Month: February 2014

Fancy vs Frugal Fridays: Eyebrow Kits!

If there is one thing that can change your face, make it look 10 years younger, and give a facelift affect, it is your brows. Everyone needs to fill their brows in. I don’t care if you have the bushiest, darkest brows, they can still benefit from some shaping and defining. This Fancy vs Frugal Friday is going to put two very similar brow kits to the test. First up is Benefit, with their Browzings kit, which includes a tinted brow wax, and a brow powder, plus a small angled brush, a blending brush, and a small pair of tweezers. (All which I have lost, not too upset about it, the tweezers were more frustrating than anything to work with!) This kit retails for $36 CAD, and honestly, I like this product. I have it in the shade medium, and I have used it quite a bit! The wax is very smooth, and not obnoxious or overly waxy looking on the brow, and the product lasts all day on my brows. My only complaint, is the powder is definitely a warmer brown. I think it would be very suitable for people with reddish or auburn colored hair. Then we have ELF with their Eyebrow Studio Kit. This retails for $3.00, and is almost identical to the Benefit. It does only come with one double sided brush, but like I said before, I prefer to use my own brush, and I don’t really have any use for the tweezers in the Benefit kit. The color of this brow kit works way better for me. It is a cooler brown, and looks much more natural with my hair color. (Both of these brow kits are in the shade medium!) I have no problem with the product lasting until the end of my day, and the wax is also of a very high quality. Given the price difference of these products, I am going with Frugal this week for SURE! The ELF will ensure your brows are naturally filled, and the wax will ensure they will stay in place and keep their shape until you are ready to take it off. This is a total win in my books, and even though the Benefit is a great product, I just can’t justify the $33 price difference!

Benefit Browzings (Left) Swatched on Top ELF Studio Brow Kit in Medium (Right) Swatched on bottom

Benefit Browzings (Left)
Swatched on Top
ELF Studio Brow Kit in Medium (Right)
Swatched on bottom

What do you guys use to fill your brows in?

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My Name is Almira and I am also a beauty addict …

Hello loves! This is my first ever blog post and of course it will be in my other other half, Sara’s girlmetblush blog. My name is Almira and I work with Sara and Sabah in cosmetics as well. I will be constantly referred to as the little Asian girl in both real world and their blogs, indeed I am, as I am a little Filipino girl. I am writing this because after reading and learning from numerous blog posts I got enticed into sharing my experiences with you all because who’s to know, someone might benefit from the things I have to share.

It wasn’t until 2 years ago when my obsession with beauty products started. Of course I’ve used some before, but not to this extent. Because of work, I’ve learned to love and try hundreds of products and even help others because of this knowledge. I also have wonderful friends who have been fuelling the obsession, purchase by purchase. To sum up: I love everything to do about make-up and skincare. I love buying, trying, and talking about everything I’ve used on my face. I have also been referred to as the princess of highlighters (more to come on that) and I’ll be open to answering any of your highlighting questions. I also have oilier and darker skin than they do so my reviews would be slightly different and maybe some of you can relate to me.

That’s all for now, I just wanted to introduce myself, more to come about the products that I’ve tried later! Happy Reading!

photo by Giacomo Bruno

photo by Giacomo Bruno

-Almira

2 mascaras, 3 shadows and a bronzer for $25! It must be Essence …

I am quickly developing an obsession with the Essence brand. I have enough curiosity to get me into very big trouble when it comes to new products, and this line makes it even easier to give in with their incredibly low prices. When I first starting dabbling in Essence, I had super low expectations. I mean, nothing in their line is over $5.00 CAD. So, when I saw that they were launching a lot of new stuff the other day at work, I needed a haul. These are the products that I picked up, and I am squealing with excitement over them. So far, the gel eyeliner, the brow gel, and the mascara (large pink tube) have been good to me.
essence

Here’s the details. First thing I grabbed were the two mascaras. Get BIG Lashes, and LASH Mania Reloaded. Then I went for the bronzer/highlight in 01 sunlight, and then I knew I had to try some of these shadows. They are from the Metal Glam collection in 05 Chocolate jewelry, 03 frosted apple, and 02 coffee to glow. I have had some Essence shadows before, and usually they have an overspray of glitter that you can get through after the first use. I swatched them for you guys so you can see.

