Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March 2015 Empties

It's that time again, monthly empties! I have some of my regular stuff and a few odds and ends.

1. Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head - This was the brush head that I first used with my Clarisonic Mia 2. I really liked it. In fact, part of me wants to fish it out of my empties and try it again to make sure it really needs replacing! I thought this brush could be a bit harsher for my taste, but I went and bought the normal brush head and it's a bit harsh for my liking. Some days you just can't win! Here is the link to my Mia 2 review:

2. Korres Body Butter in Guava - This may be my favourite scent. This stuff works well and I have a whole set of them.

3. Eos Hand Lotion in Fresh Flowers - I keep this in my purse and I think this might have been my fourth one. Already repurchased and in the purse. Here is the review for the one I had in the scent Berry Blossom

4. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair - This product continues to dumbfound me. Most mornings after I use this my skin looks bright and clear and other mornings I notice no change at all. I have a ton of this stuff in my stash from gwp so I will continue using it. My skin feels nice in the morning but in need of washing! Full review:

5. Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins - Another one bites the dust. I think this was at least my third jar. I really like this product because it makes my skin sing and the smell lulls you to sleep. Will repurchase but haven't yet. Full review:

6.Nuxe Crème Fraiche - I dug this out of the bowels of my stash. I dare not say how long I have had it for. It was unopened and I thought that it performed well. I couldn't stand the smell though. It smelled like moth balls and death. Not good. I got this as a sample so I can only complain so much.

7. BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara - The formula was very wet and made my lashes feel like wet celery. The formula did thicken up over time and worked better but it's not a keeper for me. It started to smell so it was time to go.

8. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask - Okay, I know you are sick of me talking about this so I will just shut up. Awesome stuff! Nothing is left of the colour on the packaging. Full review:

9. Bath & Body Works Sparkling Pink Champagne Anti-Bacterial Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - I felt I needed to include this one as it is a Bath & Body Works item. Believe it or not, this was the first BBW hand soap that I have ever finished. It is also the worst smelling one that I have/had in my collection. I tried to get rid of this in my guest bathroom for ages. I finally broke down and finished it off. I was sick of looking at it.

10. Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Crème SPF 15 - I've gone through lots of these. That gwp will get you every time! I particularly like this this product in the summer months. This one was almost gone so I decided to finish it off. Full review:

11. Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Eye - I don't have crow's feet or visible lines on my eyes so I didn't notice this product doing anything for me. It's gel like and I didn't find it particularly comfortable or moisturizing. Just gooey. Maybe I missed something.

So that's it! I should have my monthly favourites up later this week. I also have two really good Holy Grail products to introduce to you soon.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Tarte Tartlette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette - Review and Swatches

Behold Tarte's Tartlette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette. I picked this up a few weeks ago at Sephora with some of the gift cards I got for Christmas. This palette includes 12 matte shadows. Each eyeshadow is 1.5g or 0.053 oz. Same size as a MAC eyeshadow. The palette is $53 Canadian or $44 U.S.

When I saw this palette online and on various blogs and vlogs I thought the packaging looked nice and expensive. I have to say that the real thing looks a bit cheap to me. I love purple though so it's all good. The highlight of the packing is the gold "tartlette" stamped on the cover.

The eyeshadows can be used wet or dry. I can attest that the darkest colours in the palette worked well both wet and dry. The mirror inside is huge. When I first saw this palette, I thought it looked boring. All matte and all neutral colours sort of. I realized after awhile the beauty of it is in its simplicity. Most bloggers have given this palette the thumbs up and a few said they wished they would have passed. I am in the thumbs up category. That being said, I can totally understand why someone might yawn and rollover after looking at it.

The palette looks a bit violet or purple in nature at first glance. The only violet colours are in the second row. The rest are totally in the beige, brown, gray and black zone. All of these eyeshadows blend well, are very pigmented and have great longevity. Each row is a different "look" but of course you can mix and match as you see fit. My favourite row is the second one with the violets and then my second choice would be the third row. This is a great palette to travel with as its fairly compact and has solid, but not mega boring, neutrals. I usually find Tarte's eyeshadows to be high quality and this palette is no exception. I like the ingredients that they use too.

