Skincare Standouts

Over the past few years, I've focused on improving my skin rather than covering it all up. My skin was all over the place in university, and went through quite a bad period in my final year. Since then, I've looked for products that will keep my skin calm and hydrated, while reducing breakouts and boosting radiance. It's a tall order, but I've finally found a few great stand-outs that I've repurchased again & again. My skin is happier & healthier than it's been in years, all thanks to the products below.

Caudalie Divine Oil - This was tucked into my stocking last Christmas (someone clearly knows me well ;) and I've loved using it. It smells so lovely and doesn't feel heavy on my skin. I don't love the packaging - this smaller version is just a bottle with a screw top lid, no delivery method for the oil - but that's a minor flaw I can work around.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum - I discovered this serum in 2014 and it totally changed my skin. I still get the occasional spot, but I'm always left with a red mark long after the spot is gone. This helps speed up the disappearance of the red marks and seems to brighten up the rest of my skin as well. Happy skin all round!

Fresh Rose Gel Hydrating Cream - If I could insert the praise hands emoji in here, I would! I always have a backup of this product on hand because I never want to be without it - it's that good. My skin loves this stuff - it keeps my combination skin nourished and balanced, all while smelling like a beautiful bouquet of roses. 

Fresh Rose Face Mask - The rose gel cream is more than enough to keep my skin happy, but when I have an event coming up or want to have a spa night-in, this is the mask I turn to. My makeup always applies so much better on hydrated skin, so it's the perfect treat before an event, and feels luxurious without breaking the bank.

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Oil - I was given a sample of this ages ago, and I noticed a difference in my skin almost right away. It's nourishing, hydrating, and seems to calm the redness my skin is prone to. It's lightweight enough for me to wear under makeup and it smells lovely. The bottle size is a tad ridiculous, but the dropper keeps any mess at bay.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream - I love a night cream that leaves my skin looking 'plump' and hydrated when I wake up the next morning. While I certainly still have youth on my side, this cream certainly doesn't hurt either ;) This pot of goodness from Fresh leaves it hydrated, calm and nourished.

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution - As a bit of a beauty lover, I can never resist trying something new. So when I read a few rave reviews of this product, I had to give it a try. In the 6 weeks or so that I've been using it, I've definitely noticed a difference in how quickly any red marks I have fade. I'll save my final thoughts for after I've finished the bottle (a little goes a long way with this!) but for now I'm really pleased with it.

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Mask - As if I didn't have enough hydration from the products mentioned above! Before you think I'm bonkers for hydrated skin, this was a gift from a fellow beauty lover. I've tried several products from Clinique over the years and this fits right in - great 'workhorse' products that do what they say they will. That probably shouldn't seem so revolutionary, but in this age of Photoshopping & outrageous claims, it's refreshing to find a product that lives up to its name.

Fresh & Caudalie have become two of my favourite skincare lines - they carry products I can trust and that have helped my skin tremendously.  I feel like Fresh is best known for their sugar lip treatments and Caudalie for their Beauty Elixir, but both lines carry wonderful skincare if you're looking for something new. 

I've rounded up all the products mentioned above and linked them below for easy online shopping (& review reading ;), but most Sephora & department stores should carry Fresh, Caudalie, and Clinique. Kiehl's can be found in some department stores, and they also have retail stores throughout North America. Happy shopping!


Post contains affiliate links.

Liquid Liner Love

It's no secret that I love a good cat-eye liner. And over the years, I've used lots of different products to achieve the look. Between gifts from friends & Sephora bonuses, I've amassed quite a few and thought I would share my favourites, why I love them, and which ones I think can be skipped.

L'Oréal Paris Lineur Intense Felt Tip - 5/5

I've gone through about 3 tubes of this stuff. It's super black, the felt-tip is great, it lasts all day, and the price point is fantastic. This is the one I reach for when I need a quick, no fuss liner. It glides so beautifully and will always be a staple for me.

Revlon Colorstay™ Liquid Eye Pen - 2/5

I'll call this a 'marker' style tip to differentiate it from the felt tips. (The tip is 'drier', and more like a marker than a true liquid liner.) It worked well, but I found it faded to a more grey shade that I didn't like.

