Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Beauty Box Five March 2015

Getting my Beauty Box Five is always a nice surprise and with the end of Fashion Week followed by a wave of food poisoning and twisting my wrist a little pick-me-up is exactly what I need. New beauty products always cheer me up and this month the theme was all about taking a spring break while looking great. In the past few days I've been feeling less than glamorous but I’m using my down time to pamper my skin and test some products.   

Before I delve into the box let’s review how the service works. Beauty Box Five is a subscription that starts at $12 for the monthly box, $30 for the quarterly subscription and $99 dollars for a year. In this box you will receive a mix of luxury items and common brands with products for: hair, skin and nails as well as fragrances and beauty accessories. The box contains 5 products and usually includes one or two full sized items. It is a great way to sample a variety of new brands.

Scandalous by Nanacoco Thickening Mascara ($4.99 – full size included)
Nanacoco seems to be popular with Beauty Box Five and I've grown fond of their bright lip gloss. This mascara is designed to enhance, volumize and magnify with spindly, spiked bristles that grip lashes for extra extension. I like the flexible wand and jet black formula and as far as mascaras go this one may not wow you but it works pretty well for the price.

Styli-Style Line & Seal Twist Mechanical Eye Liner ($4.99- full size included)
I have reviewed Styli-Style before and although the brand may not be readily available in many stores it is comparable to drugstore makeup with decent formulas and trendy colors. The eyeliner is available in a variety of shades and the one in my box is Orchid- a deep purple with a slightly metallic finish. Since I usually avoid liners that require sharpening I love that this one twists up for easy access and the formula is quite creamy so it glides on well. The packing has a 24 hour symbol on it and though the color is smudge-proof  it seems prone to a bit of fading.

Laugh Out Loud Lip Gloss by Nanacoco in the shade- The Lift ($3.99- full size included)
It is always nice to see a lip product in the box and this shimmery, luminous pink is perfect for spring! Initially I assumed it was going to be an average sheer gloss but it delivers a bold punch of petal pinkness with a lusciously creamy, medium to full coverage formula! The shimmer is soft and subtle to beautifully illuminate and make lips appear full and plush. I also like the sweet scent and the light non-sticky texture.

Elite Therapeutics Rosemary Eucalyptus Body Cream (sample size included)
Made with natural and organic goodness this lotion has some fabulous ingredients including: aloe, oat, cucumber, avocado, mango, olive, vitamin E and much more! There are a lot of antioxidants and healthy additives in the cream and although it does have a very strong herbal/botanical scent to me is smells like the spa! I like the light, non-greasy, fast absorbing formula and it makes my skin feel soft and supple though reapplying is necessary to maintain hydration. For a body cream the sample is too small so I have added it to my stash of hand creams instead.

Eslor Introductory Collection- Second Edition (samples sizes included)
The first edition of Eslor products I got in a previous box was pretty good so I am looking forward to trying these. The line is paraben free and made to hydrate without stripping the skin. The sample kit came with the Soothing Refiner & Cleanser, Botanical Peeling Gel, Firming Collagen Day Cream and the Chlorophyll Lifting Mask.

My favorite product in the box this month was definitely the lip gloss which I plan to wear soon. I’m hoping for more color and maybe some blush or eye shadow in the next box.

For more information on this subscription you can visit the website by clicking- HERE

*Press samples featured 

Yardley London Review

Prior to this review I had never heard of Yardley London but the women in my family informed me that the brand has been around for many years and has been quite reliable for many generations. When I first tried the products what came to mind was an elegant tea party in an English rose garden because the fragrances are very delicate and floral.

Yardley soaps are crafted with essential oils and indulgent skin softening ingredients that lather well and deeply moisturize. The English Rose Luxury Soaps smell of summer with an evocative petal fresh scent. I will admit to being very picky when it comes to bar soap, usually I don’t venture too far from my comfort zone and I have been using the same brand for years. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this calming, sophisticated aroma and the soaps are triple milled for a rich, creamy lather with an intoxicating musky fragrance. 

Unlike many soap products the English Rose bars don’t contain harsh sulfates that strip the skin, they thoroughly cleanse with mild ingredients and Yardley products are cruelty-free. The soaps are also available in new bath bars including avocado, shea, almond, mango and lavender. The rose soap trio retails for $18.99.

The iconic Lilly of the Valley collection includes: perfume, soap, body wash, lotion and hand cream. The scent is an infusion of crisp spring flowers, white pear, lily, freesia and a pretty musk base to awaken the senses.

The Eau De Toilette smells like a vibrant bouquet and although the perfume is quite lovely it isn't really suited to my taste. I prefer fragrances that are a bit more youthful and modern and this scent is a bit mature for me. It would make a great gift for Mother’s Day and I’m sure my mother in law or grandmother would think it simply divine! It retails for just $18.99.

