Friday, December 30, 2011

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

I bought this 1 oz bottle at my local Sephora for $42 CDN. It is available for purchase at Sephora stores, and anywhere NARS products are sold.

My 'winter' shade is the lightest available Siberia; my 'summer' shade is Fiji. Siberia is the lightest shade available out of 15 shades. Siberia is "light with neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones." Fiji is the fifth lightest shade available. It is "light with yellow undertones."

This is a liquid foundation marketed toward normal, normal-to-dry, dry, and very dry skin types. As evident by the name "Glow," this is a dewy satin-finish foundation. It is not shimmery or glittery, but leaves the skin with an obvious radiant, luminous sheen. This would not be an ideal foundation for those with oily skin, as it will exacerbate the shininess of the oily zones on the face.

Also evident by the name, this is a sheer, light-weight foundation with buildable coverage. It is marketed as having a weightless finish by enhancing, without masking, one's natural complexion. It claims to hydrate the skin while improving skin's radiance, brightness and texture.

I personally adore this foundation. Mostly because it's the best match for my skin I've ever found. Because I am so pale, it's nearly impossible for me to find a perfect match for my skin tone. I have pink and yellow undertones, and it's very difficult for me to find a foundation that's a combination of both.

The square bottle is made of a heavy frosted glass. There is a black velvety square cap that sits loosely on top of a smaller circular cap. The large square cap is just for aesthetics - it proves to inhibit the safe and secure sealing of the bottle, so I recommend just popping the square lid off and leaving the smaller circular one on to cap off the bottle. I have had one too many close calls with keeping the square lid on to make the bottle 'look pretty,' and having the cap loosely screwed on and almost losing valuable product this way. Also, this foundation does not have a pump - it would be so much more convenient and efficient to have a pump dispenser instead of having to pour the foundation out of the bottle opening.

I got matched for this foundation by one of the Sales Associates at Sephora. She did a beautiful job of matching my skin tone and showing me how to use the foundation appropriately.

I apply this foundation with a couple of apparatuses. First, and my favorite method, with a damp 'beauty blender' egg sponge. I don't have the 'real' Beauty Blender egg, but a knock off that I purchased for $10 at London Drugs. I dot the foundation around my face, and use the sponge to stipple the foundation. The damp nature of the sponge allows for an even, sheer application of foundation - I am able to build the coverage if I so desire, without making the foundation look cakey or streaky. My second favorite method is with the use of the Quo Precision Foundation Kabuki brush. Once again, I dot the foundation around my face, and buff into the skin with circular motions. This method allows for a little more coverage than the previous method, but also prevents streaking and cakiness.

The foundation feels so weightless and light on my skin, it's very hydrating. It does not aggravate my dry patches, but it can cling to them and make them somewhat more noticeable depending on the severity of the dry patch.

The coverage is really nice. It goes on fairly sheer - enough to even out one's skin tone. It is buildable though. One can go from sheer to medium coverage with a couple of light layers of foundation. It is definitely not for those who desire a full coverage face full of 'paint.'

In regards to its longevity, this foundation holds up pretty well. It's not infallible, however, and with exertion, sweat, and time, the foundation will exhibit signs of wear. Most of my wear is on my t-zone - the oiliest parts of my face; this wear can be reduced, however, by setting my foundation with a powder. It lasts better than your average drugstore foundation, but it's not outstandingly long lasting.

I LOVE this foundation. It gives me a natural looking finish with sheer coverage on a 'good skin' day, and a medium-coverage flawless finish on a 'could-be-better' skin day - a radiant glow from within my foundation. It doesn't overly cling to dry patches or aggravate my dry skin. It's hydrating, smooths the appearance of my skin, brightens and evens out my complexion. And best of all, I've found matches for my skin tone.

One of the downsides is the cost. $42 for a bottle of foundation is not an easy pill to swallow, by any means. But the foundation goes a long way, and the bottle lasts me quite a while. I've had my bottle of Siberia for over a year now, and I still haven't made it halfway through.

I would definitely recommend checking this foundation out - especially if you are normal to very dry skin and want sheer to medium coverage. If you have the money to drop on trying this product out, it's a definite must have. There is a decent range of shades - something for everyone, for every combination of undertone :)

Because of the issues with packaging and the price, I wouldn't go so far as to give this a 5/5 for stars, but it is an amazing product and definitely worth the hefty price tag. So...

4 out of 5 stars, it is!
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Have you tried this foundation? Do you love it? Do you hate it?
I've also heard that the Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation is a dupe for this. Would you agree/disagree?

Quo by Orly Nail Polish in "First Class"

I received this nail polish as a gift from my beautiful sister for Christmas, however, these do retail for $10 CDN per bottle, unless you can find them on sale. As far as I'm aware, these are only sold at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Canada.

Now, I love Orly nail polishes. I absolutely adore them. I don't have that many, but they are funtabulous. They are highly pigmented, high shine, fast drying, formaldehyde free bottles of wonderful-ness. Currently, my collection consists of: Sweet Peacock, Butterflies, Secret Admirer, Rockin Rockette, and Pure Petunia. Now that may not seem like many, but it's enough to give me a good idea of how good (or bad) a brand can be - in general. I was extremely excited, needless to say, to see that Quo and Orly had teamed up to produce a line of nail polishes available to Canadians.

First Class is an almost light rose gold polish in the bottle, but a beautiful pink champagne color on your nails. This is slightly disappointing for me as I was looking forward to a rose gold color to add to my collection, but after I applied it - my disappointment immediately dissipated and I was left in pure joy and ecstasy. The color is very shimmery, in between frosty and just bordering on glittery - but definitely not in a bad way. If this was a 'frosty' polish instead of a shimmery one, I would have been incredibly disappointed. The shimmer is noticeable up close, but from a distance appears more metallic than anything. It is a beautiful, classy color, but definitely adds a certain 'pizzazz' to any outfit.

With Flash. I'm wearing Orly Sweet Peacock on my ring finger.

Without Flash. I'm wearing Orly Sweet Peacock on my ring finger.

The formula is not at all streaky, despite the finish of the polish. The application is smooth, and is perfectly opaque in two thin or thick coats (what have you). It dries exceptionally quickly - as most Orly polishes do - which makes manicures-on-the-go a breeze!

I added Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat over two coats of First Class but I found that the shine didn't really pick up that well over the shimmery gorgeousness of the pink champagne color. Which is completely fine by me, haha.

