Are Gel Nails Really Better Than Acrylics?

When I was a teenager and into my early twenties, before kids, I would change my nail polish to match my outfit pretty well every single day. I’m not just talking a coat of polish, I’m talking all out designs – fingers and toes!

I’m sure if you have kids, you can deduct that that kind of time is non-existent when you’re running after those precious gems. My nails took a bit of a back seat in my beauty regime – I kept them short and rarely ever painted them.

Let’s rewind a bit…

I went to beauty school.

Well, kind of.

I went through to become a nail technician right after highschool because I spent the majority of my free time painting nails. I hated everything about those courses except the designs I could paint. I literally had every shade of nail polish you could think of – and I used every single one.

I absolutely loved painting nails.

One time, my sister and I even went to the hospital to paint a dear friend’s nails. When the other patients around heard what we were doing, they wanted theirs done too. That day was so much fun and one of the best times I’ve ever had in my nail painting career.

Now let’s fast forward to 2018.

I wanted to start getting my nails done again. I started looking for the best technician within driving distance and found John – every time I liked someone’s nails, they would always say ‘John does them.’

My nails grow fast, so unless I want broken nails, I need to go every 3-4 weeks. That can get crazy expensive, so I decided I needed to start thinking outside the box again. You know, that whole no-spend August really impacted my spending. Plus, I get so bored with having the same nail polish design on my nails for 4 straight weeks!

I checked out the price list and saw that acrylics were a good $12 cheaper than the gels that I’ve been getting. I sat and asked myself what the actual difference was between gel and acrylic.

You know what?

I didn’t know.

So, as soon as I got home, I googled it (no internet at the nail salon and the only answer I can get out of a technician is ‘gel is better for your nails’).

This is what I found out:

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!

Ugh!

So, I read article after article and watched a bunch of videos on it and they all said the same thing – same product, different method.

One video explained that it was like baking a cake – gels are like making a boxed cake and acrylics are like baking a cake from scratch. The smell difference is just because our senses can’t pick up the fumes from the gel (although they are still there and just as potent as the acrylics). The only other difference is the way they are cured – uv or led lights cure the gel, while acrylics cure without any special lights. That difference only matters to the nail technician – gels have more play time and acrylics cure (or set) quickly.

So, even though I went through school for this, I had no idea they were the same thing (in my defense, gels weren’t really a thing back then). My new plan is to get acrylics done at the salon and paint my own designs weekly at home. This will save me $15-$30 every month. Violet is really into painting nails, so it will be great bonding time for us. She came home from school the other day and told me that all her friends think it’s so cool that I’m a nail artist (she has kept all of my old practice nails safe to show them).

I think I’ve shared before that my favourite nail polish is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. The opacity of these polishes is stellar – you can absolutely get away with one coat. Plus, they dry so fast that sometimes I’m painting my nails on the way to church. Then, the price point on them is so reasonable! I just bought 9 new colours to try out for Violet’s birthday this weekend.

What nail design trends are your favourites? Let me know in the comments and I will try them out!

FabFitFun | Is It Worth It?

Disclaimer: I’m a #fabfitfunaffiliate with @fabfitfun, which means I make a small commission if you sign up through my link (it doesn’t cost you anything extra). All the opinions in this post are my own.

* long post warning*

Back in October of 2016 I stumbled upon fabfitfun. I instantly had this grand idea that it would be the perfect Christmas gift – since you get surprises all year!

I tried to get my peeps on board, but skepticism was real.

Am I paying a bunch of money for junk?

Will it even be delivered?

Are there hidden fees?

I agree, there was literally no concrete info on the subscription box at that time, but if it was everything it claimed to be, it would be the ultimate gift – a landmine of treasures.

I decided I would try it for myself when I saw one of my favourite YouTubers talk about it.

First things first, what is fabfitfun?

It is a subscription box that sends full-size products every season (4x/year). The boxes are always valued over $200 U.S.

It costs $49.99 U.S. per box if you renew your subscription seasonally (use code PUMPKINSPICE here for $10 off your first box) or you can pay $179.99 U.S. per year if you renew annually.

Side note for Canadians: You will also be charged 13% HST. As far as Duty is concerned, I’ve never had to pay any duties on my shipments (including the time I bought 2 boxes together). Also, I’ve never noticed this before, but it appears that you will be charged $8.00 shipping. All prices are in U.S. dollars.

