Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Holiday Gift Guide – Makeup & Beauty Sets

I know what you’re thinking and you’d be right, this is another gift guide but it’s a good one, I promise! With Christmas just 10 days away there aren’t many shopping days left but don’t panic. Gift sets are a great option and personally I’m a big fan. Instead of giving one great present you can surprise your loved ones with a few goodies all conveniently package in one pretty parcel. Today I’m sharing a few fabulous finds from fragrance, beauty tools, skincare and makeup.

This season the wonderful people at Pixi made life a lot easier for last minute shoppers by creating a bunch of great sets that showcase their bestsellers. The Peel & Reveal Holiday Set ($20.00) features mini sizes of the Peel & Polish Resurfacing Concentrate to loosen dead cells, the Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner for a smoother complexion and the Rose Flash Balm to revitalize and reduce signs of fatigue. The large set is the Glow Tonic & Glow Mud Cleanser Duo ($49.00). It comes with a Toner infused with glycolic acid to polish and brighten plus the detoxifying mud mask to deep clean and draw out blemish causing impurities.


The Lip Lift Max Trio ($22.00) includes 3 sparkly lip brightening shades that plump and hydrate. Pixi Beauty is available at Shoppers Drug Mart.


The Soap & Glory Soaper Heroes Holiday Set ($24.00) is perfect for preventing and treating dry winter skin and the products smell delicious! The special edition pink tin includes: Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel with mandarin extract, Scrub Off Your Life Body Buffer, The Righteous Body Butter, Hand Cream, Sugar Crush Fresh & Foamy Body Wash Pod and the Rich & Famous Body Wash Pod that is great for travel. After lathering, scrubbing, and buttering you will feel soft and silky from head-to-toe before slipping into those cozy pajamas. Soap & Glory is available at Shoppers Drug Mart.


The I love Raspberry and Blackberry Bubble Bath & Shower Crème Set ($9.99) is perfect for friends, co-workers and secret Santa. It comes with a large shower gel that smells like scrumptious candy plus you get a small bath puff. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart)


The Body Fantasies Holiday Set ($7.99) comes with 3 body sprays – Japanese Cherry Blossom (my fave), Pink Vanilla Kiss and Twilight Mist which are all very uplifting, youthful and fun. They make great stocking stuffers and you can even keep one in your purse for travel. I also like using my favorite scent as a car or room freshener. (Available at Walmart)


The Real Techniques Color Correcting Made Easy Limited Edition Holiday Set ($17.99) includes 4 Concealer Brushes that are perfect for covering dark circles and imperfections plus 4 Miracle Mini Eraser Sponges that are color coordinated for specific correcting pigments. The brushes get into hard to reach areas while buffing and blending seamlessly. (Available at Guardian, London Drugs, Jean Coutu and Rexall)


Estee Lauder’s Holiday Nights The Red Lip 3 Piece Set ($38.00) will leave the makeup lovers on your list speechless (this one may be hard to give away). I love the festive lipstick with matching liner and the Flirtatious Magenta Gloss is perfect for parties.


For the bath lovers on your list the Calgon Lavender and Honey Fizzies ($6.97) will fill the tub with wonderful fragrances that set the mood for a relaxing evening. There are 8 per pack which means you can pop one in everyone stocking or add it to a gift basket. (Available at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart)


Luxury hair care always makes a fantastic gift and Kerastase has the perfect winter rescue kits to keep your locks long, luscious and healthy. The Resistance Collection is valued at $140.00 but retails for $97.00 and comes with shampoo, conditioner and serum for damaged hair. Although my hair is healthy I still like using products that resurrect and fortify and this formula diminishes the signs of heat styling and patches up rough spots for added shine and bounce. It also smells amazing! For a list of salon retailers please visit kerasatse.ca.


Avon never disappoints when it comes to affordable gifts for the whole family and this year the Skin So Soft Winter Collection is indulgent, soothing and pampering. The nourishing formulas include rich body butters, creamy shower gels, light oils and hydrating lotions. The sets retail for $16.00 each at avon.ca and through independent consultants.