As far as wearing time goes, because this is a shimmery polish, the wear-time is a lot longer than your average creme finish. There is wear at the tips of my nails, depending on how much torture I decide to put my nails through that day - but no chipping or obvious stress marks that make you want to remove your polish and start your manicure anew.

Removing this polish is quite easy despite the shimmer. It comes off more easily than your average shimmer/glitter nailpolish, and doesn't leave stray sparkles everywhere that you have to wash off - there is a bit of runaway shimmer, but definitely not as much as others. And the color does not stain your nails.

I would need to dip my toe in and try a few more of these polishes (different textures and colors) before I could make a conclusive statement on the quality of the Quo by Orly brand, but so far I'm loving First Class and if it's any indication of how the rest of the collection is - I am sure I won't be disappointed.

My only complaint, obviously, is the steep price tag. At $10 a pop, it's not likely that I'll be buying up any more of these polishes any time soon. It's just a matter of waiting for a sale or cashing in my Optimum points *sigh* why must you be so dang expensive, my pretties!?!

If you get a chance, please try this color out!! It is a must have for every nail polish junkie!! In my rather extensive escapades in nail polish, I have never found a color quite like this one. Let me know what you think if you've tried this color, or if you've sampled any of the other Quo by Orly polishes!

5 out of 5 stars - DEFINITELY!!
* * * * *

I will definitely be rockin' this color on my nails for New Years. What color will you be wearing on your nails for New Years??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maybelline Baby Lips in "Peach Kiss"

These retail for about $4-7 CDN, and can be found anywhere Maybelline products are sold. They are sold in 6 different flavors/colors/scents: 005 Quenched, 010 Peppermint, 015 Cherry Me, 020 Grape Vine, 025 Pink Punch, and 030 Peach Kiss.

Each tube holds 4.4 g of product and contains an SPF of 20.

Seen left to right: 015 Cherry Me, 020 Grape Vine, 010 Peppermint, 030 Peach Kiss, 005 Quenched, and 025 Pink Punch

Maybelline claims that this is more than just your basic lip balm. The website boasts that you will see "visibly renewed lips [with] 8 hour hydration." Their exclusive 'lip renew formula' is supposed to protect and moisturize the lips for 8 full hours, and after 4 weeks, lips are supposed to be "visibly renewed and reborn."

Well I've finally been able to find these "babies" in Canadian stores, I even bought one as a Christmas present for my cousin. I purchased "Peach Kiss" from London Drugs for about $5 (including GST). Later that day, I found them for $4 at Walmart, oye.

Essentially, these are tinted lip balms. I find it exceptionally intriguing that Maybelline is taking this route - I never really expected them to market lip balms ever; however, the prospect intrigues me. And needless to say, I was not disappointed this time around...

The Baby Lips are packaged in sturdy twist-up tubes. Peach Kiss is in a purple tube with a transparent cap. Each flavor/scent has a different color associated with it, so it's very easy to identify (without looking at the product itself) which one you're picking up. The packaging is very fun and youthful - not sleek and sophisticated like some other chapsticks/lip balms one can purchase (so if that's what you're looking for, stay away), but definitely more eye-catching and different.

Peach Kiss is a rosey peach nude in the tube with very tiny flecks of green and silver shimmer. It applies very sheer in the first application, but can be built upon to add a decent amount of pigmentation to the lips. It comes off more nude/brown on my skin than it appears in the tube, but on my lips it doesn't really show up at all. There is a hint of pigmentation if you look closely, but it's mostly just the shimmery sheen left behind, since it's not pigmented enough to overpower my natural lip color that shows through. This product also adds a little bit of shine, as it is moisturizing, so it's sort of like a sheer lipstick and lip gloss in one. The shimmer isn't overly noticeable, if at all, it just adds a slight sheen to the lips.

On my lips, this color doesn't show up exceptionally well - which is all right for my purposes. My lips are fairly pigmented, so I didn't expect too much there. Peach Kiss tones down my natural lip color, if anything, making them appear slightly less pigmented and lighter, which can go really well with a darker, smoky eye makeup look.

This lip balm glides easily across my lips, but isn't too thin. I am one of those girls who really likes to slather on her lip products, especially chapstick/lip balm. I like feeling that thick layer on my lips - where I can rub my lips together, and they slide smoothly across each other. But I don't need to apply too much with this product to get that desired effect. It's thick enough to be comfortable (for me), without applying fifty layers, or needing a knife to scrape it off afterwards.

Because this is a tinted lip balm, the product is not going to last on your lips for a very long time. As you eat, talk and kiss, the product is going to wear off, as it's not meant to be long lasting like a longwearing lipstick or lipgloss. Yet as far as lip products go, this is reasonably wearing, which was a surprising observation.

In addition to being named after a fruit, Peach Kiss also smells, get this, like peaches! It does not taste like peaches, but has a very peachy smell. When first applied, the aroma is a lot stronger, but as you wear it, it dies down. I really enjoy the scent, just because I love the smell of peaches - and I find it uplifting to be able to indulge in this scent while wearing the product. It is not a 'fake' peach scent, but you can also smell a whiff of the lip balm mixed in with it, so while it isn't a true peach odor, it is a very realistic likeness.

As far as moisturization goes, this product is very effective. It makes my lips feel protected and comfortable, and even after it's worn off, I can still feel the effects slightly. I find myself always wanting to reapply it though, after it's all gone, just because I enjoy the way it feels on my lips.

One minor drawback is the way the color, or at least from what I've experienced with Peach Kiss, can sort of grab at the dry patches on your lips and pile up, making the color look uneven on your lips. In severe instances, I found that this can almost draw attention to the most chapped parts of your lips. However, if your lips are just mildly chapped, this drawback is hardly enough to dismiss the prospect of purchasing the Baby Lips altogether, it's just something to keep your eye on. I can not speak to how the other colors apply, but I feel that if the other colors just give your lips a 'stained' look, this would not be as much of a problem as with Peach Kiss where there is a more opaque transfer of color and a bit of shimmer to match.

Overall, is it worth it? I would say, "yes!" I would really love to go try some of the other flavors/scents like Grape Vine and Cherry Me. If you're one of those people who wants a bit of color on their lips, but not too much, this is a great, affordable alternative for you. Even for on the go, it's a really easy way to 'slap' on some color and moisture and just be out the door. Also, it's a lot more fun to whip out a tube of this and put on some pretty color, but knowing the whole time that you were just looking for some relief for your chapped lips. I love the convenience and practicality of this. I love how it moisturizes

Deal breakers for some people might be the scent, the price in comparison to a cheap $2 tube of Blistex, or the way the color can cling a little bit to the dry patches on your lips. However, it's not that big of a deal if you try one or two.

