IT COSMETICS | CC+ Cream Matte


Cue the dramatic stage lights everybody – today we’re talking about the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte SPF40* which launched in 2018 following the incredibly successful original CC+ Cream. Same-same but different, this  version came as a response to those who either preferred a more matte finish or had oily skin and had trouble making the first version last. This matte release contains similar claims but is tweaked for those with larger pores, oily and/or acne prone skin challenges.

Here’s what IT Cosmetics has to say…

Developed with plastic surgeons, Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40 delivers color-correcting full coverage, anti-aging skincare and SPF 40 broad-spectrum physical sunscreen—all with a poreless, natural-looking matte finish that lasts! This multitasking, complexion-perfecting breakthrough instantly camouflages skin imperfections including dark spots without creasing or cracking and is clinically tested to reduce shine and control oil for up to 12 hours. It’s also infused with charcoal to detoxify, colloidal clay to absorb oil and tea tree extract to combat blemishes—plus, an advanced anti-aging serum made of hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, niacin, hylauronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants. You’ll see powerful results instantly and more dramatic results over time!


Brand: IT Cosmetics
Product: CC+ Foundation Matte
Details: SPF 40
Colours: Fair (11 listed on website)
Size: 32ml
Price: 48CAD
Would I (re)purchase: Probably yes.
Shop this product: IT Cosmetics, Sephora, QVC

Identical in basic packaging to the original CC+ Cream, the matte version differentiates itself by being blue instead of silver but the rest of the squeeze tube and pump dispensing design remains the same. I have to say that I love how practical and easy this is, you can get every last smidge of the product out plus it’s safe and worryless to travel with if you need to. There are currently 11 shades listed on their website and my closest match would be Fair – ultra porcelain, fairest of fair with yellow skin tones – and while I appreciate a brand finally putting yellows in fair shades, I would hardly say this is ultra fair. It matches my NC15-NC20 skin just fine though and does not oxidize. I rarely say this but I adore that this has SPF40 in a physical format without compromising on the look of the foundation itself. Continue reading

FRESH | Coconut Lip Balm


Lip balms. It seems that while there’s always a new variety to try, finding a lasting favourite has always been a challenge – my current experiment is the FRESH Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm. Now while the original FRESH balms in twist up tubes are much loved, I couldn’t get past the scent which eventually deterred me from keeping them in my collection.

PRODUCT: Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm
SIZE: 6 grams

INGREDIENTS: Isononyl Isononanoate, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Polybutene, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Fragrance, Silica Silylate, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Bht, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Vanillin, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Trimethylolpropane Triisostearate, Water, Propyl Gallate, Phenoxyethanol.

According to Sephora online, this (along with its caramel counterpart) is listed as an limited edition release but I’ll have to get back to you on that. Marked as a hydrating treatment balm, it clams to sooth dry chapped lips, provide subtle shine and not leave a sticky after feel.

I love how this balm is creamy yet not gooey or tacky. It falls somewhere between a balm and a cream without the waxy suffocating feel of traditional potted lip products. Now, as most people, I don’t love the idea of using my fingers for applying especially when I need a quick touch up out and about but I do think the beautiful texture can likely only work in a pot format.

It feels like a good winter moisturizer on your lips. There’s no greasy slip, it’s not a thick waxy layer but it finds a good balance between being present and not intruding on your day to day activities. I can also report that even with long hair, the stick factor is pretty low. There is a subtle hint of shine but nothing that I think would deter this from being used (and loved) by men and women alike. No weird tastes either.

After wearing this both during the day and also as a nightly “treatment” product, I’d say it makes a good attempt at healing dry peeling lips. It’s not quite on par with something like the FRESH Lip Therapy but I can see this as a great everyday substitute. I get the best results when I leave this Coconut Balm on overnight, then do a lip scrub in the morning followed by another layer of balm. It also wears off evenly and doesn’t make your lips thirstier as some waxy products do. Reapplication is needed every 2-3 hours.


FRESH’s Coconut Lip Balm is a like a moisturizing cream for weary lips that feels good to wear and wears comfortably too. Not the best primer for lipstick but for casual or no makeup days it’s the perfect pairing. Think of it as your favourite sweatshirt but in a lip product form! I’ll be wearing this for as long as I can stand digging into the pot every time which is still a major inconvenience for me. Will I still be looking for a solid long term steady? Yes, but I’m not in a hurry.