High quality makeup brushes are always a hit and the EcoTools Highlight & Define Duo ($16.99) has one of the best fan brushes I’ve ever used! The bristles are fluffy, lush and soft - great for sweeping on luminizers. The other brush blends powder and blush like a dream with ultra- supple fibers that feel great against the skin. (Available at London Drugs, Rexall, Pharma Plus, Walmart, Lawtons, Sobeys and IDA)


Beautiful by Estee Lauder is a classic fragrance that many women think of as their signature scent. It is described as rich, romantic and luxurious with a refreshing citrus-floral blend and a warm base of sandalwood, vetvier and amber. This is a nice perfume for your mom, grandmother or aunt since it is a little more classic and mature. The elegant gift box also includes the roller-ball fragrance, shower gel and body wash for $98.00. Estee Lauder is available at department stores nationwide including The Bay and Sephora you can also visit the website at esteelauder.ca.


For more great ideas check out my other gift guides:

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Too Faced 2017 Holiday Collection – Best Year Ever

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the wayyy...Don’t you just love the holiday season!? My favorite carols are stuck in my head, the Christmas decor looks warm and cozy (even though it’s freezing outside) and you have a legitimate reason to shop till you drop while splurging on some makeup for yourself (just write it off as a gift, no one has to know). Recently Too Faced has released a ton of new products that coincide with popular trends, collaborations with beauty gurus and new additions to previous collections that we just can’t get enough of. It can be difficult not to lose control and buy everything but with a Christmas Collection called “Best Year Ever” you really can’t go wrong.


This fabulous set retails for $49.00 and comes with so much! You get 3 palettes: Natural Beauty, I Believe in Pink and Super Fun Night for a total of 18 pretty eye shadows and 3 face products (blush, highlighter and bronzer). It also includes the Better Than Sex Mascara (travel-size) and a cute makeup bag that is perfect for beauty tools and essentials.


The great thing about this kit is that you can give the entire thing to someone special or present it as 3 separate gifts (maybe even keep one for yourself). The color scheme is very wearable with a nice range of shimmers, cool tones, smokey shades and neutrals to create a wide variety of looks. It may not have the glam-factor you’d expect from a holiday collection but the radiant bronze, sparkling gold and garnet pink are great for parties and the matte finishes add beautiful contrast.

The color pairings are well coordinated so whether you’re aiming for office appropriate or a sexy date look, there are enough options to take you from day to night. Overall I found the pigmentation and saturation quite good. The shadows are smooth and silky with buildable coverage and intensity especially when used with primer. They also blend well and resist creasing but I did notice a few similarities between some of the neutrals so a little more variety would have been a nice touch.


I Believe in Pink lives up to its name with that bright blush which could have used a hint of plum or mauve to tone it down a bit. The stars of this palette are the golden pink and radiant bronze shadows which are both stunning!


Natural Beauty includes a golden bronzer which I classify as highlighter and deep, smoldering hues that look wonderful together. I prefer the mattes in this palette because you get a dark chocolate, caramel and cream.


Super Fun Night is what I expected the Natural Beauty Palette to be with mild grey tones, classic black and light slivery hues - everything you need to create a classic smokey eye.


This fun collection is available at Sephora and online at toofaced.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Avon 2017 Holiday Gift Guide - Joyful Beautiful Collection

This holiday season Avon has created a bright, festive collection of accessories that will keep you and everyone on your list stylish and on-trend. The range includes fashionable pajamas (always a classic gift), outerwear, totes, slippers, cell phone covers and charms that you can mix, match and use to brighten-up your wardrobe with a variety of eye-catching patterns.


My favorite design is the circle print accentuated against a vibrant pink background. The Joyful Beautiful Tote ($42.99) is perfect for weekend getaways and functions as a carry-on large enough to hold all your essentials. Take it to the gym or use it as a cute beach bag since the colors are fun and summery. I also think it would make a great picnic tote or you can always use it to lug around your work stuff, it’s just one of those bags that works for everything!


The Makeup Bag ($9.99) compliments the tote beautifully and the size is ideal for my daily commute. I also love the colors on the festive scarf ($26.99), it instantly adds bold contrast to outerwear and boring old winter coats.


Bag charms are a thing now so I’ve used the Joyful Beautiful Mirror Charm ($8.00) to make my classic leather purse (also from Avon) look even better!


