Top 15 of 2015 – Beauty!

Top Beauty Products of 2015

I hope everyone had a great Christmas with family and friends!  I can’t believe that Christmas has come and gone already – everything just seems to go by so fast.  While Christmas was fun, it was super busy, a bit chaotic and stressful before and during so I enjoyed spending the last couple of days relaxing and decompressing.  But now it’s time to get back into blogging!

Since the beginning of December I’ve been contemplating how to compile my top products of 2015…do I put everything into one post or break them out into categories in a series???  Then I saw Leighann Says do her Top 15 Favorites of 2015 on her YouTube channel and my decision was made – it seemed like an easy way to do it!   I thought I’d have no issue narrowing my list down to 15 products…I was wrong!  I was surprised at how many products I used this year that I actually liked!  However I made sure I was mindful as I went through them so that the products I’m mentioning here were ones that I truly loved and actually deserved to be on my list.  The majority of these have been included in my monthly Loves and Letdowns posts but there are a few that I have been enjoying over the last month or so too (and would have been included in my December Loves & Letdowns had I done one).

On to my list:

  1. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer: The fact that I purchased the full size of this primer says a lot.  I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did – I figured it would leave me greasy and oily by the end of the day but it actually does the opposite.  It gives my skin a natural glow and leaves it feeling hydrated and moisturized.  The combination of this with the Covergirl foundation below is perfection.  Another bonus is the scent – it smells like coconut! Review here.
  2. CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation: I can’t believe that my favourite foundation of the year comes from the drugstore.  Previously I’ve never had luck with getting drugstore foundations to work for me – they’ve always caused breakouts and I’ve had trouble getting the shades to match my skin tone. I have zero of those issues with this one.   I’m actually on my second bottle of this and I fully expect to buy a third.  Review here.
  3. Bare Minerals Skin Rev-er Upper: I don’t do thick moisturizers in the morning – my skin takes too long for them to absorb and I just don’t have the time.  This can be used as a primer or a moisturizer, but I prefer to use it as the latter.  It’s lightweight, absorbs quickly but still gives my skin the moisture it needs.  Review here.
  4. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion: This has replaced my Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid moisturizer that I used and loved for years; I find it provides similar results for quarter of the price.  Review here.
  5. Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask: As per my review linked below, I find this works better as a scrub rather than a mask but it can be used either way.  This is gentle while still being effective and it’s another drugstore bargain!  Plus it lasts forever – I’ve been using this a couple times a week for the last 6 months and I’ve barely made a dent in it.   Review here.
  6. Too Faced Chocolate Soleli Matte Bronzer: I’ve been wearing this religiously since I purchased the Too Faced Most Loved Set back in October.  Despite it’s medium/deep shade description, it’s not as pigmented as expected.  Which definitely isn’t a bad thing if you’re on the paler side like me.  And the subtle cocoa scent is just the best.  Review here.
  7. Milani Baked Blush – Luminoso: Everyone raves about this, and now I understand why.  This shade is so universally flattering and devoid of the shimmer/ glitter in Nars Orgasm.  And it’s drugstore!  This has been my go-to blush for a little over the last month or so and I’m loving it!
  8. Too Faced Shadow Insurance: If I’m going to splurge on a eye primer, this will receive my money.  This is another product I tried and fell in love with from the Too Faced Most Loved set (which I actually should have included in this list!) and it is easily the best higher end eye primer I’ve used.  If you have oily lids like me, you’ll want to give this a try.  Review here.
  9. Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner: I tried many liquid eyeliners this year and this one edged out the rest.  It actually stays put, is super black and glides on smoothly.  Highly recommended. Review here.
  10. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: Okay, I will warn you – this mascara does flake  But I don’t care because it does amazing things to my lashes.  I love the huge bristley brush and the super black formula.  It’s not perfect but its the closest I’ve found to it.  Review here.
  11. Buxom Full-On Lip Cream – Rose Julep: I used to wear Buxom lip glosses years ago and I loved them…and I can’t remember why I stopped.  I recently acquired 3 mini sizes of these and while I love all 3, Rose Julep has stood out the most.  It’s just a perfect, everyday light pink shade.  I’m halfway through the tube and I’ve only had it in my possession for the last couple weeks.  I love how these leave a tingly sensation behind after I apply them and I feel like they actually do plump up my lips a bit (if only temporarily).  Can’t wait to give more of these a try in 2016!
  12. Paul Mitchell Color Protect Daily Shampoo: Finding a shampoo that didn’t suck was a challenge this year and I tried out quite a few before I was successful.  This adds just the right amount of moisture to my fine hair, while still giving it a bit of volume without causing frizziness.  Bonus that it protects my colour as well.
  13. Chi Magnified Volume Hairspray: My hair feels like my biggest enemy some days and trying to find styling products that actually do what they say is a constant struggle.  This hair spray has been such a great find for me – it gives my style a good strong hold but doesn’t leave it feeling sticky or crunchy.  Review here.
  14. Beauty Blender: Previous to purchasing my Beauty Blender, I had tried a few knockoffs and was never all that impressed with them.  Yet I kept reading rave reviews on this thing so I finally caved to the pressure and purchased one earlier this year.  Best decision ever!  I absolutely love how this applies my foundation and concealer and if I want to, I can use it apply powder, blush, bronzer and highlight too.  And despite my continuous use over many months, it’s just starting to show signs of wear now.  I’ll be buying another in 2016 I’m sure! Review here.
  15. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: My one and only Real Techniques brush but my favourite foundation/face brush that I own.  The bristles are soft, it fits comfortably in my hand, and most important – it gives my foundation that air-brushed effect.  I couldn’t be happier with this brush!  Review here.

