31 July 2012

M thinks she's not shopping when it's *just* accessories

H&M is usually hit or miss, but lately, it's been good to me.
Neon Lime/Yellow Bracelet - $6.95 CAD
Mint Bracelet with Silver Beads - $4.95 CAD
Black Chain Bracelet with Black Rose Charms - $7.95 CAD
Leopard Circle/Infinity Scarf - $12.95 CAD
Black Belt with Black Hardware/Studs - $12.95 CAD
With the purchase, I got a $5 giftcard that can be used in August.

- M

30 July 2012

Dior Addict Ultra Gloss - 576 Sari Pink (Photo Heavy)

I've always had an interesting relationship with lip gloss.  I want to love them but every one that I've tried on or swatched, I've always hated.  My biggest issue with them is the stickiness.

Whenever the latest non-sticky lip gloss comes out, I find myself flocking like the rest of my fellow vanity slaves... however, unlike them, the lip gloss and I never get along.

I've always heard Ingrid (MissGlamorazzi) rave about Dior Addict's Sari Pink, but I've always glazed over it since she's quite the lip gloss freak and I wasn't going to spend an insane amount on a lip gloss... until recently.  In her recent Most Worn Things video, she mentions Sari Pink as her most worn lip gloss and says that it's great with yellow-tone/olive-tone skin... next thing I knew, I was at Sephora and forking out $31 CAD.


  • non-stick
  • it's a slightly lighter pink than my natural lips
  • semi-sheer watermelon pink tint
  • micro-shimmer; non-glitterball
  • ~3 hour wear - good enough for me
  • no problem with drinking water
  • it lasted through gelato
  • not kissing approved, lol
natural light shimmer
flash shimmer
The usual brush applicator (attached to what is basically a Chupa Chup lollipop stick)
look at me acting like I'm some Dior gloss expert, haha
Straight up gloss on the left.  Rubbed in gloss on the right.
If that wasn't enough for you, you can go to Temptalia for more hardcore pictures, hahaha.

Even though I love this lip gloss formulation, I'm not going to go crazy hauling for the entire line.  This is a nice colour and will last for me a while.

- M

28 July 2012

M's Summer 2012 Scent (Marc Jacobs OH, LOLA!)

My parents bought this for me when they passed by Duty Free in Hawaii in April, and as you can see from my picture below, I've already made quite the dip within my 3.4 oz bottle!  I just cannot get enough of this scent.

It's meh when I smell it directly from the bottle, but it's amazing when it mixes with my body chemistry and I guess, whatever is my natural scent.  Meshed with my skin, it's the perfect concoction of light floral and fruit, with a kinda hint of my beloved musk.

Sephora describes it to be flirtatious, lighthearted, and vibrant, with notes of raspberry, vanilla, peony, pear,  and cyclaman.  Normally, I hate vanilla, but it's not noticeable in the scent.  I didn't even know it contained vanilla notes until searching the Sephora website.

What's great about this perfume is that the scent lasts FOREVER.  As you may know, it's best to apply perfume to your heat spots - I spritz twice on my left wrist and rub my wrists together, and then spritz once on my chest.  The scent will linger on me until my next shower.  Sometimes, I'll spritz a sweater instead, and it would last until the next laundry load.
It's a super easy and fuss-free scent to wear.  I feel like it's what a young woman of my age should smell like.

I believe my parents got it for just under $80 USD, but you can get it at Sephora for $88 USD (for the 3.4 oz).

What has been your go-to scent this Summer?

- M

26 July 2012

DIY - Reuse Your Old Candle Glasses (Method 1)

As you've probably seen from YouTube or blog pictures, you can repurpose your old candle glasses.

Once you've burnt your candle to the point where it won't light anymore, fill the glass with boiling hot water in a sink.  The boiling hot water will make it easier to remove any excess wax, as well as the wick that's glued to the bottom.  Find a disposable utensil or stick to help you push the wick off.
Please remember to use your sink strainer!  You do not want hot wax or glue to go down your drain.

The glue should come off pretty easily, and look like this.

 Now, drop a little dishwasher soap in it and blast it with hot water for 30 seconds.