Here is my review/summary of all the boxes I’ve received:

Editor’s Box Winter 2016
Valued at $247.98

065A9956-610x610

Love $123.99 | OK $63.00 | Pass $60.99

  • Modcloth Loch and Key Scarf – $34.99
  • Jook & Nona Tag Necklace – $65.00
  • Marrakesh Argan & Hemp Hair Oil – $22.99
  • Manna Kadar Liplocked Gloss Stain – $24.00
  • Anderson Lilley Beach Butter Body Cream – $24.00
  • Zoya Nail Polish – $10.00
  • O.R.G. Skincare – $44.00
  • The Created Co. Coffee Mug – $19.00
  • Fabfitfun Coloring Book & Pencils – $14.00

Overall, I loved this box. My favourite items were the blanket scarf, the Jook & Nona necklace and the Anderson Lilley cream.

Spring 2017
Valued at $374.00

2017spring

Love $229.00 | OK $78.00 | Pass $67.00

  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator ($79.00)
  • RealHer Lip Kit in Deep Red ($48.00)
  • Gypsy 05 Roundie ($50.00)
  • Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner Spray ($20.00)
  • Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish Set ($19.00)
  • Karuna Hydrating Face Masks ($28.00)
  • Milly Zip Pouch ($45.00)
  • Luv AJ Diamond Kite Crawler Earring Set ($85.00)

I also loved this box. My favs in this box were Dr. Brandt exfoliator, Milly zip pouch and the Luv AJ earrings.

Summer 2017
Valued at $281.50

2017summer

Love $35.00 | OK $137.00 | Pass $109.5

  • Michael Stars Ruana ($54.00)
  • Kris Nations Mystic Gemstone Bar Necklace ($58.00)
  • bkr Water Bottle ($35.00)
  • Eau Thermale Avene Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ ($24.00)
  • Cargo_HD Picture Perfect Highlighter in Bronze ($30.00)
  • Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate ($29.00)
  • Way of Will 03 Soothe and Cool Post-Training Massage Oil ($29.50)
  • Amy Tangerine “Ready, Set, Create” Art Kit (canvas, paints, stencil) ($22.00)

This box was ho-hum for me. The only thing I loved in it was the bkr water bottle – which I would never spend that much on a water bottle if I bought it outside of this subscription.

Fall 2017
Valued at $386.45

2017fall

Love $267.00 | OK $119.45 | Pass $0

  • Mer-Sea & Co. Cozy Wrap ($98.00)
  • Trestique Matte Color & Shiny Balm Lip Crayon ($28.00)
  • Whish Beauty Renewing Mud Mask ($48.00)
  • Molr C + C Teeth Whitener ($43.95)
  • Deco Miami Lavender Cuticle Oil ($12.50)
  • IMM Living Wire Heart Ceramic Jewelry Holder ($33.00)
  • The Jetset Diaries Cable Knit Beanie ($49.00)
  • My Tagalongs Hot & Cold Gel Pack ($15.00)
  • Private Party Gym Bag ($59.00)
  • Cottonelle FreshCare Flushable Cleansing Cloths (sample)

This was a good box. The Mer-Sea & Co. wrap is draped over my chair and it serves so many purposes. I also get great use out of the gym bag and the beanie.

Winter 2017
Valued at $393.00

2017winter

Love $35 | OK $143.00 | Pass $215

  • Kate Sommerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment ($75.00)
  • 8 Other Reasons Nine Lives Choker ($58.00)
  • Homemade by Ayesha Curry Ceramic Mug ($16.00)
  • Point Studio Aloe Infused Cozy Socks ($19.00)
  • DOUCEE Freematic Eyeshadow Pro Palette ($70.00)
  • This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray ($29.00)
  • Nelson Moisture Healing Hair Mask ($23.00)
  • AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream ($33.00)
  • BB Dakota Poncho ($70.00)

Ugh, this box was a definite pass for me. The mug and socks were cool, but I gave the poncho away and my skin is way too sensitive for the choker – hello antihistamine!

Spring 2018
Valued at $354.00

2018spring

Love $105.00 | OK $231.00 | Pass $18.00

  • Maya Brenner Designs Love Bracelet ($65.00)
  • Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion ($40.00)
  • ISH Lip Statement Palette ($42.00)
  • Rachel Pally Clutch ($60.00)
  • Anderson Lilley Candle ($45.00)
  • Free People Eye Mask ($40.00)
  • Physique 57 Massage Roller ($20.00)
  • Dermalect Ridge Filler ($18.00)
  • Korres Guava Body Butter ($24.00)

The Spring box was another one that was just ok for me. The lip palette was cool and the Anderson Lilley candle was beautiful, but nothing else really stood out.

