Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Reviewed: Oxygenetix Foundation & Moisturizer

Even though I am well into adulthood, my struggle with acne and covering it up continues to be very real.  So, when I got an email from Oxygenetix regarding breathable, oxygenating moisturizer and foundation that are targeted to both covering and healing a variety of skin concerns -  in my case, acne, I was intrigued.  
The Oxygenating Moisturizer emerged as the hands down favourite of the two.  It is lovely, super light-weight, very hydrating, and wears extremely well under make-up. I've been using it morning and night for about a month, and my skin has been responding really well to it.  Oftentimes with very sensitive skin, some formulas can be irritating, but this is one I would absolutely  be interested to purchase when my current supply runs out, if budget allows.
 I was impressed at the range of colours in the Oxygenating Foundation range, as it does seem to cater to a truly wide array of skin tones, more so than many foundations I've seen from other brands.  I went with Pearl, and it was a very good colour match for my very fair skin. 
I would say it provides a light-to-medium coverage that I was happy with, although I think you could likely build it up to full coverage.  I'm not sure how it would be at covering up scars or more intense redness, though, as I don't have those skin concerns.

It wasn't like my experience with Dermablend, which provided super-full coverage and really perfected the skin.  However, I do think that there does have to be some allowance made for the breathability of this foundation, because it certainly feels like there's nothing on your skin, which I love.  I did still have some breakouts, but those were not exacerbated or increased by this foundation, which, for me is definitely unusual but totally great!  As a super-pale redhead, I do also certainly appreciate the SPF.  Both products are also vegan and cruelty free, which is a plus.
This is a very specialized product, and so the price reflects this.  It is certainly not drugstore range, but much more high end with the moisturizer at $85 and the foundation at $66 - and that is on a US site - our poor Canadian dollar! Ouch! Particularly when noting that Chanel's brand new Les Beiges foundation is $65 (CAD) for double the amount. Combined with very minimal, less attractive packaging, it makes the price point a bit hard to swallow, considering the 15 ml gets used up very quickly - I'm already almost out! That said, if it fits your very specialized skin care concerns, it might well be worth it. 
The main downer for me, is how difficult it is to get this product. It's not available anywhere on PEI, and is only sold in select specialized beauty or skincare clinics in Canada (There is a list here).  It seems to be more readily available in the US, and I did find it (on sale!) at online beauty boutique Lovely Skin, which does actually ship to Canada - although with our dollar the way it is, even the relatively reasonable flat rate shipping of $20 is going to hurt.  You're going to have to really want this stuff and seek it out to add it to your collection.  I noted that Lovely Skin does offer $9 samples of foundation to test for colour match, which is helpful, especially since one can't easily pop in to a counter to swatch, as you might with drugstore or even higher end designer brands like Nars, or Armani. 
Overall, I did find these to be good quality if difficult-to-obtain products.  Both are a bit costly for my more humble beauty budget, but I may make an exception for the moisturizer. If you do have seriously sensitive or damaged skin, however, the foundation might also be worth considering, although with the price point, I'd certainly suggest trying out the sample size first to be sure of a good colour match.
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Monday, January 18, 2016

2015 Beauty Favourites

2015 Favourites

I'm a little late to the game in posting my beauty favourites for the year of 2015, but as we are still in January for the next week or so, thought I'd get it in under the wire. When selecting my top products from last year, I went for ones that were part of my daily or almost daily routine.  I went through two bottles of the foundation, for instance, and the favourite lipstick is almost down to the bottom of the bullet.  So these are legitimate "I use these daily" type products that I love and either have repurchased when they run out, or would do. So without further ado, these are my top picks of 2015.

I don't know what took me so long to pick this brush up, but it became a fast favourite. My rather limited eyeshadow application skills looked ten times better almost instantaneously because of this little blending beauty.  Now I don't know how I ever went without it. 

I love a natural looking finish foundation and this one is just that. It blends beautifully into the skin and provides a light to medium coverage but just gives my skin the most radiant and lovely look. The only downside to this for me is that it's only available in select Shopper's Drug Mart locations, with the closest of these curently being two hours from where I live. That said, it's definitely worth the journey.  

