Saturday, 28 June 2014

La Coupe Salon Volume Fix Hairspray Firm Hold - Review

Quick post tonight. I have had this travel sized hairspray for a couple of years now and it is terrible. I hate to even pack it. I should just toss it out. I hadn't used this for a little while (I found a travel sized TRESemme that I have been using) so I took it with me this past week overnight on a work trip to remind myself what specifically I hated about it. All for the purpose of providing all of you with a detailed review. I remade myself a guinea pig once again. Ha ha.

To start off, the nozzle is awful. The hairspray sprays out fast and unevenly. You even up with a "direct hit" of hairspray and not necessarily in the place you want it. The product itself is sticky and this stickiness lasts for hours...It makes your hair crunchy. Zero flexibility. Not nice to touch. It makes your hair look clumpy and wet where it has landed. It smells terrible. You are better off using no hairspray at all. Your hair will look better than if you use this.

As soon as I used this, I couldn't wait to wash it out of my hair. I honestly do not have one nice thing to say about this hairspray. It has no redeeming qualities. I don't remember what I paid for this little can. It was only a couple of bucks. Not worth spending 1 cent on though, that is for sure.

Packaging: 1/10  (red can is nice, nozzle is trash)
Easy to Work With: 0/10
Touchable Hair: 0/10
Humidity Resistance: 0/10
Hold: 0/10 (I wouldn't call what this does "hold")
Price: 0/10 (since it isn't worth anything, any cost is too much)
Ingredients: 6/10
Value for Money: 0/10
Would I buy this again? NO WAY IN HELL
Overall Rating: 0/10 (this may be the lowest rated beauty product yet)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

OPI Live.Love.Carnaval with Swatch?

I copied this right from OPI's website. I recently got a pedicure done and I picked this colour for it. Live.Love.Carnaval is from OPI's Brazil collection this year. Since the World Cup is currently underway, what could be more appropriate? I have had a number of compliments on this colour since I got my pedicure. This spicy coral has quite a bit of pink in it which I like. Sometimes the colour looks pink, other times orange and occasionally it looks red under different lights. I would say it is distinctly a pink coral. Really summery, bright and festive. I think any skin tone could pull off this colour and it would look awesome. I will be purchasing a bottle for myself immediately.
So here it is on me. Sorry once again for the toe shot. The picture doesn't do the colour justice.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Sigma Beauty Eye Shading E55 and Blending E25 Brushes - Review and Where to Buy in Canada!!!

Today, I am going to do a review on two Sigma Beauty makeup brushes. For those of you who are makeup addicts like myself, you probably already know all about them. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, they are good quality makeup brushes that sell for a fraction of what MAC charges for their makeup brushes. The Sigma brushes were originally styled to be very similar to MAC brushes. Once upon a time, they even had the same numbers I believe.

Sigma has come a long way since then. They now make all kinds of brushes that are unique to them and are not simply MAC knock-offs. Specifically, I am thinking of their Precision Line etc. Now before I go off on a tangent, let's get back to the matter at hand. On the left in the picture above, I have the E55 brush which was originally meant to be a dupe for the MAC 239. Personally, I don't find these brushes to be remotely identical. They both are for the purpose of packing eye shadow or colour onto the lid. The Sigma E55 is a wider, thicker, denser brush. I actually prefer the E55 for packing on a lid colour. It does the job better and faster. What I do like the MAC 239 for though is that does that job too, albeit not as well, but it also works well for making an outer "C" into the crease or for shading in a crease colour onto the outer corner of the lid. The E55 can also do that somewhat, but not as well as the MAC 239.

On the right, we have the Sigma E25 which is a near dupe of the MAC 217. A man on a galloping horse wouldn't know the difference between the two. They look the same except I believe the MAC 217 may be a tad bigger (bristles longer). These brushes serve the same purpose - they apply colour in the crease. The Sigma E25 is a little more precise, but is scratchy I find. The MAC 217 is softer.