This palette is what I call a dummy palette because you don't have to put much thought into what eyeshadows to put together, it's all here, done for you. A makeup virgin could figure it out. I would definitely buy this palette again if I ever finish it and its still available. This would be a great gift for a makeup lover friend or someone who is just getting into makeup.

The colours in the first row are left to right: free spirit, force of nature, dreamer and multi-tasker. Second row left to right are: caregiver, natural beauty, best friend and bombshell. Best friend and bombshell are my faves by the way. Third row is super mom, wanderer, power player and fashionista. Here are the swatches by row:

In the picture above we have free spirit, force of nature, dreamer and multi-tasker.

Above we have caregiver, natural beauty, best friend and bombshell.

Last row in the picture above is super mom, wanderer, power player and fashionista.

So there you have it! I think my husband is about to call me so that we can watch Breaking Bad. I am so addicted and will be very upset when I am done watching the series. No one makes saying Bitch any more fun then when Jesse Pinkman does it. I am on Season 4. I keep wanting to text all of my friends "pollos" haha.

Packaging: 10/10  (sleek, compact and nice mirror)  
Pigmentation: 9.5/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 8.5/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 8/10
Price: 10/10 (for what you get yes)
Ingredients: 10/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? HELL YES
Overall Rating:  9.5/10

Monday, 23 March 2015

theBalm Smoke Balm Smokey Eye Palette Set 2 or Eye Palette 2 - Review and Swatches

Hi everyone! I have been sick for the past few days and had no steam at all. I started this blog post days ago and I decided I had to hurry up and finish it - get it posted already! I previously posted a blog review on the Set 1 or Eye Palette One version of this product line. There are two by the way. Here is the link to the first one:

Before I get into the nitty gritty review on Set 2 or Eye Palette Two, I have to say that I like Set 1 better. I think the quality is a touch better and the colours are more cool toned so more suited to my personal tastes. If you prefer warm colours, you might very well prefer this set.

I picked up this set for $7.50 U.S. on Hautelook. I think it normally retails for about $12 U.S. I assume it is quite hard to find but I know Hautelook has had it on sale at least twice to my knowledge in the past several months. I always pounce when I see TheBalm eyeshadow palettes in general, let alone on sale, because they are such good quality eyeshadows and are excellent value for your money. TheBalm's packaging is also one of my favourties on the market. So cute!

So there are three eyeshadows in the palette: Kindle, Glow and Combust. Kindle is a blackened green. I don't have anything else like it in my collection so it is a welcome addition. Kindle can be a bit messy to work with so apply with caution. I think it gives a really cool, unique look though if you are tired of wearing the same old black or dark brown eyeshadow. Glow is a matte medium brown. It's not sure if it is warm or cool toned. I can't say that I love the colour. It isn't overly pigmented and is kind of forgettable in my book. It does go well with the other two colours in this set though. Combust is no where near as shimmery on the lid as it looks in the pan. I really like the way that it sets off Kindle though. They make a formidable duo with Glow playing the straight man in between.

A nice tiny mirror is inside the palette which is always handy to have. The palette is sleek and compact. Perfect for travel due to its size and magnetic case. One the back of the palette are instructions for how to wear this palette. I haven't worn it this way, but I will! Sorry pic is a bit dark.

Here are the swatches on my arm and me wearing it. The Kindle colour looked lighter on my camera than it did in real life on my eyelid. I think I have some foundation in my eyebrows too - hot! Sorry about that.

I have to say that for $7.50 U.S., this is a steal and a no brainer purchase. I got this set because I loved Set One so much. You could have a lot of fun with this trio.

