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Monday, October 27, 2014

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush


Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush ($95 CAD/$89.50 USD) is an innovative sonic facial cleansing brush that works in partnership with your current cleansing system to create your greatest skin ever. 

The Sonic System creates your greatest skin ever by working with your cleanser to remove dirt, oil, environmental debris and makeup while remaining gentle enough for daily use by all skin types. It provides significantly more effective cleansing than hand washing alone using sonic technology's high-speed vibrations. These vibrations allow dirt, oil and debris that has settled deep in to the pore to rise to the surface and be cleared away by your facial cleanser. 

Clinique Sonic System is designed to work in tandem with the existing 3 Step Program from Clinique however it can also be used with other brands of cleansers just as effectively. The Sonic System is clinically proven to help your skin care products work more effectively and absorb easier in to your skin, providing more effective cleansing, exfoliation and moisturizing. It is also clinically proven to unclog pores, provide a significant increase in radiance, smoothness, and improve skin texture.

Designed and developed by Swiss engineers and dermatologists, the Sonic System comes with a unique oval-shaped head who's two different bristle types, both stiff and soft, angle towards the tip. This allows for more effective cleansing by customizing your bristle types to the area of your skin it would be most effective on. The brush is also completely waterproof, which means you can use it right in the shower or bath as part of your cleansing routine. 

The bristles have a unique anti-microbial coating, similar to the coating used on Clinique's makeup brushes, to help prevent the growth and development of bacteria. Each bristle is also rounded at the tip to make it soft and gentle on the skin during cleansing. 

The brush has an average of about 3 hours of use from each full charge, which equates to about 180 minutes, total. The brush will run for 30 seconds at a time before turning itself off, with recommended use being 30 - 60 seconds depending on skin type and personal preference. This means you can get roughly three months use out of the brush before needing to charge again.

The brush head is recommended to be replaced every three months as the bristles will break down over time. Brush head replacements are available for $29 CAD ($26 USD), similarly priced to other brush head replacements on the market. 

Using this brush I've found my skin to be cleaner, smoother and clearer than manual washing alone. I also found the same results in a cleanse as the Clarisonic Mia2, with less irritation to my skin overall. I loved the results of my Clarisonic brush but found sometimes the oscillating bristles could almost tug at my skin, especially if I had a beard at the time. 

The Sonic System doesn't rotate, it only vibrates, which is much gentler on my skin and provides that same deep cleanse I was enjoying from the Clarisonis Mia2. I've found it's makeup removing skills to be a bit sub-par if you're wearing anything beyond a bit of powder or a tinted moisturizer. I let my clarifying lotion and cotton pad be my guide. If I'm still seeing makeup on my cotton pad after I clarify I know that I need to use a makeup remover before I cleanse. Also this is NOT recommended for the eye area, you must use a separate eye makeup remove before hand. 

This is a fantastic product, especially given its price point. It provides you with safe, effective cleansing and a deeper cleanse than manual washing alone can give. I highly recommend visiting a Clinique counter to try it out for yourself. Some counters even offer a 'Sonic Facial' which is a trial of the brush in a facialing cabine or directly at the counter. 

Overall I recommend the Sonic System given the results I've seen. It is effective for all skin types and gentle enough to use twice a day. Let me know what sort of cleansing system you use in the comments below! Do you manually cleanse? Do you use a brush of any sort? What's your favourite cleansing system/routine? 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Makeup by One Direction Official Launch - GIVEAWAY

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Makeup by One Direction presents The Looks Collection, three collectable tins featuring product inspired by their best-selling albums "Up all Night", "Take me Home" and their most recent chart-topper "Midnight Memories."

Each tin contains everything you need to create your perfect look. Whether you're a hardcore rocker, like to party or just the girl next door, these kits contain all the product you need to bring out your inner beauty!

The product is available now at locations across the US, having launched at Macy's on August 11th and several other stores including Lord and Taylor, Dillards, Stage Stores and Beauty Brands on August 25th. International launch dates are to be determined but you could get your hands on this makeup right away!

Check the jump below for more information including a giveaway for a set signed by One Direction themselves!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum



Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum ($69 CAD/$59.50 USD 30ml/$99 CAD/$89 USD 50ml) is a brand new serum from Clinique. It's currently available at Clinique.com, at Clinique Counters, Sephora stores and almost anywhere Clinique is sold.

