Rowena Reviews |Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer & Mascara

If there’s one piece of makeup I could wear, it would probably be mascara…

…and I’ve been on the hunt for the best one out there.

Recently, Influenster sent me the Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer & Mascara for free to try. I thought it would be fun to do a side by side comparison of it with my current favourite. (Scroll to the end of this post to see the video)

Here are my thoughts on it:

First Impression

The primer kind of weirded me out. I felt like it made my eyelashes look like spiders – it just really creeped me out. I couldn’t even post a picture of each step on instagram because it just weirded me out too much.


The packaging is beautiful and definitely feels luxuriously expensive. The tubes are a bit large, so it wouldn’t be extremely practical for traveling.


The primer separated my eyelashes well and places them nicely. It coated the lashes well and I only needed one coat. Once again, I didn’t love that the primer is nude coloured.


The mascara was nice and voluminous and it applied nicely to my lashes. It kept them separated, yet coated them in a nice balance. I found that it lengthened my lashes, but added no curl to them. As a matter of fact, I felt like it lengthened them by straightening them. I lost all natural lash curves while wearing this.

Final Thoughts

I don’t normally use a primer, and I didn’t love this one entirely. I found the colour made mascara application a little more tedious. I’ll still use the one I have on days when I can spend some time putting on makeup.

The mascara is good (It didn’t make it to my absolute favourite), but I’ve been using it almost everyday.

I would rate it 8/10.

Also, I will point out here that while editing my video review, I definitely liked the look of the Marc Jacobs Primer & Mascara better than my everyday L’Oreal mascara. I just found that the camera picked it up so much better.

Sephora Haul | November 2018

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted about makeup. Mostly because my no-spend August sparked a spending freeze in my brain. I just haven’t wanted to buy any more makeup. Plus, I haven’t really been wearing a lot of makeup since my skin has been extremely sensitive lately.

I have been sitting with 2 $50 Sephora gift cards in my wallet since August, so when the VIB appreciation sale came up (and my skin was feeling better), I decided to splurge a bit.

Before I tell you what I got (and whether I love it or not), I want to start off with my online shopping experience this time around.

Has anyone else noticed that Sephora changed the standard for the amount of samples they give with each order? You now get 2 samples in stead of 3. I was a little bummed by this, mostly because that’s the main reason why I shop online at Sephora – I love trying new products!

Regardless, I still decided to shop online.

Once it shipped, I remembered that our lovely postal system is on strike. I didn’t think too much of it because last time they still delivered relatively quick.

Not this time.

I kept getting updates that my delivery date was changing. At first it was just a day at a time, then it switched to a week behind. Then 2 weeks.

Nonetheless, it did arrive a few days ago.

When I opened the box, there weren’t any samples.


Ok, so I’m thinking I may just go back to shopping at the store. Then I can get my product immediately and if I want to try a product, I can just get a sample in store.

Alright, let’s move on to what I actually purchased.

Bite Beauty
Sweet Treats Agave Lip Care Holiday Set

agave mask

I purchased this for 3 reasons. First, it was super cute. I couldn’t resist. Next, you know how I said that my skin has been overly sensitive? Well, my lips have felt like they changed to shards of glass as well – even lip balm burns when I apply it. The only thing that has given me a bit of relief has been the agave lip mask. Since this set has a travel size lip balm, lip mask & lip scrub, I decided to try it. I’ve used it for the last couple days and it has helped my lips feel so much better! The third reason I bought this is that I’ll be traveling again in a few weeks and I’m only bringing a personal item – no checked baggage or carry-ons! This set will fit perfectly in my purse!

Atelier Cologne
Azur – Cèdre Atlas

This was a re-purchase. It is a bit pricey, but this is by-far my absolute favourite scent to wear! It’s star ingredients are cedarwood, lemon and papyrus. It is described as ‘crisp blue cedar enveloped by warm amber.’ If I’m having one of those days, I can spritz this on me and it instantly brings me to my happy place. Because of the price, and my love of travel, I bought the travel size one.

