Monday, May 02, 2016

Empties #6

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Once in a while, I actually use up products from my hoard. It always feels like a bit of an achievement so I wanted to share it with you.

Sephora Eye Masks - These are a nice little treat for the under eyes. They don't do anything remarkable, but they do feel refreshing on the skin. They're a nice little travel companion. If I had to choose a favourite between the ones I've tried (Green Tea, Lotus and Rose), I would have to say Rose. No particular reason, really. They all felt the same. I do want to try the Avocado eye mask next though.

Phyto - I have finally gone through the last of the Phyto products I own. I went on a bit of a Phyto bender a couple years ago and bought 3-4 different products from the brand. The Phyrodefrisant is an anti-frizz serum that does help prevent my hair from frizzing out; however, I would not repurchase this again because the packaging was awful. The aluminium tube isn't really conducive to hold such a liquid-y product, so it was quite messy to apply. Phyto 9 is a great cream for dry hair! I'd definitely pick this one up again (just wish they would change the packaging).

Living Proof - The Perfect Hair Day collection is one of my favourite hair care lines. They smell great and they perform well. I really like using the styling treatment after washing my hair. It helps give me a great blow-out that lasts all day long.

DHC - I wish I picked up more products from DHC while I was in Japan because if their cleansing oil is an indicator of how great their product line is, I am missing out! The Deep Cleansing Oil removed all traces of makeup on my skin & left my skin feeling smoothed and hydrated. I still have one more bottle left and I would repurchase it in a heart beat.

Hourglass - I wouldn't say that I'm picky with my brow products, but I do want something that is easy to apply & that will last all day long. The Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil (in the shade Dark Brunette) is one of my favourite brow products because it fits the bill. It's a wedge shaped pencil that fills the brows in quickly and it stays put all day long. It's a bit pricey ($37), but it does last quite a few months with everyday use.

Benefit - If I don't use a brow pencil, I will usually always use a brow gel. I have such unruly brow hairs that if I don't tame them, they will run wild & free. I like the Gimme Brow because it has a small brush for precise application and it has fibers to aid in subtly filling in brows. Plus, no crunchiness!

NARS - One of my favourite concealers is the Creamy Radiant Concealer (in the shade Ginger) from NARS. It's great for under the eyes and also over blemishes. It's a drier formulation but it still blends beautifully to conceal / brighten problem areas.

Lancome - Some of my favourite mascaras come from Lancome. My ultimate favourite is Hypnose Doll Lashes. Not only is the cone-shaped wand a breeze to use, but the formulation separates, lengthens and fans out my short stubby lashes.

Essie Set in Stones is a beautiful silver glitter polish. The downside is that it dries up so easily (at least for me). This is the second bottle that has shrivelled up before I could use it up.

Laneige - This was not my favourite moisturizer. In fact, it broke me out severely. I'm not entirely sure why because I've used Amore Pacific (Laneige's parent company) many times before & never had this problem. The Bright Renew Emulsion moisturizer gave me terrible breakouts on the forehead after two uses. That experience has turned me off all of the Laneige products, which is unfortunate because they look that they have a nice line-up.

Beauty Blender - I love my beauty blender, but I did not love this cleanser. I wasn't a fan of the scent and also I found that it took forever for the suds/soap to rinse away (even with the tiniest amount used).

Pond's - This Acne Clear White cleanser that I picked up in the Philippines turned out quite well. Even though it has micro-exfoliating beads in the cream, it doesn't feel abrasive on the skin. It also didn't leave my skin feeling dry after a cleanse.

Elizabeth & James - My obsession with this fragrance is real! I just love the soft and sophisticated scent of Nirvana White—I'm horrible at describing scents, but the mix of musk and floral is divine. I wish it lasted a bit longer on, though... Once it dries down, it only lingers for a couple hours.

The Body Shop - I can't get enough of masks. Peel-off masks, rinse-off masks, sheet masks and now sleeping masks. The Bouncy Sleeping Mask from the Body Shop is a lovely addition to your night-time routine for beautifully moisturized skin in the morning.

Only two fails this round, I think that's a success! x

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wedding Wednesday | Makeup Trial

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Did you know that VIB Rouge members can go for unlimited makeovers at Sephora?! I actually did know that, but I had never utilized the perk until recently.

A few weeks ago I went to Sephora & got a free makeover (well, actually it wasn't free free because I ended up buying a bunch of products that were used). Nonetheless, I had a great time and the makeup artist, Aya, was so nice (check out her instagram here). I wanted to test out a potential wedding look. Something natural and simple, but photographed well. 

I love the look she created. It was exactly what I wanted, so I thought I would share the products she used. I will denote products that I bought after this trial with some asterisks (**), otherwise all the other products I already had in my collection.