Julep Fluid Eye Glider - 4/5

This has more a 'marker' style tip as well, but it's much smaller and the colour is a deep black. It also lasts all day - even my coconut oil makeup remover sometimes has difficulty with it. I love this one for it's precision; it might take a bit longer to apply because it doesn't 'glide' well - 'stamping' works better with this one - but I know it won't budge at all.

Benefit They're Real! Push-up Eyeliner - 4/5

Unlike any other liner I've tried, Benefit created a gel liner with a built in application system. I do like it, but you have to have enough product on the tip for it to apply well, but not too much or else it clumps and falls off. It takes a bit of practice, but the results are worth it.

Lancôme Artliner - 3/5

Truthfully? This is practically identical to the Lineur Intense from L'Oréal; they are sister companies after all. The gold on the packaging is lovely of course, but I found the colour of this one wasn't quite as black as I would have liked.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner - 5/5

This & the Stila one below were from the Sephora liner favourites kit released around Christmas. (Great kit by the way!) I'd been wanting to try this out after hearing a lot of hype about the 'brush' tip and I'm so pleased to say I was not disappointed! The colour, the tip (it really is a little brush), the ease - SO good. Probably my all-time favourite on this list. 

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner - 4/5

If you're looking for a liner that will not budge one millimetre, then this is for you. I have it in the dark brown shade, which is a nice change some days from the black. The colour is great, the marker tip works really well and there's no fading or patchiness as the day goes on. You definitely will need a great make-up remover to get this off (even coconut oil struggles with it) but that's a small price for a liner that doesn't give up. 

Is there a favourite out there that I've missed? A classic I need to try? Let me know :)


Nailed It: Lucky Clover

I shared a little sneak peek of these on Instagram last week, and while my clovers looked a little more floral, I still loved the colour combo of these festive nails :)

I used Julep Briana & Kam, Sally Hansen Green with Envy, & Essie Rock at the Top. I also used the Julep Plie Wand & dotting tool to help with the dots!

For the clovers, I created 4 sets of 2 dots around an imaginary 'square' shape on my nails, and then put a little more polish in the middle of the dots to join them together. Hopefully the photo below will help illustrate a bit better!

And my not so clover-like clovers ;) haha

Hope you had a lucky day!


Winter Skincare Essentials

This winter has done terribly dry things to my normally oily skin. I posted a few months ago about some of my favourites, but I've added a few new things to my routine to help battle this winter dryness. 

clockwise from top left

This is everything from day to night, from my hands to my face. Fresh & Caudalie have pretty much taken over my skincare; my skin loves them & just feels better when I use them. I bought a 3 piece kit from First Aid Beauty, and while the cleanser was not for me, the moisturizer & radiance pads are both really great. Some people get weirded out by putting oil on their face, but I swear since I started using coconut oil to remove my makeup that my skin looks better. I've even used it as a moisturizer when nothing else is working!

What are your favourites for keeping your skin happy in the winter? Any hidden gems I need to know about?


Julep in Review: 2014

You've heard me talk about Julep boxes quite a bit on this blog,  but I usually don't go back afterwards to update you on my thoughts after I've used a product for a while. Thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so, especially since I've found so many great products from Julep! (though in full disclosure, there have definitely been a few duds too!)

Eye Sheen ('Pale Nude') - I saw a lot of comments about the formula of this; how people were expecting a more solid cream shadow & thought this liquid one was odd. I love the formula of this though because it 'sets'. So my oily lids aren't a total grease-slick halfway through the day like they would be if I used a regular cream shadow. A total keeper for me.

Ink Gel Eyeliner ('Black') - I liked this a lot. My first experience with gel liner & while it would never replace liquid for me, I did like it. However, I looked at my jar a few weeks ago & saw something similar to this photo here. Don't think I'll be using this again...

Angled Brush - Nice bristles, good weight to the handle, great brush.

Polish ('Love') - I don't think I've worn this since, but it's so pretty! I thought it was a great bonus item for Valentine's day & the gold cap was extra special.

Polishes ('Lilou', 'Monaco', 'Lizanne', 'Margaret', 'Princess Grace') - All the cool blues & greens? Love, will wear a lot. The yellow & orange? Not as much - they're just not my colours. In fact, I wore Lilou to see if I could wear a yellow & several people commented that it was not their favourite colour on me.

Lip Gloss (in 'Awestruck') - I still reach for this almost every day. In fact, I bought a backup in November because I love this gloss so much!