4 out of 5 stars.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NOTD: Orly "Sweet Peacock" Nail Lacquer

I did my Christmas shopping today - very late, I know. But during my escapade to the mall, I happened to stop in Winners and came across this beauty sitting all by it's lonesome on the shelf. I immediately snatched it up, as I do not have such a rich, mid-toned sparkly blue in my collection of nail polishes.

I bought this 0.6 fl oz (18 mL) bottle at Winners for $5.99 CDN. This polish was released as one of six in the Fall 2011 "Birds of a Feather" collection.

"Sweet Peacock" is a metallic turquoise blue polish with fine micro glitter of the silver and bright blue variety. The glitter is very fine - appearing just like a shimmer or a sheen, instead of having monstrous sequin discs on your nails. It gives a very bold, yet beautiful foiled/metallic finish that is simply eye-catching.

The application is very smooth, not streaky in the least. With some polishes of the same finish, you have to worry about making sure you make even, straight brush strokes to prevent the inevitable lines left from your application - not to worry with "Sweet Peacock"!! If you had exceptional skills, you could get away with one generous coat of this polish and call it good. I did two coats for good measure. The polish is that pigmented and concentrated, especially for shimmer/foil/metallic polishes.

Without the flash

With flash

As with all Orly polishes that I've had the pleasure of trying, this polish dried quickly, making the application process speedy and quick. It hardens like a dream - becoming completely dent and chip-resistant in a half an hour tops.

I am absolutely in love with this color, especially for this Christmas season. It's so winter-y and rich - jewel-tones are in this time of year, so I feel like I can get away with this brighter blue at this time of the year. In addition, this polish makes my hands look 'warmer' - I don't look so albino with it on, which I am totally in to.

I have yet to be thoroughly disappointed with an Orly polish - while some that I own are lacking in comparison to this polish, they always seem to deliver in pigmentation, durability, and speediness of hardening.

Definitely a must-have, if you're a nail polish junkie, like myself, or if you're just really into gorgeous turquoise blue colors that really pack a punch. Unfortunately, this won't really be one of those polishes for the faint of heart.

But if you end up trying it, or already own it, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on Orly's "Sweet Peacock" nail lacquer! Let me know what you think!!

Merry Christmas!!

My Night Time Skin Care Routine

So, it's bedtime, and I know that I really needed to upload a post - so I figured, why not share my night time skin care routine with you guys!?

I love reading other people's skin care routines, whether morning or night, to get an idea of what products they love, how they use them, etc.

My skin care routine at night is fairly quick and simple, as I'm not really looking for elaborate, life-changing results in the five minutes I want it to take at night for me to get in and out of the bathroom...

First of all, I must remove my makeup and cleanse my skin. This step is super easy for me, as it involves only one product: Cetaphil Gentle Daily Skin Cleanser (for normal to dry skin). With a wet wash cloth, I use one pump of product per eye, applying the cleanser to the wet rag, and then gently wiping my eye area to remove all of the makeup. I repeat this step for my other eye, taking another pump of product and cleaning off the area. If I've used foundation or bronzer/blush, I take a third pump and dot it on my forehead, each cheek, chin and nose, and then begin gently scrubbing off the makeup. It does not require "scrubbing," but gentle circular motions will easily take off almost any kind of makeup. For those days when I'm feeling extra generous, I will repeat this last step once more, focusing on those areas that are harder to remove makeup from (around the nose, under the eyes, along the hairline, etc.)

Secondly, I use a toner to remove any excess makeup and re-hydrate my skin. My all-time favorite toner is the Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hibiscus Facial Toner. I take one cotton pad (NOT a cotton ball... ugh, I despise those things...) and soak it with some of the toner. I apply this in circular motions all over my face, avoiding the eye/undereye area. This toner is very good at removing any excess makeup left behind by the makeup remover/cleanser step. It also rehydrates the skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. After using this product, I can instantly see an improvement in the tone and texture of my skin. I love the way it makes my skin feel!

Third, I moisturize. After the toner is finished drying (I'll usually brush my teeth between the second and third steps...), I apply my moisturizer, concentrating the product around the center of my face and working the product outwards. I use moisturizer very sparingly; about a pea-sized dollop is all I need to cover my face with a thin layer of product. My favorite moistruizer of the moment is Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion (for normal to dry skin). I apply the remnants of the lotion on my forehead after concentrating the majority of the product all over my cheeks, nose, chin, eyelids and undereye area. My forehead tends to be the most oily spot of my whole face, so it needs the least product. For those places I am extra dry, I will take a little bit extra moisturizer and concentrate it where needed.

Lastly, I apply spot treatment to any acne or to prevent future breakouts. Since my skin overall is fairly oily, I can get away with this step. Most people will not be able to do this - in this case, they will spot treat any existing blemishes and stop here. For me, I find that my breakouts are hard to pinpoint until they've begun festering. I especially develop this on my cheeks in the form of blackheads. As a preventative measure, and because my skin is very tolerant of this method, I will apply a pea-sized amount of acne spot treatment to each cheek, and then apply a thin layer to my chin, on the areas of my nose that get blackheads, and a pea-sized amount to my forehead. This step helps dry up any forthcoming breakouts, and reduce the inflammation of existing blemishes. My skin does not become overdry because of this, though I do need to exercise more caution in the winter months when my skin is already more dry, and avoid those areas that tend to get flakey more easily. I have been using two spot treatments lately, one with benzoyl peroxide and one with salicylic acid - Clean & Clear Persa Gel 5 and Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment.

Just before I hit the sack, I like to apply a thick coat of Blistex Deep Moisture Renewal balm to my lips.

And that's about it. My skin is relatively happy - very moody, and will switch between dry, normal and oily modes on a regular basis, but I find that this routine has helped diminish the adverse side-effects of this moodiness, and helps control my acne and dryness.

What does your skin routine look like? Do you have a separate daytime and nighttime routine?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer SPF 15

I purchased this foundation primer in the teeny, tiny 0.33 oz bottle, however, it is also available in a 1 oz bottle. I paid $23 CDN for it. WHAT?!?!?!?!!?

