Saturday, June 18, 2016

Recap: London Drugs Beauty Event 2016

Another year, another preview of all the new and exciting things coming to London Drugs this year! This year's Beauty Event had 16 different brands presenting new releases in skin care, cosmetics, and fragrance. As always, I won't be writing about everything I saw that night, but hopefully you are just as excited about the favourites I'm sharing today. The lighting was very blue, but I've tried as best as I can to correct for colour accuracy.

Sally Hansen Color Therapy nail polish
Sally Hansen Color Therapy nail polish shades accompanied by matching jellybeans :D
A new range of nail polishes is coming this year from Sally Hansen. The Color Therapy line has argan oil infused into the polish formula, which promises to nourish nails.

Sally Hansen Color Therapy nail polish
I'm a little wary of the affect that the argan oil may have on the wear time of the polishes, but hopefully it will make a different to my sad, dry nails.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sibu Sea Buckthorn: Nourishing Face Cream, Seed Oil, & Omega-7 Oil

Hi all! After a very long, totally unintentional hiatus, I am back and ready to blog again. Most of it was genuinely being way too busy/stressed with work/school/life to blog, but after things died down, it was surprisingly hard to get back into the habit of blogging again. I have a lot of catching up to do!

Sibu Beauty skin care review
Sibu Nourishing Face Cream, Sea Berry Seed Oil, Omega-7 Oil
We'll start with a skin care line that I have been wearing and testing while I was MIA: Sibu's sea buckthorn skin care and dietary supplement products. Sibu's headliner ingredient is a berry from sea buckthorn shrubs, said to be high in vitamins C and E, as well as fatty acids Omegas 3, 6, 7, and 9. These properties, Sibu says, make their sea berry products helpful in addressing "problematic skin"--from rosacea and eczema to acne.

My usual skin care review research turned up a 2014 post from The Beauty Brains (specifically about Sibu, actually) citing some studies indicating improved wound healing and potential to protect against UV damage. I wasn't able to find too many studies out there yet on the topical benefits of sea buckthorn oil.

Sibu Beauty Nourishing Face Cream review
Nourishing Face Cream is a medium-weight moisturizer in a frosted glass bottle with pump packaging. I like the product but find it better suited for my skin in colder, drier weather. With the weather warming up here (it was 30°C the weekend before last!), my face needs a very heavy blotting by afternoon. The product is broadly described as being "rescue for problematic skin", but because it contains so many emollient and occlusive ingredients, such as meadowfoam, soybean, argan, coconut, and avocado oils, I wouldn't recommend it for oily or acne-prone skin types. Those moisturizing ingredients would be right at home in a dry-skinned person's routine though!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Empties #5

It's been a while since my last empties post (or any kind of post at all, sorry T___T)

I know some people do a monthly empties post, but I basically just throw stuff into an empty David's Tea bag, and when it starts overflowing then I'm like yep, time to post about empties lolol. Depending on what new press samples I'm getting, it can take a very long while for me to get through even some of my favourite products! If I had to sum up the products in this post, it'd be "staple products". These are products I'm reaching for on a daily basis; the bare necessities (tea, hand cream, mascara, lip balm, etc) that I need to get through a day.

Our lineup this time:

Eucerin Calming Creme - I used this up really quick when I got an eczema flareup on my hands. The colloidal oatmeal is calming on the skin, and the mineral oil helps lock in the moisture barrier. I would slather this all over my hands and then put on some white cotton gloves to really seal the deal. Since then, I've discovered Eucerin Eczema Care cream, which I prefer a little more--it seems more hydrating and soothing since it's formulated specifically for eczema.

Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies - in a previous post, I said I liked Nature's Bounty's non-gummy supplement but wanted to try the gummies next, because who can say no to gummies? Unfortunately I finished the bottle and felt I got better results in terms of reducing hair fallout with the non-gummy multivitamin. Of course I don't have hard evidence of this, I'm just guessing it was some kind of synergistic effect of the biotin + vitamins/minerals that the non-gummy version has.

Lorna Vanderhaeghe GLA Borage Oil - I had a chance conversation with a nutritionist/naturopath about my eczema last summer, and she recommended, among other things, taking this specific brand of borage oil. I ended up not really looking into her other suggestions because the borage oil pills worked so well for me. At the time, I had been frustrated that the eczema around my mouth was "inactive" (not cracked, severely dry, or weeping) but still dry and red no matter what I did. I was genuinely so surprised at the improvement and how the redness went away within a week or so of taking this.  I've experimented with other, less expensive brands of borage oil and still get good results too. If you also have eczema, I can't promise that you'll have similar results, but I'm so much happier with the condition of my eczema now.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Rose Floral Nail Wraps

Hi folks! Sorry for the radio silence this week; I've been preoccupied with adjusting to a new job, as well as the next module in my program. Of course, I couldn't let the week go out without squeezing in a nail post though!

Born Pretty rose nail wraps swatch + review
Here's another floral nail wrap set I received from Born Pretty. I loved the large rose design in shades of pink, orange, and yellow, and the way each colour is outlined makes it almost look like stained glass.

Born Pretty rose nail wraps swatch + review
However, on the nail, the rose print looks a bit big and the overall effect becomes more abstract-looking than floral.

Born Pretty rose nail wraps swatch + review
Wear time, application, and removal are about the same as my last nail wraps from Born Pretty: tip wear will show fairly quickly, but the price ($1.69 USD) is reasonable for an easy and fun look that lasts a few days. For application tips, check out my previous nail wrap post. 

