Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New in Town! Annabelle Lipsies Fruity Lip Balm in Grape - Beauty in Canada

Annabelle is the sister brand of Marcelle - I have already introduced you to Marcelle through my review on their BB kit here. I have already tried a couple of products from them - their lip crayons, foundation and eye liners & so far I like them [expect reviews soon]. 
Annabelle is like the somewhat-lower-priced cousin of Marcelle; Marcelle also has some skin care products while Annabelle is purely into color cosmetics as far as I know.

I am always happy to buy anything interesting from drugstore and if its a Canadian beauty brand, the appeal is a tad bit higher :) So when I saw that Annabelle had these new lip balm crayons for just $4.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart - well, how can I resist! 

Its a glossy lip balm in a crayon format - that itself is enough to make me grab this. There were around 8 shades [weirdly enough one was green! :)] and except for Grape, most of them were pretty common shades - pink, coral, red and coral-orange. There was a nude shade, but after trying the tester [which was a cherry shade] I didn't think the Nude shade would do anything for me as the tint was pretty sheer. They don't have testers for all colors, but I think the green one should be either a 'magic-color' kinda color changing one or a clear balm.

My Experience: 

I think that I am pretty tolerant when it comes to setting my expectations for a product- its in a way purely based on price & product claims. I don't expect a product which claims to be moisturizing to be a long wearing product - cos well duh! Also, I don't expect a $5, $10, $15 product all to perform at the same level - that would be unfair. So, I am going to judge these Lipsies on if they are worth the $5 price tag and if they meet the claims they make - i.e. 

1. Retractable Lip Color Balm - well, unless they dont twist up n done, I think this claim is fairly well met
2. Sheer Colors -  so, if you are expecting great color pigmentation, well, don't !
3. Hydrating Non-sticky glossy balm - notice that Annabelle doesn't make any outrageous claims like 16hr stay blah blah- I respect you, Annabelle, for that!

And here is my verdict - Annabelle is bang on target with their claims. This product does all that it says it will do. It gives a sheer wash of color, it hydrates though not for very long - I got around 2-3 hours, it is not sticky [which I didn't anyways think it would be] and it gives a glossy finish for the 1st 30-45mins after which it gives more of a tinted balm-y look. 

The tint lasts for around 2-3 hours as well, but to be honest I didn't really test it out much for longevity cos - well read on to know why!

This has a light fruity taste, somewhat strong fruity scent -I don't mind both, so I am good with that. There is no irritation, no drying out, applies very smoothly and feels light on lips. 

Now, did you expect a However, somewhere? Well, here it is - 

1. I hate this color. It is too cool toned. I didn't think that a lip color could make me 5 yrs older, but this one does. Grape is a very cool toned purple shade that just depresses me - I cannot wear it alone, so I usually wear this under a warmer glossy shade if I am going out. I couldn't really test it out in depth cos I couldn't wear this alone. 

Look at that creepy effect - gak, hate the color!
2. The packaging is super super cheap - it reminds me of some cheap candy covers. The plastic casing is cheap, the lettering is just plain YUCK and whats with the white stripes???  If you don't know how to make a color casing work, go for the safe Black casing. Look at NYX, look at Revlon's packaging - come on, Annabelle, you can do better here!

Since I liked the product, I may pick up another shade - may be the Cherry one which would be great for Summer :) 

Overall:  If you're in a mood for a nice pocket-friendly tinted balm & don't mind really yucky packaging, then may be this is something you can try. Don't set your expectations super high though - its just what it says & nothing more.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Some Beauty & Makeup DON'T DOs - Learned from bitter experience :) [PART 1]

We all have some lessons to share when it comes to beauty and makeup Don't Do's. I am adding some of mine, cos I just learned something from this weekend, so things are bit fresh :)  

1. DON'T use soaps or harsh cleansers on face - it dries out the skin and ages you pretty badly. 
My suggestion - Go for gentle cleansers if at all you need to use one. I prefer to use cleansing oils, baby wipes and cleansing creams. Even regular cold creams would help. 