It is described as "a mineral-based, water-resistant primer with SPF 15 that neutralizes the skin, minimizes shine, and creates a smooth, uniform canvas for flawless makeup application." It's supposed to "keep makeup looking fresh and prevents fading. Veil Mineral Primer also absorbs excess oils and minimizes the appearance of pores by evenly distributing light to help hide and soften skin imperfections and fine lines."

The great: it is formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, and phthalates. It is also formulated with naturally derived titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of chemical sun-blocking agents - thus giving broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection from sun damage. Finally, it is 100% free of fragrance, oil, and gluten.

WHOOT! It sounds absolutely funtabulous, doesn't it!?

I bought this on recommendation of the associates at Sephora, because I was in need of a primer that would help keep my foundation on all day long for my summer wedding. I had been previously using the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer in Light, but it wasn't giving me the results I wanted.

The packaging is very sleek. It comes in a frosted glass bottle with a black pump for dispensing. I don't know if it was just my bottle, or if most bottles have the same problem, but my pump was very sticky. I'd press down on the top, slowly because of the runny-ness of the primer, but it would catch, and upon applying more pressure the primer would shoot out - sometimes missing my hand and getting on the wall or splattering all over my palm. I just wish the pump was better quality - especially for the crazy price you pay for a 0.33 oz bottle.

This primer is incredibly different from any other primer I've tried - high or low end. It is very watery in consistency, if you're applying this with your fingers, you have to work quickly to get it smoothed into your skin before it slips right out of your hands. It is a slightly translucent blue-white liquid. When you rub it onto your skin, it glides smoothly and seamlessly into your skin. It does not leave a thick silicone layer on the top of your skin as many primers do. It leaves a very slight tacky resistance on the top of the skin which helps your foundation stick and stay-on.

I find that the blue-ish tinge of the primer brightens the skin slightly, upon applying. Also, this primer definitely minimizes the appearance of my pores, especially around the nose area.

This primer DEFINITELY enhances the life and staying power of my foundation. It creates a smooth, yet slightly tacky base for my foundation to adhere to. It keeps my oils at bay throughout the day (not perfectly, some shine still comes through, but better than using no primer at all...), and my foundation looks nearly as good as it did when I first applied it.

This was definitely a lifesaver for my wedding. My foundation stayed on ALL day, despite the warm temperatures and the sweat from dancing, and carrying the weight of my heavy dress around. It looked flawless in every single picture. Keep in mind, however, that I did use an extra-strong hairspray as my setting spray on top, so this also may have prolonged the wearing time of my foundation. Yet, in more previous (daily) escapades with my Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, I have noticed a significant improvement in the lasting power of my foundation with this underneath, than without.

The Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer is a wonderful product, and definitely enhances and prolongs the life of your foundation, minimizes the look of pores, and brightens the skin. HOWEVER, this is definitely not a cost-effective choice. There are many other primers out there that will give you similar effects for significantly less dinero. Because of the steep cost of this primer, I will definitely not be re-purchasing unless I have another big event coming up that requires my skin looking absolutely flawless and my foundation lasting all day. The price is definitely a deal breaker for me.

Finally, I have only had my bottle of primer for five-ish months, and while I am reaching the end of my bottle, I have noticed that the product has almost congealed in the bottom of the bottle, into a thick jelly paste. I am no longer able to use the pump to extract product from the bottle, and have to twist out the pump and use the little tube to reach the remaining product in the bottom. This is very unfortunate, because there was still a third of the product left to use, and since the consistency has changed, I'm wondering what caused this change of state in the product - perhaps temperature changes, or maybe it has a really short shelf life - I don't know... The smell of the product hasn't changed in addition to the consistency, but I am keeping my eye on it. Just be wary that this could happen to you also :)

All in all, this is really fantastic primer; however, despite all the goodness in this bottle, I definitely cannot justify the price. If you have the money to drop - I would highly recommend it; but before you go dropping crazy amounts of money on it, ask your Sephora associate to make you a sample of the product to try at home before you invest in it. It's a very costly mistake to make if you have a bad reaction to the primer, or even if you don't enjoy the texture or consistency of it.

4 out of 5 stars.
* * * *


LOTD: A little extra sumthin' sumthin'.

So I have another final today, but it's not until 7 o'clock tonight, so I have a little bit of extra time today to myself. I spent the past half hour plucking and trimming my eyebrows into a more groomed look. I don't know that I can rock the bushman look anymore - especially not with Christmas on the way, and the hubby's staff Christmas party tomorrow night.

Here's what I'm rocking for the day:

On my face

Garnier Nutritioniste Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller in Light under my eyes.
Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hour Concealer in Ivory on my blemishes.
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in Sand Medium 40 over top of my undereye concealer and spot concealer, and on my t-zone to mattify the shine.
Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess to contour my cheekbones and temples.
Annabelle Playa Bronzer in Copacabana Glow (only the bottom two colors) as my blush on the top parts of my cheekbones, but not on the apples of my cheeks.

On my eyes

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original as an eyeshadow base from my lid to my brow.
Clinique Smudgesicle in Cocoa Pearl (02) on the outer third of my eye, and blended out with my finger.
Annabelle Mono Eyeshadow in So Foxy on top of the Clinique Smudgesicle to set it, and darken the outer corner/crease.
Prestige Brow Perfection in BBK-03 Light to Medium - I used both colors to help warm up and blend out the crease.
Annabelle Mono Eyeshadow in Vanilla Chilla as a highlight under the browbone and on the center of my lids.
NYX Single Eyeshadow in White just under the highest part of my brow, and in the inner corner.
Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Espresso to line the upper lashline, being careful to keep the line as close to the lashes as possible.
Maybelline Volum'Express One by One Mascara in Very Black on my lashes - 2 coats.

On my lips

Blistex Deep Moisture Renew with SPF 15 on my lips.

Oye. I am so white this winter. I look so albino - I mean, part of it is a function of the flash on my Blackberry, but most of it is au naturale haha.

Have a great week preparing for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tips and tricks to silky, smooth legs!

It was this time last year that my legs mysteriously broke out in an allergic reaction to a change in my choice of razor. The open sores covered my calves - and after visiting my dermatologist, was told that the residual scarring would take anywhere up to 16 months to heal.

Over the past few months, I've perfected a 'leg' care regimen, if you will, that leaves my legs looking and feeling smooth. Also, over time, these techniques have sped up my healing, and my legs are looking better every day.

Okay - so what do you need to get my shiny smooth legs?

