MISS DIOR | Blooming Bouquet Fragrance

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS
Sometimes, those teeny tiny samples thrown into your bag at the Sephora beauty counter actually work. Case and point, a few months ago I purchased my very first Dior fragrance and have been quite smitten with it the entire summer. As I was attempting to photograph this tricky all clear bottle complete with its sweet silver tone bow, pink was undoubtedly the right answer to this styling.
Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet is an extension of the popular namesake range and is done up in Sicilian orange, pink peony, Damascus rose and white musk. It’s categorized as an eau de toilette and comes accompanied by shower gel, hair mist and body milk options. Lighthearted and youthful, Dior describes this as chic, romantic and charming.
SHOP DIOR | Sephora | The Bay | ULTA (30ml @ $64CAD) 
P1010828-2-2//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

On my skin, this scent is very fresh and girly but doesn’t feel like I’m trying too hard. I love that it’s a departure from the overly sweet tones dominating perfumes lately and a welcomed breath of fresh air. It’s flowers from your foyer in the Hamptons, twirling in your favourite sundress and taking a nap among the wildflowers. Thanks to its soft nature, I also find this to be a great office / day time fragrance as it wears close to the body and isn’t cloying or sharp. On another note, this is a short wearing scent so expect to top up if you expect to be floating on a cloud of flowers all day. Personally, I’m happy with a light morning spritz and being on my way.
If you’re a fan of scents like Philosophy’s Amazing Grace which is currently my signature for 2017, you’ll love mixing it up with Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet. And while I am storing this away for the cooler season ahead, I look forward to finishing up the bottle.
Take care,

ARMANI | Power Fabric Foundation

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

Just like those sleek black suits they do so well, when Armani releases a new foundation, everyone’s buzzing about it. While there has a been a few base product launches in recent year, the Power Fabric Foundation* seemed to me like the brand’s way of re-energizing their image… after all they are known for the untouchable Luminous Silk. With words like matte, flawless and full coverage being the selling points these days, Armani plays its card. I’ve used it pretty consistently for the past month and I’m ready to talk.
THE BASICS
Brand: Giorgio Armani
Product: Power Fabric Foundation* SPF25
Size: 30 ml
Shades: 12 Shades (Canada), 20 Shades (USA)
Price: $64 USD / $70 CAD
Details: Made in France
Availability: Sephora, The Bay, Armani Online / Counters
Would I repurchase: Probably not.
FEEL & APPLICATION
Presented in an iconic frosted glass bottle, what denotes Power Fabric is the red Armani insignia on the lacquered cap. Pumping out the product, I was surprised that it had a thick almost moussey consistency but it applied thin on the skin and blended out easily whether you used fingers, beauty blender or a dense fluffy brush. There is an every so slight skincare scent to the foundation but it was neither strong or bothersome. One full pump will give you a single half face application so this is certainly one of those products that you will run through fast with regular wear.
TOP – BOTTOM | Power Fabric #3.5 | Luminous Silk #02

COVERAGE & COLOUR
According to the Sephora website, there’s currently a spectrum of 12 shades available in Canada and 20 shades listed in the USA ranging from but there’s likely additional offerings around different parts of the world according to the regional demographic – it’s a pretty popular set up by many luxury brands. My testing shade was #3.5 and is listed as neutral for fair skin tones which blended in like a great match despite coming off very dark and red in the bottle. You can see (below) that it’s a smidge dark compared to my neck but not terribly noticeable. My usual shade is MAC NC15-NC20, see my full range of matches on My Stats page.
I prefer wearing this over a pore smoothing primer especially for the center zone of my face but my swatches are over bare skin. It does cling slightly to flaky patches and I find a beauty blender is best for those problem areas with texture. Power Fabric photographs so beautifully! Despite being marketed as full coverage, I would call one layer a medium and I had a hard time building it up to a true completely coverage. Non the less, I love how it retains a touchable skin like quality and it’s certainly not a true matte foundation. Dry down has a slight powdery touch and there is also some transfer if left unset.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation 2//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

