Monday, August 31, 2015

Mereadesso opening at Nordstrom Vancouver | Celebrate and win!


Are you ready Vancouver? This September, the early awaited opening of Nordstrom finally arrives! In its sleek new location in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Nordstrom is a welcome addition to the Vancouver shopping scene and one of the many unique brands that will be available in Nordstrom come September is Mereadesso.

I've featured Mereadesso before and I love their approach to simplifying makeup and beauty. Founded by Linda Stephenson, a former cosmetics product developer for Estee Lauder, MAC, Mary Kay and more, Mereadesso takes a refreshing approach to beauty by creating a series of all-in-one products for all your cleansing, moisturizing and anti-aging needs. Up till now, Mereadesso was only available online, but now Vancouver will be the second retail store in Canada to carry the full line of products, including the:
  • All-in-one Moisturizer ($120): a single product that replaces your toner, serum, moisturizer and primer into one unique product for the face and even the eyes
  • Tinted All-in-on Moisturizer ($48): similar to the original, but tinted so that it also acts as a concealer
  • Face and Neck Cleanser ($45): a creamy cleanser that will cleanse, tone, remove makeup and even act as a mask
  • Travel Ease Kit ($45): ideal for travel, this little kit contains 12 ml resealable containers of both the cleanser and moisturizer, plus a soft reusable cleansing cloth
  • Lip Treats ($28): available in 3 shades (clear, pink and burgundy) these slim and sleek lipsticks act as a lip primer and balm
All Mereadesso products contain tons of vitamins and natural extracts and they truly do help your skin become more radiant, even and supple. Although the price point is decidedly high, considering that you really only need 2 things to replace a shelf full of products is very convincing.

Are you curious to try out Mereadesso? Well, I have a treat for you! In celebration of their launch at Nordstrom, Mereadesso has kindly offered to giveaway their Travel Ease Kit and a burgundy Lip Treat to one lucky reader! 

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only Simply enter using the widget below and don't forget to check out Mereadesso in stores at Nordstrom Vancouver this fall!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Rocia Naturals Mineral Eye Shadow in Tyrian and Antique Rose | Review + FOTD

makeup look featuring rocia naturals makeup

Have you ever tried mineral makeup? I only started using mineral makeup this year and I'm so happy to share with you yet another great mineral makeup find. Rocia Naturals is a Canadian all natural skincare and makeup brand based out of Brighton, Ontario. They specialize in mineral makeup and skincare, with an emphasis on sustainable, local, and handmade production.

I've been trying to become more aware of the types of products I use and Rocia Naturals is one of those brands that you just feel at ease about buying. Their products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, synthetic-free and made from organic or biodegradable ingredients wherever possible. Everything at Rocia Naturals is handmade in small batches to ensure that the highest quality and care goes into every product.

rocia natural mineral eye shadow

Recently I was offered the chance to try out this brand and I was immediately drawn to their various lines of mineral eye shadows. Rocia Naturals offers over 26 different eye shadow shades, which come in 3 different finishes: matte, luminous and pearl. The luminous shades I would say offer the shimmery finish typical of more popular brands like Urban Decay, while the pearl gives off just a hint of fine shimmer. There are so many gorgeous shades to choose from: pearly whites, soft dove greys, rich browns and plums perfect for smokey eyes - I just wanted them all! I had to restrain myself though, so I only asked for 2 shades. I opted to try out Tyrian, a brown plum with a bronze shimmer finish, and Antique Rose, a soft rose.

rocia natural mineral makeup

Each shadow pot came in a small 1 g, screw-top jar with a built-in sifter. At first glances, the jars seem quite small, but as I found out, a little goes a long way!

Antique Rose (pearl)

rocia mineral eyeshadow in antique rose

Price: $12.50 for 1 g

  • Mica - for luminosity and slip
  • Calcium carbonate - an absorbent
  • Iron oxides - colouring
  • Ultramarines - colouring
  • Titanium dioxides - provides thickness and adhesion
And that's it! I love how Rocia Naturals explains the purpose of each ingredient on their website and the list of ingredients literally can be counted on one hand, which is always a good sign. Plus, you'll also notice that these shadows don't contain bismuth oxychloride, a somewhat controversial "natural" ingredient commonly found in mineral makeup.

My thoughts: Antique Rose is a beautiful rosy pink with neutral to slightly blue undertones. I loved using this shade for an all-over wash of color on my lids. It's pretty pigmented, so I like to use a fluffy brush to gently pick up just a bit of pigment at a time. With, or without primer the wear time of this shade is awesome. I didn't notice any creasing whatsoever at the end of the work day and after walking out in the sun. 