Summer 2018
Valued at $338.99

Summer-Ad-Lifestyle-ACQ-SU18-RL-Edited-Select-127_preview

Love $170.00 | OK $100.99 | Pass $68.00

  • Pier 1 Marble Ring Dish ($14.99) was  the day we   
  • Foreo Luna Fofo ($89.00)
  • Jaborneria Marianella Body Caviar ($48.00)
  • Tarte Pro To Go Eyeshadow Palette ($23.00)
  • Tarte Sex Kitten Eyeliner ($20.00)
  • Minor History Postscript Wallet ($20.00)
  • Orlando Pita Play Atmos-Shield Hair Protectant Treatment Spray ($34.00
  • Coola Classic Face SPF 50 White Tea Moisturizer ($32.00)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society Straw
  • Yumi Kim Makeup Train Case ($58.00)

Ok, the Foreo Luna fofo was worth this entire box. The eyeshadow palette was great and the makeup case was perfect. The body caviar scrub was terrible – it left everything it touched with a thick, sticky film that didn’t wash off with soap. Blah.

Bottom Line
All in all, out of the 7 boxes I have received, I have loved 4, 2 are ok and 1 was a definite fail for me.

Do I think it’s worth it? For the most part, I would say yes. Most of these products I wouldn’t have tried if it were not for fabfitfun. The products I absolutely love make the money I paid for the subscription worth it.

However, would I really have spent the money on any of those products I loved? Probably not. For instance, although I loved the gym bag, I would never have spent the money on it – I have one that is better quality and I paid less for it.

Will I continue to subscribe?

I originally thought yes. Happy Birthday to me! However, after my no-spend August, I’m rethinking my need for random things. I am on the fence about this, but I’m starting to lean toward not renewing in November.

Hair Removal

Did you hair about the newest trend?!

I don’t know. That was the best joke about hair removal I’ve got.

I remember the first time I seriously thought about getting rid of the peach fuzz that I dared to call leg hair. I asked my mother if I could shave. No. I was too young. I decided she didn’t know best and waltzed into the bathroom, grabbed the nearest razor and went to town. By the time she found me, I was half-way done.

Since that day about a quarter-century ago, I have tried many different hair removal options. Here are my findings and the methods I swear by.

Shaving

Good ‘ole shaving. You lather up with some shaving cream and let the razor do it’s thing as it glides along your curves of your epidermis.

I hate it.

I mean, I loathe shaving. I actually use this as an absolute last resort.

However, if I must, I only use Schick Intuition (it has a built-in moisture bar so you don’t need shaving cream).

Here is the method that I find leaves my legs at the ultimate smooth-fest:

Step 1 – Dry Brush
Step 2 – Shave
Step 3 – Exfoliate
Step 4 – Shave Again

Waxing

I grew up watching my mom wax her legs. She would tell me that waxing was the best because it pulled the hair out by the root. After my initial start with a razor, I asked my mom to start waxing my legs.

I loved it.

Call me weird or whatever, but there’s just something about waxing that I love. You only have to do it every few weeks. Eventually, your hair gets sparse and thin, which is a beautiful thing.

After I got married, I bought my own wax warmer and began waxing on my own. The downside of it was that it was messy, sticky and took about an hour for a full wax.

However, I soon found a wax roller that was super clean and easy to use. It was so quick and easy that I could whip it out and do a full leg/bikini/underarm wax in under 20 minutes. This is the process I use:

Step 1 – Dry Brush
Step 2 – Warm up my legs – waxing and goosebumps don’t go well together
Step 3 – Wax (roll wax on/rip strips off)
Step 4 – Massage coconut oil over waxed area

Epilating

One day my aunt came over and showed us this contraption she bought – an epilator. She tried convincing us this was the next best thing and was easier than waxing.

She didn’t convince us.

Fast forward twenty something years later and her leg hair was null. Genius. I went out and bought one for myself.

Ok, it might hurt a bit, but not for me. One of my weird quirks is that I love the feeling of hair being ripped out from the roots. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but in 20 years when I don’t have hair on my legs anymore, they’ll all be jealous. Unless the trend is hairy freedom.

I’ve been using the epilator for just over a year and I’ve already noticed a considerable difference – especially my underarms. I really only need to use it every 2 weeks or so. The downside is that it takes a long time and the thinner my hair gets, the harder it is for the tweezers to grip the hair – thus making the process even longer. Lately I’ve had to go over the peach fuzz with my razor – although if I was smart, I would just use my wax roller to supplement.

Here is the process I use:

Step 1 – Dry Brush
Step 2 – Epilate
Step 3 – Supplement if needed
Step 4 – Moisturize

In the end, I still stand by epilating because I’ve noticed the most difference in the shortest amount of time. I’ve had my epilator for a year and I’m looking into buying a heavier-duty one.