WEAR & LONGEVITY
This is where things started to go downhill and quick. Going solo, Power Fabric stayed neat for only 3-4 hours and with a primer / setting spray combo, it was only able to push through to about 6 hours before I felt like I just really needed to take this off. Now while that doesn’t sound bad at all from a regular running to the grocery store perspective, I was expecting more from something that claimed to be full coverage and long wearing. On the plus side, while I certainly noticed a good amount of wear problems, the foundation never fully melted off my face even in this summer mugginess yet this is certainly not something I’d recommend for those truly oil skinned. 
POWER FABRIC VS. LUMINOUS SILK
This is the burning question then and my vote still swings towards Luminous Silk as the preferred formula for my combination skin and my makeup style. I found lasting ability to be about the same but LS is easier to smooth over skin texture and offers a satin touch finish that I prefer. It’s still my go to event or date foundation
of choice.
THE FINAL VERDICT

Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric Foundation is a medium slightly buildable coverage soft matte foundation which photographs excellently but lacks in staying power. The SPF is a nice added bonus and doesn’t appear to cause any flashback but shouldn’t be relied upon for solo sun protection. I can see Power Fabric useful for achieving a particular velvety finish for a short event or occasion but it’s not something that I feel can put up with day to day stressors unless you work in mild temperature controlled environment or have dry to normal skin. So while this is not a bad product per say, it was a disappointment measured against its claims. Additionally, for a similar effect and similar lasting ability, MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid or Estee Lauder’s Double Wear are very comparable at a much lower price point. 

Chat soon,

ESTEE LAUDER | Advanced Night Repair Complex II & Mask In Oil

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

In the beauty world there are cult favourites but then there are the products that seem to have existed since the dawn of time. As teenager fawning over glossy magazine pages, I looked up to Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair like a right of passage into adult hood when one is finally old enough to this serious amber bottle on their vanity. In recent years, Estee Lauder has expanded the A.N.R. line to include a variety of add on products and even relaunched the much beloved serum as the Complex II formula.


ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR SYNCHRONIZED RECOVERY COMPLEX II* | Perhaps one of the most well known serums and likely a first for many people, the reincarnation of Advanced Night Repair is aimed at regenerating the skin through its nightly rest cycle, providing anti-aging benefits while smoothing and imparting a more radiant complexion. With 25+ patents and patents pending, this is marketed across all age groups and skin types. Housed in a light filtering amber bottle, the dropper dispensing format is easy to control and the serum itself has a slightly medicinal scent which doesn’t linger on the skin. The texture is beautifully silky yet without any silicone slip and leaves a non-sticky water light finish makes for a great layering product in all seasons. Ant-aging products are notorious for being heavy yet I was happy to find this so comfortable to use whilst being gentle enough to bring it all the way up near my eyes with no irritation. My nightly application uses 4 drops and it sits right between my toner and moisturizer. At times, I’ve also used my Sulwhasoo First Care Essence before putting on this serum.

NOTE: Oil-free, non-comedogenic, no added fragrance.

30ml @ $86CAD | 50ml @ $120CAD
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.

Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau; Bifida Ferment Lysate; Methyl Gluceth-20; Peg-75; Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane; Butylene Glycol; Propanediol; Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract; Hydrolyzed Algin; Pantethine; Caffeine; Lecithin; Tripeptide-32; Ethylhexylglycerin; Sodium Rna; Bisabolol; Glycereth-26; Squalane; Sodium Hyaluronate; Oleth-3 Phosphate; Caprylyl Glycol; Lactobacillus Ferment; Oleth-3; Oleth-5; Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile); Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure; Choleth-24; Hydrogenated Lecithin; Ceteth-24; Tocopheryl Acetate; Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate; Hexylene Glycol; Carbomer; Triethanolamine; Trisodium Edta; Bht; Xanthan Gum; Phenoxyethanol; Red 4 (Ci 14700); Yellow 5 (Ci 19140)

ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR RECOVERY MASK-IN-OIL* | One of their newer additions, this Mask-In-Oil had me intrigued at first sight. I’m no stranger to facial oils but I liked the concept of this being an oil based sleeping mask and thought it made sense to try it together with the A.N.R.. Housed in a miniature version of the amber bottle, it has the same slightly herbal scent as the serum but again does not linger. The oil is very lightweight and I found 3 drops to be sufficient for a full face application, first smoothing the product between my palms then pressing it into my skin. The oil absorbs quickly and leaves my skin with a satin sheen and feels moist to the touch. As I tested this during the warmer months, I did not find it necessary to use an additional moisturizer.

NOTE: Formulated for night time use.