Antique Rose is great to wear with other eye shadows as a base color, but I actually love this shade even more as a blush! Antique Rose is the perfect subtle flush color on me. The pigment blends so beautifully on my skin and is barely detectable, but oh-so-pretty! I love to swirl it on the apples of my cheeks. It's the ideal fool-proof color if you have fairer skin, so I can only imagine that I'll be using this even more come wintertime!

Final Verdict: Buy

Tyrian (luminous)

rocia mineral eyeshadow in tyrian

Price: $12.50 for 1 g

Ingredients: see previous as they're exactly the same.

My thoughts: Tyrian is unique in my shadow collection, which is why I picked it. I've always been afraid of wearing such bold plums or pink tones on my eyes, but I find lately that I'm veering more towards these types of colors and away from the cooler purples I thought I favoured before. Tyrian is a gorgeous plum color with a shimmery finish that brings out its deep bronze undertones. To look at the pigment itself, you would think Tyrian is a matte maroon, but on the skin it transforms into this gorgeous, amazing splash of shimmery goodness. Can you tell I love this color?

For a day time look, take a small lid brush and gently, gently dip your brush into some color, then tap off the excess. There's a lot of fallout on this one, so tapping that off is essential and this way you can also slowly build up the color. Tyrian tends to be super pigmented and creamy on the lids, so you will definitely surprise yourself if aren't careful. 

As with Antique Rose, Tyrian's wear time is amazing. I can't rave enough about this color as it blends so easily, doesn't crease or fade at all, and is just so beautiful! If you have a deep eye crease, then Tyrian would be a gorgeous color for you. For us Asians and those with more hooded eyes, I like to apply Tyrian from the lash line to above my crease in a gradient for a sexy, smoky eye. There's even enough shimmer in Tyrian too that you may not even need any highlight on the center lid. 

Apparently you can also use Tyrian as a blush, but this color is way too dark for my skin to do that, but I could see it possibly working on darker tones that are say, NC35 and higher. 

Final Verdict: Buy

rocia tyrian eyeshadow and antique rose eyeshadow swatches
Swatches! Left to right: Tyrian, Antique Rose in outdoor ambient light

rocia mineral eye shadow swatches
Left to right: Tyrian, Antique Rose in direct sunlight

As you can see, I love my picks from Rocia Naturals. There's no bones to pick on the ingredients, the packaging is cute and travel-friendly and the product itself is superb. The price is a little steep considering you only get 1 g of product, but the quality is so good, I'm willing to pay for it (or wait for a sale!).

eye shadow look with rocia mineral makeup
Wearing Antique Rose all over lid and on cheeks, Tyrian up to crease

rocia naturals makeup blush
Wearing Antique Rose as a blush and NO highlight!

FOTD featuring Rocia natural makeup
Other products worn: Burberry Fresh Glow foundation, Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder, Ladykin  One Touch Bling Glow lipstick, L'oreal Paris Voluminous Miss Manga mascara

Sadly, Rocia Naturals doesn't sell anywhere yet in BC except online, but you can find them in various shops in Alberta and across Ontario.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review | Spanish olive oil + Japanese ingenuity

For a long while now, I've been an avid user of cleansing oils. I can't even remember the last time I used a regular makeup remover that wasn't for swatches! Once I tried cleansing oils, there was no turning back. Their gentle yet extremely thorough way of cleaning off my day face cannot be matched and I've been fortunate to find some great options. Recently, I discovered a new cleansing oil to add to my buy-again list: the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.

Until I'd tried this oil, I'd never even heard of the brand DHC. Originating in Japan, DHC, which stands for Daigaku Honyaku Center, is actually a well-known direct sales company specializing in beauty and food products. Founded in 1972, DHC actually started off as an educational company, but when founder Yoshiaki Yoshida discovered the restorative health benefits of olive oil while visiting Madrid, he immediately took some home and pivoted his business into skincare.

Now DHC is well-known across Asia for their plant-based range of cleansers, moisturizers, serums and fine food products based off of this exceptional olive oil. You can purchase DHC products online, through their sales reps or through certain sellers. For us Canadians, DHC is available only online.

The Deep Cleansing Oil is a typical cleansing oil. You massage it onto dry or damp skin and it will emulsify away all dirt and makeup and prepare your skin for cleanser. The Deep Cleansing Oil, like all cleansing oils, never makes your skin feel tight, irritated or dehydrated. Its special mix of oils actually makes your skin feel better by coating it in a rich layer of emollients.