Smart Custom-Repair Serum is a unique All-in-One serum. Rather than simply mixing ingredients from multiple serums together, it's been designed with over twenty years of research and development, five years of clinical trials and thirty-seven global patents with a smart molecule. This smart molecule means that this serum seeks out damage on the skin by recognizing the unique signals damage sends out. With the serum being able to find out what the problem is, it's more effective at treating it.

This serum is custom fit for your skin, so it treats your concerns. Clinique Smart treats the damage you see and the damage you don't see as well. Having treatment for Fine Lines and Wrinkles, Lifting and Firming, Dark Spots and Pigmentation, and Dullness and Uneven Texture, this serum is a powerhouse in anti-aging. Beginning this serum at a young age will help to treat and delay the damage that has occurred during your life.

As for how the serum itself works...


  • Diminishes Fine Lines and Wrinkles - A blend of peptides repair wrinkles while glucosamine and salicylic acid help refine the look of fine lines. Also helps to prevent the formation of new lines with Sodium RNA and patented enzymes that correct UV Damage as it occurs. 
  • Firming and Lifting - Natural collagen boosting ingredients such as Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract and Whey Protein rebuild skin’s natural support structure to help visible revolumize thin, sagging skin and restore elasticity. 
  • Reducing Dark Spots and Evening Skin Tone - Brightening botanicals Dianella Ensifolia and Scutellaria Baicelensis Root Extract along with antioxidants Vitamin C and Ergothioneine help visible reduce the appearance of existing dark spots and discolouration. Salicylic Acid and Glucosamine exfoliate skin to help break up dark spots and speed the departure of ‘melanin dust’
  • Improving Radiance and Texture - Glucosamine and Salicylic Acid encourage cell renewal for smoother, more luminous skin. 
  • Soothes Skin and Leaves Skin Plump and Supple - Calms skin, making it more receptive to repair with a cocktail of soothing ingredients including Red Algae Extract and leaves skin feeling supple and plump with Hyaluronic Acid, Barley Extract, Wheat Germ Extract and Cucumber Extract. 
Overall I've enjoyed using this serum as it has reduced the number of serums I need to use for my skin. I'm able to use this as a main serum and relegate my usual serums to a 'specialty' status, using them on a case by case timeline. The serum leaves my skin feeling silky smooth and the plumping effect is immediate.

I definitely recommend checking out this serum if you have concerns with two or more of the issues it corrects. It has a beautiful texture, multi-tasks intelligently, and will keep your skin looking, feeling and acting young for years to come. 

I've also included a YouTube video I've made reviewing this serum below. 


Friday, May 23, 2014

Stash Shop - Kanga Rouge


Stash Shop is a series dedicated to digging through my collection and finding items I love from collections and years gone by or even old staples I feel need a spot in the limelight every now and again. 

The very first item featured in Stash Shop is none other than Kanga Rouge from MAC's Dame Edna collection. Released in 2008, this Amplified finish lipstick is a true blue red with a beautifully glossy finish. The wear time on this lipstick runs about four hours over all with little to no feathering on my lips.

One of the things I love most about this particular lipstick is the packaging. Now, I know, the packaging doesn't affect the wear time or colour but just look at it! I'm a sucker for anything purple and this collection had enough purple to make me need a new pair of jeans. The glasses are a sticker that's been placed on the tube, which I found disappointing, but it's managed to stay on for quite some time now!

As far as the sanitary quality of the lipstick, the texture has held up, no 'off smell' has come up and it wears like the day I purchased it still. I generally, for my personal collection, base my toss-outs on the feel and smell of a product. If I get sick, I've only got myself to blame!

I've included some more pictures below so be sure to check those out if you want to see how my perfect red looks.

Leave me a comment below to let me know what your favourite red is! Have you found yours or are you still on the hunt? Was your perfect red released Limited Edition, much like mine here? Or are you lucky enough to have scored one that's available year-round?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back to Beauty



Hello fellow beauty addicts! It's been a long time since I've posted on this blog and I apologize for that. I've had a very busy period in my life, including moving to a new city, starting a new job and much more.

I've decided, however, that even with my busy lifestyle I'd like to get back in to beauty blogging. So I'm going to be using this blog much more often now. My goal is to have two posts a week and I'm currently thinking about themes or series I could use for these posts.

