EVENT | Getting Face Mapped at Dermalogica #FaceMapNation

Way back in April of this year, the Dermalogica launched a worldwide skincare campaign called "Face Map Our Nation" using Dermalogica's zone-by-zone approach to skin analysis. The Dermalogica Institute in Vancouver hosted a face-mapping event that I unfortunately could not attend because I was in Calgary for work, but the folks at Faulhaber were kind enough to book me in last month so I could experience a face mapping session!

I was greeted by the lovely Jennifer upon my arrival at Dermalogica and though the office seems incredibly pristine and mildly intimidating (I mean, it IS a school) with all of its perfectly packaged products and facial contraptions, you can't beat that incredible view. Talk about putting you at ease! Jennifer is an instructor at the institute so not only was she calm and smiley but obviously incredibly knowledgeable in a way that I appreciated. After filling out the consultation card with my illustrious skincare regime, Jennifer and I chose to address some main concerns that I had which were mainly hyperpigmentation, dullness and fine lines.

This is the classroom where I was about to get my face mapping and Dermalogica treatment. When it came to zoning out my face, Jennifer noted that I was dehydrated in ALL areas and recommended that I use the Ultracalming Cleanser for my slightly upset cheeks especially when I mentioned that my skin tingled a little bit when using chemical exfoliators. This cleanser is all about cooling and calming reactive skin without foaming and though I have not started using it yet, is on my top 10 list of skincare to try and hopefully stick with for 2016. She also recommended the PreCleanse Wipes (LOVE) in the evenings as they are essentially an oil cleanse in the form of a wipe. My skin feels so soft after using these that I am not dying for moisturizer after removing my makeup.

Though Jennifer explained everything she was doing, facials are the one time where you can't really take notes while it is happening since you are lying down! The main thing I remember is that
Jennifer used a 30% lactic acid treatment on my skin as it was gentle, but incredibly powerful. It did tingle a little bit, but nothing unbearable. Then came the signature Dermalogica facial massage which was so good! My brain pretty much shut down at this point, but the massage hit all of the right pressure points.

After the lactic acid treatment was removed, we went through and applied the products that would be best suited for my skin concerns including the Total Eye Care Eye Cream with SPF 15 (eye cream with SPF is so awesome!), the Multivitamin Power Serum (for fine lines and hyperpigmentation) and the Sheer Tint Moisturizer.     

After the facial, Jennifer was waiting outside with a few product recommendations as well as a full rundown on how to use them complete with what made them effective. This is a science-y brand, but with elements of nature like the inclusion of lavender oil in their primer. I have always said that when it comes to skincare, I believe science and nature can make a powerful duo so just leave out the filler ingredients and I'm happy.

Face mapping is essentially what it sounds like and if you don't quite understand what is going on with your skin, the folks at Dermalogica are more than equipped to help you out. The face is mapped into numbered zones and at the end of my session I was given a "map" with areas where conditions like my chin were marked with a "B" for "breakout activity" or my forehead was "P" for where there was "pigmentation. 
The folks at Dermalogica do not make you feel inept and instead make you feel EXCITED to "do skincare". Their products appeal to everyone - from those wanting a very basic routing to those, like myself, who want to try and do everything under the sun! If you haven't tried Dermalogica's products before or popped by one of their stores, please do because you seriously will not regret it!

If one of your beauty resolutions is to get your skin in better shape, join me on my Dermalogica journey this year! I will be sharing a list of skincare brands I will be focusing on for 2016!

SKINCARE | PMD Personal Microderm Device Review

As I have gotten older, I have become more and more open to trying new skincare techniques and tools. After having my first microderm abrasion experience earlier this year (here) and loving the results (but not really the price), I set out to emulate what had been achieved from that one microderm session. Although it isn't feasible at times, I do read what the celebs do to keep their skin looking Hollywood-fabulous despite the amount of partying and other "habits" they get up to. The PMD Personal Microderm* ($159.00 USD) is a skincare gadget I kept reading about before every red carpet event and was a YouTube favourite. With the holidays and soon to be NYE and Chinese New Year, having "skin on the glow" is more than welcome in this season of non-stop activity!