The primary ingredients in the Deep Cleansing Oil are:

  • Olive fruit oil - an emollient with antioxidant properties
  • Capryli/capric triglyceride - an emollient
  • Sorbeth-30 tetraoleate - an emlsifier and surfactant that helps dirt and oil mix together with water so it can be easily rinsed away. Most cleansing oils contain such an ingredient as this acts as the primary cleansing action.
  • Pentylene glycol - a humectant
Other ingredients of note in this oil are rosemary leaf oil, which is said to have skin conditioning properties.

At just under 200 ml, a single bottle retails around $28, which puts it around the same price and size as my other favourite cleansing oil, the L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil. Compared to that winner, the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is good, but not quite as fantastic. Don't get me wrong, this is a very solid cleanser. One pump is enough to cover my face in a thick, slick layer of oil and is enough to thoroughly dissolve all sorts of makeup, even waterproof mascara. The DHC Deep Cleansing Oil rinses away easily and leaves my skin feeling soft. I think the only area where the L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil edges out this one is that I found the L'Occitane oil to be a step above in terms of luxuriousness. The L'Occitane oil coats my skin in a comforting layer of shea and that really elevates it above this equally effective, but not quite as pleasurable oil.

Final Verdict
Buy - Would I purchase the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil again? Absolutely. Was it my favourite cleansing oil ever? No, but only because the competition out there is fierce!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fall Beauty & Makeup Previews: Stila, Paul & Joe, Bliss, CLEAN and Anna Sui

It's that time of year again! Beauty and makeup collection preview time! I love getting a sneak peek at upcoming beauty and makeup collections and the ones hosted by ACI Beauty are one of the funnest. Imagine being let loose in a room filled to the brim with beautiful makeup and luxurious skincare and then being told it's okay to try out everything. Plus, there's free pastries, tea and good photo lighting!! *swoon* It's hard to imagine a better way to spend a morning for a beauty blogger.

Recently I attended the ACI Beauty Fall 2015 preview showcasing the latest releases (and re-releases) from Stila, Anna Sui, CLEAN and Paul & Joe. There's so much to talk about with each of these brands, but here are some quick highlights from the day:


Stila fall 2015 makeup collection

Stila for sure won it for me in the makeup department with a strong showing of new innovative products. Standouts were for sure their cushion gel eyeliners - instead of a pot filled with creamy pigment, the Stila cushion gel liners instead house their pigments in a squishy sponge. Simply press down with your liner brush to get instant color without worrying about it drying out. The shades of these were so beautiful, especially a gorgeous aubergine, which feels to me will be the color of the season.

Besides that, Stila also introduced a new "putty" correcting powder that truly feels like silk and conceals like a dream - I'll be reviewing that later - as well as a gorgeous set of bronzers. I love the packaging of these bronzers. The bronzer itself has an elegant sunbeam inlay and the compact is sleek and contains a handy large mirror; it's the perfect thing to carry in one's purse at all times.

Another huge win for Stila is their amazing new line of liquid lipsticks. These liquid lipsticks apply like a cream and dry down matte and O M G the colors are gorgeous - just check out these swatches!

Lastly, in time for the holidays, Stila is releasing a set of shadow, gloss and blush collections, all housed in their characteristically pretty packaging. I love Stila eyeshadows so I highly recommend checking those out in stores!

Paul & Joe

Paul and Joe fall 2015 makeup

Continuing with the makeup theme, is the clear packaging design winner, Paul & Joe. What makes P&J so unique is that they really emphasize the experience of their packaging. Each makeup item is meant to be swapped out and placed into a custom case. For Fall 2015, the packaging collection features a nature theme focusing on birds and cats. There are cats everywhere on Paul & Joe products normally, but this season they're playing even bigger roles. The fall lipsticks even feature a LE line of colors that feature a central contrasting color in the shape of a cat's face, and what's even more amazing is that this color carries throughout the tube so you never have to feel sad about wearing the cat face away!

Besides eyeshadows and lipsticks, Paul & Joe is also revamping and re-releasing their popular Moisturizing Primer Foundation line with 3 new shades. Like the original formula, the new shades focus on smoothing, hydrating and illuminating skin and are the perfect way to prime your face for foundation. As you know, I love this set of primers, so I'll definitely be picking up one of these eventually. Besides primers, Paul & Joe is also releasing a line of BB creams and pressed powders, which of course come in a cute metallic compact complete with pouf.

Finally, did you also know that Paul & Joe offers bath and beauty products? I certainly didn't, so I was pleased to discover their fall collection of bath products, including some very feminine smelling bath salts. Paul & Joe definitely has that girly, Parisian aesthetic down pat, so I think you can easily guess the type of fragrances they use in these.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui Fall 2015 collection

Probably the second most exciting brand packaging-wise out there is Anna Sui. There weren't a ton of new innovations from Anna Sui this season, but everything was impeccably packaged in her characteristic embellished style. Her nail polishes now come in a new bottle design and she also released some very pretty and bold shades of her lipsticks.