30ml @$100CAD
Would I (re)purchase: No.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride; Squalane; Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil; Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil; Bisabolol; Vaccinium Myrtillus Seed Oil; Garcinia Mangostana Peel Extract; Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil; Salicornia Herbacea Extract; Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract; Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract; Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract; Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract; Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract; Cholesterol; Linoleic Acid; Tocopheryl Acetate; Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate; Bht


OVERALL RESULTS | 5 WEEKS
To say I had high hopes for this duo would be a complete understatement yet at the same time, I went into this without really knowing what the Advanced Nigh Repair system was actually supposed to do and I even doubted if my skin was ready (aka. mature enough) for it at all. First thing I noticed was the elegant yet lightweight formulation which is something many people overlook in skincare but I feel is part of what separates the high-low price spectrum. It didn’t feel heavy or greasy on my skin and I could easy layer these with other products which is more than what I can say for many other anti-aging lines. They were gentle and soothing, calmi
ng some redness from daily aggressors and did not clog my pores or cause any breakouts. 
The immediate noticeable changes in the first week applications was the overall smoothness of my skin in the morning after, followed by more balanced oil production for my combination skin and then some visible firmness and lift at the end of my 5th week. Switching it up being using the Complex II alone and in combination with the Mask-In-Oil, I didn’t find the oil to add to the benefits but simplely worked as a moisturizer. The serum did not help correct surface dehydration or fade any of my pre-existing dark spots and hyper-pigmentation. My skin looked less-fatigued and almost “reset” but I have not seen any dramatic results for now. I am looking forward to keeping this in my collection and seeing if the full bottle results would be any different.
ARE THEY STAYING IN MY PERSONAL COLLECTION: Yes, Advanced Night Repair Complex II but not the Mask-In-Oil.

OTHER SKINCARE USED DURING TESTING: Omorovicza Mud Cleanser*, Fresh Soy Cleanser, Origins Gen-zing Moisturizer*, Sulwhasoo First Care Essence

THE FINAL VERDICT

Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Sychronized Recovery Complex II works well as a daily skin maintenance, restorative and balancing serum. It’s light weight consistency will likely work for all skin types and I’d recommend this to those in their 20s and beyond. Despite being marketed as an anti-aging powerhouse, I found it mild and see it more as a preventative and early stage treatment. The corresponding Recovery Mask-In-Oil, while working great as an add on moisturizer, is overpriced for its lack of results and you’d be just as happy with many other lower priced oil options on the market. 

Chat soon,

L’OREAL | Lash Paradise Mascara + Swatch

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINK(S)

Once in a while, a lucky makeup product drops from the sky, gets blessed by unicorns and suddenly becomes the hot new thing to sell off of every shelf. Sure the photogenic metallic pink packaging does help but the L’Oreal Lash Paradise mascara’s rise to fame took me by surprise. 
THE BASICS
Brand: L’Oreal
Product: Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara (WP)
Size: 7.61ml
Price: $13.99 CAD (approx.)
Availability: Walmart, Ulta (Drugstores nationwide)
Would I (re)purchase: Probably not.
Website: www.lorealparis.ca

INGREDIENTS: Aqua/Water/Eau, Paraffin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Copernicia Cerifera Cera/Carnauba Wax/Cire De Carnauba, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire Dabeille, Synthetic Beeswax, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Polybutene, Cetyl Alcohol, Steareth-20, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Steareth-2, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acacia Senegal Gum, Tribehenin, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Silica, Tetrasodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, BHT, [+/- May Contain/Peut Contenir: CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77007/Ultramarines]. B195342/1.

DESIGN & APPLICATION
Lash Paradise is an extension of L’Oreal’s long loved Voluminous mascara range which has been a makeup artist and magazine favourite long before bloggers were even a thing. This new reincarnation is packaged in a lightweight metallic pink tube with corresponding gold detailing. L’Oreal promises a feathery soft fringe with both length and volume.
With a classic bristle tipped brush, the shape slightly resembles a peanut – a longer profile with a dip in the center – this mascara holds a creamy formula but doesn’t actually deposit very much product so layering is required to build up intensity. I found the brush shape a little challenging to get to all my lash hairs but this tends to be part of the learning process of any new lash product and with a little practice, I could make it work. Lash Paradise went on very smoothly with little to no clumping but there seems to be a threshold where the mascara would no longer layer so volume capped at about 3 coats.
I would call the results natural on my fine straight lashes.
LOREAL Lash Paradise Review//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
SHU UEMURA LASH CURLER + L’OREAL LASH PARADISE

