for review purposes.

Winner of A Teeny Tiny Giveaway

Technically it's March 20 here. Happy Spring 2013, everyone!

Let's get right to it. The winner of the Teeny Tiny Giveaway is... EMI

Congrats, Emi! I'll be sending you an email shortly!

(FYI, Emi has a great blog called Project Swatch. Check it out!)

Thanks for reading and stay tuned. I might be hosting more giveaways in the near future. ;-)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tagged! Odd Things About Me

I was tagged ages ago by Dee to confess some odd things about me. Not sure how I'm supposed to choose only a handful among so many oddball quirks -- because I'm basically a weird person -- but here's my paltry attempt. Ever since I announced somewhere that I hate The Muppets (dirty singing socks), people have been trying to figure out what else is weird about me.

I pin like a mother. 

The 30,000+ pins that I "like" instead of pinning? I hit the "like" button to save it for later -- and then I "pin" them when I figure out which board they should go to. Something about an image will strike a chord, but often it takes a while to get processed. I have a pretty good memory for what I've already liked or not in the past, but it's gotten to the point where I'm never going to be able to trace back to the first 10,000 likes. So I've taken to double-liking certain images. I KNOW. I despise myself. It's madness.

I don't eat watermelons because I don't like to spit out the seeds. 

Pure unadulterated laziness here. It's not that I dislike the taste of watermelon, but I don't like it enough to make the effort. Oh, don't even talk to me about those seedless things. They're not real. I don't eat those either.

I'm totally addicted to General Hospital

The soap I grew up with is actually The Young and the Restless, but GH is where it's at. Everyone thinks I'm crazy for still watching it, but I can't help it. Soaps are so bad that they somehow turn right around and become awesome again. I can't stand Sonny and feel downright murderous when it comes to that shrieking harpy Carly, but I'm waiting for the writers to restore the Quartermaines back to their rightful place at the front and centre of the show, and finally write a good romance for my girl Liz Webber, not involving weeping Lucky and now dead (but not really dead) Jason whose real name is actually The Borg, because neither he nor his ex-actor can emote worth a damn. And can they please bring back the evil Cassadines? Still mourning Stefan here.

I don't like naps.

I don't see the point of naps, no matter how tired I am. Once I am up, I'm up. I'd rather save all that sleep for the end of the day when no one will disturb me for the next 6-15 hours.

I love Shetland Ponies!

Look at their stupid, stunted legs. SO CUTE.

I guarantee, the last video is the the most awesome thing you will see today.

Check back tomorrow to see if you've won the Teeny Tiny Giveaway! I promise to put up some real posts and reviews after that.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

NEW from The Body Shop - More Smell Goods

As mentioned in The Body Shop Lip Gloss post, I really appreciate it when brands switch things up and stay true to old favourites while keeping up with the new. To kick off a new spring season, The Body Shop offers a new set of Eau de Toilettes in eight different fragrances: Strawberry, Moringa, Coconut, Mango, Shea, Satsuma, Pink Grapefruit and Vanilla. They sound comfortingly familiar but look sleeker than they used to back in the day. 

My sister is still busy dabbing on our vintage Dewberry and Fuzzy Peach Perfume Oils, while I tread forward with the new and asked to review the Shea EDT and Moringa EDT. To be honest, I had doubts about wearing Strawberry or Mango and enjoying them, since I shy away from the overly sugary and fruity type of scents. But I would gladly buy Shea and Moringa scented products from The Body Shop during a good sale and knew I'd enjoy these two scents in a form beyond body butters and shower gels.


I've never smelled a real moringa flower and can't attest to how accurate this scent is in relation to the real thing, but it smells pretty much how you might guess it will, based on the aesthetics of the bottle and packaging: a clean white floral with a side of the stereotypical tropical vibe that isn't too distant from coconut. It's definitely on the feminine side, without coming across too delicate or young. I'd venture to say that it's a safe scent for white floral lovers between the ages of 12 to eternity. I would wear this on brisk walks around the neighbourhood on a spring day when it's still too early to catch whiffs of blooms and a lingering chill fills the air.

