Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bioré Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub

Last month I received the new  Bioré Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub and the Bioré Baking Soda Pore Cleanser from Influenster. I have been using both on a regular basis and I have to admit that I am a bit partial towards the Cleansing Scrub.
It is very different from anything that I have tried in the past in the sense that it is gentle yet a lot more effective than most scrubs, and surprisingly I like it even more than my Philosophy Microdelivery wash.
At first I though it is going to be really messy to use but its actually quite simple. All you have to do is take some powder in hand and then add water into it. Now this is the most crucial and interesting point. The level of exfoliation depends on the amount of water added, it decreases with the increasing amount of water. So, this product can be customized according to your own personal needs, however, I have noticed that a semi-thick consistency works great for my partially dry patchy skin.
Bioré Baking Soda Scrub; Regular Baking Soda

 When I received this scrub, my first thought was how would it compare to regular baking soda, which is also used as a face scrub by a lot of people. The two differences that I noticed were: Bioré scrub makes a light and fluffy mixture while regular soda is a bit thick and heavy; secondly Bioré scrub is a lot more gentle than the regular soda. At the end my skin felt better with the Bioré scrub as it was soft and clean but not dry. Also, the fresh minty sensation is an added perk of Bioré  scrub due to the menthol.
Therefore, overall I really liked this product and will continue using it.
Have you tried the new Bioré Baking Soda line? If yes, what do you feel about it? If no, then are going to try it?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 2016: Ipsy Bag

This month's ipsy theme was "Pretty in #IPSYPINK" and I received the following five products: Naked Cosmetics Mica Pigment, Luxie Beauty Flat Definer Brush 221, Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Oil, Vintage by Jessica Liebeskind Sparkling Lipgloss in Pink Sequin, and Jersey Shore Cosmetics Vanilla Bean Anti-Aging Lip and Hand Polish.
Before I begin, I would like to mention that this month's ipsy bag was a total fail for me. I personally did not like any product so this review is going to be a little negative.
Jersey Shore Cosmetics Vanilla Bean Anti-Aging Lip and Hand Polish.: This is basically a brown sugar scrub but is super greasy and oily. It leaves a weird film on the hands so I really don't like it.
Luxie Beauty Flat Definer Brush 221: A simple and decent flat definer brush. It looks nice but I personally don't have a use for yet another brush.
Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Oil: This is the size of hundred points perk at Sephora. Unfortunately, it did not work for my skin.
Product accumulates in the rim and the lid due to the lack of a sifter or cover for the pigment.
 Naked Cosmetics Mica Pigment in Sierra Nevada: Just last month, I mentioned how I am not a fan of loose pigments but received another one from Ipsy this month. This one is exceptionally messy because it does not have sifter to hold the pigment in, so a lot of product accumulates in the rim of the container and the lid. Also, the color is just a regular bronze and not unique enough to go through the trouble.
Vintage by Jessica Liebeskind Sparkling Lip gloss in Pink Sequin: The name explains the shade very well. It is straight up shimmer particles in a goopy and sticky base, so I do not like it at all.
So, overall this month's Ipsy bag was a huge disappointment for me. I have been an Ipsy subscriber since 2011 and I feel its the time to let it go because a lot of brands that are sent by Ipsy are not even available in Canada, so even if I like something I can't order it. Also, due to the horrible exchange rate and extra shipping charges, the Canadian subscribers pay double the amount for mediocre products, and the few high end items that are sent can be redeemed as point perks for free at Sephora.
What is your opinion about Ipsy and other subscription bags? Do you have any recommendations? I am looking for other subscription services that ship to Canada.
Thank you so much for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

NOTD: Colors of Love with Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!
Today's post is all about the colors of love i.e. red and pink with accent hearts. I am not much of a nail art person but love nail polish so I always try to add a bling here and there.
The two polishes that I used for the first look are: Nicka K New York and Julep Hartleigh.
Julep Hartleigh: This was a part of 2015 February collection and has a clear base with white round specks and red metallic hearts. It does not come out even so I had to pick out the hearts to make it look even on both hands. Also, since it has a clear base so I used one coat of red polish to make it pop.
Nicka K New York: I received this polish in a subscription box around 2-3 years ago. Not only it has beautiful packaging but an awesome formula.
 After about four days my red polish chipped but the accent nail was still perfect, so I decided to replace the red with pink and it turned out amazing.
 Fingrs You Pinky Swear?: I shared a blog post about seven different shades of Fingrs polishes back in 2013. Their formula is amazing in general and this one is no exception, its a beautiful baby pink shade that goes opaque in just one coat and looks flawless in two. Also, it lasts well and doesn't chip.  
So, these are my super simple and easy Valentine's day nail looks. Give them a try and see if you like them.
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Marcelle Flawless Skin-Fusion Foundation