WEAR & LONGEVITY
Wearing the waterproof version, as I always do with mascaras, Lash Paradise initially held my curls reasonably well but within a few hours it was noticeable that my lashes were loosing lift though it never went full flat. With a full day’s wear, there was a small amount of smudging, especially at the outer corners (#highcheekboneproblems) but there wasn’t any flaking. The mascara did loose it ooomph throughout the day but I felt it still held on fine until night time. As it did not rank high on the curl test, it wouldn’t be a choice for swimming or intense outdoor activities.
THINGS TO NOTE | Not for oily eyelids, not the best for super straight lashes, not a maximum impact mascara.

LOREAL Lash Paradise Review//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

THE FINAL VERDICT

L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise mascara is a decent everyday option for those who already have long lashes but want a little extra darkness, depth and definition. Between both its lengthening and volumizing claims, I’d say it’s more of the latter although other options at a lower price point also provide similar if not better volume. The formula has a good consistency and is easy to work with but beyond the basics, it didn’t dramatically wow me one way or the other. I have seen others with beautiful results so this might just be me and my challenging lashes but I feel Lash Paradise just caught a lucky social media wave and was hyped up a little more than what it actually is. Good for everyday but much too expensive for a drugstore product.

Chat so
on,

GUERLAIN | Mon Guerlain Fragrance

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINK

Earlier this spring, the house of Guerlain introduced a new fragrance to its core lineup – Mon Guerlain* was created to represent new modern femininity. To be honest, I had been waiting for years for Guerlain to launch a true power scent as its recent releases seemed lackluster and felt more like fillers with its attempt at playful chic. With grandiose, there was no detail left unpolished. From the selection of the bottle to the gold accents and the cushion cut cap, this looks like a beautiful heirloom sitting on my vanity. 

The notes read on the page like a familiar love story… carla lavender, sambac jasmine, album sandalwood, vanilla tahitensis which translates into a floral oriental that the house has a legacy of creating in decades past. Warm, sensual and confident, this fragrance is unapologetically feminine and while it takes on sweet notes that currently quite trendy, it does so in a sophisticated and grown up way. It reminds me of My Burberry Black but done up in Guerlain tradition; a little softer, grounded and honest. 
SHOP GUERLAIN | Sephora | The Bay (50ml @ $119)

On my skin, Mon Guerlain pulls a little powdery and musky with a definite flower overtone. A morning application will last me the entire day out and while the first spray can come on strong, the scent settles very quickly and I find this perfectly lovely even in the warming weather. 
Yet while all the elements seem to align for this fragrance, I can’t call it a favourite. Despite not being a frequent wearer of orientals, my signature scent is actually a Guerlain classic with a very similar profile and while I desperately wanted to love this as a modern take – it just doesn’t feel that special in comparison. It lacks a sparkle that is perhaps merely sentimental attachment or a figment of my imagination but either way, it won’t be a replacement anytime soon. For those who are encountering Guerlain for the firs time, this could very well be your new stand by.
Take care,

COVERGIRL | Total Tease Mascara + swatch

It’s official everyone, I have completely fallen in love with a new drugstore mascara and it’s been the favourite part of my makeup routine lately. Covergirl’s latest Total Tease mascara has a peculiar shaped comb style wand, is a bit tricky to learn but the result is everyday perfection.
THE BASICS
Brand: Covergirl
Product: Total Tease Mascara* Waterproof
Size: 6.5ml
Price: $12.99 CAD
Availability: Drugstores nationwide
Would I (re)purchase: Yes!
DESIGN & APPLICATION
Housed in a sleek black tube (good-bye chubby space hogging Lash Blast), this has a three sided design with plastic bristles. Two full length sides are for applying the product all over and the precision side with longer bristles is for teasing away clumps.
COVERGIRL Total Tease Mascara Review
The consistency is creamy and smooth with lots of depth. Despite being a lash separating mascara, it still coated my lashes generously and they were dark with just a few strokes whereas others in this category barely deposited any product. I found the brush wand itself just slightly too long for my eye shape so I would fill in the inner and outer corners with the smaller defining end. I love how this gave my lashes a classic defined but clean look, making them more visible yet not the chunky volume that I was used to wearing. 
COVERGIRL Total Tease Mascara Review
BEFORE – AFTER | Lashes are curled and with mascara