When I went for the trial, I went in with a clean slate. I had nothing on my face except for some moisturizer and some lip balm. 

The Base

I'm wearing the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer** to help my makeup stay put, along with the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation** in Y375. To concealer the dark circles, I'm wearing the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer** in Medium-Dark Warm.

The Cheeks

It started with some contour using the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder and then some bronzing using the Hourglass Ambient Bronzer in Luminous Bronze (I own Radiant Bronze, though). The blush was NARS Orgasm. This blush is the only one I ever had to repurchase because I used it up—funny enough, I don't own a full-size anymore... the only one I have resides in my Danmari Palette. The highlighter was the Hourglass Ambient Strobing Powder in Euphoric**, although, I picked up the Laura Mercier Radiance Baked Powder in 01 Highlight** and I love it more!

The Eyes

The simple eye look was created using the Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Volume 1 – Nudes. It's a great neutral palette. I meant to pick it up during the Sephora sale, but I didn't get around to it. The original Urban Decay Naked Palette has similar shadows to recreate the look. Of course, to hold the eye shadow in place, I have on some Urban Decay Primer Potion**. I don't remember what was used to tightline, but it was a black eye pencil (shown is my favourite liner from Annabelle).

I have a bit of mascara on, too, but imagine this look with fuller/longer lashes because I plan to get some lash extensions for the big day.

The Lips

For a soft peachy pout, I'm wearing the Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Gel lipstick in Eat Cake with a dab of YSL Gloss Voluptè in #203 on the centre of the lips.

That's the look, let me know what you think! :)

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Friday, April 22, 2016


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I hate to be a Canadian cliché, but I'm so happy to see the weather getting warmer. It means I can stop dressing in twos (i.e. snow boots and heavy parka for the commute to work and open-toe shoes and blazers for when I get there).

The warmer weather is also making for more interesting weekend-wear. I've been able to bust out two of my favourite things right now: lace-up shoes and long sleeveless jackets/waistcoats.

I find lace-up shoes so whimsical and fun. Although a bit cumbersome to put on, they almost make me feel like a ballerina. I picked up these nude leather flats at the Gap a few months ago during the holidays. I scored them at 50% off and haven't really been able to wear them until now.

The long sleeveless jacket is a trend I am happy to get on board with. I layer it with everything, including jeans, skirts and dresses. I've even rocked it at work with a pencil skirt and blouse. It's a great transitional piece that I never expected I would love so much. The look can be a bit overbearing sometimes, which is why I chose a lighter colorway. Some of my sartorial choices with this piece have been a bit questionable, but I'll continue to experiment, nonetheless.

Sleeveless Jacket, Marciano (here) | Top, the Gap (old) | White Denim, Target (old) | Shoes, the Gap (old) | Bag, Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket (here)

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wedding Wednesday | Primers & Powders

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On a day where you're going to be spending a lot of money on photography, you obviously want to make sure your makeup will last all night long. I, unfortunately, did not win the skin type lottery because if I want my makeup to last through my first cup of coffee, I need to wear a primer & set my base with a powder.

Fortunately, there are some great products out there to help your makeup stay put.


There are a lot of primers on the market right now and if you're not using one, you're missing out! I have zeroed in on more mattifying primers, but there are primers out there to even out your skin tone or to hydrate drier skin. It just takes a little bit of research and a trip your beauty counter of choice to find the perfect one.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (from $21 CAD)

This touts to be a water-resistent primer that is fragrance/oil/gluten free. It does work well to keep makeup looking fresh and in place, and it also does a fairly good job with oil-control. It has a smooth texture that when applied helps even out the skin tone. Over all, it's a great primer!

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (from $18 CAD)

This is my favourite primer for my t-zone. It works so well at preventing shine and giving a smooth finish. This is a tricky primer to apply, though. It's not a product you can slap haphazardly all over the face, it requires a little more effort. First of all, make sure you warm up the product between your fingers before you apply it. It comes off as a very thick cream, but it softens with a little heat. When it comes to applying it, do not rub it in! That's key. For whatever reason, it has a high tendency to ball up when you try to rub it in, so instead, pat it on where you need it! Applied correctly, it effectively keeps the shine away.

Too Faced Hangover Rx Primer ($40 CAD)

Although this primer is not the best product for mattifying my t-zone, I thought I'd mention it because if you have drier skin, you should get a sample of this to try! It's lightweight, hydrating on the skin and it helps your base look smoother.The mild coconut scent is quite refreshing, too. For me, it doesn't help the longevity of makeup as well as mattifying primers do, but I love the fresh and glowy look it gives.