Moringa EDT Ingredients:

Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Aqua/Water (Solvent/Diluent), Parfum/Fragrance (Fragrance), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Benzyl Salicylate (Fragrance Ingredient), Propylene Glycol (Humectant), Geraniol (Fragrance Ingredient), Glycerin (Humectant), Moringa Oleifera Leaf Extract (Skin Conditioning Agent), Sorbitol (Humectant), Eugenol (Fragrance Ingredient), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Denatonium Benzoate (Denaturant)


While I like Moringa EDT a lot, Shea is my favourite. It smells just like the body butter version, which I had used a dozen times in the past. It brings back a lot of memory, and best of all, it reminds me of being clean right after a shower. It's a sweet, nutty scent that just stops short of cloying so that I can actually enjoy the sweetness. You can catch a hint of vanilla at its base but it doesn't overpower the toasty nuttiness. I actually wore this to bed the other day when I was too exhausted to take my night shower, and it gave me the feeling of being clean and refreshed even if I really wasn't. (But obviously this is a totally subjective experience, since I directly associate the smell with a post-shower product I relied on for years.) You can also check out my friend Su's review of the Shea EDT here.

Shea EDT Ingredients:

Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Aqua/Water (Solvent/Diluent), Parfum/Fragrance (Fragrance), Glycerin (Humectant), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Coumarin (Fragrance Ingredient), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides (Skin Conditioning Agent - Emollient), Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract (Natural Additive), Denatonium Benzoate (Denaturant).

Both scents seem strong after the first spritz, but they fade quite quickly and leave the skin with a subtle effect that requires touch-up every hour or two. That's why I appreciate the fact that the bottles are rather small and affordable, at $14 for 30 ml. They're easy to tote around and do not require decanting into atomizers and all that troublesome stuff.

All in all, these are simple, uncomplicated scents that are easy to wear. While I like to delve into niche perfumes and sophisticated and complex scents from time to time, I also enjoy simple and timeless favourites that make me feel good, the way that a soft white cotton T-shirt and an old worn-in pair of jeans might do. I might even have to check out Vanilla and Coconut at the store next time!

The Body Shop Eau de Toilette range is now available in-store and online.

Do you have an old favourite scent from The Body Shop? What was it?

Featured products were provided by PR/company for review purposes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Summer 2013 Wish List

It seems that wish list collages are all the rage. I kept trying to compile one for months, but the list just grew more and more monstrous as time passed. It's difficult picking just a handful of products when endless waves of exciting new things are on the horizon. Anyway, somehow (oh so much work) I managed to pick out 11 of my picks to talk about today.

Summer 2013 Wish List

Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Gelee in Heat Wave - Damn it if that isn't one of the most gorgeous things I've seen all year. It's difficult to find a gold highlighter that isn't too pearly or too rosy or too yellow. This looks just about perfect. Danielle of Bloomin' Beauty has a helpful post of swatches and comparisons here.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Eye Shadow Palette in Batik Sun - I was sure that I had enough eye shadow palettes to satisfy me for... like, forever. Then this thing comes along. It just screams summer at me. I can almost feel the UV rays doing their best to give me a sun burn. Karen of Makeup & Beauty Blog reviews the palette as well as the entire Bronze Goddess collection here.

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Candle - It was the dead of winter when I took a sniff of Neroli Portofino EDT and was mentally transported to a sunny poolside vacation. I've been obsessed with neroli ever since. While I do like the EDT a lot, it hardly seems worth the cost given its short life span and generic quality. Being the candle whore that I am, of course I'd rather jump at the candle variation of it.

Shiseido Foundation Brush - I'm tired of the two traditional paddle-shaped foundation brushes I have. "Buffing" the foundation into the skin seems to be the latest technique. Pretty sure that I'll be getting this at some point. Just a matter of when.

