Saturday, February 28, 2015

butter London Fiddlesticks

I briefly thought about just putting up swatch photos of butter London Fiddlesticks and nothing else, because look at it:

butter London Fiddlesticks swatches
Are words really needed?
But okay, a little extra info: Fiddlesticks is a release from Holiday 2012, which was an absolute glitterbomb of a collection. Packed with fine glitter and glass flecks, it has a beautiful glowy-ness. The glittery bright magenta (butter London calls it "raspberry") initially reminded me a little of OPI DS Extravagance, but the OPI is a little deeper, leans more purple, and is a scattered holo instead of normal glitter/glass fleck.

butter London Fiddlesticks swatches
My skin looks strangely washed out here, but the photo above just shows off that glass fleck and magenta so well.

It dries practically matte and needs a super shiny top coat to really bring out its beauty (Seche Vite is my go-to). I put off swatching this on my nails for so long because being so glitter-heavy, I knew it would be extremely difficult to remove. And then I bought blessed, blessed peel-off base coat. It does chip off way faster with the peel-off, but I have the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to keeping my nail polish the same beyond 2 days, so...

butter London Fiddlesticks swatches

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thoughts on the Aveeno Fresh Essentials line

Aveeno Fresh Essentials line review
If you've been to the drugstore lately, you've probably seen Aveeno's newest face care line on the shelves. The Fresh Essentials claims to replenish stressed skin, and consists of the Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30, Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Exfoliating Scrub, and Aveeno Fresh Essentials Hydrating Night Cream. The headliner ingredient is Southernwood extract, which promises to "provide antioxidant activity to help restore the skin's moisture barrier for fresher and healthier-looking skin." The Daily Moisturizer and Night Cream both also feature vitamins A, C, and E. Curiously, in the US this line goes by Smart Essentials rather than Fresh Essentials, which is a bit confusing. The packaging is the same, and a cursory glance at the ingredients suggests they're the same too. I wonder what kind of marketing analysis was done to determine that "Smart" was better for US and "Fresh" for Canada?

Unfortunately, the Daily Moisturizer and Night Cream just don't play nice with my face. I started using them and probably on the second night, I decided to prep my skin first with Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. Shortly after applying the Night  Cream, I started feeling a stinging/burning sensation on my face and quickly cleansed it, but my face was already red and in the morning my cheeks were irritated with contact dermatitis (eczema). It took a few weeks for my skin to calm back down. I chalked up the skin irritation with being dumb and thoughtlessly combining two products that can be sensitizing/irritating (vitamin C and glycolic acid/AHA). Second time, I went back to using the Daily Moisturizer for day and Night Cream before bed and no other skin care products. Around the third day I noticed small patches of redness and dryness on my cheeks--not as severe as last time, but enough to convince me that these products aren't right for me in regular use. Therefore this post is less of a proper review and more like my general thoughts on these products.

What does this mean for you? Not much, just that they weren't suited for my skin. There are a handful of ingredients my skin does not tolerate well, yet are in products that many people use without problems, and I guess vitamin C is one of them. Vitamin C has many skin care benefits, but it can cause stinging and irritation for some people. If you have sensitive skin and want to try this line, patch test first and/or try to purchase from a retailer with a flexible return policy so you can return if you experience irritation.

Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer
Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer features SPF 30 with chemical sunscreens (absorbs UVA/UVB light instead of reflecting it) homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylene. Because it is a chemical sunscreen and not physical, it left no white cast and blended into my skin easily. The texture wasn't heavy, and it absorbed nicely but didn't control shine or oil at all, so I had to blot my normal/dry face midway through the day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest post: Rebekah (Lipstick and Lullabies) - KBShimmer Blush Money

Hi Everyone, my name is Rebekah and I blog over at Lipstick and Lullabies. Thank you so much to Angela for letting me take over her blog today. This month’s theme for CBB blog swaps is “red, white, and pink”, and since pink is my favorite colour and I am in love with Angela’s nail posts, this was an easy one for me!

I have a ridiculous amount of pink nail polish, but this one is my newest – and so for now, my favorite. KBShimmer’s Blush Money is a peachy pink holo inspired by the 2015 Pantone colour Strawberry Ice. It makes me wish for spring! Pics below are under indoor lighting as there is no sunlight with 3 coats of polish and 2 coats of Clearly On Top

What’s your favorite (or newest) pink nail polish?

