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!