Marcelle is a Canadian brand that makes hypoallergenic and 100% perfume free products. The Flawless Skin-Fusion Foundation is a new addition to their range. This foundation comes in 6 different shades, and claims to be perfume free, paraben free, gluten free, oil free, non-comedogenic, and waterproof. It retails for $17.95 + taxes on their website. I bought it for $10.77 + taxes & shipping, during the 40% off Black Friday sale in November.
Packaging: It comes in a sleek glass bottle with a pump and transparent black cap. The pump is really nice and dispenses the perfect amount of product.
Color Match: I picked up the shade Nude Beige, solely based on guess work since it is a newer product so there weren't a lot of swatches online and I didn't have the time to visit a store. Fortunately, it works and even though it is slightly pink, its still the best possible shade for me from the range. The shade Nude Beige is very similar to the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer in Custard.  

Mac Pro Longwear concealer in NC 30; Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard; Marcelle Flawless Foundation in Nude Beige; Blended swatch of the Marcelle Foundation
Texture: It has a very light and liquidy consistency, but it feels like it almost turns into a very smooth creamy powder on blending. If you have dry flakey skin, it might accentuate that a little bit just like any other liquid foundation would, but I still feel that comparatively it is very forgiving. The packaging says that it contains hydrating vitamins C & E, so maybe that is why it is not that dry and clingy.  
Coverage: Since its a very light foundation so the coverage is pretty light but can be built up to medium, without it looking cakey or excessively noticeable. This will work best if you are looking for something to even out your skin tone rather than covering pigmentation or scars. I have some hyper pigmentation but I actually prefer a light foundation followed by spot coverage using a concealer, because I personally feel that the foundation is for an even base while concealer is for correction.

Mac Pro Longwear concealer in NC 30; Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard; Marcelle Flawless Foundation in Nude Beige; Blended swatch of the Marcelle Foundation
Finish: The packaging says that it is a "light weight makeup for a natural finish and a "second skin" feel". I totally agree with it, this foundation has a true skin like finish. It is different from anything that I have tried in the past because it doesn't look satin, or matte, or glowy but just looks like the actual skin. It is very light weight so it blends right into the skin with minimal effort.

Mac Pro Longwear concealer in NC 30; Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard; Marcelle Flawless Foundation in Nude Beige; Blended swatch of the Marcelle Foundation
Longevity: It claims to be the "no touch up required foundation", which I find is true. I usually wear makeup for 6-7 hours a day (without any touch ups), and it looks just as good by the time I take it off. Also, I don't use a powder to set it because its winter right now and I don't have oily skin anyways.
  • Light Weight
  • Long Lasting
  • Hypoallergenic 
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Natural skin like finish
  • Affordable
  • Limited Shade Range
Overall, I really like this product and  it is my new go to everyday foundation. It is very light weight, no hassle, easy to blend kind of product, which has reduced my base application time to under 2 minutes.
Have you tried this product? Or any other product from Marcelle? What are you thought?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 2016: Ipsy Bag

This month's ipsy theme is "All Eyes On You" and I received the following five products: Beau Gâchis® Paris Smudge Brush, Mitchell and Peach English Leaf Body Cream, theBalm Cosmetics Mr Write (Now), Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow, and Pur~lisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Eye Adore Serum.
Mitchell and Peach English Leaf Body Cream: This is a fairly moisturizing body cream that sinks right into the skin within seconds of applying it; and contains some really good ingredients like sweet almond oil, sweet orange oil, basil oil, vitamin E, lavender oil, cedarwood oil, peppermint oil, etc. To me it smells like grass or leafs, which is actually true to the description at the back that says "blended with a bright 'green floral' scent inspired by green countryside". So, overall it is a decent product.  

