Category Archives: product reviews

get the look : too faced semi-sweet chocolate bar eyeshadow palette

I’m a fan of picking up prepared eyeshadow palettes over putting my own together, or buying separate pots (save for the two pots of MAC Shroom I have in every kit), or randoms. A palette provides colours that compliment each other and for the most part, no guesswork.

There are a plethora of palettes out there (the whole new wash of nude palettes every brand has, for example) and it’s really easy to blow a pretty penny at Sephora finding the perfect one for you. I’ve had or currently have them all (from Urban Decay Naked to Lorac Pro Palettes 1 and 2 to Maybelline The Nudes!). I love them all.

But my current affair happens to be with Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar. It might have something to do with the fact that every time I open the palette the sweet smell of chocolate releases the right endorphins, but it’s also because the colours, formulas and finishes are A++ and + again.

toofaced

Thanks to my best bud, Elaine Atkins, I became the lucky recipient of both the Chocolate Bar and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palettes, and I find, that both palettes are in heavy rotation this wedding season.

Depending on the skin tone and favourite colours of any client or bride, I can more often than not get the right neutral, smokey look from either palette.

I’ve been leaning more on Semi-Sweet though. I really like Nougat, Hot Fudge and Licorice. Bon Bon and Caramel are great for the lid and for adding a hint of shimmer, while Butter Pecan is also a great highlighter on deeper skin tones (try it under the brow bone, or over the cheekbones!)

Natasha

On Natasha above, I used Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer in Sin to prime the lids. I swept Bon Bon over the lids, which when paired with the primer shade lightened it a bit. I mixed Truffled and Hot Fudge from the outer corner in, blending it as I pushed it toward the centre, and up into the crease. I used Licorice on the outer corner. For a bit of dimension at the crease, I swept Nougat in the crease and blended up. I really like Nougat for deeper skintones. I lined her eyes with Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black Ink.

For the rest of Natasha’s look, I used MAC Foundation is NC44 and Studio Fix Concealer in NC42, but only through the centre of the face. I then blended MAC Face and Body in C5 around the perimeter and down the neck. Clinique Chubby Sticks for her contour and highlight. A hint of NARS The Multiple in Puerto Vallarta on the cheeks. Anastasia Contour Palette as well to set the contour and highlight and brighten under the eyes. MAC gloss in Ample Pink for the lips.

My favourite thing about the TooFaced Chocolate Bar series (both the regular and the Semi-Sweet) is that it is neither a nude or a smokey or a matte or a shimmer or a metals palette. It actually contains a nice mix of matte, satin, shimmer and high glitter colours. I think the only thing it’s missing is more colour range outside of the great browns and neutrals it already has. The funkiest colour Semi-sweet has is Blueberry Swirl … and from there Pink Sugar. Chocolate Bar has a nice plummy purple and a more satin/matte pink similar to Pink Sugar.

Regardless, it’s still a sweet palette to have. My vote : go buy it!

-stephanie-

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get a skin fix with skinfix …

Without a doubt, us Torontonians suffered a very long and cold winter. While I am normally a fanatic about skincare, it didn’t matter what my routine was I was experiencing dry skin all throughout the season. Couple already dry skin with heavy layers of wool and anything else that could keep me warm and my skin was really suffering.  Insert sad face emoticon right here.

When the weather started to come around, I turned my attention and focus to correcting, healing, and nourishing my skin. My arms were dry and itchy. My legs were scaly looking (ew!), and overall, my skin was just blah. And then I received the opportunity to try Skinfix. *applause*

skinfix1

I have actually seen Skinfix around at my local Superstore, but never took the time to research it since there was always a body lotion or balm waiting to be reviewed and tested in the bp vault. So when I was contacted by the brand to try a few things, I happily accepted.

For the past four weeks, I have been using Skinfix’s Cleansing Oil Wash and Daily Lotion – both of which are formulated to treat dry, eczema prone skin using natural ingredients without hydrocortisone, steroids, parabens or phthalates.

