Jan 31, 2011

Thumbs Up to the Covergirl NatureLuxe Collection

It's been quite some time since I've fallen in absolute and utter LOVE with a liquid foundation. To me, liquid foundation always lacks something compared to loose foundation. (For example, the product is too oily/greasy, or the scent is too potent or, my personal favorite, it never fully blends.) As of today, I apologize to the liquid foundation lovers out there because I've joined your team...

Covergirl NatureLuxe Collection and, in particular, the NatureLuxe Silk Foundation is a bottle of liquid goodness. It covers problem areas like a dream but is lightweight enough to make you feel like you aren't wearing anything. The product has a nice uplifting smell (jojoba and cucumber extract) and blends almost better than my true-blue powder. Plus, it's not greasy at all. In fact, it goes on silky smooth and stays that way. (It feels as if you've applied a really nice primer.) Oh, and one more thing, they actually make it light enough to match my complexion!! All this, plus more, jam packed into an $11 bottle. It doesn't get much better than this....

Try this product ladies. I honestly can't recommend it enough!

Jan 24, 2011

The Skinny on Cosmetic Expiry Dates

My boyfriend came home from work the other day and said, "babe, Angela wants you to do a post on expiry dates for beauty products." I thought about it for a bit, shocked that I hadn't written about this topic before, and said "that's a GREAT idea!" So, YAY for beauty questions from friends!! (Thanks Ang!)

I have a ton of cosmetics. These products, literally, fall out of drawers, bags, medicine cabinets, train cases, purses....I could go on and on and on. Do I ever get through all of my make-up? NO of course not, but as I tell Allan, that's not the point. The point is that I have that hard-to-find eyeshadow or discontinued liquid liner when I do want to use it. The problem is I almost NEVER use everything. So in other words, there comes a time when purging and "letting go" is a must because, remember, beauty products DO have a shelf life.

Most people never encounter an expired product because they've used the entire container before that date. But if you do have a tendancy of over-buying (like me) and using products occasionally (like me) then follow these guidelines.

Mascara - Expiry date of 3 months. This beauty tool gets so close to your eye that it can cause redness, irritation, flaking and other annoyances so sticking to this expiry date is mandatory. There are a lot of "experts" out there that say the shelf life can be extended if you don't pump the wand in and out, but to be honest, I don't agree. Stick to three months and you'll be fine. You'll now when the product is entering into it's third month because it starts getting dry. There will be less product showing up on the wand and it won't coat your lashes as nicely anymore.
Nail Polish - Expiry date of 12 months. Let's be honest, I can almost guarantee that EVERYONE has used an expired nail polish. (I know I have for sure.) Typically, a "smell test" is the way to examine the shelf life of a product but because nail polish has a fume-y odor naturally it can be difficult; so the easiest way to tell whether this product is off or not is to pull out the wand and look at the product itself. Typically a polish that's changed somehow will either be too thick (hard to spread on nails) or too runny.

Cleanser (non-organic) - Expiry date of 1 year. You can see that I put non-organic in brackets since organic products can sometimes have a shorter shelf life. The reason for this difference is organic products do not contain parabens. (A paraben is used in many cosmetics because of its bactericidal and fungicidal properties. In other words it acts as a barrier against bacteria and helps prevent mold.) The shelf life for a paraben-free cleanser can be about 6 months if stored in a cool area with limited moisture.

Moisture cream (non-organic) - Expiry date of 1-2 years. Facial moisturizers last for 1 year while a body cream can last for about 2 years. Also, ensure both products are kept in a cool area with limited moisture in the room. This is very important, especially, to paraben free products because more moisture in the room is PRIME breeding ground for mold. I, myself, use a paraben free moisture (face) and store it in the fridge. I remove little amounts at a time, put it in a separate container (you can pick them up from the dollar store) and store it on my vanity in the bedroom, not the bathroom.
Foundation (water based) - Expiry date of 1 year. I have water based in brackets because an oil based foundation has a shelf life of about 1.5 years. (You can see what type of foundation you have by looking at the ingredient list on the back. Water or oil will appear first and that will explain whether it's water based or oil based.) Sometimes water based foundations will dry out before the expiry date so I've read that you can add a little bit of toner to the product. However, I would personally take that to mean I need a new foundation. The smell of a "bad" foundation will be very potent as well, in case the expiry date is no longer visible on the bottle.