Illamasqua Nomad - I swatched it here. Feeling reluctant to shell out CAD$18 for a nail polish at this point in time, but I saw it on a Sephora SA and thought it looked amazing. Almost a done deal. Let me just get rid of at least 100 other nail polishes first.

Laura Mercier HydraTint SPF 15 in Crimson Tint - It's basically a nicer version of Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple, which I had major packaging issues with. Just to make sure this Laura Mercier HydraTint wouldn't do the same, I twisted the tester up and down multiple times like one of those crazy Sephora customers. It felt super moisturizing and the colour saturation was just about perfect - sheer when you want it to be, buildable to mid-coverage with a nice sheen to the lips. GIMME.

Clarins Rouge Eclat in 09 Juicy Clementine - Haven't tested it on the lips but it looks as if it will give me the orange lips of my dreams. I just know it.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain - I'd like one or ten please! Seriously, it looks great on every single person who ever reviewed it. My new blog crush sleep and water posted a great review here. I'm wavering a bit now, so maybe I'll just grab just one on sale and test it out.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum - Reviewed here. I obtained another sample pot from Sephora to re-live the glory. Once I streamline my skin care routine and get rid of the excess, this miracle product will take its rightful place on my vanity, permanently.

Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne - I was never a fan of Jo Malone's faint, flyaway scents, but this cologne is the closest scent to Earl Grey Tea replicated in perfume form. On me, it smells strongly of tea at first and fades to a watery cucumber smell -- like the refreshing cucumber waters you get a fancy spas. I don't normally enjoy cucumber scents, but this was actually quite nice. It didn't last long on the skin, which I wasn't horribly impressed by, but someone suggested that I use it as a summer scent during intense heat waves. So that's exactly what I want to do!

Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream - I think this has potential to become one of those holy grail type items. I tried it on my hands, and while oily in texture, it absorbed wonderfully into the skin and left it feeling super soft and supple. The concept behind this product is that you can use it for everything: as a lip balm, hand cream, cuticle salve, and even to tame flyaways and frizz.

You might be wondering why I'm calling this a summer wishlist when spring isn't even here yet, but I was weaned on fashion before getting sucked into the beauty world and tend to think two seasons ahead when it comes to "preparing." Also, spring is a ridiculously short season in Toronto. We're basically going to go from winter parkas to 2 weeks of leather jacket weather to 4 months of shorts and flip flop season. Shopping for spring means also shopping for summer to me.

Am I going to get all of them? Eventually, maybe. For now I'm content to admire from a safe distance (at home, online, in my pajamas, credit card hidden somewhere far away). The permanent items will always be there, and I'm going to wait a little longer to see how the limited edition products fare before jumping into the fray.

I'd ask what your wish list looks like... but I get the feeling you already made one and I'm the last person in the world to post mine!

PS. Don't forget to enter the Teeny Tiny Giveaway, ending on March 20.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter to Spring Skincare and Aromatherapy

Winter sucks blah blah blah winter sucks. Enough of that, right?

I don't know if it was the season or what, but a lot of people around me were tired, anxious, ill or generally acting like lunatics on the verge of breakdowns. I fell back to the refrain of "whatever gets me through today" and often took deep breaths and inhaled lavender and rose scents to calm and soothe frayed nerves. Perhaps I collected these products one by one to build an anti-stress kit. The great thing is they turned out to be well worth the cost and effort.

TRUE GRACE Moroccan Rose Candle - While working at the bookstore gift section, I noticed how powerful the rose scent of this candle was and knew that it was going to come in handy during the transition season. I only need to burn this candle for a few minutes before the room fills with a soft and ultra femme rose fragrance. The candle itself seems to be made of the softest and emollient wax ever, almost dripping with oils and essences. In fact, it's enough to scent a small room just by leaving the lid open. Love.

Available at I purchased mine with an employee discount at the bookstore.

J.R. Watkins Lavender Hand & Cuticle Salve - I was never much into salves, but once the relaxation ritual before bed time became crucial, taking the time to rub this fragranced balm onto my hands, elbows, knees and feet became a true luxury.

