NAILS | BCD NAIL ART CHALLENGE WEEK 6 - The "Grey"-dient #BCDNAILS

I am finally all caught up now with the BCD Nail Art Challenge with this week's theme being "Grey". It's a bit of a depressing colour for spring, but I promise next week's "Retro" will be filled with colour and smiley-faced emoticons! This grey gradient came from the depths of Pinterest (here) from one of my favourite nail artists, Carly Sisoka, who I consider one of the best when it comes to coming up with gradient colour combinations. When you see them you always go, "Why didn't I think of that?!"


Starting off with two coats of Barielle - U Concrete-Me, I waited until the polish was sufficiently dry and then sponged on an opaque black polish. I am using a classic nail blogger favourite, China Glaze - Liquid Leather.


I smoothed out the gradient with Ceramic Glaze - Diamond Dust* and added two matte black studs from Born Pretty while the polish was still quite wet. I have found that they stay on far longer than by "gluing" them on with top coat. Seal everything in with your favourite top coat (I am still really loving the scented ones from Rainbow Honey!) and you are done!


Check out Naomi (@bellezzabee) and Traci's (@drinkcitra) creations for this week and stay tuned for 24 more weeks of #BCDNails! Tag us if you feel like joining in!

MAKEUP | For Beloved One Melasleep Whitening BB Cream in Ivory Review with Swatches

Earlier this year, Taiwanese cosmeceutical skincare brand For Beloved One, made its official launch into the Canadian market at none other than T&T Supermarket! For anyone that has been to the Metrotown T&T in Burnaby, you will know that it is skincare HEAVEN so if you are wondering whether a makeup launch in a grocery store is weird, trust me, it isn't! The day after the FBO event in Vancouver, I got horrifically ill with orthomyxovirus aka "The Flu" and didn't get a chance to experiment in full with the line until a few weeks after. I DID end up using one of their famed biocellulose face masks in an attempt to cool down my 104 degree fever (here) and it was VERY soothing.


I am on a foundation kick this year and though I don't review foundations and BB creams a lot, you will notice that in my makeup looks I use a few different ones. I may or may not have 20 foundations/BB creams on rotation right now...when it comes to BB creams, I'm not sorry to say that the Asians were the first to make this product AND do it well. Asian BB creams traditionally have very high coverage unlike their North American counterparts and double as skincare too. The other thing that Asian skincare is known for is brightening products. We love our dewy, flawless skin and the 
For Beloved One Melasleep Whitening BB Cream* ($49.50 CDN) is exactly that and then some. With a pharmaceutical patented formula known as "Lumiskin" as well as ascorbyl glucoside, Job's tears extract and rose hip oil, this is the everything cream to brighten, repair and perfect the appearance of your skin.  



I am treating this product more like makeup as opposed to skincare because the second and third ingredients are silicones followed by a lot of other silicones which are the main reasons for that immediate "flawless" appearance. The brightening Lumiskin complex and ascorbyl glucoside sit at about the middle of the ingredients list.   


Lumiskin is currently patented and nicknamed the "Hypnotist of Melanin" because it is able to limit melanin production and keep tyrosinase in a non-active state or hibernation state. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that catalyzes the production of melanin from tyrosine. No tyrosinase, no melanin!




The Ivory shade was a little too light for me, but I suppose that added to the brightening effect. I often run into this issue with most Asian BB creams and if you watch any tutorials on YouTube, you will see that most makeup looks involve a very "white" base. It is very much the thing to do when to comes to Asian makeup.


The texture of this BB Cream is SOOOOO NICE though. It feels cushiony and thick, yet blended out beautifully with every wrinkle melting away. My skin even felt hydrated when I compared it with the bare side of my face. This is what most North Americans would classify as a foundation. This can be sheer, but oh man can it be built up!


Wearing only the BB Cream and blush. You can see right away how much darker my neck is in comparison to my face.



Final verdict: To me, this is the type of product I rely on for makeup where the skincare benefits are just a bonus IF they work. Though my press release shows a 1% decrease in the amount of melanin being produced in the epidermis, I do not believe I have enough hyperpigmentation to really notice a difference. As a makeup product, I loved the texture so much! It blended out beautifully and really did look like my skin, but just way better! If I can manage to get my hands on a darker shade, I would not hesitate to purchase! 


Find For Beloved One at T&T Supermarket in Canada.