One of these days I might use some of that pocket change and see if there’s anything to that laser hair removal. Have you tried it? Let me know if you think it’s worth it in the comments below.

July Empties

I normally want to wait for these types of posts until the beginning of the month and then I can share all of my favourites.

However.

July has been one of those months that I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel on a few makeup staples. So, I thought writing this out might help me decide how, when and if I’m repurchasing or not.

I will probably do a favourites blog in a few weeks because there’s already a handful of products that I discovered in July!

Tarte Shape Tape
Light-Medium

Everyone talks about how Tarte Shape Tape is their holy grail – and it definitely has been a tried-and-true staple in my makeup routine. It is full-coverage and is perfect for those under-eye dramas that present themselves after a few nights of no sleep or crying till the cows come home…or every. day. life. It’s not greasy, doesn’t crease and lasts all day. I simply love it.

The cons? I can’t buy it at a physical store in Canada, which makes swatching the product an out-of-country, $$ exchange, kilometers to miles kind of an ordeal. Also, I can tell there is still product at the bottom of the tube, but the wand can’t reach it.

Ok, down to the nitty-gritty. Would I repurchase it? Yes and no. I am going to try Too Faced Born This Way Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer and if it gives me the same results, I’ll probably switch. You know, because Canada.

Shape Tape

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
Natural Beige

One hundred percent. This is 100% my favourite all-time foundation. I talk about it all the time. I just don’t know another foundation that gives me results like this one. It blends easily and creates a flawless finish that lasts forever. for ever. I can go swimming with this, bask in the sunshine and it is still in tact after all that (obviously as long as I don’t wipe it away with a towel or something). One of the things I love about it is that I don’t even need a lot of product (I don’t even use a full pump) to achieve maximum results.

The cons? I don’t have this on tap at my full disposal. That’s it.

Back to the nitty-gritty. Would I repurchase? Yes. A thousand times, yes. And then again for good measure.

BTW

Annabelle Lip Liner
Buff

I don’t know if this technically is an empty, but it’s almost to the point where I can’t sharpen it anymore, so I’m going with calling it an empty. This is my favourite lip liner for a few reasons. First, it’s a great nude. It matches my natural lips so I can line them with it regardless of the colour lipstick I use. Also, it has lasted me a long time – I’m guessing longer than a year or two.

Would I repurchase? Yep. As a matter of fact, I’m heading out to the drug store and might just pick up another today…

Buff

Alright, so there weren’t that many empties, but they’re kind of a big deal because if I repurchase them, I’d be spending over $100 Canadian. That’s a pretty penny. Comment below if you think I should drop that like it’s pocket change (it is, isn’t it?).

Recreating Makeup Looks Challenge

My friend, Sarah and I thought it would be fun to film a video where we picked a picture for each other to recreate on camera.

Challenge Pics

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out because I’m still fairly basic when it comes to doing my makeup.

However!!

We had the best time filming this. I mean, my camera turned off in the middle of filming more times than I can count. My camera battery died not just once, but twice. My dog kept trying to get our attention (mostly because he loves Sarah and he thinks he’s the next best thing). All in all, we laughed and worked with the products we had to recreate the looks we chose, and it worked.

We originally set a timer for 30 minutes, but as you will see in the video, we just silenced the timer and went on with the video. I’m fairly certain I have about 2 full hours of footage.

Then, at the end, we decided it would be so much fun to do a Disney Villain makeup challenge. We may or may not have filmed one. Comment below if you think we should do this!

So, before I post our challenge video, I’ll say that friends last a lifetime. Cherish those friends who are faithful and stand by your side – they are truly valuable.

June Favourites

june favs Pictures

June has already flown by and we are well into July for that matter.

You guys know I’ve been starting up my YouTube channel and the very first thing I filmed and edited was a June Favourites video. The thing is, I have learned a thing or two with editing. Also, I’m pretty sure I forgot some products.

So, today you are getting the June Favourites in a full-out blog post.

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner
Universal Dark
$8.95 CDN

skinny brow liner Pictures

Ugh, I wish that I knew how to do my brows like the pros, but I’m just not there yet. Part of my problem is that I have yet to figure out what colour I should use – blondes are too light and taupe looks so strange. The only colour that seems to match my eyebrows is this Annabelle liner. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t look too dark against my bleach blonde locks. Anyhow, this liner is great! I’m not even sure I can tell a difference between this one and the Anastasia Brow Wiz – it’s that good!