You can see where the product was swatched, it takes the glitter away, so don't be scared by an overlay!

You can see where the product was swatched, it takes the glitter away, so don’t be scared by an overlay!

I am planning on ripping into these products ASAP – and of course I will keep you guys posted on everything!

Next time you guys are at Shoppers you need to stop and take a serious look at the Essence wall!

Tag Wednesday: 40 Beauty Questions!

Another Wednesday, Another Beauty Tag! This one is a long one so pour a glass of wine (or tea!) and enjoy!

SKINCARE –
How many times do you wash your face daily?
I do a deep cleanse every night with my Clarisonic, and use Bioderma as a morning refresher before makeup.

What skin type do you have? (dry,oily,combo)
My skin is very dry, and super sensitive!

What is your current facial wash?
Right now I am using Clarins Gentle Foaming, for dry to sensitive skin!

Do you exfoliate?
Yes! Using my Clarisonic certainly helps, but I do love scrubs as well!

What brand do you use?
Normally the Benefit Gentle Refiner. It has man made beads, and glycolic acid, it is incredible!

What moisturizer do you use?
This changes frequently, right now I am using a NARS moisturizer!

Do you have freckles?
No, I do have a sun spot on my nose, which will more than likely be lasered one day.

Do you use eye cream?
Every night without fail! I love trying new eye creams!

Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
I have never really struggled with acne, even when I was younger. I would get a spot here and there, but nothing too traumatic.

Did you ever have to use Pro-activ?
No, and if I did use Pro-Activ, I am convinced my face would dry up and fall off!

MAKE-UP
What foundation do you use?
My go to foundation is Clarins Everlasting foundation! My shade is 109 Wheat.

How about concealer?
This changes frequently! I love the Cover Girl plus Olay stick concealer, and I also love Clarins Instant Concealer!

Do you know your undertone color?
I am definitely a cool undertone. However, a lot of beige colors normally work well on me. A good trick for that is to look at the veins on your wrist. If they appear blue, you are a cool undertone, if they appear green, you are a warmer or olive undertone.

What do you think of fake eyelashes?
I love the look they give, and think they are great for special occasions.

Did you know that you are supposed to change your mascara every 3 months?
Absolutely. I yell at people all the time about changing their mascaras. Eyes are so important, you get one pair, so take care of them!

What brand of mascara do you use?
My favorite to use is Lancôme. Their Hypnose mascara is my holy grail.

Sephora or MAC?
I was asked this before … Sephora. I cannot imagine being boxed in with one brand.

Do you have a MAC Pro-card?
Yes, I do.

What makeup tools do you use in make up application?
Sponges, Brushes, my hands …

Do you use make-up base/primer for the eyes?
Yes I do. I love the Urban Decay Primer Potion.

For the face?
Right now I am working with Benefit Porefessional.

What is your favorite eyeshadow (color or shade)?
I love Omega from MAC, And Allthatglitters, and I love Naked from Urban Decay. And Sin too!

Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner?
Both – but more often a pencil.

How often do you poke your eyes with an eyeliner pencil?
Not often, I am pretty careful when I do it!

What do you think of pigment eyeshadows?
I love the way they look, but hate that they are harder to work with. The fallout can be a serious bitch with some of them.

Do you use mineral makeup?
I have before. Hit or miss for me. I find the coverage isn’t as great with mineral makeup.

What is your favorite lipstick?
Definitely the YSL lipsticks. They are so creamy and pigmented and the packaging is perfect!

How about lipgloss?
NYX makes beautiful lip glosses. I also love Clarins and Lise Watier.

What is your favorite blush to use?
Tough one. As a brand, I would probably say NARS. Or Benefit .. or MAC …

Do you buy your makeup on ebay?
Negative. I am too cautious of fakes.

