My Holy Grail Red Lipstick…

I love a good red. Wine or lipstick. When you wear a great red lipstick that really flatters you, it makes you feel über glam and brings out that inner sex kitten just a little more than usual…. atleast for me! … Continue reading

How Noxzema Saved My Cheeks…

A few months ago, I had an allergic reaction to something. No idea what it was. And I broke out in all kinds of hives and rashes on my face, mostly my cheeks. I took pills and used some medicated steroid cream and it eventually went away in about 2 weeks.

After that, I noticed my skin became really sensitive and if I even just *touched* my face, I would end up breaking out and pimples would come popping out all over my cheeks. So I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I know… again… Do not judge me please) and I saw these Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish pads in their classic cobalt blue Noxzema packaging. They were on sale for $3.49 and, in my classic style, I noticed a $1.00 off coupon just down the aisle. So I figured to try them. Nothing else was really working… my regular Cetaphil & Spectro cleansers didn’t seem to be able to handle the break outs alone and my tea tree oil stick was making my face look patchy and dry, nearly sunburnt. So with only $2.49 to lose, I grabbed a pack.

The instructions say to start with using 1 per day, then 2 per day with a max of 3 per day on the face. Well screw that! I was desperate. I started with 3 per day for the first 3 days and then 2 per day for about 3 more days. Before the 5th day, my break out was completely gone. Completely.

It’s true that I thought I might pass out from the menthol and camphor fumes, and sometimes I do plug my nose while swiping my face, but they say ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and here I am, with my face feeling stronger!

Moment of truth: these are dirt cheap, a jar lasts about 2 months, your breakout could clear up in a week’s time (or less!) and you have no embarrassing acne routine for people to see and poke fun at you about (i.e. the ‘toothpaste’ trick = no boyfriend wants to see that, or the ‘tea tree oil stick’ that dries out your skin in weird patches and makes you look like you got sunburned, or a bathroom cabinet full of acne products, when you could use just 1 or 2 and get the job done). P.s. these also work on your back if you have upper back acne. I recommended them to a male friend and he told me that within a week things were looking MUCH clearer!

My current routine: exfoliate, rinse, wash, rinse, use the Noxzema Anti-blemish pads once a day (on cheeks only, where my breakouts happen) and moisturize with my Clinique Dramatically Different. My current skin: so clear that I rarely wear foundation…. maybe once a week for a night out.

I love these things! And they are now one of my bathroom cabinet staples. Beware, the fumes are STRONG. Like, super strong. But these are completely worth it.

p.s. I have no brand sponsors (pffft- I wish)… So everything I buy costs me out of my own pocket and so, I am always, totally & completely honest about every product I review.

Have an acne remedy? skin cure? share it with me!

Better than “Mixed Chicks”?? Say what?!

Yep, I found a leave-in conditioner that is better, I repeat – BETTER – than the Mixed Chicks brand coveted leave-in conditioner and de-frizzer for curly hair types.

I really like Mixed Chicks, I do. I have even used it in my daughter’s hair which has about 3x the twisty-curl factor than my own hair does. It works really well. But I found a product that works even BETTER.

Recently, I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I say recently but we all know it’s closer to ‘daily’) helping my friend shop for some deep conditioner for her hair. I have used the ones by L’oreal Expertise, specifically this one (below), the Total Repair 5 and I really liked it. It was moisturizing but not so heavy that it weighed down my hair or gave me that ‘greasy bangs’ look.

So as my friend was grabbing herself some hair mask, I grabbed myself something new (as always) to do a test run. I’ve tried the Nutri-Sleek shampoo & conditioners from the same L’Oreal Expertise brand before and like them, so I decided to give the leave-in conditioner a try.

I have to say, I was amazed by it. It did a BEYOND fabulous job of taming my frizzies and defining my curls without any crunchy gel type feeling AT ALL. It was phenomenal. I only needed a small dollop and it was enough for my whole mid length head of hair. My hair didn’t feel weighed down. AND my boyfriend complimented my yummy smelling hair (it really does smell pretty good, for a styling product anyway).

So, is Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner great? Yes. Does it do everything it promises? Yes. But, is it available everywhere like in a drugstore or WalMart like L’Oreal Expertise is? No. Is it as cost effective as the L’Oreal Expertise brand is? No again. The Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner is 300ml for $16.99 (per the website and often sells for much more in stores, especially in boutique hair stores where you might be lucky to find it here in Canada) whereas the L’Oreal Expertise Nutri-Sleek leave-in conditioner is 200ml for $4-6 in most drugstores.

I bought my L’Oreal Expertise Nutri-Sleek leave-in conditioner on sale for $3.99 at SDM AND had $2 off coupons from the company itself to use. That’s right, it was $1.99. I don’t think this could be beat!

If you have thick, wavy, curly, ringlety, corkscrewy, dry, frizzy, dull curls or hair, you probably NEED to get this leave-in conditioner. You just didn’t know it until right now. And with summer coming, a.k.a. “big hair season”, this will probably become your life line.

No, I didn’t forget about you guys! Here’s a link to that $2 off coupon I used: http://www.smartsource.ca/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=RH3NYYVG2LZOY

Now go forth and shop!

Have a fave hair product? Tell me! Want me to put something to the test? Ask away!

Best Eyeliners! Product Review

So if you know me, then you know that there are 3 makeup product areas that I am EXTREMELY particular about. First, eyeliner. Second, mascara, Third, brow fillers. I take these products very seriously because I love my eyes, they’re my favourite feature on my face. BUT, they are also quite small and require the right products to make sure they ‘pop’ the way I like them to. So here I’m going to start with my #1 favourite thing, eyeliner, and review my top rated items in pencil and liquid, black and white.