WEAR & LONGEVITY
As always I went with the waterproof version of this mascara to help me keep a curl throughout the day and not only did it keep my lashes up but they stayed up for 8-10hrs which is no easy feat! It does an excellent job of keeping my lashes lifted all day until I was ready to take it off. I wonder if this is a genius in formulation or because it applied consistently and smoothly over the entire length of my lashes.
I did notice some minor smudging onto my lower lash line but it wasn’t worse than all the other waterproof mascaras I’ve used to date and is only apparent at the outer corners of my eyes where my top lashes naturally touch the bottom when I blink. A quick swipe with a q-tip or tissue fixes it easily so I’m not bothered by it.

THINGS TO NOTE
Overall there’s no major complaints about this mascara. Be careful with the application if you are used to putting the wand right to the root of your lashes as it has sharper bristles and remember to turn the brush to the correct side each time.
THE FINAL VERDICT

Covergirl’s Total Tease is a high performing lash defining mascara for those who are looking for depth, separation that’s great for the office but can also stand its own paired with your going out makeup. It creates a classic and clean look plus plenty of lift which lasts all day. You will need some practice with the wand to find out which side of the applicator fits you best but the smooth, dark and creamy formula will surely impress even those with fine lashes like mine who would normally pass on a lengthening mascara. Does this look a little like the Benefit Rollerlash? Maybe. But this one ticks all the boxes and it’s been a key item in my current daily makeup routine. You gotta try it!

Chat soon,

CLARINS | Ombre Cream – Powder Eyeshadow

REVIEW

I thought for a moment on how to start this post but if I were to condense the following paragraphs into one sentence it would simply be…

Where have you been all my life?

Yes, a little strong here isn’t it but my new love for the Clarins Ombre eye shadows run deep. I currently have 5 shades that are all in my top drawer collection and they are often part of my every day makeup look. While not a brand that gets a lot of online publicity, those who have been faithful to Clarins have really been hiding some gems!

THE BASICS
Brand: Clarins
Product: Ombre Eyeshadow*
Size: 7 grams
Colours: 8 Matte, 7 Iridescente (some LE)
Price: $26 CAD
Availability: Clarins counters, Clarins online, The Bay
Would I repurchase: Yes!
Website: www.clarins.ca

Ingredients: Mica, Octydodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Hydrogenated Polycyclopentadiene, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Isododecane, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Barium Sulfate. May Contain: Talc, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491/CI77492/CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77007/Ultramarines, CI 77742/Manganese Violet, Silica, Tin Oxide, CI75470/Carmine, CI 42090/Blue 1 Lake, CI 19140/Yellow 5 Lake, CI 77510/Ferric Ferrocyanide, CI 77288/Chromium Oxide Greens.

House in small, portable, lightweight screw top jars, the Clarins Ombre shadows come in two general formulas – matte and iridescente (or iridescent for us non-francais). As of their online listing, there are currently 15 colour options between the two finishes although the brand often releases limited edition colours are part of smaller seasonal collections. The spectrum features wearable neutral shades with variations of browns, mauves, greys and pinks but do lean towards the deeper tones. The dimension in the iridescente grey is stunning and check out the swatch on that black #07 Carbon!

Top – Bottom | Rosewood | Sparkle Grey | Carbon | Silver Ivory | Silver Grey

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
Marketed as a cream to powder formula, I find less creamy than anticipated and much more like a pressed powder. It doesn’t have the moist touch like that of Lise Watier for example but are perfectly smooth and easy to apply with both fingers or a shadow brush. I love that there’s next to no fall out during application and it’s just overall an easy product to work with. Intensity can be controlled by the pressure used when putting on the product but opacity is great with all the shades I’ve tried. No patchiness and no fuss. While I have not tried layering this with other branded eyeshadow, I don’t expect there to be a problem at all. The darker colours would also work great as a soft liner with a slanted brush.

WEAR & LONGEVITY
Without a primer or any other add-ons, these Clarins Ombre colours last a happy 5-6 hours depending on my activity for the day. Once in a while, there will be some slight creasing but the colour never fades until I’m ready to take it off. If you have oily skin, I would recommend prepping with an appropriate base as needed but I find the longevity perfect fine for an average day out or at work.

