Friday, February 19, 2016

Budget-friendly makeup: Sally Beauty & bargains galore

I'm on a lipliner rampage right now, so this retractable Palladio Herbal Lip Liner in the shade Coffee jumped out at me in the cosmetics section of my local Sally Beauty location. With the magic word 'waterproof' on the package, I knew this would be another well-loved addition to my lipliner collection as soon as I swatched it. It glides onto lips with creamy pigmentation that lasts all day, in another perfect darker-than-nude colour that goes with almost every lip product I've been wearing lately. Combined with the discount I receive thanks to my Sally Beauty Membership Card, this is a fantastic lipliner for under $10.

I'm so happy with my previous Face Secrets makeup brushes that I picked up another, this Angle Blusher Brush. With gorgeously soft hairs, it deposits and blends a sheer wash of colour onto skin, perfect for blushes and bronzers alike. The slightly flattened asymmetrical shape of the brush head delivers product more precisely than big pouffy powder brushes, and it gently shades in the contours of your face without streaks. Every brush I've tried from this line has been excellent, and this one is no exception.

Although I love the makeup section at Sally's, their original specialty is haircare, and the travel section is a great place to find smaller-sized packages of many of their bestsellers. After having incredible results with a similar product by Novex from Brazil that I got in a past Ipsy GlamBag, I opted to test out this version by One N' Only, the Brazilian Tech Keratin Deep Penetrating Conditioning Treatment. It smells like I've just been transported to a beach party in the tropics with a parasol drink in my hand yet the scent isn't overbearing. I rinse it out after 5-10 minutes post-shampoo and my hair's strength and shine has been transformed. At last I've got a really effective conditioner that doesn't weigh my long hair down and keeps it soft and untangled for days. This is currently my favourite hair treatment, Sally Beauty does it again.

I stumbled across these sets of Real Techniques makeup brushes a few days ago at a little drugstore in Port Coquitlam and did not hesitate to buy them, since these premium-quality tools were on sale for $11 off per set. Created by UK sister beauty gurus Pixiwoo, fans and makeup artists know these are some of the best tools on the market, painstakingly designed to be that much better than other brushes. Cheap dupes abound but they pale in comparison to these hardworking beauties. I have no idea what my makeup brush saturation point is, but we're obviously not there yet.

The same little drugstore carries the CoLab haircare line (by lovely UK Youtuber Ruth Crilly from A Model Recommends) and I saw this Dry Shampoo in the scent London Classic available in a small format so I added it to my basket. I always appreciate travel-sized haircare since I get to try something new and it's easily portable for touch-ups on the go. I refuse to pack large, likely still-damp bottles of hair products to heave around in my luggage, to the gym, etc. Plus, if I don't care for the product, I'm not annoyed by having spent too much on a full-sized bottle that I'll never use.

I've taken to curling my hair lately, mostly thanks to a combination of curiosity and boredom. This has given me a reason to test heat styling products, and L'Oréal's Elnett Satin Styling Heat Spray is my top pick. It's so light that it doesn't make my hair greasy, nor does it feel crunchy or full of product. The light floral smell dissipates during styling and doesn't linger or compete with other scents. I've also noticed that when I curl my hair after applying this heat spray, I don't see wisps of product steaming off the hair-wrapped curling iron, and there's no visible coating of residue left behind on the barrel. I still dutifully wipe the barrel with a slightly damp clean cloth once it's cooled before stowing it away, since I don't want my lovely new styling tool to end up like the bottom of a well-seasoned cast iron frying pan.
Physicians Formula bronzers are treasured by fair-skinned beauties, but I'm sorry to say that even the Medium to Dark shade that I bought was still much too light to work as a bronzer on me, no matter that I'm at my lightest shade at this time of year. Too bad, as this is a beauty favourite for many reasons, from a dermatologist-approved brand that offers many bronzing options. Bronzers bring warmth and dimension back to your face after you've evened out your all-over skintone with foundation, concealer and setting powder. If it's not too shimmery or warm, a good bronzer can double as a subtle contour powder on it's own and sets cream contouring products to perfection. Fans say that this bronzer is better than many of the expensive luxury powders that now flood the market, but it definitely is not dark enough for most women of colour.

In a thinly veiled subconscious attempt to force Spring to arrive sooner, I purchased two delightfully optimistic shades of Milani's Color Statement Nail Lacquer and am very pleased with the quality. With a generous brush that applies a decent first coat, two coats is enough for a perfectly opaque manicure (definitely not the case for too many expensive nail polishes, especially in light colours). I even like the packaging of these affordable polishes and appreciate that the tops of the bottles clearly show exactly the shade within. 

I bought the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel pictured below on a whim and have been rocking this shade 460 Hold 'Em for a week with nary a chip in sight. I kind of pssshawed when I read the claims made about this polish but it looks just as fresh now as it did seven days ago when I applied it. The formula is a bit thicker than I'm used to, but it dries in the same time as any other polish and the colour is rich and opaque, so two coats are plenty to achieve the smooth look of salon-manicured gel nails.

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