Monday, December 31, 2012

Standout Skincare and Beauty Products of 2012

Standout Skincare and Beauty Products of 2012

The year of 2012 has been a quiet year for me in terms of buying new "unnecessary" makeup as I initially set out a 12 limit beauty product buy last year - which I failed miserably, but nonetheless, I did find some great products that I could argue were more on the "necessary" side. Most of these products were either "needed" for the face or cleanser or remover.
  1. SEPHORA COLLECTION Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover - I am a mascara/big lashes fiend - if you know me, you will know that I am absolutely obsessed with layering my mascaras. By the end of the night, I probably have 10+ coats of waterproof mascara on and this is the only eye makeup remover that I have found to be even close to effective in removing any mascara.
  2. Cover Fx Pressed Mineral Foundation - Since I have been using a BB cream this year, I needed a bit of help for that extra coverage and this product has been amazing. Not only are there a huge variety of shades that I found one that matches me perfectly, but this product is so finely milled and pigmented that it does not make me look cakey at all. 
  3. Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm - I love this product - it matches me great, has decent coverage and has a lot of great benefits! Read my full review here.
  4. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel - This has to be my favorite cleanser that I have tried this year. It smells great, a little goes a long way and it removes makeup amazingly! This is perfect to use in conjuction with a Clarisonic too, however, the one downside to this product is that it contains parabens! If this cleanser did not have parabens, I would definitely be repurchasing this. If parabens do not bother you, I highly recommend this cleanser - it is a bit pricey for a cleanser but it is really lovely.
  5. Skindinavia Original Make Up Setting Spray - I purchased this on a whim but this product proved to come in handy when I was in a rush and layered my makeup quickly (and sometimes, very messy) but with a few spitz of this spray, I did not have to worry. My makeup looks nicely blended afterwards (I don't really know how?) and it makes my makeup lasts longer than when I go without this product. It does not control oiliness though.
  6. Jurlique Calendula Cream - This is a pricey moisturizer but it has proved to worth it. At first, it is quite a thick consistency but when you warm it between your fingertips (as directed on the tube), it becomes very easily to apply to the skin. It contains Calendula which is an anti-inflammatory agent to soothe the skin and reduce any redness. I have been using this at night even though it says it is most ideal for daytime and in particular, after sun-exposure, but nonetheless, when I wake up in the morning, my skin is not as red.
  7. NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna - I finally broke this out because I did not want it to go to waste and I love this stuff. I have super pale skin and this adds such a nice warm glow to my complexion. I never go without this product when I am wearing makeup - I would even choose this over blush any time when I was in a rush.
  8. L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes - Fibre mascaras are definitely the way to go if you are looking for length. I have tried the Maybelline Illegal Lengths and loved it but I find this mascara to be more lengthening and volumizing. This is probably most lenghthening mascara I have used thus far.
Hope you all had an amazing 2012 and on a more materialistic level (in relation to this post), have found some standout/HG products like I did. Check out my wishlist of products that I am looking forward to try for the upcoming year.

Standout Skincare and Beauty Products of 2012
XO Jenny

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Empties Part 4: Misc (Body Wash, Hair, Perfume)

L'Oreal Re-Nutrition Intense Mask - Although this is marketed as an intense moisturizing deep conditioner, I did not find it to do much to my hair. I used it very infrequently because I just could not stand the smell! Maybe that’s why I did not see much results because I was not consistent with it. I do not know how to describe the smell but make sure you give it a sniff before you buy it.

Dove VisibleCare Toning Crème Body Wash - Here is another one of the gimmicky products. Seriously, who is to believe that a body wash would help “tone” your body? Let’s not be so optimistic. The reason I purchased this was for the smell. I love Dove body washes as they are super creamy and they last for quite a long time so I thought I’d give this line a try so I obviously opted for this one. The smell is very fresh and clean. I love it regardless of whether it helps with elasticity or not (which, I do not think it did but perhaps with more continued use?)