Do you like drugstore makeup?
Of course! I love finding dupes for high end products, and a lot of drug store makeup can hold its own against the big brands!

Do you go to CCO’s? (cosmetic company outlets)
I feel this may be a thing in the states. Not sure what this is …

Did you ever consider taking make-up classes?
I did consider it, and I went! I got my license in 2008 and have been growing with it ever since!

Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
No really, I have it down to a science. It usually only takes me ten minutes.

Name a makeup crime that you hate?
Where do I start … Foundation that is too dark. Lipliner that is darker than the lipstick, clumpy mascara, creased eyeshadow … I could go on and on.

Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick,eyeshadow) or neutral ones?
I am definitely a neutral tone girl!

Which celebrity always has great make up?
As much as I don’t like her, Angelina Jolie always looks great. I love the smokey eye with a nude lip. Jennifer lopez has a great bronzed look most of the time too. (Except lately on American Idol … not sure what is going on with her now!)

If you could leave the house using just ONE make up item, what would you use?
Brow Product!

Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on?
Yes, I do it all the time!

Do you think you look good even without any makeup on?
I think I look okay when I am self tanned with no makeup on. Otherwise I am super pale, and borderline frightening!

In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line?
Danah and I were talking about this the other day … I cannot pick just one! That’s too hard of a question!

What do you think of Makeup??
This question is odd. Obviously I love makeup! I think it can change the way a woman (or man) feels about themselves, and can be a great booster!

Phew! That was a super long tag! I liked the question about makeup crimes … what are the worst ones for you guys?

Sally Hansen Gel Manicure Kit: Gel Manicures at home!

I have never been one to always be painting my nails. I envy the girls who seem to have perfectly polished nails in all different colors at all times. I often wonder what the hell these women do for a living if they have that much time to commit to their nails alone. Anyway, a few years ago I got a Shellac manicure done, and I was so impressed with how long it lasted without chipping. The only reason I had to take it off was because my nails grew, and I ended up with a space of bare nail underneath my polish color. So when Sally Hansen launched their at home gel manicure set, I was immediately interested. I picked one up and have used it a few times, and I am super happy with the results! Here is how it works!

Sally Hansen Gel top coat, base coat, Quo gel polish, acetone remover, and the LED lamp.

Sally Hansen Gel top coat, base coat, Quo gel polish, acetone remover, and the LED lamp.

Taking one of the Nail Cleansing Wipes that come in the kit, clean your nails off, after filing them to desired shape. Apply a THIN layer of the base coat to the first four fingers on the first hand. This is important, you want to do everything in thin layers, or else you’ll end up with half inch thick, acrylic looking nails. They recommend to start with the four fingers on the hand, and then move on to the thumb. Also, to finish one hand completely, and then move on to the next.

Once you apply the base coat to the first four fingers, you will place them under the lamp and press the white button on the top. This will cure the gel for 30 seconds, and the light will go off automatically. Then apply base coat to thumb, cure, and then move onto color polish on the fingers. You have the option of one or two coats of color, always remembering to cure the nails under the lamp in between coats. I usually go for two, as I think the color looks more even. After the color you can move on to a thin layer of top coat. As always, cure the nails in the lamp after applying the top coat to the first four fingers, and then the thumb.

Now comes the best part. Take the nail cleansing wipe that you used to clean your nails at the starts, and wipe your entire nail off. This will take away any tacky residue, but will not mess your nails up, as there is ZERO drying time with this stuff. That’s what sold me. If I have a take a few more steps in order to get dry-free nails, I am totally up for it.
naill

A few tips: 1.) Always use super thin layers of this stuff. As stated before, you will end up with some wonky looking nails if you are heavy with the product.
2.) If you feel like your nails are heating up a bit while under the lamp, that is completely normal. The thicker the layer of polish, the more heat you will feel.
3.) Do NOT get this on the skin. If you do, simply wipe away with acetone before curing, and this will prevent the polish from peeling away from the skin, resulting in a shorter lifespan for your manicure!
4.) Make it a night with your girlfriends, and have fun but do not consume copious amounts of wine before this process. Layers of polish seem to get thicker the more you drink …
5.) I have used different polishes from different lines with my lamp. For example, I am using the Sally Hansen base and top coat, with a Quo gel polish. As long as the polish is compatible with an LED lamp, you are fine, this will broaden your color options! Sally Hansen just launched a new line of some awesome colors. Even one that looks similar to my beloved Pacific Blue!
6.) Also important to me, was that I could fit my toes inside of the lamp. I can! So you can use this kit to do gel pedicures as well, which will be awesome in the summer and for vacations!