My repair plan was to use the skin cleansing oil all over the body in the shower in place of my regular body washes and soaps, followed by a full dose of the daily lotion from head to toe. After the first day, my arms weren’t as itchy as they had been – my skin was still a little ashy white (dry) but I didn’t feel the need to scratch and apply more lotion throughout the day.

After three days, the white dry flaky appearance to my skin disappeared. The scaliness on my legs started to fade too, and my skin felt softer. After seven days, the appearance of my entire body looked healthier, smoother, and definitely softer. I needed less product to hydrate my skin with each following use, and I could see that my body was on its way to repair.

My skin feels great now (about one month of consistent use) and I’m a big fan!

Skinfix definitely assisted me with my dry winter skin, but what I couldn’t assess was how it would treat eczema-prone skin. Since I was really happy with the results, I decided to bring in bp’s littlest test monkey to figure our how well it would work on eczema type rashes and skin. Enter Harlowe “bp junior” Daga.

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To be clear, my little girl has not been diagnosed with severe eczema, nor have I ever had a script for a steroid cream to treat any of her skin issues, however, bp junior had two scaly, bumpy, slightly red patches over the front of her thighs throughout the entire winter. The patches were long from the top of the thigh to just above the knee.  It was rough, dry, and not smooth like the rest of her skin.

I wanted her to have her baby smooth skin back, so I went to my local Superstore and picked up Skinfix’s Gentle Eczema Balm and Daily Lotion for Infants and Toddlers and put it to the test.

For the first use, I washed her with her regular baby wash and then applied the Skinfix Daily Lotion. Once absorbed, I applied a thin layer of the Eczema Balm directly to both patches. The funny thing is, I planned to check on it the following morning for any progress, but it was my son whom piped up later that same first day “hey ma … harlowe’s patches aren’t red anymore”.  Thumbs up!

The next day, I reapplied another layer of balm and by the end of the day, the bumps while still visible, were smoother and less noticeable. By the end of seven days, all signs of redness and dry skin had disappeared and the bumps were next to non-existent.  Three weeks out, bp junior shows off her gams in diapers and a onesie like nobody’s business.

I have since stopped applying the eczema balm on her since it’s no longer needed but I am still using the Daily Lotion for both myself and my children.  I highly suggest incorporating the Cleansing Oil Wash if you can (bonus : I apply and rinse before and after shaving the legs for a smooth shave!) since I believe in tandem it works best.

Skinfix is available at your local pharmacy and Superstore. Get started on your Spring skin!

-stephanie-

 

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because mom’s like stuff!

We are four sleeps away from Mother’s Day. Many of you have most likely planned out your special day with the one you call mother. Others have perhaps already mailed out your greeting card. Some of you have scheduled in your overseas call to mom, making sure the timezones match up. And the rest of us … well … we’re probably still trying to figure out what might make the best gift; or maybe … we haven’t even made a list yet.

Sometimes its really easy, right? Departments stores are offering ready to buy gift sets; salons and spas are offering gift certificates on packages; and online sites have speedy delivery direct to her home. Click, click, click,  and … send.

And then other times, it’s hard. Your mother might appreciate the finer things in life, but does she ever make time for it? Maybe she’s perfectly fine with going to her regular lady for a haircut and colour for $18 plus tax, she doesn’t want to try your new fancy salon where the taxes are $18 alone. Or perhaps, she doesn’t like anyone touching her face and getting nekkid in public! She’s okay with her old soap and water routine and doesn’t want to be fussed over. And that beautiful makeup set? It’s gorgeous, but she can get by with that lipstick she received in that gift with purchase when she replenished recently her favourite yellow moisturizer. Moms are hard to shop for. Period. Exclamation Mark. Times 100.