THINGS TO NOTE
Absolutely none. For the way I wear eye shadow on the regular, these are perfect as they are.


FINAL VERDICT

The Clarins Ombre shadows are a smooth and easy to use addition to your beauty wardrobe. The colour palette makes them great for neutral lovers and even the seasonal “pop” shades have a soft, sophisticated quality to them so you never look overdone! I love that these apply smoothly with consistent colour pay off every time plus they are quick to put together a look for the office. I’d like to see the permanent collection expanded to include more colourful options but for now I’m tempted to collect them all!

 Chat soon,

ESSENCE | Satin Touch Blush + swatch

REVIEW

I might be a bit of a makeup hoarder but blush has always one of those things I can pick one and be perfectly happy for months on end. And when it comes to options, the drugstore has some hidden gems – like my recent find from Essence which has quickly gained top shelf residency all for less than a cup of coffee.

THE BASICS
Brand: Essence
Product: Satin Touch Blush
Size: 5 grams
Colours: 3 shades (shown: Satin Love, Satin Coral)
Price: $2.99CAD
Availability: Essence online, select Superstore & Shoppers Drug Mart
Would I repurchase: Yes!
Website: www.essencemakeup.com

Ingredients: MICA, TALC, ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE, ISOCETYL STEAROYL STEARATE, OCTYLDODECYL STEARATE, MAGNESIUM STEARATE, TOCOPHEROL, SILICA, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, PEG-8, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, ASCORBIC ACID, CITRIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, CI 15850 (RED 6 LAKE), CI 15850 (RED 7 LAKE), CI 19140 (YELLOW 5 LAKE), CI 77491 (IRON OXIDES), CI 77499 (IRON OXIDES), CI 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE).

Housed in an easy to see plastic flip lid pan format, the Essence Satin Touch Blush has slightly varying colour options depending on your country as I’ve found 3 shades listed on the Essence international website but only 2 shades online and in stores here in Canada. The names of the colours may also vary but look for the quilted design on the powder. All shades are quite wearable and appropriate for pale to medium deep skin tones. To the eye there’s micro shimmer flecks in the product but on the cheeks it truly just comes off as a sheen. Personally I find Satin Coral to be more flattering on my complexion with both heavy and light makeup while Satin Love is a little too deep and needs to be paired with a more done up face.

L-R: Satin Coral | Satin Love

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
To the touch, this Essence blush comes off quite powdery but packs a strong punch in pigment even with a light swipe. When used with a brush, there very little powder kick and application should be smooth and flawless. The colours are true to pan and I do love how it doesn’t look heavy on the skin and is instead youthful with a slight satin sheen as the name suggests. With this type of pigmentation, I recommend a duo fiber blush brush and a very light hand to build up the colour to suit your makeup for the day.


WEAR & LONGEVITY
Despite not marketed as a long wearing product, I was excited to find out this is an impressively long wearing product for my combination skin and every time I had a chance to check on my makeup expecting the blush to have faded, it was always still there. I would put this at around the 4-5hr mark easily and even a few more hours if you work in a mild temperature environment. Granted I’ve worn this in the crazy snow season this winter in Vancouver and it’s lasted me the whole work day until I was ready to take it off, all with very minimal fading. It seems to work well with both liquid and powder foundations with little difference.

FINAL VERDICT

The Satin Touch Blush by Essence is a complexion flattering, well pigmented blush with a youthful sheen that will be well loved for the casual makeup wearer who needs an everyday staple that can be put on in 5 seconds. I love that while the brand is often marked to a very young demographic, the colours here are actually quite sophisticated and easy to work with. It’s a hidden gem that takes a little hunt to find here in Canada but will surely be worth your time. Go and get it!

 Chat soon,

OMOROVICZA | The Cleansing Trio

REVIEW

Water, a family legacy, a love story. This is the life of Omorovicza.