When you’re in a rush and have no time to dig through your purse for a compact, having a mirror attached to the outside of your bag makes so much sense. You can gloss-up on-the-go anytime, anywhere and what girl wouldn’t love one of these in her stocking!?


If you’re getting the entire set (and who could blame you) you may also want to check out the matching clutch ($14.99). The strap allows you to go hands-free while sipping cocktails and enjoying canapés without having to lug around a heavy bag.


One nifty little accessory that will be an instant hit with all the ladies on your holiday list is the Smart Phone Wristlet ($19.99). It is the perfect size for my cell and functions as a clutch/wallet for money and cards. 



Another little bag charm I love is the Joyful beautiful Card Holder ($8.99). For business savvy ladies like myself who need to whip out their card when meeting potential clients, this little holder is very handy.


Simply fasten it onto any bag and you’ll always have quick access to your cards.


Avon’s holiday collection is available online at avon.ca and through independent consultants.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Guerlain L’Or Radiance Concentrate with Pure Gold & Orchidee Imperiale Eye & Lip Cream Review

When it comes to luxurious primers and nourishing creams, few brands can outdo the decadence of Guerlain. I've started using the L’Or Radiance Concentrate ($82.00) because I need a base that prolongs makeup while counteracting the drying effects of winter. This refreshing, lightweight gel is enriched with pure 24 carat gold dispersed evenly throughout the lush fluid so that every pump is infused with a generous dose of precious flakes. The sparkling particles were crafted to reflect light, boost radiance and create an even canvass for flawless makeup. 


Unlike many primers on the market, this one does not have a slick silicone texture but the jewel particles require some blending before they melt in. L'Or works similar to a moisturizer or serum – smoothing, plumping and fortifying so skin feels silky, supple and thoroughly prepped for makeup. You can apply a refreshing layer prior to application or mix a few drops into your foundation for a luminous effect. The scent is gentle yet sophisticated with notes of sparkling peach,  alluring rose and soft jasmine balanced with a powdery base of balsamic and musk.

I’ve been using the Orchidée Impériale Eye & Lip Cream ($238.00) for a few years now so I've tested it thoroughly. The rich cream is an age-defying treatment that brightens, smooths and redefines the eye contour for flawless makeup application. The most noticeable results for me were less fatigue under my eyes and increased moisture on the lids which tend to get dry during the winter. Unfortunately I did not experience any improvement with dark circles but my skin looks healthy, firm and rejuvenated. You can also use the cream on your lips for hydration and plumpness but the texture does not cling like a balm so the effects are short-lived.


Guerlain is available at Holt Renfrew, Hudson’s Bay, Sephora and beautyboutique.ca

Monday, December 11, 2017

Clarins New Double Serum – Complete Age Control Concentrate

With chilling winds outside and the heat cranked up inside, it’s time to increase hydration levels for optimal skin health. This time of year it can be difficult to keep dryness under control but the right blend of nutrients, botanicals and oils can help protect, fortify and deeply nourish the complexion.

In my family the Clarins Double Serum has been a dry skin savior for years and everyone’s first line of defense against Mother Nature’s harshest winters (even my husband is hooked). Recently the brand has reformulated their bestselling serum to include [20+1] of the most powerful plant extracts that regenerate, moisturize, oxygenate, reduce wrinkles, boost radiance and tighten pores.


Coincidentally, the star ingredient in the new and improved blend is turmeric – a spice I always keep in my pantry for making savoury curry dishes. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of great feedback on this rich yellow powder and since it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties it is also used to treat and heal acne, scarring, redness and blemishes. Other benefits include: reducing under eye circles, slowing cell damage, purifying, brightening and fading hyperpigmentation.

If that wasn’t good enough the formula is loaded with amazing natural ingredients harvested from around the globe.
*Kiwi Fruit – High in Vitamin C & E.
*Oat – High in minerals that moisturize, soften and firm.
*Organic Teasel – Used to minimize the look of wrinkles.
*Glasswort (a type of cactus) – Strengthens and shields against environmental hazards.
*Cocoa – Smooths and prevents free-radical damage.
*Mango – High in fatty acids that protect from dehydration.
*Banana – Used for its healing properties.
*Leaf of Life – Encourages the synthesis of Hyaluronic Acid to balance and moisturize.
*Jania (seaweed) – Eliminates dead cells to promote a clear complexion.
*Beautyberry – Used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
*Mary’s Thistle – High in Omega 6 to comfort the skin.
*Horse Chestnut – Increases blood circulation.
*Ginger Lily – Stimulates collagen synthesis.
*Edelweiss – High in antioxidants.

