Friday, March 17, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Wet n Wild Color Icon Au Natural 10-Pan Eyeshadow Palette ($7.99 CAD) bears an uncanny resemblance to the Urban Decay Naked 1 Palette (and its dupes including the Chi Chi Glamorous Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, Annabelle Smoky Nudes, etc.)
The formulation of the shadows is smooth and not overly powdery but not buttery soft like Urban Decay or even Wet N Wild's OG palettes like the Walking on Eggshells trio. The powders blend well and can be layered for more/less opacity. However, they don't build up to quite a bold statement as some other eyeshadows in my collection and 100% require a primer.
Colour and finish-wise, this palette is pretty great. It includes 3 matte-ish and 6 satin/shimmery shades. The lightest two shades are a total write-off. They're sheer and hard to make pigmented on the eyes. Like most drugstore palettes, the mattes are ok - not amazing and the shimmers are where it's at. Those three golden/bronze tones on the left are speaking to me.
All in all, the Wet N Wild Color Icon Au Natural 10-Pan Eyeshadow Palette is a decent palette with a lot of variety, especially for the price. It's not at all unique nor is it the best neutral palette at the drugstore. If you're looking for a solid drugstore eye palette, first I'd recommend CoverGirl's TruNaked Eyeshadow Palettes, Annabelle's Smokey Nudes and then this one from Wet N Wild.
What do you think of this drugstore eyeshadow palette?
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Glambot is an online re-seller of new and lightly used rare, limited edition, and discontinued makeup items. The site claims to alleviate the difficulties of swap-lifting, counterfeits, and unusable/damaged items.
I am by no means a "makeup collector". I do love makeup but I'm not in search of rare or discontinued makeup. The website is a little overwhelming. There are a lot of brands, the brands highly sought-after ones...and brands that are not available in Canada. It's pretty straightforward to navigate but I don't love the fact that "sold out" items are still listed.
Monday, March 13, 2017
aka hair favourites of the moment. There have been a number of exciting launches in shampoo/conditioner science from the likes of brands like Live Clean, GLISS, Pantene, Garnier, and John Frieda and Redken. At the moment, I'm shampoo-ed out and having a hard time determining the difference between Shampoo A and Shampoo B, Conditioner X and Conditioner Y. Lately, what has been standing out to me is everything in between.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Gifts of food are always accepted here. Zubie was kind enough to gift me the Foodie Pages X Toronto Life Tasting Box during the holiday months. The Tasting Box is a monthly non-subscription box filled with 5-7 gourmet food items. This particular box was curated by the food editors of Toronto Life Magazine.
It's been quite a while since the holidays but I've finally gotten the chance to try everything in the box.
It's been quite a while since the holidays but I've finally gotten the chance to try everything in the box.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Not even half way through March and Spring beauty collections are already in full force. The Quo Spring 2017 Collection is now available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart. The collection features the usual suspects - a brush set, two face palettes, 2 eye palettes, 1 brow palette and 3 matte lip crayons.
The packaging is groovy. The plastic, quartz/turquoise stone casing is interesting, eye catching and fun. The colours have got me itching for the warmer weather... like an imaginary trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and the Grand Canyon.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Lovers of Philosophy's Amazing Grace and Pure Grace Fragrances, rejoice! Both are now available in the form of dry shampoo. This is a serious launch for Philosophy, as the dry shampoos are its first ever haircare product! The Philosophy Dry Shampoos ($35 CAD, at Sephora and Philosophy.com) are also a very exciting launch for me because I am often too busy (and too lazy) to wash my hair. Dry shampoo is an absolute staple in my product wardrobe.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Monday, March 6, 2017
After watching the awkward-in-an-almost-funny-way-but-also-a-colossal-waste-of-time first Fifty Shades of Grey movie, I didn't even consider the second one Fifty Shades Darker. But what is worth giving a chance is the corresponding makeup collection. It's by Rimmel in collaboration with one of my singer/songwriter favourites Rita Ora (also the new host of America's Next Top Model).