Gâchis® Paris Smudge Brush: This is definitely not a smudge brush, and it's too big for even being a blending brush. It is very round and full because the barrel that holds the bristles is completely round and not pinched in at all,  so I am not really sure how I will use it. Ipsy has actually suggested to use it for blending gel or other liners, but it is too big for that. The bristles are not extremely soft so it holds its shape and is not flimsy. I looked up on the company's website and it retails for $12 USD (on sale now for $10 USD); it is handcrafted using both animal and synthetic hair. But overall, I did not like it because for me it is very close to the size of my under eye concealer brush.
Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in You're Toast: At first I was really disappointed that I received another mineral shadow because I don't like using loose powders, but I think I will be using this one because its really beautiful. You're Toast is a gorgeous peachy rose gold shade, and is perfect for natural but bright everyday look.
theBalm Mr. Write (Now) Eyeliner Pencil in Jac: This is one of the creamiest and softest eyeliner pencils that I have ever tried. It literally feels like butter. The shade Jac is bronzy but with very subtle olive undertone. It has amazing staying power, and it does not move at all once it sets. I tried rubbing it off as hard as I could but it did not budge whatsoever. So, I am definitely going to try more colors from this line.
Pur~lisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Eye Adore Serum: I haven't tried this yet, but I have admit that this is the most generous eye cream sample (7ml)  that I have ever received, considering that the full size is only 15ml and retails for $65 USD.
Overall, it was a decent Ipsy bag this month.
What did you get in your  bag? What was your favorite product?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Acne: My Experience - Women Health 2

Let's talk about a sensitive issue today - Acne.  Acne is classified as a skin disease by the medical science. A common conception is that the hormonal changes during puberty usually triggers acne in the adolescence years for some people but it fades off as they step into the adulthood. However, that is half truth, as for some it could be a life long struggle.
I have dealt with acne on and off for almost 7 years. Most of my teenage years were relatively alright with occasional breakouts but the major struggle began after 20. As I mentioned in one of the previous posts that my acne was due to hormonal issues, however, I have also struggled with horrible breakouts due to allergic reactions. It affected my self esteem, confidence and made me very shielded because subconsciously all I could think while meeting people was 'what are they thinking about me? what kind of impression am I leaving on them? are they even taking me seriously? what if they think I have bad hygiene? or what if they think I am messy person or a novice who can't even put on simple makeup because all they can see is dry flaky bumpy skin?' These constant inner thoughts and conversations used to really stress me out and there were times when I didn't want to step out of the
 house for weeks. On top of this inner underlying battle, the unsolicited advice from friends, family, even strangers or people working at makeup or skin care counters who have never had experience with full face acne rash, used to feel so depressing and unnecessary at times. No doubt, they all meant well and shared advice out of concern but at times when you are already feeling so low, it doesn't matter how uplifting someone's words are, you just can't help but feel worse.
In addition, I have seen lists and lists of things not do and eat and touch and whatnot to cure acne. Honestly, its bullshit. I have tried it all, and it just stresses you out even more. Those lists really make you paranoid and super selective of the things you do. No doubt, a sudden significant change in your routine might make a difference but its not worth the extra stress. There is already so much to deal with in everyone's life so adding a list of 50 things not to do is unnecessary, especially when there are other ways around.
So, today I will be sharing some of my experiences, what I learned and the popular advices that used to bother me. Here are some things or advices that did not work for me:
 1. Topical Ointments: Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Sulphur, Zinc Etc.
I tried every topical over the counter treatment available. I even ordered some from overseas that were not available in Canada, but they just don't work and if they do, they just  temporarily supress the issue but doesn't cure it. So, I would say do not waste your time and money on over the counter topical treatments because they are usually targeted towards individuals with occasional breakouts. It is not that these compounds or elements do not work, its just that their concentration is not enough in over the counter options. And if you ask your doctor, you will most likely get an ointment with one of these same ingredients but specially targeted towards your personal skin type.
In addition to these individual compounds, the whole proactive brand is very prominent on the internet, and it does work for some people. Also, it is not too expensive so doesn't hurt to try, however, once again it is just a topical treatment, and a very harsh one indeed. So, I personally think that the chances of it working are slim, if you are over 20 and still have acne all over your face, because chances are that there are underlying issues so using a topical treatment is not going to help unless the actual cause is addressed. Also, people who have dry sensitive skin should be careful, because proactive products are quite harsh and can irritate the skin further.