- An exfoliator. I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub - the one in the big tub.
- A can of shaving cream. I use Skintimate Tropical Splash Moisturizing Shave Gel.
- A razor. I use Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle with the Sensitive razor heads.
- A towel.
- A moisturizer/lotion. I switch between two lotions: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion with Soothing Oat Essence, or Cetaphil Restoraderm Moisturizing Lotion.

Step Uno: Get some water running.
Personally, I prefer to shave my legs in the bath tub, but you might like to shave them in the shower. Others still might like to shave them in the sink or under the garden hose - whatever your preference, find a body of water and get your legs wet.

Step Dos: Exfoliate.
Exfoliation is key to sloughing off the dead skin that sits on top of your legs. By taking off the dead skin, you will reveal the brighter, newer skin underneath, and it will give you that healthy glow and shine you want from your legs after you shave.
I exfoliate before I shave to prevent my razor from getting clogged with dry skin and causing me to replace it more frequently. In addition, I feel that exfoliating before you shave exposes a little more of the hair that would've been hidden underneath the layer of dead skin, giving you a closer, smoother shave.

Step Tres: Lather up!
After exfoliating, if you chose to do it first, you will need to lather up your legs. This will help you obtain the closest shave possible and prevent razor burn and/or nicks. Some shaving creams, gels and foams, moisturize the skin too, leaving it silky and smooth after you shave all the hair off.
I prefer using a shaving gel which lathers into a foam, as I find it gives me the closest shave possible. You can use bar soap, shaving cream, even conditioner.

Step Cuatro: Hack the hair down.
It's time to shave. Make sure your razor blade(s) is sharp. If the razor drags, tugs or skips across your skin as you're shaving - it's too dull to be using. Chuck it out and get a new one - dull razor blades can give you nicks or burns. Also, I like to use razors with oodles of blades - four or more blades gives me the closest (and longest lasting!) shave, but you need to find what works best for you.
I shave the bottom half of the calf first, and then the top half to just above the knee. I don't shave my thighs because my hair is fine and blonde, not very noticeable, and I never wear anything short enough to expose my thighs anyways. If you want to shave higher - have at 'er!

*If you didn't before you started shaving, you'll want to exfoliate now. Note: don't exfoliate twice - this could cause irritation and redness, not a very flattering look on most...*

Step Cinco: Rinse and towel off.
Rinse your legs off. Finish showering. Finish your bubble bath. Turn off the garden hose. And towel dry your legs off - use a patting motion instead of a swiping one to absorb the water, this helps your legs retain more moisture, making them softer.

Step Seis: Slather on the good stuff.
Moisturize. It's very important that you keep your skin hydrated and moisturized to keep them shiny, smooth and healthy. After towel drying my legs, I apply a lotion to lock in the moisture and keep them smooth all day long.
Usually, I apply moisturizer every time I get out of the shower or tub, just to keep my skin extra moisturized and protected from dryness.

Step Siete: Show them off!!!

These are my steps for shaving. Some might think that exfoliation is not an important step, but it is, especially if you have scarring or dull skin. It makes your newer skin visible and helps reduce the appearance of scars. I would not recommend this step, however, if you have extremely sensitive skin, or a lot of open wounds. The exfoliating could further aggravate your condition and give you the opposite effect.

I shave about once a week, or once every two weeks if I'm super busy (hello exam time and bushman legs). Fortunately, my husband doesn't seem to mind too much - and my hair grows out blonde anyways, so it's not an eyesore when I do decide to wear [leg] revealing clothing.

Top off your sexy legs with some red nailpolish (in time with the season - I love Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Cherry Red).

I wish smooth, shiny legs for you all - especially during this holiday season!

Maybelline New York Unstoppable Eyeliner in Espresso

This retails for about $8 CDN, but (depending on where you buy it) you can find it from anywhere between $7 and $9. You can purchase this from wherever Maybelline cosmetics are sold in your area (Walmart, drugstores, etc.). This eyeliner is available in six shades: Onyx (10), Cinnabar (20), Pewter (30), Sapphire (40), Espresso (60), and Jade (90). The tube contains 0.01 oz or 280 mg of product.

I have mine in Espresso (60), but my sister-in-law had Cinnabar (20) which I used on her for my wedding this summer.

These eyeliners are not in the traditional 'pencil' form, but rather are retractable pencils that do not require sharpening. As soon as you need more, you twist the tube to expose more or less of the product.

Maybelline claims that this is a "smudge-proof, stay-put, waterproof eyeliner."

The packaging is simple, but functional. I have had no issues with the mechanism of the pencil breaking so that I cannot twist up or retract the eyeliner. The cap slides easily over the top of the tube, and clicks shut to keep the product hygienic and safe from damage.

Espresso is a very pigmented cool dark brown, almost bordering a charcoal-ish black. It is a matte brown - there is no shimmer or glitter in it. When blended out, the eyeliner looks a lot more brown, and slightly warmer in tone. Cinnabar (not shown here) is a warm cinnamon brown (more on the red/copper side of brown).

On the left, Maybelline New York Unstoppable Eyeliner in Espresso (60). On the right, the eyeliner blended out with my finger

The eyeliner glides on fairly easily - the product is somewhat more waxy in consistency, and so the product does apply more smoothly having been warmed up on the back of one's hand first. I've found that the longer one has the product, the more dry it becomes, and the harder it is to apply without having the eyeliner skip across the skin instead of gliding smoothly.

This eyeliner is indeed a "stay put" eyeliner. It does not rub or smudge off (or at least not easily) after it sets. This eyeliner sets fairly quickly, so if you want to smudge it out, it's best to do it immediately after you apply it. Once set, however, this eyeliner does not budge. It will fade a little bit if you have the tendency to touch/rub your eyes, or if you cry a lot, or if you've been out in a rain storm.

This is my every day eyeliner. It is easy to create wings with the liner (even if the end is dull), or to create fullness at the base of the lashes by penciling in a thin line close to the lash roots. This liner is also fairly durable in the waterline. I personally do not use eyeliner on the waterline very often, but the times that I have used this eyeliner, it has held up pretty well - and in some cases, almost better than the famed Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. The waxy consistency helps the liner to adhere to the waterline and retain its position for a decent amount of time before needing to reapply.

While this liner is incredibly long wearing (especially on the lash line), it is easily removed with makeup remover (I use Cetaphil Gentle Daily Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin).