Anyways, it's a grey-themed collection. And alongside black and white, grey is one of my favourite colours.
Because it's Monday, let's start with my most recent manicure. I used the Rimmel x Rita Ora My Grey Collection 60 Seconds Nail Polish in 807 My Grey ($4.99 CAD). It's opaque in two coats, dries in 60 seconds and is a perfect shade of medium-depth grey.
The collection also includes the Rimmel Mascara Extra Super Lash in Black ($8.99 CAD), which is nothing noteworthy. It's slightly lengthening and doesn't smudge but isn't enough impact for my non-existent eyelashes.
The Rimmel Stay Matte Powder isn't new but it's been packaged in grey to fit in with the rest of the collection. It's available in #001, #003 and #005. My shade is #005 Silky Beige, which means that the shade range is extremely limited. The Stay Matte Powder is one of the first pressed powders I ever purchased. It's an excellent product from the drugstore - absorbs oils, soft to the touch, mattifying and pore-reducing.
Last but not least we have the Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Rita's Red ($7.99 CAD), a hot orangey red in a medium opacity, shiny finish. It's not at all long-lasting on my lips but it's moisturizing, doesn't bleed or catch onto fine lines and makes my lips look plump and juicy.
Okay, so it's not the most exciting collection but they're all already-existing products are that pretty solid in my books. If anything, the grey nail polish is worth trying out.
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Friday, March 3, 2017
About a year ago, a new food trend emerged in Toronto - boiled and bagged seafood restaurants. It wasn't until this year that I had the opportunity to test it out. Correct me if I'm wrong, but The Captain's Boil is the first of its kind in the GTA with additional locations all across Canada. Last week, Charles and I visited the Scarborough location (4505 Sheppard Avenue East - 15 minutes from my house) for a Friday night date. This wasn't my first time at the restaurant, but it was Charles's first.
photo by Charles Cheung
Thursday, March 2, 2017
A couple weeks ago, I reviewed the Limited Edition Mary Kay Nail Lacquers ($10 each) but a few other noteworthy bits and pieces in the Mary Kay Light, Reinvented Collection available as of this February.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
It's "busy season" in the accounting world and I am very tired. My eyes are looking particularly zonked from starring at a computer screen for most of the day. The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Masks are one of those mid-week treats, a quick 10 minute ritual that left my eye area feeling renewed and refreshed.
Did you know that the skin of your eye area is 40% thinner than the rest of your face, making it more prone to fatigue, dehydration and fine lines? As such, I'm finding that if I treat my eye area nicely, I generally appear more well-rested.
The Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask is said to deliver 20x more of the original ANR's soothing, hydrating and repair ingredients. Star ingredients include Lady's Thistle and White Birch for soothing; Rice Bran Extract (popular in Korean Skincare) and the very common Hyaluronic Acid for hydration; and the same anti-pollution technology featured in the ANR Serum. I featured the ANR on the blog a couple years ago, and I still think that it's an excellent all-rounder serum option for hydration, radiance, brightening and smoothing of the skin.
The one-time-use packaging keeps the liquid and the pads in separate, sealed chambers. Before application, you break the seal and the liquid is soaks the pads. You're meant to leave the pads on for 10 minutes but I think that if you've got time, 20-30 minutes wouldn't hurt.
The eye masks don't absorb all of the lightweight serum, so with the leftover liquid, I smoothed the product all over my face. It was a similar but slightly colder experience compared to applying Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Serum all over the face.
The eye masks sat comfortably under my eyes. They're a thin fabric, not gel, and I had no issues with slipping while sitting upright. I've only tried one set, and therefore can't speak on any long term results (reduced signs of aging, etc.). However, the immediate increase in hydration and plumpness of my under eyes was clear. Energized-looking eyes = energized Stephanie, ready to take on another busy day.