FOSSIL | Rachel Satchel – the just enough bag!


FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - review//

A little trendy, a little sophisticated and a whole lot of fun – this Fossil handbag has snagged me more compliments than anything else I’ve ever carried and I definitely think you all need one in your life. Meet the Rachel Satchel, similar to the previously released Sydney and might I add distractingly akin to the the shape of the Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 in size this bag has been my steady companion on days I don’t need to carry my work bag. 
FYI | I’m still trying to find the best format for a handbag post between filming a video and being able to show you detailed closeups, additionally I’m also trying to accommodate for those who have time to watch a full video versus those who just want a quick break down so, let me know if this format works out for you!
Size: 10″ x 7″ x 5″ 
(LV Speedy 25: 9.8″ x 7.4″ x 5.9″) 
Price at time of purchase: $188 CAD (tax included) 
How long I’ve owned it: 6 months
Materials: Coated PVC (outside), cotton twill lining
Details: Detachable crossbody strap, front and back slip pockets, interior zip pocket & 2 slip pockets
  • Easy to carry size that doesn’t overwhelm my 5’2 frame
  • Fits my small iPad pro with keyboard cover and still have room for everything else
  • PVC outer keeps clean and is water-resistant
  • Placement of cross body D-rings is well balanced and doesn’t pull on the bag body 
  • Duo tagged zipper opens all the way down yet is gusseted so things don’t fall out
  • PVC version is super lightweight
  • The zipper is smooth and slides easily every time
  • Carrying handles are not removable (had someone ask!)
  • Handles are not large enough to use as shoulder bag under the arm
  • There needs to be a belt loop to keep the tail of the cross body strap in place when you have it on the shortest setting
  • I would love to see a key fob in future versions

I would absolutely buy this bag again in a heartbeat as it’s served so functionally in my life and make me smile every time I look at it. The fact that the bag was PVC didn’t distract from the overall beauty of the bag which I had initially worried about but now I love it as it is – the PVC versions also gives Fossil lots of creative play with prints that is hard to do with leathers. While I did compare this to the LV Speedy 25, I wouldn’t say this is a step down alternative as this absolutely has its own charm and is worth owning in multiples if it works for your lifestyle.

Chat soon,

IT COSMETICS | Confidence Skincare


IT Cosmetics is founded on the idea that your beauty deserves hard working, scientifically researched and results based ingredients. You’ll often find owner Jamie doing amazing on-air demonstrations on QVC (I’m completely a closet addict) and I see the brand as a more modern, green juice drinking version of Clinique. I’ve recently had the opportunity to try out the set of their Confidence Skincare* which boasts their clinically researched Anti-Aging Armour Rejuvenating Concentrate which contains a variety of collagen, peptides, oils and vitamins across all their products.