So today, instead of focusing on beauty products and services for mom that she appreciates but finds extravagant … I wanted to focus on beauty tools. Tools, strictly for vanity purposes, that I think mother’s will love unexpectedly.  She will love them because they feel luxurious but also, because she can do it herself. Because as a mom myself, there are two things I know I love : money well spent on quality and being in control.

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 

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Dental hygiene – it’s the stuff moms are constantly reminding their kids to do – but not themselves. The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean comes complete with charging travel case and charger glass to make cleaner, whiter teeth for a busy mom totally possible. As someone who gets shamed by the dentist bi-annually for receeding gums and bad flossing habits, this electric toothbrush is a god-send. It has 5 brushing modes, 2 of which are “gum care” and “sensitive”. Over the past few years I’ve been brushing lightly to avoid harming my gumline, but now with my new Soniccare, I can can a deep clean without damage or feeling like I’ve bruised my teeth. Perfecto! The other three settings are  ”clean”, “white”, and “polish” – all useful for a perfect smile.  Lastly, as a bonus for Mother’s Day – you can find the Sonicare in a beautiful shade of blush pink (black and white are standard). It might seem odd to give your mother a toothbrush for Mother’s Day … but how many times have you given a gift to your mom and she has replied “when can I use this?”. Toothbrushes are staples. Moms need them. This is the Tiffany’s bracelet of toothbrushes.

Trust me!

Foreo Luna Mini

foreo

I have owned my t-sonic Luna Mini forever a year almost now and I love it. This handheld device – so compact it’s wonderful for travel as well – allows me to give my skin a deep cleanse with every use removing dirt, oil and makeup with ease. If your mother happens to steer clear of spas and facials, or happens to keep a simple regimen, this one little tool would be a welcome addition that is neither intimidating or a hassle to use. The Luna Mini holds its charge for about three months of consistent use – which is only about 1 or 2 minutes a day. It works with any cleanser and there are two speeds to drive away blemishes and congestion. After a week’s use, you mother will see a brighter, softer complexion and she never had to leave the house or change her products. Another easy does it gift for mama.

Konjac Body Sponges

konjac

My friend, Marni, from Pelle Beauty introduced me to The Konjac Sponge Company and konjac sponges. With several options for the face or body, konjac sponges are earth friendly, sustainable sponges that provide a cleanse and balance the skin at the same time. Clay-based, the sponges gently exfoliate the skin and different clays can promote different results  from deep cleansing the skin to rejuvenating the complexion to improving circulation. With proper care, one sponge can last a few months. Gift her two or three, and she won’t need to replenish until the holiday season when you can place a few more in her stocking! I suggest a mix of one for the face and one for the body!

See – Mother’s Day doesn’t have to always be about ribbons and teacups. It can be about functional too! :)

Happy shopping – you’ve got four days!

-stephanie-

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recos from regina : sally hansen miracle gel nail polish

Sally Hansen came out with a line of nail polishes called Miracle Gel. This line consists of a 2 step system of a Gel Polish and Top Coat with no UV/LED light needed.


Step 1 consists of over 47 different Gel colours and Step 2 consists of the Top Coat.

I had the chance to try out Pink Tank and what I found great about Step 1 is that I only needed one coat of polish to get a full-coverage effect when I would normally need two or three coats. This is due to the width of the brush (that I really like) that helps to coat the entire nail.


What I liked about the Step 2 Top Coat is that it gave my nails the effect of a Gel manicure without the use of a UV/LED Light and it dried my nails quickly.

The removal of this gel polish is very easy – all that is needed to remove is nail polish remover. Bonus!

Step 1 and Step 2 of Sally Hansen Miracle #OMGel Polish can be found at Shoppers Drug Mart for $9.99 each.

-regina-

**Disclosure: This product was sent to BlushPretty as a press sample for editorial consideration.**

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mereadesso : discovering their tinted all-in-one moisturizer (and telling you how you can get it on sale!)