2. Diet
I have always been a relatively healthy eater. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. I do not drink coffee, energy drinks or alochol, and restrict the carbonated drinks to usually once or maximum twice a week. I rarely eat out and when I do I make sure I do not go out of the line. The only subjectively "bad"  thing I consume is 3-4 small pieces of chocolate. So, I never understood the whole eat healthy concept to cure acne, and it used to bother me the most when it came from my mother because she was the one cooking and knew exactly what I was eating.
Also, another most popular advice is to drink water, lots and lots of water. Yes, it is definitely healthy and  probably one of the best things for the body, but does it really help get rid of the acne? I don't know, maybe but didn't work for me.
3. Don't touch your acne or it will spread
Really? I have been given this advice countless times and the reasoning people give really bothers me because yes acne has bacteria and yes it is better not to touch but no that is not the reason. The only reason that you shouldn't touch your acne is because fingers are dirty and there is a possibility of infection, also pressing it can lead to irritation and further infection, and not because you will get acne on every inch of skin you touch. So, think about it more like a regular wound than leprosy.
4. Advice from YouTube and Sephora Beauty Experts
There is a chance that a number of you won't agree with me but I personally feel that advice from youtubers and Sephora employees should be taken at the same level as your friends and not be considered equivalent to that of medical professionals. No doubt, these youtubers and people working at Sephora are experts in what they are doing, but that's the key point, their expertise is in makeup and what goes over the skin, while acne can be an internal issue so deal with it properly. Therefore, consider your advisors skin condition and do your own research before shelling out your hard earned money on expensive masks like glamglow or clarisonic like cleansing brushes.
Please note that the masks and the brushes example is for people suffering from full face of cystic acne with underlying issues, and it is very important to keep that in mind because a lot of beauty advisors have never dealt with that, so their opinion is usually based on occasional monthly breakouts.
5. Laser Treatments
Do not just do not go for laser skin treatments like photorejuvination, laser genesis or fraxel while you are still dealing with active breakouts. The front desk employees will try their best to convince you that these treatments can get rid of your acne and hyperpigmentation by reaching the deepest layers of skin, but just try to stick with blue u, glycolic peels and similar acne treatments, in case you really want to get something done. Because trust me, those laser treatments will irritate and convert the tiniest harmless acne to a full blown painful deep leaking cyst. I am seriously not exaggerating here but just sharing a horrible personal experience. I would highly suggest that if you need any advice, talk to the nurses who do the treatment instead of the managers or the information desk staff because they will try to sell you the most expensive packages for commission but chances are that the nurses would be more honest. Also, please note that I am not talking about a beauty spa but an actual laser clinic monitored by a licenced doctor.
6. Acne & Oily Skin
A common misconception is that people with acne have oily skin. No doubt, sebum plays a role in acne but that does not mean everyone who has acne has a certain skin type. And its just not the common people who believe this but also the skin care companies because a major proportion of skin care and makeup targeted towards acne prone skin is either very harsh or super matte with oil controlling properties. So, this was a major issue for me because I had acne and eczema at the same time so finding a product targeting both was very difficult.
P.S. Toothpaste probably works for some people but be careful if you have sensitive skin because it can turn a mediocre red acne to a horrible dark bluish painful cyst.
I still have more points to discuss but this post is already too long so I will share those in another post in future. Also, if you don`t agree with these, its cool but please don`t feel offended because these are just my personal experiences that I wanted to share.
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: CND Vinylux Weekly Polish & Top Coat