IT Cosmetics says: A skin transforming hydrating cleansing serum which contains hyaluronic acid to sooth and moisturize but will also take off your waterproof makeup in a pinch
A very likeable non-foaming / very light foaming cleanser that I prefer to use in the morning because it feels comfortable and easy on the skin. While I don’t find it drying, I also don’t find it particularly hydrating but this may vary depending on your skin type. Running through all three products is a light citrus scent which is evident by the various natural oils in this concoction. I do think it leaves my skin clean although I still don’t feel completely assured using this to remove my makeup. The effect and after-feel is comparable to something like Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel – well balanced and comfortable. Now the real question is, do we really need such an expansive ingredients list for a cleanser when most people only spend 30 seconds washing their face? You decide.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua/Water/Eau, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, 1,2-Hexanediol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Arginine Cocoate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Coco-Glucoside, Citric Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Sinensis Peel Oil Expressed, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Ethylhexylglycerin, Niacinamide, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Colloidal Oatmeal, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Ceramide Np, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Citrate/Lactate/Linoleate/Oleate, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide Mea, Glycosphingolipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Meadowfoam Estolide, Ceramide Ap, Ethylhexyl Isonanoate, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Steareth-20, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Disodium EDTA, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, FD&C Yellow No. 5 (CI 19140).
IT Cosmetics says: Transforming moisturizing super cream for rejuvenating skin everywhere
Having used face creams from a wide range of brands and price points, I can say straight away that I think this formulation is very reasonable value for money when factoring in ingredients and the overall feel of the product. This, in short, is what IT Cosmetics considers its do-it-all super cream that took 7 years to bring out. The application and texture reminds me of the Fresh Crème Ancienne in the sense it was thick and dense in the jar yet sat comfortable and non-greasy on the skin. The dry down is great for smoothing out the skin for foundation and I suspect that it’ll still be fresh enough for summer so I plan on finishing up the jar. If you have combination skin this would be very ideal. When it comes down to the boasted skincare effects, I must say that I don’t think I am the best person to test its results as anti-aging isn’t my major concern at the moment. While preventative care is always recommended, my major skin struggles are still large pores and skin texture issues more so than wrinkles. I can say that when used consistently, I found my skin to look plump and refreshed even when I definitely don’t feel that way on the inside. 
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water, Eau), Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate / Dicaprate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Caprylic / Capric / Myristic / Stearic Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG – 100 Stearate, Polyglyceryl – 3 Methylglucose Distearate, Stearyl Behenate, Dimethicone, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Biosaccharide Gum – 1, Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Polyethylene, PEG / PPG – 20 / 15 Dimethicone, Phenyl Methicone, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polyquaternium – 51, Niacinamide, Hydrolyzed Col
lagen, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, PEG – 150 Distearate, Ceramide Ap, Glycosphingolipids, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Meadowfoam Estolide, Sorbitan Isostearate, Squalane, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide – 4, Polysorbate 20, Steareth – 20, N – Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide – 1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide – 7, Polysorbate 60, Aleuritic Acid, Yeast Extract, Glycoproteins, Betaine, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Ceramide NP, Allantoin, Colloidal Oatmeal, Retinyl Retinoate, Polylactic Acid, Canola Oil, Cholesteryl Nonanoate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Eruca Sativa Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Citrate / Lactate/Linoleate / Oleate, Ceteareth – 20, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide Mea, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glucose, Stearyl Stearate, Tromethamine, Citric Acid, 1, 2 – Hexanediol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Potassium Sorbate, Dipropylene Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Cymbopogon Citratus Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caramel, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Limonene, Linalool.
IT Cosmetics says: Brightens, repairs and transforms, this day to night eye cream will do it all from minimizing darkness to banishing wrinkles.
As with the moisturizer, the texture of this eye cream is a big winner for me. Its very lightweight and silky plus leaves a slight sheen on the skin which I believe is what the brand claims as “brightening”. While I don’t think this would be sufficient moisture for the winter season, it’s perfectly balanced for summer and simply feels weightless on the skin. Results wise, I haven’t noticed any major improvement in undereye puffiness (which is my main concern) but it does seem to minimize fine dehydration lines at the outer corners. It’s definitely too soon for me to decide if this is a must-have product especially since I’m not a religious eye cream user so this is one that probably needs a second opinion.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua/Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, PEG-40 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Polyacrylate-13, Polysilicone-11, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Polyisobutene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Sorbitan Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Chlorphenesin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Alkanna Tinctoria Root Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Benzophenone-5, Tin Oxide, Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Colloidal Oatmeal, Caffeine, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Squalane, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Royal Jelly Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Cholesteryl Nonanoate, Cholesteryl Chloride, Cholesteryl Isostearate, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Lecithin, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Steareth-20, Creatine, Maris Aqua/Sea Water/Eau De Mer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ceramide NP, Panthenol, Polyglutamic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Ceramide Ap, Tocopheryl Acetate, Arginine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine, Threonine, Methionine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Cholesterol, Histidine, Saccharide Isomerate, Xanthan Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Retinol, Collagen, Copper Gluconate, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate, Potassium Sorbate, Copper Tripeptide-1, Magnesium Aspartate, Biotin, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Ceramide Eop, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).
Test period: 3 weeks

The IT Cosmetics Confidence Skincare range is a beautifully textured, easy to use collection that I would recommend if you are looking for powered up version of a minimal routine. Best suited for combination, slightly oily or slightly dry skin of any age range, there’s some impressive ingredients in each formulation with a focus on natural additives so do have a read if you know you’re reactive to anything specific. I haven’t experienced any sensitivity or negative reactions. For the money, I think the range is well priced and certainly more promisingly than a lot of other higher end and fancier packaged options. I personally didn’t see a huge anti-aging improvement but I also don’t have a lot of visible signs to treat in the first place and it’s not my current main skin concern. It would be something I’d consider as preventive skincare if you’re similar to my skin age.