Tarte Mermaid Skin Hyaluronic H2O Serum
$55 CDN

mermaid skin Pictures

I really wanted to try this, but I didn’t want to splurge on it if I didn’t love it. So, when I saw the coupon code on Sephora for a free trial size with purchase, I jumped right on it. You guys know I love hyaluronic acid, so it’s almost a no-brainer that I would love this. I use it after I wash my face at night, after a shower, and also underneath my primer/makeup. The only thing I’m not fond of is that it goes tacky for about 3 seconds before it absorbs into the skin.

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
$11.99 CDN

Baby skin Pictures

I actually picked this up closer to the end of the month, but I loved it enough to add it to my favourites immediately. I don’t use this on my whole face, just where I have more visible pores – right around the nose and slightly onto the cheeks. It doesn’t feel heavy or pore-clogging, but it absolutely smooths the pores.

Hard Candy Highlighter Trio
Cruisin the Coast
$9.00 CDN

highlighter trio Pictures

I don’t know why, but I struggle a bit with finding a highlighter that gives a good glow without adding a huge neon sign that says ‘wrinkles and texture party here.’ I know, that is part of highlighter, but a girl still likes a bit of a glow. Needless to say, this highlighter trio hits me perfectly.

Hard Candy Glow Setting Spray
$6.00 CDN

HC setting spray Pictures

I’m pretty sure this can be classified as a dupe for UD All Nighter setting spray. I’ve been using Urban Decay everyday for a while, but a few months ago my skin started getting so dry that it couldn’t handle that spray. My skin got so dry that it hurt, but I still wanted to set my makeup. I happened to run across this Hard Candy one and couldn’t pass it up for $6. It sets my makeup beautifully and adds a slight glow to my skin. It also makes my makeup last throughout the whole work day. You  seriously can’t go wrong with this.

Foreo LUNA Fofo
$120 CDN

Luna Pictures

This was a product that came in my FabFitFun box (this was actually worth more than I even paid for my whole box!). I always wanted to try out these types of products, but the money. Always the money. I just don’t want to waste my money on something I won’t use or don’t like. I tried this out right away and I love it! It measures the hydration of your skin, sends it to an app on your phone and then walks you through a timed face wash routine. So great. Ok, I’ve lived without it for this long, so it’s possible, but now that I have it, I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread! Bonus, it’s a great (and fun) way to teach young ones how to properly wash their face.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

**The FabFitFun link is an affiliate link, which means I received a small commission if you purchase through my link (no cost to you). All opinions are my own, honest thoughts.**

30 Beauty Questions Tag

I’ve seen this tag on a few blogs lately and thought it would be fun to do. I copied the questions from Imperfect Beauty so head over to her blog and check out her answers (and give her a follow).

1.) Do you remember your first makeup item?

Maybelline Watermelon Kissing Koolers and Maybelline Bubble Gum Kissing Potion when I was 7 or 8. Apparently I was keen on the idea of kissing.

Does that count?

I also used to borrow all of my mom’s Mary Kay and Avon makeup.

Does that count?

Ok, how about that green Sephora corrector I bought when I was in my twenties? We’ll go with that.

2.) Describe your perfect mascara. Have you found one that fits your specifications?

I have high expectations from mascaras. My perfect mascara would be a blackest-black, non-waterproof formula that is thick enough to coat my lashes individually without clumping them together. I have tried A LOT of mascaras and would only classify 2 of them as perfect – L’Oréal X-Fiber and well, I don’t remember the name of the other one (it was discontinued about 10 years ago).

3.) What kind of coverage do you prefer from a foundation? 

Summertime = Light coverage
Wintertime = Full coverage

4.) Favourite high-end brand?

Too Faced.

5.) What cosmetic brands have you always wanted to try but still haven’t?

Mac. I haven’t tried a single thing from Mac. Comment below on what you think my first Mac purchase should be.

6.) Favourite drugstore brand?

I really do love so many drugstore brands, but I think I favour L’Oréal overall.

7.) Do you wear fake eyelashes? 

No. My natural eyelashes are longer than some fake ones, so I’ve never seen the point. Maybe I should try them?

8.) Is there any kind of makeup you can’t leave the house without?

Lips and mascara, but sunglasses can always sub in for mascara.

9.) What is your most cherished beauty product?

I’m not sure, but I’m going to say Dune by Christian Dior. Reminds me of when Brian fell in love with me 20 years ago.

10) How often do you shop for makeup? Do you like to pick up an item here and there or get lots of goodies at once?

I probably shop every. single. day. However, I don’t actually buy products that often. My general rule of thumb is to buy enough for free shipping, but not too much that it would cause Brian to question my need for makeup.