Even though I am nearing the end of Lola and Princess, and growing tired of Fancy (gee, these are such girly perfumes I have eh? Fancy Princess Lola!), I am restraining myself from opening my Lancome La Vie est Belle perfume and/or purchasing a new one (ie. Miss Dior) because I have so many perfume samples to use up. I am not going to go over all the perfume but I will mention those that stood out. 

From left to right (in the photo):

Giorgio Armani Armani Code Pour Femme - I actually grew to like this after my second use of this sample. At first, I found it to be a bit too fresh for my liking (I like musky sexy scents) but this becomes almost sweet while keeping that freshness.

Twirl By Kate Spade

Givenchy Play For Her - I was surprised by this one because I thought I would not like it (the packaging is ugly so I never paid attention to it - uh, superficial? but seriously, look up the full size product if you’ve never seen it and let me know if you would like to keep this out on your vanity), but it’s a very sweet and young/flirty scent that I think would be perfect for the day time when I’m feeling adventurous. When I came home, I almost bought myself the smallest bottle of this for spring!

Hanae Mori Butterfly - This perfume was just awful. It’s very sweet but it also has this very distant note to it that makes it smell obnoxious. I had to make myself use this up because I did not want to waste a sample… yes. It seems like a lot of people like it but I absolutely do not.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle - I enjoyed this but its sweetness reminded me so much of Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb, which I am not crazy about in the first place. The one major thing about this scent was that it did not last long at all. It was also very faint.

Bvlgari Mon Jasmin Noir

FlowerbyKenzo - Oh my goodness, I hated this scent so much that I had much rather go without perfume than spraying this one. This scent straight up reminds me of public washrooms ... clean public washrooms, as in the smell of the generic soap or washing agents the cleaners use to clean the washrooms. So yeah, this perfume reminds me of washrooms.

Other relevant post:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Empties Part 3 - Skincare

As you can probably see this pile of different moisturizers for different needs, however, I am not going to review all of these products as most of these are mini samples that were not sufficient enough for me really get a feel for the product and its longterm effects. I will only touch on some of these products! 
  1. Clinique Youth Surge Age Decelerating Moisturizer
  2. DHC Concentrated Eye Cream - This eye cream was a bit too light and thin for my liking. It did do a good job of hydration but I feel that for the price of $41.50, I would have preferred an eye cream that was more heavy duty, especially for night time. With that said, even though this product was light, it did not absorb quickly into the skin, making daytime-use with this not the best either.
  3. DHC Acerola Gel - This thing was seriously pricey for this small tube of stuff. I used this in the morning prior to putting my makeup on. The only pro about this is that it is very lightweight and that it absorbed fast (duh, it's a gel). Other than that, I didn't see a lot of different in my skin.
  4. Curel Targeted Therapy Foot Therapy
  5. Vichy Normaderm Anti-Imperfection Hydrating Care - This did not help with my acne. I think this product is geared more towards skin types that have minor imperfections.
  6. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 60 - I highly recommend this product if you hate the feel of thick and heavy suncreens. This absorbs really quickly into your skin and does not feel heavy at all.
  7. the balm White Tea Juniper Face 
  8. DHC Acerola Cream
  9. Sephora Collection Instant Moisturizer
  10. Mario Badescu's Hyaluronic Eye Cream Sample
  11. Mario Badescu Collagen Moisturizer SPF 15
Most of these facial moisturizers I have found are nice - in that they are lightweight, does not leave a greasy feeling and absorbs quite quickly, however, I didn't find anything special about them that would make me want to repurchase. For me, I am very picking with moisturizers; in addition to do all that I have mentioned, I would also like to have some benefits for the skin!