 Once you've blasted it, the glass will be completely spotless from any glue or wax.  The label comes off easily when it's wet.  Note my IKEA label and wick, lol.


Update January 22, 2013:
I've since found a much easier method of removing the wax and wicks.  See method 2 here.

- M

25 July 2012

M's Summer Nails v.3.0 (aka. M has an Essie problem...)

Clearly, I don't have enough Summer nail polishes, even after post #1 and #2.

On the same Target trip as the EOS impulse buy, I picked up two more Essie nail polishes.  They are absolutely gorgeous colours and at $7.79 USD each (compared to $9.99 CAD), I pretty much had to get them.
Anyway, I picked up A Crewed Interest and Navigate Her.  Both are from Essie's Spring 2012 collection.

I would describe A Crewed Interest as the perfect nude peach.

When I was describing Navigate Her to my boy, I said light pastel duck shit green, and he was able to transcribe that into pastel matcha green.

I'm very happy about both of these - just the perfect nude-y peach and green that I've been looking for!
I've had A Crewed Interest on for a week.  I think I'm going to change it to Navigate Her tonight.

- M

24 July 2012

M loves her Tarte Amazonian Clay matte blushes (Blissful, Dollface, Exposed)

For someone who only has two cheeks, I have plenty of blushes (three).  Obviously, I'm not Sabrina from The Beauty Look Book, who is the queen of blushes.

Before we begin, I would like to note that I only use matte blushes.  I loathe cream blushes, because I like my face to be absolutely matte (not powdery, just matte) and I think cream blushes are unsanitary.  Also, I do not like shimmer in my blushes, so I do not like Tarte's Amazonian Clay shimmer blushes.

There's always something I don't like about a certain blush, except Tarte's Amazonian Clay matte blushes.  They are just perfect for me.
My biggest problem with blushes (especially those from MAC), is that they oxidize super quickly on my skin.  If I were to swatch a MAC powder blush on the back of my hand, it would oxidize within 10 minutes - A peachy blush would become brown.  Tarte's Amazonian Clay matte blushes do not oxidize on my cheeks - the colours are always flattering and true to the pan throughout wear.  Tarte claims to have 12-hour wear, but I would say it's more like 5-6 hours during the Summer when my skin is combination/oily, and 7-8 hours during the Winter when my skin is combination.

If you have a particular preference to the ingredients within a blush, Tarte claims that their Amazonian Clay matte blushes are formulated without mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, sodium lauryl suflate, and synthetic fragrance; instead, they contain beeswax, vitamin E, vitamin C, mineral pigments, and of course, amazonian clay.

Personally, I think these three blushes are the most flattering out of their entire matte line:  Blissful, Dollface, and Exposed.  They provide a good range that would work with any look or skin tone.

Their packaging allows easy identification.
L-R:  Blissful, Dollface, Exposed
L-R:  Blissful, Dollface, Exposed

Blissful is a beautiful warm coral.  I've been using it like crazy this Summer.  I know a lot of people (including my girl-crush, Vivianna Does Makeup) have been raving about Tarte's Tipsy, but I prefer Blissful because it is a bit warmer and less bright.  Blissful is good for anyone who wants to have a brighter blush that is still conservative enough for the office.  Most people who rave and use Tipsy only lightly dab on it anyway, which actually gives a very similar, but slightly more orange, colour payoff as Blissful.  Please click here for more swatches of Blissful.

Dollface is a natural light pink.  It is my first Tarte blush.  This is a great blush for a natural look, because it's a little bit neutral and a little cool-toned with a slight blue tint.  I love wearing this during the Winter when I'm super pale and my hair colour becomes a little more ashy and cool.

Exposed is a nude pink.  I'm sure this one doesn't need any sort of introduction because pretty much everyone already has this one.  It is super flattering on all skin tones and puts the perfect amount of natural cheek colour.  I like wearing this on days when I only want the slight amount of colour on my cheeks.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling adventurous, I use this blush for contouring.  It's perfect for light contouring on lighter skin tones because it's more pink and less harsh looking.

If you've tried Tarte's blushes, which are your favourites?
I've become a bit obsessed over blushes lately.  I would really appreciate it if you could recommend any blushes that tend to oxidize less.