Too Faced
Melted Matte-Tallic Liquified Metallic Matte Lipstick
Shade: Our Lips Are Sealed

I walked out on a limb for this one. I’m particular about the lipstick formulas that I use and there’s something about the name Melted that doesn’t sit right with me. However!! I quickly fell in love with this formula and colour! I originally toyed between 2 colours and I watched countless swatch videos on YouTube to see what colour would be best for me. Most of them said they thought this colour was ‘just ok.’ I decided to get it anyway. I’m glad I did. Years ago I had a lipstick that was the perfect pink hue with a gold shift to it. I used it up entirely and then found out it was discontinued. I haven’t been able to find anything close enough to it – until now! The soft pink with a twinge of coral is the perfect shade for my skin tone and the gold shift gives it that extra that I love.

Sephora Favorites


I bought something similar to this last year and I loved it! So, why not try again. This package has 8 travel-size (1 is a primer) and 2 full-size mascaras. The price is equal to purchasing 2 full-size mascaras, so it is absolutely worth it! Plus, I love the fact that I can try new products to see if I like them. I like to crack open a new travel-size mascara for when I travel. It takes up less space and I can try out a new mascara. It’s a win-win.

So, that is where my order ends. I am absolutely pleased with my picks this time. Every single product will get great use!

What’s In My Travel Makeup Bag?

I’ve always found traveling with makeup to be interesting. Mostly because I like to challenge myself by packing in a carry-on – it just makes so much more sense to me.


This time around, Brian booked our flights and he booked one checked luggage and ZERO carry-ons.





So, that means packing will be very different this vacation.

Starting with my makeup. I will still have my purse on the plane, so I will still bring a makeup bag stashed with samples. However, I will probably pack more makeup than normal because it can go in my checked luggage.

So, here goes. This is what I’m bringing…

In My Purse


Travel-Size Makeup

Full-Size Makeup


  • Foundation Brush
  • Bronzer Brush
  • Blush Brush
  • Highlighter Brush
  • Brow Spoolie

In My Checked Luggage

I think this is the most makeup I have ever travelled with. Last year, when we went to Mexico, Brian successfully convinced me to leave my makeup at home.

Big mistake.

Every night I wanted to add a little get-up to my face, but had nothing. Not even a sun-kissed glow. It rained 5 out of the 7 days.

This time, I’m ready.

But I also hope for lots of sunshine.

5 Minute Makeup

I failed at today already.

It’s 8:11 in the morning.

I slept through 3 alarms and only crawled out of bed moments before Brian’s alarm went off.

I double booked my morning. I didn’t write a blog post. I ran out of milk. I yelled at the kids.

Anxiety is a killer today.

So, here I am, pressing the reset button. Fixing the things I can, putting priorities back in order and getting back on track.

Have you ever had those days? Nothing seems to go right, but you still need to be put together and look alive when you leave the house?

Having a 5 minute makeup routine helps on days like today.

Let’s start with 3 principles to set the stage.

#1 Organize your makeup
If your makeup station is organized, it’s easier to be able to quickly find the products you want and move on.

#2 Know your favourite products
It’s a good idea to have certain products that you know you love and always seem to work for you. If you want to go one step further, throw them all in a makeup bag so that you can just grab the bag if you are in a hurry.

Keep it simple, sweetheart. Simple makeup is great for everyday makeup – I mean, who glam is glam, but not necessary.

I have worked to get my makeup routine down to 5-10 minutes. This is the simple routine I have been following:

Step 1 – Moisturizer
L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Day & Night Moisturizer

Step 2 – Primer
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

Step 3 – Foundation
Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation (2N1 Desert Beige)

Step 4 – Bronzer/Contour
Ulta Matte Bronzer (Cool)

Step 5 – Blush
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush (Paaarty)

Step 6 – Highlighter
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter (Opal)

Step 7 – Mascara
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara

Step 8 – Lips
Annabelle Lip Liner
NYX Lip Lingerie (Ruffle Trim)

Step 9 – Brows
Tarte Busy Gal Brows Tinted Brow Gel (Taupe)

Step 10 – Setting Spray
Hard Candy Illuminating Setting Spray (Sheer Envy)


Ten steps might seem like a lot, but I can barrel through these steps in a few minutes.