If you have any suggestions for me as to what you'd like to see on this blog please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear your suggestions and take some inspiration from you all. :)

Very best,
Em

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Femme Couture 2013 Expansion


It seems that Femme Couture is creating a trend the past couple years of expanding their product line in January. Last year came the introduction of Monster Gloss, Creme Eyeshadow Trios, Glitter pencil liners, Glitter liquid liners and Smokin' Eyes Jumbo Eyeshadow pencils.

This year, there's a whole new line of Eyeshadows, Eyeshadow Duos, Bronzer/Blush duos, a liquid foundation, a maximum coverage concealer and finishing powders for the face.

These products are available now on sallybeauty.com and will be available in the month of January at your local Sally Beauty Supply store. The prices range from about 5 - 12 dollars depending on your location (US vs. Canada) and your Beauty Club Card subscription status.

This will be more of an overview of the products before actual reviews are written. I only got my hands on these products today and I've been itching to share them with you!

Velvet Eye Colour is the name of the eyeshadow line. There are 12 shades to choose from, including neutrals and a couple of more vibrant shades. Mostly all of these shades (I haven't swatched all) appear to be pearly and shimmery if not all glittery. From the colours I have swatched already, they're smooth and buttery in texture and they swatch incredibly well. I haven't had a chance to test for wear yet.

Velvet Eye Colour Duos are duo versions of the individuals above. Same formula but I'm not sure of the colours yet as my local store hasn't received any of them in stock yet. I think the colours are different from the individuals.

Velvet Bronzer/Blush Duo has three shades available and, from the little bit I was able to play with testers, does have the same texture as the eyeshadows but I haven't applied to a face yet.

Flawless 8-in-1 Foundation seems to me to be like an amped up BB Cream. Most BB Creams promise 6 - 8 things in their marketing. This foundation promises to act as a moisturizer, primer, foundation, concealer, powder, colour corrector, smooth out lines and is 97% oil free. I'm still not sure how 97% oil free counts as an item to be included in an 8-in-1 promise, but... that's marketing for you. I don't believe this foundation will do ALL of those things but I'm going to be testing it to see if it will. The texture of it when I played with it was very silky AND this foundation comes with a pump!

Get Covered Maximum Coverage Concealer is Femme Couture's first full coverage concealer. They did have an Under Eye concealer available previously but it was more of a medium coverage. It comes in a small pot with a screw top lid. I'm not big on Jar packaging because it does expose the product to more air but c'est la vie. It seems extremely thick in texture but I haven't played with it yet.

Get Matte/a Glow Finishing Powders are two new finishing powders from this brand. They do have loose mineral powders you can use as setting powders as well as pressed mineral foundations that work for it but this is their first foray in to proper finishing powders. They are translucent powders so they do appear a bit white. I'm looking forward to playing with these.

Overall, Femme Couture has 30 new skus to add to their product line though they boast 30 new items with the selection of colours from their new products. Again, more marketing techniques. However I am excited about this expansion and I do look forward to trying these products out and giving you my opinions on them! If you can't wait for my word, head on over to sallybeauty.com or to your local Sally Beauty to check them out!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let's Talk About... Permanent Haircolour




Permanent haircolour. It's something almost all of us use but how much do we really know about it? This blog post, as well as several others after it, will detail different types of haircolour and how to use it. 

Most of us use a colour that's pre-packaged from Wal-Mart or the Drugstore. While there's nothing inherently wrong with these boxed colours, there can be some issues present with them. The main issue with a box colour is that you're never quite sure what level of developer you're getting with them. 

Going back to my previous post that laid out an overview of haircolour terms (which you can read here), developer is the activator for your hair colour. There are several Volumes of developer from Demi up to 40 or 50 volume. 

The volume of developer dictates the level of hydrogen peroxide in the formula. The higher the volume, the more levels of lift the hair colour can achieve. 

Permanent colour is the only type of hair colour that can achieve lift. Other hair colours are known as no-lift colours because they lack ammonia. Ammonia and peroxide cause the reaction necessary to dissolve natural hair colours pigment. 

Demi developer contains a low percentage of hydrogen peroxide and is only used for demi-permanent haircolour. This will only allow for depositing colour. No lift can be achieved with demi developer. 

10 Volume developer contains a slightly higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide than a demi developer. It contains enough to achieve perhaps one level of lift on fine, porous hair but usually it is a deposit-only developer.

20 Volume developer is considered a 'standard' developer. It achieves 1 - 2 levels of lift and is most often used in boxed colours of a darker shade. This volume is appropriate for moving natural hair colour up one or two shades or for deposit-only colour on resistant hair. 