I've used this lipstick so much that I am seriously almost down to the bottom of the bullet, there is just the smallest point of a nub left.  It is such a lovely and warm neutral colour that looks at home with almost any look, and it is amazingly moisturizing and hydrating on the lips.  

This is the blush I reach for again and again, and has been a longtime favourite of mine.  I think I have worn it if not daily, then several times a week for the past year or two. Somehow I've managed not to hit pan yet, which is a testament to how pigmented this product is.  You don't need much to have a lovely soft peachy glow to the cheeks.  

I have an embarrassingly large collection of soft pinks, beiges and taupes in my nail polish collection.  I just love the look of a nail colour that is similar to my skin tone, I think it looks so pretty and refined.  Of these, my very favourite is OPI's My Very First Knockwurst.  It is just the perfect mix of pink and taupe and I just love it.  I'm on my second bottle, which, for me is almost unheard of in the nail polish realm: I almost never use up an entire bottle, so that is saying something. 

My lashes are blonde, and basically disappear when I am not wearing mascara, so it's one product that I cannot live without.  I was initially hesitant to try Roller Lash because I'd heard mixed reviews about it from the beauty youtubers that I follow, but when a sample size came in my monthly Birchbox, I loved it so much that I went out, bought the full size and haven't looked back.  It lengthens lashes beautifully, holds a curl, and never looks clumpy = win. 

I am a big fan of this whole range of cream shadows from Maybelline - they are budget-friendly, incredibly easy to use, blendable, and long-lasting. I have several of these in my make-up collection, but the colour I use the most, either on its own or as a base for other shadows is Creamy Beige - the perfect neutral. 

This is such a gorgeous fresh scent, that is floral with hints of hyacinth and citrus.  I've gone through two rollerballs, and I think it's safe to say that this has become a signature scent for me, so I think it might just be time to bite the bullet and invest in the full-size bottle.   

As a redhead, it can be tough to find a brow pencil that works - so often they are too dark, too brown, or just plain wrong. So clearly, I was delighted to find this strawberry blonde pencil from MAC that gives definition to my brows - that are normally so blonde as to disappear entirely. This pencil became a staple almost immediately.

I could gush for ages about this gorgeous palette.  The pretty (and sturdy) packaging, the beautiful warm rosy colours, the buttery super-pigmented shadows... Urban Decay just knows how to make a stunning palette.  I thought long and hard about which of the three Naked palettes to purchase (although now I admit I'd love to add the others to my collection) and this one won out.  It's totally my baby, and I use this beauty all. the. time. 

Last but not least, is this absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous highlighter from Becca Cosmetics, a collab with YouTube star Jaclyn Hill. It is creamy and super-pigmented and whenever I wear it I feel fabulous and get so many compliments.  It is just the most perfect glowing shimmer and I can only hope that Becca will keep it as a permanent offering.  The only caveat is that it's very fragile, and shatters easily, and as such is one to be very delicate with.  I've had to rescue mine not once but twice with rubbing alcohol, so it's not looking as smooth and perfect in the pan as it once did.  But in spite of the fragility, it is oh so worth it.  

What were your favourite beauty products of the year? I'd love to know!
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kiss a Ginger

So today is "Kiss a Ginger" day, which I have to say, I find pretty hilarious, yet also pretty awesome. I've only ever gotten compliments on my hair colour, but certainly there are redheads out there who have been picked on for their strawberry or auburn hued locks (The fateful "carrots" scene with Anne and Gilbert, for example). 
If you're a redhead, today is a great day to celebrate your uniqueness, and if you're not? Consider planting a smooch on your favourite redhead. 
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Monday, January 04, 2016

