Friday, April 21, 2017

Mark Lipclick Full-Color Lipstick Review

This season Mark Cosmetics is stepping-up their game with a stunning variety of trendy lipsticks that are sure to knock your socks off! These sassy shades range from deep and daring to classic red, fresh pink and neutral to compliment all outfits and show-off your personal style.

Using state of the art pigment technology Mark has developed a formula that delivers high-impact, bold saturation with smooth glide, excellent coverage and a light comfortable texture. There are 6 velvety mattes with rich color payoff and 8 cream finishes with beautiful satiny shine.

This amazing collection includes some of the most vibrant hues the brand has ever created with flattering shades for every season, skin tone and budget. The innovative magnetic case clicks shut securely to prevent purse catastrophes and once applied the color adheres well for hours of wear without bleeding or feathering.

The matte shades are just as comfortable as the creams providing lush layers of hydration to keep lips nourished and supple even after the pigment has faded away. Compared to traditional designs, these lipsticks have a smaller application surface with a sharper point making it easy to manoeuvre around the lip contour and create a nice outline. The delicious scent reminds me of chocolate and the outer tubes are simple yet chic!

On the deep end of the color spectrum there are some unique options including: Mischief (vampy blackberry with a deep aubergine base), Rebel (matte indigo with blue undertone), Vineyard (rich berry-wine) and Vixen (deep berry). The indigo has a drier texture and is the only shade that applies inconsistently so blending and layering may be required for even coverage.

The glamorous reds and orange range from bright, medium and deep including: Salsa (vibrant tangerine), Siren (mid tone vivid red) and Inferno (classic ruby).

In the pink category you have: Starlet (fuchsia/hot pink), Mwah (electric pink) and Rose with a coral base.

There are two nude hues that are almost identical – Goddess and Stripped, plus one pretty lavender called Wrath.

left to right: Goddess, Siren, Wrath, Rose, Vixen, Inferno, Mischief, Mwah, Vineyard, Rebel, Salsa, Starlet and Stripped

For just $12.00 each these swoon-worthy lipsticks accentuate your pout with pure, dazzling color that looks and feels high-end. Mark is available at or through independent consultants.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dior Hydra Life Skincare Review

Along with releasing a variety of gorgeous makeup this season Dior has also made impressive breakthroughs in skincare to help regulate and enhance hydration for a fresh, healthy complexion. The Hydra Life Collection is infused with 90% natural ingredients including a variety of fruit extracts, oils and clay to help shrink pores, prevent blemishes, firm and create a natural glow.

After wiping my face with a cleansing cloth I begin my night routine with the Oil to Milk Cleanser enriched with sweet almond oil. This lightweight formula glides across the skin to gently lift and remove heavy makeup, pore clogging dirt, excess oil and impurities which helps prevent breakouts and imperfections. Although the directions indicate that it is safe for the eyes, I avoid using oils in that area because they tend to cloud my vision. As foundation loosens your makeup may start to look muddy but when you add water the cleanser transforms into a creamy emulsion that rinses clean with no residue. Unlike soapy face wash this blend leaves my skin soft, moisturized and smooth. It retails for is $49.00.

I treat my skin to a rejuvenating mask 2-3 times per week and the Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask is highly concentrated in natural pine oil and nourishing botanical ingredients to drastically boost moisture levels in just 3 minutes.

The mask has a rich, creamy texture that feels amazing on parched skin and it seeps in deeply to soften, firm and soothe. Usually when I do my weekly facials I set aside enough time to leave the mask on for up to 25 mins while I relax, meditate or read. You can simply remove the excess with a cotton pad (no rinsing required) to maintain optimal hydration all day. The mask retails for $79.00.

The Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence with Mallow and Harberla Flower is like a refreshing drink for the skin! The lightweight gel texture feels cool and energizing with a nice light scent. It absorbs quickly and provides a silky base for makeup by minimizing pores, toning, smoothing and brightening. Skin feels plump and moisturized without any residue and I love how clear my complexion looks. Although you can wear the sorbet during the day, it also works wonders at night when layered under the Sleeping Mask to create a lush, reviving treatment that is highly effective. The Water Essence retails for $88.00.

One of the most important things you can do for your face is use powerful products before bed to enhance your skin’s natural healing and repairing process while you seep. My favorite product from this line is the Hydra Life Jelly Sleeping Mask infused with juicy apricot and citrus fruit.

The jelly feels light and comfortable yet it clings to the skin creating a nutritive cloak of moisture that restores, balances, fortifies and boosts radiance. Unlike some night masks, this one doesn’t transfer or stain your pillow and it makes my skin feel supple and silky while alleviating roughness, dry patches and irritation. Sometimes I layer natural oil on top of the Water Essence and Sleeping Mask to create an amazing blend and when I awake in the morning my complexion is dewy, clear and luminous. The Mask retails for $79.00.

