22 February 2012

(London)Drugstore Sale!

I received a London Drugs flyer in the mailbox earlier this weekend, and they're having quite a few cosmetic sales!  Maybe cleaning up their inventory for fiscal?  I'm shooting the shit there, hahaha.

Canadians, GO!
Anyway, I trekked over because I wanted to check out the Physician's Formula wall, the Balm counter, swatch the L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm, and swatch the Marcelle and Garnier BB Creams.

The Balm selection is shit at London Drugs, but better than nothing.  I didn't see anything I wanted.

Physician's Formula is 40% off, so the entire wall was pretty much gone.  I was previously interested in the Happy Booster Glow & Mood Booster Blush in Natural
but not enough to pay $19.99 CAD regular (inflated) price.  I played with it today, and it's decent... but I just got my Tarte Amazonian in Dollface, so I resisted.

I swatched the Marcelle BB cream in the lighter version, and it was meh quality... thinner consistency than normal BB creams, just a bit more viscous than my water-based Dr. Jardt + one.  It blends and dries quickly, but acts more as a tinted moisturizer than a BB cream, as the colour stays the same and doesn't really blend to match skin tone... you kind of have to work at it.  I think it was selling for $17.99 CAD.

I swatched the Garnier BB cream in the lighter version and it was shitbricks.  That is all.

The entire L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm collection was completely sold out, except for two and five shade testers.  Amber has pretty good swatches.  I swatched Caring Coral and quite liked it.  I was going to get it along with something else to fill up the $20 so I can get a free Infallible Eye Shadow ($9.99 CAD), but too bad so sad.  It's probably for the better anyway.  I don't have enough lips for all of my lip balms and lipsticks.    (Though, I should.)  Plus, I've been just working my Nivea Hydro Care to the bone this winter.
These Colour Riche Balms were made to compete with the overhyped Lip Butters, and in my books, I prefer these guys.  They seem more moisturizing and actually remind me of my YSL but less pigmented.  They're also $2 cheaper than the Lip Butters.  It is important to note that if you want something with more pigmentation, these are not for you.  They're very sheer.

Anyway, this is what I did pick up:

Some weirdass That 70s Show reminiscent version of CC Lash Blash.
Got this Physician's Formula eye lash serum to be nice to my lashes.
They've been feeling a bit brittle lately because of my lack of sleep and the cold wind.

Some $4.89 CAD Ardell Lampchops style lashes to play with later.
It  was marked down to $12.49 CAD from $24.99 CAD, so I figured I'll give it a go.
 For those who want to read the ingredients or packaging.

Click to enlarge!


20 February 2012

R is Tarte-ing up

There is a backstory to this purchase.  It's riveting, I swear.

In December 2011, I was 40-something dollars away from becoming a VIB.  I received an email from Sephora advising me of this.  I was racking my brain and couldn't think of anything that I wanted to buy at Sephora.  Then I received a gift card from my Mr. Lova Lova for Christmas, at which time I thought, "Hmm...perhaps I'll find something now." Hehe...!

So, off I went into the land of destroyed cosmetic samples.  I came up with a brilliant idea: Mattes!  I have accumulated so many shimmery eyeshadows that I could really use some matte shades to complement/tone-down the shimmers.  I came across this:
 Well, actually, this was what caught my eye:
(And this was what caught my eye when I opened up the one I purchased...)
As always, I digress.  It was Tarte NeutralEYES Volume II Natural Eye Palette ($57 CAD).   My eyes latched on to the gorgeous neutrals and could not let go.  The top five shades are all matte and the bottom five shades are shimmery (but not glittery.  I kind of hate glitter.  Like a lot.)  

Now, be prepared to gasp in horror: I don't have the Naked Palette.  I don't have the Naked 2 Palette.  In fact, I don't have anything Urban Decay.  I remember some moment in time last year, during which I spotted a few Naked Palettes when it was not yet readily available as it is nowadays.  I was shopping with M and I considered getting it just because it was so coveted and inaccessible.  For once, my greed did not overcome my superego, and I left it.  