Let's talk price. The MAC 217 is $28.50 Canadian/$24 U.S. The E25 is $12 U.S. Less than half of price! I confess that I am not willing to part with my MAC 217 anytime soon. However, rather than buy a spare at that steep price, I am more than happy to have an E25 or two on hand. For those of you on a budget, this is a no brainer. The E25 does the exact same job, the brush is just a bit lower quality.

Now for the E55. It's $12 U.S. The MAC 239 is $30 Canadian/$25 U.S. To me these two brushes are different animals. If you are just looking to pack on colour to the lid, I would definitely opt for the Sigma E55.

Here is a link to my review of MAC 217 and MAC 239 brushes if you are interested:

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent these two brushes for review by a great new shopping website that I have discovered - Here is the link to the Sigma brushes that they carry Their prices are in Canadian dollars, however, they are very reasonable and they ship Sigma Brushes free within Canada! There is no minimum purchase. How great is that???

I do own a number of Sigma brushes. I own several travel or mini sized E25s, but I didn't have the full sized one until was kind enough to send me one. I also have a smaller E55 from one of Sigma's eye shadow palettes, but again, I didn't have the full sized one until recently. I have paid anywhere from $9-$15 U.S. in shipping charges when I have ordered from Sigma Beauty directly. That is a lot and it adds quite a bit of money to the cost when purchasing these brushes. This is especially the case if you are trying to save money and not fork out for the MAC version. You don't end up saving a ton of money if you only order a couple of brushes once shipping comes into the mix. Maybe if you live in the U.S. it's cheaper???

If you live in Canada like me, you can't get a better deal on Sigma brushes than from They also carry a lot of hard to get makeup in Canada like Barry M, Lime Crime, TheBalm etc. You should check them out. I sure am glad I know about them now.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Cream in Peony - Review and Swatches

I have to say right off of the bat that I am not a big fan of cream blushes. There are a number of reasons for this. One, if you don't have the right tool or know what you are doing, it looks like a hot mess. Second, I have a bad habit of touching my face throughout the day and I don't want cream blush coming off of my face and onto my hands etc. Third, powder blush is easier work with. Finally, I think powder blush looks better in general. These are just some of my thoughts on the subject. You might have a completely different take on cream blush.

The colour I have is Peony. I have a small version of it. I got mine free with rewards points or something from Sephora awhile ago. Mine is 0.07 oz. or 2.2g. A full, regular size is 0.15 oz. and costs $25 U.S. or $33 Canadian. This product doubles as a lip product and cheek colour. It is non-greasy and very comfortable to wear. I forget I have it on, same as I do with powder blush. Although I have a small, travel size compact, I think this size will last me for quite some time.

As you can see, the colour looks deeper closer up. Peony is one of more neutral of the 7 colours that I believe Stila carries in this line. It's very beige with some pink in it. On my cheeks it looks quite rosey pink. I am not sure I would want to go more bold than this for a cream blush. Maybe I would. Tough to say. As mentioned, I don't love cream blushes but Stila has a great formula here. I don't find that the colour transfers and it looks fairly natural. It's very easy to blend and doesn't mess up the rest of your makeup as long as you use your fingers properly or the right type of brush. It is not sticky. I hate sticky cream blushes!

It looks attractive on. It's also more youthful looking than powder blush I suppose. The colour last all day long 15+ hours.

Here is a swatch or two of the product swiped on my arm and also stippled on like you would wear it on your cheeks under different lights.

As a lip product, it is very creamy and moisturizing. Peony is very nude looking on my lips so I can't say that I would rush to reach for this as a lip product, but it would do in a pinch or would be a good choice while travelling. A lot of the other Stila Convertible Colors look like they would be nicer lip colours than Peony. But hey, if you like nude lip colours, you might very well like Peony a whole lot. If I had to buy a cream blush, I would pick one of these Stila Covertible Colors. These are neat little jems. This would likely be a great product to use in the winter.

