ColourPop Birthday Girl Super Shock Shadow

About a month ago I entered a little giveaway that Whitney from Beauty With Whitney had on her blog. To my surprise, I won the ColourPop birthday girl shadow! I’ve literally never won any giveaway before, or anything else for that matter, so I was super excited. This week I received the shadow in the mail and I was so excited to try it out. 

My first impression of this shadow was OMG gorgeous! 😍

   
  
The shadow is a very pretty dark gold/copper with lots and lots of shimmer. It applies easily and looks super gorgeous on the lid. There is a TON of sparkle in it, but honestly I’m really digging it. I read some reviews of people not liking the glitter but I can see this being seriously amazing for special nights out! Thanks again Whitney!! Xo

Ps: Happy Canada day and happy 4th of July everyone! 🇨🇦🇺🇸

Quick Take: Brow Gel

BOOM.

Do you know what that sound was? It was the sound of thousands of brow products hitting drug store shelves across the nation in 2014. 2014 was definitely the year of the brows, and the trend is carrying on strong. Personally, I don’t think it should ever end. The difference that well-groomed brows make is absolutely astounding.

Now, that being said, there are definitely some fine lines. Too much, too little, too harsh, too soft, too fake, too this too that yada yada yada. It is definitely important to perfect your brow routine to whatever suits your features. I mean, I think it’s common sense, but then I see bleach blonde girls with black eye brows and realize that common sense is not so common :P. But hey, whatever you like, it’s up to you. No judgement here… 🙂

Skinny brow pencils have changed my life. They are just SO EASY. A lazy girl’s dream come true. If you want to see my review/dupes of skinny brow pencils, click here.

After my brow pencil, I must set my brows because I was blessed with the crazy brow hairs that aren’t straight and like to fall and just no. So setting them with a brow gel is oh so important.

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The popular option is Anastasia brow gel. It’s rated amazing on makeup alley and on sephora. Now, I just finished a travel size tube of this a couple months ago and I have to say while it is great, it’s not my favourite. Here’s why. It seriously holds your brows in place, so much so that they become rock hard. I honestly found I was losing brow hairs because it was hardening them so much – and isn’t that the opposite of the point here?? I’m filling in my brows because they’re sparse… but now this stuff is making them more sparse… No bueno. I also find it to be ridiculously over priced. I have no problem paying a pretty penny for a great high-end product, but when it’s something that I can find a dupe for from the drug store – no thanks! But seriously, how come no one is talking about how this stuff makes your brows SO hard?! I find it so strange.

Deep Brown-Brow Drama-pack

Next I tried the Maybelline brow drama. This has definitely been all the rage for a while, but it’s not my favourite either. Here’s why. While it does supply colour (pardon my Canadian) to the brows, it does not hold them well. Here’s a case where the high-end product is absolutely worth it; The Benefit Gimme Brow – which people say the maybelline is a dupe for – it gives colour, holds brows in place AND it has mini fibres.  I tried a sample of the gimme brow, but I have yet to buy it, it’s on my list!

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Finally enter in probably one of the cheapest yet most effective beauty products I’ve ever bought: Essence brow gel. You know, Essence, that cute little display that looks like it should be beside the flavoured lip smackers section? Yes, overlook the style ok, the products are amazing and ridiculously cheap. This particular brow gel is $2.99 and it does its job.. very well. It holds my brows all day long, but here’s the kicker, they do not get crunchy and hard! It’s like the mousse that claims to not make your hair crunchy, except it’s actually true! My brows don’t move but they also aren’t rock hard. Now, why do I love this and not the classic great lash clear mascara? It’s not as wet. You know the feeling of putting brow gel on and it’s just too much and you can feel it on your skin… nope. I find great lash picks up a bit too much product while essence doesn’t. Also, essence is cheaper!

I’m really in love with this stuff, and for $3 who wouldn’t be. Mmmmbye Anastasia! Cya never!

Empties Update! (Yes, more!)

The clear evidence of being on a no-buy: so. many. empties. 