Blush ('Peach Bellini') - Love. Use this almost every day. Packaging is great, colour is gorgeous, love!

Bronzer ('Light Golden Bronze') - Julep's customer service was great & sent me out a new bronzer asap when my original one was smashed in the mail. The colour runs a little warm for me, but I'm super pale so most bronzers do. I do like it & use it quite a bit, just with a light hand haha

Polishes (Jet & Brigitte) Classics! I didn't have a black or white (shocking I know...) so these have both been used multiple times, usually for nail art but also for full manis. Great shades!

Polishes ('Jeanne', 'Paulette', 'Kam', 'Jules') - Gorgeous spring shades! I love how they all work together & I will wear all of these again & again.

Plie Wand - Truth time. I don't use the Plie Wand. I was excited to try it out & see, and it's not a case of dislike or anything, but I already have a routine for painting my nails & I found the Plie Wand a bit awkward. I still want to work with it & I'm planning to pick up the creativity kit because I think it will be GREAT for painting thin lines or dotting, but for my everyday manis? Not something I use. However, I think if you struggle with painting your nails & want something to help steady your hand, this would be perfect.

Gel Eye Glider ('Blackest Black') - A great black eyeliner! Glides on smoothly, stays put. I do prefer self-sharpening or twist up liners, but this one is still really nice.

Polishes ('Neha' & 'Tazeen') - I wore both of these at my best friend's wedding in August :) Tazeen on my hands (our dresses were hunter green so it was perfect) and Neha on my (hidden) toes. Gorgeous colours & I can't wait for summer again to paint my toes! haha I also used Tazeen for this holiday mani.

Mascara ('Go Big') - A nice, black mascara. I wouldn't repurchase, but it creates nice, natural looking volume and doesn't go too 'spidery' or clumpy for me.

Polishes ('Shari', 'Devon', 'Malala') - Shari ended up surprising me & became my new favourite neutral polish. Devon is lovely too with it's microshimmer, but Shari stole this box for me. Malala was a bonus item that came with my favourite 'Awestruck' gloss (it was cheaper to buy the add on than to buy the gloss separately) and I'll admit I haven't worn it yet. Warm pinks don't usually work for me, but I'll have to give it a try soon.

Orbital Eyeshadow ('Supernova') - Beautiful shadow! I like applying this wet to get the full impact of the purple/pink colour shift, but it works dry as well for a more toned down look.

Polishes ('Sienna', 'Ilga', 'Paula', 'Nell') - Loved all the shades! Sienna is a gorgeous gold foil & Ilga is that perfect vampy red that doesn't look black. Paula is just my kind of colour :) And while Nell wasn't a perfect match for Butter London's Tart with a Heart, it's still a gorgeous sparkly polish!

Nail Stickers - I wore them for this mani, and they lasted a few days before I had to apply a bit more topcoat to keep them laying flat. I was able to use one sticker for 2 nails which means they'll last longer, since you don't get a ton of stickers in the pack.

Blank Canvas Lip Primer - I haven't been able to bring myself to use this much, the chemical smell is just a bit off-putting. Maybe that will wear off with time though? I'll give it another few shots before I give up, but I'm glad I didn't pay for this (was a bonus item in my box).

Overall, I was really pleased with almost everything I received in my Julep boxes last year! I use the beauty products a lot, and their polish is consistently good. I already picked up January's box (review coming soon!) and February's box has another bonus this year so it might just need to be picked up too haha

Have you tried Julep? I know you can buy a few polishes in Sephora, but the pricing through the boxes is a way better deal. If you join the Julep Maven program, you get future discounts on products, free shipping & of course, first pick of their new products!

You can get your first box free (& skip boxes whenever you like!) if you sign up through this link (which is an affiliate link, but there's no extra cost for you & we both get free polish - win-win ;). 


Nailed It: White Out

I shared this mani on Instagram over the holidays, but I wanted to share it here for those that aren't following me there & love a good mani :) (ps, follow along so you don't miss next time!)

I do a lot of glitter gradients, I know. But it's because they're so simple & have such an impact! One thing I loved about this particular combo is that it's wearable year round for any celebration. It's such a classic, neutral nail that would pair with anything. I used Julep BrigitteEssie Set in StonesEssie Rock at the TopEssie Beyond Cozy & my usual combo of Gelous & Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Topcoat.