A final note, if you are going to use a makeup brush to apply this to your cheeks, I highly recommend a flat stiff stippling brush. Elf makes one that costs a couple of bucks and you can get one at Target. Dirt cheap. I have a Real Techniques Stippling Brush which is very similar and is perfect for cream blush. Ulta sells these for about $10 U.S. and I think Wal-Mart etc. may too. Sometimes Marshall's or Winners has them. Here is a couple of pics of the brush.

Packaging: 8/10
Pigmentation: 10/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10
Longevity: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Travel Worthy: 10/10
Attractiveness of Product: 10/10
Would I buy this again? Yes
Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Monday, 16 June 2014

Garnier Fructis Style Hold & Flex Ultimate Control Hair Spray - Review

Let's face it, the world is full of substandard hair sprays. I am afraid that this is one of them. I bought this when it was on sale for around $4 Canadian. The can says it offers 24 hour humidity resistance and that it contains natural bamboo extract. It also claims to have a ultra strong hold of "5" on a scale of 1 to 5. Sounds good right? Yes it does, so I picked it up. I have naturally curly, frizzy hair. Humidity is my sworn enemy. If I can find a product that fights humidity, hey, I am on board.

This a very light, non-sticky hair spray. I personally love taking a large barrelled curling iron to my hair to get rid of frizz and give me big curls. I have been using the TRESemme Tres Two hair spray for many moons and I quite like it. This Garnier Fructis hair spray can't hold a candle to the TRESemme hair spray. I find the hold of curls with the Garnier product is very loose at best. My hair can hold a curl from a curling iron with no hair spray but obviously stays longer with hair spray. It's like I haven't even used hair spray when I use this. I still get the frizzies when I use this. I haven't experienced that with most hair sprays. I have used this several times and the result is always the same.

If you don't get frizz and don't like a heavy hair spray, maybe you would like this one. I can't imagine that this product would help hold any hair style though, especially if you have poker straight hair. I don't like this product, but that's just my opinion. Maybe if I had a tight bun, or a hair style where the chance of frizz was low and it was unlikely to unravel, and I wanted to add a little hairspray, perhaps this one might be "ok".  It's pretty much a bust for me though I am afraid.

Packaging: 8/10  (nice, slim can - 281 ml)
Easy to Work With: 3/10 (sprays out evenly and controlled but doesn't do what it claims)
Touchable Hair: 8/10 (until the frizz sets in)
Humidity Resistance: 0/10
Hold: 0/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 8/10
Value for Money: 1/10
Would I buy this again? NO WAY
Overall Rating: 2/10 (some factors must weigh more heavily than others)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Burt's Bees Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother - Review

I recently rediscovered this in my bathroom this past weekend. I forgot I even owned it. Now before I start waxing poetic about the virtues of this product, I have to say that it is very important to wear sunscreen as you all know. Personally, I hate wearing sunscreen for the most part, especially the sticky ones, but you have to do it in this day and age. I will burn if I don't wear it and I am out in the sun for any length of time. My arms never burn, but everything else can and does. I am more of a burn which turns into a tan type of girl. While I am not super fair, I am light and I have to be careful. Heck, just about everyone does these days regardless of skin tone! Melanoma is some scary stuff.

Part of the reason that I forgot I own this is because I haven't used it in ages (years). I wear sunscreen and try not to burn. I am not a sun worshipper myself so I don't have to use it daily thank goodness. My husband on the other hand, can't get enough sun. He is very fair and can burn on the turn of a dime. Does he wear sunscreen??? Only if I chase after him and apply it. The man is a glutton for punishment. Anyway, this past weekend he got up early to do some work in the backyard and left me sleeping. Sure enough, by the time I got out there, the damage was already done.

I rooted around in my bathroom for some cheap aloe gel to help him and saw this tube. Then it all came flooding back to me. This stuff saved my bacon when I got a nasty sunburn a few years ago. That time it was an odd and unplanned circumstance when I got stuck in the sun all day by accident. Not quite like the scenario in the original Hangover movie, but close. I will spare you the details.