23 July 2012

R's experience with flatironexperts.com (Spoiler: It's good. And not sponsored.)

Sorry kids, no pictures in this post.  Just me yappin' away.

So, as M and I have said over and over again, our blog is not and has not been sponsored by any person, thing, or company.  In fact, I would be (pleasantly) surprised if we ever do.  Nor do either of us work in the beauty industry.  Far from it, actually.  We are just regular Joe-Schmoe-Plain-Jane consumers.

When it comes to online shopping, I only do so at major retailers as I have experienced my share of credit card fraud headaches. 

The reason I happened upon flat iron experts (again, not an affiliated link) was because my very picky mother was pining for a small, round brush with a wooden handle.  Did you know that this is very hard to find?  So I took to the internets, and one of the websites that good ol' googly provided was FIE.  I recalled having watched several of JLovesMac1's videos from a couple of years ago, in which she mentioned FIE.  I paid no heed to it and dismissed it as another sponsored video.  But in a desperate desire to realize my dear mommy's wish, I decided to take the risk and make a purchase from this website. 

I did not have any dealings with the people over at FIE, but I was extremely impressed by the swift processing and shipment of my order such that I have no hesitation ordering from their site again. 

- Lightning-fast shipping
I placed my order a day before the long weekend.  I received an email 3 days later that my order had been shipped (ie. the day after the long weekend).  It was in my hands the next day.  Had there not been a long weekend in between, everything would have happened in 2 days.  Colour me impressed.

I wish their threshold for free shipping ($50) was lower, but if you are on the website looking for flatirons, hairdryers, and what not (as opposed to hoarding nail polish like myself), 50 bucks would be quite easy to reach.

- One of their warehouses is located in Vancouver, BC.
This means: no duties to pay.  And it also explains the lightning-fast shipping.

There's no worse feeling when you finally click "Checkout" only to find out that:
(a) The price of the item is 30% more expensive for Canadians;
(b) They don't ship to Canada;
(c) They ship to Canada, but Canadians don't get free shipping;
(d) They ship to Canada, and Canadians get free shipping, but they would have to spend 5x as much as Americans to get it; or,
(e) They ship to Canada, and Canadians get free shipping, but the applicable duties and taxes are comparable to the price of the item itself.

Since their warehouse is in Canada, we Canadians don't have to suffer the dreaded double standard.

- Prices are already in Canadian
Please refer to point (a) above.

- Nail polish hoarding enabler
Going back to point (b) above, nail polish is considered a hazardous material, which means it and like products often cannot be shipped internationally (ie. out of the US unless the option of ground transportation is available).  Again, since one of their warehouses is already in Canada, this is not a problem.

Also, where I live, Essie nail polishes go for $10-12 bucks, which is why I was very happy when I discovered that FIE sells them for $7.50-7.99.  They also have some old-school Essie polishes from bygone collections.  I would say that FIE is probably a collection or two behind the stores, but you ain't got no complaints here.

Did I mention that they sell Deborah Lippmann polishes for $19.99-$21.99?

- Free shipping is automatically factored into your order if the treshold is met
Of course, many websites do this already, but some asshole websites plaster "FREE SHIPPING OVER X-DOLLARS!!!!" and then require a coupon code to actually apply.  So in other words, they prey on the forgetful or overlook-ful.

- Layout/Design
My major gripe about the website.  It is not intuitive or user-friendly, in my opinion (duh, I'm the one writing it).  I found it confusing to navigate as the tabs on the left menu are redundant and do not allow for easy browsing.  Drop-menus offer a cleaner look and better organization.  Their layout as it currently stands is doing their product selection a disservice.

- Lowest Price Guarantee
While it is the lowest price of Essie nail polishes I've encountered, I'm not sure if the other products are necessarily the lower prices.  I am not immersed in the world of hair products to know whether or not their prices are considered 'good,' but some cursory googling would tell me they are not particularly low.  But, I'm sure those of you looking for a particular product would have researched it enough to gauge what a reasonable price would be.   