Stars in the Snow: An #OPIStarlight Review & Giveaway

No marble countertops or sheepskin rugs for this girl, it's all about freshly fallen snow (Granted, if I had either of the first two things, I might just've used them) !! It's called using what you have and making it work, à la Tim Gunn. 
When I received this set of absolutely stunning polishes from OPI's Starlight collection to review, I was as thrilled as a child on Christmas morning.  I love shimmer, glitter and rich colours in winter and this range did not disappoint in the least.  There are a bunch of winners, and I may just have discovered two of my favourite colours of the season.  That said, there were also a couple of disappointments. In spite of that, I think this is a fantastic collection, for real.  I will say though, that if unlike me, you are not a fan of metallic shades, this may not be the collection for you.
I tried literally every single shade in preparation for this post, and I can say that the vast majority of these polishes went on smoothly, with minimal coats (usually two, not the usual three I sometimes have to do), lasted well, and looked beautiful on the nail.  I think that Jen at The PolishAholic has done a great complete selection of swatches and quick reviews, but I still wanted to quickly share my thoughts on my top picks as well as the few I wouldn't recommend.
Top of the Class... 
Let Your Love Shine - Oh my goodness, this rich, shimmery red is absolutely incredible.  I absolutely, positively, utterly adored it.  I almost never wear red shades on my fingernails (I generally save bold colours for my toes), but I will definitely be reaching for this one again and again.  It is truly stunning, and a surprise favourite for me. 
Press * for Silver - I do love a good metallic, and this pinky silver was right up my alley. It is one of the few shades that I think, due to the softness of the colour, will also translate well through to spring. It does show brush strokes if you aren't careful, but the extra care is absolutely worth it.  
Cosmo with a Twist - I think I was feeling nostalgic about the iridescence of my long-ago prom dress, I surprised myself with a love for this darker polish.  It is dark purple with a blueish sheen, and shimmers in a beautiful way. 
In the Middle...
Ce-less-tial is More - When I looked at the bottle I gasped in delight, the glittery rose-gold colour looked so gorgeous.  I put it on, it went on easily, and looked totally incredible.  However, it started to chip more quickly than any of the other polishes, and I basically gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome trying to take it off: an absolute nightmare.  Wearing this polish takes serious commitment, and when you want to take it off, definitely set aside some time to do tinfoil wraps and essentially chisel this stuff off the nail. Beauty is pain, friends. 
And the Back of the Pack...
Two Wrongs Don't Make a Meteorite - This glitter looked so promising and pretty in the bottle, and with unique, almost chevron-shaped metallic glittery pieces, I was hopeful.  I found that this was really heavy on the base, and that I was fighting with the brush to get the glitter off.  My sister shared this sentiment when she attempted to layer, summing it up with her description of this polish as "not worth the effort for suboptimal results".  
I'm in the Moon for Love - I was initially super excited about this colour, a deep, dark oxblood that I felt would be great for winter and especially perfect for fall.  But when I put on the first coat, it had an almost sheer, jelly-like formula, when I was expecting a rich cream.  It was the polish that took the most coats to achieve the look I was going for, and I was generally disappointed with it overall. 
Now for the good news! I'm doing a giveaway for two sets of minis from this collection - featuring one of my favourite (and sold-out) colours, Press * for Silver, and some other great picks from the range.  It will be open for a week and a half, until next Wednesday, January 13th. There are a number of ways to enter, you'll simply need to check out the widget below for details!
Note: If you live outside of Canada and the US, I'll still gladly ship one of these to you, it will simply take a bit longer to arrive as it will have to come via me first, since Nail Polish Canada doesn't ship internationally.
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Music Monday - Oh Light

Christmas is almost upon us and I am absolutely in the holiday spirit, and have spent this evening listening to festive tunes whilst wrapping a few presents for family members near and far.  Although I have a particular love for old-fashioned carols, I also love discovering new gems to add to my list of must-play holiday classics.  I think the new EP from Gungor, "O Christmas" will get added to the shelf of favourite Christmas albums, right alongside Nana Mouskouri and Boney M (a quirky family they will be, I admit).  I have listened to "Oh Light", their original song, so many times I've lost count.  It is absolutely gorgeous and moving and the harmonies! Oh the harmonies.  It is just glorious, and beautiful, and exactly the kind of music that instills the wonder of the season, so of course I had to share it here today.  
Wishing you all a happy and blessed holiday season!
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