I think there’s a certain mentality that is adopted when going on a no-buy. At least for me, I’ve been not only not buying new products, but I’ve been really making an effort to use what I have. I’m really appreciating my collection and rediscovering products that were hidden in the back of my drawers. 

I do have to say that I have bought a few things here and there, but I am really ok with that. It hasn’t been anything major and hasn’t effected how I’m using my products. All in all, after 12 weeks, I am very happy with this no-buy journey and I really recommend trying it if you’re a beauty junky!

Here are the empties I have accumulated since last time!

Rimmel lasting finish 25 hour foundation – the original one – I actually liked the original way better. I find the new formula looks grey on my skin and I’m not a fan, though it does have excellent coverage and lasting power. 

Bourjois healthy mix serum foundation. I love this foundation but I’m having an affair with the original healthy mix (not serum) that I bought in England. I find it lasts longer and has better coverage, as I mentioned in my favourites.

Annabelle skinny brown pencil. My total go-to brow pencil. It’s basically the same as Anastasia except it’s $10!

Sephora waterproof brow pencil. Ok, I don’t know where they get off calling this waterproof, it’s the same as all the other skinny brow pencils I’ve tried, but it is a good option and still cheaper than Anastasia brow wiz. 

Jesses Girl liner. I loved this liner and it lasted me a good amount of time, but it suddenly dried out without warning. It went from totally wet to totally dry by the next time I tried to use it. And the lid was on fine. Maybe it just gave up!

Maybelline lash sensational. I’m not going to bother you guys any more about my favourite HG mascara… ☺️

Victoria Secret bombshell perfume. I honestly think this is the hottest smell in the world. It is just so damn sexy. I will definitely buy this again, just not till the Boxing Day sale… Because I think it’s slightly expensive for what it is. 

Simple cleansing water. My new alternative to bioderma that works just as well and keeps more money in my pockets! Try it. 

Okay sensitive face wash. A very basic cleanser that i’ve been using for a while. I used harsh cleansers. I used proactiv (yikes). I used cleansing milks. I used cleansing balms. But I have settled for this as a very fuss-free option that doesn’t clog my pores, leave my face tight and dry, and doesn’t break the bank. I’ve been using this for over a year and a half and it took me so long to get through it (I have two bottles on the go but still). 

Cerave PM. My HG moisturizer that doesn’t clog me and provides great skin loving ingredients. I mix this with a high linoleic safflower oil and it works wonders. 

Kirkland face wipes: the best for the cheapest price. I wash my face after using a wipe anyways, most people do, so why spend so much money on face wipes?! Costco has a huge box of these for $13. Do it. 

Simple face wipes: NOTE: these burned my skin. They hurt so bad. I have used them before and I didn’t have that problem, but the two packs I had burned my face like crazy. And it wasn’t just me, my two friends tried them and had the same burning sensation! Crazy! Simple, what gives?! 

  

Batiste dry shampoo. I don’t think I need to explain this.

ProNamel toothpaste. Ok so random I know, but this toothpaste is awesome. And not for the reasons you would think. If you deal with dry lips, rashes, eczema around your mouth, try changing your toothpaste! Most toothpastes have foaming agents in them which can irritate your lips and skin. Pronamel doesn’t foam up, so I switched to it and my eczema went away! Not to mention it does help your enamel so that’s always great. 

Live Clean keratin oil shampoo. I honestly think I’ve gone through like 7 of these… I am so in love. Live clean is an amazing brand as well. Their products are natural and great for sensitive scalps/skin. I find this shampoo cleanses well without stripping my hair and making it dry. Also it smells heavenly. 

 

And that is what I’ve gone through since my last empties update! A lot, I know! I’m very proud of myself. I also have noticed I am getting into some serious holy grail item routines. My moisturizer, cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, mascara, wipes, ect have not changed since last year. It is nice trying new things, but it’s also really nice creating a routine and HG items for yourself. I’m enjoying it! 

Xoxo

Brand Review: Essence!

It’s every beauty addicts dream: you walk into the drugstore and you see that perfect little “NEW” sign.