2.  DON'T skimp on drinking water or on sleep. Your skin will be one of the major victims. 

My suggestion - Keep a small bottle of water in your bag always, so you can refill and keep drinking it. I keep mobile alarms to alert me to drink every 45mins. This is especially important for ladies staying in colder or drier parts of the world. 
For Sleep, well, no quick fixes - you gotta sleep. 

You can improve the effectiveness of your sleep by avoiding tea/caffeine etc, by drinking some warm milk with turmeric 15mins before sleep and by spraying some lavender drops on your pillow for a good sleep. 

3. DON'T eat very oily foods if you wish to keep your face acne free
My suggestion - It is not very realistic probably to skip oily food forever. However, try to avoid it before sleep because the fat may not get processed very well. 
Also, if you have an event or function happening in 2 days, skip on oily and fatty food to avoid getting a pimple on the day!

4. DON'T eat salty food if you suffer from a bloated morning face
My suggestion - Again, try restricting salty food at night. As a best practise, avoid salt at least 3-4 hours before sleep. If you do wake up with a bloated face, use an ice pack to slowly massage your face. 
Another way to help tone your face is to try the GUA SHA face massaging technique [ you can easily find videos online]

5. DON'T sleep with makeup on - at the worst or at the laziest, remove your eye makeup.
My suggestion - We all have days when all we want is to crawl to bed and to hell with cleaning up. However, your skin will suffer very very very badly for missing that 15min of cleansing. 

At the worst, remove your eye makeup. Eyes are most sensitive part of your face - so if nothing else, keep em clean.
If you are out for a party or for a night event, make sure you keep some facial wipes handy and clean your eye makeup when you start feeling tired.  For me it is around 10-11pm at night. This way, even if you are totally blacked out at the end of the day, your eyes will be clean & SAFE.
The downside is that may be your makeup looks a bit incomplete, upside is your eyes will thanks you always and always.

6. DON'T use a night cream or night-specific use item for day use.
My suggestion - Too obvious? Well, it might happen. At least , it did to me. Creams/Serums/Treatments etc meant for night may have stronger sun-sensitive chemicals that can turn bad or affect your skin if used in the day time. 
The best way is to separate your night kit from your day stuff. Also, whenever you buy a serum etc, make sure you check to see when it is advisable to use it. If it says morning and night then good. 

7. DON'T wear a lip gloss [at least not the sticky type] if you have long hair and is wearing it loose. 
My suggestion: Sure, models look great when walking along with hair fluttering in breeze. In real life, this means your hair can easily can catch dirt or even worse - your lip gloss. 
What I do is - I carry a bandana or hair band so I can use it if it gets too windy. Also, if you are going out and you've not used a super hold hair spray or so, I suggest wearing your hair in a nice up-do. 

8. DON'T ever try a new product the day before a major event. 
My suggestion: Some times even the best brand product can break you out or cause a reaction. You never know. May be the product was something lying a shelf for a long long time. Who knows! 
The safest way is to try and test something at least a week before a major function. This gives your skin and you enough time to recover from any possible reactions.

9. DON'T ever take a risk in using an expired product
My suggestion: As soon as you buy a product and open it, make an entry some where. I use an excel sheet to track. Most products have their best-before tags on the bottle jars etc. Check this website for more information - 
Also use some thumb rules - Mascaras for 3months, eyeliners for 6 months etc.
If you have a product  in your kit you're not sure of, throw it away - it is not worth risking your skin & health. 
At the worst - do this at least for all eye and lip products. 

And finally the one that prompted this article :)

10. DON'T ever trust brand products at super cheap prices.
My suggestion: Need a MAC lipstick but don't want to shell out $15? Then go drugstore and get a nice NYC or NYX lipstick. That would be safer than buying from a website where you can get 'MAC' for $5! Remember that if some one is selling a product worth $15 at $5, there is usually a good reason - like being a cheap knock-off or an expired product. 