Chat soon,

Narciso Rodriguez | L’Absolu Perfume


Narciso Rodriguez L'Absolu

As a personal tradition over the past occasions, I’ve started the year by choosing a new fragrance to celebrate and cement the upcoming twelve months. It’s a bit of a fussy process but one that I thoroughly enjoy as I want the scent to embody my goals and outlook for the upcoming year. For 2018, I finally settled on L’Absolu by Narciso Rodriguez and I am thrilled about it.

The fragrance is marketed as a floriental with notes of musk, tuberose, jasmine, amberlyn, sandalwood and patchouli. It’s available in an eau de parfum and is made in France. Though it’s been out for a few years now, it seems to be the less talked about of the Narciso trio however it’s no less lovely than all the others and I’d argue that it deserves its own applause. It you love the YSL Black Opium, you may want to investigate this.

SHOP NARCISO RODRIGUEZ | Sephora | Shoppers Drug Mart (50ml @ $112 CAD)

Narciso Rodriguez L'Absolu
Narciso Rodriguez L'Absolu

In fact, it also reads very similar to my signature scent, Guerlain’s Samsara but in a more modern way (Guerlain is undoubtedly a scent of its decade after all). L’Absolu is sweet, rich and slightly intoxicating but not in a young and brash way. In fact, for many years I’ve admired the Narciso aesthetic but didn’t feel ready to wear the brand. The Narciso woman is one who has a quiet confidence, a strong sense of self and is feminine in an elegant way. While many people love and wear the scent, I find that it pairs best with someone who carries themselves with more maturity. This is exactly the kind of woman I want to grow into in the next few years and so I thought it would be a great introduction to my everyday life. When I put it on every morning, I take a moment to remind myself that I have the inner strength to face all the upcoming challenges of the days, months and years.

Narciso Rodriguez L'Absolu

On it’s own, I do find L’Absolu to be a winter scent hence more suited to wooly coats, sweaters and the winter chill so coming into spring I have also purchase the original N.R. Eau de Toilette to pair with it. The latter is a better daytime and office appropriate choice which wears softer on the skin. I find both to be reasonably long lasting and it’s the kind of fragrance that others smell on you more so than you do on yourself so refrain from using a heavy hand.

Happy Sunday,

First Aid Beauty | Coconut Skin Priming Moisturizer


Coconuts. It seems to have firmly established itself in our regular beauty vocabulary and has become synonymous with hydration, moisture and maybe even a side of pina colada – hey, it’s brilliant for marketing after all. Among higher end options in Sephora, I decided to try my luck with the First Aid Beauty version which is oil-free, non-comedogenic and appears to be silicone free. It’s marketed as a moisturizer with added primer qualities.
Brand: First Aid Beauty
Product: Coconut Skin Primer
Size: 50ml
Price: 35 CAD
Would I repurchase: Probably yes.
Availability: Sephora, First Aid Beauty (online)
Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice, Glucose, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Maltodextrin, Aqua (Water, Eau), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mica, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Selaginella Lepidophylla Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isohexadecane, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 80, Lactobacillus Ferment, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Tin Oxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides).

I’ve always liked the fact that FAB markets itself as a no-fuss but still bright and cheery kind of aesthetic and this primer follows the same easy to use packaging as the rest of its line. The plastic tube is sturdy, easy for traveling, holds a lot of product and dispenses easily via simple twist off cap. The overall vibe feels happy but nonchalant and looks right on any makeup table.
Scented like a coconut smoothie, this primer has a creamy consistency similar to a moisturizing cream and definitely denser to the touch than I expected. While it’s advertised to be silicone free unlike more traditional primers, it still has a smoothing touch once applied on the skin and the extra silky effect is helps to minimize dehydration lines and some minor pore texture. On the skin, its slightly slick but not tacky. In comparison, it’s closer to the feel of the Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer* but much more emollient than the Shu Uemura Stage Performing Primer*. There is a hint of shimmer mixed into primer but it’s essentially negligible once a medium coverage foundation is applied on top.
One of the things I loved about this primer over others is how it manages to work well with a variety of my foundations. Though I do tend to only use primers over thicker, higher coverage liquids or powder foundations in other to smooth my skin texture, this hasn’t had any trouble with all I’ve thrown at it so far. It helps to minimize that odd patchiness when on my nose and it does a good job at keeping my skin plump. I don’t think it necessarily makes my foundation last any longer than usual so I see it more as a prep product rather than a wear extending one.
Here’s where things get a little undecided because while I wouldn’t say this clogged my pores or caused any direct breakouts, I do think this might be too heavy to use on my skin everyday. It can make my skin feel a little heavy and loaded when paired with other products on top so I prefer to use this intermittently and more in the winter rather than summer. Granted, I do use a light moisturize
r underneath this instead of replacing my face cream so that could be a factor. For those with dry to super dry skin, this might be just what you need however, it’s not a year round pairing for my combination skin-type.