MAKEUP | The Face Shop Ink Lipquid in Orange Some and Pink Hommage Review with Swatches

Honestly, I have been making way too many trips to The Face Shop. Everything from the packaging to the pricing of nail polish, makeup and of course sheet masks, is enough to make me NEVER walk out of the store empty handed! Late last year, the Ink Lipquids ($25.00 CDN) totally caught my eye because they sounded like a combination of a stain and a liquid lipstick with the added hydration.


I received the shades Pink Hommage* and Orange Some* to review and was pleasantly surprised to discover how comfortable the formula felt on my lips in addition to how mega intense the pigmentation was! The chisel application tip makes lining the lips so easy and with my pointy Cupid's Bow, this type of precision came in handy!


The tip of the applicator has a slight reservoir, holding the perfect amount of product to apply just enough colour to both the upper and lower lips.


Wearing "OR02 Orange Some"

Wearing "PK04 Pink Hommage"

Final verdict: At first, I totally thought these Lipquids were stains. They had that same cold feeling when they first touch your lips, but then the colour that comes out is rich like a lipstick. I adored both shades even though they were so different. The only thing is that they are each quite pricey at $25 a pop and was a price point I was not expecting at TFS even though they have a wide price range of skincare. This pricing rivals department store brand pricing, BUT the quality is no less. Maybe it's just something I need to wrap my head around because this Lipquids are pretty awesome and can last all day with a touch-up or two throughout. Go in store and swatch because there are 12 shades that you need to meet!


Available at all TFS stores and online.

NAILS | BCD NAIL ART CHALLENGE WEEK 5 - Moody Metallic Gradient #BCDNAILS

Last week's Mosaic BCD Nails Challenge (here) took a ridiculous amount of time to do and I was pretty proud of myself for putting in the hours so I decided to keep them for the weekend. It put me one manicure behind for this challenge, but I will hopefully be able to make it up this week! I had a bit of rough week at work and though nothing bad happened, I was just feeling a bit overwhelmed and with Week 5's theme being "Emotion", I thought that instead of being "social media happy", I'd do a manicure that showcased how much of a moody *ahem* witch I was last week.

Using mark. by Avon's new Precious Petals Trend Mini Nail Lacquers in Steel Magnolia* and Green Thumb* as well as some Avon nail studs, I thought I'd go with conveying how icy blue my soul felt all of last week. Dramatic, I know.


Though the polishes look prety good in pictures, they were actually not very easy to work with. The first coats for both polishes applied extremely patchily, but was reasonable by the time I got to the second coat.



Avon now carries nail stud wheels, so I took these tear-dropped shaped studs and applied them to my center two nails after applying top coat.These polishes actually dry matte, so if you prefer a matte metallic finish, just dot top coat onto where you would like the studs on the nail as opposed to the whole nail.



I felt like the manicure needed a bit more, so I sponged on a gradient and honestly hoped for the best!



Check out Naomi (@bellezzabee) and Traci's (@drinkcitra) creations for this week and stay tuned for 25 more weeks of #BCDNails! Tag us if you feel like joining in!

SKINCARE | b.liv Immerse Me Utmost Moisture Original Japan Silk Mask Review

Asian skincare is dominating the North American market and I could not be happier to find my favourites in the aisles of Sephora and in Asian cosmetics stores downtown. I wouldn't say that I necessarily stay on top of Asian beauty trends, but I have been following Singaporean bloggers for the last 5 years and reading about what's hot and happening in Asia. Back then, all of it was so incredibly foreign that I remember having to order Asian beauty products from obscure online shops. When the Malaysian-based brand b.liv (my home country!) reached out for a collaboration, I was thought, "Where have I seen this brand before?" and I realized that their parent company is Cellnique, a more "medically-targeted" line that I had read about.

b.liv already has some hero products, mainly targeting blackheads and pores as the foundation of the brand rests on "pore management solutions". The packaging and website feel fun and youthful with product names such as "Off With Those Heads" and "Feel No Sluggish" to give you a bit of a laugh! I was sent a few things to try, but based on my skincare needs for the last month, I wanted some moisture! The Immerse Me Utmost Moisture Original Japan Silk Mask* ($2.50 USD each) was introduced in 2011 and provides skin with a massive dose of hydration with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and cogongrass extract, known for imparting immediate and lasting hydration.