Slap that moisturizer on, wait a few seconds and do the same with the primer.

Throw a few dollops of foundation around your face and blend. The foundations I’ve been trying lately seem to work best with a brush, which works better for me because it’s faster to use a brush.

Once the foundation is blended, quickly blend some bronzer stripes on your cheeks, nose, forehead, under lip, and chin.

Add a few strokes of blush to the balls of your cheeks and strobe some highlighter just above and onto your temples. Don’t forget to highlight the tip of your nose and your cupid’s bow.

Mascara is where you need to take your time – no need poking your eye out with your wand. Plus, if you take your time with mascara, you can separate your lashes nicely and arrange them in a beautiful wispy formation.

Line your lips, top them with lipstick.

Brush through your brows and if needed, add some brow gel.

Now set it all with your spray.

Grab a fan, sit back and take a moment for yourself – and to air dry your face.


That’s it! Super quick. Super easy.

Do you have a quick every day makeup routine that you follow or do you like doing full-glam every day?

Sephora Foundation Finder

You all know that I’m in the market for a new bottle of foundation. You may also know that my shade changes drastically throughout the year.

When I was researching the Sephora VIB appreciation sale, I stumbled upon the foundation finder and decided to try it out.

I thought it would be fun to do a video on it. I planned on going to Sephora and getting samples of the suggested foundations, trying them and then posting my reviews.

Guess what.

I tried that.

Didn’t work.

You know why? Out of the 8 foundations they suggested, I only found 3 of them in the store. One of those was a foundation I had already tried and didn’t love. So then I was down to 2.

  • Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15
  • Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint

I opted to only get a sample of the Clinique because the Hourglass one seemed a bit thick on the back of my hand. Maybe I’m wrong about it, but either way, I didn’t get a sample of it. I also wasn’t hyped up on the fact that there was SPF in the Clinique one, but I thought I’d try it anyway.

So, my main problem was that the app suggested all the high-end foundations that they didn’t even carry in my store. So, my choices were slim.

Here are the suggestions:

  • Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation
  • IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
  • Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Fluide
  • Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint
  • Stellar Limitless Foundation
  • Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15
  • Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation
  • Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation

Maybe I started off skeptical because they didn’t even suggest my absolute favourite – TF Born This Way. Regardless, I didn’t find it very helpful.

My second problem really had nothing to do with the app, but everything to do with the fact that the girls who worked at Sephora had an extremely hard time matching my skin tone to a foundation. I could tell they were getting frustrated because nothing seemed to match me. One of the girls (a YSL rep) finally asked me how I match my face, noting that my neck was a completely different tone than my face. I told her I prefer to match my neck as I’m not necessarily interested in bringing my foundation all the way down to my decolletage.

To top things off, I haven’t even tried the Clinique foundation because she didn’t write down the name of the foundation and put it in a baggie. Due to my super amazing memory, I forgot which foundation was Clinique (I got a few other non-suggested samples). I have since narrowed it down and will probably try it soon.

In conclusion (that’s my I’m official statement), I’ll probably continue to do things the way I’ve always done them – trying samples I’m interested in and not purchasing the products I can’t try first.

Have you tried the Foundation Finder? Did it work well for you? I’d love to know about your experience with it.

Sephora VIB Appreciation Sale | 2018

Ack! Sure, as soon as I make it official to the world that I’m going on a month-long spending hiatus, Sephora has to announce that they are having a sale.

Good news is that it doesn’t end until September 3rd, so I guess that means that ‘no-spend August‘ will be followed up by ‘prodigal September‘.