Incident in question: 
I pride myself on not buying from such places but I almost became a victim when I saw this discount store where they were selling 'high-end cosmetics at drug store prices'.
I saw this set of MAC lipsticks for $5 each and I asked the SA how they got that. 
She told me that they were products where the packaging had a defect but then the product itself is exactly the same. 
Somehow I didn't trust that very much, so I was just hanging around when I heard a lady enter into argument with the SA. 
She actually had a MAC shade in hand, that was also on display. She kept them side by side and swatched them and suddenly nothing looked same.
The swatches were so different that the SA was struggling to find justifications. 
Finally she hit on - 'You have an older lipstick. This is the latest one'. Well, even she didn't seem to believe it!
As I left the store, I could hear the indignant lady demanding that the fake lippies be taken off the shelf - I hope it happened, but some how I doubt it!

 Anyways I have a long list, so expect a part 2 or may be even a part 3! :) 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mega Lippie Haul: Gong crazy on lippies [March & April]

This is a post that only lippie lovers can probably appreciate- the feeling of joy that comes to a lippie lover as she looks at the horde of lipsticks, lip glosses, balms etc that she has bought.. :)

Now, don't think that I got crazy one day and bought all these stuff... these were over last 2 months so may be it is not as significant a haul as some others can brag about, but anyway here it is.

If there is any item you wish me to review, leme know. Also, if you're in Toronto, and want to know where I got all these stuff, post a note below and I can help you!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beauty from Canada: Marcelle BB Cream, Cream-To-Powder & Cleanser

Although I am new to Canada, I am always happy to try Canadian brands and am a teeny bit partial towards them :). So when I saw the Marcelle BB trial kit at Rexall, I grabbed it and has been trying it out for some time. Here is my take on the 3 products that came in the kit, I didn't take a pic of the cute black bag that came with it :(

You can read about the products from Marcelle's website here; I don't exactly remember the price for the trial kit but I think it was around $25 CAD.

Please excuse the mess made by usage!
I am a fan of trial kits as I think its a good idea and gives a nice feel of the product range without burning a hole in the pocket. Out of a complete product range, you may like 1 or 2 or may be everything. This way, you get to try stuff especially if the brand claims that they are complimentary.

My Experience:

BB cream: 
If it is not an Asian brand, my expectations from any product labelled as BB cream is that it should work well as a good foundation and nothing else. I don't expect any skin care benefits, so when Marcelle says that this cream gives 8-in-1 benefits, I say 'yawn.' Anyways the 8 benefits this product is touted to have are:

1. Evens out skin tone - which I guess is the purpose of a foundation or a tinted product or do they mean long term???
2. Offers immediate and long term hydrating benefits - Immediate is understandable; how to test for long term?
3. Protects from premature aging and environmental stresses - Oh crap! Really!
4. Promotes skin regeneration - Good bye all the healthy but yucky food, Marcelle BB cream is here & I dnt need you any more....
5.Controls shine - so this has mattifying effect, good
6. Soothes and calms - I am assuming Marcelle means the soothing & calming effect on skin and not on nerves :)

7. Reduces the appearance of imperfections - a reiteration of point 1. So this product has some good coverage. I dont think they do anything for your acne scar in the long term !
8. Provides anti-dull radiant complexion - Okay, come on!!!! if you didnt have anything to write for point 8 and you advertised 8-in-1, doesn't mean you have to fill in crap. Anti-dull!! is that even a word?

What companies do in the name of marketing is at times hilarious and at times atrocious. Anyways, so summing what is actually meant and discarding absurdities like "anti-dull" here is what Marcelle claims this cream does:
1. Provides good & even coverage
2. Mattifying effect without drying out skin - which may mean a satin finish
3. Soothing, calming and anti-aging - God only knows, but since I want to trust Marcelle I assume something is happening in the background.

Leaving aside all the snarky comments, this is a good tinted moisturizer. In fact, I will go even further and say that this is a good medium coverage foundation that applies smoothly and gives nice satin finish. Even without any primer, it lasts for at least 5-6 hours on my normal-to-oily skin. I have to agree on the mattifying effect also. It gives a very glow-y finish to the skin and I feel I can build the coverage to some extent. 

Cream to Powder: This gives more coverage than the cream and can be used to add coverage to the look. I like how it applies. 

If you are using this in isolation and if you have dry or baggy under  eyes like mine, make sure to prime or else the product will sink into the lines. 
Lasting power is almost the same if not a bit better. 