When Essence came to Canada, I first started seeing the brand in Shoppers Drug Mart (side note – gotta hand it to SDM for bringing in Euro products like No 7, Bourjois, ect. I guess hanging on to the Queen is working out for us 😉 ),  I thought it was for little girls. And I mean, to a certain extent it kind of is.. the cutesie packaging and colours, it is definitely targeted at young girls and not grown women. Well, I started seeing people talking about it, and of course as soon as that happened I needed to get my hands on the products. Now, Essence is known as an amazing drugstore find. It’s super cheap (everything under $5) and awesome quality that reminds us all of high-end makeup. I honestly thing if you did a blind test side by side, these products could pass for some Sephora-quality brands. And not to mention, it is a German brand, which is really hard to find among inexpensive products.

I’ve decided to do a little mini review of the brand as a whole, as I love it so much. But even if you don’t read any further, here’s a summary of my thoughts: TOTALLY WORTH IT, AWESOME, GREAT QUALITY, DO IT, WHY AREN’T YOU AT THE STORE BUYING IT RIGHT NOW.

Here are some of the things I own from Essence:

Essence Lipstick in Blush My Lips (12)

Holy bright pink batman. These lipsticks go for $2.99 and I would honestly pay $20 each for them. I picked this one up recently and I’ve only used it once. I’m not super brave with bright lips, but I’ve decided this is the summer to push myself out of my lipstick comfort zone!

Essence Lipstick in Natural Beauty (07)

This is a fantastic MLBB shade that is perfect for every day. The formula of these lippies is wonderful! They smell great, they are creamy and they last well.

Essence Lipstick in Barely There! (06)

Another amazing MLBB shade, but this one is more mauve/brown/ Kylie lip jenner. I also love to wear this every day and

Essence Lipstick in On The Catwalk! (04)

I love this lipstick for night, it reminds me of the one above, but darker with more burgundy. All of the lipsticks are amazing quality and have the same great formula!

Essence Sheer Lipstick in Almost Famous (44)

Ok so maybe I bought this because of the name, like I said in my May favourites, I definitely did. But it is a great little lippie as well! Very sheer and shiny red that is easy to throw on to give some colour to the lips. I keep it in my purse and use it daily. The name gets me every time. Love that movie. 

Swatches:

Left to right: Blush my lips, Natural beauty, Barely there, On the catwalk. Top: Almost famous.

Next is Essence Long Lasting Eyeliner.

 

I picked up Coolest Chic (16) and I Have a Green (12). I find Coolest chic to be a little too much glitter, but I love the way that purple brings out my green eyes. The formula is pretty long-lasting, but if you do suffer from your liner smudging on your upper eyelid, I wouldn’t recommend using it there, or only use a tiny bit. I Have a Green is a an awesome shade, it is exactly like my Sephora waterproof green liner pencil, but it was $1.99.   

A recent purchase for me is the Essence Lash and Brow Gel. I bought this as I used up my Anastasia brow gel and I had to make an exception with my no-buy after going months without brow gel… I did try the Maybelline brow drama, which gives some good colour but honestly SUCKS to hold brows in place. This Essence brow gel is friggen awesome, it was $1.99 and it holds just as well as the Anastasia, BUT it doesn’t make my brows hard like Anastasia gel does! EVEN BETTER! Not to mention the Anastasia brow gel is a serious dip in the wallet for something so simple… I would rather spend my money on foundation and mascara.

I also have two eyeliner brushes, which I use for both liner and brows. They are A W E S O M E.

I hope you can see how tiny these brushes are, the green one even more so. They are so amazing for liner and for brows! Both brushes were $2.99 each!  

I am completely obsessed with Essence and I will definitely be buying more from them, especially at their price point! Is there anything you would recommend from Essence that I should try next? I want to get my hands on some shadows!

xoxo, Ali

Favourites of May / MIA ME! / No-Buy Update!