Sephora thought it would be a great idea to celebrate Beauty Insiders and the changes to the Beauty Insider program.

Here is the low-down on the sale:

VIB Rouge
20% off
Fri 8/24 – Mon 9/3

15% off
Thurs 8/30 – Mon 9/3
Use Code: YESVIB

10% off
Thurs 8/30 – Mon 9/3

So, my account states that my VIB status will expire in December 2018. If I want to keep it, I need to spend $180 before the end of the year. If I would like to jump up to VIB Rouge, I would need to spend $830 before the end of the year.

I’m pretty sure spending that much money would be frivolous, but it’s fun to dream about being so rich that spending $830 on makeup is pocket change.

So with that, here are my potential lists for the sale.

If I want to keep VIB:

Too Faced
Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer

Dr. Jart+
Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel

Bite Beauty
Agave Lip Mask

Too Faced
Born This Way Foundation

VIB Sale 1Pictures

If I convince Brian that beauty is priceless, I will add:

Touch Permanent Hair Reduction + Epilator Cartridge and Precision Adapter

Anastasia Beverly Hills
Brow Wiz

Benefit Cosmetics
Hoola Matte Bronzer

Dr. Jart+
Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask

Atelier Cologne
Collection Azur – Cedre Atlas (100ml)


Chances of reaching VIB Rouge in 2018 is extremely thin. However, seeing as I’m low on (or have already run out of) foundation, concealer and face cream, it’s highly probable that I will at least keep my VIB status through 2019.

Are you shopping the sale? What’s on your list? Let me know in the comments below.

Brush or Sponge?

I used to apply my foundation with my fingers. (That’s a no-no, right?)

Then I began using those triangle wedges, which I thought were the bomb!

One day, I overheard my sisters talking about how the new thing was to apply foundation with a brush.

I went out and bought one.

I only used it once because it didn’t blend anything and left my face looking like a construction site with tire grooves left in the mud.

Not cool.

I went back to using those trusted triangle wedges, thinking that would be the only thing I ever used from that point forward.

When I began watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, I learned that there was a better brush to apply your foundation. I tried it and loved it. My only problem was that sometimes my face looked like I used debris for foundation, especially in the winter months. It wasn’t until I realized that it was exfoliating my skin that I decided to look into other options.

This is where the term damp beauty sponge came trotting along into my life. I bought a beauty sponge and tried it out – running it under warm water until it had soaked up enough H2O to hydrate an elephant. That might be an exaggeration, but for real, I had no idea what I was doing the first time I used this technique.

So, should we apply our foundation with a brush – or a damp beauty sponge?

Pros – faster application, blends nicely, works well with fast-setting foundations
Cons – exfoliates during application, not the best for dry or sensitive skin

Damp Beauty Sponge
Pros – melds product into skin, leaves a flawless finish, great for sensitive skin
Cons – can breed bacteria if not cleansed/dried properly, slow application, doesn’t work the best with fast-setting foundations

We’ll go back to my question – brush or damp beauty sponge?

I say, ultimately it depends on factors such as skin type, foundation type, personal preference and the amount of time you have. As a matter of fact, I prefer the sponge, but the Becca foundation sets extremely fast, so unless I’m Speedy Gonzalez, it doesn’t blend well with the sponge – so I use a brush to erase any harsh lines I get.

What application method do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.

New Favourite Foundation?

If you read my July Empties post, you already know that I ran out of my beloved Too Faced foundation. I still haven’t had the time or extra pocket change to restock my favourite, so I’ve had to make do with other samples I had lying around from last year.

Ok, there’s a chance I’m procrastinating on buying a full-size foundation because my skin tone has been going through some interesting changes lately and my normal shade is starting to look orange on my skin…so I’m really hoping I can make these samples last until my skin tone levels out.

Enter Becca Ultimate Coverage 24-Hour Foundation.