Check out more CBB February guest posts about red, white, and pink here:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Year of the Sheep (or Goat)

I wasn't really planning to do a nail post for Chinese New Year but then I remembered, SHEEP. They are so cute and fluffy. So yes, I have a Chinese New Year nail art post for you.

Chinese New Year - 2015 Year of the Sheep nail art
Red and gold together are terribly tacky to me any other time of the year except CNY--everything is red and gold. Orly Luxe, a gold foil that shows few brush strokes, and butter London Pillar Box Red, a deep, bright red, fit the bill perfectly. I used Orly Luxe for the little finger and all the little gold details on the other nails. Pillar Box Red is the base for the middle and index fingers, as well as the lanterns on the ring finger. I used Mineral Fusion River Rock for the green details on the lanterns, but decided it leaned too grey brown and went over it with Clinique Hula Skirt. I used OPI Alpine Snow as the base for the ring finger and to draw in my sheep and goats.

Chinese New Year - 2015 Year of the Sheep nail art
There is some confusion as to whether it's the year of the sheep or the goat; it could be one or the other depending on the country/region. Goats are kinda cool I guess, so I worked them in with the sheep as well. (The sheep were more fun to draw though.) I got the idea to draw the sheep in this way, peeking out from the edges, from this Instagram account. which you should totally follow if you love detailed nail art.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FOTD: Chinese New Year with London Drugs

Youngblood Purely The Basics Kit in Light, Lancome Definicils mascara in Waterproof Noir, Nyx Angel Veil primer, Revlon Ultra HD lipstick in Poinsettia, Chella Eyebrow Color Kit in Elegant Ebony
Hello! I know I'm a bit behind as yesterday was Chinese New Year's day, but I wanted to quickly share a look today. I recently received a box from London Drugs to celebrate Chinese New Year and put together a quick FOTD using some of the products provided. It's not the most direct/obvious interpretation--I would have worked in TON of gold otherwise!--but I tried to use just what was included in the box.

To start, I used NYX Angel Veil primer, a silicone-based (cyclopentasiloxane) primer that smooths the skin to prep for base products. (I cheated a little after the primer set and applied a bit of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard.) Using products from the Youngblood Purely The Basics Kit, I further prepped my skin with the Mineral Rice Setting Powder in Light, then buffed in Natural Mineral Foundation in Neutral, and finished with Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder in Translucent. I topped my cheeks with Youngblood Crushed Mineral Blush in Sherbet. I'm still testing the Youngblood kit, but so far I'm really liking the medium coverage and speedy application compared to my usual liquid foundation/BB. It's not quite enough to adequately cover my dark circles though, which is why I cheated with the NARS concealer. I'm also liking the loose mineral powder blush, which is very pigmented and gives a healthy flush.

Friday, February 13, 2015

TLC Time with LUSH Shades of Earl Grey

I'm not into the current 50 Shades of Grey mania going on right now. I've stayed away from reading that whole mess--though I've recently read a very detailed, delightfully snarky recap of the first book that basically confirmed all my suspicions and more. But even awful, inexplicably popular clouds can come with silver linings: (1) women talking more openly about sex, yay! (2) all the lovely grey nail polish releases going on; and (3) LUSH's new Shades of Earl Grey massage bar.

LUSH Shades of Earl Grey massage bar review
Yes, with a description that asks you to "draw the shades, grab a partner and get ready to whip your skin into shape", even LUSH is getting in on a slice of the 50SoG pie. But if you know me, you know I can never resist Earl Grey anything; I just had to try Shades of Earl Grey. Initially the plan was to have bf give me a massage with this--all in the name of science, of course--but I was too busy playing Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ran out of time, so my review today is based on self-use.

Like most LUSH massage bars, Shades of Earl Grey has a high cocoa butter and shea butter base, which is intensely hydrating. It warms up easily against body temperature and leaves behind stripes of liquefied cocoa and shea butter to massage in. I used it on my legs and loved the luxurious experience of running the bar up my shins, feeling the bar melt slightly and impart this cocoa/shea  butter oil, and massaging it all in. My legs are extremely dry, so I repeated the process once or twice to get really silky skin. Meanwhile, the scents of the bergamot, persian lime, and lemon oils in the bar are being released and filled the whole room with an uplifting citrus scent (seriously, it's really potent stuff!) There's also something a little sexy and sultry, a little jasmine-like to the fragrance that I liked as well. I wouldn't quite describe it as an "Earl Grey" scent though--it has the requisite bergamot, but it's missing the earthiness from black tea leaves.