Oh well hello there lovely peoples of the Internet world. It’s that time again, another month is over (zomg) and June has begun! Summer is here!! (If you’re Canadian though you know we’re still waiting and we will be all summer for consistent “summer” weather).  I have been completely MIA for the last month and I really did miss posting. As soon as I got back from England I started working and I have just been busy as a bee lately! But rest assured (as if you really care) IM HERE and IM ALIVE.  So here you go my friends, here are my May favourites!

Numero uno is more like an obsession. I picked up the original Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in England and I have been using it for a month straight now. Every day I mix it with a tiny bit of Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous to add a little more coverage and longevity. It is such a nice foundation. I would say the biggest difference between this and the Healthy Mix Serum is that this one has slightly better coverage and is not as dewy. It also lasts a bit longer than the serum version. I do prefer this one over the serum because I prefer a medium coverage and my skin tends to get oily.

Next is the love of my mascara life, Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara. I have seriously been using this since December when it became available in Canada. I’ve used about a tube a month, as that’s how long it takes me to go through it / dry it out. I might talk about this a tad too much but I just think it’s the best ever. If you are not into waterproof but deal with smudgy mascara, try this! The formula is somewhere in between regular and waterproof but it isn’t as hard to get off as waterproof is.

I have a nail polish favourite this month, Essie Mind Your Mittens. I guess by the sounds of the name this is supposed to be a winter shade… But hey, I’m all for black and anything that looks remotely black. This does look black in the dark but it’s really a dark navy / grey colour. It stays on well with a base and top coat and I’m really loving it right now!

I am all for getting my hair dyed as few times as possible… Around 3 times a year I get blonde highlights and then between dyes I use this L’oreal Casting Sunkiss by Healthy Look. I strategically place this on my roots and in places highlights would naturally go. It does such a great job and really helps as my hair grows out. This honestly saves me a ton of money and it smells amazing! No damaging effects and it looks super natural. You really can’t mess it up because it’s so gradual. In love! (PS – whenever I use a product like this I am reminded of my 9 year old self using sun-in by the pool… anyone else?)

I think if I had to use one cream for the rest of my life it would be this. The Weleda Skin Food.  I had heard such great things about this product, and not just for your hands. Many people use it on their face, I personally haven’t been brave enough yet, but people love it. It has an earthy natural yummy smell and it’s super thick. I originally bought this for the plane to England and now I’m just obsessed! Do you even see how loved this thing is??

Ok so maybe I bought this product because of the name. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Ok I did. But it’s really lovely as well. Essence Almost Famous lipstick. Almost Famous is my favourite movie and when I saw this lipstick I could not pass it up. Let’s be real, it was only $2.99 so come on. I actually really love the scent and it’s a very moisturizing formula. It’s a very sheer red so it’s nice for a touch of colour without actually wearing a bold lipstick. This lives in my purse.

  

Oh Atelier. How I love thee. I’ve been wearing this perfume almost every day and I’m in love. The Atelier scents are all naturally derived and they last FOR-EV-ER. It smells like warm vanilla with a mix of something else that I’m not going to even try to describe. Super amazing quality product and you definitely get what you pay for with this one.

So there we have my May Favourites. I cannot believe May is over. Doing these favourites make the months seem faster, yikes!

No-Buy Update!

I have been on my no-buy for 11 weeks now. Apart from two smalls cheats and my England haul (which i planned and was allowed) I have done very well. I am only buying the things I absolutely need. I wish I had a dollar amount for how much I’ve saved! Probably somewhere in the $300 range… eek! My empties are accumulating like crazy, even though I did an empties post only 5 weeks age! There will be another soon! I am going to Chicago next week and I have another allowance planned for Ulta and Sephora! It seems like the trend is that my “allowances” are planned around my trips. It’s perfect to grab things that us Canadians cannot get our hands on!

England Makeup Haul!!

I just recently returned from a trip to England and I of course could not return to Canada without some goodies! I made a list in advance as I am still on a no-buy, but I onviously had to take a small break from it while on my trip. My list only focused on items I could not get in Canada, or that were a better deal in England (spoiler alert – not too much was a better deal because of the exchange rate 😲).