Considering the ethnic diversity in Canada, it is sad that Marcelle has only 3 shades [ now only 2 listed in their website] for this product. Sad, sad, sad!!!
Cleanser: I am not a huge fan of cleansers as I love my baby wipes better than any cleanser. However, this did impress me cos it is so travel friendly. This is more like a cleansing milk and I really liked it.

Cleanser in action!

Overall: I have already got a back-up for the BB cream when there was a sale. I am not very sure on the Cream-to-Powder but I may buy if I see a sale. As for Cleanser, thanks, I still love my Huggies :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What not to buy: Du Wop Prime Venom Lip Plumping balm

Since I have very plump lower lips and very thin upper lip [ a most weird & sad combo] I don't really need any help from a lip plumper to increase the odd effect. However, when I saw this on sale at my local Shoppers Drug Mart, curiosity prompted me to get them to give it a try.

As you already got from the title, I am not a fan of it and let me try to explain why; if this is something you love, don't feel bad, just think of it as bad taste on my part :)

What Du Wop says about Prime Venom:
Plump, prime and condition your lips with DuWop's newest addition, Prime Venom. DuWop has created the first matte finish plumping balm infused with the now famous Lip Venom formula.

Prime Venom is a satin matte lip balm that leaves your lips supple and conditioned while acting as a primer to help lipsticks go on smoother and last longer.

Now you can have the venom tingle and plumping even when you don't want the shine. Worn under lipstick or gloss, Prime Venom leaves the lips conditioned, fuller and smoothes out the fine lines that can stop lip color from looking its best. Prime Venom also flushes the lips with natural color so that you don't have to wear lipstick at all if you choose not to.

Price - Approx $22CAD for 2.2gms.

My Experience:

1st of all, the scent - oh my god! It reminded me of some oil gone bad. Now, to be very honest, there is a chance that the product may have been on the shelf for a longer time to make the scent go putzzz.. but still! Gak!! I tried it on once or twice to see how it worked and have stayed away from it ever since. 

2nd and the last factor - I couldn't see any change except for some tingling sensation on my lips. In fact, its more of a slight burning sensation than a tingle, so may be someone with a more sensitive lips might not like it at all. However, the fact is, I couldn't see any noticeable difference at all. At least nothing to justify a $22 price tag.

If I want a plumper luscious lips, I'd rather load up on a nice lip gloss, than try something like this that feels pretty uncomfortable on lips.

Overall: Du Wop, I love you for being cruelty free; I did like your Private Red lipstick , so I hope that I'd definitely like something a bit more normal from your product range- may be those Lip Styxx.. but so sorry, I didnt like it, I wouldn't recommend it and I am not going to buy it again!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to get glowing over weekend - My weekend regime from Saturday morning to Sunday Night

After the last winter, my skin had lost so much of its natural healthy look that I got seriously worried and decided to do some extra special weekend pampering in addition to my usual skin care routine. I have been trying this out for the past month and I am seeing some good results, so thought will share with you all. If this works for you or if you have better suggestions, do let me know :)

So without much ado, here is what I do...

My skin type: Normal to Oily.

Mornings : Cleansing time,
This is when I do things to help my skin & body cleanse & remove impurities. As soon as I wake up, I usually drink water every day. On Saturday& Sunday, after drinking water, I do some exercise for 15-20mins to warm up my body.
Then I boil some water, add some basil leaf, some green tea powder and keep on boil for another 2mins.
After that once the water drops to warm temperature, I mix in some turmeric & lemon juice or Vit C Crystals.
I usually mix this with a full 1 Ltr jug of warm water and try to drink in as much as possible.

I try to eat as healthy as possible on weekdays but its not always possible.
So I try to prepare as many different types of salads as possible on the weekends.
Since in the morning, it is not good to eat too many acidic food, I try to avoid citrus fruits.

This is a favorite pre-breakfast snack of mine:
 - Mix some cut fruits like - Apples,Melon, Papaya & Mango
- Add some natural honey for taste and consume immediately

Through out the day, I try to eat a mix of nuts & dries berries.

