Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Favorites

I can't believe July is nearly over! It's been a very hot month for Newfoundland (which we are certainly not accustomed to), so I haven't been going overboard with makeup on a daily basis. Working full time has resulted in some minimal makeup looks that are easy to slap on in the painful early mornings. On the few occassions that I went for a night out, I loved rocking a bright lip with contoured/highlighted cheeks. As I've been trying not to buy makeup in the past little while, I've went back to some old favorites. My current goal for August is to work on hitting pan on at least one of my blushes/bronzers, which means I will have to stick to using just one or two options in the future. Which I think will be extremely challenging considering that I usually wear a different makeup look every day. I feel the need to use up some makeup in order to make room for some new things, because I'm past the point in my life where I feel the need to own every new product release that hits the shelves.

So here are my well loved products for the month of July:

I purchased a small 1 oz bottle of this oil after hearing the world rave about it's wonders. I don't have particularly problematic hair, but my ends often feel parched and I don't get regular trims as I am growing out my hair (controversial, I know). I picked up the Moroccanoil Light which is formulated for gals like myself with fine hair. I apply this to towel dried hair (from my ears down, avoiding the roots) after every hair washing and I've seen a big difference in my hair from just a month's use. My ends never look or feel dry and my hair looks generally healthier. I was a bit of a skeptic about this super hyped hair oil but I'm definitely on the bandwagon and plan on purchasing a bigger bottle when this one runs out (which will likely take a long time as I use a small amount with every use). My favorite thing about the oil is that it doesn't weigh down the hair and never leaves a greasy film. Another bonus, it smell great!

These are simply the best elastics I've ever had. I like that they look like little bracelets when you wear them on your wrist and that they cause less damage to the hair shaft than a regular elastic. Because they look like colorful ribbons, they are harder to lose (I've only lost 1/5 thus far). These elastics are perfect for holding your hair in place without budging all day, no more sagging ponytails for me! If you have 5 dollars to spare, I would recommend picking up a pack.

A great brown eyeliner that makes blue eyes look super blue. These are my favorite drugstore liners and this eyeliner has been great for lazy days when I can't be bothered with eyeshadow but still want to look put together. My pencil has seen a lot of love and is looking worse for wear, I see a repurchase in my future (once it has been worn down to a little nub, of course!).

One of my favorite NARS blushes. Madly is a super pretty reddish brown with a golden shimmer. I'm not sure if I would call this a blush or a bronzer but it's perfect to sweep across the cheeks for a bronzed golden glow.

I've been pulling out this little number on night's out when I want to look glamorous without having to do a full face of makeup. I love the look of an orangey red lip with contoured cheeks and a very simple eye. It's been well documented that this is one of my favorite lipsticks and a perfect pick for summer nights.

This is an easy mauvey pink that looks pretty without looking overdone. I've gained a new appreciation for natural looking lipsticks that almost mimic the actual color of lips- except look better (often refered to as "my lips but better"). A great color for work environments that don't accept bold makeup looks and moisturizing enough to battle the drying effects of air conditioning.

So that's the line-up for the month of July. What are your hot weather favorites of the past month?

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Favorite Summer Nail Polishes

Summer is the season when I wear nail polish the most! With hands and feet on display, I like to have a fresh and vibrant manicure as often as possible. Lately, I've been slacking with painting my nails and probably paint them once a week but I always make sure my toes are well pedicured and sandal-ready. These are my top 5 polishes for summer that I have personally worn repeatedly over the past two months:

I feel that if you are going to go through the trouble of painting your nails, it's worth taking the extra minute to apply a base coat. I bought this Essie base coat a few months ago after running out of my old Revlon base coat and love the nail-strenghening properties that this base coat provides (I'm blessed with brittle nails that crack too easily). I find that wearing an this base coat underneath any polish will double the wear time of my manicure and triple the wear time of my pedicure. This is a must have!

In my last month's favorites, I mentioned Essie's limited edition Haute in the Heat. If you didn't have a chance to check that out, Bachelorette Bash is a very close dupe and hands down my favorite polish of the moment! I love that it's a pretty fuschia that's darker than it is bright. It's a classy color that's still fun for summer. I also feel like it makes my feet look as pretty as feet can be. I've worn this constantly on my toes for the past month and I love how dainty it looks on the hands. Best pink ever.

Another good one for toes. Aruba Blue is a deep metallic blue that looks amazing on the toe nails. It's the perfect color to compliment a pair of strappy sandals and reminds of the tropics. The lasting power is impressive too!

An oldie in my collection, Turquoise and Caicos was a gift from my man a few years ago and continues to be one of my favorite polishes (props to my boyfriend for having good taste). It's a unique color that's not quite mint and not quite green but sits somewhere in between. It looks amazing on the fingernails, especially when paired with colorful rings and bracelets.

I've spoken about this cheap little gem a while back (see review here) and it continues to be a favorite nail polish year round. It's a gorgeous milky light blue that looks super pretty on the nails and lasts a lifetime with just two coats. It may even perform better than my favorite Essie counterparts!