While skincare hype comes and pretty little jars come and go on the internet, my latest experience with Hungarian luxury brand Omorovicza caught me off guard. After experimenting for years, I’d like to think that I know what my skin likes, wants and needs but when a cleanser leaves your face glowing like a fresh facial, I think we’ve really hit on something fantastic. A wonderful marriage between nature’s healing waters of Budapest and a scientifically patented Hydro Mineral Transference system, in the past few weeks, I’ve grown rather smitten with this cleansing routine…

OMOROVICZA Thermal Cleansing Balm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

THERMAL CLEANSING BALM* | $135CAD
One of Omorovicza’s cornerstone products, the Thermal Cleansing Balm is a solid to liquid oil based cleanser that’s travel friendly, effective and calming. Mixed together with it’s sweet almond and beeswax base there’s a blend of detoxifying Moor mud which gives this cleanser its iconic charcoal hue. I’ve been using a pinky nail sized amount over the face to take off the days’ worth of face makeup and it’s always left my skin fresh and pampered. The fine particles of mud provides a gentle scrub but is wiped off easily with a warm damp cloth. Granted you will have to have an ongoing rotation of face clothes if you plan on using this regularly as the cleanser doesn’t simply rinse away with water. Though this doesn’t emulsify like regular cleansing oil, I didn’t have any issues nor has it caused any breakouts. I don’t recommend this as an eye makeup remover but for everything else, its been such a welcomed treat.

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Heptanoate, Squalane, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Polysorbate 20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Fragrance, Saccharomyces (Hungarian Thermal Water) Ferment Extract, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hungarian Thermal Water, Linalool, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Phospholipids. 

MOOR CREAM CLEANSER* | $80USD
I am hardly ever wow’d by a cleanser but like many things about this brand, the Moor Cream Cleanser has convinced me that washing your face can be something worth getting excited about. While I’m usually a fan of foaming cleansers, this Omorovicza version is a light cream that again contain a blend of healing Moor mud. I like to use this on wet skin and spend a good 2 minutes slowly and thoroughly massaging the product over my skin until most it begins to dry slightly. The rinse off is painless and you won’t need an extra towel to scrub off lingering mud patches because there are none. I am very impressed by the texture of this cleanser and how its both simple yet manages to leave my face with a noticeable invigorated glow. Watch out for the Eucalyptus and Peppermint oil at the end of the ingredients list, I had a feeling they were in the cleanser but it seemed to only provide a fresh scent and it has not irritated my skin. It feels so lightweight yet cleanses thoroughly so this is one for all skin types.

Aqua (Hungarian Thermal Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Silt (Hungarian Mud), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Saccharomyces Ferment Extract, Zinc Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Parfum (Fragrance), Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita(Peppermint) Oil, Phospholipids, Xanthan Gum

QUEEN OF HUNGARY MIST* | $110CAD
As a finish off step to my little mini facial, I’ve been toning and refreshing with the Queen of Hungary Mist. I would categorize this as an indulgent bonus because for me, it’s a nice pick me up but doesn’t have the same healing and treatment effects as the cleansers so for the price point this probably only something for the most dedicated of skincare enthusiasts. The overall design of the product is beautifully luxe and it also has a well engineered spray with a delicate yet full spray with each pump. If you adore something like the Caudalie mist, then this could be a worthwhile addition.

THINGS TO NOTE
Of course whenever we talk about luxury skincare, the main debate is always… is this worth the money? From my own experience I would say this is one of the rare occasions where a product has promised and delivered then exceeded my expectations. You can read more about the properties behind Omorovicza’s healing mineral waters (on their website) as it’s a little more science than I’m able to talk about eloquently but I can say that its been the most effective mineral water based skincare range I’ve used to date. Some of the products do contain essential oils which may be problematic for some people depending on your allergies but that’s a common precaution that should be taken with any product that contains natural based ingredients.

Pricing for Omorovicza does put this brand well in the mid range of the luxury skincare market so if this is within your budget, it’s definitely a worthwhile range to try and should be taken as a serious competitor amongst brands like Estee Lauder, Guerlain and Tatcha. The category itself does mean it will not be accessible to all consumers but I feel its worth saving up for.

SHOP OMOROVICZA | Sephora online, Omoro
vicza online

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THE FINAL VERDICT

If I ever get a chance to go there, Omorovicza‘s healing water based skincare has made me curious about what other treasures are hiding in Budapest. The Moor Cream Cleanser is currently my favourite go-to product both for morning cleansing and to revive my skin after a long work day. In fact, it has even made me look forward to washing up even when I’m tired and would secretly rather go for a face wipe. Together with the iconic Thermal Cleansing Balm which thoroughly melts away my face makeup, the two has left my skin glowing every single day since I’ve put them in my routine and dare I say it’s encouraged me to go a few days completely makeup free…and feel good about it. In a market saturated with options, it seems that Omorovicza is the real deal. 