Packaging: 10/10  (sleek, compact, pretty and nice mirror)  
Pigmentation: 7/10 (Glow is a bit sad)
Easy to Work With: 7/10 (Kindle can be messy)
Longevity: 8/10
Colour Stays True: 10/10
Texture: 7.5/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 9/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? HELL YES
Overall Rating:  9/10

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream - Review

I got a generous sample of this eye cream in a Bobbi Brown 500 points reward gift set from Sephora a few months ago. I cracked open this jar a few weeks ago and I quickly got a good feel for it and who this eye cream is meant for. I checked Bobbi Brown's website and I confirmed what I suspected. This eye cream is not designed to target puffy eyes nor eye bags. It is also not meant to do anything for dark circles which I need badly in an eye cream. This cream is simply meant to provide intense hydration to the eye area.

I can tell you that this is one of the most comfortable eye creams that I have ever used. The hydration lasts all day until you wash it off. There is little to no smell, it glides on like a dream and quickly absorbs into the skin. It isn't sticky nor does it float nor slide around your eye area. It's $50 U.S. or $56 Canadian for 0.5 oz.

If this product did anything for my dark circles, I would be completely in love and would buy it by the pound. Sadly, it does not so it will not a future purchase of mine. If you are in your 20's or just starting out with eye cream, I would highly recommend this product. If you don't have dark circles like me nor any eye bags and you are just looking for a soothing, hydrating eye cream, this is an excellent bet. I am guessing that the majority of the population age 30 and over have greater needs in an eye cream than this one provides. It's still nice stuff though.

Packaging: 9/10 
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Moisturizing: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Gets Rid of Bags: NO
Price: 6.5/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Quantity of Product: 8.5/10 
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Gets Rid of Dark Circles: 0/10 
Strengthens Under Eye Area: 6/10
Would I buy this again? No, because it doesn't do anything for my dark circles
 Overall Rating: 7/10
Bits and Bites
  • Next two blogs will be eyeshadow palette reviews. One from theBalm and one from Tarte.
  • I did a big haul from Makeup Geek that was delivered yesterday. Lots of MUG product reviews coming soon!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash - Review

This is one of those products that I really wanted to love. I really like the colour of this product, reminds me of a sea breeze, and it says it is "fabulous foaming". Sounds fantastic! I was picturing an ocean like car wash on my face! How fantastic would that be! Sadly, it was only a dream...

Let's talk about the smell. A lot of people seem to really like the smell of this product, but I am not one of them. To me, this smells like fresh bubble gum. I don't like the smell of bubble gum though, so if you do like that smell, disregard my complaint. Ingredients...I don't know what I was thinking, but I bought this having thought I read the ingredients. It has parabens in it and for a daily face wash, that isn't cool in my book. I have used this product on and off for a few months, mostly before I realized that I had clearly not read the ingredients properly. So I can say that I gave the product a fair shot before I knew about the parabens.

It is a gel cleanser and it doesn't foam on me at all. I have tried it with a lot of water, with a little water, with a moderate amount and no foam! I really don't have clue what Bliss was thinking about when they named this face wash. It should be called the Bliss Unfabulous Non-Foaming Face Wash. There are little beads in the gel which work as exfoliators. I am not sure what the beads are made out of, but they scratch my face and they feel like plastic bits of debris. It's not a nice feeling.

It does take off a fair bit of dirt and makeup, but not enough for my liking. If I run a cotton pad over my face after I have washed my face twice with this, I still get dirt and makeup coming off. I really don't feel like I get a deep clean when I use this. My skin feels mildly soft after use but I think that is because I still have my moisturizer and makeup on my face that hasn't washed off.

The bottles for this product come in two sizes. One is 2 oz. 60ml. size for $11 Canadian or $9 U.S. and the other is 6.7oz. for $29 Canadian or $24 U.S. I am happy I bought the cheaper 2 oz. size. The picture I have above is of the full size version.

Other than the cool colour of the product, I don't like anything about it. I am truly disappointed and a little bummed out about this purchase.