Until next time,

20 July 2012

Damn you checkout impulse buys! - EOS lip balm (strawberry sorbet)

Yea... I'm sure EVERYBODY knows about the (over?)hyped brand of EOS (evolution of smooth).  They're the brand that came out of nowhere within the last year with this spheric ball of lip balm.
Of course, I rolled my eyes at the girls fighting each other to buy them at almost $5 CAD a pop as I continued to purchase my Nivea lip balms... but, secretly, I loved the shape of it (balls... lol, I'm not going to even...) and wanted to see whether it was really worth all of the hype.

I finally caved today.  I bought the Strawberry Sorbet flavour.  I blame my friend for this purchase because I was waiting for him to pay at Target (yea, I went down to the States again - I live ridiculously close to the border).  I, also, blame Target's strategic marketers and their placement of impulse buy items at the checkout.

Part of my reasoning for buying this is because one of my concerns regarding its hygiene was counter-argued by myself (I tend to argue with myself... wow, there's no way of saying that without sounding insane).
I was always concerned that it's un-clean to have the entire ball of lip balm out, but, I thought about how the same dirt or other shit that may collect on the EOS ball, can also collect on the tops of any Chapstick style of lip balm.  When you turn the Chapstick up, you're only applying the top (assume, dirty part) to your lips anyway.
I hope the above ramble makes some sort of human sense.
On the packaging, it says:
eos lip balm is 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petrolatum free.  Packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil, eos keeps your lips moist, soft and sensationally smooth.
Directions:  Twist off top.  Pucker up.  Smooth on.  Smile.
It also says that it's gluten-free and this product was not tested on animals.
Oooo, BALL
It has a cover inside the lid.
Smell:  It smells like a semi creamy and sweet strawberry; like a super light strawberry shortcake without the explosion of vanilla.
Taste:  It's sweet.
Application:  When you first apply it, it feels like you're rubbing a mozzarella ball against your lips.  Once you've warmed it up, it applies like any other lip balm.
Wear:  There was air conditioning blasting in the car the entire time and it didn't dry it out on my lips at all!  I was particularly impressed with this because my lip balms are usually weak against blasting a/c.  Even with drinking, it lasts for a few hours.  In case you were wondering, it doesn't last with eating.

Verdict:  I like it and will probably repurchase it, but only in the States at $2.99 USD, not the robbery at Canadian stores.  Overall, it's a nice lip balm that does its job, but at a way too overpriced price.

- M

18 July 2012

Updated Acne HG Products (Bioderma, La Roche-Posay, Lush)

So, my last acne holy grail acne products post was less than four months ago (with ghetto iphone pictures and all, haha), but after an intense text message chat with a friend about acne products, where I raved about my hg acne products, I came to realize that my line-up of products has changed.

My new line-up includes Bioderma Sensibio/Créaline H2O Micelle Solution, Lush Tea Tree Water, La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I., and La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Epidermal Recover Accelerator.
Whenever my skin is being problematic, I use all of the above products in the following order:

1.  Bioderma Sensibio/Créaline H2O Solution Micellaire (Micelle Solution):
After I wash my face, I take a single cotton pad (see the type I use in the above picture) and soak it with the Bioderma solution.  I wipe it all over my face to remove any excess dirt and oil that wasn't removed from washing my face with water.  Doing this ensures that my pores are clean and the acne products can be full effective.  Otherwise, I would sealing in any dirt or oil within my skin with any product pile on.

I've written an in-depth post reviewing Bioderma here.

I bought this 250 mL bottle from Murale for $22 CAD.

2.  Lush Tea Tree Water:
I used to use the Burt's Bees Targeted Spot Treatment, but as mentioned in my previous hg acne post, I loathed the smell.  The strong odour limited my use to only night time, just before bed.
I always knew about the Lush Tea Tree Water, but felt it was a bit of a ripoff, thinking isn't it just a small amount of tea tree oil mixed with water?  After stealing some sprits from a new bottle that my boy bought and was trying out, I was hooked on it like a menopausal woman on a cooling fan.