30 Volume developer provides between 3 - 4 levels of lift and is the standard developer for lighteners. 

40 Volume developer provides 4 - 5 levels of lift and should really only be used for extreme lift. I recommend only using this if you are a professional or if you've been doing your own hair with professional products. 

50 Volume developer is a professional only product used in extreme cases. This should never be used by non-professionals and, more often than not, required a professional license to purchase. 

Choosing which volume you're going to use depends entirely on the level of the colour you're applying and whether your hair is natural or colour-treated. If your hair is colour treated and you are going darker a 10 or a 20 will be acceptable. If you wish to go lighter you will need to pre-lighten using a lightener (or as it is sometimes known, a bleach.) 

Finding the level is easy with professional colours. Rather than using descriptive names like Tahitian Sunset or Radiant Sunflower, the colours are classified by level and tone. That will provide your base for finding your own natural colour as well as the level of the colour you wish to achieve. 

For example, moving from a 3G to a 5G would require only a 20 volume developer. If you wished to move from a 5A to a 8A, you would need a 30 volume developer. 

The downside to boxed dyes found in drugstores and big box stores is you can customize your developer. Let's say that you have light, ashy blonde hair and you want to go just a little lighter. So you pick up a light blonde box dye and apply it, leaving it on for the appropriate amount of time by the instructions. 

As your hair is already light, you wouldn't need a very high volume developer. However if the brand included a lower volume of developer, someone with darker hair can not use it to achieve the lighter blonde colour promised. 

So every time you apply that colour, whether it's to refresh it, do your roots, initial application, etc, it's using a higher volume developer than your hair needs and causing more damage than is necessary to your hair. 

Using a professional permanent colour allows you to use an appropriate developer and not damage your hair more than you need to. 

Permanent colours come in three formulations with two being more popular. Liquids, Cremes and Gels (sometimes referred to as Liqui-cremes.) 

Liquid colours are thin, runny colours and are best applied from a bottle applicator. These colours are often used by professionals. 

Creme colours are thicker, richer textured colours that are best applied from a bowl and brush. This colour is usually my recommendation for first-time users or at-home applications. 

Gels (or Liqui-cremes) are in between Liquids and Cremes. These are diverse colour formulations and can be used from a bottle or a bowl and a brush.

Most colours use a 1:1 ratio for mixing colour and developer. However this varies from brand to brand and 1:2 ratios can be common as well. Be sure to read the instructions on any colour before you begin your colouring. 

Also be sure to do a patch test for allergies. I have had a friend go in to anaphylactic shock because she didn't do a patch test. Be sure to do a strand test as well. Mix a small portion of the colour and developer so that you can apply to one small section of the hair to check the colour result. 

There are many other accessories that go along with hair colour and I will cover those in a separate post on just accessories. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I'll be happy to answer them! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Let's Talk About... Hair Colour


I know this is a little different for my blog but I'd like to take this time to talk to you about this little thing known as hair colour. Now when I say hair colour I mean the chemicals you mix together and throw in your hair to change its natural colour.

Now I know my focus has been mainly around makeup but I've spent the last seven months or so of my life learning about more than just makeup. I would like to share that knowledge with you guys. My main love will always be makeup but who says that's all we have to talk about?

Anyway, on to the topic at hand. What is hair colour? It's a process that changes your hair's natural level and tone to an alternate level and tone. This can be darker or lighter and can be achieved a number of different ways.

This series aims to educate on hair colouring and how it works to allow you to use professional grade products or simply get a better result out of drug store brands that you may use on your hair. It's also a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have on hair colour!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Femme Couture Monster Gloss


Monster Gloss ($9.99 or $8.99 with BCC CAD/ $8.99 or $7.99 with BCC USD for 0.37oz) is a new lipgloss from Femme Couture which is available at Sally Beauty Supply starting in January 2012. This product is part of a launch of several new products from Femme Couture and will be the first featured on this blog.

Monster Gloss is a 'Monster sized' lip gloss from Femme Couture. The tube is larger than most glosses and the applicator is huge. They remind me a lot of the Wonder Woman Lipglasses that came out last year from M.A.C.

These glosses are quite slick with little to no stickiness. The pigmentation varies from shade to shade, some having some colour, others being more of a sparkly/shimmery coat. They have a pleasant sweet, almost chocolatey scent.