Packaging: 8/10
Texture: 0/10
Price: 6/10
Ingredients: 5/10
Easy to Work With: 2/10  
Travel Worthy: 4/10 
Deep Cleans: 0/10
Moisturizing: 0/10
Comfortable/Softening: 5/10
Smell: 2/10
Would I buy this again? HELL NO   
Overall Rating: 2.5/10 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant Spray - Review

I picked up this product just before Christmas during that Sephora sale. I was desperate to find something to replace the original Bumble and Bumble Straight product line that was discontinued. I picked this up on a whim; it was actually another Alterna product that I had planned to get. The bottle is 4.2 oz. or 125ml. It's $31 Canadian or $25 U.S. I got 20% off when I bought it so it was a good deal.

This product is supposed to protect your hair up to 428 degrees F or 220 C. I would think and say that that claim seems accurate. It is also suppose to smooth, detangle, soften, repair, moisturize, strengthen your hair and turn water into wine. Okay, I am kidding about the last part. I would have to agree that this product does all of that. My hair is so soft and manageable when I use this, I am constantly amazed. In many ways it is an all in one product. My only main criticism would be that it can flatten your hair if you are not careful and if you want volume, this is not the product for you. You may need to add another product to the roots or what have you to do that. I will be very interested to see how this product performs when summer rolls around and humidity sets in. I think it may be a God send and perhaps then I will have more natural controlled body in my hair. I will update you when the time comes.

I have naturally curly hair and sometimes if I am in a rush, I just put this on my wet hair and go. I find it gives my hair waves and the curl kind of disappears (which for me is a good thing). There isn't much body to my hair when I do that though. This product really works best when you blow dry your hair or use a straightener with it. This product makes frizz disappear and helps seal my ends. If you are like me and you can't wash your hair every day, this product is so conditioning that your hair can start to look a bit greasy sooner rather than later so you need to keep that in mind. You are fine for a couple of days, after that not so much.

The actual product or formula is very thick. If I turn the bottle upside down, nothing seems to move. It's like a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

The bottle comes in a spray pump container and I would caution you to be careful when you use this mechanism. I found out the hard way a few times. I have checked online and I am not the only person to complain about the spray nozzle on this thing. A lot comes out when you spray it, and it never seems to make contact with my hair. Time and time again it all seemed to land on my neck and slowly drip down. It was not a pleasant feeling. I quickly smartened up and now I spray it into my hands and then work it through the hair. Works a hell of a lot better. Alterna should just put this in a squeeze tube or something and have done with it.

The plastic bottle is attractive for what it is and it's sleek. You could travel with easily enough. It has a strange smell but I quickly got used to it. It reminds me of swimming pools, suntan lotion and shampoo from a bygone era. It isn't a bad smell in my book, but it may not be for everyone. Overall, I really like this product and I am super tempted to give the rest of the Alterna line a try!

Packaging: 8/10 (spray nozzle is terrible)
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Touchable Hair: 10/10
Humidity Resistance: 10/10 (so far only tested in winter)
Hold: 8/10
Volumizing: 2/10
Price: 7.5/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Would I buy this again? Yes
Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

February 2015 Favourites!

Welcome to my February 2015 Favourites! The last week of February is always a busy week for me as it's my birthday, my husband's and my nephew's. So I have been slacking a bit on my blog posts lately, but I have a ton of stuff to review for March (Christmas gifts, new purchases are piling up). Before I jump to that, I better get my February Favourites out of the way. The list this month is not long, but these were truly my favourite products of the month.

1. Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Peach Beach - Is that name cute or what? This was one of my spoils from my Christmas gift cards. I have been using it all month and when I put it on it makes me forget that it's nasty, icy winter outside. I am sure this blush will look ever better in summer, but for now I am really enjoying the colour and the finish is beautiful. Full review coming soon.

2. Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Body Wash - This is the only body wash that I have ever used in winter that I really feel makes a difference. Body oil washes excluded. I just can't stand the slip and slide and break my neck action when I use a body oil wash in the shower. Sorry, off topic. If I am in a rush and I use this particular Aveeno product, it takes a few hours before I start noticing that I didn't lotion up! Otherwise, with other shower gels and body washes, my dry winter skin is screaming within an hour if I apply nothing else. I highly recommend this product. Review coming soon.

3. Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blush in Bronze/Natural - I recently rediscovered this in my stash. For the drug store, this stuff is great. Heck, it could pass for high end and is better than many high end similar products. It always looks good, never overdone, and it keeps your cheeks a little rosy all day. This product is perfect for travel as it's a blush and bronzer all in one. I think this product has been discontinued though and that is a real bummer. Physicians Formula is selling this product still in the just blush version and they have similar bronzers in their line. I would personally try them all if I had the chance and I was rich! Full review:

4. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask - Just look at what is left of the tube! Used and abused. It will be in my empties sooner or later. This product has been life changing for me this winter. I am no longer battling dry, cracked, irritated, red lips as I have the last couple of winters. With this, I am winning the battle. I have talked incessantly about this product lately so I will shut up now. Here is the link to the review: 

5. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed - I just posted a review on this product. I have been using it and loving it all month. Review:

6. Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Glinda - This was a limited edition item as part of their Wizard of Oz promotion. I really love the formula of this pencil it's a super creamy lipstick and gloss all in one. This hasn't left my purse in ages. I feel like I sharpen it 24/7 though. No pun intended. My sources tell me that it's the same or similar to "Naked" in the permanent line of this product. So there's the dupe. Urban Decay carries other colours though so you should check them out!   

Sunday, 1 March 2015

February 2015 Empties

My empties are not plentiful this month, but that is ok. Hey, it was a short month! I think March will be much better. I have one hair care item, three skin care and 2 makeup-ish items. Let's get to it.

1. Korres Body Butter in Basil Lemon - I wasn't the biggest fan of the smell of this (it was a bit too kitchenesque for me) but the body butter itself worked well. My skin has been so dry lately and I am just fed up of this nasty moisture sucking winter. I have a bunch of other Korres body butter tubes in different scents which I am testing out. For the full review of this product:

2. Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner - This is a frequent item in my empties posts so I won't say much about it. I do find myself constantly going back to this product because it is such a great detangler and its nice and gentle. Oh and it's a 2 in 1 so that makes my life easy. I get them directly from Wen so I end up getting a discount and at the same time being on their eternal mailing list. Full review:

3. Nivea Pure & Natural Hand Cream - This was at my desk at work for ages and I finished it all right. I have already repurchased and it is what I am using at work yet again. The ingredients don't scare me and it gets the job done so it's good in my books. Here is my review for the Body Milk which is very similar:

4. Origins Eye Doctor - I really love this eye cream but I am starting to feel like I am having some burnout with it. I think, as I have discovered before, that if I switch to something else for a few weeks and come back to it, I will really get the full benefits of it again. I will repurchase shortly. Full review:

5. It Cosmetics CC+ Lip Serum in Love  - I cannot believe how quickly I blasted through this lip gloss. The formula was very thin so maybe that had something to do with it. It was very moisturizing and comfortable but I wasn't crazy about this particular colour as it looked a bit orange on me. I got it as part of an It Cosmetics set from the Shopping Channel. The applicator is neat. I would maybe try this in another colour one of these days. The packaging chipped like crazy. Full review:

6. Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Dark-Circle Roller - I have had this roller for (I kid you not) 4 years. I have used it about 5 days a week, every week for 4 years. Even though I didn't love it and I will not repurchase, it became a life mission to use every last drop of it. I mainly used it to go to work in and wore it when I wore my glasses so that you couldn't see the full horror of my under eye circles. It did work to some degree but it didn't come close to cutting the mustard when I didn't wear my glasses. The cold roller ball always felt nice on my under eye area. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be finally parting with this beauty product. It's been a long, hard road. The product got so thin near the end it was torture. It never creased though! Full review:

So there it is!

Bits and Bites
  • I have a bit more time this week, and a day off of work (yeah!), so I am hoping to get a couple of blog posts up mid-week. I think I will do my February favourites next and I have a hair care product too to review!
  • I am taking a cake decorating class in my spare time and I have been baking up a storm which is why I have been strapped for time lately. If I make something that looks a bit better than amateur I will share a picture with all of you if you like.