First Aid Beauty’s Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer is a rich, emollient two in one cream that helps to soften skin texture while allowing foundation to blend and sit smoother. Worn alone, the slight shimmer is visible though not overbearing and under a medium coverage foundation, it’s nearly undetectable. I love the use of natural ingredients, the affordability and how it helps to prevent matte products from clinging to dry patches which is really important in my beauty routine. The texture, while great for winter time, may be too heavy for those with oilier skin. While I will be trying out other similar coconut based primers from other brands, I can see this as being a solid stand by for many people -worth a try!

Chat soon,

The Ordinary | Alpha Arbutin + HA


Canadian brand The Ordinary lit an instant frenzy amount beauty enthusiasts by giving use what we’ve been asking for all these years. Simple, ingredient based products focuses on the science of what works and scrapping all the fillers…all with a shockingly low price point. After a good decade experimenting with my own skin concerns, I felt relatively confident in knowing the handful of ingredients seemed to be the most effective and was thrilled to see two of my favourite things arbutin and hyaluronic acid mixed into one bottle.

According to The Ordinary…

Alpha Arbutin reduces the looks of spots and hyper-pigmentation. It’s used at a high 2% concentration versus a standard concentration of 1% and supported with a next-generation form of Hyaluronic Acid for enhanced delivery. Alpha Arbutin is much stronger in effect than Arbutin or Beta Arbutin.

Brand: The Ordinary
Product: Alpha Arbutin 2% HA
Size: 30ml
Price: $8.99CAD
Availability: The Ordinary online
Would I (re)purchase: Probably not.

Aqua (Water), Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

I’ve long struggled with uneven skin texture, uneven skin tone and large pores. Though I’m naturally light skinned, I scar and mark easily which is evident on my forehead and some pigmentation spots scattered throughout.

Dispensed from a dropper style lid, this arbutin treatment has a clear but slightly viscous consistency and beads on the skin almost like a fluid gel. It spreads easily, dries quickly and appears to form a very thin film over the skin which isn’t noticeable at first but is certainly obvious when a sticky layer starts to form on the neck of the bottle. Only about 3 drops is necessary to cover my entire face generously. There is a slight bit of tackiness but it shouldn’t be a problem after adding a moisturizer.

Having used this consistently twice a day for about 5 weeks as my sole treatment product I did notice some slight overall evening in my skin tone. I wouldn’t say it effectively treated any dark marks I had but it was just as effective as many of the higher end products I’ve used, some even at up to 10x the price of The Ordinary so that’s definitely a win in itself!

I had started to experience minor red spots and increased clogged pores but can not be 100% certain if it’s due to this treatment or the moisturizer I had been using. While there was nothing in the ingredients list that looked like an alarming red flag, the fact that this forms a film over the skin raised some doubts. I’ve since discontinued both and may try reintroducing this treatment back into my routine to see if it’s the real culprit. I did not otherwise notice any other redness or sensitivity. There is no fragrance in this product.

After my wash routine and before my moisturizer.

Sekkisei Foaming Wash*, Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream*


The Alpha Arbutin 2% HA treatment by The Ordinary is a lightweight, fragrance free treatment that rivals many of the higher end skin tone enhancing products on the market. The texture should be comfortable enough for most skin types yet despite containing hyaluronic acid, I did not find this very hydrating and I recommend an additional layering serum if moisture is a concern. My main disappointment was not seeing the great results I had with other arbutin based Asian products but I can say this is as good as other effective western brands I’ve used to date. I’m also not a fan of the texture and sensorial experience. The Ordinary does recommend combining this with other products and many people choose to couple this with an exfoliator. Given the price point however, I would suggest you try this first if arbutin is what you are looking for and I do think it trumps most of what you can find at the drugstore level.