The PMD is an intensive at-home physical exfoliation procedure and while I have been testing this device out over the last couple of MONTHS, I still included one very mild chemical exfoliation treatment in the week. The 
idea behind microderm abrasion is to remove the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of epidermis) making the body think that the skin has suffered a mild injury. The body's normal immune reaction causes those lost skin cells to be replaced with fresh healthy new ones hence that addictive microderm abrasion "glow". You can see why this is a treatment that should not be abused as skin can "thin out". The PMD should only be used once a week or every 6-7 days to allow skin to rejuvenate. T
he other advantage to microderm abrasion is that without the stratum corneum, any products used afterwards absorb like THAT (*snaps fingers*) because we are bypassing that tough fortress of an outer layer of the epidermis (it’s tough for a reason!)

There are a few different device options with extra exfoliation discs and additional speeds, but I was more than happy with my pink PMD Classic Kit that included:

1 Personal Microderm Device
1 white disc for ultra sensitive skin or training (face)
1 grey disc for very sensitive skin (face and body)
1 blue disc for sensitive skin (face and body)

The PMD is plugged into a regular wall socket and before starting to use this on your face, I would suggest watching the how-to video and then testing on a small area 
behind the neck or on the hand to see how your skin reacts. I probably watched the video 20x before using it on my face! The sensation can feel very unique as a vacuum is being created between the tip of the PMD and your skin. 

All PMDs come with a small white disc for ultra sensitive skin or training the skin. Start with this disc first and then slowly move up to grey or blue from week to week. The first thing to do is to cleanse the 
skin thoroughly and towel dry as skin must be completely dry for the device to work effectively. Pull skin taut and pull the PMD upwards. Never hover in the same spot for too long and don’t go over the same areas twice because it will just feel uncomfortable. You will notice your skin looking a little "dusty" with dead skin cells which is normal as the disc is covered in aluminum oxide crystals which are doing the exfoliating. PMD does state that if your skin is on the dry side, you will notice more residue than if you have oily skin. These crystals eventually wear down which is why they need replacement, but last anywhere from 2-4 treatments depending on how long your PMD sessions are.

In order of "grit": white, grey and blue. There is also green, orange and red for those that prefer a more intense exfoliation. 

The discs can be easily swapped out depending on what level of intensity you would like as well as whether you would like to use the PMD for the face OR for the body. The body discs are larger and the clear plastic caps are also larger to create the required vacuum.

I use the PMD in the same manner as outlined in the video, along the jawline, down the neck and along the forehead and nose. Do not use it above the cheekbones or around the eyes as the skin here is quite thin and you can risk damaging those delicate capillaries. The whole PMD process takes me less than 4 minutes and then I continue with my skincare routine as usual after rinsing my face of "dust". Make sure you stop using any intense chemical peels, AHAs, retinols or retin A while using the PMD and of course use sunscreen!

To care for your PMD, make sure you clean the clear cap with rubbing alcohol or antibacterial soap and pull off the disc and black filter. Rinse the black disc with warm water and wait for it to fully dry before putting it back on the PMD.

Final verdict: Honestly, once you get into the routine of using this weekly you will love how nicely your serums and moisturizers seem to disappear right into the skin. Your skin also becomes a fantastic texture because of the intense exfoliation it is receiving. I have been using the PMD for a few months and as you can see from my review that it has taken awhile to write about because it was quite the learning process for me. One thing I had to be careful of was not to OVER exfoliate during the rest of the week. During the week I would use a very gentle chemical exfoliant at most two other times. I eventually moved up from the white to the grey disc and used the large blue body disc for rough areas like my elbows and backs of my arms. Now that I have the PMD, I honestly do not think I will ever pay for another microderm treatment again as I love that I can just "get the glow" when I want! With NYE coming up, I plan on doing it right before I head out!

Thankfully, The Shopping Channel carries the replacement discs as well as two of the PMD models in pink and grey for us Canadians DYING from the exchange rate. Canadian pricing for the PMD is $189.99 and a 6 pack of replacement discs for $22.99. 