Did you get a load of that weekend weather we just had? Alright, maybe Saturday started off a bit wonky … but yesterday? The boardwalk stroll, only need a sweater, “gosh, I think I need to cool down with an Iced Cappuccino” super awesome weather?  Yesterday was the turning point – I’m thinking we really can put away our heavy coats and winter boots away now … *fingers crossed*

(pssst : stay tuned to the end of this post, I’m going to talk about every gal’s favourite thing : a sale!)

And just as we start to clean out our wardrobes to freshen up for spring, it would be safe to say that we can also refresh our makeup bag. The spring beauty lines are coming for us, full throttle, and now is a great time to rethink your routine for spring. Aside from picking up a brighter cheek colour or perhaps a glossier lip colour … have you considered lightening up your base?  When the weather takes a turn for the better, I tend to lighten the load switching to lighter, milkier versions of a base product.

One of my favourite ways to create a lighter, softer complexion for spring and summer is to use a tinted moisturizer. In the past few weeks, I’ve been playing with Mèreadesso’s Tinted All-in-One Moisturizer, which comes in four shades : light, medium, dark and deep dark. A step-up from their regular All-in-One Moisturizer, the tinted version boasts all the same tricks : 16 botanical extracts, 8 minerals and enzymes, and over 20 antioxidants. While lightweight, this tinted moisturizer is effective acting as a serum, primer, day cream and more, all while evening out the skintone. The best part of it all : while it is meant to provide the light coverage you expect from a tinted moisturizer – you can dab on a bit more here or there to reveal a more rich coverage when and where you need it. *hi five*

To apply this product, I used my favourite tool : my fingertips. With my fingertips, I could apply and blend all over, and then dab around my “red zones” – around the nose, under the eyes, the corners of my eyes. I found this method worked for me. I controlled the coverage. I did apply a few times with a regular foundation brush, and spot concealed with a concealer brush but I feel I get a better application with my hands.  The same goes for sponges – I prefer to see the product on my face and not the sponge and felt that the sponge soaked up too much! For use, I found one pump was enough to blend through and out from the centre of the face. Another pump to spot conceal and blend into the hairline.

I was provided a bottle in Medium by the lovely ladies at 1Milk2Sugars, which suit my typical asian skintone (light, warm, and yellow undertone) just find and disappears without a trace. I have only tested the medium, but given that the tone matched easily, and that tinted moisturizers tend to be more forgiving when being used by various levels in one “shade”, I have hopes that Fair will suit most pale and light and pinkier skintones; medium for some light, most neutral, and many light-to-medium golden skintones; dark for golden and tan skintones; and deep dark for the deepest skintones.

For coverage, I found it just right for me. It never felt thick or like it was sitting on top of my skin – which I like a lot.  It brightened my skin and gave a more glowing appearance. Keep in mind, that I tend to have normal skin, with a bit of oiliness through the t-zone, yet not oily enough that I am constantly addressing it. I have minimal acne but do have redness around the nose and sometimes the cheeks. I have minimal scarring and discolouration … but my skin could use a pick-me-up most days of the week. I do NOT wake up flawless.

What I love the most : as a makeup artist, I love that this product provides base coverage BUT also acts as a primer for the rest of my makeup. After evening out my skintone for me, Mèreadesso’s Tinted Moisturizer provided a soft, smooth canvas for the rest of my makeup to be applied. I would use a bit of cream blush and cream shadow for the eyes and it would last all day. I did not set with powder, yet felt that my makeup stayed put and didn’t fade!

Do I have you thinking about tinted moisturizers for the springtime? Awesome-sauce. Well, I’m here to make your Monday a little bit better too, because I am happy to report that Mèreadesso is offering a 20% discount from April 13, 2015 to midnight, April 20, 2015! Shop online and get 20% off any Mèreadesso products (not just the tinted Moisturizer-*fist pump*) using this special code : MUA4MERE

You’re welcome!

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

-stephanie-

 

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