Though it says that this mask is for extreme dryness, I think any skin type will enjoy this mask. I wasn't sure what to expect with "Japanese Silk", but the mask feels soft and almost spongy. The scent of the essence is pleasantly neutral and I used Ms. PBunnieP's tip of soaking the packet in warm water so that the mask wasn't cold when it touched my skin. I can't be the only that equates the initial coldness of applying ANY mask to the ripping of the first wax strip when getting a Brazilian!


After 20-30 minutes, I removed the mask and my skin was a bit sticky, but SUPER bouncy and soft. I actually hopped into the shower and noticed that my s
kin was not dry even after rinsing off with water! My skin did not feel tight like it normally does when coming out of the shower and I barely needed much moisturizer!



Don't I look beautiful?


Final verdict: This mask did surprise me in that my skin STAYED hydrated even after having a shower where my face was in the water! The Japanese silk texture felt a little more plush than the conventional sheet mask and seemed to hold quite a bit more essence as well. I was worried that this brand would be hard to get a hold of, but b.liv offers free worldwide shipping on all purchases $50+ which let's face it shoppers, is pretty easy to get to!

Available at http://www.bliv.com

MAKEUP | Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss in Diorama, Princess and Mirrored Review & Swatches

There's a new gloss in town. The Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss is a new formulation for Dior referred to as a "hydra-plumper gloss" that promises volume, shine and an iridescent sparkle that is easy and comfortable to wear. With "hyaluronic acid spheres" that capture and keep moisture in, lips stay hydrated and plump. All I know is that my lips were quite shiny and with 18 new shades, there is definitely something for everyone.



I received the shades: Mirrored*, Princess* and Diorama* ($42.00 CDN) all of which were totally wearable everyday shades. I felt comfortable wearing them both at work and on a casual day off at IKEA (yes, I wore Princess!).



These three glosses are glittery, but not gritty. The shine is fairly evident from the swatches and is a non-sticky gloss with a decent wear time of around 3 hours.


Wearing "Mirrored" - a bronzey pink.



Wearing "Princess" - a pale bubblegum pink.



Wearing "Diorama" - a rosey mauve. This was practically the same shade as my lips!



Face:


Diorskin Forever Fluid Foundation in 030* 
Dior Fix It 2 in 1 Prime & Conceal in 002*

Brows:

Dior Diorshow Brow Styler in Universal Dark Brown*

Eyes:

DiorAddict Fluid Shadow in 665*
Diorshow Pro Liner*

Diorshow Mascara in 090 Pro Black*

Cheeks:

Diorblush Sculpt in 002 Coral Shape*
Diorskin Nude Air Illuminating Powder in 002 Glowing Nude*


Final verdict: I loved these colours as well as the shine they gave. My lips felt hydrated in the sense that the moisture felt sealed in, but I know what to expect when it comes to wearing a gloss. I appreciated the non-stickiness and I have come to be satisfied with a wear-time of a few hours when it comes to gloss. My favourite of the trio would have to be Diorama and Mirrored and I wouldn't mind getting a shade that was a little more dramatic because the ultra glossy shine is really quite something!


Available at Dior counters nationwide.

*affiliate links present

MAKEUP LOOK | Looking Sweet with Spring Pinks from Paul & Joe and Lancome

For the month of March I was fortunate enough to be selected for a Shoppers Drug Mart Instagram campaign focusing on complexion. I wanted to create a pink-themed makeup look that I felt comfortable wearing on a daily basis so I picked up a few products that would help me achieve a soft, glowy and girly Spring look. I also just happened to get my hair redone at Aveda so it was the perfect opportunity to make use of the salon-worthy hair that I will never be able to replicate on my own!


Paul & Joe is available exclusively at just a handful of Shoppers locations across Canada and thankfully one of those locations is in downtown Vancouver! With packaging that is both vintage and whimsical, this is a brand that you need to get to know if you do not already! Made in Japan with the quality of a luxury brand, one look at their products and you will want to clear out some drawer space! I picked up The Paul & Joe Glossy Lip Color in 06* ($32.00 CDN) because it was exactly the pink I had in my mind. Don't get me wrong, there were a ton of beautiful colours, but this was pinky perfect.



The applicator was slightly longer and thinner with a small reservoir for product. It was flexible and applying the gloss was very comfortable. It's not a sticky gloss so the wear time is 2-3 hours tops, but there is great shine to it and the colour is of course amazing. 