In terms of the fragrance department, things got more exciting. Anna Sui has a new fragrance called Romantica, which is a heady floral containing notes of mandarin, pomegranate, bergamot, rose de mai, jasmine, peony and Indonesian sandalwood, among others. I would describe Romantica as being perfect if you want to feel womanly, sensual and like a slightly dangerous ingenue. This is not the type of perfume you should wear to work!

If you do need something a little less sexy, then for holidays, Anna Sui also has a super cute collector's box of LE mini perfumes, which I am immediately lusting for due to the adorableness of the bottles. Each mini bottle contains 4 ml and contains the fragrances Secret Wish, Flight of Fancy, La Vie de Boheme, La Nuit de Boheme and Romantica.

The star of the show for Anna Sui for me were the new Nail Art Foils, a set of gold and silver flakes that can be applied to nails to create fantastically cool abstract looks. The girls at the event wore them on their nails and it was so unique and eye-catching. A must for any nail art aficionado!


Clean perfume fall 2015

Continuing on into fragrances was the CLEAN collection. There was only one new release for CLEAN: the new CLEAN Cashmere perfume. Inspired by the comforting and elegant embrace of cashmere, this new fragrance contains notes of cedar leaf, bergamot, lime, mimosa, jasmine, tonka bean and musk to create a light floral that feels both sophisticated and uplifting. I could not stop sniffing the swatch stick and going "mmmm!" Amazingly, all attendees got a full sized bottle of this, which is fantastic as I've been dousing myself in this daily!


Bliss beauty fall 2015 collection

Last, but not least, was the fall collection from Bliss. I am totally new to Bliss, but apparently it's quite well known for their gentle skincare that's most often found from people stealing the amenities at the W hotels! There was an impressive array of products coming out from Bliss, ranging from luxurious body butters, to fat-trimming creams (going to be testing this for the wedding!), cleansers, masques and creams. Highlights for me was their amazing foaming and fizzing oxygen mask, and the glycolic cotton pads designed to target hyper-pigmentation.

With so many amazing products coming out, you'll be hard pressed to save your money this year! I can't wait to try out some the products shown above for future reviews which can either help you avoid the duds, but more likely probably enable you to fill that shopping cart ;)

Which of these releases are you most excited about for fall?

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Monday, August 24, 2015

August CBB Guest Post: Maria of Pink Petals on a Her Favourite Splurge-worthy Masque

Hello! I'm Maria from Pink Petals. This month's Canadian Beauty Blogger guest post theme is: Worth the Splurge. I find skincare items completely worth the splurge - so I chose the Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment ($21/$76).

 Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment
 Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

The Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment is a mud mask claims to make your skin brighter, smoother and softer - and it definitely does. It contains French Sea Clay to purify, Volcanic Pumic Rockto exfoliate, and Green Tea Leaf pieces to freshen your skin.

When first applied, the mud mask tingles a bit as it dries (don't apply it too close to the eyes!), creating a tightening feeling. Once it dries, in approximately 10 minutes, you massage it into your skin while rinsing it off. The aftermath of the mask leaves my face a bit drier, as most masks do, but feeling squeeky clean and smoother.

Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment
Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate mask

What I love most about this mask is that if it manages to dry out in the container, all you have to do is add a bit of water and stir it until it's back to normal - no product wasting here!

I think this mask is really great and I would recommend trying it out, but be wary if you have sensitive skin because the tingling might do more tingling than it's supposed to.

What's your go-to mask?

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Friday, August 21, 2015

The Face Shop Konjac Cleansing Puff Review | A traditional, all-natural method of cleansing

the face shop konjac puff

Have you ever heard of a konjac sponge? These all-natural plant sponges have become trendy in the last couple years as an alternative to synthetic loofahs for both body and face. Hailing from Asia, konjac is actually a type of potato that is commonly used for both cleansing and eating. In Japan in particular, konjac is commonly eaten as a jelly or as a noodle and is known for its nutritious properties. Someone at some point in this long history also discovered that konjac had beneficial effects on skin and so konjac sponges were born.

There are a wide variety of konjac sponges out there, but in its most basic form it's usually a white puff that helps increase your cleanser's effectiveness and its inherent nutrients also help condition and rejuvenate the skin, while the soft texture deep-cleanses pores.