If my memory serves me correctly, last November I got a sample in the shade Buff (light/medium beige with neutral/yellow/golden undertones). I remember trying it once and my foundation turned out pretty cakey. I didn’t try to figure out why it looked like that; I just set it aside and moved on to the next sample I got.

So, fast forward to this past month. I wanted to film a video and needed to quickly do my makeup. For some reason, I grabbed the Becca sample and threw my face together. It turned out beautiful. It wasn’t cakey. It wasn’t too thick. It just looked flawless – on camera and in real life.

I decided to look into why I had very different results both times. Here are the results of my findings.

First things first.


You’re all going to judge me for this, but I’m cool with that. I didn’t have any other options. Here goes. I have always put on my makeup in my bedroom with the light off or in the car while Brian is driving.

Until. That is, until I started filming for YouTube. Then I started doing my makeup with all my filming lights on. What a world of difference light makes. That’s a whole other post all on its own. It was so much easier to apply an even layer and blend out my foundation when I could actually see where the product was going. Game changer.

Next, with this foundation, you literally need the tiniest amount ever. It is full coverage and a little goes a long way. The little Sephora sample I received will probably last me until school starts up again. When I tried it back in November, I used the same amount of product I use with other foundations. That’s a mistake. Remember, with this one, a little goes a long way.

So, those are my tips for making this foundation rock your look. Now let’s address the whole 24-hour thing.

Can I just ask, who in the world is staying up for 24 hours needing their makeup to be flawless that entire time? 24-hour foundation just doesn’t make sense to me.

However, I wore it for 19 hours on Thursday and the results were pretty great. Throughout the day and into the evening, I had people comment to me on it. Then, when I went to wash my makeup off (at 2am, after wearing it for 19 hours), it looked almost exactly how it looked when I first applied it.

So, although it wasn’t quite 24 hours and I probably won’t ever wear makeup that long, it stood up to the hot weather, wind in my face in my Jeep on the highway and every time I touched my face throughout the day/night.

Down to the real question. Will this replace my favourite foundation? No. Will this be added to my makeup collection as my other favourite? Yes. It’s ok to have more than one favourite, right?

Have you tried Becca Ultimate Coverage 24-Hour Foundation? Leave me a comment telling me your thoughts.

May Empties | 2018

May Empties 1 Pictures
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

May has been a long month for me. Summer is just around the corner and soon the kids will be home. I’m interested to see how my schedule will work once they are out of school, but I’m fairly excited to spend some quality time doing some new adventures with them this summer.

Because of the busyness that May dumped in my lap, I didn’t have many opportunities to try new products. However, when I looked in my ’empties’ basket, I realized that I used up a few really great products. Some of them are samples, but I loved them enough to barrel through them in May.

Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub
$7.97 CDN (Walmart)May Empties 2 Pictures

I bought this originally for my trip to Israel, because I wanted to pack in a carry-on and was limited with my liquids. It quickly became my absolute favourite for removing my makeup. It evicts every particle of dirt or makeup from my pores and my face feels so fresh after cleansing. The odd time it leaves me a bit dry, so if you have dry skin, you might not want this as a daily cleanser.

Tatcha The Water Cream
$82 CDN (Sephora)May Empties 3 Pictures

Skin care has been a big priority for me this year and Tatcha does not disappoint. Yes, I’ve talked about this before, but it is an amazing moisturizer. I was quite sad when I ran out. That being said, I think I would like to try some more moisturizers before deciding if I would repurchase this again. Leave me some suggestions in the comments, I’d love to know what you’re using.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter
$46 CDN (Sephora)

wp prime

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise for you since I’ve already talked about it in other posts. I absolutely love this primer. It just makes you glow beyond complexion. I decided not to buy it for summer because I thought it might be too heavy in the heat, but I really miss it and so I’m sure I will break down and buy a full bottle of it soon.

