product reviews

Product Review: Original Beauty Blender

Maybe you’ve seen that little pink, bulb shaped sponge at Sephora and wondered what it is and why you need it. Well that my friends is the Original Beauty Blender Sponge and I’ll give you a few good reasons why you need it!

The common use is to use it to apply your foundation. My favorite way is to run it under warm water then squeeze it a few times to release the extra water, dip it into foundation and dab and blend all over my skin. The water helps to give you a smooth finish, and also works to ‘fill’ the sponge so it doesn’t soak up (and waste) a lot of extra foundation.

The shape of the sponge allows you to move the foundation into and around all the creases of your skin – again giving you that flawless finish.

If you are a powder foundation lover, this sponge, slightly dampened, rolls over your skin to lock the powder in and eliminates the ‘powder look’ – thus giving you a glowy, more natural finish.

Use it to dab on your liquid blush, to blend in your contour, highlighter and luminizer, and even use the thinner end to apply your concealer.

I have a friend who has a second sponge she uses to ‘roll on’ her moisturizer every morning and evening. I have personally not tried this – I really should – but she swears it’s a great treat for the skin and that her moisturizer gets absorbed better.

There are other blending sponges on the market, and I admit I haven’t tried all of them, but I have tried a few of them and they just aren’t quite up to the quality of the Original Beauty Blender.

I have had mine for almost four years, use it a few times a week, and it’s still in great shape! As with any makeup tool, don’t forget to clean it often however.

So no matter what type of makeup you use – tinted moisturizer, full coverage foundation, or powder – invest in one of these awesome little pink sponges!

Product Review: TARTE Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

Today’s review is about a longtime favorite product of mine – TARTE’s Lights, Camera, Splashes Mascara!

As a teen in the 90’s I gravitated towards the ever popular green and pink tube of Maybelline Great Lash – but oh boy, have I learned since then! In my 20+ years of being a beauty lover and my almost 10 years being immersed directly IN the beauty industry I estimate I’ve tried about 100 different brands and types of mascara. So the fact that whenever I’m not being sent a new product to try and I’m in need of mascara I pick up a tube of Lights, Camera, Lashes EVERY time is saying a lot!

Now I’ve got to say that this mascara is my ‘everyday use’ mascara. It won’t give you sky high glossy, jet black, touching your forehead, lashes (I’ve got other products for that which I’ll share in the future!) but you (likely) don’t want a mascara that daring in your every day routine anyway – you want nice, clump-free, definition that doesn’t flake or give you raccoon eyes after only a few hours of wearing it – and Lights, Camera, Lashes will make you proud.

The tube itself is this really cool, quilted packaging that DOESN’T ROLL OFF YOUR COUNTER!! SO key because how often have we put our mascara down to wipe off a stray bit, or curl your lashes…and it rolls right off the counter?! But awesome packaging aside, this mascara is great. For those of you who are swimmers or criers Lights, Camera, SPLASHES is also available and is the waterproof version (disclaimer: as I am not a swimmer, nor much of a crier, I have not tried this particular product).

Now, the bad news…this mascara is a bit on the pricey side…it’ll set you back about $25 and as you all should be doing, mascara should be replaced every 3-4 months so this may be a bit of a bite in the bank account. I personally think it’s worth it. I have other products I prefer on the ‘lower end’ of the scale so splurging for a particular product which always comes through is worth it.

 

 

 

Product Review: NARS Pressed Finishing Powder

Today’s product is the NARS Pressed Finishing Powder! NARS is a company that doesn’t disappoint – they have a wide array of products and are up on the latest trends – but not shoving them in your face. NARS provides a nice blend of classy and stylish makeup. And they are cruelty free which is extremely important to me.

The NARS pressed finishing powder will set your makeup and add a luminous sheen to your face – giving it an airbrushed look. It lasts a long time and sets your makeup beautifully. Upon first glance this white powder may be intimidating to some (not me since I’m super pale haha) but it truly does melt into your makeup and lock it in with a gently glowy (not JLo glowy!) look so I’d recommend it no matter what your skin tone is. If your skin is dry it can look slightly cakey – but if you use a finishing spray as well that will help it settle into that no-makeup look.

The first few times I picked up this product I grabbed the loose version – I liked it but found it a wee bit messy (as loose powders can be!), then one time I went to pick some up and my local Sephora was out of the loose, so I picked up the pressed. At first I found the pressed a wee bit harder to work with, since I was used to the loose, but actually found myself re-buying the pressed on my last trip since it is a bit more convenient to work with. It’s easier to travel with as it comes in a smaller container, and is easy to use on-the-go if you need to.

NARS has a wide range of colored pressed powders to match your skin tone, and they are great products, but I prefer this white pressed finishing powder. I find it easier to work with and happier with the results on my skin.

Product Review: Hard Candy Glamoflauge

I have some friends who are professional makeup artists and their kits are loaded up with products from the higher end brands that they work for/prefer…but recently two of them admitted to me that they carry a special, extra low priced secret weapon in their stash…

The secret is Hard Candy’s Glamoflauge! It’s a light, yet heavy duty concealer which can be used to conceal, well, just about anything! I picked up a tube a few months ago and have been quite impressed. I dab just a little on my red areas, and any small breakouts, and it covers surprisingly well, lasts a long time, and most importantly, doesn’t go super cakey – even at the end of a very long day! I’ve also used it on top of a few more serious pimples I battled about a month ago and it covers those well too. Dark circles are a wee bit of a challenge for this product – if yours are light this may be worth a try, but mine are super duper so I need to use a different product.