Chat soon,

ARMANI | Because Its You & Stronger with You Perfume


They say good things always come in twos. Armani’s latest launch plays with the idyllic notion of romance by releasing a fragrance duo that mirrors the masculine and feminine side of love. The softly rounded glass bottles with corresponding ring caps compliment each other yet subtle differences in design and tone set them apart.

Because it’s You* is described by Armani as passionate, feminine and magnetic with notes of raspberry, rose absolute and vanilla bean. By contrast, Stronger with You* has warm spicy notes of pink pepper, sage, chestnut and musk which designed to reflect a confident elegance that’s at once charming yet mysterious. Paired together, Armani wanted to rewrite a modern youthful love story.

SHOP ARMANI | Sephora | ULTA (50ml @ $90CAD) 
Having worn the woman’s version and sampled the men’s, I think my main conclusion is that this was a brilliantly swoon worthy marketing campaign that fell short of delivering an equally magnificent product. 
Because it’s You is launched as a fruity floral and the scent on my skin is incredibly sweet…almost too sweet. It rides on the popularity of sugary scents from the last few years but lacks in wow factor. The opening is strong with a loud raspberry pop that quickly mellows out to reveal layers of rose with a vanilla base. There’s certainly a youthful identity tied to this scent that feels like its lingering at the cusp of womanhood but haven’t quite found its place. I find the dry down to be quite floral and likable but lacking in complexity. Staying power is average to good, lasting a solid 4-5 hours with a morning application. If you love My Burberry, you’d likely gravitate towards this.
Swinging a complete 180 degrees, Stronger with You has very traditional masculine traits that starts out with the sharp note of cardamon spice and quickly deepens to a familiar musk base. It’s more leather jacket than a cashmere turtleneck and more James Dean than Bruce Brosnan. The ode to youthfulness remains consistent and in that sense pairs well with its counterpart. 
While both perfectly nice scents in their own respective category, I was just underwhelmed by the lack of complexity and depth in both of these bottles. Armani played it safe and delivered an expected duo with a snazzy social media worthy story line. Alternatively with a message like this I would have loved to see an older couple portraying strength and determination throughout the decades rather than young New York lovebirds. While this launch will certainly garner some fans, I question if it has the magic to become a classic.
Take care,

SHISEIDO | Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation


When it comes to big name beauty brands, Shiseido is an international powerhouse that somehow manages to stay under the radar here in North America. With a whole string of well established sub-brands under its name in the overseas market, I always wishes there would be more to explore yet low and behold Shiseido releases two harmonizing base products; Synchro Skin Luminizing Foundation and Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation. I had the chance to test out the latter in the past few weeks.

Brand: Shiseido
Product: Synchro-Skin Foundation SPF20*
Colours: 11 shades
Size: 30ml
Price: 58CAD
Availability: The Bay, Nordstrom, Shiseido counters
Would I (re)purchase: No
Better Alternative: MAC Waterweight Foundation
Note: This product was provided by Influenster & Shiseido as a testing sample. I am not otherwise paid. All thoughts and review details are solely my own. 

Packaged in a sleek frosted pump bottle, the Shiseido Synchro-Skin echoes the fluid lines of familiar Japanese design. Though heavier in glass, it doesn’t take up too much space on my vanity however the cap has to be matched a certain way to click closed which has be fickle.

Due to the formulation, I recommend a vigorous shake before attempting to use the foundation for the first time. The high water content means there’s often separation in the bottle so don’t be alarmed if the first few pumps are just clear liquid.

Appropriately mixed, the texture of Synchro-Skin is smooth and creamy; easily spread with a brush or a sponge though I personally prefer the latter. The product spreads quite thin over the skin and feels very lightweight.

The shade I had been testing out is labeled Neutral on the bottle but the Shiseido’s website appears to denote an intensity number which I am not able to find. Upon initial application, the colour looks quite close to my skin tone but is perhaps a smidge dark compared to my neck. There is slight oxidization throughout the day. Unfortunately this foundation doesn’t brighten up my complexion and I tend to look dull in a hour or two. See my other foundation matches here.