Vinylux is a nail polish line by CND that claims to have a week long wear without the use of any UV lamps. According to the their website, "VINYLUX® Weekly Polish is a breakthrough polish that endures a week of fashion perfection...without a base coat! Exposure to natural light activates the patent-pending ProLight Technology™ to deliver week-long wear. While ordinary polishes break down over time, VINYLUX® Weekly Polish actually becomes more durable!"
This line has 99 shades and cost around $10-12 CAD each on different websites. This review is going to be on the weekly top coat and the nail polish in shade Masquerade #130.
CND Vinylux in Masquerade: It is a duo chrome shimmery burgundy shade with a very fitting name. It goes on sheer so it took me five coats to get a satisfying streak free look. The staying power of the polish is kind of questionable as it started chipping on the very first day of application.
So if you just want it just for this particular shade then I don't feel its worth the trouble because  Wet n Wild megalast nail polish in Under Your Spell and Calvin Klein splendid color in Opus are very close dupes.
CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat: This product was a huge let down.  It has regular semi-thick consistency that most top coats have and dries up just fine. However, the issue is that instead of prolonging the wear of the polish, it makes it chip faster. I followed all the instructions and used it with the polish from the same line but it started chipping within hours of application.
The picture above was taken after about 20 hours of painting my nails. I usually paint my nails at night before going to bed, so this level of chipping within a few hours of being active is out of ordinary. Also, I did not do any scrubbing or dishes or anything rigorous that could have fastened the wear.
In the above picture, where the white arrow is pointed, you can see that the chipping is not restricted just to the tips but also at the base of the nail.

In addition to the chipping, the polish started to look dull and worn off after 3 days.
Since the top coat did not work with the vinylux polish so I decided to try it with other brands.
First polish that I tried was Loreal Paris nail polish in Color of Hope, and sadly there was quite a bit of chipping. All the pictures below were taken within 24 hours of application but at different times of the day.  
  Second polish that I tried was Maybelline Express Finish nail color in Berry Fancy, and unfortunately I got the same result.
A few other brands that I tried with this topcoat but did not take pictures of were: China Glaze, OPI, Rimmel and Julep. Unfortunately, none of them worked. So, I guess I will just stick to my tried and true Revlon Colorstay topcoat. So, for me personally, Vinylux line was a fail , and from all the reviews that I have seen, it either works great or just fails miserably, and I guess I fall into the latter category.
If you have any tips to make it work, please let me know because it is an expensive polish and I don't want it go waste.
Thank you so much for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Friday, January 1, 2016

December 2015: Ipsy Bag

Once again I received my ipsy bag at the end of the month. I am not sure what's causing the delay because I have been a subscriber for almost 3 years and never had this issue.  But anyways, this month I received the following five products: Pacifica Power of Love Natural Lipstick, Be A Bombshell Mechanical Eyeliner, Marc Anthony Deep Conditioning Treatment, RickyCare 3D Blender, ModelCo Lip Liner.
RickyCare by Ricky's NYC 3D Blender: When I first took it out of the packet and washed it, I did not like it at all because it felt rubbery and slippery like those traditional makeup wedges.  It is not light and airy so does not bounce back to its shape like beauty blender, and retains the impression for a few seconds before going back to its normal shape. Also, it holds the water inside and shrinks in size on losing the excess water. However, it works. I used it with a light weight foundation and it blended well so I am definitely going to use it and keep the beauty blender for special occasions.
Marc Anthony Coconut Oil and Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Treatment: I haven't used it yet but Marc Anthony products are usually nice so I am hoping for the best.
ModelCo Illusion Lip Liner & Be A Bombshell Mechanical Eye Liner
ModelCo Lip Enhancer Illusion Lip Liner: From the packaging I thought this is going to be a beautiful vibrant pink liner but it is actually a pinky nude. It is just an average liner, and feels a bit drying.
Be A Bombshell Mechanical Eye Liner: This is my least favorite product from the bag. It lacks pigmentation, so requires a lot of work to build up the color but disappears in a single swipe. And its not just this liner that is below average in quality but almost all the products from this brand that I have tried through ipsy are same.

Nudie Red

Nudie Red & Tender Heart

Pacifica Power of Love Natural Lipstick in Nudie Red: This feels more like a balm than a lipstick because it is moisturizing, light weight and sheer. The shade nudie red is nude with reddish pinky hues and comes across as peachy. I have compared it with the shade called Tender Hearts from the same line and they look almost alike except that the latter is a tad bit browny.

Em Michelle Phan Shade Play Eye Color Palette in Bali Bronzes: This was a surprise product and I honestly thought that I received it by mistake, but then later found out that all the long term members have been sent different versions of this palette. The packaging is beautiful, the display is pretty but I feel the shadows are not up to the par. The very light gold does not show up and is not even visible in the picture. The three mid toned shades are nice but the two darker ones lack pigmentation. Also, all the shades are shimmery and very similar to each other. So, overall it is not a palette that can be used on its own as it does not have enough color and texture differentiation.
What did you get in your ipsy bag this month? What was your favourite product?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!