Glamoflauge is a good sized tube and a steal of a deal – I believe it’s about $6 a tube. This product REALLY holds up to a lot of the fancier, much more expensive brands.

Product Review: Bare English & Co Lip Balm

I didn’t really want to do two lip products in a row for Product Review Friday but a  friend recently introduced me to the most amazing lip balm ever and I just have to share! It’s the Bare English and Co lip balm and it, my friends, is amazing.

This wonderful little tube of joy isn’t sticky but is luxuriously moisturizing and leaves a very gentle sheen to the lips. Available in 12 flavors, there’s truly something for everyone. The company is proud to use only natural waxes, oils and tea infused flavors. I have tried the Fresh Grapefruit, and am now using the Vanilla Coconut – and I am IN LOVE with this lip balm! The flavors are amazing, and the two I have tried have definitely smelled exactly like the description, without being fake or syrupy sweet as you so often find with flavored lip balms.

The only SLIGHT issue I have with the balm is that it is packaged in an oval container so applying it can be a wee bit messy, either overlapping your lips with product or having to manuever the tube sideways. This is something super easy to get over however since it is such an amazing product. And the thing that makes up for it is that THE TUBE WON’T ROLL OFF YOUR COUNTER! Amazing. Brilliant. Buy this product!

Product Review: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Lip Nectar Lip Gloss

Those who know me well – or actually even a little – know how much of a makeup junkie I am! Lipsticks and glosses in particular. My lip collection had grown to 66 shades at last count and I may or may not have picked up a few more this summer. But while it is nice to have many options to grab from I find myself wearing the same shade for weeks at a time, before I move on to another.

This summer my go-to lip gloss was the Body Shop honey bronze lip nectar moisturizing lip gloss. I lost track of how many times I was asked ‘what lip gloss are you wearing?!’.  It’s nothing fancy – it just adds a hint of color, and wears fairly well.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Body Shop. Let me explain – I do like their practices, I always go for cruelty free, their prices are quite reasonable, and I’m surprisingly impressed with most of the makeup products I’ve tried from them. Over the last few years I’ve moved away from their body care products for my own pursuit in using more natural products, but if that’s not something you care about, their soaps foam and rinse well and their body butters do their job to moisturize without being overly greasy.  Here’s where the issue comes in – they discontinue SO many products! Every time I find a product I truly love from them it’s discontinued shortly after. It all started years ago after a teenage love affair with fuzzy peaches and dewberry (although they do offer these products occasionally as re-promotes) then moved to the colored mascaras of the early 2000’s, a leave in conditioner I was quite fond of, the amazing hair brush they once had, the original rose lotion, then the major one I’ve still not been able to get over – the cream eye makeup remover in the bottle (reformulated to the tin, which is not nearly as good of a product IMO). And now here we go again – after buying this lip gloss twice, loving it, and recommending it, it seems to have disappeared from their lineup!

They do have a similar product in actual lip balm (egg shaped) form, which I tried in store. This one seems to be creamier and healthier for the lips while adding a similar sheen to the lips so I may look into this further. However a friend recently told me she saw the original product I’m referring to at her local (Vancouver) store and she picked up 2 tubes, so I’m really not sure if it’s still out there or not.

If you can find it pick it up! It’s a great price, a quick, easy, inexpensive color to add a wee bit of sheen to your lips – and gain a lot of compliments!

Product Review: Lavanila Healthy Deodorant

Happy Fall (my favorite season)!

With fall officially starting this week, today is a great day to review one of my most favorite natural products of all time – the Lavanila Healthy Deodorant.

The jury still seems to be out on whether antiperspirants actually cause health problems, but there is definitely enough grey area to make me think twice about using them. So this is why I have turned to natural based deodorants. I’ve tried no less than 10 kinds and the Lavanila Healthy Deodorant is the one I always come back to because it seems to work the best. Keep in mind that even the best natural deodorant isn’t going to stop sweat if you push it to its limits – so on the hottest days of the year, or if I’m going to be quite active, I slap on the ‘traditional’ antiperspirant, but for day-to-day typical use I use the Lavanila and it keeps me feeling fresh.

I’m quite impressed with the whole Lavanila line (lotions, perfumes, etc) and will likely review all of the products in the future. Each product in the line comes in a vanilla based scent (pure vanilla, vanilla blackberry, vanilla passion fruit, etc…) and also scent free. I have tried most of the vanilla scents but usually buy the pure vanilla the most as it seems to be the most subtle, and it mixes well with other lotions I may be wearing that day.

This product is a wee bit pricy (about $14 US/$20 CDN I believe) but it’s worth it! One tube lasts a while (you don’t need to use a lot) and it provides great moisturizing benefits for your underarms as well as good odor control. The scent lingers a bit but isn’t too overpowering. The roll on goes on as a thin white paste but I’ve never had any issues with it coming off on my clothing – and I wear a LOT of black!

Two thumbs up for this awesome natural deodorant!