Lipstick - Expiry date of 2 years. This is just an estimate because you will, without a doubt, know when a tube of lipstick has gone bad. The smell is absolutely atrocious!!! Storing your lipstick in a cool, dry place is best for an increased shelf life, so a place like the fridge will work well. Quick note, if you store your lipstick in the car and it's summer, you'll notice the tube will be pretty gross by fall.
Eye liner (pencil) - Expiry date of 1 year. Just so you know, this is my personal time frame for pencil liners. I have heard people say 3 years and I've even heard 4 years but, for me, I give it one year. If you want to keep your pencils for longer, you must sharpen it regularly in a clean, disinfected sharpener and clean the top of the pencil. I used to wear contacts and, ever since then, I have become quite anal-retentive about eye related beauty products. Also, note to everyone, never ever ever share your liners, mascara or eye brushes with anyone else. I know it's hard to keep this rule as sharing is oh so fun BUT eye related infections are so easy to pass from one to the other. If you are going to share, like I do, keep a stack new mascara wands, eyeshadow brushes and lip brushes around for your friends. That way, they can still use your awesome colors and no one gets pink eye!!!

Eyeshadow (powder) - Expiry date of 2 years. Again, since it's an eye related product, I follow this timeline completely. However, if you're stumped as to when you purchased it or can't see the expiry date, just look at the product. You'll find that an "off" eyeshadow will be very crumbly and lack moisture which makes it very difficult to apply. It'll also lack pigment or color. If you are using a cream eyeshadow, the expiry date is about a year.
Concealer (water based) - Expiry date of 1 year. This one, again, is pretty easy to see and smell if it's turned. If you're using a stick concealer, then there will definitly be a pungent odor and the product itself will be dried out once it's turned. If you're using a pot concealer, like I do, then the product will be virtually impossible to spread on your face with a brush and it will also have a strong smell.
Make-up sponges - Expiry date of 1 month. Typically with a sponge, clean it once a week with some warm water and mild soap and discard them after a month. Sponges are very inexpensive which makes it easy to buy them often. Sponges, if used too long, grow bacteria very quickly and they can also promote skin irritation (acne, blemishes, etc.) So, if your skin starts to breakout and you haven't changed your sponge, good idea to toss it. I am also going to lump make-up brushes in with this category as it pertains to cleanliness. Ensure that you clean your brushes every two months. I remember, clearly, a time when I was breaking out and wondering what was going in. I was so busy with work that I forgot to clean my brushes. Once clean, the blemishes disappeared.

Thanks again, Angela, for the post idea. Ladies, any products I forgot about? Any weird experiences you had from an expired product? Share share share.....

Jan 21, 2011

My Cheap Eye Make-up Remover Mishap

If you're like me, then you know that eye make-up remover is an absolute must! If you're also like me then you probably have that ONE fabulous eye make-up remover and never purchase anything else.

Unless, ahem....you went on holidays and forgot to pack it.

I am the worst packer, ever. Allan, along with the rest of my friends and family, find this fact really funny. My issue is that I not only overpack (I literally bring everything. For example, when we were in Toronto for Christmas I brought three winter coats) but I occasionally bring a separate suitcase for my cosmetics too. Now this wouldn't normally be an issue BUT the suitcase carrying all my clothes is MASSIVE. I have the largest suitcase available and, when it's full, I can't lift it or even wheel it around by myself. Because of my flawed packing style, you can see how I missed something as vital as eye make-up remover.

So, on our trip, I popped into a Shoppers Drug Store to find a small make-up remover but, of course, they don't sell this product in a travel size. So, I immediately began scouring the aisles looking for a brand that cried "Buy ME!" (Now, this Shoppers was very small and didn't carry all the brands that bigger stores do.) Low and behold, I found a relatively small container of the Marcelle Essentials Gentle Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes, on sale, AND on the recommendation of the sales person. So, I bought it.

Later that night, I pulled it out and fell in love, instantly, with the bottle and lid. It was designed very well because you could keep the lid on while getting at the product; the lid pops open and you can apply it directly to a cotton pad. Such a brilliant idea. I was in such a happy mood about the lid design that I didn't feel the burning sensation right away.

After I felt the burning feeling, I dove for the tap and rinsed out my right eye. My first thought was that I left my open and put the product in my eye, instead of on my lid. So, me being the person I am, tried the product on my left eye AND, of course, it happened again.

Conclusion, this product did not make me happy and I will not be purchasing this again. I promptly threw it away after rinsing my eyes for about 10 minutes and then, once rinsed, noticed that the product didn't even remove my eye liner.

Lesson learned. Never again will I ever forgot my trusty Sonia Kashuk eye make-up remover again! What is your go-to eye make-up remover?

Jan 13, 2011

Smashbox Cream Liner Worthy of Big Bucks

Last weekend, I made a quick trip to Blaine, WA to pick up an "accidental" online purchase. (Accidental being the keyword here. I don't know if this has ever happened to you BUT I am always pretending to purchase online, going through the motions, waiting for that final page that shows your shipping charges. Then, usually, once there, you have an Order Confirmation button that verifies your order. If you don't hit that button, then you haven't made the order. Well, this time, I ordered something without hitting that button....)