Price and availability. 4 pack for $49, 1 for $14 at The Bay, Shoppers' Drug Mart, Murale, Nordstrom, Saks and esteelauder.ca
What's your favourite eye mask?
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017
In 1997, Lancome released the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation. Then, it guaranteed 14 hour hold. Twenty years later in 2017, the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation has been updated - a new frosted glass bottle, 40 shades and 24 hour wear.
In addition to the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Liquid Foundation ($55 CAD), the Teint Idole family includes the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Stick Foundation ($53 CAD) and the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Cushion Foundation ($55 CAD). Each is a little different in terms of finish, shade range, longevity and SPF. In case you weren't aware, there's a serious foundation junkie over here *points at self*, so I was above and beyond excited to put all three to the test.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Easy. Black. Lipstick. I didn't think that I'd see those three words together... but the time has come. The MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Caviar ($21 CAD) is a pure black liquid lipstick shade. The emo teenage me is jumping for joy. It's certainly not everyone's cup of tea but this particular lipstick shade has the mystical, magical ability to make anyone look like the biggest badass on earth.
I say that the MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Caviar is easy because it has all of the very paramount qualities of an excellent liquid lipstick. Firstly, the pointed doe-foot applicator is precise enough that you can achieve a relatively crisp lip line. Optionally, you could use a lip brush but who has time for that? Secondly, the formulation is very opaque. One swipe more or less is all that's needed - lip liner optional. Thirdly, the liquid lipstick glides smoothly onto the lips and dries down in no time at all. Also, after dry down, the lipstick is completely transfer-proof and kiss-proof (unless, of course, you're eating French fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner). Lastly, it's not the least comfortable liquid lipstick that I've worn. No, it doesn't moisturize my lips, but it doesn't dry them out either.
All in all, the MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Caviar is the queen of black lipsticks because all others (or at least the one's that I've tried) pale in comparison. While I don't think I'll be wearing it daily, the colour is unique and the formulation works well for me.
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Caviar*
Dermablend Liquid Foundation in Camel
Kat Von D Eyeshadow in Thunderstruck
Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion in 01*
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Marc Jacobs O Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara*
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder in Natural Brunettes
Do you have a favourite matte black lipstick?
Press samples denoted with an asterisk (*). Sidenote - I have no idea which collection this is from nor could I find info on the launch date, though it was on Trendmood...so perhaps soon?
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Valentine's Day might be over, but you can still Think Dirty ;)
What is Think Dirty? Think Dirty is an app that helps consumers to make clean beauty choices. The main functionality of the app is a barcode scanner and product database. The database includes over 600,000 products, each rated on a scale from 1 to 10 based on the carcinogenity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergenicity and immunotoxicity of the ingredients (0 being clean, 10 being high toxicity). If a product is rated 10, the app recommends products with better ratings.
The Think Dirty Curated Beauty Box ($95 USD) is a partnership with rated clean 0-3 beauty companies. The box includes 8 hand-picked products and is said to have a $180+ USD value. Beauty boxes are always a point of excitement for me, and clean beauty alternatives interest me (though I can say that most of my collection would probably be have a "bad" rating).
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Early this year, Clarins released four products infused with organic Leaf of Life extract. The Leaf of Life is a kalanchoe succulent native to Madagascar that holds water in conditions of drought and environmental stress. The leaf of life is also known for its medicinal properties to treat shortness of breath, kidney failure, menstrual cramps, bronchitis and asthma.
In skincare application, Clarins says that the leaf of life activates self-hydration of the skin. The Hydra-Essentiel range includes 3 moisturizers for 3 skin types - the Silky Cream (normal to dry skin), Cooling Gel (oily/combo skin) and Very Rich Cream (very dry skin) - and 1 serum - the Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Bi-Phase Serum. All four products are meant to protect the skin against environmental stressors like pollution, sweat, dry air, humid air, sudden changes in temperature, etc.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Let me start by saying that this is my FAVOURITE drugstore foundation of the moment. Here's why...
The Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation ($7.99 CAD) promises flashback-free and flawless photographs in all lighting conditions. And the brand has got some research to back it up. The foundation was tested with 700 selfies in 7 different lighting conditions - clear blue skies, outdoors PM, indoors PM, electronic flash, fluorescent light, bathroom light and night club light. I tested the foundation in different sorts of lighting and the product is true to the claims made by the brand.
Sidenote: if there's one thing to dislike about the product... it's the applicator/bottle. What in the world is this paddle applicator? It's not very hygienic or convenient. Pumps > Paddles, all day every day. I typically apply the foundation onto the back of my hand, then go in with a beauty blender or brush to prevent contaminating the product in the bottle.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Funny story - it rained and then froze over today and I basically slid home from work. The end. So, I'm not feeling as though I'm in the brightest of Springtime moods. Spring has not yet sprung in real life but apparently in the world of beauty it has. New from Mary Kay is their Light, Reinvented Collection, which features bright, fresh colours for Spring and Summer.
Mary Kay's seasonal collections typically feature a myriad of pretty polishes. This season, they've released four new Nail Lacquers - Brilliant Violet, Luminous Mauve, Vivid Sunburst and New Blue ($10 each).
Friday, February 10, 2017
The most affordable liquid lipstick yet. Oh and they're vegan, fragrance free, gluten free and cruelty free too. The Wet N Wild Catsuit Matte Lipsticks ($6.99 CAD) are now available in Canada at select food, drug and mass retailers, wetnwildbeauty.com and well.ca.
Wet N Wild says their new liquid lipsticks are weightless, glide on like a gloss and dry down to an ultra-matte finish that hugs every contour, provides intense pigmentation without drying the lips and contains macadamia derivative to provide moisture and Vitamin E to improve the appearance of texture.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Ever since Lisa Eldridge took the wheel as Lancome's creative director, I've been jumping for joy at each and every new launch. Both Lisa and Lancome give me effortless-chic vibes that I want all over my face. This Spring 2017, Lancome has released its Absolutely Rose collection featuring the Parisian Lips Le Stylo (ombre lip pencils), La Rose a Poudrer (rose-shaped illuminator), new shades of the Grandiose Liner, Juicy Shakers and Grandiose Mascara, and today's feature - La Palette La Rose ($75 CAD). La Palette La Rose is a palette of fresh pops of pastels and soft floral shades.
The packaging is pink, chic, sleek and comes with both a mirror and a dual-ended brush for application on-the-go. The palette has a smart metal cover that separates eyeshadows from lipsticks and prevents any powder fallout from gunking up the lip products. The palette itself features six eyeshadows, a lip gloss and two velvet finish lipsticks.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
My complexion application tool of choice is by way of sponge. I've tried a few in my time - the original Beauty Blender, the Real Techniques Complexion Sponge, and a few no-name $3-5 ones. This past year, Real Techniques has launched two new sponges - the Real Techniques Miracle Sculpting Sponge ($10.49 each)and the Miracle Mini Eraser Sponges ($10.49 for two).
In general, these sponges feel stiffer and more tightly packed than the Miracle Complexion Sponge and the Beauty Blender. Both sponges can be used with cream, powder or liquid products and should be replaced at least every 3 months (I'm guilty of keeping mine for 6 months...).
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Monday, February 6, 2017
Friday, February 3, 2017
Chorus Supernatural is a B.C.-based Canadian brand that features skincare made with the "Chorus Super Four" - botanical extracts, pure essential oils, plant-derived cosmeceuticals and plant/vegetable oils. All ingredients included in their products are listed as safe on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Their product range includes skincare for all skin types, as well as hair care and body care.