Noon: Moisturizing time
My grandma used to say that oil absorbs faster on a warmed up body. I don't know how true is that, but may be the increased blood circulation does help in faster absorption of oils.
On weekends I take my bath before lunch.
So an hour before bath, I apply a mix of the following oils:
- Base oil : avocado, coconut, jojoba, grape seed , pure virgin oilve
- Essential oil: Carrot seed, orange, rose hip seed

I apply the mix on my face & body. To make this more effective, massage in the oil for at least 5mins.
After that, I do some exercises [in privacy of course :)] to warm up my body, for at least 15-20mins.

After this, once I cool down, I apply a mix of the following oils on my hair:
Base oil - [see above list]
- Essential oil: Rosemary, Basil, Tea Tree, Cyprus , Lavender

Once you apply oil on your hair, it is not advisable to exercise, which is why I apply oil just before bath.

Immediately after bathing, I apply a body oil that absorbs easily. You can get body oils from The Body Shop or from Yves Rocher or any other brands you prefer. I like body oils better than cream moisturizers as they give better hydration and long lasting effects.

After bath, I try to apply a hydrating mask or cream on face to lock in all the moisture.

Night: Treatment time
For any treatments on face, night is the best time as you don't have to worry about sun exposure.
I apply a glycolic peel or a brightening mask etc followed by a good night cream.
Before sleep, I drink a juice with below mix to boost up my blood circulation & help my skin from within: 
- Carrots
- Beets
- Ripe pumpkin
- a small slice of ginger
- Dates/Cranberry/Blue berry/Black berry

 So thats what I do. I also try to eat as healthy as possible over weekend to make up for lazy weekdays.
If you have any suggestions, do leave your thoughts below :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Shine Bright Like a Diamond... Spring Colors: NYX Glam Lipstick Aqua Luxe in Glory

There are some stuff that I wish I did or knew about when I was in my teens... and after trying out this lipstick from NYX, I added 'Wearing super shimmery lipstick' to the list!

What NYX says about this lipstick:

"Light up the room—with your lips. Silky, smooth, and packed with concentrated sparkle, our Glam Lipstick Aqua Luxe is your go-to glam tool for sexy, shimmering lips."

Price: $7-8 CAD approx

My Experience:

As per NYX, Glory is a rose pink with silver reflects. I don't exactly get what they mean by silver reflects but I am assuming it is the same thing as silver shimmers, cos that is what this lipstick has - gallons and gallons of shimmers. I am not sure if it is just the silver, cos I felt it had some gold also.

Glory in my opinion is a pale pinky peach shade - more peachy than pink. A beautiful color in itself, NYX raises this shade out of ordinary by adding that KA-POWW factor which is the extreme shimmer factor.

I got this lipstick along with Aqua Luxe gloss after seeing the video by Gossmakeupartist [check below] :

It was more of an impulse purchase and I fully knew what I was getting but still I was surprised at the shimmer effect of this lipstick. Actually this is more of a Shimmer Lipstick with Color.

Normally I am not a fan of shimmer; but when it is so beautifully done, you have to appreciate it. Seriously :) Wearing this lipstick is enough to add a wow-factor for a party look. This would be something you can think of, for your prom makeup etc [though not if you plan on any kissing, unless your date don't mind looking like a disco ball :)]

How I wear this lipstick: Because of the silver shimmer & the color, for me this is more of a day wear than a night wear. I wouldn't suggest wearing this lipstick alone; I apply a coat of a peachy or pink matte or satin finish lipstick and then apply this over the color, for effect.  If I wish to tone down the shimmer effect, I apply another coat of lipstick over a layer of this and apply a clear gloss.

Just one swipe - and you can see how much shine it gives!

 Why you should buy this lipstick: For $6, this lipstick is a great option if you wish to create an effortlessly bling-y look for a party. Neutral eyes, coral/peach blush & this lip-color would be a great combo that would suit most complexions. The shimmer is not harsh, cheap-looking or gritty.
The color applies very beautifully and there is no patchiness at all. This stays for max 1-2 hours without food or drinks - I don't expect it to, cos of the creamy shimmer finish of the lipstick.