With varying methods of application, I can achieve a range between light to medium coverage which is great for everyday wear. There is a tendency to cling to dry patches so a heavier moisturizer or a smoothing primer is recommended. Over applying and over buffing the foundation can also emphasize dry patches. The initial dry down is a soft matte but will soften to a satin finish in about 30 minutes.

Shiseido | Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation (shade: Natural)

I found average wear to be 4-5 hours on my combination skin before it starts to breakdown so it’s not particularly long wearing at all for it’s name. Oil control is lacking when worn alone. I prefer the finish on the drier parts of my face after a few hours of wear but by then my forehead will need to be touched up.

This foundation needs proper double cleansing to remove. I initially noticed clogged pores after frequent wear but more thorough cleansing seemed to help. This is something I recommend taking off as soon as you get home instead of waiting around until bedtime.


The Shiseido Synchro-Skin Lasting Foundation* is a light to medium coverage creamy product with a satin finish. The finish does look very pretty but it is for a very specific customer; someone who doesn’t have too many dry patches, has normal skin (or prefers to wear a primer) and isn’t concerned about longevity. In every sense I simply found this to be a very average foundation. Personally, many things fall short for me but I may potentially give the glow version a try. 

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BIOTHERM | Aquasource Ever Plump Night (Sleeping Mask)


As one of Biotherm’s cornerstone range of skincare, Aquasource had expanded earlier this year to include a new night time offering. Following the popularity of night masks and nightly restorative products recently hitting the Western beauty market, Ever Plump Night* is a duo use moisturizer and sleeping mask formulated to replenish, moisturize and restore skin’s balance.
Brand: Biotherm
Product: Aquasource Ever Plump Night*
Size: 75ml
Price: $65 CAD
Availability: The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Biotherm counters worldwide
Would I (re)purchase: Probably yes.

Gorgeously packaged in am ombre glass jar, Ever Plump Night* boasts dark cultivated algae extract as it’s highlight ingredient and has a marine fragrance similar to the Life Plankton Essence. In the jar, the product behaves like a semi-solid jelly but transforms into a smooth gel once applied to the skin and has a soothing cooling effect on initial contact. While Biotherm describes this as a night time barrier that feels like a second skin, this is something that you can and will feel as a slight film since it doesn’t absolutely absorb like a regular moisturizer. I don’t find it particularity bothersome but it’s probably a texture that’s better suited to the cooler season. Although blue in colour, the gel won’t turn your face blue nor will it leave any residue on your pillow give you apply the appropriate amount. A small nail sized amount is plenty. As it doesn’t quite fully absorb, I’d categorize this more as a mask product.

I found this to be a great overnight plumper just like it’s namesake and there was a noticeable difference the first morning after. Biotherm is really only marketing this as an overnight moisturizer so for all its intentions I was very satisfied with the results. My skin was smooth, felt refreshed, plumped up and… dare I even say… juicy. My pores and skin texture were temporarily smoothed over and in the mirror my morning face looked well rested. There is some slightly shine since the gel is still sitting as a second layer so I do recommend you rinse off during your am routine. 
The fragrance here while not an issue for me personally, can feel slightly overwhelming if you are new to Biotherm’s products. It does linger for about 10 minutes after application. I did not experience any breakouts or sensitive reactions but I would not layer thing over super nourishing products, especially in humid / summer seasons as it can be too heavy and potentially be pore clogging. Rinsing off the morning after is recommended.

After my wash routine, toner, essence and in place of my moisturizer.

Omorovicza Mud Cleanser*, Sulwhasoo First Care Essence, MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair


Biotherm’s Aquasource Ever Plump Night* is a great pick me up product to keep by your bedside. Whether you choose to use it nightly as a regular moisturizer or occasionally as a sleeping mask, it plumps up the skin after a hard days work and temporarily smooths over skin texture and fine lines. The gel like texture covers like a thin mask so it is something that takes getting used to but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable to use. The large format of the jar slightly offsets the price point compared to other Aquasource products. I would recommend this to those with dehydrated, combination or dry skin types and those in all age groups. The neutral scent and texture of Ever Plump Night lends itself as an inviting unisex product so do share this jar!

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