Chat soon,

REAL TECHNIQUES | Bold Metals Makeup Brushes

REVIEW

Uniquely shaped, ergonomically designed and just simply luxe – I hardly get gushy about makeup brushes but this post has been a long time coming. The Bold Metals collection follows the success of Sam and Nic’s Real Techniques drugstore priced and well marketed makeup brushes that’s known for being some of the most popular synthetic options around. But if you’re not quite satisfied with the rubber handle gathering dust, melting in the heat and bristles that loose its omph after a couple of months then these are the ones you need.

The Bold Metals range is the high-end lineup from Real Techniques and features colour coordinated high shine weighted handles, premium synthetic bristles and some unique designs that make them a collectible even if you are a brush connoisseur. Like a good paint brush does, the heavier balanced handle forces you to apply makeup a little differently and perhaps a little more delicately but after using them for a few months, they are still my most reached for tools. Although they are synthetic, the brush hairs washes up superbly without any fraying and even as I run them through a rainbow of colours from bright pink blush to black eye shadow, they wash up pristine without any staining.

The only thing that detracts from the quality is the fact that the paint/foil on the handles seems to ding really easily because despite keeping them in a jar and only using them at home. I have managed to get a few scratches on them so do treat them with extra care.


Real Techniques Bold Metals brush review

TAPERED BLUSH BRUSH #300
 One of my most used brushes, I love this shape for adding colour and shine to my cheeks. While most magazines of my youth have insisted on a large fluffy brush for blush, I’ve grown to love using a flat shaped brush instead because it not only allows me to pat my blush on but is also much more precise instead of simply fluffing the colour into a large round patch. In real life, I generally use one side for colour and then flip the other side for highlight. Just perfect.

ARCHED POWDER #100
Taking another cue from KBeauty tutorials, I’ve also transitioned to using a flat profile brush for powder (or a round tapered brush) instead of a giant traditional powder brush. The bristles are cut with such beautiful precision and it can be seen in the way they taper smoothly into a soft rounded shape. Between this and the #103, use this for loose powder and #103 for pressed powder.

LE ANGLED POWDER #103
Part of a trio released during the holidays by Real Techniques, this brush came as a limited edition collectors item and sadly its my least used brush. While it’s the fluffiest brush of them all, I actually don’t find myself needing something this large on the regular and I pick up the #100 much more often. For those who love traditional big powder brushes then this is your pick.

FLAT CONTOUR #301 
Packed densely with bristles and cut to a slim flat shape, this brush is so easy to fall in love with and I’ve been using it religiously with my Kevin Aucoin shading powder especially since its functions for application and blending all in one. I’ve tried fan brushes and tapered brushes but the design of this flat contour just does the job for you so it’s the perfect user friendly brush especially for those just starting out. Side note, I did also recently purchase a very similar ELF brush that has a slightly slimmer profile so if you have smaller features, that may be a better option.

OVAL SHADOW #200
This is a very large brush for the size of my eyes and it turned out to be bigger than it seemed online. I use it occasionally to lay down a single base colour but it’s just too large for any precision. It’s actually the exact shape of some of my favourite eye shadow brushes but just in XXL format so how much you love this brush will just depend on your features.

TAPERED SHADOW #203
My favourite out of the eyes set, this brush has a softly tapered shape but a flatter profile and is versatile enough to be used both as a main applicator brush or for blending; the latter is how I tend to use it. The longer bristles give it quite a bit of flex for smooth gradations when you pair it wit a transitional eye shadow colour.

POINTED CREASE #201
This brush is (again), a case of great shape but wrong size. Think of this as a huge bullet brush because there’s no way this will fit properly in my crease. In fact, when I tried to use it as such, it just deposited too much eye shadow too thickly and gave me a case of the stripes. If you have very large or very deep set eyes then this might be the one for you.

FIND BOLD METALS: 

THE FINAL VERDICT

Though the collection includes both eye and face brushes, I really think the gems in the Real Techniques Bold Metals Brush Collection are in the later due to their unique design and versatility. The eye brushes are just too large for my eye shape personally but I presume they were designed to fit someone with more prominent features (like Sam and Nic themselves) so it’s a matter of personal preference. Either way, t
he quality of the Bold Metals holds their own and fills a much needed spot for introductory premium category and between you and I, I’d gladly trade a few of my $50 brushes for these.

Chat soon,