My newest favourite: Kat Von D Autograph Eyeliner in ‘Pur Amor’. This matte black colour will stay all day and is the perfect brush for liquids with an easy to grasp and control handle. Not for the unpractised, so practice first with a cheaper liquid (like NYC‘s black liquid eyeliner for less than $5 at drugstores or Wal-Mart) until your technique is perfect. Then, upgrade yourself. $21 at Sephora.

My #1 clubbing and summertime eyeliner for extreme days and nights: GOSH Extreme Art Eyeliner Gel Liquid. This is the last eyeliner you will ever buy for a night out on the town. The black is glossy, and the colour is extremely intense. The brush is not made for those faint of heart or who are trying liquid for the first time so please practice elsewhere before buying the ‘big guns’ and by big guns, I mean this liquid-gel eyeliner. If you apply it and make a mistake, you’ve got about 4 seconds to fix it or neaten it up with a damp q-tip. If you don’t make it in time, you’ll have to use remover and then clean after the remover so the re-application will stick to the skin again. Basically, it can go bad, all bad. But, I have put it on myself and clients for a ladies night out and still seen it look absolutely perfect in the morning, no flaking, no smudging, no fading. We’re talking 18 hours later. Amazing stuff. Looks like a liquid, applies like a thin gel. $15 at Shoppers Drug Mart stores. Look out for their GOSH cosmetics promotions for 10-20% off which I’ve spotted happens quite frequently and makes it a breeze to stock up. Black is #07, the silvery-white is #14, and I also use #19 and #26 silver shimmers and #20 gold shimmer to highlight the tear duct for a night out since it looks great in pictures instead of a plain white pencil.

My favourite waterproof pick: Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liquid Liners. I put all my eyeliners to the test by applying it to my hand and seeing how long it will last through washing of hands, cooking, etc. These have fantastic staying power. I put the black on my hand and it lasted nearly 12 hours with no flaking, smudging or fading and it lasted nearly 20 hours before completely disappearing (#13 matte black). I also LOVE the white (#16 diamond white) to use on top of black eyeliner pencil on the lower eye (below the waterline) to add a shimmer to eyes and a ‘pop’ when taking pictures. The only set back to this eyeliner: pigment. The 2 above are blacker and more highly pigmented colour, which I love because I like the deepest, darkest, most dramatic black I can possible get. And the white is shimmery, but not pigmented so you’d need to apply a white pencil underneath it if you want it to look like an opaque shimmery white instead of a translucent one. The second thing I’m not keen on: the brush. It’s like a sponge brush instead of a soft bristle brush which makes this a bit harder on the eye (especially on the waterline) and feels a bit on the ‘idiot-proof’ eyeliner to me which I find makes it harder for me to wing and be artistic with, but if you‘re in need of an idiot proof liquid, this here is your pot of gold. $26 at Sephora.

My favourite self-sharpening sticks: STILA Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Stingray. This is the blackest blackest blackest pencil ever. Goes on ULTRA smooth with no dragging or pulling. Feels heavenly. Extremely pigmented. And waterproof. Amazing stuff. $26 at Sephora, but worth it. The second favourite here is a drugstore alternative: Covergirl Perfect Point Plus in Black Onyx. So smooth, and a very inky black. Precisions is to die for and makes for a perfect cat eye. Love it when I don’t feel like using liquid on my top lid and for using on the waterline for short stints or non-strenuous days. Lasts long, but not as long as the STILA stick. I would strongly recommend it but limit your use to day as I doubt it will go the distance if you take it out on the town. Fantastic buy at about $8 at drugstores or Wal-Mart.

My favourite pencils: The all-time favourite for me is the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil. My favourite colour is ‘Perversion’ which is the best shade of black I’ve seen in a stick. Ever. However, you can only get it in the new holiday kits at Sephora where you can get a variety of minis. Unfortunately, I don’t buy this brand for all the colours, just the black or white. So, the next best one you can get from them is the ‘Zero’ black or the ‘Yayo’ shimmery white, both are $22 each at Sephora. Well worth it, since they glide on in the most heavenly way and stay put for about 10 hours without giving you raccoon eyes. Plus, these pencils are the smoothest criminals you can lay your hands on, I promise.

The cheaper alternative:
SEPHORA COLLECTION Flashy Waterproof Eyeliner in #10 Deep Black or #02 Flashy Silver. $10 at Sephora. It’s nice, smooth, has good pigment and is waterproof for day wear, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a night out of dancing or wearing to the gym. This would be bad, very bad. But if you have dry skin or non-sweaty days, then this is a perfect alternative to the pricier favourite of mine.

My favourite drugstore alternatives: CoverGirl Liquiline Blast. It’s waterproof, blendable and highly pigmented. Goes on smooth. It’s a bit smudgier than I like in my everyday pencil but makes for a fantastic smokey eye and even has a nifty smudger on the back just to ease you into mastering the smudging technique. About $10 at drugstores or Wal-Mart.

NYX Sticks for Eyes Eyebrow and Eyeliner Pencil. They are smooth, have great wearability, don’t tug on skin, are non-irritating for sensitive eyes and the pigment is great too. I use #901 Black or #906 White, the #918 White Pearl is softer and a bit shimmery and tends to look better as a tear duct hilighter as opposed to a waterline pencil. You can purchase them from select drugstores for about $5 each.

NYC liquid eyeliner in black is the ultimate for a drugstore brand. Very inky, very black, with a smooth and ultra-fine brush. Drawback: it’s not waterproof so don’t attempt a night out on the town with this one. You can find it in Walmart of drugstores for about $5.

If there is an eyeliner you would like me to review, please drop me a line on this note or on my page a tell me which brand/type/colour you’d like a review on.

Stay Beautiful!