Why you shouldn't buy this- The shimmer is an obvious reason for any matte finish lover. Another is that the shimmer sticks to your skin. Being very soft & almost like a highlighter-type finish, the shimmer stays even when the color fades. So if you are wearing this lipstick, I would advise keeping a good wet wipe or makeup remover handy.
I tried wiping it once and this is what is left - can you see how soft yet shimmery it looks?

 Overall: Rihanna, were you thinking of this lippie? Cos you can shine like a diamond or at least almost as pretty well, if you wear this lipstick. If you like a fun lip color or if you like shimmer, then you might want to try this lipstick. After all, it is recommended by Wayne Goss :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Colors: MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Rosewood 2c

Nothing add that chic factor to your look like a well defined contoured lips - do you agree? I think so. That is something I learned from my Makeup artist training & experience - how much each features add to the overall value of the look.

If you ask me how to look natural yet chic & sophisticated very easily by playing up just 2 features of your face, I would suggest focusing on your eyes to add emphasis [mascara, a dark eyeshadow or heavy eyeliner] & having a well contoured defined lips  with a natural lip color. 
Of course, if it is just 1 feature, I would select eyes :)

Now, where I was going with all that yak-yak was - having a lip liner is essential to defined lips & here is where MUFE's lip liner comes into the equation.

" What it is:  A creamy, non-transferable lip liner for long-lasting glide-on precision.
What it does: Stop worrying about your lip liner smudging or fading. This non-stop, highly pigmented color is waterproof and stays put. It glides on with vitamin E and jojoba wax, making it is easy to shape and define your lips. 

What else you need to know: Waterproof, highly pigmented, and smudge-proof, the Aqua collection of long-lasting lip and eye colors was created for the Parisian Aquatic Ballet. Tested under water for five hours, Make Up For Ever’s longest wearing makeup has an extensive palette of high-performance colors with non-stop results. Pair with Aqua Rouge for an unstoppable long-lasting lip."

I think this item is available only at Sephora. Price is around $23.00 for 0.04oz. By comparison, MAC lip pencil costs $18 for 0.05oz and another favorite of mine, Rimmel's East End snob costs $7 approx for 0.01oz. So definitely at the pricier end by ounce.

About 2C:
Rosewood - the name suits the shade. In Sephora website, the shade is marked as a 'Rosy Nude' - which I think is not exactly accurate; this shade is more of a rosy coral-y peachy shade. I know I didn't make much sense but this shade is such a unique mix of pink, coral & peach.

To see the peachy tint, you have to apply this on non-pigmented or well-concealed lips. On my pigmented lips, the pink & coral tones are more prominent. 

Why you should try this lip liner? I know, lip liners are not a must buy for most of us, even if its a pretty shade like this one. Now here is why I feel that you should give this one a try:

1. Great pigmentation in one swipe and applies very smoothly even on dry lips and even over lip balm!

2. Stays for a long long time - I got up to 4 hours with full intensity including some food & drinks. Even when it faded, it left a nice color behind.

3. A very universally appealing shade that can suit most lip colors and can match many shades of lipstick.

4. No scent,  no irritation. Does not dry out my lips if I apply this all over my lips.

Why you shouldn't try this? 

1. Did you read the price info?

Overall: I like this lip liner and this particular shade, so give this a try if you are okay with the price :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Face Shop Volcanic Clay Black Head Aloe Nose Strip

Once again, I am going to refrain from giving long reviews for products that don't really need it, so bear with me if you find this review very succinct.

I got this from my local Face Shop store for my husband, cos he has some serious blackhead issues on his nose. He doesn't like the good old 'squeeze & clean' technique so I thought I will try a nose strip. I have tried this nose strip from Face Shop 3 times now and here is my verdict: Too gentle to be useful 

If I say it didn't clean, I'd be wrong- it did but not enough to see a difference.
What I can find in favor of these nose strips are:
1. Easy to use & apply on nose
2. Face Shop is available internationally

Other than that, for the price [$16 approx for 10 pcs] this is not cheap enough to justify such average results.
 I am not going to buy this again; I have read some good reviews about their Charcoal nose strip, so may be I will try that next.



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