What were your favourite beauty products of 2015?  Are any of mine on your list?

Thanks for reading!

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My Christmas Wish List

Christmas Wish LIst

I don’t know about you, but December seems to have snuck up on me, although I’m pretty sure I say that every year.  I never feel fully prepared for Christmas, there’s always a million things to do and not enough time to do them.  I was traveling over the last couple of weeks that complicates things as well.  Now that I’m home I’m in full Christmas mode

I thought it’d be fun to share what’s on my Christmas list this year – I always find it interesting to learn what others are looking for at Christmas.  Hopefully you can find some gift inspiration from my wish list!

1. Bare Minerals The Regal Wardrobe Palette: I’ve been on the hunt for a new all-in-one palette that includes eyeshadow, bronzer, blush and highlighter.  Love the shades in this!

2. Real Techniques Deluxe Gift Set: I only own one Real Techniques brush but I’d love to add to my collection.  This set comes with a nice clutch to store them in as well!

3. The North Face Influx Insulated Jacket: I’m in a need of a new dog-walking jacket and one with a hood is essential.  This one looks cozy and warm and cute too!

4. Baileys Original Irish Cream: Because booze.  Seriously though, Baileys over ice is the perfect after dinner drink.  Or anytime drink really. 😉

5.  Emi-Jay ‘Grey Stripe’ Hair Ties: I go through hair ties like mad so I can always use more of them.  This style is my favorite as I find them to be really gentle on my hair.

6. Marc Jacobs Decadence Fragrance: I purchased the rollerball of this at the Sephora VIB Sale and I’m loving it.  It’s my new favourite fall/winter fragrance.

7. Godiva Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa: Godiva makes the best hot chocolate ever.  I always like having good quality hot chocolate at home when a craving hits!

8. Nestle Big Turk Bites:  I feel like I’m the only one that likes Big Turks, which I don’t really understand because what’s not to like about chocolate covered jube jubes?  But that’s fine, just means there’s more for me.

9.  L’Occtaine Ultra Rich Foaming Bath: To fuel my bubble bath obsession.

10. Saje Peppermint Halo Headache Remedy: I’m often plagued with weather-related headaches and I’d like to see if this actually works or at least helps with those.

11.  Kate Spade New York ‘Bow Logo’ Gloves: Because it’s not Christmas without something from Kate Spade.  These have bows on them, so I obviously need them.

12. Halogen Marled Infinity Scarf: I received a infinity scarf for Christmas last year that I really liked and then proceeded to lose it a few weeks afterwards.  I like how lightweight and cozy this one looks.

13.  Rosana Golden Alphabet Tray: This pretty gold tray would be perfect for holding jewellery.  Plus its monogrammed.

14. Bite Beauty Discovery Set: I do not need any more lip products…but I’m certain I need this.  I’ve been wanting to try their Agave Lip Mask in forever, plus the shades look really neutral and universal, which isn’t always the case with beauty sets.

15. The Northface Waypoint Graphic Pullover: Another The North Face product!  I own one of their hoodies and its my favourite.  Love the graphic design on this.

16. Bath & Body Works 3 Wick Candle – Vanilla Bean Noel: This is my favourite BB&W scent ever.  I have a bottle of hand soap in this scent in each of the bathrooms in my house right now.  Need the candle too.

17.  2016 Baby Goats Walls Calendar – I want a baby goat but that’s not likely to happen so a wall calendar will have to suffice.