I have had one of these eyeliners break on me before. It's not incredibly breakable, there are certainly more soft and easily broken eyeliners out there, but be cautious that if you're not gentle, it will snap. Remember, retractable eyeliners are not as sturdy as pencil eyeliners are.

I LOVE this eyeliner. It has lasted me forever, and I use it every single day. I'm on my third or fourth tube of it since I first purchased it early this year. The only issue I have with it is the tugging that can happen if the product isn't warm(er) when you apply it, but otherwise it's an excellent drugstore find - great for every day, and it definitely won't make your wallet cry.

4 out of 5 stars.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

MAC Matte Bronze Bronzing Powder

This bronzer will run you about $23 CDN. It holds 10 g or 0.35 US oz of product. The sturdy, sleek black compact has a mirror inside for on-the-go application. It can be purchased at MAC stores or from

MAC claims that this is "a lightly... tinted powder that gives skin sheer, natural colour effects and highlights. Ideal for enhancing a skin tone or to accent or strengthen a tan. Skin-conditioning - and formulated to provide a smooth, even application on all skin types."



I purchased this bronzer in anticipation of my upcoming summer wedding. I had made several trips to MAC before in search of a shade (whether bronzer, blush, or eyeshadow) that would be suitable for contouring my face with. It was an extremely difficult and drawn out process since I am so incredibly fair with neutral undertones. On one of the trips, I asked the makeup artist about whether or not they had a matte bronzer that would work with my skin tone. She pulled out "Matte Bronze," and swept the color under my cheekbones and along my temples. I was amazed.

First, I will start off by saying that it is very hard for me to purchase bronzer. Because of my fair complexion and uncommon undertones, it is incredibly difficult for me to find a bronzer that is not too orange or too brown, matte and not shimmery, pigmented and affordable. Most bronzers look teracotta-colored or muddy on my skin.

This bronzer has moderate pigmentation, it's not sheer, but it is buildable. On my fair skin, it is easy to be too heavy handed in application, but on more medium skin tones, this would be easy to apply and blend without looking unnatural.

It is a warm-toned bronzer, a medium tan color.

On the left: a more heavy handed application of the MAC Matte Bronze Bronzing Powder. On the right: a lighter application of the powder.

I apply this with an angled blush brush from Quo, or with a blush brush. It applies smoothly and blends effortlessly.

While this is a fairly pricey expenditure, it lasts for quite a while. I've had mine for almost a year, and while I have hit pan, I still have a long ways left to go before I finish it. I use it almost every day, even when I'm not wearing foundation, just to give my face a more contoured, slender appearance. It adds a warmth to my face, like I have a sun-kissed glow. Over time, it definitely pays for itself.

I would never go back to using drugstore bronzers after finding this, my Holy Grail bronzing powder. I think that the money is well-invested in buying something that works for my skin tone, and lasts for a long time. Definitely a must have item for me!

4 out of 5 stars (oh $$dolla signs$$, why must you bring me down??)
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Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller

I purchased my 15 mL tube of Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller in Light from Walmart for about $15 CDN. Since then, I have seen it average anywhere between $12 and $16 a bottle.

Garnier says that this product contains caffeine, lemon essence, and mineral pigments to hydrate and refresh, while covering dark eye circles. The caffeine is supposed to stimulate microcirculation and have decongesting properties. Lemon essence instantly brightens the skin to give it a more radiant look, while reducing the appearance of dark circles. The mineral pigments contain concealing properties that offer sheer coverage in hiding undereye circles. The "cooling roller ball" is supposed to alleviate signs of fatigue, and the concealer is fabled to "adjust" to your skin tone for natural coverage. Garnier's site also claims that this product is hydrating to the delicate undereye area.

Garnier boasts that you will see "brighter" eyes in just one week. I can't speak much to that claim - I did notice a very small improvement in the darkness of my undereye area, but not enough so that I would buy this product for it's "brightening" properties, or that I would consider my own improvement as a function of the use of the product. So beware of the potential 'hoky-ness.'

The packaging is very sleek and study. A transparent cap twists over the top of the tube, covering the applicator until the next use. The roller is made of metal (not plastic), and glides easily across the skin - not tugging or skipping. The bottle has a very tiny base, however, and does not stand up easily on it's own. For storage purposes, I set it (upright) in my jar with my mascara and eyeliner (that keep handy for use everyday).

Despite the steep cost of this eye roller, the tube itself holds a lot of product. A little goes a long way, so it should keep for a long while before needing replacing or tossing.

Before applying, I shake the tube a little to get product on the roller ball. Sometimes, if I skip this step, I will go to apply the product, and none will be on the ball; however, this definitely isn't a deal breaker, at least not for me.

The product glides on smoothly and effortlessly. Many reviews I've read note that the application leaves your skin feeling cooler - this is probably a function of the metal ball used for the application, as opposed to the functioning of the product itself. The concealer blends out easily, sometimes almost too easily - it wouldn't take much to blend this right off your skin.

The concealer is of a thin, almost watery consistency - it's not runny, just wet. The actual product itself is moderately pigmented. When blended out, the product becomes more light and sheer in application, but the pigmentation remains. However, as was said earlier, it is definitely easy to overblend and need to reapply. This is not a heavily pigmented, thick concealer. If you have incredibly dark undereye circles, this product is not going to help you out a lot. I have my product in Light but it is also available in the shade Medium. Sorry to those of you with darker complexions, Garnier has yet to make a shade available for you.

I use the roller to apply a generous amount of concealer under my eye area. I use a Crease Shadow brush from Quo to blend the product in, starting from the outer eye area and working in towards the tear duct. Quite frequently, I'll add a dot of extra concealer right over top of my undereye area where it is most dark, and I'll use my brush to lightly pat the concealer out, only sweeping and blending the outer most edges of the additional concealer to ensure the most pigmented finished product.

The pigmentation of the product is a creamy peach/apricot shade - great for canceling out the blue tones in your undereye area. There is no shimmer in the product, however, it does brighten the area its applied to, giving you a more 'awake' appearance.

A swatch of the Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller in Light. To the left, unblended. To the right, mostly blended into the skin.

The concealer dries matte. Sometimes it can be a little dewy looking as it's still drying - but if you put a light dusting of powder over it to set it, it will stay absolutely matte all day. Also, by adding a powder to set it, I do not find that it appears cakey or chalky at all... the powder does not cling and stick to the concealer in an obvious way.