The applicator is large but not too big to use on my lips. Those with smaller lips may find it a bit cumbersome but you can get little lip gloss applicators from Sally Beauty Supply for quite cheap, use a lipbrush as an alternative or even apply with your fingers.

The glosses are a great value. They're absolutely HUGE for the price you pay. You get 0.37oz of product for around 8 or 9 bucks. For comparison, a M.A.C. lipglass is 0.17oz for about 16 or 17 bucks. Much more affordable and much more product. Other brands like NARS and Urban Decay offer lip glosses around the same size but for much higher prices.

There are nine colours included total in the collection and they are...


  • Sahara Rose - A deep red with a turquoise duochrome. 
  • Angel Kisses - A clear base with multicoloured glitter and flecks of holographic glitter.
  • Vixen - A true red with violet shimmer.
  • Divine - A deep plum with light pink and purple glitter. 
  • Bare Hug - A soft, muted gold with golden shimmer. 
  • Pink Flash - A clear base with bright pink, purple, violet and blue glitter. 
  • Fuschia Flirt - A sheer purple base with warm-violet glitter. 
  • Date Night - A sheer pink base with hot pink glitter. 
  • Sweet Harmony - A soft warm-nude with multi-coloured glitter. 
Absolute must-haves, in my opinion, are Sahara Rose and Angel Kisses. These two are amazing colours that haven't really been seen in lipglosses from what I've seen before. 

Jump after the break for pictures, swatches and overall ratings! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No Longer a Luxe Box Customer [UPDATED]


A few months ago, I heard of a new service for beauty addicts everywhere called Birchbox. The service would provide you with 3 - 5 deluxe beauty samples a month for a small fee. However the service was only available in the United States, not Canada.

Along came Luxe Box. A company called Loose Button started up an almost identical service in Canada and called the service a Luxe Box rather than a Birchbox. I signed up for one of the boxes, curious to see what it would be like. I received my first box in May and was quite pleased with the selection offered in the box.

After the first month, I chose to sign up for the three month option. Now, I received each box on time, with the promised amount of samples in each one and was only disappointed with one or two samples over the whole process.

In July's Luxe Box I received a sample of Stella McCartney's perfume Stella in Two Peony. The sample was a small sprayer type. I went back and forth on how I thought the scent worked and, quite recently, decided that I really enjoyed the scent and would like to purchase the full sized bottle.

The write up that Loose Button included with the product described the scent and told me the price of te full size bottle. It also left out the fact that this particular scent was discontinued in 2006. That's right. Five Years ago.

Why, I hear you ask, would a company include a scent sample that is no longer available? My guess, as none of my attempts to reach the company about it have been replied to, is that they found a wholesaler who still had boxes of the samples and were able to purchase them for a low, low price.

I think that for a company who promises to keep you up to date on the latest fashions and trends in the Beauty Industry is tripping over it's own mission statement by providing samples of a fragrance that was discontinued five years previous.

The second thing that has put me off of the company and the service is the sheer lack of communication that has gone on with the company and myself. I started off being able to tweet back and forth with who I assume is [REDACTED], the Community Manager for Loose Button. However, after asking if there was any sort of possibility of working with the company to set up a giveaway for my YouTube subscribers and possibly my blog followers as well, I was told to email [REDACTED].

I sent off an email, describing what I was thinking for a giveaway. I would choose someone randomly from comments and offer them the box. I made it explicitly clear that I would pay for the box that would be given away and I was just unsure whether I could provide the address to Loose Button or whether I would just have to order more than one box that month and ship them out separately myself (which I was prepared to do, despite it costing me more money).

I received no email in return. I sent several more emails after that, inquiring what the best route for this to go would be. Despite the company seeming eager to collaborate with me on this on Twitter, I received no response from them after I contacted them.

The company also upped their price when they went public from an invite-only status. They went from $10 a box to $12 a box. Initially I didn't feel too concerned about the price jump, but after I found out about the perfume sample being five years old, I have to wonder what is causing a twenty percent pay increase for the contents in the box.

These sorts of things are prime examples of bad customer service and really puts me off of a company. So, in short, I won't be ordering another Luxe Box any time soon.

[UPDATE]: After posting this, I received an email from the former community manager for Luxe Box confirming that there was a misfire in emails that caused the disruption with the giveaway. At their request, their name has been removed from the post.

I was a little saddened to learn that the manager had moved on as I had always enjoyed interacting with them. But at the same time it does make me feel better to know that they were not the cause of any of these issues.