OMG, this blush! This limited edition Lancome My Parisian Blush in 02 Rose Haussmann*($38.00 CDN) was kind of expensive and not only was the packaging absolutely darling, but this is a cream to powder blush with a softness I only thought possible in beauty heaven! Pigmentation is great and because it transforms into a powder, very easy to blend with a brush if you make a mistake.


Pink is not the easiest colour for me to wear on the eyes as I feel I have two choices: hot or shimmery pink. Shimmery pink, no matter how dark often looks just like highlighter, but in this case that's what I wanted. I wanted to "glow" which is why I amped up the blush and had a lip colour that leaned more to hot pink. With a white tee, I felt fresh and ready for Spring even though the day I took photos was one with torrential rain...


Face:


Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation in #03 mixed with GOSH CC Cream in Sand* 


Brows:

Dior Diorshow Brow Styler in Universal Dark Brown*


Eyes:

Apply an eye primer. I'm using Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

Apply a shimmery pink all over the lid. I'm using Essence Cosmetics 3D Eyeshadow in Irresistable First Love*.
Deepen the crease of your eye using Essence Cosmetics All About Nude from the How to Make Nude Eyes Makeup Box*.
Use a smudge brush to apply All About Nude along the lower lash line as well.
Line lower water line with Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Stray Dog
Line upper lash line with Physician's Formula Eye Booster in Ultra Black.
Apply Blinc Mascara*.
Apply your favourite lashes. Mine are a brand called Miche Bloomin in No.8 "Girly Sweet".

Cheeks:

Lancome My Parisian Blush in 02 Rose Haussmann* 

Lips:

Clinique Pop in 09 Sweet Pop
Paul & Joe Glossy Lip Color in 06*



As much as I despise Daylight savings, I am happy spring is here because that means summer isn't too far away!

NAILS | BCD NAIL ART Challenge Week 4 - Mosaic Stained Glass Flowers #BCDNails

I am a little late with posting these as my nails needed a bit of polish break and I had house things to do which trumped gettin' ma nails did! Last week's challenge was "mosaic" and when I saw Cristine of Simply Nailogical's Youtube video on Stained Glass Nails, I knew this was what I wanted to attempt. Her nails turned out far better, but overall I really loved how this all came together and thought stained glass flowers were also a great way to welcome Spring!


I followed Cristine's video tutorial fairly closely, but saved some time by skipping a few steps. I started off by painting all nails with one coat of Essence - Black is Back* followed by another coat but working with only one nail at a time. Here is where I deviated from the video because I just did not want this process to take longer than it was already going to take! Instead of painting a second coat, waiting for it to dry, sketching out the design with acrylic paint on the nail and then placing the glitter on top, I FREEHAND placed the glitter where I thought it would work. YES, I took a bit of a risk here.


Using the second coat of black polish as my "glue", I started working fairly quickly by first placing the yellow glitter with a wax pencil. You can also use a toothpick. For flower petals, I alternated between red and pink glitter and outlined them with green glitter. For the sky, I used teal and dark blue glitter to fill in any remaining space. I applied one coat of top coat and waited for it to dry so that I could use black acrylic paint to draw defining lines between the different colours of glitter. This is what really gives those definitive stained glass shapes!


I applied two more coats of top coat until the surface of my nails was smooth to the touch. At almost 25 minutes per nail, I wasn't about to let this manicure chip on me or lose any of the glitter I had worked so hard to apply!

Check out Naomi (@bellezzabee) and Traci's (@drinkcitra) creations for this week and stay tuned for 26 more weeks of #BCDNails! Tag us if you feel like joining in!

SKINCARE | Les Soins de Jacynthe Cleansing Oil, Eau Florale de Rose & Le Sérum Review

I swore late last year that I would be much more selective about the skincare that I use and review, but when I was faced with reviewing a few products from Les Soins de Jacynthe, I was immediately intrigued by the fact that the products are 100% natural and created by Quebec-based health and beauty guru, Jacynthe Rene. I was not familiar with Jacynthe or the brand and finding information and/or reviews proved to be quite difficult. The main resource I had were reviews from other blogs and at the time I was asked to review even those were scarce. Thankfully a number of Canadian beauty bloggers have given the lowdown on this brand and the results are overwhelmingly positive!


