Monday, January 4, 2016

Dec Ipsy Glambag, ColourPop, winter haircare & best matte nudes

December's Ipsy Glambag was full of products that are appropriate for the season that I've been enjoying greatly. I'm not sure if it's luck, if the refinements from my quiz-taking are effective or if my monthly curator cares so much, but I feel like my monthly Ipsy bags have been getting better since I signed up. This month's offerings seemed to read my mind, sending me a perfect combination of skincare and makeup that is ideal for this time of year. 
For my winter-dry face, this Deep Moisture Mask by Clark's Botanicals has become habit-forming. I find myself applying a light layer of this thick, ultra-emollient balm after cleansing in the evenings and wear it to bed to wake up with smooth, nourished skin. It can also be used as an intensive facial mask that you wash off but my parched skin isn't bothered if I leave the rich cream on indefinitely.
The Spa Sensuals Intensive Repair Hand Cream by Peter Lamas is a powerful moisturizer full of quality ingredients to provide lasting hydration, desperately needed in these colder months. It has a light citrus scent that fades away leaving skin softer and smoother.
I was ecstatic to receive what appears to be a full size of Pacifica's Power of Love Natural Lipstick in the shade Tender Heart, a beautiful, pale warm nude that shows as a coral nude on my skin tone, but would be a gorgeous tawny nude with fairer skin colouring. It feels very light on the lips and delivers matte, opaque, almost satiny colour with no glossiness, and has a long-wearing texture that doesn't make my lips dry up and flake, which I assume is due to a judiciously short and all-natural list of ingredients. The bonus is that Pacifica products are vegan and cruelty-free, and this line is readily accessible for me to swatch and sample at local premium health food stores. I'm surprised by how comfortable and durable this lipcolour is through a day's wear, and feel that it rivals the best matte lip products currently on the market.
Any day I get a product by Tarte Cosmetics in the mail is a good day. December's Ipsy bag contained a deluxe sample of Tarte's Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder, a finely-milled translucent setting powder, housed in a handy stoppered jar that is ideal for my travel makeup kit. This powder is basically an invisible shield to set your liquid and cream face products for long wear and the clay mattifies and blurs pores and oily patches throughout the day with a natural, non-irritating formula.
The final December Ipsy offering was this wonderful Crown Brush Brow Duo C413 tool, an item I actually ordered a week prior from e.l.f. but was thrilled to receive almost magically in my Glambag! A firm slanted brush on one end, perfect for powder or cream brow products since it helps create realistic hair-like brush strokes precisely, with a diminutive spoolie on the other end to brush brow hairs into perfect position. I am absolutely satisfied with my Ipsy subscription so far, I think any fan of beauty products would love it.
I redeemed my accrued Ipsy points for an aptly named face product, the Amazing Concealer by Amazing Cosmetics in the shade Tan Golden. I was incredulous that my preferred shade would be the one on offer, so I jumped at the chance to give this spendy product a try. This thick cream concealer is intensely full-coverage and the tiniest dot spreads out to provide fully opaque but blendable colour. I could immediately see why this concealer has such a rabid fan following ever since it launched despite the steep price, since it is such an effective staple beauty product.

I finally succumbed to the siren call of ColourPop Cosmetics and placed an order online as a get well gift to myself, taking advantage of seasonal promotions I bought this seasonal Lippie-To-Go Trippin Mini Kit that contains a gorgeous sampling of 5 Lippie Stix with a matching Lippie Pencil on the other end, both products I've been desperate to try. They vary in finish and come in an array of glossy, matte and satin formulas. I am completely smitten with these products; the colours are tenacious and feel great on my lips. Every shade is richly-pigmented and the creamy liners glide on and keep your application precise and in place for hours. I'm so pleased with this lip set since I feel like it gave me a generous sampling of great products, discounted from already phenomenal prices. It is also relevant to note that my ColourPop package, ordered at the start of online holiday shopping madness, arrived at my doorstep within 3 days of my order, definitely the quickest shipment to Canada ever!