The moisturizing body lotion has a natural, refreshing botanical scent and a very light formula that hydrates well without leaving behind a residue. The inclusion of Q10, antioxidants and vitamin E provide anti-aging benefits and leave skin feeling soft, smooth and toned. The lotion also includes: shea butter, grape seed oil and sweet almond oil to alleviate dry, rough skin and help eliminate the effects of winter to get you ready for spring! It retails for $14.99.

Yardley London can be found at Shoppers Drug Mart.

*Press samples featured

Monday, March 30, 2015

Calgon Take Me Away Hawaiian Ginger Collection

Having been to Hawaii I can tell you firsthand that the air does smell of ripe fruit especially when roaming the beautiful lush peaks and exploring the warm rainforests. Calgon has been releasing delectable scents for many years but nothing captures the essence of summer like the Hawaiian Ginger Collection!

This indulgent set may inspire you to grab a Mai Tai and reminisce about beach vacations and fun in the sun. It includes everything you need to pamper your skin and drench yourself in exotic scents. The soap, bath beads, body mist and cream will leave you smelling as tropical as a warm Hawaiian breeze.

I like to start off with a nice relaxing soak using the silkening bubble bath enriched with aloe leaf juice to calm the skin. As the bubbles are foaming toss in some of the ultra moisturizing bath beads infused with vitamin E to soften and soothe dry skin. While you’re in there enjoying the soothing, fragrance of ripe pineapple and fruit nectar use the handy pumice stone to get your feet ready for sandal season.

If you prefer showers the collection also includes a large Hawaiian ginger soap for an invigorating cleanse and after you emerge feeling uplifted and revived massage in the nourishing body cream formulated with shea butter and aloe for extra hydration. The body mist can be spritzed on for the finishing touches to add a fragrant burst of fresh sweetness!

This set makes a great gift for anyone who loves deliciously fruity bath and body products and some of the items are travel-friendly. Calgon products can be found at Walmart.

** To check out my photos from my trip to Hawaii click -HERE **

 *Press samples featured

Friday, March 27, 2015

Make Up For Ever Spring 2015 Collection

Recently I attended the launch of Make Up For Ever’s spring collection where I had the chance to dabble in the new array of colors and textures. This season it’s all about the base as the brand reveals an impressive spectrum of face primers for a wide range of skin types as well as lipsticks, bronzers, mascara and setting spray.

Since the Step 1 Equalizer Primers stole the show let’s get into those first. The collection includes 10 new products: 4 primers formulated for balancing skin texture and 6 for evening and correcting skin tone.

The range includes:

*Mattifying Base- For shine control and oily skin: smooths and softens.
*Smoothing Base- Evens the skin’s surface, reduces the appearance of large pores and fills fine lines and wrinkles.
*Hydrating Base- For normal to dry skin: softens, protects and smooths.
*Nourishing Base- For flaky, rough skin: moisturizes, replenishes, repairs and smooths for a silky, supple finish.

*Green Primer- Tones down redness and neutralizes.
*Pink Primer (lifeless fair skin) - Adds rosiness for a fresh porcelain finish.
*Blue Primer (dull fair skin) – Reduces the appearance of blemishes, redness and slight yellowness.
*Yellow Primer (dull medium skin) - Anti-dullness formula illuminates medium to tan skin.
*Peach Primer (medium to dark skin) - Enhances radiance for a soft glow.
*Bronze Primer (dark tanned skin) - Warms deep skin tones.

The primers are designed to work together so you can mix and match depending on your skin’s needs. I chose the Peach Primer to boost my complexion and increase radiance. The Makeup Artist from MUFE also informed me that peach helps correct blemishes and discoloration so that foundation applies seamlessly with no unsightly color discrepancies. I pair the peach primer with the Smoothing Base to even my complexion and create a smooth, silky canvass for liquid foundation. I was instructed to apply the color correcting base prior to the smoothing primer for optimal results. The formula is also infused with Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and firm and the primers feel comfortable and lightweight. 

Although the extensive variety of colors and bases may seem a bit overwhelming, you may not necessarily need 2 primers if you don’t have issues with pronounced undertones. The texture enhancing primers all have a silicone texture for a smooth, velvety finish. I enjoy having a lot of choices and any product that prolongs my makeup for a more flawless finish is a bonus! The primers retail for $42.00 each.

When the warm weather finally touches down I want my skin to look radiant and this year Make Up For Ever has released 2 Pro Sculpting Duos to get the job done! The art of highlighting and sculpting is one of the biggest beauty trends and these fabulous duos are now available in Pink/Beige- light with cool undertones for fair to medium skin and Golden- tan with warm undertones for medium to deep skin.