MAKEUP | Guerlain L'Or Radiance Concentrate Makeup Base Review

I will admit that ever since I saw "Austin Powers in Goldmember", I secretly say "I love gooold!" whenever I use any products containing actual gold. When it comes to luxury, there are select brands that stand out because of their packaging, ingredients and in this case, use of actual 24 karat gold flakes! The Guerlain L'Or Radiance Concentrate* (30mL/$81.00 CDN) has been around for awhile and though I am relatively new to Guerlain this is one of their most well-known makeup primers. Earlier this year, Guerlain revamped and repackaged both the L'Or and Parure Gold Foundation (review coming!) and though I have not used the previous versions of either of these products, hopefully I can shed some light on what they are like now!

I never knew that makeup primers could come in so many consistencies and colours. What we are most used to are primers containing high concentrations of silicone because we want our skin to be poreless and matte. I feel like these types of primers are more targeted at oily/combination skin types so what about those with dry skin types? It wasn't until last year that I realized there were primers that focused more on hydration, giving skin a natural glow AND held foundation in place. L'Or is just that and though I will happily use L'Or at anytime during the year, I'm headed to a New Year's Eve party this week and wanted my skin to look positively radiant!

Housed in hefty glass packaging, 24 karat gold flakes are suspended in a hydrating gel to give skin a subtle glow from within while forming an invisible mesh across the skin to smooth out fine lines. This primer is SILICONE-FREE so you will not feel that heaviness associated with conventional makeup primers. While colloidal gold has been said to be beneficial for the skin, I am not entirely convinced so I see the gold flakes as more makeup than skincare. 

A tiny bit goes a very long way and the amount I have on my hand is actually a touch more than I need for my whole face! Instead of feeling like silicone, the instant I start massaging L'Or onto my skin, I feel like I have broken a bubble of water that I am dispersing all over my skin. It's hard to believe this is a primer that will hold foundation to my face! The gold flakes melt away and I am left with a very subtle glow to my skin. There is also a very slight tightening feeling as the primer dries, but there is virtually zero residue left on my skin. 

Here I am barefaced just wearing L'Or. You can see how the ringlight is picking up a bit of the shimmer from L'Or, but believe me when I say that it does not make you look like a walking lightbulb!

I am wearing foundation on the left hand side and you can see how the glow has been neutralized. You can really see that line down the middle of my forehead where the shimmer ends.

I may look like the holidays have run me over, but eventually I put it all together later and it all looks like this!

Final verdict: I initially tested this primer out during a Christmas dinner and yes, my foundation still looked like it did when I first applied it hours before and though the foundation I was using accentuated some dry areas around my nose, I patted on a little bit of L'or and it instantly made those dry patches disappear. This is quite the treat of a primer, but if you have a drier skin type and really could do without that heavy silicone-feel, this 30mL bottle will last you for at least half the year! I also like knowing that I have actual gold on my skin because "I love goooold!"

The L'Or Radiance Concentrate is available at Guerlain counters and Sephora online.

NAILS | Dior State of Gold "Seeing Stars" with Mystere and Gris-Or #ManiMonday

Oooh, four Mani Mondays in a row! Who says you can't start beauty resolutions early?! I will try my utmost to have these done every week and whenever I see nail polish on my nails I really am happier! Dior's limited edition State of Gold collection included four polishes, two of which I have already reviewed (here) and now here are Mystere* ($33.00 CDN) and Gris-Or*!

I started off by painting all of my nails with two coats of Gris-Or, which literally translates into "grey-gold", an incredibly apt description for this shade. Once the center two nails were dry, I applied star-shaped nail guides from fellow nail blogger Maddy of Beyond the Nail

Mystere is a creamy wine that I am showing here with two coats. It was easy to apply, but like most reds/wines can bleed a little especially when I was cleaning up around the cuticles. After painting two coats of Mystere over top the nail guides, I quickly peeled them off to reveal the star-shaped pattern!

Apply two coats of top coat for shine and you're done!

MAKEUP | Getting Glam for NYE with KISS Looks So Natural Lashes in "Sultry"

At the beginning of last year, a number of CBBers made beauty resolutions for 2015 and one of mine was to master the application of false lashes (see my post here on Lipstick and Lullabies). Well, I'm still not quite comfortable enough wearing false lashes in my everyday makeup life, but I did make a point of wearing them in most of the makeup looks I posted this year. They really do open up the eye so much! This past year I have had the opportunity to try a couple of different styles and brands of lashes and can safely say that I have formed some opinions on what works for me and what does not.