I started my skincare journey with Les Soins de Jacynthe back in January with three products: the
Huile Nettoyante* (Cleansing Oil), Eau Florale de Rose* (Rose Water Toner) and my favourite Le Serum de Jacynthe* (Serum)

For the sake of not butchering the French language, I will refer to the products by their English translations! All three products come in dark glass apothecary style bottles which is a good sign as essential oils and more natural products tend to react with light and degrade more quickly. Dark or opaque bottles are practically a must for preservation purposes. The Cleansing Oil (50mL/$28.35 CDN) comes with a dropper which is something I have not seen before and has a very mild scent. It is jojoba and apricot oil-based which are very thick and moisturizing oils. Unlike other cleansing oils, when rinsed off this will not emulsify with water into that characteristic white milk. While it does clean the skin, it also leaves behind what feels like a layer of oil which sounds unappealing but is really not! It is a feeling similar to how my face feels after patting on a facial oil.


Ingredients: jojoba oil, apricot oils, sea buckthorn, bourbon, geranium rosa, ylang ylang and sandalwood


The Rosewater Toner (100mL/$21.00 CDN) is made of 100% rosewater so it can seem very strongly scented if you are not used to such a pure concentration. I will admit that the very first time I used it, I was like "whoaaaa". Now, I really love it. This toner comes as a spray which I am so happy about! I swear, all toners should come as sprays! It sprays out as a very fine mist and I love it so much now that I spritz 2-3 all over my face and neck. I also use it as a pick-me-up during the day, but only if I'm at home because I don't know how my co-workers will feel about such an intense scent! Thankfully, there are also rosemary and neroli versions of this toner if rose isn't quite your thing.


Ingredients: 100% rosewater

The Serum (15mL/$49.35) is also rose-scented and though it says serum, I liken this product to a facial oil. It takes a little bit of time to absorb and leaves my skin feeling incredibly nourished. I do not use this in the morning as my skin isn't overly dry right now and can't seem to wake up early enough to let this serum sink in. This has become my nighttime treat! The serum is also bright orange so it leaves a very slight tint to the skin making it look like it is glowing! I rarely use products containing evening primrose oil, but it is known to be filled with omega-6-fatty acids and healing for the skin. Borage is medicinally used both internally and externally, but what I love about it are its anti-inflammatory properties.



Ingredients: evening primrose oil, borage, buckthorn & Rosehip extracts, sandalwood, rose, natural vitamin E and rosemary oleoresin

Final verdict: Originally I missed the idea of a moisturizer in my routine and when I searched the website for a moisturizer type product, the closest thing I could find was a balm. As it turned out, the serum was often more than enough. The rosewater toner is one that I would purchase if I saw it in person and the serum you bet. My skin looked and felt healthy with not even a minor breakout for an entire month, which for me is often a sign that a product is too rich for my skin. The scent can take some getting used to, but I liked how gentle and balancing it was for my skin. 
If you are looking for a reasonably priced Canadian natural skincare line that soothes and keeps skin happy, try Les Soins de Jacynthe.

Available online at the J Magazine Boutique

NAILS | "Hoppy" Easter ft. the new OPI Softshades Pastels Collection #StayPolished

I wanted to pump out some Easter manicures like nobody's business, but after doing my nails three times last week (that's a lot for me!) I needed a bit of a break to do other bloggy things as well as some household chores that tend to get neglected when packages over run the living room. Seriously, I am starting to wonder why the hubby is still with me. With the BCD Nails Challenge also taking place (self-inflicted, I know),  I didn't go too crazy with this year's Easter manicure and wanted something soft and feminine. Luckily, the new OPI Softshades Pastels collection arrived on Thursday which I realized was perfect for what I had in mind!


Starting with the light purple I Am What I Amethyst*, I painted three coats on my ring and index nails as the coats looked a bit streaky.


This Cost Me a Mint*, is a pale green creme, that I also used three coats to make opaque. I dotted on It's in the Cloud* to make the polka dots and then drew the back the bunny with white acrylic paint.


Lastly, I dotted a cluster of green dots to make Mr. Bunny's fluffy tail. Finish with your favourite top coat which in this case was Rainbow Honey's Summer Juice Top Coat which smells so fruity and delicious!


Have a wonderful Easter Sunday everyone! See you Monday! The OPI Softshades Pastels Collection is available now.
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