Please stare at this stunning eyeshadow for as long as you need, go ahead, I have the time. Named Bill, this seemingly-demure matte neutral greige with a lavender undertone Super Shock Shadow is a crease-blending powerhouse that I'm obsessed with. The bouncy texture of this shadow delivers a cool gel/mousse type product that turns to a smoothly blendable powder when applied to the skin. The shade you see here is a unique, cool-toned light brown that looks more pink or more brown depending on your skin shade. Either way, it is a delight to apply and wear and is definitely a gateway shadow, caveat emptor!

Now let's take a look at another lovely transition shade for darker skin, this time by Milani Cosmetics. This Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow in Bella Cappuccino 03 has a satin matte finish and is a gorgeous shade to define the crease, blend with other shadows or all over the lid for a quick neutral look. For $8.99 at the Real Canadian Superstore here on the Wet Coast of Canada, this is a quality find at a drugstore price.

While at the Milani display, this Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Naked 61 jumped out at me, so I had to buy it, and I'm so glad I did. It is a matte long-lasting lipstick that isn't indelible but still wears for hours. What it lacks in permanence, it makes up for by not drying lips out and not creating a flaky mess, especially at the perimeter of the inner lip where things can get awkward with a patchier product. This warm dark nude is completely natural on my lips but may appear as a warm bronze on fair skin. For $6.99 at Real Canadian Superstore, this is a great beauty deal!

One final matte eyeshadow I picked up as a daily crease and contour shade is by NYX, this single pot of their Nude Matte Shadow in the shade Dance the Tides. This smooth shadow is completely matte but not overly powdery and definitely not chalky. It is well-pigmented and blends easily with other shadows, so it works to warm up almost any makeup look. For just $8.99CAD at London Drugs, this is a wonderful addition to my makeup drawer.

Hair too suffers from winter's drying cycle of hot and cold, so I went back to an old favourite miracle product that I always repurchase, this Terax Crema Original Moisturizing Daily Conditioner. Many years ago, I heard a woman rave on and on about it when she found it in a store we were in, and I watched her buy three tubes at once. Intrigued, I tried a travel size of their classic Crema conditioner and I've been a faithful customer ever since. I don't necessarily use it every time I wash my hair, partly since it's expensive and hard to find, and partly since it is quite rich. However, due to my recent dry hair trauma, I am using it more than once a week and my hair has never been softer. This is absolutely the best hair conditioner I have ever used, and I have almost always had some on hand no matter where I am, for those times when being able to detangle my hair is something I care about. I've seen it over the years at higher-end beauty shops and salons, but I acquired my recent tube online at Amazon for less about $24CAD which was a huge convenience at a shockingly good price.

Since I now shampoo my long hair less than ever, the time between washings has become a thing. Impressed with almost all things argan as far as haircare is concerned, I picked up a bottle of Marc Anthony's Argan Oil Dry Styling Oil. The oil's spicy-musk scent wears off soon enough with a super-fine mist that gently coats the hair without being greasy or heavy. I use it only on my dryest ends and it keeps it hair silky and tangle-free for days. It makes hair a bit slippery so keep it away from areas where you want volume or if you're going to try an updo or braids. However, if you're planning to do anything with heat, the protective qualities of this product will reduce damage and look shinylicious! For $10CAD at Shoppers Drug Mart, this is an affordable and effective haircare find.

And now for one of my favourite recent haircare purchases, this is the Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo for Dark Tones, which I picked up from the non-descript salon at the nearest mall. To my delight, they had a travel size for $11CAD, so I went ahead and grabbed it. Had I known how great it is, I would have also bought a full size can because this stuff is the best. Without hesitation, this is the best dry shampoo I've tried, for several reasons. First is the fact that it is dark, so I don't have to worry about that grey-white spray that I get from every other dry shampoo. Next is the smell, earthy and natural, but still like a high-end salon product, it's delightfully scented but not overly perfumed. Finally of course, is how well it works to banish greasy areas and add volume to hair's roots without any weight or residue. If you have dark hair and see this exact product when you are out and about, pick it up and you won't be disappointed.

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