Those are my nail polish recommendations for summer 2014. I've really been enjoying deep pinks and blues. What colors have you been rocking on nails and toes this summer?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Accutane Debate

I have been dealing with acne since the age of 17. Though it didn't hit me until my late teens, I've had persistent acne ever since. After visiting a dermatologist in my first year of Uni, I was presented with two options: a three month course of antibiotics or a course of Accutane. Being the person I am who likes to avoid prescription drugs if at all possible, I decided to take matters into my own hands and start buying good quality skin care catered to my skin type in the hopes for a clear complexion. 6 years later, and I'm still in the same boat. Cystic acne to the cheeks, uneven skin texture from scarring and boat loads of concealer have been a part of my life for too long. I think I've finally given up hope that a good skin care regime will be my saving grace. 

I've finally reached the point where I realized that my efforts are not enough. After careful consideration and research, I've made the decision to go on Accutane. Accutane, or Isotreninoin is an oral medication used to treat moderate to severe acne on the face which may also be present on back and chest. As a nurse, I'm aware of the harmful effects that Accutane can have on the body. Such harmful side effects (liver damage, depression, etc) are rare and unlikely to occur in a healthy individual. I know a few friends who have went on Accutane in the past and who swear by it for keeping their skin perfect ever since. I really want perfect skin and most of all, I want to enjoy some authentic no makeup days without feeling embarrassed about blemishes. I've read that most people go on a course of 16-20 weeks taking the medication, with most people not requiring further medication after the first round. After 6 years of crappy skin, I feel like 6 months of dry uncomfortable skin would be more than worth an end to my adult acne. 

A part of me feels like I have given up and yet I feel ready to try something new in the hopes of achieving the clear complexion I've always strived for. I would like to hear more of your experiences on Accutane, if it worked for you and how you found the treatment itself? 

Have you tried Accutane (Isotreninoin)? Please let me know about your experiences, good and bad.

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Not My Cup of Tea: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge

Today I write this post feeling sad that I've wasted my money once again. I think that most times when we pay a little more for an item, we expect the quality to match the price tag. I have heard raves about the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for quite some time now. I've seen many a beauty blogger mention this product as their favorite cream blush formula, and the Sephora website has glowing reviews of this little pot of wonder. After my 23rd birthday last month, I decided to make a cheeky Sephora order of some summer-appropriate makeup options. Although I was tempted to purchase another shade of my favorite Stila Convertible Color cream blush, I decided to see what all the fuss was about with the Bobbi option. I ordered the shade Pale Pink, which is normally described as pretty natural flush of bright pink. As you may notice in the above picture, it looks like a gorgeous, dewy blush perfect for sunny days. And it is most certainly beautiful on the skin, but I seem to have one major issue each time I use it. I'll break it down simply:

COLOR: Beautiful! I was expecting a more pigmented, bright pink by the way it's been described by others but I would definitely say it's a very natural pink that looks like a convincing flushed color. No quams with this aspect!

APPLICATION: It applies easily and smoothly on the cheeks using both fingers and a brush. It takes almost no effort to blend it in seamlessly without leaving any harsh lines or streakyness on the cheeks. No issues with application at all.

LONGEVITY: This cream blush disappears completely from my cheeks within 2 hours. I've tried different techniques to increase the wear time but nothing seems to work. I've tried powdering over the blush, using a makeup setting spray and adding multiple, thin layers. By the end of the day, I look drained and completely naked of blush. I don't have particularly oily cheeks, so I doubt that my oil production has much to do with it. I haven't heard others complain about getting it to stay on the cheeks, but I'm running out of ideas and becoming increasingly disappointed with the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge. 

Overall Grade: F

So there's my breakdown of a beautiful product that just doesn't perform... at all. I really should have stuck with old faithful and bought another Stila Convertible Color, but such is life. I will likely pass this along to someone else who will hopefully get some use of of it, but I am done trying to make this product work for me.

Have you tried the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges?

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Summer Essentials: SPF

I love to get outside and hot sunny days but the harmful effects of sun damage is always in the back of my mind. With everything we know today about UV rays and how they can damage the skin and result in skin cancer (not to mention, wrinkles!), I see no reason to avoid wearing sun protection. Lucky for the wonderful cosmetics industry, there are a wide range of products with sun protection that perform well beyond that of traditional Coppertone sunscreen. Here's a few favorites that I've been keeping close by this summer:

Possibly my favorite facial sunscreen ever! I use this in place of my moisturizer on super hot days and wear it under my makeup on a daily basis. This sunscreen doesn't break me out and applies as a great base under makeup. It's also lightly tinted to help even out redness for those no-makeup days. 

Another great facial sunscreen at a cheaper price point. This sunscreen goes on the skin smoothly and is completely dry to the touch. No greasy residue for this one! This also applies well under makeup and helps to keep your skin from getting oily throughout the day.

If you are a fan of the look and feel of tanning oil, this is much the same in formula but includes broad spectrum sun protection. It makes your skin glisten with that dewy sheen that you get from a tanning oil, smells amazing and helps keep your skin moisturized all day. Need I say more?

I am the first to admit that I often forget about protecting my lips from the sun's harmful rays. Although I wasn't crazy about the original Baby Lips formula, I love the chapstick-feel to the new Dr. Rescue line that includes SPF! I love the shade Soothing Sorbet as a pretty brightening berry color on the lips. An easy lip choice to toss in your beach bag!

So there concludes my SPF summer essentials. What are your favorite products for sun protection?

Thanks for reading.