After wiping my entire face with the Bioderma solution, I spray the Tea Tree Water across my entire forehead and down my nose bridge to my chin (down my T-zone).  I also like carrying it around in my bag, especially now in the Summer.  If I'm feeling like a hot, oily mess, I sprits once or twice on my face, and it seems to magically soak up the excess oil... somehow.  Also, if I'm just feeling bleh, a couple of sprits is a nice pick-me-up because it has a really light fresh, herb-y smell (if you don't like that kind of smell, it's ok, cuz it actually goes away really quickly).  Come to think of it, I actually use it similarly to how people are using the Caudalie Beauty Elixir - possibly dupe?

The ingredients are enlisted on the UK website: here.

I bought this 100 mL bottle from a Lush Canada storefront for $8.95 CAD.

3.  La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. AND/OR La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Epidermal Recovery Accelerator:
I put the and/or because depending on how my skin is at the time, I may either use both or only one of the two.  In any case, it's after my Lush Tea Tree Water.

On the La Roche-Posay website, it says that the Effaclar Duo is supposed to replace the Effaclar A.I., but I can still buy it in my local London Drugs, so I may have to stock up on them... (I keep forgetting to ask the Cosmetic Department Manager whether or not the A.I. will be discontinued at London Drugs).  I noted that I used the Effaclar Duo in my previous hg acne products post, but I don't use it anymore because they've changed the solution and my skin isn't feeling the new solution.

If I have a spot that's already visible or I can feel a spot coming (pain underneath the skin), then I apply the Effaclar A.I. directly onto the spot after my Lush Tea Tree Water dries.  A tiny 1/4 of a pea sized dab of product is enough for one spot.  I gently rub it into the spot with a ring finger (your ring finger has the most gentle touch so you won't push the crap inside your spot further down into your skin).  The product dries quickly and without any colour or film.  You can apply makeup (such as concealer) on top of it without any problems of flaking.
Sometimes, if my skin is a bit red, the A.I. acts as an excellent redness reducer.
Effaclar A.I. contains 0.5% salicylic acid.  It comes in a 15 mL tube, but seriously, a little goes a long way.  I've had a tube since January and I've only used a third of the tube.

If the spot is gone, but I'm left with scarring or a dark spot where the spot used to be, then I just use the Cicaplast Epidermal Recovery Accelerator.  I apply a  tiny 1/4 of a pea sized dab of it and gently rub it along the area.  It dries quickly, with a slight anti-bacterial film, so I would recommend using this as part of your night routine if you're particularly anal about non-matte-ness, like myself.  How the Cicaplast Epidermal Recovery Accelerator works is in its name; it speeds up the healing process of your skin and acts as a catalyst in epidermal skin regeneration.  I've used it on dark spots that have been around since my teens, and have noticed significant lightening.
It comes in a 40 mL tube, but a tiny amount goes a long way.

When London Drugs had a 20% promotion on all La Roche-Posay products, I bought Effaclar A.I. for $16 CAD and Cicaplast Epidermal Recovery Accelerator for $16 CAD.  Both are regularly priced at $20 CAD at London Drugs.


Some general things to note about acne treatment:

  • use the treatment directly on the spot, otherwise, it defeats the purpose
  • do not pop the spot, because you will end up spreading it into surrounding pores - also, it will cause scarring
  • do not squeeze the spot, because you will end up squishing the crap inside the spot further down into your pore - this also causes fine lines and wrinkles
  • just let your spot do its thing - resist touching it, popping it, squeezing it, etc.
  • find out which ingredients work best for your skin (Salicylic Acid works best for me)
  • any treatments you use--such as my above recommendations--should be gentle and non-drying

- M

16 July 2012

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush - Blissful

I've been pacing around Blissful at all of my local Sephora shops for quite a while, but just kept holding myself back so I could get it whenever I went over to the states next - It's $33 CAD in Canada and $25 USD in the states.

Evidently, I stopped by a Sephora when I was in the states over the Canada Day/Independence Day long weekend.

Tarte claims that it has 12-hour wear without oxidization.  I think it gives about 5-6 hours on my combination/oily skin during the Summer, and about 7-8 hours on my combination skin during the Winter.
The colour does not oxidize on the cheeks and it is true to the colour you see in the pan.