What has held me back from flat out purchasing lashes is how expensive some pairs are! Lashes can range from $25-$50 and even though they last up to 25 wears, it still feels like a lot of money to shell out on something that seems so fleeting and can feel a little uncomfortable. I didn't think to look to the drugstore until I was sent a few pairs of lashes from KISS last year. I actually used them in a few of my makeup looks when I wanted to enhance my eyes subtly (here, here and here). As much I love wearing lashes that are wild and out there, realistically speaking I want my lashes to feel like my own and they need to be comfortable if I am to survive a whole work day or NYE with them! 

KISS makes a number of different styles of natural-looking lashes, but one of my favourites is the style
"Sultry"* ($4.97 CDN) because I don't have to trim them for my tiny Asian eye! Imagine that! They are meant to accentuate the outer part of your lashes and what makes them look so natural is the "tapered end technology" since real lashes taper to a fine point right at the tips.

The lashes have a much thinner lash band than most other lashes I have used so I have to be careful not to overload on lash glue. When I apply them, I also don't have to push quite as hard since the lash band is thinner and quite flexible. With other lashes, I push fairly firmly on the lash band as that is normally how I know I have hit the base of my lash line. I take extra care NOT to do that with these!

I blend them in with my real lashes by pressing them together with my fingers and oftentimes I can't tell which lashes are mine and which are from KISS! They also feel fluffy and light making them one of the most comfortable lashes I have ever worn. I tested them out for Christmas dinner and not only did they stay in place, but I forgot I had them on! 

Final verdict:If the thought of false lashes feel TOO glam, but mascara ain't cutting it, look no further than KISS Looks So Natural Lashes! 

KISS lashes can be found in London Drugs, Wal-Mart.

SKINCARE | Farmacy Beauty New Day Exfoliating Grains Review

I first saw Farmacy Beauty in Sephora Bellevue back a few months ago and was instantly captivated by the wooden caps and its "green beauty allure". I am cautious of brands that claim to be natural and green and I hate it even more when writers, editors and *gasp* even bloggers use the terms so loosely. No, we are not scientists (though I have the degree), but sometimes we say that a brand is "natural" because the press release says it is. When Farmacy Beauty came to Sephora online and then as a review opportunity on Brandbacker, I thought this was the time to look into the brand more closely.   

Founded by Mark Veeder, the main concept of Farmacy Beauty is: "Farmer cultivated, scientist activated". Ya'll know I love products that are actually grown on a farm from my previous job experience and that's what Farmacy is all about! All products are powered by a patent-protected variant of Echinacea purpurea called Echinecea GreenEnvy. GreenEnvy is grown on a farm in upstate New York and is an Echinecea variant that blooms completely green. 

E.purpurea contains a very high concentration of cichoric acid which has been shown to inhibit the enzyme hyaluronidase (breaks down hyaluronic acid in the body) as well as protect collagen from free radical damage (Wikipedia, Dec. 2015). Only cichoric acid from the roots are used in Farmacy products as that is where it is most concentrated. GreenEnvy is then cold-processed at a lab two hours away from the farm. Studies with collagen-induced arthritis in rats show promise with treatment using cichoric acid extract in that rats with the treatment exhibited reduced paw-swelling (awww!) and lower expression levels of arthritic protein indicators (Jiang et al, Dec. 2015). What this means is that all Farmacy products should improve skin at the cellular level as they firm and protect skin from collagen-breakdown.

After that illustrious introduction, let's get into the actual product - the New Day Exfoliating Grains* ($38.00 CDN)! This is a powder cleanser/exfoliator that requires about a tablespoon of water to create a thick paste. What I noticed right away in the ingredients list (I had to find the list on Sephora's website) is that this is both a chemical and physical exfoliator - cranberry and Adzuki seed powder for physical and citric acid/willow bark extract for chemical. I should also note that citric acid is an AHA and willow bark extract is a natural source of BHA meaning that this product could potentially be your cleanser, exfoliator, chemical peel and salicylic acid treatment. All done with what I am assuming to be naturally-derived ingredients based on the foundation behind the company. 

How to Use: Pour a small amount of the grains about the size of a quarter - into palm and blend with a few drops of water. Mix until a smooth, foaming paste forms. Massage onto skin with gentle circular sweeping motions. Rinse with tepid water and pat dry.