So I lathered my husband up with this all over his burnt arms, legs neck, face and ears. I was really worried he was going to get sunstroke or worse. He was lobster city. Within a couple of hours of applying this, his redness faded dramatically. By the next morning, the sunburn was significantly gone and in some areas there was no evidence that he had been burned at all! Within 24 hours the burn had disappeared completely. My husband had a full and complete recovery. No ill effects. This stuff is amazing. No peeling, no headache, nothing. Even my husband was impressed and he didn't find the smell offensive at all. He finds the smell of most products to be offensive, so this means something if it didn't bother him. He is an "unscented" product kind of guy. If you or any member of your family suffer from a tendency to burn, you should try this product. I am not kidding. It works a million times better than aloe gel. This stuff is the bomb.

I would also like to point out that there is no expiry date on this tube. It says it is 99.5% natural. It has a nice, light scent which is barely noticeable. I know this tube is 3 years, pushing 4 years old and the product works just as well today as it did when I bought it. Can't complain about that. I don't remember what I paid for it, maybe $15-$20 Canadian. Worth every penny and more.

Packaging: 10/10
Texture: 10/10
Price: 10/10
Ingredients: 10/10
Easy to Work With: 10/10  
Travel Worthy: 8/10 (it's a bit big for travel but you could put some in a small container)
Moisturizing: 10/10
Comfortable: 10/10
Effective: 10/10
Smell: 10/10
Would I buy this again? YES!!!!!!!!!!!    
Overall Rating: 10/10 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

My Top 10 MAC Neutral Eyeshadows (Starter Kit Suggestions) with Swatches

I have been meaning to do this blog post for over 2 years. I have literally lost sleep over it. So many choices, only 10 to pick. This was no easy task. So I ended up with 11 and that was the best I could pare it down to. So it's a Top 10 list plus 1...ahem. The eye shadow market has been getting fierce the last few years, but my most loved eye shadows are still MAC. They are my go to, steady Eddie, stay true, long wearing colours that I simply must have.

One thing that bugs me is when someone does a Top 10 list of MAC eye shadows and they own say 12 MAC eye shadows. I want someone who owns a bunch to give me their Top 10. I did a quick count and I own approximately 110 MAC eye shadows. Yes, clearly I have a problem. These include limited edition shades, palettes and quads etc. So I like to think/hope I know what I am talking about.

In general, Top 10 lists of beauty products, especially MAC eye shadows are my favourite thing to read about on blogs. Without further ado, these are the Top 10 MAC Neutral eye shadows that I think you should have. I will throw in a few alternates that may be a better choice for you, depending on your skin tone. I have a few more Top 10 MAC eye shadow lists coming up for non-neutral colours and all around faves, so stay tuned!

 1. Crystal Avalanche
This is a Veluxe Pearl. I love this for the inner corner and as a brow highlight. It is pretty icy white though. Not for the faint of heart. I would suggest Phloof! if you like a more subdued shimmer with pink undertones. You might also like Nylon or Ricepaper for those of you with darker skin tones or for those of you that prefer a yellow or gold shimmer.

2. Mylar
I use Mylar as a brow highlight and for the inner corner as well. This is a Satin and is a creamy white shimmer. When you don't want a lot of shimmer, this colour is very down stated, yet brightening. A fantastic eye shadow.

3. Shroom
Now for something totally empty pan. Yep, I have used up all of my Shroom and I have not yet bought another. I have a Back to MAC happening soon and I am waiting for that to get another Shroom. I love this colour so much, I have gone through a few pans over the years. Shroom is a soft beige grey shimmer. It is a Satin so it works fine for every day looks. I use this on my lid, as a brow highlight and to brighten up my inner corner. Multi-purpose heaven! There is no substitute on the market - period. Have no fear, I do have a pic and a swatch for you from an earlier blog post: 

4. Brule
This is a soft cream beige satin. It is perfect as an eye shadow base or lid colour for just about any classic look. Blends like a dream. Looks good on most people. Bisque, although I fear it is discontinued, has more pink in it but also works well on the lid.

5. Wedge
This is a soft muted beige taupe. I love this in the crease for a classic look. It can also blend out a harsh crease colour. Wedge is cool toned. If you are more of a warm toned gal, you might prefer Cork which also works well for the same purpose.