Anyhow, the palette to which this post is dedicated is $58 CAD, so the price is quite comparable to Naked.  However, check out what NeutralEYES comes with.  
It is also green-themed, as evidenced by this wonderfully leafy leaflet.
 I swatched.  I was sold.  Here are some close-ups of the shadows themselves:

Velvety smooth and nicely pigmented, albeit significantly less pigmented than those that are so loved by the Naked Palette cult.  However, this was precisely the level of colour payoff that I was looking for.  Easily buildable, but very forgiving if you accidentally use a heavy hand.  For a brand that's touted as 'natural' and what not (although looking at that ingredient list, one has to wonder...), they are not chalky, they apply evenly, and they blend quite easily.  I haven't used an eye primer for quite a while, so I can't speak on its effect on the eyeshadows' performance.  I have to admit that there is a fair bit of fallout, more than what I am used to.  (I normally have little to none with my go-to's, namely Chanel's Ombres Contraste Duo in #20 Taupe-Delicat, Chantecaille's Sea Turtle Palette, or even Wet 'n Wild's Comfort Zone and Silent Treatment.)  That is the one downside to the soft texture of these eyeshadows.  Nevertheless, I have no regrets for this purchase because it comes in very handy.  I like to use the first, leftmost matte shadow ("matte soft beige") to highlight my brow bone, a 3:1 mix of the fourth and last matte shadows ("matte pebble" and "matte espresso") to fill in my brows.  Of course, any of the shimmery shadows would work well as an all-over wash on the lids.  

I suck at eyelining.  I've watched countless how-to videos but can't seem to do it properly.  So, when I say that I have difficulty using this eyeliner, it could very well be the fact that I am a huge eyeliner fail.  With that in mind, it has a very malleable texture in pencil-form but once applied on the skin, it doesn't budge.  Like Mr. Lova Lova watching sports.  Can't move the man.  When you glide the eyeliner across your skin, there is a cool (as in cold) sensation, living up to its "aqua-gel" title.  

Double-ended Brush:
Haven't gotten around to using it, sorry.  I've been using and enjoying my Nordstrom Brush Set.  However, for a brush that comes with a palette, and a double-ended one no less, the shader-end feels soft and apt for blending and the pencil-end feels dense and sturdy.  It retails for $24 USD on their website, so it's not just a dinky oh-let's-throw-in-this-shitstick-and-pretend-it's-a-brush type deal.  

Eye Primer:
Haven't gotten around to using this one either.  It's supposed to be quite similar to UD's Primer Potion, as it is skin-coloured (as opposed to translucent or white).  However, this primer purports to have firming qualities ("51% decrease in the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles," it says.)  Will keep you posted when I use it. 

Terribly sorry that this does not include swatches, but if any were to be included they would be garbage anyway because of my non-existent photography/lighting skills.  In fact, I will justify this shortfall by encouraging you to check this palette out in stores for yourself because fancy blog swatches always make the shadows look exceptional, perhaps more exceptional than they would look in normal, everyday lighting.  SO THERE!  HA!


14 February 2012

M Can Shop Anywhere (Photo-Heavy)

I'm currently in Calgary, AB, Canada!

I flew over here on Friday, and over the weekend, the boy and I went to Banff.  I haven't been to Lake Louise and Banff since I was ~ 7 years old, and it is absolutely breathtaking-gorg!

There's really nothing to do here... and it's pretty cold out, with occasional mini snow blizzards, but obviously that's not going to stop me from shopping ;)
Also, 5% TAX - need I say more?

Anyway, enough chitterchatter, here's all the shit I bought:

Calgary tortures my hair with its hard water, so I figured I would try to get some of the shit out of my hair with this shampoo, that's supposed to strip your hair of chemicals with a sulfate-free formula.  I included the ingredients for those who may be skeptical of the "sulfate-free" claim.  (I've heard from other bloggers that it's not completely sulfate-free.)
My experience is that it really strips the hair of everything, not just chemicals?  My hair feels so dry and hay-like - UGH.
This was after conditioner, by the way...
I got this for $8.99 CAD at Shopper's Drug Mart.

SCUNCI Smooth and Shine Boar Bristle
It does what it says.  This gets shit done better than the L'OREAL shampoo. I got this for $14 CAD at Rexall.

My body is super quenched.  I got this for $12.99 CAD at Rexall.  It came with a bonus lip balm.  I'm not a fan of BB's lip balm, so I'm giving to the boy.

This is one my favs.  I got this at the Banff Lush store for $5.95 CAD.