Ingredients: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Powder, Citric Acid, Water (Aqua), Mannan, Phaseolus Angularis (Adzuki) Seed Powder, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Patented Echinacea Purpurea 'Greenenvytm' Root Extract, Glycerin, Lactobacillus/Lemon Peel Ferment Extract, P-Anisic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Spirulina Plantensis Powder, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.

Once water is mixed in, the paste that forms is creamy and I just rub in circular motions all over my face concentrating on my forehead, nose and chin. I have some broken capillaries on my cheeks so I have to go easy on them with any sort of physical exfoliant. You can see the cranberry seed powder!

Final verdict: I know that for some, the thought of adding water may be too much work and that is perfectly ok! We all have our preferences when it comes to skincare and I know that if I'm exhausted, I want as few steps as possible in my skincare routine. I do like an anhydrous cleanser though as it means, it lasts a hell of a lot longer than ones that contain water and I can travel with it since it is no longer classified as a liquid!

As for the results? Your skin will glow after use, though mine felt a bit tight when I used it first thing in the morning. My skin was happier with the Exfoliating Grains at the end of the day. I don't know why. The cellular changes I believe will be more noticeable with the serums and moisturizers, but as I have only been using this product for less than a month, I cannot attest to my collagen levels improving. I want to believe everything about this company because at this point, most of it checks out! Reviews for the other products look good, pricing is reasonable and though my experience with this product wasn't revolutionizing, my research on this company has been. The research behind cichoric acid is legitimate and is being used to develop treatments for rheumatoid arthritis as it also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. The biology side of me is very pleased. I have now added the Firming Night Balm to my LOVES on Sephora and can feel that this is the beginning of a brand new relationship.    

Farmacy is available at www.farmacybeauty.com and www.sephora.ca
Product provided by Brandbacker.

HOLIDAY | Lush Christmas Part 2

I know, I know I promised a Part 2 and I'm only doing it now on Boxing Day! As all of us Lushies know, today was the the Lush Christmas BOGO and even though I got up at 7am, I was still too late for many of the gift sets. However, I do have a few Lush favourites that I hoped some of you managed to pick up by the multiples because they are THAT GOOD.

My apologies for how Stardust* ($5.25 CDN) looks because t'was I that packed this one at the Lush Christmas media event. I obviously need some more practice! The scent though, is just heavenly as it is made with Ugandan vanilla and rosewood. In the center are tiny blue water-soluble stars that you can see peeking out the side.

This was my first year trying Butterbear*($4.95 CDN) and its vanilla and cocoa-butter base will delight anyone who loves a sweet and creamy scent. Butterbear is also absolutely adorable so why wouldn't you want to take him home?

The Luxury Lush Pud* ($6.95 CDN) visually looks like my version of a Lush Rubik's Cube. If my Stardust turned out looking like the above photo, my version of this bath bomb, reminiscent of the light-up game "Simon Says", would be a total disaster. This is so pretty to look at and despite its multi-coloured appearance, is tonka and lavender-based in scent. It is the perfect bath bomb for Christmas because the tonka provides the sweetness characteristic of the season while lavender calms the mind.

In addition to the Rub Rub Rub exfoliating bar comes a Christmas version in the form of Salt and Peppermint Bark* ($9.95 CDN) which smells exactly like it sounds. Fine sea salt acts to exfoliate the body while peppermint oil and cocoa and cupuacu butter awaken and moisturize. I have been using this gently on dry skin because I don't want the bar to disappear with water! I am seriously hoarding it!

I didn't have a lot of princess wands growing up so whenever I get the chance to use one I take it! The Magic of Christmas Wand* ($9.95 CDN) is an incredibly seasonal scent made with sweet orange oil, clove and cinnamon. The "wand" portion is also actually made of a cinnamon stick! It's like my bath is a cup of apple cider!

Hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas Day and I can't believe the countdown to 2016 is now on! Tell me if you scored anything at the Lush BOGO sale!

HOLIDAY | Avon in My Stocking!

There are so many stocking stuffers to choose from that I'm pretty sure people have MULTIPLE stockings at this point! Yesterday, I shared on Instagram just one of many stocking stuffers available through Avon (here) and today are the rest! One thing people don't know is that Avon has a lot more than just beauty products! I myself own a lovely pair of coral shoes and a bag so don't be surprised if you see other Avon products that are outside the beauty realm in 2016!