This kit retails for about $75.00 CAD, and it is totally worth it in my opinion. That would be probably two trips to the nail salon for me, and you get enough product in the kit to do 10 complete manicures. This is a must have for Spring and Summer …

-Sara

A Traveller’s Dream! Smashbox Try it Kit – Halo + BB

I work in cosmetics, and I am constantly watching Danah rip into boxes of brand new merchandise. Some of the stuff is so disappointing when we open it, and other times, you will hear the screams coming from the boutique. This new item definitely caused a stir, and I think it is one of the best kits we have had in a long time. First of all, as you all know, I try a lot of products. I also buy a lot of products. I also have a very passionate distaste for samples that come in rip open sachets. So when I see that something is available in a deluxe sample size, I am all over it like Almira on Benedict Cumberpatch. This kit answered all of my prayers. Now, I actually own all three of these products full sized, but I am going to love this when I travel. For an incredible price of $32 CAD, it includes: 0.5oz Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35, a 0.11oz Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder, a 0.25oz Photo Finish Foundation Primer and a Baby Buki Brush. It’s pretty much a face in a box. And these are solid products. The ever popular (unless you`re me or Danah) Smashbox primer does so well, the BB cream is amazing coverage and a great SPF factor, and the halo powder is just … in-freaking-credible. This powder has been nominated for a Nobel Prize for it`s advanced technology and anti-aging properties. It is a hydrating powder, and it is one of my favorites. My only issue I have ever had with it, is the packaging is always defective. (Another reason to be thankful you aren`t getting the full size!) It does have a hefty price tag at $72 for the full sized product, but to be fair, it contains about three times the product of your average powder, and my first one lasted me about 15 months with daily use. It’s just one of those products that you have to try, and soon enough you are completely hooked. This is similar to a strong drug, in the sense that people try it, thinking they will say “I wont get hooked on a $72.00 powder, it`s ridiculous!“ They try to hit it and quit it. And it will never work with this product. Overall, this is an absolute homerun, and I suggest getting one of these in your life ASAP.
smashbox

-Sara

Fancy vs Frugal Fridays: Shadow Sticks

This week I have two shadow smudge sticks, that claim the same thing, but are two very different prices. We have Makeup Forever, retailing at $24.00 and we have Annabelle, retailing at $8.99. Both of these claim to be water resistant, and can be used as a shadow base, a liner, or a full on eyeshadow stick. I have worn both of these on my eyes several times, and I got pretty into the waterproof claim, and swatched both of these on my abdomen before taking a much needed bubble bath. The results of this one actually shocked me. As you guys may or may not know, a lot of synchronized swimmers wear Makeup Forever products while in the pool, because they are completely waterproof. I don’t imagine they are using these eye sticks because mine did not hold up at all. That being said, it was a pretty extreme test. But if a product claims to do something, I expect it to do it. Especially from a higher price brand. On the eye, I had a slight amount of smudging and a tiny bit of creasing. Not a horrible result, but the Annabelle did not budge on my eyes. This product did not move on my eye, and looked like the exact same swatch after my bubble bath. I will say, the Makeup Forever did slide on just a bit more smoothly than the Annabelle, but it wasn’t a big enough difference for me to want to shell out the extra cash. These lines both have quite an extensive color range, and my choice this week is definitely going with the Annabelle. Whether it be used as a liner or an eyeshadow base, or even on it’s own, this product held it’s own, and for $8.99 you can afford two shades as opposed to one of the Makeup Forever.

Swatches on Left Hand side: Annabelle on top, Makeup Forever on bottom.