REXALL Cosmetic Wedges & QUO Cosmetic Wedges
Essentials.  I love these ones because they're super fine sponges.  The only ones I can find at home have this pot scrubber rough texture.
I got the Rexall pack for $7.99 CAD, and three of the QUO packs for $3.49 CAD each.
(QUO is a Shopper's Drug Mart brand).

L'OCCITANE Apres-Shampooing Hair Conditioner
See my raves about this product here.
So happy to know that I can always find it again in Calgary!  According to the Sales Associate, it is not discontinued and it is the only product that's 100% natural.  I got this from L'OCCITANE for $22 CAD.
Oh, yea... and I'm an idiot... it's a rinse conditioner, not a leave-in...  I'm going to continue using it as a leave-in though, because it ain't broke.

I got this for $22 CAD at L'OCCITANE.  It's a limited edition product.  It has a very subtle sweet scent that doesn't burn my nostrils - I like.

L'OCCITANE Cherry Princess Hand Cream
I decided to try this as a fruity variation on my favourite Cherry Blossom scented hand cream from them.  According to the Sales Associate, Cherry Princess has a hint of grapefruit.  This was $12 CAD.

Awesome Sales Associate gave me these two samples:

And thennnnn, all hell broke loose.  I went to The Bay and beelined straight to Chanel.
Apparently I was just in time for another $10 off $50 beauty products event.
For anyone in the downtown Calgary area, The Bay's Chanel will be doing makeovers this Friday (Feb 17).
The Sales Lady gave me $10 off, and then gave me another $10 card that I can use later (valid until March) YAY!

I ended up repurchasing this one over the Laura Mercier one.  It has a smoother texture, and very little product is required to get the job done.  Also, the natural glow is fab.
Read my previous post on this product here.
The Sales Lady was explaining that this shade is definitely not something I would ever pick up, and damn, is she ever right.  She was explaining that all women have violet undertones within their lips, and urged me to try it on.  She won.
This raspberry is gorg.  It is so flattering on my naturally deep pink pigmented lips and lights up my whole face.
I did a single swipe swatch (left) and a normal application swatch (right).

The Sales Lady wouldn't let me go, but I got some samples, so I'm happy.

I was bad.  Very, very bad.  I splurged at Holt Renfrew...
I am in love.


8 February 2012

Clarisonic Dupe

GASP.  Dare I anger the masses?

When Clarisonic first introduced their scubber thing, I scoffed at it... because, well... this:
Am I right?!

Oh right, and that $200 price tag on it.

When people starting raving about it, and replaced "Oh, I just use my face towel in the shower" with "I just use my Clarisonic in the shower, don't you?!"... then, the inner Sherlock came out.

When Olay came out with their version of an automatic cleansing brush, I figured why not give it a try at a fraction of the price?

OLAY Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System

The starting kit is $26 USD at Walmart!!!!!
It comes with the brush, a brush head refill, and a tube of the Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser that is part of the same Pro-X line.
When I bought the product at Target, they were having a promotion for buying any two Olay products.  I got a $10 Target giftcard for buying the starter's kit and another brush head refill, so I basically got the refill for free.

As you can see, the size and shape of it is similar to Mia 2.  The first button is the power button, and the second is the speed button.  It has two speeds.  I find the top speed to be a little intense, so I usually just use the low speed.

The brush head isn't as sophisticated as the Clarisonic, but it is good enough.  Also, it doesn't look like a garbage garburator, like the Clarisonic.  The Olay bristles are very soft and are gentle enough for my sensitive, thin skin.

Unlike the Clarisonic, it is battery operated and does not come with a pouch.  But, really, for 10% of the price, I can buy the batteries and find a makeup bag for it.
I keep this in this stand that I got from Forever 21, where my makeup brushes are placed.
As for batteries, it really doesn't matter, because I wouldn't use it in the shower and I've found the battery life to be great.  I've had this for a year now, and have yet to replace the stock batteries.

I use it every two weeks, and usually after a Biore nose strip.  I like using it with Philosophy Purity as the cleanser.  Afterwards, my skin is feels so clean and glistens for a week.

I leave you with this...

How do you deal with your case of dirty face?
Whichever method it may be, do your partner a favour and clean up that dirty face for Valentine's Day!


4 February 2012

These need some love, man.