The talc-free gel-powder formula has a creamy, light texture to help you master the art of sculpting and the pigment is easy to build and blend for seamless coverage. The skin enhancing ingredients include components to smooth and perfect for a silky finish and natural looking definition.

I have the compact in Golden which contains a gorgeous brown contour shade with gold undertones that is great for shading and creating contrast. When used with the flat 156 brush you can easily create dimension and structure for professional results.

Make Up For Ever 156 Large Flat Blush Brush $43.00

The luminous highlight shade can be applied to the cheekbones, cupid’s bow, along the nose, brow bones and even the shoulders to make skin appear healthy and luminous. The duos retails for $45.00 each.

For another one of my recent media events I wanted to create a glam look which gave me the chance to try the new Smokey Stretch Mascara. The short, spiked brush is designed to isolate and adhere to each lash combing the hairs up and out for great separation and definition. 

The intense black pigment coats well and the formula is long-lasting with no flaking, clumping or smudging. This is a great everyday mascara to create volume even if your lashes are short and sparse. I usually apply my mascaras using 3-4 different types and this one finishes off my looks to create that trendy false lash effect! The Smokey Stretch Mascara retails for $28.00

The coveted Rouge Artist Intense Collection gained 2 new pink shades to their impressive range. With 50% more pigment than traditional lipsticks the creamy, hydrating formula glides on buttery smooth and cushiony soft for a wash of fresh, comfortable color.

I have the shade #54 which is a pearly golden pink that appears a bit frosty and quite neutral. The other pink- #53 has a pearly, copper base and shows up a bit deeper. The lipsticks retails for $23.00 each.

After all that brushing, blending and sculpting you may need something to hold all your makeup in place especially when the weather is warm or the day drags on. Every time I have an event to attend, travel plans or a long day ahead of me a good setting spray is a makeup must-have! MUFE has re-launched their cult favorite Mist & Fix with key setting features and moisturizing ingredients.

The Mist & Fix boasts a formula containing an O2 Skin Complex to provide oxygenation and a radiant finish without producing shine or increasing oiliness. It is alcohol free, dermatologist tested and suited for every skin type, even the most sensitive. The mist keeps makeup colors vibrant and prevents them from fading throughout the day.

The setting spray does a great job at keeping my makeup intact all day and the colorless liquid provides an invisible, lightweight shield to protect against pollution and temperature changes. The nozzle dispenses an even blast of cool mist that instantly refreshes and I love how fine the spray is for consistent fast drying coverage. The formula has a light scent that does not irritate my skin or leave behind water droplets that show up on my foundation. The protective comfortable film is non-sticky and resistant to rubbing and sweating which will come in handy in humid climates and days spent frolicking at the beach. The Mist & Fix retails for $34.00 per 125 ml or $14.00 for 30 ml.

The collection can be found at Sephora locations, Sephora.com and Make Up For Ever boutiques

*Press samples featured 

World MasterCard Fashion Week 2015

Now that World MasterCard Fashion Week is wrapping up I can finally take a break and reminisce about the highlights. It was a busy week of press events and battling the midday rush through the streets of Toronto but I had a blast hanging out backstage and meeting some wonderful people including a few popular TV personalities.

It may be difficult to think ahead to fall since spring has just arrived but Canadian designers were propelled to the forefront of the global fashion arena and given the chance to showcase their fabulous new creations.

I kicked off the week at the Ritz Carleton where NeoStrata showcased their new line of products aimed at treating and correcting hyperpigmentation, blemishes and acne scars for a healthy, glowing complexion. I love how dedicated the brand is to helping people improve their skin and using science to continually enhance their formulas with quality ingredients. I will publish a detailed review on the new collection in the coming weeks but to see my latest post on NeoStrata click HERE.

As usual the scene backstage looked a bit chaotic as a sea of cameras, media personnel, models and stylists prepped for the shows but oddly enough everything ran like a well oiled machine. I hung out in the Maybelline lounge snacking on macaroons and cupcake flavored popcorn before heading over to see what lead Makeup Artist Grace Lee was working on. I interviewed Grace at last season’s fashion show and this year she demonstrated how to use Maybelline’s new Rebel Bloom lipsticks on the cheeks for a beautiful flush of color.

Photo of Grace working on last seasons show

It looked like Grace and her team used just about every Maybelline product on the market to get the models runway ready.

I love a bold lip with minimal eye shadow and thick winged liner so this was one of my favorite looks- subtle yet glamorous!

To create this Russian inspired vintage look for the Farley Chatto show Grace used a shimmery shadow from Maybelline's Nude Palette to highlight the face and accentuate the eyes and a fiery red lipstick. 

Maybelline Creamy Mattes Siren in Scarley 690 

Essie generously hooked up our nails at their cute manicure booth, the trendy spring collection fittingly matched the tasty desserts.

