Sunday, January 3, 2016

December beauty finds and deals I loved

Happy New Year dear reader, I've missed you and this little space! I'm sorry I was absent for the last month but I'm happy to say I'm recovering from hip surgery and have enjoyed trying out so many products over the last few weeks, so stay tuned for a whole heap of reviews and recommendations in the next little while!

Let's start with this NYX Micro Brow Pencil which I picked up in the shade Espresso for just $11.99 at London Drugs. Even though I have tan-olive skin and naturally black hair and brows, since I have lighter hair colouring in at the moment and it's the middle of winter so I'm the fairest I'll be all year, I opted for this shade instead of the darkest one for a natural brow that doesn't look harsh. All the raves you've heard about this affordable dupe for the Anastasia brow pencil are true, it has an ideal consistency with a thin-leaded, twist-up tip that makes fixing up your brows effortless. I also found that the texture of the product had just enough control that I skipped brow gel and just used the built-in spoolie on the opposite end to set the hairs in place and that was that. As for staying power, this product was impeccable. One of my abiding makeup fears is absent-mindedly wiping brow colour all over my face, but I don't worry about that with this product.

Another exceptional NYX product is this HD Concealer which I picked up in the shade CW05 Medium, a creamy rich warm-toned concealer, with just enough orange to neutralize my dark under-eye circles and brighten discolorations, which makes for perfect foundation application. Once locked into place with setting powder, it did not crease or highlight any wrinkles. It felt so light it was virtually imperceptible on my skin while still delivering great coverage. Did I mention it was only $7.99 CAD at London Drugs? This is my new favourite concealer, after what feels like an eternal search.
This stunning little holiday set was only $15 from Sephora! It contains three deluxe samples of Tarte's most popular products, their Maracuja Oil, Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara and Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Fanciful. I've been using the oil on my face every day and find it to be very light and hydrating, without leaving a greasy film that sits on top of my skin. It has no smell, which makes it unique among facial oils I'm currently using, so I find that I prefer it in the mornings after cleansing, over all my other moisturizers. The blush is a universally flattering, warm peach matte blush that is easy to blend and not overly powdery. Finally, this very popular mascara does a decent job of darkening and defining lashes, with minimal smudging through daily wear. All in all, this is a lovely set!

If you really want to get me going, ask me about tubing my lashes. No matter what else I try, I always come back to my long-adored blinc tubing mascara. Yes it is expensive, but on the one hand, it's something I'm going to be applying right next to my eyeballs, so I want to be sure the ingredients and production and top-quality. On the other hand, it's an almost daily staple necessity for me and my tiny Asian lashes, so I want it to be consistently safe and effective. I know there are those who pooh-pooh mascara formulas that tube, but for me, it's the only thing that works. Over the last decade, I've faithfully purchased this mascara even when it meant embarking on a beauty scavenger hunt when it was hard to find, from the time it was sold under a different brand name (formerly Kiss Me). This is honestly the only beauty product I have hoarded. Needless to say, when I saw that Sephora had a travel duo on sale for $15, I ran to my local store to get one. This Lash Discovery Duo contained a Lash Primer and their classic Mascara in Black. I even love the little tin that housed these two little gems. Since this mascara is luxury-priced at $30 per tube, I'm always choked to throw out a tube that's gone past the best before date. I'm also horrified to note that they do not carry this product in my favourite dark blue shade, which subtly makes eyes look whiter and brighter without being noticeable. Makes me wish I had stockpiled a couple more tubes when I had the chance, but I'm relieved to note that salons and specialty makeup stores everywhere carry this line for beautyholics in the know.

My recent medical journey has wrought unforeseen havoc on my skin, all of it. I'll get to my facial skin woes in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say that I feel more reptile than human most days in my skin. I've got dry flaking issues on my legs, elbows that could plane a doorway, rough parched patches on my feet... arrrrrgh! 
So I picked up this deliciously-scented Bright and Bubbly gift set by Soap & Glory from the nearby Shoppers Drug Mart for $20 CAD and I LOVE every product in this cheerful box. It contains Clean on Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel, Scrub of Your Life Smoothing Body Scrub, Hand Food Hydrating Hand Cream, and a jar of The Righteous Butter Body Butter along with a cute pink shower puff.
Though highly-scented, I really enjoy using this set. The cleanser lathers up and doesn't strip skin's moisture while the body scrub gets to work on dry and ashy elbows, knees and ankles. The body scrub is thick and creamy so it doesn't disappear before it has a chance to do its job. Both leave my bathroom smelling divine. The hand cream is excellent since it does not leave hands greasy and slippery, while providing lasting hydration that I can still feel even after I wash my hands. The body butter has earned its loyal fans, who love the rich formula that soothes dry itchy skin with a delicious scent that's not overpowering. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the makeup from this line, especially after having such a positive first experience.

Finally, this Caviar Anti-Aging Transformation Trio travel hair set by Alterna has been amazing. The last month saw my parched hair almost turn into one giant rat's nest, I was like the Weeknd's hair twin, and actually wondered if I was going to need to cut the tangled mess off if it was beyond repair but this Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Replenishing Moisture Conditioner came to my rescue. Combined with the Caviar CC Cream 10-in-1 Leave-In Hair Protector, my hair was detangled and silky smooth and hydrated for days. This luxury set was recently available at Sephora during their Black Friday sale for only $13, but I'm so impressed with the effectiveness of this set that I'll be buying the full size of the shampoo and maybe the conditioner once these travel sizes are done. If your hair is dryer than dry, give this line a try.