XO Jenny

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Empties Part 2 - Cleansers

  1. Freeman Facial Enzyme Mask Pineapple - I have only used this once as a mask because I do not like the feel of this as it does not harden and dry like typical masks. It just sits on your face. I use it more like a cleanser. What I do is crush up so aspirin (salicylic acid) and massage that on my skin as an exfoliator for a ~20seconds and then massage some of the pineapple mask over the aspirin for another 20seconds. I learned this based on nuberxo’s suggestion in one of her videos on youtube. The aspirin helps exfoliate while targeting any problem areas and the enzymes from the pineapple mask is also able to penetrate into the skin, leaving your face to be super smooth, bright, and supple afterwards. The mask has pineapple extract and AHA exfoliant (we all know how much I love my AHA)!
  2. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - This stuff smells amazing - let’s just get that out of the way. This product is different than anything I have tried: it is a powder that you mix with water to exfoliate. I have received two of these from previous beauty subscription boxes so I have had to opportunity to really see the results of continued use. If I did not own a Clarisonic, I would definitely repurchase the full sized product of this. It leaves my skin super smooth and it really helps reduce the appearance of my pores. It’s not rough like the St. Ives apricot scrub but it is sufficient to get the dead stuff off your skin while combating your acne with the salicylic acid.
  3. Clarisonic Nourishing Care Cleanser - This cleanser is orange scented and it smells lovely. I do not have dry skin so I cannot say this that this really helped in that area. This product is nothing special. I used it with my Clarisonic to remove makeup and it does the job. This product may be discontinued now though.
  4. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel - LOVED this, but for some reason, I've only ever did mini reviews on this. I think it's because I only purchased the travel size and I don't have enough pictures of it for a full review?
  5. Clarisonic Gentle Hydro Cleanser - This has to be the worst smelling cleanser I have used in a while. Okay, it's not nasty nasty, but the smell reminds me kind of like vomit (sorry if that totally grossed you out). I thought this cleanser was great (aside from the scent); it did a good job removing my makeup in conjuction with my Clarisonic and with its white milky creamy consistancy, it allowed my Clarisonic to really glide easily all over the face to remove all the makeup. I would not repurchase only because it is pricey for a cleanser whose main purpose is to remove makeup with the Clarisonic.
  6. Neutrogena SkinID Toner #40 - I feel like this toner is just like any other toner that I've used and purchased from the drugstore. This did not do anything with my acne. 
Stay tuned for part 3 of this Empties series!

XO Jenny

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Empties Part 1 - Makeup

This is part one of my Empties series (I have broken my trash categorically). I wanted to get rid of these products that I've used up during this year to officially clear the makeup path for new products for the new year. This is part 1 of 4 Empties post that I will be posting leading up to the new year! Stay tuned to see what new products I am anticipating for 2013, some of which will be repurchases and some will be replacements for some of the products seen in this series!

NYX Powder blushes in Natural and Taupe - I am surprised that I have already finished my Taupe "blush" because I only use it for contouring purpose but at the same time, I guess it's not that surprising because it is a product that I consistently use if I am wearing makeup, as this is the only matte bronzer that I own besides NYC Sunny. Both these blushes are matte and are super pigmented and goes on the skin very smoothly. Natural was one of my very first NYX blushes and it is always my go-to blush. I recommend Natural because it is such a simple and natural shade.

Jessica Simpson 'Fancy' EDP Rollerball -  I love this perfume. It's smells so fresh but elegant at the same time. Although rollerballs are not my favorite because for some reason, the scent does not tend to stay on me as long, but this scent lingers for a long time.

Buxom Lashliner - I've had this lashliner since forever so I was super happy that I finally finished this. This gel liner was not the best for me because it tend to smudge and it was not long lasting at all. The last power did improve when I used the Urban Decay Primer Potion underneath but I definitely prefer the Bobbi Brown gel liner instead.

Maybelline Dream Mousse Concealer - I've had this concealer for the longest time that it even became discontinued during the time I had this. I really like the consistency of this because it is very lightweight and easily blendable but it does not cover blemishes well. I tend to use this for under the eye.

Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover - This waterproof eye makeup remover is the only remover that works on my layers and layers of waterproof mascara. I definitely recommend this if you use waterproof mascara!

I also had a few perfume samples scattered in this photo above but I think I will do a separate blog post on those!

XO Jenny

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! Winterlicious Tag

In celebration of the most wonderful time of the year, I am doing the Winterlicious tag!

Les questions...

1) Favorite Winter Nail Polish?

I actually have been giving my fingers nails a break from nail polish but I will be painting them Essie's Silken Cord (it's the only nail polish I own that is in the red family - I only really like nude shades!)

2) Favorite Winter lip product?

I do not own any red lip products at all (... and I'm a beauty blogger? yeah right). I tend to keep my lips au naturale most of the time.

3) Most worn Winter clothing piece?

Cozy sweaters.

4) Most worn Winter accessory?


5) Favorite winter scent/candle?

I've been so good at not buying any more BBW candles but I do love the smell of balsalm and pine. I've always wanted a real Christmas tree because of the scent!

6) Favorite Winter beverage?

I don't drink anything other than water, black coffee or tea...

7) All time favorite Christmas/Holiday movie?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Polar Express, and Elf. (I'm sure I have a lot more but these two are on the top of my list).

8) Favorite Christmas/Holiday song?

I love all Christmas music but my top picks are O Holy Night, Have Yourself a Merry,  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), This Christmas, Do You Hear What I Hear and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - N'SYNC. I think these particular songs stand out so much is because I love to sing them (ie. adding crazy ad-libs, etc. etc. .. influenced by Christina Aguilera)

9) Favorite Holiday food/treat?

Everything! Except fruit cake. (I wanted to say Yule log because they look so pretty and chocolatety, but I've never had a Yule log before..)

10) What is your favorite Christmas Decoration this year?
Our Christmas tree, even though we couldn't find our old ornaments with our star. It's just a tree with coloured lights and filler ornaments with no star but it's still pretty.

11) What's at the top of your Christmas list?

I do not have a list, I just want my loved ones to be incredibly happy and healthy - that is all I really want. I am perfectly content to not receive any presents because what I want cannot be wrapped up in a box!

12) What are your plans for the holidays this year?
Lounge around the house in my Christmas PJs and cook and enjoy our small but warm Christmas dinner!

I love love love Christmas. I can almost say that I live for Christmas - it's such a magical time of the year. I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays as much as I am.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

XO Jenny

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sephora Haul (Cover Fx, Origins, Lancôme, Dior)

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This haul was from a while back when I started to break out due to stress from school - as you can probably tell from the products I purchased in this haul. Jessica raves about the Cover Fx Pressed Mineral Foundation on her blog, Beautezine; she claims that this was her go-to product back in high school for covering her blemishes, so of course, I had to try it (I trust her and her reviews!) because it was exactly what I was looking for. This powder foundation costs $35USD/CAD and while this is quite expensive, I thought it would be worth the splurge because they offer such an amazing color selection; they break it down into all three different undertones (pink, neutral and golden), so I was sure to find a shade that would match perfectly with my skintone. Here, you can see that purchased two just to make sure I got the right one because my Sephoras do not carry Cover Fx products and I could not swatch them in person. The two shades were G20 and G30. G20 matches me perfectly so I returned G30.

 Cover Fx Pressed Mineral Foundation

Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel

Well, you cannot just cover your blemishes, you have to treat them too! This ity bity Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel has to be the craziest purchase I've made from Sephora - cost-to-volume wise. The theory behind this is that only a tiny tiny amount of product is sufficient for treatment. We'll have to see about that.

Here are the freebies I chose. I chose the Lancôme Trio Pack that comes with sample sizes of their Hypnôse and DÉFINICILS High Definition mascaras and their CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base, which I have purchased before but did not love it. None the less, I thought I could pass these on to someone else. I do not fancy these high end sample mascaras because they never come in the waterproof formula.