These products are available at Dior counters nationwide including Sephora and Hudson's Bay

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Essence Cosmetics The Glow Must Go On Bronzing & Highlighting Palette + Shape & Shadows Eye Contouring Palette

With the launch of new matte lipsticks, liners, mascara and gloss there are a lot of new summer goodies to choose from at the Essence kiosk in Shoppers Drug Mart. If you find yourself browsing the isle make sure to check out the new face, eye and brow multi-purpose palettes designed and approve by international beauty bloggers.

The Glow Must Go On Bronzing and Highlighting Palette ($9.99) is one of the best products Essence has launched here in Canada. This pretty luminizer has 3 strips of radiant pigment (champagne, gold and bronze) to flatter all skin tones. With these gorgeous tones you can adjust your glow intensity from fresh and light for day wear to intense and warm for wild summer nights. The color payoff is smooth, silky and buildable with enough saturation to dramatically enhance the cheekbones and be used as eye shadow. The 3 colors surrounding the highlighter compliment the shimmer shades to create a complete eye look. I use the deep brown in the crease to create definition and the cinnamon/orange is a pretty transition color. The palette also comes with a small brush and mirror which makes it great for travel.

The Shape & Shadows Eye Contouring Palette is also well made and multipurpose. It contains 3 shades (light, medium and deep) to fill in and shape the brows plus a metallic eye shadow, shimmery highlight and brow wax to keep hairs in place. The deepest brow shade doesn’t contain ashy undertones which makes it dark enough for my hair. Since the pigmentation is good, you can layer and blend to achieve the level of coverage needed for full, well sculpted brows and all of the powders can also be used as eye shadow! I apply the brown hues in the crease, the golden shade on my lids and the shimmery silver to highlight. The set also comes with a dual-ended spoolie and angled brush for $9.99.

The new Concealer Palette ($6.99) comes with 5 correcting shades that target different discoloration issues. Beige covers imperfections, pink brightens tired skin, green neutralizes redness and yellow conceals dark circles. You can also mix and match to create the perfect blend.

The creams are not full-coverage but they are buildable and the texture is quite light so the color shouldn’t crease if you blend well. I use it as a blemish blocking base under my MAC concealer. 

Essence Cosmetics is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Ulta Beauty in the U.S. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Avon True Color Glossy Tube Lip Gloss Review

Now that spring is finally in full-swing and summer is just around the corner you may want to take a break from heavy lipstick and lighten things up with sheer, juicy gloss. When I prefer something simple I toss a couple Glossy Tubes in my tote for supple, radiant lips.

Although the colors appear vivid the tint is very subtle with a high-shine translucent finish. The reflective effect makes lips appear plump and healthy plus the formula clings to skin for long lasting hydration. As the gloss gradually wears away, lips continue to feel soft, smooth and nourished. 

The fun squeeze tubes remind me of products I used as a teen and the sweet candy sent is nice. Since the gloss is allergy tested it should be safe for sensitive skin and the oil-free formula is also enriched with vitamins to alleviate and replenish.

I like to use these during long flights or harsh weather because the creamy consistency holds up well in dry environments and creates a moist, soothing layer that I don’t have to touch-up or reapply very often. The only time I do notice a bit of stickiness is when my lips come in contact with something but the gloss feels comfortable and stays put.

The Glossy Tubes retail for $6.00 each and Avon is available through independent consultants and at

Monday, April 17, 2017

Essence Cosmetics Long Lasting Lip Liner & New Long Lasting Lipstick Shades

When applying lipstick on-the-go I often glide the color on quickly (with or without a mirror), shove the tube back in my purse and get on with my busy day. When I’m aiming for precision and a neat, professional finish I break out the lip liner. Since I have an extensive range of lipsticks I need a decent selection of liners and the Long Lasting Collection by essence includes a beautiful variety of shades that match well with many popular lip colors for just $2.99 each!

The liners seem to last as long as my lipstick does and tend to transfer or wear away with eating and drinking. I love that I don’t need a sharpener (because who has time) and the creamy formula glides along effortlessly to accentuate your pout and create a sharp, sexy outline. The finishes are matte with no glitter or shine to worry about and it’s easy to create definition, prevent color from bleeding and emphasize your cupid’s bow. I also use my favorite shades to entirely fill in my lips and they pair well with the brand’s new matte lipsticks which you can read about by clicking HERE.