It turned out to be much softer and oilier in texture than I had anticipated, but given my love of oils, I decided that it was even better this way. It requires some time to warm the product on your hand before smoothing and rubbing into the skin, and I love the feel of the warm oil on winter nights. The lavender scent of this salve is one of my favourite lavender scents: not as herby and bitter as the JASON Body Lotion and not as watery or fake or cloying as some other items I've sniffed in the past.

I purchased this at Shoppers Drug Mart for about CAD$10.

My lips are quite dry lately. Putting on lipsticks has become a real chore, and even tinted balms aren't good enough for longer than two hours. I wasn't quite happy with balms and chapsticks that were in my stash, so last month I acquired the Jurlique Rose Love Balm to add a bit of glamour and aromatherpy to the collection.

Jurlique Rose Love Balm - I was tempted to pick up the regular Love Balm at Sephora a few times, but when I saw the Rose version at Holt Renfrew, I had to have it. Recall my love of roses? The rose scent of this balm is on the fresh and uplifting side. There's a hint of green along with the decadent rose scent, and I consider this my tiny pot of aromatherapy on the go. It can be used as a multipurpose balm for lips, cuticles and other dry areas. I find that it's not quite moisturizing enough for me for lips at its current state, but it does apply well once you work the product onto the finger to melt it.

Available at Jurlique. I purchased mine at Holt Renfrew for CAD$9.

Smith's Mocha Rose Lip Balm with Vanilla - I was a big fan of Smith's Rosebud Salve and used countless tins of those in the past. Last year I conducted a book & lipstick swap with Makeup Morsels, who sent me this knowing that I wanted to try the tube versions of the Smith's salves. As far as its content goes, it's the exact same consistency and texture as the salves in tin. I find that the vanilla/mocha overpowers the rose scent, which is good if you like sweet scented lip balms. I like the tube version and would gladly buy the regular Rose Salve in the future. It's the most moisturizing balm in my stash and is basically a nicer version of the ever so effective Vaseline.

Available at Sephora. I received mine as a gift.

Using products with strong scents isn't for everyone, and I'm grateful that I don't have any allergies or negative reactions to these little delights. Adding small amounts of comfort and pleasure throughout the day via tiny luxuries while taking care of my body and mind is a winning combination. They help to relax and set the mind at ease for tomorrow's battles. Of course, they can only be temporary reliefs, but those relieving moments help to pause and rethink and strengthen my plans and goals.

Do you have products that do similar things for you? Hope everyone's staying warm in body, cool in mind.

PS. If you haven't already done so, don't forget to enter the teeny tiny giveaway. :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Teeny Tiny Giveaway

We, in the frosty land of Canadia, are slugging through the final stretch of this horrid winter season. My cabin fever is at its worst, causing me to claw at walls and shake fist at random people and objects. I just cannot wait until balmy weather returns to push back this inner cray and make me more human again.

To get us through this madness, I thought that a small giveaway to celebrate spring might be in order. Recall the Essence Cherry Blossom Girl LE Blush that sent me to EIGHT different Shoppers Drug Mart locations? As I've said numerously since, a kindly reader provided me with one as soon as my post went up. I've been using it almost every day for two weeks now.

Well, the funny thing is I finally checked the Shoppers Drug Mart closest to my house, and they had a fully stocked display of the Cherry Blossom Collection. When I spotted that, I smacked my forehead so hard that I had a headache for the next hour!

Instead of hoarding the lot, I decided to pick up two of the most interesting items from the collection and treat one reader of Beauty Reductionista.

The giveaway is open internationally, and all you have to do is subscribe to the blog via Google Friend Connect, Blog Lovin' or email. To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:

What is the first thing you're going to do on the first nice day of Spring 2013?

Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you. (If you feel uncomfortable leaving it here, feel free to email me at

Giveaway ends on March 20, 2013: The First Day of Spring/Spring Equinox!

To answer my own question: A friend and I are going to visit a bakery in midtown where they sell Earl Grey macarons. :-)

Thanks for reading and stay warm!