What’s on your Christmas Wish List?
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Loves & Letdowns – June

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Welcome to July!  I’m super behind on posts –  I was away for a little over a week on vacay and lately it’s been super hot here, which means I’ve not been sleeping well, which means I haven’t had much energy to do much at all lately.  Thankfully it sounds like it’s going to be cooler this week so I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.   I’ve noticed it seems a little slow in terms of posts for everyone so I guess it’s just that time of year!  Gotta get out and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts right?

Moving on to my loves and letdowns for the month of June!  Let’s start with my loves:

Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation – $8.99 CAD

I’ve had this foundation for just about 2 months now but I’ve only started using it regularly in the last month.  About a month ago I was breaking out like crazy and I was a little worried that this was one of the products causing it.  Having used this everyday for a few straight weeks I can confirm that this was not the culprit.  Which is great because I really like this foundation!  First off –  the plastic tube packaging is great!  I really dislike foundation in glass bottles – it’s just a matter of time before I drop of the bottle on the floor and smash it to pieces.  I don’t have to worry about that happening with this.

Secondly, in terms of coverage I’d classify this as medium, that could be buildable to full if desired.  My only caution with that is that I think it may look a little cakey if you pile too much of it on.  I still need to wear concealer with it as it doesn’t completely cover the broken capillaries under my eyes and old acne scars.  On my skin this dries to a demi-matte, slightly powdery finish but it doesn’t look dry at all.  My only complaint is that I do get slightly oily about mid-day which is  easily remedied by blotting with powder.  I wear shade 115 which is their lightest shade and it matches my skin tone really well and doesn’t oxidize at all.  I find this applies best for me with a damp beauty blender.  For the price, I’m super impressed with this and definitely plan to re-purchase!

Garnier Skin Renew 5 Second Blur Instant Smoother – $15.99 CAD

I was at Winners last month and they had a bunch of Garnier products in their cosmetics section.  I picked up this primer, read the description, was intrigued and was even more intrigued when I noticed it was priced at  $5!  I figured I didn’t have much to lose by giving it a try for that price!  When I finally cracked it open a little over a month I was pleasantly surprised about how good it was.  It really does most of what it claims: “Our light reflecting technology creates a visible blurring effect: lines and wrinkles are filled, pores and irregularities minimized, shine is mattified.”  It really does blur over large pores (and I have large pores on my nose and cheeks) and any acne scars.  Does it make them disappear completely?  No, but I’ve yet to find a product that successfully does that.  I do have some fine lines under my eyes and unfortunately I don’t find it does much for those.

It does have a very silicone-like, slippery texture which I am personally fond of because I like how it allows my foundation to blend flawlessly into my face.  I use this with the Covergirl foundation I mentioned above and it works wonders on me.  I always have the problem of foundation and powder sinking and sticking into my pores and this has completely solved that problem for me.  The only thing I’m not crazy about is the packaging; I find air gets caught in the tube so when I’m trying to remove it I’ll get a puff of air out of it and sometimes a bit of product with it and it’ll go flying across the room.  That doesn’t bother me too much though, and even though I’ve seen this in the drugstore being sold for pretty much triple the $5 I originally paid for it,  I would definitely repurchase this!

Maybelline Volum’ Express the Mega Plush Mascara – $8.99 CAD

I’ve been on the never-ending search for my holy grail mascara for months now and this was my newest candidate.  I was intrigued by the flexible brush as well as the gel-mousse formula so I thought I’d give this one a try.  Overall, I’d say this is a pretty solid mascara.  Is it the most voluminous mascara?  Not for my lashes.  But it did separate and define each lash, didn’t clump and provided really great length.  I liked how it left my lashes feeling quite soft and natural and not hard and crunchy.  There was also minimal smudging and flaking while wearing throughout the day which is really important to me.  I can’t stand having racoon eyes!

My only gripe about this is that I think the flexible wand is a little gimmicky and might contribute to the lack of volume this provides.  I find the flexibility means that the brush can’t grip your lashes as much as a non-flexible brush can.  But the brush itself is quite full and bristly which is a preference of mine.  Another thing I liked – you can build this up quite a bit without it getting clumpy.  Again, it’s not perfect but it’s definitely one that I’d purchase again!

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush – $10 CAD

I’m a bit late on the Real Techniques train but I thought I’d start slow with this Expert Face Brush.  Now I realize how much I’ve been missing out because I absolutely love this brush!  I’ve used it to apply mineral powder foundation, liquid foundation, and finishing powder and it applies them all fabulously!  The bristles are so soft and dense and it gives my skin an airbrushed finish.  I can’t believe how fantastic this brush is for $10!  If you’re looking for a new foundation and/or powder brush I’d highly recommend this one!  I can’t wait to try some of the other brushes they have!