**Please excuse this text-heavy post.  I swear it's something worth reading!  But then again I wrote it, so you can say that I am a little biased.** -R 

Now, I'll be honest with you.  I had written a draft of this post about a week ago with the intention of simply (and quickly) raving about IKEA candles and expressing my bafflement at how they have been completely overlooked by candle hoarders that are drawn to Bath and Body Works like zombies.  

As I was about to publish the post, however, I wanted to be somewhat responsible with my recommendations, because I am by no means a candle expert, or an expert on anything at all.  I am just another slave consumer that wants the most bang for my buck.  Anyway, I started to do some light Googling.  After all, the price of the IKEA candles that I have been enjoying are almost 3/4 less that of B&BW.  I figured that if there is a difference in quality, then the price difference may be justified, and y'all B&BW addicts can rest in peace in spending as much as you do.  

I googled "IKEA candle ingredients" and came across this PSA from BC Hydro, which is a provincial Crown Corporation in Canada (meaning it is government-owned and regulated).  Whether this legitimizes their information or not is up to you and your individual political sways.  Nevertheless, it appears to promote the use of natural, soy candles to prevent the release of toxins and pollutants in your living space.  My heart skipped a beat (not in an excited way) when I read that some candle wicks may contain lead.  But I quickly breathed a sigh of relief when it continued to say that "Most North American-made candles do not contain lead and candles from IKEA are all lead-free."  However, according to this website, "There is currently no ban on leaded candles in Canada."  Therefore, do take care in your choice of candles, especially if you are a frequent/daily candle user.  The website also offers instructions on how to determine whether your candle wick contains lead.  It then goes on to caution against the use of candles that are made from paraffin, which is a chemical preservative that is found in foods (good lord.) made from from distilled petroleum (whatever that means, but it doesn't sound too good).  A quick google of it indicates that it is a common ingredient in many products.  Health Canada appears to carry the same tune with regard to its presence in candles and the potential harmful effects to your health.  In contrast, the National Candle Association (based in the US and comprised of candle manufacturers and suppliers, so take what you will from the following...) say that "Paraffin wax - like all candle waxes - is non-toxic."  And unlike Canada, "Lead wicks have been officially banned in the United States since 2003..."  Feel free (in fact, you are encouraged) to research this topic more than the mere hour that I have devoted.  I think it is definitely something worth informing oneself about.

IKEA Tindra Candle $1.99 CAD
With all that in mind, pictured on the right is the IKEA Tindra candle.  This particular one boasts 0.5 kg of product and a burning time of 30 hours.  It does contain a blend of paraffin and vegetable wax, but as mentioned above, the wick is lead-free.  It retails for $1.99 CAD and maintains its scent when lighted (as opposed to the so-called scented candles whose scents magically disappear when lighted).

Bath and Body Works Scented Candle $12.50
And here is the B&BW candle that orgasmizes the beauty community on Youtube.  I can't find a link for this particular candle, but here is another scent in the same size and in Canada, we have to pay $12.50 for it.  Boo.  As you can see on the picture, it contains an "Exclusive blend of vegetable wax."  Whether the absence of any mention of Paraffin necessarily means its absence in the candle is unknown.  After all, it doesn't have a full ingredients list (nor does the IKEA Tindra).  In any case, its wick is lead-free and it claims to burn between 25-40 hours and have 113g of product, which renders the Tindra to have almost 4.5 times more product.  So, quantity-wise and burning-time-wise, there is no question that you get more value for your money in the Tindra.  HOWEVER (and quite unfortunately), it remains unclear whether the price difference is on account of a difference in quality (namely, the absence of Paraffin).  To me, anyway.  I guess I could send an email to B&BW and find out.  


Here they are for a side-to-side comparison.  
So, there you have it.  Not to sound all preachy, but just like you would with anyone's reviews and recommendations regarding any given product, take all this in with a grain of salt.  After all, to be a smart consumer (of anything, really, not just products) is to inform yourself on just what you are putting on your skin, inhaling into your lungs, ingesting in your stomach, inputting into your mind, etc.

P.S.  For a commonsensical reminder about candle-burning safety, please refer to Amarixe's video.  Summary: please do not leave your burning candle unattended, no matter how unlikely it may appear that shit's gonna go down.  Because complacency is basically the trigger for the going down of shit.  So please.  Be smart.