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Duckish-inspired nail art: colourblock and chevrons

I loved the colourful, graphic patterns on the Duckish skin care packaging, so you know what that means...
Duckish chevron nail art
(This photo was taken in artificial lighting, the others in this post are in natural light)
Inspired nail art time! I picked the pattern in Duckish's lavender-scented products because I knew I had just the shades to fit the bill: Essie Chills and Thrills, Essie I'm Addicted, and Sephora Formula X in Perfection.

Duckish skin care lotion stick review
Here's a closer look at the lavender pattern: the chevron is made from a bright blue zigzag underneath a dark brown zigzag. For some reason, I struggled a lot with wrapping my head around executing the offset chevron look.

Duckish chevron nail art
First, I painted two coats of Sephora Formula X White Matter, which is one of my favourite white polishes--the brush is excellent and the consistency is very smooth, so no streaks or dragging. Next I painted the zigzag lines in Essie I'm Addicted. This shade is a little bit sheer, so I had to paint over the same lines a second time for more opacity. After that, I painted slightly offset zigzag lines over the bright blue in Sephora Formula X Perfection (the website describes it as "smoky violet"; it's not, it's brown.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, Physical Fusion UV Defense, Physical Eye UV Defense, + Conclusions

Finally, the last post in my three-part review of SkinCeuticals products! These are the last three of the products I received for review, and I'll also have some final thoughts about my experiences with the brand.

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel review
AOX+ Eye Gel is a complementary product to Serum 10 AOX+; they are both intended to provide antioxidant and anti-aging benefits to the skin using ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and ferulic acid. I previously mentioned that Serum 10 AOX+ has a very mild but bitter scent; the same odd scent is stronger in the Eye Gel, though it's not so bad that it's a deal-breaker.

It also contains caffeine, which seems to draw mixed opinions about its efficacy as an eye de-puffing and anti-inflammatory ingredient, and butcher's broom extract, another possible anti-inflammatory ingredient. The presence of denatured alcohol worried me a little, but I didn't have any problems with it; I'm assuming/hoping it's there to help the beneficial ingredients penetrate the skin better.

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel review
The gel texture absorbs easily and is suitable for daytime use. For night time, I would prefer something a little heavier. I appreciate the pump packaging that helps keep the antioxidant ingredients stable, but aside from hydration, I didn't really notice any difference in using it. Then again, my eye area doesn't have the inflammation or puffiness that the product seems to be targeting. I'm planning to use up my tube but I wouldn't be able to justify the $92 USD pricetag to repurchase.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Little Secret to Neat Nails: Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper

A common question I get: "how do you get your nails to look so nice?" The answer is actually kind of long and I swear I will get around to writing it out someday, but for now I'll share a little part of it: keeping your cuticles neat.

The cuticle is that annoying dead layer of tissue that sits on your nail plate near where your nail meets your finger, getting in the way of nail polish application if you don't push it back. If there's a lot of it, you might find that you get almost a "wall" of dead skin along your nail after pushing it back. That's where the Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper comes in.

Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper review
Note that clipping your cuticles is somewhat controversial: some argue that the cuticle should never be cut, because it can increase the risk of the cut area getting infections and other bacteria in. On the other hand, I've been cutting mine for a while now and have also had pro nail techs nip them, all with no problems. Keep in mind that I'm not a professional and this is just what works for me!

With that out of the way, let's get back to the product. Tweezerman's Cuticle Nipper is stainless steel, with a good weight to it. It comes with a sturdy plastic case to store it in, as well as a small rubbery cover to protect the nipper part when not in use.

Tweezerman Professional Spiral Spring Cuticle Nipper review
The edges of the nipper are super sharp and clip through the dead skin of the cuticle very easily. I think I've been using mine for at least a year and it shows no signs of dulling yet.

Once they do dull, I'll be sending them to get sharpened at Tweezerman HQ. This is a free service Tweezerman offers for their tweezers, nippers, and scissors, though you do have to pay for the shipping to New York.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Body Shop Colour Crush Mint Cream + Pearls

Look, you guys know I can't really resist anything in the green or blue family, especially anything vaguely turquoise or mint. so when The Body Shop's Colour Crush polish in Mint Cream 640 was up for grabs during a certain makeup swap, I was alllllll over it.

The Body Shop Mint Cream and Born Pretty Pearls
It's a cool-toned mint and surprisingly actually relatively unique to my collection, as it's bluer and brighter than other mints I own. It's such a fresh colour for spring, and I thought it would pair perfectly with these flatback pearl studs from Born Pretty for a romantic but not over-the-top-cutesy nail look.

The Body Shop Mint Cream and Born Pretty Pearls
I love this shade. Application-wise, it's average: not too difficult, not jaw-droppingly effortless. Not bad at all for $8 CAD, and TBS often has promotions like buy 2 get one half off.

Speaking of value, $0.99 USD buys you 120 pieces of the flatback, iridescent-finish pearls in 3 different sizes. 4mm, the largest size, doesn't sound very big, but it's massive when you put it on a nail! I'm actually wearing only the 3mm and 2mm sizes on my nails because 4mm was huge.

Initially I applied the pearl studs just by gently pressing them into a thick coat of still-wet Seche Vite top coat. However, it just wasn't enough to hold them in place, and a few actually popped off while I was sleeping. I hadn't even done anything yet, like washing dishes or typing! I got much better wear out of them by putting them on while the top coat was still wet, and then applying a second layer of top coat over everything.

Removing everything with nail polish tends to eat off the iridescent coating on the pearls. I actually don't mind this, as it leaves me with matte white pearl studs to re-use for next time.

The Body Shop Mint Cream and Born Pretty Pearls
Ahhhh I loved how these turned out. I totally felt like a mermaid princess with them *‿*

What's a colour in makeup that you can't resist?

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