Sephora Beauty on the Fly Travel Bag – $5.95 CAD (No photo)

Apologies for not having a photo of this item; I realized I forgot to include it after I edited the picture and I was too lazy to go back and retake and re-edit the photo! 😦

I purchased one of these way back in April prior to our trip to Mexico.  I used it on that trip, loved it and then my husband eyed it up and stole it for a work trip.  So what is it and why is it so great?  It’s a re-useable, TSA approved bag meant to store your liquids in when you travel.  It’s made of a thick, transparent plastic with a sturdy zipper at the top.  Previously I’ve used ziploc sandwich bags which work fine but would often rip and tear by the end of a one-way trip.  I’m constantly digging into my purse and/or carry-on for chapstick, hand sanitizier and hand cream before, during, and after my flight so I loved how no matter how much I did this, this bag stayed intact and didn’t rip or tear.  I also appreciate the zipper because I often forget to zip the ziploc bags (or I think I zipped it and I actually didn’t) and I’ve had products fall out of my purse.  I  purchased another one of these for my most recent trip to Vegas and it just re-affirmed how much I love it (and why my husband stole my original one!).  I received this free @ Sephora because I purchased 3 travel sized products (the ones around their cash registers) but you can buy it on it’s own for $5.99 and I personally think it’s well worth that and more!  Particularly if you travel a lot!

And now for my letdowns:

Colab Dry Shampoo (Rio) – $7.99 CAD

I’m not sure why I bought this.  I needed another can of dry shampoo and I happened to be in London Drugs and this was sitting right next to the cans of Batiste.  For the record, Batiste is my absolute favourite dry shampoo and I’ve never found anything that even comes close to working as well as it does.  This, and Batiste, were on sale for $7.99 so I picked up a can of each.  The fact that this was invisible is what intrigued me about it but unfortunately it does absolutely nothing to soak up the oil from my roots.  In fact, I almost feel like it makes my hair look and feel greasier/oilier.  It also provides no texture as well so if you’re looking for that from a dry shampoo, this is not the one for you.  On the bright side, I do like the fact that it’s invisible and it has a lovely scent.  But it doesn’t provide what I need from a  dry shampoo so I won’t be repurchasing this.

Dove Original Dry Spray Antiperspirant – $5.97

Antiperspirant and I have a long history together and it hasn’t been a great one.  I sweat.  ALOT.   So I need a good, strong antiperspirant to help me get through the day without pit stains and BO.  That’s probably TMI but it’s true.  I’m always on the hunt for the best antiperspirant and I haven’t found one yet that works for me and this one is no exception.  I liked the concept of this – it’s a dry aerosol spray so it just feels cleaner and more effective when you spray it under your arms.  The things that annoyed me about it were 1) You have to hold the can 15 cm away from your underarm prior to applying it.  I’m not sure who came up with that measurement but it’s ridiculous.  I needed to pull out my ruler to figure that one out.  If you hold it closer you’ll end up with little balls of deodorant under your arms, which is a good look if you’re wearing a sleeveless shirt!  If you don’t hold it close enough it won’t be effective and you’ll smell all day.  Made both mistakes multiple times while trying this out.  2) I hated the smell of this.  I usually always purchase unscented deodorant because a) I have sensitive skin and b) when I wear scented deodorant that’s all I can smell all.day.long.  Wiffs of “Powder Fresh” and “Summer Rain”…..barf!  Anyway I thought this one would be a little lighter and smell similar to Dove soap, which I don’t mind.  Unfortunately the scent of this is like the dove soap scent on steroids and the scent is REALLY overpowering, to the point where I started feeling nauseous by the end of the day because it’s all I could smell.  So, I definitely won’t be repurchasing this but I did manage to find an Unscented men’s version of this that I’m currently trying out so I’ll keep you updated on what I think about that!  #sweatypeopleproblems!

Essence I Love Extreme Volume Mascara – $3.99 CAD

This might just be the worst mascara I’ve ever used.  😦  Good thing it was only $4!   The brush is huge and way too big (and I like big brushes!) and I had mascara all over my eyelids after attempting to apply this.  The first time I wore this I was at home on a Sunday, when I was being lazy and lazing on the couch.  An hour in, I had racoon eyes and flakes under my eyes.  Which was pretty shocking given that I had done absolutely nothing that day – I hadn’t even stepped outside. I can’t imagine what it would look like if I had wore this to work.   So needless to say I won’t be repurchasing this.

And that’s it for this month.  Have a great week!

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