11.) Do you have a “beauty budget” or you spend freely? 

I mostly spend freely – as long as it fits into my general rule (see question 10).

12.) Do you utilize coupons, rewards cards and sales when you shop for cosmetics?

100% yes. If it’s not a deal, I’m not buying.

13.) What type of product do you buy the most of?

Mascara.

14.) Is there a brand that you absolutely can’t stand?

Not particularly, but there are some brands that I avoid buying.

15.) Do you avoid certain ingredients in cosmetics like parabens or sulfates?

No, but it is something I’ve started thinking a lot about lately.

16.) Do you have a favourite place to shop for makeup?

Not really, but I do shop at Sephora, Ulta, Walmart and Shopper’s Drug Mart.

17.)  Do you like trying new skincare products or do you keep a certain routine?

I can get pretty finicky with skin care products. So, usually if I find something great, I stick with it until my skin changes. Check out my current skin care routine here.

18) Favourite bath and body brand?

L’Oréal has been my long-time go-to. I’ve also started loving Briogeo, but it is on the high-end, so I use the products sparsely.

19) If you could only buy from one brand, which brand would you choose?

L’Oréal – they carry my favourite hair colour, hair care, makeup, etc.

20) What brand do you think has the best packaging?

I’ve never really understood the idea of evaluating packaging, but recently I found myself ooh-ing and ahh-ing at some Hard Candy packaging.

21.) Which celebrity always has great makeup?

I’m really not much of a celebrity follower, but I really like the way Katy (Lustrelux) does her makeup. She always looks flawless.

22.) Do you belong to any online makeup communities?

Influenster is the main one right now. I’d like to join up with Canadian Beauty Bloggers when I gain a bit more influence.

23.) 5 Favorite Beauty Gurus?

Kelly Strack, Katy, Desi Perkins, Jaclyn Hill, Tati

24.) Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?

No.

25.)  Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?

I don’t think so, but I’m far from perfect.

 26.) Do you use makeup base/primer for the eyes?

Don’t judge me, but I’ve only used eyeshadow a handful of times. This is the area I’m attempting to learn.

27.)  How many hair products do you use on a typical day?

If that typical day includes a shower, 6. If it doesn’t, 0.

28.) What do you apply first, concealer or foundation?

Foundation, then concealer.

29.) Do you ever consider taking makeup classes?

I definitely think about it.

30.) What do you love about makeup?

I love that makeup can accentuate or transform, depending on how you want to use it. It’s creative and I love everything about that.

I guess that’s it, 30 questions. I don’t know the first idea of who to nominate, but if you’re reading this and you want to do it, tag me, I’d love to read your answers!

Don’t forget to comment below on what you think my first ever Mac purchase should be.

Makeup Essentials for Beginners

In the world of makeup, there is so much competition out there and if you don’t keep up on new releases, you could blink your eyes and your makeup may be outdated. So, I can imagine that if you are just starting out with makeup, it could prove to be a bit daunting – especially if you don’t have the extra funds to try all the high-end products. Makeup is expensive. When I first wanted to explore with makeup, I had no idea where to start.

This list is what I would recommend to myself, if I was looking back to those first makeup bags I was trying to fill.

Primer
Becca Backight Priming Filter
($46 Sephora)
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
($9.96 Walmart)

Primer was something that I started with high-end products, so I don’t have any solid thoughts yet on drugstore brands. I’ve only tried the Baby Skin primer once, but it kind of reminded me of Smashbox – it has a gel-like consistency and is meant to fill and minimize the appearance of your pores.

Becca First Light Primer has more of a moisturizer feel to it and it gives your skin a beautiful glow. It is a great prep and really sets the stage for the rest of your makeup.

Foundation
Too Faced Born This Way
($49 Sephora)

Too Faced wasn’t my first high-end foundation, but it is definitely my ongoing favourite. You guys know how fair my skin got over the winter and I wasn’t able to use it. However, summer is officially here and so is my normal skin colour. This makes me happy because I’ve been exclusively using the Born This Way foundation every day. I just simply love it. It’s easy to apply, blends seamlessly and gives a flawless finish – even if you have no idea how to apply it.

Concealer
Tarte Shape Tape
($35 Tarte)

Tarte Shape Tape is a staple for me. It’s expensive, but it has lasted me a while, so I’m ok with that. I’ve tried other concealers and this just seems to be the easiest to use – which is absolutely great for beginners. It’s also full-coverage, so it is great if your eyes tend to give away your stress or sleeping habits.

On a side note, I’m super stoked because Too Faced just announced that they will soon be releasing the Born This Way Multi Use Sculpting Concealer! From all the videos I’ve watched, it seems to be comparable to Tarte Shape Tape.