I was not expecting Avon to carry litte electronic gadgets like these Retractable Earbuds* ($9.99 CDN), Power Charger with Flashlight* ($24.99 CDN) or this Selfie Remote* ($9.99 CDN)! The Power Charger was my favourite products as it is a portable charger that includes a number of adapters for almost any of your electronic devices that need a bit of extra juice. It even doubles as a flashlight (albeit on the dim side)!

The Retractable Earbuds did not quite work for me as my ear canals must either be very deep or the buds too short as they fell out of my ear easily. Sound quality was decent, but I felt like some sound "escaped". The Selfie Remote feels a little flimsy and I had a lot of trouble removing the back to put the battery in. When I finally got it off and tried to put it back on, it did not sit flat so the connection with battery is somewhat intermittent. I also couldn't get it to connect with my phone's bluetooth so...but the idea is great and if I can get it to work, I'd seriously use it!

Now the actual beauty stuffs! Avon had some incredibly cute hand creams and lip balms to offer this year. The lip balms came in an array of scents like: Chocolate Ganache* ($2.00 each), Pink Meringue*, Almond Sugar* and Fragrance-Free* while the hand creams (which are 45mL as opposed to the conventional 30mL) featured four of Avon's signature  textures such as Vita Moist* ($4.00 each), Silicone Glove*, Intensive Healing & Repair* and Signature Silk*.

Chocolate Ganache actually smells like rich chocolate AND gives a bit of a red tint so my vote is for this one! The hand creams are all noon-greasy, smells creamy and will be perfect for the purse or on the desk.

How is everyone's Christmas going? I am taking it SO EASY I think I will go have a Christmas nap. Happy Holidays everyone!

NAILS | Merry Christmas Glitter!

I am over the moon that Korean beauty brand, The Face Shop has firmly made its way into Canada! With pricing and quality that frankly rivals a number of luxury brands, The Face Shop continues to wow me. One product that I have been particularly impressed with is their Trendy Nails nail polishes and at $4 a bottle, I would highly recommend them to anyone!

It is Christmas today which means I can squeeze in one last Christmas-themed manicure before all the ideas get filed away for next year. I was planning on doing a couple more nail art posts, but I had a nail break that will not grow back anytime soon so enjoy my handicapped Christmas tree taping mani!

This was one is really fast and easy to do (no, really!) and involves two coats of
Trendy Nails RD302* which is such a GORGEOUSLY juicy red. It is self-leveling and is so easy and smooth to apply. TFS polishes just have amazing formulations!

I then painted on a gold gradient with Trendy Nails GLI040* in dabbing motions, concentrating the glitter at the tips of my nails. Using some loose glitter, I randomly placed green hex glitter on top and sealed it all in with top coat.

For the tree, I gave my nails a neutral colour using one shade of Trendy Nails OR202* and then taped off the shape of the Christmas tree once everything was dry. Doing my best to stay in the lines, I used two coats of Trendy Nails GR02* and while the polish was still wet, hand placed some red and silver hex glitter for "ornaments". A crystal star topped off the tree and I was done!

Merry Christmas everyone and make sure you try out these polishes!  

HOLIDAY | Burt's Bees from Head to Toe!

It's Christmas Eve and you probably should be done all of your shopping, right? Well, just in case you haven't OR you if just like reading about more tempting beauty things (raises hand), I've got a few more holiday gift ideas from none other than Burt's Bees! Burt's Bees has become such a fixture in my life that I almost forget how much I need to have their Peppermint Beeswax Lip Balm in my life! To this day, it is what I crave the most after I come out of the shower and my lips need some protection. It is truly peppermint perfection! Burt's Bees does make a number of other products though and I can vouch for every single one of them as I have used everything from their hand cream to mosquito repellent!

For people like me that need to have that Peppermint Lip Balm like a drug or prefer a healthy shimmer of colour, trios* ($9.99 CDN each) have been created to either keep you well-stocked or well-covered in the colour department! The Cool Collection of Kissable Color contains the shades: Watermelon, Grapefruit and Apricot. All semi-sheer wearable shades for anytime of day each with that same addictive tingly peppermint twist. I love them all!