Not everyone will need to use a setting powder, but if you have combination or oily skin, it's something to consider. Setting powders are great to not only set makeup, but  they can also soften the look of any base.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($47 CAD)

A soft, translucent powder that gives the skin a beautiful and smooth finish. It's great for controlling oiliness and leaves a matte (but not dry looking) finish. I wouldn't recommend this for those with dry skin because this talc-free powder can be a bit drying.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in No. 2 ($58 CAD)

This is my favourite pressed powder of the moment. The powder is superfine and it offers a sheer (yet buildable) coverage. It's wonderful for all skin types, even combination/oily. It applies flawlessly over any base (I've tried with bare skin, just concealer, tinted moisturizer and foundation) and it gives a gorgeous soft-focus look. It's also one of the few products I've tried that can be reapplied without complication (i.e. adding layers won't look cakey). The only downside is the fact that it comes in only three shades, but since they're sheer, the shades available will work with a wide range of different skin colours.

Hourglass Ambient Powder in Dim Light ($52 CAD) 

The Ambient Powders are not recommended for oil-control, but they do make wonderful finishing powders. Diffused Light is a great powder to set under-eye concealer. It's ultra-fine pale yellow powder reflects light beautifully to brighten dark circles. It's a great way to soften the look of any foundation without adding too much weight.

What are your favourite products for controlling shine? x

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Monday, April 18, 2016

L'Occitane | Skin Essentials

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I don't normally rave about Sephora's 500pt perks because frankly, many of them suck.

I did change my tune when I spotted this beauty perk in store last week, though. It's a Winter Essentials kit by L'Occitane. I don't know how long this has been available or how long it will be available for, but I think it's an awesome set of minis.

It contains four miniature products from the brand and a little pouch to carry them all in:

  • Almond Supple Skin Oil — if you like skin oils as much as I do, you'll love this! It absorbs beautifully into the skin and gives you a lovely (non-greasy) glow to the skin.
  • Shea Hand Cream — nice little travel hand cream, perfect for your bag.
  • Almond Shower Oil — my new obsession! Use this in the shower for silky and smooth skin.
  • Shea Cleansing Oil — I love using an oil as part of my nightly dual cleanse, so I was excited to try this out. I've used it a few times already and I really like it. It gently removes makeup and it doesn't leave your skin feeling taut.

This perk (last time I checked) is not available online, but if you see it in store, I think it's worth blowing a few points on. Warning: you may fall in love with some of these products! I've already picked up a full-size of the cleansing oil.

What was the last thing you redeemed your beauty insider points for? x

(*) This post contains products sent to Stylish & Literate for editorial consideration. Read disclosure here.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

New In | MAC

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Since I have been rediscovering eye shadows, I've also been rediscovering MAC.

It has been a long time since I've had a significant swatch-fest at a MAC counter, but a recent visit reminded me that there's more to the brand than lipsticks and Fix+.

Don't get me wrong, their constant release of new and limited edition collections has grown tiresome for me, but they do have some great permanent products.

While I was at the MAC Pro store, I decided to make myself a little quad. I wish I had known they were planning to release six and nine pan pro palettes because I definitely would've picked one of those up instead.  At the time, only two, four and fifteen pan palettes were available. Two was definitely not enough and fifteen was too big and I hate seeing a half empty palette... so I settled for a quad.

Nonetheless, I'm very happy with the custom palette I created with these shadows:

  • All that Glitters — a pinky beige with gold pearl (very pretty alone or layered)
  • Wedge — a matte beige taupe (makes a good transition colour)
  • Woodwinked — a warm brown with gold pearl (all over shadow or layered)
  • Espresso  — a deeper matte warm brown (for blending or for the crease)

As you can see, I gravitate towards warmer shades. I forgot how beautiful MAC eye shadows were. They blend nicely, they are long-wearing (especially with a primer) and there is a nice range of colours to choose from. There are a few more on my list to get, but I'm happy with the looks I can create with these.

Some exciting news: MAC Pro Palette Refill Pans have decreased in price! I didn't know until I popped into the store. They used to be $12 CAD, but now they're $8 CAD. Also, if you're interested in the making your own palette, here are the prices:

  • $10 CAD for the 4 pan palette (what I picked up) / insert comes with it
  • $10 CAD for the small palette (holds 6 eye shadows or two blushes) / inserts go for $1 CAD
  • $10 CAD for the medium palette (holds 9 eye shadows) / insert goes for $2 CAD

I also picked up some eye brushes because my collection of eye brushes is quite sad. I picked up the quintessential MAC 217 ($30 CAD), it's great for blending or for placing colour. MAC 239 ($30 CAD) for placing colour on the lid. Lastly, the Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush #31 ($27 CAD) for blending in the crease—it also makes a great eraser for little mistakes.

Let me know what your favourite MAC eye shadows are! x

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