Even the bottle is different – the new design allows you to adjust the amount of product dispensed according to your skin’s needs and varying climate changes. I also like that the brand uses a dark bottle to preserve the ingredients and maintain potency.


So how does this serum compare to the previous formula. Well aside from the obvious ingredient enhancements which result in radiant, youthful skin, the texture seems lighter, more water-based and refreshing. It melts in quickly with no oily residue or stickiness and layers well with my other moisturizers and night care for a supple, velvety finish. Needless to say I absolutely love it!

The Double Serum retails for $120.00 at Clarins Counters nationwide, department stores, Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart and online at clarins.ca.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sephora 2017 Holiday Collection & Gift Guide

There is a good reason Sephora is always jam packed with people and on weekends it seems like every woman in the world decided to shop for makeup at the same time. The store is a one-stop-shop for all things beauty – a makeup wonderland full to the brim with the trendy must-haves you’ve been eyeing all year (boyfriends and husbands beware, once you're dragged in there is no escape). My advice to tackle the holiday rush: arrive early, don’t leave your list to the last minute, call ahead for product availability (or shop online) and be careful when checking out the Fenty Beauty isle because you might get trampled in the commotion (just kidding). Today I’m sharing some awesome sets, palettes and glam accessories for a little gift giving inspiration.


If you read my article – Battle of the Makeup Sponges then you know that Sephora’s Perfect and Restore ranked #2 on my list because it is most similar to the original Beauty Blender yet very affordable in comparison. When dampened these versatile applicators blend liquid makeup seamlessly for a flawless finish and there are different sets and sizes available for full-face coverage, concealer, contour and spot touch-ups. They also make great stocking stuffers.

Sephora Snow-Fetti Mini Sponge Set packaged in a Christmas ornament ($15.00), Blend Til The End Sponge Set ($15.00).

Never worry about dull skin with the Sephora Winter Flush Blush Palette ($20.00). This compact comes with 4 wearable matte shades and flattering shimmer highlighters for a healthy flush and a pop of radiance. The texture is silky and the finish is soft and subtle for a natural effect.


The Sephora Wonderful Stars Palette ($23.00) includes a pretty range of shadows, blush and luminizer that is travel-friendly and perfect for the season. Use the lighter hues during the day and create smokey looks with the deeper shades for a night out. The color scheme is luminous and fresh – great for all complexions and the pigmentation is buildable so you can enhance the intensity with a good primer and a few layers.


Most girls like to show-off their cute makeup bags so you might want to pick up the Let’s Disco Confetti Clutch ($25.00) with shards of pretty multi-colored foil. With this bag everyday is a celebration and the pieces float freely so you can scatter them any way you like to create different designs.


For the lipsticks lovers on your list the Sephora Mini Lip Stain Set ($15.00) is a must! If I got these cute minis in my stocking I’d jump for joy. The box includes 4 colors (neutral to deep) and the bestselling cream formula is rich, highly pigmented, vivid and full-coverage for show-stopping lips.


The Midnight is Coming Mini Palette ($6.00) is another cute stocking stuffer small enough to fit in your pocket.


It contains 3 universally flattering shades with a touch of shimmer for frosty winter evenings and the matte brown is great for crease contouring. On busy mornings with no time for blending, use it to create quick, stylish looks.


The Dark Rainbow Ready in Five Brush Set ($35.00) and Compact Mirror ($15.00) are both covered in sparkling glitter for a festive pop of holiday glam. I always keep a small set of tools in my purse for touch-up on-the-go and these stylish essentials are perfect for travel and everyday use. The beautiful clutch includes a powder brush, blush brush, shadow brush, crease brush and angled liner for all your makeup needs and the soft bristles feel great against the skin.


The Emjoi trend seems to sweeping the globe and although I find the fascination a bit odd, I can totally see the appeal of the cute little faces. This happy little tint ($6.00) nourishes parched pouts with glossy moisture and fresh flattering color for easy day time wear.