Briogeo Rosarco Milk reparative leave-in conditioning spray
$26 CDN (Sephora)May Empties 4 Pictures

This was a product I received in my FabFitFun subscription box last year. At first, I wasn’t sure about it. I had never heard of the brand and the first time I used it, I wasn’t sure it was anything special. Then, I had an issue where my hair was so dry and damaged that I was sure I was going to have to chop it off and start fresh. I remembered about this and dug it out of hiding. I started using it and all I can say is WOW. Not only did it help me brush through my long locks after a shower without any breakage, it also began to restore my damaged ends. I usually don’t love leave in conditioners, but this one never leaves my hair feeling greasy or heavy. I can spritz this on my hair after a shower, brush it and let it air dry with minimal frizz. I was a bit worried about going through this because I was afraid I was falling in love with an expensive product, but let me tell you – WORTH EVERY PENNY! I absolutely will be repurchasing this for summer!

That brings me to the end of my May Empties. I’d love to know some of your favourite products to try.

April Favourites | 2018

I feel like it’s safe to say that spring is here. It kind of came in overnight. One day we were sporting winter gear, the next day I had the top off my Jeep. I guess that’s Canada for you. We always joke that this is the one place in the world that you can use your heater and air conditioner in the same day.

C’est la vie.

I love when spring blossoms, birds are chirping and the sunshine just seems to touch my heart. Especially after this past winter season that just seemed to go on forever.

Nonetheless, spring is here and so are my April Favourites!

Batiste Dry Shampoo
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…sometimes I go a week or more without washing my hair.

Shocker, I know.

When I colour my hair, it almost always leaves blisters on my scalp. They usually hurt and I have to give them about a week to heal. If I wash my hair, it just breaks them open and leaves me regretting the beauty process.

So, lo and behold, dry shampoo.

I’ve tried many dry shampoos and Batiste is the only one that works amazingly well and consistently. I actually went through my full-size bottle and a travel-size one this month. My favourite scent is the tropical one for obvious reasons. I always want to be on vacation.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
My first experience with this was when Sephora sent me a deluxe sample kit with an order I placed. When I used it, it was the first time ever that my makeup still looked untouched after a full day of work.

I went to pick some up and the sales lady wouldn’t let me get it. She literally blocked the aisle and put her hand on my back and walked me over to another brand’s setting spray. She told me it would pollute my face and that I should use something more gentle for everyday use. Let’s just say, that I ignored her advice and found a travel-size one in the check-out line.

The only time I couldn’t use this was when I used an acne cream and my face became crazy dry. My skin felt like it was going to crack, so adding the all nighter was a bit too much.

Side note, this is one of those products that you don’t want to buy the travel-size. It costs more for the amount of product you get. You’re better off getting the full-size and enjoying it longer.

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer

Every time I go to Sephora, I swatch this on the back of my hand. I never wanted to get a sample because I figured I would love it and then want to buy it. It’s a bit of a splurge.

A few weeks ago I decided I would get a sample anyway.

Ugh! It happened. I loved it. Now, I’m saving up my $$ so I can splurge.

I don’t know what makes this product so perfect, but it goes on so smooth. It is extremely light and makes any texture on your face disappear. My face feels like glass when I use this. My makeup goes on flawlessly over top. I absolutely think this is worth the spend.

L’Oreal Voluminous Superstar X Fiber Mascara
The name of this is way too much for me to remember. That’s the only downfall of this mascara. I first saw this on MakeupByCheryl and since L’Oreal is one of my favourite drugstore brands, I thought I would try it.

It is absolutely easy to apply and I love that the primer is black. My lashes are already long, but this added so much depth that when I went to apply false lashes (which I usually don’t wear because of the natural length of my lashes), they were shorter than my own with this mascara!


It doesn’t flake, break or run, so I don’t have to worry about my eyes and face looking crazy after a few hours. To top it all off, it washes off so easily – no scrubbing, no double washing, just a swipe of Nivea eye makeup remover and it’s off.

Perfection in a mascara tube.

Have you used any of these products? I’d like to know what you think. Comment below.