6. Soft Brown
Looks similar to Wedge, I know, but it isn't the same colour. Soft Brown is more warm and has a peach undertone to it. This is perfect for blending out any crease colour and for warming up the brow. This is especially the case when you are doing a cool smoky eye. I haven't found too many colours on the market that work as well as this. Although Makeup Geek has some good contenders.You can also use Malt or Kid if you are very fair.

7. Copperplate
This is a muted mid-tone grey. It's not as brown as it looks in the photo. I love this in the crease for a change from boring beige brown. Use this with Shroom or Brule on the lid and some black liquid liner and you are done girlfriend! This also works well with a dark smoky eye.

8. Satin Taupe
This is one of my favourite MAC eye shadows. Everyone loves Satin Taupe. It's all that and a ham sandwich. It's a taupe with a silver shimmer. You can do an eye look with this colour alone along with some eyeliner and mascara you are out the door. Looks like you slaved away in front of a makeup mirror for ages. It's multi-dimensional. When I get around to doing my favourite MAC eye shadows, this one will be on the list.

9. Folie
Picking this eye shadow is a little unorthodox for this list I think. I mean it is a bit on the red side and that isn't really a neutral per se. Folie is a reddish plum brown. I never thought I would love this colour, but I do. It works well with neutral looks (cream, beige, brown etc.) and also with pink or purple looks. It is awesome in the outer corner or outer crease. It just adds something something. I have yet to find a dupe of this on the market.

10. Espresso
I own most, but not all, of the MAC dark brown eye shadows. This is the clear winner to me. This is a muted golden brown. It is a warm colour but it isn't too warm. Anyone can wear this. It's nice and rich and blends like a dream.

11. Carbon
This was the black eye shadow that set the bar for so many that have come after it. No MAC neutral list is complete without Carbon.

I realize I have neglected to have a gold or shimmery sand colour in my list. There are so many of those colours on the market, and I mean good quality colours, that I frankly felt that none of the MAC golds or sands stood out enough for me to make them an essential for this list. All That Glitters, Ricepaper, Nylon, Naked Lunch, Honesty, Amber Lights and Honey Lust are all good options, they are just not "must haves" for me.

Swatch time!

From left to right, Crystal Avalanche, Mylar, Shroom (I scraped the pan), Brule and Wedge.

From left to right, Soft Brown, Copperplate, Folie, Satin Taupe, Espresso and Carbon. 
Hope you enjoyed my Top 10 (11) MAC eye shadows list. What are you favourite MAC eye shadows? Please let me know in the comments section below! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Bumble and Bumble Prep - Review

I have been searching for a hair "refresher" for years. Nothing that I have found so far does exactly what I would like in all hair style conditions. Does that make sense? Maybe not.

My hair is naturally curly and I hate it. Dealing with constant knots, tangles and frizz is no fun at all. I can't wash my hair everyday or it will be as dry as hay. Every hair dresser that I have ever had has begged and implored me not to wash it daily. It is what it is. So I need something to freshen up and enliven Day 2 hair whether I am wearing it curly, straight or wavy. I need help sprucing up all 3 styles on next day hair.

Enter Bumble and Bumble Prep. Saw this, thought I would try it. An 8 oz. bottle is $23 Canadian. It has very little smell which I like. It is supposed to have vitamins and minerals in it which are good for your hair and also is supposed to help your hair be ready to style or to refresh an existing do'. My experience with this product is somewhat mixed. I have to say that I really like this product to freshen up curly hair. It helps "unflatten" curls and it adds some bounce and softness back into next day hair. It boosts and revives the curly hair products that I used the day before.

When I wear my hair straight or wavy though, I am not crazy about the results with this product when I try to enliven my Day 2 hair. I find that this product undoes a lot of the style and the products that I had in my hair to get it straight or wavy. When I use this product on my straightened or wavy hair I find that this product makes my hair expand and get poufy. The texture and style that I had disappear and my hair starts looking like cotton candy. My hair does feel soft though....