What have you been wearing on your nails lately? I'm craving light & bright to beat the winter gloom :)


Nailed It: Gold Stripe

Holiday nails - round two!! You may have already seen a sneak peek on Instagram :)

After doing green & patterned last week, I knew I wanted something a little more 'sleek' this time round. And with the arrival of my December Julep Box, my colours were easily chosen :)

I love the way Ilga & Sienna look together, and the addition of the gold stripe sticker was perfect! So glad I picked those up from Julep. (They don't seem to have them online at the moment, but I'll post them the minute they do.)

My phone was lying nearby when I was taking these shots, and since it's gold I thought it might make a cute addition to the photos ;)

Are you in the Christmas mood yet? I have to admit, having the Christmas tree beside my desk is certainly helping me feel quite festive! Although my nails aren't hurting either :)

You can find more of my nail & beauty looks here.


December Julep Box - Video!

I have been crushing hard on the last few Julep items I've picked up. The polishes I got in my November box were gorgeous (see them here & here) and this month is no exception. The entire Countdown Collection was stunning, but the polishes & eyeshadow I picked are even more beautiful in person.

Watch the video below to hear my thoughts on everything I picked up, or click here to watch on Youtube.

 I thought this collection was perfectly suited for the holidays! Did you pick it up? Or will you consider Julep now that they've brought the skip back (YAY!)? You can get your first box free with the code 'FREEBOX' :)


Nailed It: Festive Greens

Need a little holiday mani inspo? Well you've come to the right place :)

I wanted to do something fun with multiple polishes & different designs on each nail, but also something that felt very festive & Christmas-y. I'm so pleased with how this turned out!!

I used Julep Kam (mint green), Julep Brigitte (white), Julep Tazeen (green-y gold glitter) & OPI Jade is the New Black. Top & base coats were the same as always: Gelous & Sally Hansen Diamond Flash.

Ignore the bumps on my first finger! I have a tear right where my nail bed ends & I'm trying to keep the nail from ripping off until it grows out a bit more. I used the tea-bag method to hold it on, but I haven't had to do it in a while and my skills were a little rusty haha

I did a downward glitter gradiant, an upward glitter gradient, a full coat of glitter, half & half, stripes & dots! I did repeat most of the styles, but I switched fingers or colours to mix it up :)

In case you need a little more inspiration, I've got a video about my favourite winter-y polishes, and a few other festive mani ideas:
Green & multicolour glitter
Navy with gold & silver glitter
Cream (or white?) with gold 
Half gold & white

Really, anything with gold or silver or glitter is quite festive ;)

Would you ever wear a mani like this? What's on your nails this season?


Skincare Favourites

A couple years ago, my skin was in rough shape. It was dry & flakey, but somehow still oily and nothing I was using was doing anything to help. I had serious acne hyper-pigmentation that was not pretty, and I knew I needed to do something to help my skin.

I had always had good luck with Clinique in the past (and Benefit's Dear John Moisturizer, RIP) so I decided to finally try their Even Better Serum & Moisture Surge Cream. I loved both, and even blogged about them a couple years ago. I've tried several creams from Clinique since, but the Moisture Surge is still a favourite (in both the regular & intense) for evening.

A couple months ago, I tried out the Fresh Rose Hydrating Gel Cream, off a recommendation from a Sephora associate. I have never liked anything with 'gel' in the name before, as I've never found them moisturizing enough, and I was worried the scent might bother my skin. I'm pretty sure I convinced myself I was going to return it before even trying it at home haha

But, I loved it! The scent is one of my favourite aspects, and it's so hydrating and calming and makes my skin so happy :)

Back in September, I went to a Rouge event at the Sephora on Bloor St (thanks for the invite Brenna!) for Caudalie. We learned all about the brand & their philosophy and I was really impressed. One product kept catching my attention, the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, so I decided to try it.

I'm always a bit skeptical of products that promise a lot, but I definitely notice a big difference in my skin since I started using it. Caudalie products all have this earthy, natural scent that I love, and I've loved trying all out the favourite products from this kit. The lip balm sits on my desk, and the Beauty Elixir smells divine.

I'm happy to report that my skin is very happy now :) I truly believe in taking care of my skin and I try to use products that help it to be the best it can be. It still has the occasional flare up, but that's usually from not washing my face or something, and this combo helps calm it right down.

I would love to know what you use! Any tried & true favourites on your vanity?