Lancome Mascaras

I also spent 500 points on this Dior package. If you want to see what was inside, stay tuned for a blog post featuring the goodies inside!

Sephora 500 Dior point perk 2012

XO Nicole

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Caudalie Vinosource Haul (Skincare)

Glymm had an amazing Christmas offer for 50% off all their Caudalie. Although they did not have the widest range of products, they did have something that I was meaning to try out and it was the Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum. By itself, it originally retails for $48.00CAD but they also had a combo pack that comes with a full size Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Crème. The value of the duo is $88 but they sell them together for only $78. So with the promo, I basically got both these products for $39, which is an amazing deal. Caudalie is a brand that I had been hearing so many good things about and to get both these products for such an insanely good deal is so amazing. I cannot wait to use both these products as my skin is getting dried due to the colder seasons!

Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum

Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum

Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Crème

Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Crème

Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum

Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Crème
Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Crème

I love that they have some secret messages inside the box! Well, okay, it's probably not secret messages but tips and directions to use the product to fully maximize the product's efficiency.

XO Nicole

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas 2012 Beauty Gift Guide

Here are some go-to ideas for your (last-minute) Christmas shopping. I picked out these items that are almost "fool-proof" in that they are sure to please the recipient. 

  1. bliss Starter Series: Triple Oxygen - perfect for Mom or someone who puts everyone else first and does not splurge on themselves! This is a great way to treat them to a nice at-home facial.
  2. bareMinerals The Total Package Collection - great for the glam-friend. The packaging is already so luxe too!
  3. Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme Eau de Toliette Spray 2oz - This is my favorite men's cologne! It's one of the best-selling colognes on the Sephora website so you probably cannot go wrong with this.
  4. THE ART OF SHAVING The 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave - Unscented - great for Dad! 
  5. tarte Pure Maracuja Oil - perfect for any of your girlfriends or even mom. Who would want a lux, yet pure maracuja oil to treat the face.
  6. Hello Kitty Wild Thing Brush Set - super suitable for younger sister or cousin or neice, etc who is just starting out to experiment with makeup. You cannot go wrong with Hello Kitty (it also makes for a beautiful decoration item) as well as makeup brushes!
XO Nicole

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sephora VIB Beauty Insider Welcome Kit 2012

Seeing all the Sephora hauls I have posted throughout this year, it is no surprise that I would qualify for Sephora's VIB status again. This is for a few reasons; one being that Sephora is such an accessible and convenient beauty store - it has almost all of the higher end brands you could possibly think of, and they just keep having these fun little promos and gifts that just keeps luring you in to buying things you may not necessary need but end up justifying because you have a coupon, for example. Not to mention, online shopping from their site is also convenient as they lowered their free shipping minimun for Canadians to $75. These are just a few of the reasons why everyone loves Sephora so much (don't forget their awesome return policy!) so definitely shout outs to Sephora, so I do not regret dropping all my money on beauty there as opposed to different beauty sources for different products. I just wanted to show you what the VIB welcome package looks like. Now, I was a VIB only since last year but I did not receive this card/welcome-package because the last purchase that made me qualify was placed online and I guess, they do not give you this card the first time you go in-store. Regardless, here is the card - I love it. It's not the same filmsy materia that the beauty insider card is made out of, so it is much more sturdier and chic looking. In addition, you get a VIB mirror, much like the ones that come with Sephora gift cards but the finish on this one is reminiscent of NARS packaging in that it is not glossy but velvety and can get dirty easily.

As always, their welcome package comes with a 10% coupon (no minimum purchase required) to lure you in once again, as well as a voucher for a free makeover!