The bestselling Long Lasting Lipsticks are now available in a few more deep and neutral shades. If you like creamy, vivid pigment and brilliant shine then look no further. This formula is lightweight, moisturizing and comfortable with sheer to medium coverage. The texture is quite glossy so for better adhesion and longer wear, make sure your lips are oil-free and do not mix with balm. You may have to layer the color precisely in some areas to achieve better consistency but for just $3.49 they are pretty and affordable!

Swatches left to right: lip liners - Sweetheart, Ready for Red, Yummy Berry, Girl's Dream, Become a Game Changer and Berry on my Mind. Lipsticks - 27, 26 and 21

Essence is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Ulta Beauty in the U.S.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift Review

When it comes to anti-aging care it’s better to start early rather than late which is why I began in my early 20’s. This may seem a bit drastic but once lines and wrinkles have set in they become increasingly difficult to minimize which makes preventative measure imperative to a youthful complexion. Admittedly I don’t have any visible signs of aging (no wrinkles or lines) but I still like to keep my skin glowing and in good shape which is why I’ve been using the new Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift.

Many of you know that I’m a big fan of Clarisonic devices for deep cleansing which is why I have the Aria/Mia 3, Mia Fit (for travel) and the Smart Profile which I’ve reviewed in the past. If you already own this device you can simply purchase the firming massage head for $79.00 or the entire set comes with the revitalizing gentle cleanse brush, body exfoliation brush, the new uplift massage attachment, mini gel cleanser plus all charging cords and instruction booklets for $429.00.

To read my article on the cleansing brushes click HERE

The uplift massaging head is ergonomically designed to manoeuvre around the facial contours and cradle the jawline for a spa-like experience. At first I did find attaching it a bit tricky compared to the regular brush heads but once I got the hang of it and achieved proper alignment things went smoothly. Using Clarisonic’s smart microchip technology, the device automatically adjusts to the optimal cleansing or firming frequency needed and I love how powerful it is! The recommended treatment time is 3 mins twice a day or 30 seconds twice a day on the areas of most concern. You can adjust the duration and cycle depending on your needs but 30 seconds on the jawline, décolleté, forehead, each cheek and neck is all it takes.

I mostly use my device at night after cleansing and applying serum, oil or moisturizer because the texture of my face products helps the massaging head glide across the skin more efficiently and increases absorption so that I get the most from each ingredient. After extensive research Clarisonic has discovered a unique sound wave frequency (75Hz) that delivers new skin firming benefits safely with 27,000 micro-firming massages in just one treatment cycle!

The vibrations are delightfully intense and invigorating which feels like a professional massage or workout for the facial muscles. The sonic waves and pulses help increase circulation and for a few seconds after use my entire face feels tingly and revitalized. I also find that it helps relieve, tension, promotes relaxation and even lessens headache pain when used on my forehead, temples and the base of my head. If you lightly touch one of the tips under the eye area for a few seconds after applying an eye treatment it seems to enhance product efficiency and diminish darkness. The material used to make the uplift could have been a bit softer but I experience no pain or discomfort and it's easy to wipe clean.

The massager is designed to firm, reduce sagging, tone slacking skin under the chin and smooth neck folds to promote elasticity. It also reduces the appearance of lines on the entire face and around the mouth while boosting radiance and shrinking pores so that skin looks and feels healthy and lifted.

If you’d like to skip painful clinical procedures and contour a bit less I think this product makes a fantastic addition to your beauty routine and overtime I’m confident that my efforts will pay off. Clarisonic is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, Saks and

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Essence Cosmetics Matt Matt Matt Lipstick Review

Matte finishes and bold lip color have been on-trend for a while so I'm excited to share the pretty new lipsticks from Essence. There are 8 vibrant shades to choose from for just $4.49 each which is easy on the wallet and gorgeous on the lips!

Left to right: 04 fuchsia, 05 bright classic red, 01 nude, 07 dark plum and 06 deep red

The lipsticks are sheathed in chic matte tubes corresponding to the color and the scent is mildly fruity. I love that they are embossed with the essence logo (for a little extra flare) and the pigment is rich and vivid. The color swatches full-coverage on my hand and medium intensity on the lips with buildable saturation. You may need a few layers for consistency but the Essence Long Lasting Lipliners are great for shaping. 

The formula is quite smooth and a tad creamy but the lipsticks may shift in the tubes with application so make sure not to twist them up too far. If this does happen, I gently move it back into place with my finger and pop it in the fridge to reset.

Although the finish is matte, the lipsticks retain moisture to prevent discomfort and dryness. The color adheres well for longer wear and fades into a light stain. Rough, chapped skin may be emphasized so exfoliating is a good idea and for best reapplication I recommend wiping off the stain completely and starting fresh.

The red and pink tones are flattering on all skin tones

The neutral shade has a soft peachy undertone while the deep plum has a dramatic purple base.

