Saturday, February 13, 2016

Best recent beauty buys: No. 7, Maybelline, NYX & Essence

I've had a few weeks to try the ballyhooed No. 7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum, and I've been won over by this unassuming little white tube. The product is not a replacement for moisturizer, but rather a pre-treatment to use beforehand. While I can't say that my fine lines and wrinkles have miraculously disappeared, I can tell you that my face has felt smoother, more deeply hydrated and less flaky dry than it was before I started using it. It has also thankfully made my day moisturizing cream much more effective. I like how it sinks in and absorbs rapidly, especially at night when I don't want to smear skincare products on my pillowcases. These properties are why this is my current favourite base to prepare my face; I find that it does not interfere with how makeup applies to my skin or how long it lasts, unlike richer products that will cause foundations and concealers to slide around and limits wear time considerably. This serum has a loyal following for good reason and I will continue using it morning and night.
Ever on the hunt for my holy grail cleansing wipe, I chose to give these No. 7 Beautiful Skin Quick Thinking Wipes a go. I like the size and texture of the cleansing cloth, and the cleanser itself is effective. The first couple of wipes were a tad dry, but now that I'm a few in to the pack, they're really growing on me. I find them well-soaked in a non-irritating solution that takes the lion's share of a full face of makeup off with ease. Waterproof eyeliner, mascara and lip products dissolve quickly and they're not greasy or perfumed. Bought in conjunction with a brand promotion, these are a great option if you're looking for effective, economical makeup removing wipes. Shoppers Drug Mart carries a decent selection of No. 7 skincare for Canadian beauty lovers to enjoy.

I should listen to my mother more often. She's been telling me how much she likes these Maybelline lipsticks and was she ever right. I settled on the Color Sensation The Buffs lipstick in shade 950 Untainted Spice, and I can't stop wearing it! I'm blown away by the creamy formula that lasts much longer than I expected, with a pleasant mild scent and no flavour. This colour is everything I wanted right now, not too brown or red, I love the way it doesn't look patchy or obvious as it wears off, and my lips feels moisturized for hours. For just a few dollars, I'm even impressed with the look and feel of the tube itself, which is nicer than some lipsticks at double or triple the price. I may be the last person on planet Earth to do so, but I'm so glad I finally stopped overlooking this ubiquitous affordable gem and am now keen on buying a few more of these if I can find shades that appeal to me.

Since I'm lining my lips constantly these days, I realize I want my all lipliners to be retractable so they'll never need sharpening. This lipliner from NYX is one of my current obsessions, the Retractable Lip Crayon in the shade Cocoa. It's a slim waterproof liner that glides a gorgeous shade of red-tinged brown onto my lips and blends beautifully with lipsticks and glosses. It's a perfect colour to define nude lips or to keep darker shades tidily in place for the day. It was the darkest neutral they had at my local London Drugs, and I am so enamored of this little beauty that it has quickly become a beauty staple.

This NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Soft Spoken had more than one surprise in store for me. To be clear, this is not a non-transferring, ultra long-lasting liquid lipstick. Instead, it is a mousse-like lipstick that is light and creamy with a velvety shine-free finish that feels nice and wears off subtly; it's great to have a matte nude lipstick that doesn't leave lips dry and flaky. The next surprise was how grey-taupe this shade looks against my neutral/olive-toned skin, not that I mind that in the least either. Paired with any darker lipliner, it creates a neutral gradient look that is subtle but polished and wears well through the day. This shade looks much browner and rosier on lighter skin tones, a lovely addition to any makeup collection. I'm really pleased to see that this top-quality line is now available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart, as well as at London Drugs and Save-On Foods locations.

Although technically I had all the black eyeliner pencils that anyone could use in one lifetime, I guess it's really saying something that I felt the need to repurchase this Essence Gel Eye Pencil Waterproof in Black Blaze after my previous one bit the dust (ok, I accidentally sharpened it, it's retractable and the resulting badly-damaged plastic tip became more of a weapon than beauty product, so I chucked it). This blackety-black eyeliner is smoother and lasts longer - even in my waterline - than most other liners, including luxury brands. For just a few bucks, it is one of the best beauty bargains I've found, available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart.

I also bought the Essence Eyeliner Pen Waterproof in Deep Black and again this product rivals any high-end liquid eyeliner pen, full stop. Richly pigmented, this is like a marker with a long thin tip that draws a dark line and perfect flick with ease. This liner did not get flaky, smudge or irritate at all and was intact at the end of a long day. Absolutely a must-have along with the Gel Eye Pencil, again at a shockingly low price.

Still with Essence, I got my hands on their new Liquid Lipstick in the shade 06 Make a Statement. This brightly coloured product is a hybrid of lipstick and lipgloss, with opaque pigmentation in a buttery liquid formula. Scent and flavour are frequent deal-breakers for me when it comes to lip products, but the scent was so mild that I scarcely noticed. I love the raspberry-mauve hue this brings to my lips. I've also found it works wonders to tone down too dark/overly vampy and matte lipsticks, diffusing them into a more ombré and wearable look, so this drugstore find is a definite keeper.

Last from Essence I bought a nail polish from the I <3 Trends The Nudes line in 03 I'm Lost In You and I'm again thrilled with the quality of nail polishes this brand keeps creating. This warm dark beige shade is perfect against my skintone, looking neither too orange nor grey and with two nice coats over my fancy base coat and topped with Seche Vite's Fast Dry top coat, Essence nail polishes perform as well or better than most polishes. I'm also a huge fan of their flattened, ergonomically-shaped applicator brush that makes it easier to achieve a salon-perfect manicure. Incredibly, these sell for just a couple bucks and come in a large, ever-changing array of colours, but you should act fast if you see something you like as they do sell out. 

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