A little bit on the V.I.B program:
V.I.B. status is conferred on those registered Beauty Insider members who spend a minimum of $350 on merchandise, excluding gift cards, at U.S. and Canadian Sephora stores (including on Sephora online and in Sephora inside JCPenney locations) during one calendar year. V.I.B. status is good for the calendar year in which the BI member qualifies and the following calendar year; annual requalification is required

XO Nicole

Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Gift 2012: fresh Sugar Lip Treatments

If you are a beauty insider then you must have redeemed this already for your birthday, unless your birthday is really late in December! While my birthday is not in December, but in September, I have been too busy to put this up. Regardless, I wanted to share this with you because Sephora seems to be constantly improving their little perks and gifts for us beauty insiders and VIBs! The gift for this years' birthdays was a lip dup by fresh. I loved that they included two, the original clear one and a tinted one. This way, one can decide if they like the colour payoff enough to buy the tinted ones and/or if they like the original enough to buy the full size! In addition, because the full size product is quite pricey for a lip balm/treatment, it is such a luxury to get two, quite good sized samples. I have yet to give either of them a try but I am afraid that when I do, I might fall too much in love with it that I will have to get a full sized one!

XO Nicole

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MAC, Sephora and Daiso HAUL (Pro palette, tarte, etc)

I had to drop by Daiso to pick up replacement cotton pads and oil blotting paper. The reason I choose to buy these items there is because they are the cheapest I have found compared to normal drugstore chains. I go through cotton pads and blotting paper so quickly that I do not mind buying cheaper kinds.

I also went to Sephora to spend my VIB $20 giftcard (on a $50 minimum purchase) - again, this was only applicable in-stores so I spent this on a Christmas present. I thought who could go wrong with a luxury oil treatment for the face? This Pure Maracuja Oil from Tarte looked like a really great gift as it is pure oil and free of all the chemically-yucky stuff.

Finally, I had the time to go to M.A.C. to buy their new pro palettes! I have a two Hard Candy box blushes that I have been dying to depot because I am just not the fan of the bulky box packaging. I have never been a fan of the Z palettes so I have been holding out for something more chic so when I heard that MAC had come out with a new version that, although is a bit thicker/bulkier than their original/older palette, I knew I had to pick it up because I love the magnetic closure and the see-through lid!

Not to mention, on my Sephora trip, I hit the VIB re-qualification mark so I received a new "VIB Welcome Kit". If you want to see what was in this little booklet, click here!

See what is inside this welcome packet - Sephora VIB Beauty Insider Welcome Kit 2012

XO Nicole

Monday, December 10, 2012

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner Photos, Swatches and Review

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner

I recently made the switch from gel liner (Buxom Lashliner) to a liquid liner because I was hoping to find something that would not transfer, especially since it is summer and my makeup is very prone to melting off because of the heat. Don't get me wrong, I love gel liner with my Smashbox Arced Eyeliner Brush 21 but I have found that liquid liner is so much more pigmented. Now, I don't have much desire to switch back (I should have finished my gel liner first - I have probably a good two months worth of product waiting for me to use up).

Revlon is one of my favourite drugstore brands and I have had good experiences with their Colorstay line so I chose their Colorstay Liquid Liner to try out first. The applicator is not a filmsy felt tip, instead it is a short, firm and pointed tip that gives you a lot of control and variations for either a thin line or a thicker liner (ie. you can turn the brush horizontally for part of the wing). The last-powering is good for everyday (ie. 9-5) but it’s not waterproof so I do not expect it to last through my sweat during my workouts. Note, however, that this does sting when it gets in your eyes.

This liner is super pigmented. The formula of the ink is quite watery but not to the extent where you have to wait long for it to dry.

Overall, for the price, accessibility, pigmentation and easy of use due to the nice applicator, I recommend this eyeliner.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner

XO Nicole

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum Mini

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

The Miss Dior perfume bottle itself is already so cute so the mini deluxe sample one is even more precious. I wanted to share this little gem with you all. I redeemed with this with 100 Sephora points. I have already this this in my mind that Miss Dior (Eau de Parfum) would be my next fragrance purchase, and thus, I would have a large bottle of this but I just couldn't resist this! I thought it would hold me over until it is time for me to pick up a new full size bottle!

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

XO Nicole