For my modest undereye circles, this is a nice everyday fix. Some days, I'll just throw on a coat of mascara, and pop this under my eyes and blend with my finger for a quick look to go. I love it because it's quick and easy, and has enough pigmentation to make me look more 'awake.'

The staying power is quite phenomenal. It lasts ALL day. It might fade a little, but it's still there at the end of the night. I have a few deep lines under my eyes, and this product does tend to crease into the deepest of the lines, but it does not crease nearly as badly as some of the other concealers I've tried, so I'm quite happy with it.

I am very happy with this roller. It's great for every day use, easy for on-the-go application. It blends easily with my finger or with a brush. It offers sheer to medium coverage, but is easily buildable for a more heavy coverage. It's light and lasts all day. I don't know if it would be worth the splurge if you had never tried it before - it's a costly mistake to make if you don't enjoy the product after you buy it; however, should you be willing, it's definitely worth a try, and the price... The only downside is the limited shade selection. Otherwise, a huge MUST HAVE for every makeup junkie's collection!

5 out of 5 stars.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cetaphil Gentle Daily Skin Cleanser

I purchased this honking huge 16 fl oz bottle from Superstore for approximately $15 CDN. All across the board, however, you can purchase this in varying sizes from anywhere between $4 and $18 CDN. I purchased mine in the "normal to dry skin" formula, however there is a "normal to oily skin" formula as well.

The cleanser comes in varying sizes: 2 fl oz (itty bitty travel size), 8 fl oz, 16 fl oz, and to my surprise, 20 fl oz in select locations!

Cetaphil claims that this cleanser will "not strip the skin of natural protective oils or emollients, or disturb the skin’s natural pH balance." It is non-comedogenic (it won't clog your pores!!), fragrance free, and is dermatologist recommended.

I initially tried out the Cetaphil Gentle Daily Skin Cleanser in the 2 fl oz, travel sized bottle from London Drugs. I wanted to get an idea of how well the cleanser would work with my skin, and whether or not it was something I wanted to purchase in the larger size next time. The small bottle lasted me around two weeks - I didn't use a lot of it each time, and there was a lot in the bottle - the small size is deceptive!

The large bottle is extremely sturdy and functional, and features a pump dispenser, so you don't need to fuss with opening a cap. The pump does not dispense too much or too little product, but just the right amount - about a quarter-sized amount of product. The packaging is sleek enough that one could leave it on a vanity or bathroom counter, and not worry about it being an eyesore for company.

While the cost is a little steep for this product, the 16 fl oz bottle will last you FOREVER. My first big bottle lasted me somewhere between 5 and 6 months, using it everyday. So it's definitely not a budget breaker in the long haul. But for those who don't want to dish out that much money right away, I recommend starting with the 2 fl oz bottle (just to try) or even the 8 fl oz bottle - these are definitely more cost-effective options if you're wanting to try the product out without investing almost $20 for a product you've never used.

I use this both as a makeup remover and as a cleanser for my skin. I use it once a day (in the evening) to remove my eye and face makeup. Each night, I take one pump of the cleanser on a wet facecloth and use it to remove the makeup from one of my eyes. Then I take another pump and clean off the other eye. I take one final pump and dot it around my face, and use the washcloth to clean off every last bit of makeup. Whatever the cleanser does not remove (that being very little), comes off with my toner.

I feel that the cleanser is an excellent makeup remover, gentle enough for use every day - even twice a day if you like to wash your face that frequently. This formula is gentle enough to use around your eyes - it does not burn or sting. Upon cleansing my face, it leaves a light residue that is easily removed with toner, or absorbed into the skin for extra hydration. It does not strip your skin of moisture or dry it out, nor does it leave excess product on your face.

The only problem I have with it is that it does not remove waterproof mascara - however, it being the gentle cleanser that it is, I did not have high expectations in that regard.

The cleanser does not clog my pores or make my skin feel heavy with product. I have had no breakouts as a result of the introduction of this product into my skincare regimine, nor have I had excessive drying, peeling, or flaking as a result.

I absolutely adore this cleanser, as it does the job, while still being gentle enough to use on the eyes. It's definitely worth the cost, though I wish it didn't empty my wallet nearly as quickly...

5 out of 5 stars.
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Maybelline Volum'Express One by One (Washable) Mascara

Retails for approximately $7-$9 CDN. It comes in a 0.3 fl oz tube.

I have mine in the washable format, in the color Very Black. This mascara is also available in 'washable' form in the colors Brown Black and Blackest Black. It comes in a waterproof formula too, but only in the shades Very Black and Blackest Black.

Maybelline boasts: "Finally, bold without the bulk! Instant clump-free volume." The site claims that there are 3 bristles per lash on the patented 'Lash Catcher' brush to "catch, coat, and de-clump" and "make every lash count." Each lash is supposed to be "fatter and flirtier" as a result.

It is contact lens safe and ophthalmologist-tested. They claim that it rinses clean with soap and water (or makeup remover, what have you...).

Maybelline's site encourages you to sweep the brush upwards from the lash root to the tip to add volume. You can add as many coats of mascara as you'd like, though they recommend you do not let the mascara dry between applications.

I bought this on a whim one day - not having done my usual extensive research and perusing of blogs and reviews to see if it was really worth my money. The packaging and theory of it all grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go.

Being a CoverGirl LashBlast addict, I appreciated the idea behind the large silicone brush with oodles of bristles to coat each lash and add volume, while separating to create definition and length. The unfortunate downside of LashBlast is that while it is... perfect in every other respect, it dries out far too quickly for my liking. I'm constantly replacing my tube every two or three weeks, and at $8-$9 a pop, I was searching for my new Holy Grail mascara.

So I picked this up in Very Black, which is rather unusual for me as I am a "Brownish Black" kind of girl, and went to pay.

The brush is one of those bendy silicone ones with a crap-ton of bristles on a shorter wand. The shorter wand allows me more control and precision when applying the mascara, as opposed to mascaras with longer wands that make this process awkward. The brush is larger, and tapers at each end - forming an oblong oval shape. The tapered ends really help to get in to the inner corners, and for creating that winged-out effect on the outer lashes. The bristles are bendy, and don't stab my lash line or eyeball like the wand for the L'Oreal Clean Definition Telescopic does. The bristles work WITH my lashes, not against them, to pull through for a clean, clump-free look. The brush does not come out of the tube with excessive amounts of mascara gobbed up on it, which is a definite bonus.