Swatches on Left Hand side: Annabelle on top, Makeup Forever on bottom.

Frugal wins this week!

-Sara

Haul Post: Brand new goodies!

Every once in awhile, a girl just needs to go out and spend an unjustifiable amount of money on makeup and skincare. I try to be more disciplined in other areas of my life (such and clothes and .. food) because when it comes to makeup, all bets are off. I hit a few stores today and wanted to show you guys what I picked up!
haul

First I went to Sephora, and as usual, the Yves Saint Laurent wall was calling my name. These guys know how to package products, and as we all know, packaging matters to me. Sometimes I will overlook flaws in a product because of their packaging. Anyway, I picked two items, Le Teint Touché Éclat foundation in BR30, and a Rouge Vouplté lipstick in shade number 9. The YSL lipsticks have some of the best packaging in the industry, and made it into a previous post of mine, about lipsticks that I bought for the packaging.

Then I headed to my mecca, otherwise known as the Beauty Boutique of Shoppers Drug Mart and picked up a few things. I needed another Porefessional, as mine is going to finish very soon, and the new packaging for this product is way cuter than the old! This stuff is incredible, I love it, especially when I am not wearing foundation, but I just want to even out my skin tone and reduce some redness. I also got a new eye cream, because my Bobbi Brown is hitting pan rapidly, and this girl cannot be caught dead without an eye cream. It is the Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Eye Cream, and I love that it has a pump on the packaging. I am tired of sticking my fingers in a jar all the time. Also, I just found out today that my beloved Shiseido Wrinkle Resist24 eye cream is being discontinued. So here`s hoping this one can fill it`s shoes!

On my way out, I spotted a Got2b product that caught my eye, it`s a volumizing powder and meant to give a ton of body to your roots. I have used the hair potion by Aveda before and I hope this one works the same way! Then, I picked up one of the new Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms, in Standout. I used this one right away in the parking lot, and I love it! It might become my new favorite red. They`re matte, but not drying in the least!

Those are the new additions to my collection, looking forward to using them, and let me know if you guys want me to review any of them!

Have a great day!
-Sara

Tag Wednesday: The Beauty Procrastination Tag

Back again with another Tag Wednesday – I love these tags, they’re super fun to do, and I love reading other peoples tags! This is the Beauty Blogger Tag. Want to know what Beauty Blogging looks like? Check out below!
blog

1. Name a beauty routine you barely do.
I am pretty bad at painting my fingernails. I will put it off, and more often than not, as soon as I do it, I can’t get myself to sit still for long enough to let them dry, so I end up taking it off anyway.
2. Is washing your brushes something that you regularly do?
I’m proud to say that yes, I am diligent with my brushes. I am lucky enough to have a massive brush collection, so I can easily just grab a new brush if I feel like one needs to be washed, but I am pretty good at keeping mine super clean. That’s one thing that stuck with me from makeup school.
3. How long do you last with chipped nail varnish?
About 5 minutes. I have nail polish remover at work under my desk, and I will attack someone if I see that they have chipped nails. There are few things skankier looking in life than chipped nail polish!
4. How often do you put off buying/replacing a beauty item or nail polish, even if you need it?
I am usually pretty good at keeping myself stocked. Given that I work full time in a Beauty Boutique, I really have no excuse to wait on buying something. (Unless there is a points event coming up!)
5. What is your worst beauty habit?
I completely ignore my cuticles. They are constantly dry, brittle, and they frequently result in painful fingertips. I have cuticle oil and moisture gloves on my bedside table, and they pretty much just collect dust.
6. Name something non-beauty related that you tend to put off all the time.
Renewing my passport. And also, booking the trip to Florida that Almira and I have to go on. We need to travel before September 2014, and my excuse for not booking is not having a valid passport. Which I will most likely continue to put off. Sabah is going to have to buy me a lipstick or something to entice me to go.
7. When going out somewhere do you leave getting ready until the last minute or not?
Depends on where I am going. If it’s a big event I will make sure I have more than enough time, but if I am running out to a movie or something, I am usually pretty last minute.
8. Can you commit to spending bans?
Absolutely not. I have good intentions to limit my spending, and Sabah and I usually try to support each other in this, but then life happens. Collections are launched, new colors come in … what’s a girl to do?
9. How organized is your make up and nail polish collection?
I am very organized. Well, my makeup is. My nail polish is just in a huge bucket, and that works for me. My makeup is all organized on shelves – Open products on one shelf, organized by category (Lipstick, Lipgloss, Blush etc) and Un-open products organized by category on the other shelf. Then I have my everyday makeup bag, and my fragrance collection… Everything has its place.
10. What is the longest time you have gone without writing a blog post?
So far with this blog I think two days … which isn’t too bad. A Monday to Friday writing schedule works well for me, as Bridal will soon be taking up all of my Saturdays – and nobody wants to do anything on Sundays!