The Sephora Winter Queen Palette ($13.00) has 1 bronzer, 2 pretty blushes and 1 pearly highlighter so you can shape, define and enhance like a pro. The smooth, buildable powders are ideal for events and Christmas parties with bright, luminous finishes that provide a healthy glow.


The mermaid and rainbow trend is still going strong (I blame Ariel and unicorns) but I do love the multidimensional colors and the Dark Rainbow PRO Airbrush ($40.00) is stunning. The quality is fantastic with no shedding and as you rotate the handle it changes from pink to blue, green and purple. The densely packed soft bristles provide optimal coverage and a smooth, flawless finish when applying foundation. The small rounded tip helps target problem areas to conceal blemishes so it makes a great gift for a friend (or yourself).


Continuing with the flashy rainbow theme, the Dual Boar Bristle Brush ($19.00) is covered in shiny chrome that looks gorgeous every time you pull it out of your bag. It also keeps your hair neat and sleek while distributing natural oils from the scalp to fortify and nourish.


Z Palettes are great for saving space and customizing your collection of pigments. This one from Sephora stores a lot of product and makes a thoughtful gift for makeup enthusiasts and artists who need to de-pot and reorganize. It retails for $38.00.


Many of these items are limited edition and only available for the holiday season so make sure to check out the website at sephora.ca or get your goodies at the nearest store.

For more great ideas check out my other gift guides:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lise Watier Glam Celebration 2017 Holiday Collection

2017 has been a great year for Lise Watier with a stunning array of vibrant new pigments and 45 years of beauty to celebrate. If you thought the previous seasonal collections were good then you’ll love the limited edition holiday range full of glitz, glamour and cool trendy tones in glittering black packaging. Many of the products are limited edition so don’t forget to ask Santa for your favorites.


The Smokey Nudes 12 Color Eye Shadow Palette ($65.00) is perfect for holiday soirees and partying well into the night. The smooth, buttery formula transforms from a lush cream to long-wear powder for optimal color payoff and superior blending. Use the softer hues for subtle looks or layer and smudge the shimmers and deep mattes for sultry contrast. The shadows on the top row match the colors directly below them for a nice mix of crease contours and statement shades with buildable saturation.



The Glam Pigment ($28.00) is available in two mesmerizing shades – Superstar (iridescent gold) and Fireworks (bronzy pink). The formula is loose and looks like chunky, flaky glitter but once you smooth it onto the skin it becomes an ultra-rich velvety pigment that glides on full-coverage and super intense. These shadows are fantastic for events and New Years Eve plus you can also use them to highlight the cheekbones or dress up the lips with a gleaming frosty finish.


To turn these brilliant shadows into long-lasting eyeliner simply mix them with the Metamorfix Liquid Transformer ($17.00).


The 24K Glam Rouge Lipstick ($25.00) is exquisite with flecks of gold and a unique formula that uses the skin’s pH level to intensify the natural color of your lips. It glides on effortlessly and envelops lips in silky moisture with a faint pink tint. The consistency feels like ultra-lightweight oil that melts in quickly without greasiness for a luminous, healthy finish.


The Havana Trio Highlighter ($46.00) is not part of the holiday collection but it is perfect for the season with bold, illuminating shades that enhance all skin tones for instant radiance. The frosty hues are very buildable, lightweight and easy to blend for a natural glow or high-impact strobing. You can mix and match the colors to alter the effect and the luxurious powder applies seamlessly with no glitter.


If you haven’t tried the Lise Watier Lipsticks yet you definitely should. The Rouge Intense Supreme holiday shades ($27.00 each) are infused with antioxidants and tea extract for rich, nourishing comfort and dryness protection. These colors are exactly my style – vivid, bright and eye-catching with supple moisture and a hint of satiny shine.

Sophia, Grace and Naomi


If you’re going all-out this Christmas with head-to-toe shimmer then you’ll probably want to try the Glam Face & Body Powder ($45.00). The loose formula makes it a bit easier to cover large areas of body (arms, décolleté, shoulders, back, legs etc) and it illuminates the face as if bathed in soft candlelight.


The collection also includes shimmery nail lacquer that matches the shadow palette and puts the finishing touch on your glam holiday look.


Lise Watier is available at department stores and drugstores including Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs. Visit the website at lisewatier.com/ca.
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