If you are looking for affordable matte lipsticks I recommend giving these a try. Essence is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Ulta Beauty in the U.S.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Living Well With Montel: 6 Quart Pressure Cooker & 1200W Emulsifier Blender Review

These days many families are busy and constantly on-the-go which makes it difficult to eat healthy. I work long hours, travel frequently and attend events all over the city so having appliances that can make quick, delicious meals is imperative for getting my daily dose of vitamins, protein, dairy, grain, fruits and veggies.  

The last thing many of us want to do after a long, hectic day is spend hours in the kitchen and less time with our loved ones which is why Montel’s 6 quart pressure cooker is handy to have. Admittedly this was my first time using a pressure cooker but being able to create mouth-watering dishes in minutes is very convenient. 

The appliance is a bit bulky (which is common) but it is large enough to cook a complete meal for the family which makes it functional. The cooker has 12 preset cooking cycles including: soup/stew, canning, slow cooker, beans/lentils, fish/steam vegetables, chicken/meat and keep warm. You simply turn it on, select your cooking mode and adjust the timer if need be. For a newbie like me, having preset options is helpful but you can’t start the cooker without first choosing one of the cycles even for dishes that don’t quite fall into any of the categories. With a little experimenting it becomes easy to determine how long to cook each meal.

The device is user friendly in terms of it's settings but I did initially have issues with the locking mechanism on the cover since it doesn’t click into place as tightly as expected and getting it on properly takes a bit of patience. While cooking there was steam escaping from the lid no matter which way I attached it (which may be how it was designed to work) but the easy pressure release button is a great feature. There are also a variety of safety features that prevent mishaps or misuse which is much better than older models. The cooking pot is deep and non-stick which makes it easy to clean and the modern LED screen displays the timer which beeps when the dish is ready and automatically stops cooking. The device also comes with a spatula, measuring cup, steam tray and recipe book with Montel’s family recipes.

At first I found the water ratio a bit difficult to understand. You have to add water to all dishes because as pressure builds, steam (aka water) is released to keep food succulent. If it dries out, seasoning and other substances can burn at the bottom of the pan so the dish I made actually required more fluid than the recommended amount for poultry. Once you understand how much water is required in relation to pre-heat and cooking time, the process is relatively simple.

Unfortunately some of the time you save cooking is cancelled out by the 15-17 minutes it takes for the device to generate enough pressure, heat and steam to start the timer. I made a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast which only took 15 minutes of actual cooking time + 17 minutes of pre-heating for a total of 32 minutes. The best thing about the device is how well flavor is accentuated and infused into food and you don’t need cooking oil which is much healthier! All ingredients and nutrients are locked in, absorbed and enhanced so everything is delectable and moist. The chicken tasted like I had marinated it for hours which my family loved!

My first pressure cooker dish was sweet and spicy chilli garlic teriyaki chicken with garlic and herb potatoes and steamed broccoli. I used a few of my favorite dry seasonings in combination with a blend of 3 marinades, onion and some diced tomato. I love that I can just put everything in, close the lid, set the timer and get other things done while dinner is cooking. The flavor you can achieve is outstanding which is why this device is definitely worth having in the kitchen. It retails for $99.99.

Smoothies are a great way to incorporate a lot of fruits and veggies into one drinkable meal that you can take on-the-go. I like adding things like dates, almonds, kale, spirulina, moringa, protein powder and natural honey. A breakfast smoothie boosts your energy for the day, satisfies your hunger and revs up the metabolism.

To emulsify frozen fruit and dense ingredients you need a sturdy blender and Montel’s has 1200W of power. There are 6 cycles including: puree, crush, soup, clean mode, and single serve plus 4 speeds: low, medium, high and pulse which are great for making marinades, salad dressings and baby food in seconds. The removable parts are dishwasher safe and it can also crush ice and grind.

I love that the blender also comes with a smaller travel cup with drinking spout so you can blend your drink in it, pop on the lid and go.

The plunger functions to push down and dislodge food but I find that stopping the blender and stirring the contents is more efficient. Although the device is powerful it is also very loud and sometimes it lags and pulses on its own which may be due to overheating or the sheer force of the motor but it is easy to control the texture of your food so smoothies are rich and creamy.

I can’t attest to the longevity of the blender since I've only had it for a few weeks but so far it has been working well and handling everything I put in it. I also like that the base has suction cups that adhere to the counter and stabilize the unit.

Strawberry banana smoothie with peach, strawberry yogurt, honey, dates and almond milk

Blueberry yogurt smoothie loaded with antioxidants

Green smoothie: mango, peach, pineapple, kale, strawberry, banana and spirulina with almond milk and peach yogurt

The Blender retails for $149.99 and these appliances can be purchased at
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