Firstly I picked up something that I have been wanting to try for a while, the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation. I am a big fan of the Healthy Mix Serum but it is very light coverage and doesn’t last too long on my skin. I had heard that the original Healthy Mix has a medium coverage and better longevity… It’s true! I bought one bottle at the beginning of my trip and I ended up buying more at the end because I knew I was already obsessed. The healthy mix serum is available in Canada at some shoppers drug marts for around $30, but the original healthy mix is not (hence me stocking up). Bourjois products were 2 for £14 (which is around $28 Canadian so this was one of the items that was a better deal). I grabbed my regular (52 vanilla) and tanned shade (53 beige).

The next product I bought, also from Bourjois, was the Healthy Balance Powder. As it was about half price to buy it at Boots rather than in Canada at SDM, I decided to pick it up. Do I need more powders? Absolutely not. Am I happy I bought this? SO HAPPY. This powder is really great, it is very finely milled and is super slim and light so it’s a perfect compact. It does its job and that’s all I ask for.

This next product I actually already have, but I needed to pick up a lighter shade (warm 2) as the one I have suits my tanned face. The Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is all the rage. It is inexpensive at £3.99 ($8 Canadian) and is a really great little concealer. I have to say I am spoiled by NARS creamy concealer, so I have a tendency to compare everything to it, which never works out for the other products haha. This concealer reminds me of the Maybelline fit me, but just not quite as creamy. They have another thing in common, as you can see the branding is already rubbing off!

I have had my eye on the Sleek Contour and Highlight Kit for quite a while. Well, I’ve had my eye on sleek for quite a while in general. I had a few blushers and bronzes listed to pick up, but I ended up going with just this one. I still had to somewhat maintain my no-buy mentality so I didn’t go crazy. I’m very happy with this little duo that I bought for £6.50. The highlight shade is very pretty neutral highlight and the contour shade reminds me of benefit hoola. It is also quite sleek packaging too (pun intended) so it’s great for travel.



This little eyeshadow has been very hard to find in Canada (is it even available in Canada??) and I was so happy to find it in Boots for about £3. Tanya Burr used this Rimmel Eyeshadow in Smokey Quartz for years and I was always obsessed with it. It comes across lighter in picture but it’s such a pretty goldy taupe/brown on the eyes. (… I really cannot describe colours…sorry..).


The last thing I picked up, which I unfortunately do not have a picture of, is some Batiste dry shampoo as it was a better deal to buy in England. I was pretty happy with that as they had some scents I’ve never seen before!

I also did some clothes shopping at Topshop, New Look and Primark which I was very happy with. But again, the exchange rate is a nightmare for us Canadians so I really needed to watch my spending. I was always doubling the cost of things because that is essentially the exchange rate (yikes)!

I had a fantastic time visiting England and even though I was very tame with my makeup haul, I am very happy with my purchases!!

Now, back to project no-buy!!

Empties / No-Buy Update!!

It has been just over a month since I started my no-buy and I have been pretty successful. My whole goal was to use up what I have and save money. In the last month I’ve found that I have been not only really appreciating the collection I have, but also just using more products in general. I’ve made my way trough quite a few moisturizers and I’ve hit pan on a few things as well! 

Let’s begin with the empties and some mini reviews of each!

 

I managed to get through a serious amount of moisturizer. It’s still very dry in Toronto and my skin is really feeling it. 

  • I used probably my fifth bottle of Cerave PM face moisturizer. This stuff is awesome. It has great moisturizing properties but it also has skin communicating ingredients. I use this during the day as well – my skin hates Cerave AM for some reason. 
  • I bought the Cerave Lotion for my face but it was too heavy so I ended up using it for body and it was great. It doesn’t have a scent, it’s just a really good moisturizer with similar great ingredients to Cerave PM. 
  • The Garnier body intensive in cocoa butter smells amazing and does a good job, except I find it really just sits on top of the skin and I can feel it wash off in the shower. I bought it at Dollarama so no harm done, and I would buy it again just for the scent!
  • Bath and Body Works in Orange Saphire, bought at the semi annual sale.. Probably a couple years ago… Yeah so this really just needed to be used and tossed. The smell is really nice but this isn’t available to buy anymore. 
  • Philosophy peppermint stick hand cream, if you like sweet peppermint for Christmas time this is perfect. It’s an OK hand cream but it just smells so good. 