Under Eye Powder
Wet N Wild Colour Icon Reserve Your Cabana
($4.97 Walmart)

Even if you’re just starting out with makeup, it is so important to set your concealer. If you don’t set it, your under-eyes will crease in all the wrong ways (although I’m pretty sure any way is the wrong way).

I know this product is actually a bronzer, but I saw that Kelly Strack uses this to set under her eyes and so I figured I would try it. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Contour
NYX Wonderstick
($14 NXY)

NYX is such a great brand to start out with because they really offer quality products at great price points. I used the Wonderstick for about a year before I even thought about trying any other contour. This stick is easy to travel with as well.

Blush
Tarte Amazon Clay Blush
($38 Sephora)

I really wanted to give you a drugstore blush, but these Tarte blushes are stunning. They blend easily and the colour lasts all day long. So, it’s expensive for starting out, but worth it since you won’t be using a ton of it.

Highlight
Hard Candy Highlighter Trio
($9.98 Walmart)

This is actually a recent purchase for me, but I loved it enough to put it in this post. The price is great and you get 3 highlighters in it. The highlighters are crazy pigmented so you don’t need a lot of it. It’s simply an all around great highlighter – starter or otherwise.

Brows
NYX Micro Brow Pencil
($12 NYX)

The very first brow product I used was Anastasia Brow Wiz. I only had a small sample size pencil, so it didn’t last forever. I needed something similar, but I didn’t want to splurge when I didn’t even know the first thing about brows.

All that to say, this NYX brow pencil is comparable and the price point is great for any budget.

Lashes
L’Oreal X-Fiber Mascara
($10.76 Walmart)

Mascara is one of those items that I have a hard time splurging on because there are so many great drugstore brands out there. Also, you should be replacing your mascara at least every 3 months, so I have a hard time throwing out a product that cost me 3x more

Lips
NYX Lip Lingerie
($10 NYX)
NYC Color Expert Lip Color
($1.77 Walmart)

Nude lipsticks are great to start out with. I really found that the NYX Lip Lingerie lippies were great before I really knew what colours to wear. Once I was comfortable putting on liquid lipstick, I started buying some high-end lipsticks. Also, NYC has some great lipsticks and they are so inexpensive!

I know I left out products to do eyeshadow/liner, but when you’re first starting out, you don’t necessarily know how to do your eyes. So, for me it was an add-on, not a basic.

Also, as far as brushes go, personal preference is key. I got my set from Zulily and I love them. For foundation, I prefer applying it with a damp beauty sponge (I got mine at Costco).

I would suggest that if you want to go right in and buy high-end makeup, go to your local Sephora and ask for samples – they’re free. Also, read reviews on products and watch some YouTube reviews.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the products I’ve mentioned, I’d love to know if they worked for you.

The Secret to Soft Lips

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, its dry lips.

I mean, I obsess over this kind of thing. You can ask my friend Sarah, she’ll tell you that if my lips are dry, everyone will hear about it. As a matter of fact, a few months ago I had some sort of something happen where it felt like I was wearing slivers and shards of glass as lipstick.

I wasn’t.

Everyone around me heard about it. Sorry about that.

Needless to say, it made me think of the things that I do to keep my lips from resembling the Sahara Desert.

Tip #1 – Exfoliate

exfoliate

I wasn’t entirely sure where to start for the first tip because it’s kind of like trying to figure out what came first, the chicken or the egg. Regardless, this is where I’m starting, with a lip exfoliator.

I will usually apply a lip scrub (I love this one by E.L.F) and leave it on my lips while I get ready in the morning. I leave it on for around 15 minutes, pressing my lips together periodically. I don’t actually time this step, but my lips are quite willing to tell me when they’ve had enough. Maybe they feel suffocated after a while? I don’t know, but when that feeling happens, I scrub them lightly with my finger and wipe the excess of with a tissue.

Tip #2 – Lip Gloss

lip gloss

I only first learned about matte lipstick late in the game, but when I found out about it, I loved it with everything in me. Except…it was literally at the end of the craze. I always seem to jump on the trend wagon as it’s ending. I’m a hard sell.

Needless to say, glossy lips are in and that is the best news for soft lips. When you apply lip gloss (my current favourite is Tarte H20 in Zipline) it locks in whatever moisture you have and keeps your lips soft and plump.

Now I just have to figure out how to wear lip gloss and drive my Jeep without my long hair trying to steal the show from my lips. Comment below if you have some tips for me!