LUSH Shades of Earl Grey massage bar review
I am so incredibly lazy about moisturizing my body, but using a LUSH massage bar makes the process much more pleasant. Squeezing some lotion in my hand and rubbing it all in feels kind of like a chore; drawing long, silky stripes of oil feels a lot more like pampering myself, and it seems to absorb more readily too.

Have a partner that you'd love to treat to a real TLC rub-down this Valentine's Day? This massage bar is perfect, less messy than conventional massage oil, and travels well too due to its solid form (for those romantic getaways! be careful of very hot climates though.) Don't have a partner or want some self-care time? Also good. Seriously you can't go wrong here.

FYI my bar is pictured inside a LUSH massage bar tin, which is sold separately for $3.95. Other new LUSH massage bars you may want to check out: Dirty (infused with their popular Dirty perfume), Yes Yes Yes (a must if you're a jasmine lover!), and Pearl (Rose Jam-scented, with bubble tea-inspired tapioca pearls.) See the full range here.

Ingredients: fair trade organic cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao) , fair trade shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii), bergamot oil (Citrus Aurantium bergamia), fragrance, persian lime oil (Citrus aurantifolia), lemon oil (Citrus limonum), hydroxycitronellol, citral, geraniol, eugenol, limonene, linalool

Available at LUSH: $10.95 CAD / 50 g

Friday, February 6, 2015

A perfect pout with LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub and Lip Gloss

LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub and The Kiss Lip Gloss review
I figure with T-minus 8 days to go until Valentine's Day, now is about the right time to post my thoughts on LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub and The Kiss Lip Gloss. I wish LUSH offered the two in a little kit together, because they work together so perfectly to give you the smoothest, softest lips!

LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub review
First up is The Kiss Lip Scrub: a bright pink that uses caster (superfine) sugar and fine sea salt to exfoliate dry, flaky lips, as well as cocoa butter, glycerin, and safflower oil to hydrate. Although LUSH has a few lip scrubs in its permanent line-up, only The Kiss has this particular combination of exfoliating and moisturizing ingredients (aside from Popcorn, the other scrubs are sugar-based only). What also makes this scrub extra-appropriate for Valentine's Day is the addition of deep red, edible hearts and sprinkles. They don't add anything special to its performance as a scrub, but it wouldn't be LUSH if it wasn't a bit playful and whimsical!

LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub review
The product is absolutely packed to the top of the glass jar, which can make the first few uses a little awkward; it needs a little bit of "kicking up" with your finger or a toothpick to be able to grab some product on your finger. This is just a minor quibble because I definitely prefer having a jar full of as much product as possible.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Nails Inc Victoria

Just a quick nail post today before I get back to studying and editing lip photos! I don't have many Nails Inc polishes, but the ones I do own (here, here, and here) have proven to be total knockouts. Imagine my surprise and delight when I spied Nails Inc polishes on clearout at Shoppers Drug Mart at 50% off, from $11 CAD to $5.50! I initially grabbed Victoria because in low light it looked like Black Taxi (a black creme), but ended up buying it anyway because I didn't have a shade quite like this.

Nails Inc Victoria swatches
Nails Inc polishes have yet to disappoint me. Victoria (not to be confused with Queen Victoria Street, a totally different Nails Inc shade) is a deep oxblood jelly that applies easily and smoothly. As a jelly polish, it needs 3 coats for good coverage. The consistency is thinner and runnier than I expected, so I accidentally flooded my cuticles more than once. This is easy to avoid if you angle your nails with the tips slightly downward during application to prevent the polish from flowing upwards towards the cuticles.

Nails Inc Victoria swatches
I love Victoria's moody, deep vibe; it's such a classic shade for fall/winter. I don't like wearing straight-up plain black polish on my nails (personal preference), so I keep a few almost-black options around.

Nails Inc Victoria swatches
I've checked a couple locations, but so far I've only seen Nails Inc stocked at the Metropolis at Metrotown Shoppers, so I'm not sure if the promotion is store-specific or not. Be sure to call your local store to confirm the stock and check if they are also doing a clearout. Last time I checked, Metropolis Shoppers still had quite a bit of stock.

When was the last time you spotted a beauty deal too good to pass up?

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