Since last year, I've been test driving three of their skincare products catered towards oily skin - the POLISH, CLEANSE, and the CLARIFY.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
The North American cushion foundation trend is so 2016. But because I've had luck with Korean cushion foundations (minus my inability to find a good shade), I'm always down to try a cushion foundation. The Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free All-In-One ABC Cushion Foundation ($20.49) claims to have it all - the benefits of an alphabet cream (Airbrushing, Blurring, Correcting) in a weightless formula that smoothes, firms, blurs fine lines and pores, brightens and leaves the skin with a luminous finish.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The MAC Kabuki Magic Collection is one of three limited edition releases in collaboration with industry leaders with innovative and iconic styles. Kabuki Magic is a makeup artist who has worked in several feature films and has a celebrity client list that includes Uma Thurman, Elle Fanning, Amber Heard, Naomi Watts, Chloë Grace Moretz, etc. Google his work and you won't be disappointed.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Lip oils and I... we're good friends. In Summer 2016 I talked about 4 lip oils to check out. Here's one more - the Hard Candy Blooming Lip Oil ($7.48 CAD).
What's special about the Hard Candy Blooming Lip Oils specifically is that they're not only packed with 10+ essential oils but the Blooming Lip Oils are also one of those magical colour changing lip products that react with the pH of your lips to bloom into a unique hue.
Monday, January 30, 2017
January has been a busy month and although I don't have time to blog every day, I do have time to do nail art at least once a week. It keeps my creative juices flowing and my hands dexterous.
More Striping Tape Manis
A photo posted by stephanie lau (@stephh_lau) on
Friday, January 27, 2017
NSPA (also known as Nirvana Spa) is a UK-based brand that creates affordable skincare, bathing and body products designed to help the everyday woman destress and unwind. NSPA has a whole boatload of products including fruity body butters and body washes, as well as a full lineup of skincare, which is available at Walmart. I've been testing out the NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel ($8.27 CAD) and NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ($13.97 CAD) on and off for the past 4 months.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Philosophy: Clarity is an uncovered truth. A deeper look allows clarity to break through for a fresh start, rather than covering up what is wrong, reveal what is right. your new beginning starts now. Look deep within, uncover your truth and you'll find complete clarity was with you all along.
Philosophy: Focus on what is right, then your days become clearer.
I love the brand Philosophy's philosophy. Clear Days Ahead is a fast-acting acne treatment system.
featuring salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) that penetrates the pores and exfoliates the skin to reduce breakouts, blackheads and whiteouts. There's 4 steps in total, which can be used individually or all in comination with one another - a cleanser, moisturizer, spot treatment and overnight treatment pads - all with some level of salicylic acid.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
I'm going to put it out there and say that lip pencils are boring. A boring but oftentimes necessary evil in the lives of many beauty lovers. I, myself, have been on the hunt for the perfect pinky brown lip pencil to wear underneath all of my favourite pinky brown lipsticks. So, I jumped at the opportunity to test out a few of the new MAKE UP FOR EVER High Precision Lip Pencils ($22 CAD).
The packaging. Simple and straightforward. It looks like a pencil and you can sharpen it. I personally would have preferred twist-up packaging on these but a sharpened pencil is much more precise than a twist-up one.
The colours. MAKE UP FOR EVER's High Precision Lip Pencils come in 12 shades divided into 3 natural tone categories - nude (#10-#14), pink (#20-23) and red (#40-42). The shades are all curated by professional make up artists and are meant to be more natural, to define and enhance lips with precision.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
In December, I had found that none of my foundations were matching me. So, upon receiving the $15 off $50 Sephora coupon, I took the plunge and picked up the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland ($54 CAD).
Yes, at $54 CAD it seems pricey but you do get 1.7 oz. which is 70% more than your typical 1 oz. foundation. Packaging is sleek and easy. It's nothing fancy compared to a frosted glass bottle, however the lightweight tube makes it ultra travel-friendly.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Filmed my first nail tutorial ever. Now I can check that one off the bucket list. Last week, I headed to the DubLoft, an small creator studio run by the makers of the video filming app DubDub (DubSuite, DubCandy, etc.). There at the studio, they had props, lighting and Inglot's new the Star In You Collection for me to play with.