Since we were WAY too early to pick up my parcel, my friend and I decided to hit the Duty-Free Store on the way. We walked in and beelined for the cosmetic area, which you, of course, can't miss. Either way, they were having an additional 15% off sale as long as you spent $90. (Seriously, the best deal ever.) So I bought one of the greatest little compacts I've ever seen and a whopping price of $18.70: Smashbox's Cream Eye Liner Palette.

This petite case houses 10 best-selling cream eye liner shades and a handy mini liner brush. These liners are fabulous because they don't flake, run AND are extremely easy to apply. I have always been a huge cream eye liner gal since I can not, for the life of me, apply liquid liner. If you are in the same boat as me, this palette is for you. They also have an updated Metallic palette for those wanting a more vibrant look!

Make the drive to the Duty-Free shop and check them out...

Jan 12, 2011

A Favorite Gone Missing

I don't think there's anything worse than having your favorite beauty product discontinued. Seriously...think about it for a second. Imagine, finding that one product that fully completes your beauty routine. It either goes with everything, or accents your skin/cheek/eyebrow (you get my drift) perfectly or gives you that perfect shimmery look and then, when ordering it online, you see that only a few weeks ago, the manufacturer discontinues the whole line.

If you haven't guessed, that exact scenario happened to me quite some time ago, and yes, I am still trying to get over it. The product is Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator Loose Powder and the incident occurred almost four years ago. I was working downtown Vancouver at the time and I remember the exact date because my work was located above the
Drugstore I purchased the product at and it had been a very interesting day. I would routinely shop there on my lunch breaks and purchase this powder from that location because it always seemed to be on sale. (Bad sign number one.) I walked in, this particular day, and noticed the display stand that housed the powder had disappeared. I asked the woman working what had happened to the display and she said that they just got word that it was being discontinued. (Even writing this I still get the chills.) She said she had 4 powders left in my color and I purchased the lot for 50% off. However, as time went on, I used the powder and, about a year ago, found an ebay shop online that still carried them. I ordered another four and went on my merry way. But, seeing as how I'm on my last two, I've had to start thinking about finding a replacement. (Ack, it makes me cringe.)

I love this powder because I love glowing skin. I use this illuminator as a dusting powder, applied only after my loose powder is on, and only around my cheeks and neck. Seriously, though, the powder is so pigmented, that it reflects the light causing your skin to glow and illuminate. In the past four years, I've found nothing that even compares to this product...Until now that is. Though the two products I'm about to name have bronzers in them as well, they also have a skin illuminator that actually works.

1.) Mark Touch & Glow Shimmer Cream Cubes All-Over Face Palette. Extremely long name, I know, but this Avon product is fabulous. I use this instead of my Revlon Illuminator, blush and bronzer because this little palette covers all of the above. It has pinks, creams, bronzes, and dusty roses' all in one which blend together giving you instant color and shimmery skin.

2) Marcelle Graphic Face Pressed Powder in Prismatic Neutrals. I found this in a bargain bin and wasn't too sure what to expect. I brought it with me to New York and fell in love with it instantly. The blend of the four colors works perfectly with my skin tone and not only did I glow, but I felt radiant. I get a lot of compliments on my skin when using this compact.

I know that nothing will ever take the place of my Revlon Illuminator, but boy, do I love these two pressed powders. I can fit them in my purse (which I couldn't do with the Revlon powder) and they pack a powerful punch. As sad as the discontinuation was, and still is, it's eased the pain having these two products around.

Question, is there a product you use to create that subtle glow? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

Jan 11, 2011

Fantastic EcoTools Deals

I woke up this morning and was completely stunned that it's January 11th.

JANUARY 11th!!

This means it's been quite some time since my last blog post. So, not only am I going to blog about a fantastic deal I discovered BUT I'm also going to explain what I've been up to in the past couple weeks. Christmas came and went with Allan and I spending our holidays in Toronto and Stratford. (See, it was our turn to spend Christmas break with his family this year and we had a blast THOUGH there wasn't any snow....slightly weird but still a very fun time.) Then, I was working like a beaver attempting to make my December 31st deadline at work AND, last but not least, Allan and I are looking to buy a place. That's pretty much the most exciting news of the lot....ha

So, because we're going to be first-time home buyers in the next couple months, a deal on cosmetics or accessories is definitely needed. I was walking through London Drugs the other day and found the greatest set of make-up brushes (4 to be exact), including a hemp bag, for only $9.99. (YAY...under $10!!!)

For those that aren't too familiar with the brand EcoTools, check out my friend Ariella's guest blog here. Alicia Silverstone doesn't add her name to just anything and being a HUGE animal rights activist, helped create a line that is not only 100% cruelty-free but also kind to the earth. These brushes are actually one of the best deals I've found since they last a long time and hold their shape extremely well. And best of all, they're soft on your skin.

Check them out ladies. Not only are they kind to your wallet but the earth will love you a whole lot more too!

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