  

  • Bioderma Micelle Solution is, in my opinion, the best makeup remover ever. There are some great dupes out there now for much cheaper prices, but this still reins over all as the queen of removers. I’ve been through about 7 of these but I’ve now moved on to the Simple Micelle solution. 
  • Kirkland makeup wipes – if you’re spending ten dollars a pack for 30 wipes I honestly think you’re crazy. If you have a Costco membership and you don’t buy these then you’re even more crazy. If you don’t have a membership then find someone and go with them. These have similar ingredients to all the popular makeup wipes so why spend more? You get a huge box for under $15. I’ve been using these for years now. 
  • Nip and Fab dark circle fix. I honestly saw no change while using this consistently for months. It also had a sticky residue while it dried and felt pretty weird… I finished it and wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve moved on to the Burt’s Bees Royal jelly eye cream which was in my March monthly favourites!
  • Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask. I know it seems like there is more in there, but I literally squeezed every last drop out. I don’t know if this is just me, but I have a hard time seeing results from masks. I see people rave about feeling so detoxed and clear after and I honestly just don’t see it. Yes I feel clean after using it, but my skin also feels dry and tight. Is it really working? I hope so. Maybe. Who even knows. If it is, it isn’t instant and I don’t have the proof. I’m sure I’ll repurchase this or something similar because I feel the need to use a mask. 

  

  • I finished a whole NYC Bronzer in Sunny. This bronzer is matte and like $3. It is great for paler skin tones and really comparable to Benfit Hoola. It tends to break up at the end and gets a little hard to use, but it takes a longggg time to get to the pan anyways. 
  • Travel size Anastasia Brow gel. Solid brow gel, I actually find it a little too wet when it’s new. I liked it more towards the end when it dried out a tiny bit. Maybe that’s just me. I find it holds my brows in place better than anything else. 
  • Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. I think I’ve been through about 6 of these since November. This is my favourite mascara and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I do find it dries out faster than normal and gets pretty gunky (the eye drop trick doesn’t work either). I’m willing to look passed that though because it’s such a good mascara. 

  

  • Live Clean Keratin oil shampoo, my favourite ever. This stuff is amazing and smells SO good. It is the perfect balance of cleansing and moisturizing and leaves my hair happy. This was my fourth bottle and I have two more stocked up ready to go. 
  • Garnier Damage Eraser Butter makes my hair feel like silk and it’s only like $4. This was my third tub and I use it pretty generously so I go through it quickly. I really feel the difference if I don’t use it. I highly recommend it. I of course will be buying another one. 
  • Tresemme Fresh Start dry shampoo. I picked this up because I was in a rush and couldn’t get Batiste. I really did not like this stuf. I felt like it contained no product and really took so much to actually get desired results… Not worth it at all. No Bueno!

My no-buy is going well and I have hit pan on a few things! Here they are:

   
Rimmel Stay Matte powder. I have a few of these – in my makeup bag, in my purse, in my school bag- so to get through one is a big deal for me. 

MUFE Mat Bronze. I have had this for a while and I’m so close to finishing it! It will literally never end. It is the bronzer that keeps on giving.   

  

Benefit Hoola. Again, this magic little box is bottomless and I just can’t finish it. I’m trying so hard. It’s pretty amazing. 

  

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Dollface. I see more and more pan every day and it’s very exciting. I love this blush for a very natural flushed look. 

 

Mac Studio Fix powder. For very light makeup days, this powder has great coverage. I just find it can look cakey on me. I prefer a more dewy look, but I am getting through this and finally hit pan. 

So these are all the empties I have so far, and the makeup products I’m very close to finishing. It’s really exciting to see progress being made on this no-buy! If you are on a no-buy I would love to hear about your progress!