The formula is VERY smooth. And wet. I would almost say that it might be 'too wet' for some. While it is a wetter mascara, however, it does dry more quickly than other 'wet' mascaras I've tried. It coats every lash, while the plethora of bristles separates to give definition. It is easy to build up the formula with coats of mascara to get an intense volumized appearance - without looking like you have four eyelashes.

This is about 2-3 coats of mascara. Looks like fake lashes... *squee*

While the website recommends that you don't let the mascara dry between coats, it is very easy and manageable to go back later in the day and re-apply mascara without it clumping up and looking gnarly.

As I said earlier, I am not a "black mascara" type of girl, though I do enjoy this black. It's not 'TOO' black, but dark enough to add some drama. I can only assume that Blackest Black is the richer, more pigmented sister to Very Black (but don't quote me...).

I do not notice any flaking or smudging throughout the day; however, I have fallen asleep with this mascara on, and the mascara on the tips of your lashes will rub off into little flakeys on your face. But, if you no-touchy your eyeballs, your mascara should be fine.

This mascara withstands tears pretty well, also. So long as you don't rub your eyes as the lashes are wet with rain, tears, etc. the mascara will hold up pretty well... as soon as you touch it, though, it will transfer. Food for thought.

This would have to be my NEW Holy Grail mascara (sorry, LashBlast!!). For every day, it provides clean definition, volume and length. It gives me the coveted "fake lash" look I am always on the lookout for, yet still remains wearable for school and the office. It lasts EONS without drying out, unlike the CoverGirl LashBlast. There aren't flakeys on my face or smudges below my eyes, AND at the price, it's not about to break the bank... Plus, who doesn't love the gorgeous hot pink and turquoise tube??

I am eager to try the Waterproof version of this mascara, to see if it lives up to my expectations, having tried the washable formula and being thoroughly impressed.

Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LOTD: Exam Time

So, it's that time of year again - exam time. And usually I end up rolling out of bed, spending the whole day in my pajamas, with greasy 'dreadlocks' hanging from my scalp and dark circles under my eyes. It's not really that pretty or flattering of a look on anyone...

But tonight, my husband is going to floor hockey and I always go with. I like hanging out with him, watching him play - saying "Hi" to my father-in-law and brothers-in-law who play with him... and also for the lack of internet connection, which means that I actually get school work done. :)

Anyways, today has been one of those, "I'm a grease-ball-and-I-know-it" days... but I have to look somewhat presentable for this outing, so here's what I did to make it look like I've gotten sleep, eaten well, and have taken a shower recently...

Under the brow, I applied a thin layer of Original Urban Decay Primer Potion. On top, I added Maybelline New York Unstoppable Highlighter in Fluffy Cloud and blended with my finger. On top of that, I added NYX's single eyeshadow in White (ES02) with a fluffy All Over Shadow brush from Quo.

In the inner corner, I added some of the Maybelline New York Unstoppable Highlighter in Fluffy Cloud, blended with my finger (again), and topped it with a light dusting of NYX's single eyeshadow in White (ES02).

On my lashes, I used two coats of Maybelline Volum'Express One by One Mascara in Very Black.

Under my eyes, I applied Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller in Light, and blended it out with a Quo Crease Shadow brush.

On my cheeks, I added a light dusting of Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Dollface with my Quo Blush brush.

On my lips I'm wearing Blistex Deep Moisture Renewal Treatment with SPF 15.

And that's it for today. I look significantly more alive, but just barely! Haha.

What are your quick makeup tricks for making yourself look "alive"?? I'd love to hear them!!


Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum

Seen above: Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum

This 150 mL (5.1 fl. oz.) bottle will run you about $24.99 CDN. Or at least, that's how much it cost me at my local London Drugs.

The bottle is made of transparent plastic, with a green pump on top. The pump head can be turned to the left or to the right to control the amount of product ejected, as well as to stop the pump from dispensing product - which is especially handy for travel purposes.

The product claims to "smooth, condition and seal your strands." It's supposed to "leave hair smooth, shiny and frizz-free in any weather," and "speed up drying so you get silky smooth results in less time." The website boasts that their "exclusive Super Skinny® Complex penetrates deep into hair to displace water and constrict hair for speedy drying and styling. Lightweight silicones smooth, condition and seal hair with added shine."

I initially invested in this product after reading rave reviews about it on Makeup Alley and other blogs online. My hair was screaming for some smoothing, and this seemed like the product to do it - or so everyone made it seem.

The clear, runny serum smells like a salon and watermelons all tossed together. It's absolutely delicious. I only wish the scent lingered on my hair after application. So for those people who aren't crazy about the scent, or just aren't into having their hair all scented, don't worry - the smell doesn't last past the bottle.

The bottle warns that the product is 'very concentrated,' therefore, you should be aware that it takes a very small amount to work through your hair. For my hair I take anywhere between 1/2 a pump and a whole pump, rub it between my hands, and starting at my ends, work the product up towards my roots. Note: this product should only be applied to damp, towel-dried hair.

Because my hair is layered, I have to work the product close to my scalp to get all of my ends covered - however, I have not found that this product leaves my hair greasy looking or limp, as some other smoothing products have the tendency of doing.

As for the claims - I have noticed that my hair dries significantly faster when I use this product. Blow drying takes less time than it used to - not enough that it's "miraculous" but just enough that it's noticeable. I have not tried this product while air drying my hair, so I couldn't speak to the speediness of the product in that respect, though I imagine it has a similar effect.

My hair is infinitely smoother, with less fly-aways. And there is an added 'healthy' shine and softness to my red locks.

The shine that this serum infuses in one's hair is not greasy looking or heavy, weighing down your hair; or at least, it isn't for me. Perhaps if you were to use too much product or use too much of it near your roots, you would achieve the "I-haven't-showered-in-a-week" look, but otherwise, it gives your hair a healthy appearance - like you've been getting all of your vitamins, veggies, fruits and water.

At the rate that one would use this product, the bottle will last you forever. It definitely pays for itself over time, so despite the hefty price tag, it's worth the investment, if you're willing to try it.

Personally, I adore this product. My hair has never looked so healthy or felt this smooth in my entire life. The added bonuses are that it lasts forever and cuts back on your drying time. My only wish is that the scent clung to my hair a little bit more, however, it's not a deal breaker for me. I can now see why there is so much hype over this product.

I definitely recommend this to you if you're wanting smoother, shinier, conditioned (looking) hair. This product definitely delivers on its promises, and then some!

5 out of 5 stars.
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