Redken Canada had the flat irons sizzling and the blow dryers on standby as they created some ultra chic hairstyles bling and all!

Hilary MacMillan's collection was offbeat and original.

I also went to an exclusive fashion show by Lolë that showcased their new active wear including fun yoga gear and cozy fall fashion. The brand focuses on stylish, feminine pieces to take today's urban woman from the studio to the street offering comfort, versatility and quality fabrics. 

The collection put a spin on traditional workout clothes by adding trendy flare and a simplistic modern edge. 

One of my favorite pieces was the sheer yoga pants that looked like a combination of leggings and cute shorts! These are totally wearable for running errands and they make cute lounge wear!

For more information on Lolë you can visit the website by clicking HERE  and stay tuned for my review on the Rebel Bloom lipsticks from Maybelline. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Anna Sui Lipstick G Review: Spring 2015 Flirting with Flutter Collection

If you like luminous shimmer and fresh spring hues then the new Lipstick G collection by Anna Sui is sure to satisfy your seasonal needs. The shooting star lipsticks are now available in a variety of flirty shades including:

*050 Glitter Silver- Sheer silver infused with sparkle
*051 Glitter Black- Sheer black with gunmetal shimmer
*350 Powder Pink- Soft luminous pink
*531 Paris Pink- Bubble gum pink with subtle shimmer
*532 Rose Pink- Sheer pink with coral shimmer
*650 Valencia- Sheer sparkly coral red
*850 Glitter Gold (sheer)

I am no stranger to Anna’s lipsticks, in fact I have reviewed them on my site before. What I like most about the line is the creamy, buttery texture because it provides supple hydration during the winter and a layer of protection when the weather warms up.  

The base of the lipstick is enriched with nourishing, botanicals that are blended into a smooth film to reflect light and provide a high-gloss finish for a touch of glitz. Vitamin C and antioxidants shield lips from free-radical damage while pearlescent particles provide a beautiful iridescent effect. Sweet almond, grape and fruit oils keep lips pouty, soft and moist with balm-like comfort.

650 Valencia

Once applied the glitter does not appear overwhelming or feel discernible and gritty but when you wipe off or smudge the color while eating and drinking the glitter disperses and tends to transfer which can get a bit messy if you don’t retouch.

The pigmentation shows up less vivid that it appears in the elaborate glass-like tubes but the colors can be enhanced from sheer to medium coverage for more intensity. The lipsticks are infused with Anna’s signature floral-perfume scent which may not be the most modern fragrance but the packaging design is edgy and fun.

352 Rose Pink

The shades I have- Rose Pink and Valencia are flattering and prismatic yet quite vibrant and the glitter adds a little extra glam to jazz up my everyday looks.

The lipsticks retail for $29.00 each and are available at select Shoppers Drug Marts, Pharmaprix, Murale and Hudson’s Bay.

*Press samples featured

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Eyes on MAC Eye Shadow Palette Review

MAC has recently released a collection of sophisticated palettes with highly pigmented, expertly coordinated hues designed to offer countless stunning combinations. Each palette incorporates a variety of textures for both day and night with beautiful color themes including- neutral, warm purple, navy and burgundy.

There are four nine shades palettes for $40.00 U.S / $48.00 CAD and two 15 shade palettes which retail for $85.00 U.S / $99.00 CAD. I have the Navy Times Nine palette which contains a blend of cool neutral hues including taupe, silver, brown, blue and grey tones. I haven’t used navy eye shadow in a while but I use to be a big fan and this palette is ideal for creating smokey looks.

The texture of the shadows range from shimmer, satin and cream with translucent sheer coverage and full-coverage matte finishes. The cream hues have a smooth texture that applies velvety soft for solid non-creasing color that lasts all day. Many of the shades do not require the use of a base to maintain the pigment and prevent fading although I do use a primer to enhance and intensify the colors.

The navy in this palette has a charcoal-grey base as opposed to a vivid blue undertones.

The lightest shade in the palette- Silver Fog applies translucent with luminous sparkle that is great for highlighting and accentuating. I would have preferred the black shadow in a matte formula which I find more usable but the palette definitely has some beautiful tints for creating depth, shape and dimension.

Shades from top left to right: Silver Fog (silver grey), Blonde Mink (pale khaki with sparkles), Copperplate (muted mid tone grey), JG Grey (frosty grey blue), Mulled Over (matte cool blue grey), Cast Iron (matte charcoal), Cloudscape (khaki), Club (red-brown with green pearl), Black Tied (black with silver sparkle).

The palettes are small which makes them suitable for travel and they are now a part of MAC’s permanent line so you can pick them up at all locations! Visit maccosmetics.com for more info.

*Press sample featured
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