Tip #3 – Ditch the wipes

no wipes

I’ve tried a lot of different types of wipes – baby wipes, feminine wipes, flushable wipes, moisturizing wipes, makeup wipes, sensitive skin wipes – but every time I use any kind of wipe, my lips are crying over drying the next day.

Not cool.

If I’m switching lip colours or if I’m taking off my makeup for the day (if my lipstick hasn’t already worn off) I will usually put on a lip balm or some coconut oil and let it sit in for a moment before using a tissue to gently wipe it away.

Tip #4 – Lip Mask

lip mask

One day I walked into Sephora and I was offered a sample of a lip mask. I said sure, but when I saw her squeeze it out of the tube into a sample container, I cringed. I thought, ‘there’s no way I’m going to use that. For sure my lips will suffocate.’ I set it aside at home and left it for a few months. Then one day I couldn’t find my lip balm and I remembered about this. I put a dab on (a little goes a long way) and went to sleep. In the morning, my lips were so soft and plump and applying my lipstick was a breeze.

I find this works best when used overnight. The results are fabulous. The other time I will use it is if my lips have had a rough go with things, I will use it between the lip scrub and applying my lipstick in the morning.

Tip #5 – Drink Water

water

Yes, I had to put this in there because if your body is dehydrated, you will have a hard time keeping your lips hydrated. Our bodies respond to what we put in. Garbage in, garbage out. Water in, water out. Wait, no, ok that’s true, but didn’t work in this case. How about this, what is on the inside will reflect on the outside. This can be applied to so much more than just water.

This, my friends, is how I keep my lips happy and far from having a rough day.

Le Petit Marseillais Body Wash

Body Wash First Pictures

When I was a kid, I gave my baby-sitters a run for their money – specifically when my aunt baby sat us. She was the most patient and loving woman, but I would push the limits with her.

Every. Single. Time.

My parents would give us the ‘talk’ before they’d leave for their bowling league. We would put on our cutesy smiles and agree like the little angels that my aunt portrayed us to be when they got home.

I specifically remember this one time my mom told me that I absolutely had to take a bath while they were gone. I told her I would, but when my aunt told me it was bath time, I straight up refused. She literally chased me around the house, grabbing me one piece of clothing at a time until I was in my birthday suit and dodging her every move. When she finally decided it wasn’t worth it and retreated to her bedroom (I’m literally cringing), I relented. I walked proudly into the bathroom and rub a dub dub, I was in the tub.

**To my Aunt, if you are reading this…you are a superhero. Anyone who can endure what I put them through as a child, deserves a medal. Thank you for not killing me. I’m sure that would’ve been hard to explain, given the fact that I had everyone convinced I was an angel. I’m sure once you had your own kids, it was probably a breeze. I’m also beyond grateful that my ‘angelic’ childhood didn’t trickle down and make an appearance in my own kids. So, if you’re reading this, I’m still so sorry and I owe you BIG TIME!**

Thankfully, I’ve grown a bit since then and although I can still be stubborn, I love my shower time.

This week I received a Vox Box* from Influenster and lo and behold, it was a body wash sample. Influenster is a company that sends you products for free in return for reviews or product exposure, etc. Although I’m not required to blog about the product, I thought it might be nice to share my experience with this one.

Body Wash Package Pictures

Le Petit Marseillais
Mandarin and Lime Body Wash
$4.97 (walmart.ca)
400ml

Product Claims:
(As written on the website)
“LE PETIT MARSEILLAIS® Mandarin & Lime Body Wash gently cleans your skin. Its light and easy to rinse foam releases a zesty and citrus fragrance. Skin is left feeling soft, moisturized and refreshed.
The extra gentle pH neutral formula makes this body wash suitable for everyday use.
Paraben free. Phthalate free.”

Ingredients:
Water (Eau), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium Hydroxide, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Yellow 5, Blue 1

Body Wash Samples Pictures

My Review:
First things first, packaging. I don’t have a full-size bottle in front of me, but I’m a bit disappointed at first glance of the pictures. It reminds me of something I would find at the dollar store. However, after trying it, I loved the smell. It reminded me of when I used to buy a bunch of bath products from Fruits & Passion when I was a teenager. It brings back some good memories. It lathered nicely, which is a big deal to me. I like a good lather. It also felt nice on my skin and didn’t dry it out after my shower. I would’ve liked the scent to linger on my skin after my shower, but it didn’t. Overall I was fairly pleased with this body wash. I will buy a full bottle of it since Influenster sent me a coupon for $2 off, but since the full price is more than my current favourite body wash, I probably will only buy it again if it goes on sale.

Rating: 4/5

Have you tried Le Petit Marseillais Body Wash? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.