Obviously, if you have naturally straight or wavy hair I assume that you and I will not share this same experience or phenomenon (cotton candy hair). This product may work perfectly well for you in all kinds of hair styles. I can only relay my experience. So if you have naturally curly hair like me, you might like this on Day 2 curly hair. I do. I can't say I like it for any other purpose or style though.

I am not going to rate this product simply because what this product does is so subjective to the user. I don't think that most people will encounter the same issues that I had with this product. I think I may repurchase this product though simply for my curly days...

Monday, 2 June 2014

May 2014 Empties!

Sometimes I am such a putz! I put together a blog review this past weekend and was about to hit the "publish" button when I had a sudden dreaded thought. I started wondering if I had already done a review on that product before. I checked and sure enough I did - over 2 years ago. So sorry everyone, I ended up with no post this past weekend!

On to the topic at hand - empties! I thought for sure my May 2014 empties would be epic, but it ended up not being so. I am seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel (or rather tubes, jars, bottles etc.) of so many products and some just won't end. At least I got my money's worth with them. Maybe June will be more exciting.

1. Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion Sea Minerals - Keeping up with the status quo of being a putz the last few days, I just noticed that this product scent or formula is "Sea Minerals". I can't believe I didn't notice that until this moment. I must be losing it. Anyway, the Nivea line makes some of the best body lotions available at the supermarket or drug store. This formula was very nourishing and hydrating. I didn't like the smell. It was a bit "chemical" for my taste. Nivea makes better formulas and scents in their body lotion line. Also, I find some sea mineral scented or infused products don't agree with me. Maybe that is why I didn't enjoy the scent. I actually own a body lotion with sea minerals in it that makes my fingers swell up! Yeah, I need to throw it out but I am saving it for a review. I would not repurchase this particular formula but I would other Nivea body lotions and have. It was a long winter and I used a medley of lotions.

2. Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Brightening Facial Towelettes - I used to love these. I have a blog review post on them. I am not sure if my skin has developed a sensitivity to them or if they have changed the formula, but they are not as refreshing as they used to be. I find them drying lately too. Maybe they got old? A bad batch? Hmmm. I will update my blog review post on them shortly.

3. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in 2N1 Desert Beige 12 (2) - Yes, I finished two of these this month. I actually had both bottles in circulation for months, I just decided to finish them and make room for a new bottle. Easily, one of my favourite foundations. Already repurchased.

4. Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup in Intensity 2.0 - Love this foundation and wear it all of the time. I have gone through countless tubes of this. Already repurchased. This is a regular in my monthly "empties" posts.

5. Revlon Colorstay Lipliner in Pink - This is one of the best lip liners at the drug store in terms of quality and being long wearing. I have a full blog review on this lip liner. I am going to update that post though as soon as I finish this blog post. I have a new beef with this product - the quantity. I didn't even get 20 uses out of this lip liner. Seriously. The old Revlon Colorstay lipliners that I used to have lasted me for years....I don't get it. The bottom of this lip liner plastic tube also broke off and I have no idea why. The packaging has gotten super cheap. I rather spend $16-$25 on a high end lip liner that I will have for months than $11 on this which lasts for 5 minutes.

5. Clinique Moisture Surge Skin Fortifying Hydrator - I have a full review on this on my blog. It's not bad, has some interesting uses, is not my favourite, but I would consider repurchasing.

6. Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils - I fell in love with this. One of my new favourite mascaras. I was very sad to add it to my empties bin. It just got old. I will repurchase eventually but I currently have an obscene amount of mascara to test out for all of you. Also, this one is a bit pricey.

7. Clinique Even Better Eyes - I think this was my third or fourth tube. It's pricey. While it did do some things for me, I am not sure it does enough to warrant me repurchasing it again and again. Going to look for something new. Full review of this on my blog.

8. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 Super Honey Tinted - I forgot I owned this colour. It is my least favourite colour in Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment line. The colour is just so matte and blah on me. It's an orange beige on my lips. Not very flattering. I decided to use it up and have done with. Fresh's other shades are much more exciting and attractive.