I absolutely live by Tarte blushes because they are long-wearing, do not oxidize, and are cruelty-free.
In addition, they are formulated without mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, sodium lauryl suflate, and synthetic fragrance.  Instead, they contain beeswax, vitamin E, vitamin C, mineral pigments, and of course, amazonian clay.
Heavy and Light swatch (in direct natural light)
Heavy and Light swatch (in indirect natural light)
Blissful is a beautiful warm coral that would be flattering on any skin tone, and has been my ultimate go-to blush for this Summer.
I know a lot of people (including my girl-crush, Vivianna Does Makeup) have been raving about Tarte's Tipsy, but I prefer Blissful because it is a bit warmer and less bright.  Blissful is good for anyone who wants to have a brighter blush that is still conservative enough for the office.  Most people who rave and use Tipsy only lightly dab on it anyway, which actually gives a very similar, but slightly more orange, colour payoff as Blissful.

What are your favourite coral blushes?

- M

10 July 2012

Real Techniques Brushes - Powder Brush (Photo Heavy)

I hauled some Real Techniques brushes from Fred Meyer (see my blab here), and this is my last brush post from it.  It's the Powder Brush and I got it for $9.99 USD.

The Real Techniques one (L) is much more dense and doesn't flop flat.
I use a powder brush to lightly dust Tarte smooth operator micronized clay finishing powder (in translucent white) all over my face after applying concealer and filling in my brows.  I don't wear foundation in any form but my T-zone tends to get oily as the day procedes, so I use finishing powder to absorb any excess oil on my face.

After using the Real Techniques powder brush for a little more than a week, I can say that I like it, but I may prefer my EcoTools one a teeny bit more.

Even with my ginormous face, I feel like the Real Techniques one is too big and too dense.  Normally, I am a big advocate of super dense brushes but I think this one just might be tiptoeing around the threshold.  I am having a bit of trouble manoeuvring the brush around my face as the brush hairs don't seem to move around the curves of face very well.  They just stick straight up into the air, in a bunch.  I can barely fit it within the cap of the Tarte finishing powder, which sucks (I've always really enjoyed swishing my EcoTools powder brush in it).

Even though the EcoTools powder brush is floppy, I like it that way.  It is much, much less dense than the Real Techniques one, so, its hairs are more flexible and it is able move around my face well.  Also, because it is less dense, it is able to pick up loose powder more gently.  I find that my usual usage amount of finishing powder would disappear within my Real Techniques because it's so dense - I end up having to use a more generous amount.

What I do like about the Real Techniques brush over the EcoTools one is that it applies very evenly and smoothly.  Sometimes the EcoTools one can unevenly pick up the powder, so I end up having to tap the excess off and wasting it as it flies everywhere.

Have you tried either of these powder brushes?  Have you tried any other Real Techniques brushes?

In addition to this one, I've also tried the Core Face Kit and Blush Brush.

See my post on the Core Kit here.
See my post on the Blush Brush here.

- M

8 July 2012

Real Techniques Brushes - Blush Brush (Photo Heavy)

As you may know, recently, I hauled some Real Techniques brushes from Fred Meyer (see my blab here).  One of the brushes is this Blush Brush at $8.99 USD.
See my post on the Core Kit here.

It's as fluffy as it looks.
I loooooooooooooooooooove this blush brush to bits! It's insanely fluffy and soft.  I love that it's so ginormous, so it fits my entire chubby bunny cheek.  

Compared to my current previous EcoTools blush brush, this Real Techniques one is different in every way.  I like the EcoTools one but I find that I have to almost buff the blush onto my cheek, because it sucks onto the product.  Also, I have to work to get enough product to stick onto the brush.  On the other hand, the Real Techniques blush brush hairs are cut in a tapered and layered way, so that when I dab it into my blush pan, every single hair gets product.  This product is then easily transferred to my cheek, without any buffing.  Because the hairs are loosely dense (oxymoron, I know...), they don't hold onto the product forever - this way I end up waste less product.  I always looked at more angled brushes for blush, but I find that I actually really like the more layered pencil brush type of shape of this Real Techniques one.

- M

Update:  July 10th
I just posted my review of the Real Techniques Powder Brush.  Read it here!