Product Empties: Thoughts, and would I repurchase?

I am a very avid watcher of YouTube, and some of my favorite videos to watch are empties videos. It gives you a chance to get some mini reviews, and the answer to the golden question … Would you repurchase this product?
I have been collecting my products as I go through them, and wanted to show you what I’ve used up!
empties

1.) Clarins Wonder Volume Mascara: This mascara died on me, and I have to say, I do miss it. I have been trying some serious misses, in an attempt to try new things, when all I really want to do is go back to my Lancôme Hypnose that I know won’t fail me. If any of you find that your eyes get irritated with mascara, this might be a good one for you to try. Especially if you have a Gluten allergy. It is one of the only Gluten Free mascaras on the market right now!
It retails for $27 CAD and even though it was a nice mascara, I wouldn’t repurchase it over the Hypnose.

2.) Clarins Double Serum: This is actually my second empty bottle of this, and I do already have a backup for the next time I need to open a serum. I am using Lancôme Genefique right now, and I am thinking of breaking up with it to go back to Clarins. This serum was incredible on my dry skin, and gave my skin a very noticeable glow. I found myself often mixing it with my foundation, and got to the point of using four pumps day and night. A total win in my books, and like I said, I have already picked up a backup!

3.) Got 2b Rockin it Encore Fresh Dry Shampoo: This stuff did exactly what I wanted it to do. It got me through those days when I didn’t want to wash my hair, but needed some refreshing, it gave some texture and volume on clean hair, and the smell was not offensive. It does have a bit of a white cast when you apply, but it can be easily brushed out. I get this stuff on sale at Shoppers for $3.99 CAD and I would definitely repurchase! (Bonus: The nozzle didn’t get clogged on this once, like other ones have for me!)

4.) ELF Translucent Mattifying Powder: I ordered this in a ELF order what seems like forever ago .. (Probably about three years!) and I used it mainly on my eyelids and my under eyes. It did the job, and was super cheap, but I wouldn`t repurchase it again, mainly for the fact that you have to order online for this stuff.

5.) Caudalie Lip Conditioner: This product was FANTASTIC. And when I tell you why, you will probably laugh at me. I used this as a lip balm for a few nights, and it was alright. Not by any means life changing. Then one night I went to bed and I realized I forgot to apply my eye cream. I was exhausted, and my boyfriend was already asleep, so instead of getting up and waking him up, I reached on my night stand and gave myself a good dose of this around the eyes. I went to bed half expecting to wake up with an eye infection of some sort, but it was just the opposite. By morning my eyelids were no longer flaky, and felt so smooth and hydrated, this became a nightly thing for me. I used it on my lids and around my eye contour area, and when I used it to the bottom, I scooped it out with a q-tip until it was completely empty. If my eyes ever get super dry and flaky again, I will repurchase this, but not to use a lip balm!

6.) La Roche Posay Nutrics: (For very dry skin) This stuff was very good to me. It soothed my easily angered skin, and kept flakes at bay. The scent was very minimal, and it didn’t sting me at all. It also was suitable to use under makeup. At $38.00 CAD, I would repurchase this. I have a few creams to get through before I will need to shop for one, but this one would definitely be an option.

What products have you guys emptied lately!?

-Sara