The Burt's Bees Mani Pedi Gift Set* ($19.99 CDN) is filled with full sizes of Peppermint Foot Lotion, Ultimate Care Hand Cream, Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and an Ecotools Pumice Stone Foot Brush. For under $20, this set is a steal as the ultimate pamper kit! I personally love the foot cream and the foot brush has the perfect handle length for me to comfortably prep my feet in the shower.

And there you go! Just a few more gift ideas and stocking stuffers to slide in just underneath the Christmas wire! 

Which Burt's Bees products have you tried? Happy Christmas Eve!

BEAUTY BOX | December Birchbox Review + Holiday Idea!

I have talked about Birchbox numerous times over the year and I reiterate that they were the first of the beauty subscription boxes and while MANY subscriptions have come and gone, Birchbox still remains - and at $10 CDN/month + $4.95 shipping. $10 was the magic number 5 years ago and while other subs have slowly hiked their prices, Birchbox has kept theirs at that magic number. I have been so entrenched in this beauty world that sometimes I forget that there are still people that don't about subscription services such as Birchbox. If you are still looking for a gift that keeps on giving, let's take a look at Birchbox!

Firstly, apologies for the funny lighting situation I've got goin' on. This is a combination of some late night blogging, using my phone as a camera and a lightbox with dying batteries! Birchbox is all about those deluxe travel sizes of products that we are predictably DYING to try. Some months are hit or miss, but for the most part I am generally happy with what I receive for the value. Though I have sworn off subs for the indefinite future, I received a complimentary 3 month subscription to Birchbox to get a quick taste of life as a subscriber.

Kate Spade | Live Colorfully EDP

Thoughts: I am the proud of owner of a couple of Kate Spade handbags and wallets, but have yet to try a fragrance. After spritzing this just a few moments ago, I can say that I love it! It's floral and yet aquatic? It's actually quite a fun scent!

Full size: $90-$115 CDN or $33 for the rollerball

I received: Around 2mL which I find negligible as Sephora hands out samples of fragrance this size quite easily.

Amika | Perk Up Dry Shampoo

Thoughts: I DO have an amika straightener that I like and I use dry shampoo constantly so yay to seeing this in the December box! 

Full size: 5.3oz/$26.50 CDN

I received:
 0.75oz/$3.75 CDN

Juara | Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm

Thoughts: I have a lot of hand and cuticle cream, but I do use it frequently to keep my nails in shape (though this season, it has been really tough keeping them from breaking!). Juara is a brand I have never heard of, but from the product description this is a healthy balm made with coconut and natural oils. The scent is subtle as there are no phthalates and my nail beds feel soft, but are not shiny with grease.

Full size: 2.5oz/$26.00 CDN

I received: 0.27oz/$2.81 CDN

Sunday Riley | Good Genes Treatment

Thoughts: Oh you have no idea how much I have wanted to try this! When I was the Tata Harper rep, this product in particular was an intense competitor! This is a lactic acid treatment aka chemical exfoliator that not only brightens complexion, but also contains a number of natural and potent ingredients like lemongrass, licorice and prickly pear that act to rejuvenate skin from within. 

Full size: 30mL/$110.00 CDN

I received: 10mL/$36.67 CDN (10mL of serum is actually INCREDIBLY generous! At Sephora, you would never normally get this much!)

LOC | Vibrant Matte Lipstick in Glam Life

Thoughts: I LOVE YouTuber Tati and have PBunnieP to thank for the recommendation! LOC (Love of Color) is the debut of Birchbox's FIRST in-house makeup brand and they have teamed up with Tati Westbrook of GlamLifeGuru to curate the first collection! With ultrapigmented eyeshadow sticks and matte lipsticks, LOC will be on my radar. This matte lipstick is super creamy and pigmented. I am impressed! 

Full size: 0.6g/$10.00 CDN

I received: *FULL SIZE*

Total Value of December Birchbox: $53.23 CDN

The Good Genes Treatment really boosted the value of this box, but the LOC lipstick alone covered the value of this box! For $10, this is perfect. Birchbox takes me back to the original concept of beauty boxes, where full sizes were a BONUS and not a must and it really was all about TRYING new products.

Sign you or your beauty-loving loved one up for a gift subscription of 3, 6 or 12 months at http://www.birchbox.ca/gift! Merry Christmas!
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