Recently I was sent THEFACESHOP Konjac Cleansing Puff ($5) to try. This sponge is so gentle you can easily use it twice daily without any chance of irritation. These sponges are supposedly gentle enough for babies, so I'm sure it can handle anyone's sensitivity!

the face shop konjac cleansing puff

To use, dampen your sponge and then either apply cleanser directly to the sponge, or apply your cleanser to your face first and then use the sponge to massage it in. I prefer the latter, but if you're using more of a milky cleanser, you may want to apply it to the sponge first as it can rub milkier cleansers right off.

Although THEFACESHOP Konjac Cleansing Puff may just look like any old sponge, I found that it does help my cleansers work better. Particularly, when I use this sponge at night, I don't even need to use a cleansing water after as this little puff works overtime to get every last bit of dirt and makeup off.

Each Konjac Cleansing Puff costs only $5 and lasts for 2-3 months, so it's pretty affordable. The only things I didn't like about this sponge was its shape. Unlike the other konjac sponge I've tried, the EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge, the THEFACESHOP Konjac Cleansing Puff is shaped like a big hemisphere, which makes it difficult to get this sponge into the corners of my face. I actually have to fold it in half to make it fit, whereas the EcoTools Pure Complextion Facial Sponge is already teardrop shaped and thus, easier to use. This is a pretty minor annoyance though and I'd easily repurchase this one again. I'm also curious to try TTHEFACESHOP 's Charcoal and Konjac Cleansing Puff for an even deeper clean!

the face shop konjac face sponge

Final Verdict
Buy - cheap and easy to use, these cleansing puffs are a great all-natural addition to my cleansing routine that leaves my skin soft and cleaner than ever.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Prestige Cosmetics Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner Review | From subtle to flashy, this liner does it all!

Prestige Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner

One of the best things about going to beauty events is discovering new makeup brands. At this year's #LDBeauty event, I discovered Prestige Cosmetics, an international makeup company selling in over 40 countries. Their display at the London Drugs event was filled with intense, bold colors, including some super saturated eyeliners, so I was excited to try their Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner after the event.

Designed for makeup users of all levels, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner is a unique twist on your standard liquid eyeliner. Instead of the usual pointed felt tip or brush hairs, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner instead has a trio of stubby felt tips that can be used in a multitude of ways. With a unique budge-proof and waterproof formula, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner can be worn all day and if you're into these kinds of things, then you'll be happy to know that this eyeliner is also gluten-free, GMO free, paraben free and fragrance free. I've never heard of anyone having gluten reactions from makeup, but recently I've been seeing this advertised more, so I guess that's a thing now? One thing I'm surprised that isn't mentioned anywhere about this eyeliner is that it's packed with moisturizing ingredients; for instance, its third ingredient is aloe vera juice, and it also contains vitamin E and sunflower seed oil, which I thought was pretty different from other liners out there.

Prestige Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner

Anyhoo, with its innovative brush, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner can be used to do anything from tight-lining to a full cat-eye. To tight-line, simply dot the liner between lashes at the base of your eyelash for a natural darkening of your eye rim for definition. Then for a more dramatic night look, apply this liner as usual by sweeping it along your lash line.

At first when I received this liner I didn't actually realize the 3 nubs were for tight-lining. I actually thought it was for creating a kawaii anime/Betty Boop look by winging out your liner into 3 lines! Surprisingly doing your liner this way is really cool, although tricky. Simply line your lashes as per normal, but don't create a wing yet. To do the wing, lay the brush flat against the skin and carefully swoop it upwards. The result is a cute little trio of wings that when paired with lots of mascara looks pretty fun. You can even wear this during the day so long as you keep the wings small.

Prestige Cosmetics Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner look
Trying out tight-lining - can you tell that I'm wearing eyeliner?

Oddly enough, I actually found applying this liner the intended way trickier. Maybe I just need more practice, but dotting this liner evenly between my lashes is damn finicky! My tip would be to do your best, then take a slanted eyeliner brush and run it over your eyeliner while it's still damp so then you can smudge and smooth out any mistakes. You have to do this super fast though as this liner dries really quickly.

As for the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner's longevity and pigmentation, I found both kinda lacking. By the time I'm done one eye, the pigmentation of this liner kinda fades a bit on the second and applies a tad streaky. Also, the waterproof claim? Not so much. I was able to easily wash off my eyeliner swatches with just some water!

Prestige Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner swatches

You can purchase the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner from Prestige Cosmetics at your local drugstores for around $8-10.

Final Verdict
Ditch - the gimmicky brush doesn't blow me away enough to purchase this again, but it's a decent drugstore quality eyeliner.

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