Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion

I've been really getting into skincare over the past year. Back in my teens I was really focused on battling acne, but now that my skin isn't as volatile, I can play around with different products. My latest skincare obsession has been Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion* ($90 CAD/2 oz). I'm all about at-home treatments that save both money and time. I've never had a professional microdermabrasion, and I was really excited to give this at-home version a try.

"Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion is a revolutionary formula designed to mimic the transformative brightening, smoothing effects of the popular in-office microdermabrasion treatment at home.
  • Enables better absorption of skincare products
  • An at home alternative to professional, clinical treatments
  • Helps diminish the appearance of fine lines, acne marks, and skin discolourations" - London Drugs

Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion is packaged in a black plastic tube with a clear/silver twist off cap. You can easily squeeze out the product, and the plastic is thin enough to cut when you're down to the end of the bottle. The product itself is a white cream that is thick and has an amazing scent! This scent reminds me of Lush's Ocean Salt, and I find it to be very invigorating. I've been reaching for this in the morning after cleansing, and I use it about twice a week. I'll take a pea size amount, and gently massage it into damp skin for two minutes. I'll then rinse away all of the product, and tone and moisturize my face.  

My skin feels incredibly smooth, soft, and refined after using this product! The aluminum oxide crystals work wonders to polish & remove dead skin cells, without feeling rough or abrasive. Lactic Acid works to gently sweep away dead skin cells and soften texture. This formula also includes jojoba, aloe vera, and chamomile, which help to soothe and refresh your skin. The creamy formula really helps to hydrate my skin while the aluminum oxide crystals exfoliate. I do think that this product works a lot better than a traditional exfoliator, and with continued use I hope that I can see my acne stars starting to disappear. 

While this is a pricey item, I definitely do think that it lives up to its' claims. It's definitely more affordable than professional treatments. If you have very sensitive skin, then you might want to pass on this. Otherwise, I think that you'll love it! Have you tried this product, or any other at-home Microdermabrasion products before?

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Katy Perry Killer Queen Oh So Sheer EDT

Back in November I reviewed Katy Perry's Killer Queen EDP, and now I'm back with her new scent, Killer Queen Oh So Sheer EDT* ($39 CAD/30 ml). This scent comes packaged in a similar bottle, but the notes are different, and this scent is definitely more Spring-appropriate!

"A new facet of Killer Queen is born, Oh So Sheer. Capturing the essence of the daring signature scent, this new incarnation awakens with fresher femininity, inspired by a modern and ethereal ultra-feminine bouquet. This enchanting essence opens with opulent accents of Purple Plum infused by a delightful blend of Mulberry, Blackberry and Elderberries for a bold and modern inflection. Notes also include the signature bouquet of graceful Rainbow Plumeria, precious Red Velvet Flower and creamy Liquid Praline."

Katy Perry's Killer Queen Oh So Sheer EDT is packaged in a stunning clear glass bottle in the shape of  a Queen’s scepter, and a golden crown cap. The perfume is a light purple colour, which actually works well with the Color of the Year - Radiant Orchid. My only issue with the packaging is that you can't stand it up, it needs to be laid on its' side, which takes up a bit more room. 

The original Killer Queen perfume was heavier, and definitely more of a night-out, Winter scent. Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is a more day-time appropriate version. While there's a definite resemblance between the two version, I think that they're different enough to justify owning both. This scent is sweet and floral, and it works nicely with my body chemistry. On my skin, I find that this scent is fairly soft & subtle. The wear time of this scent isn't the best - I find that I have to reapply after 4-5 hours. 

I think that this is an affordable option, and anyone that enjoyed the original Killer Queen scent should definitely check this out. I think that this perfume would actually make a great first scent for a teenager, and the packaging will definitely be well-received! Have you tried any of Katy Perry's fragrances? What's your current go-to scent?

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Almay Intense i-color Volumizing Mascara in Mocha

I've been trying out one of Almay's mascaras for the past month, and I think that it's about time I shared my thoughts on it with you! Almay's Intense i-color Volumizing Mascara is available in a few different colours, and I've been wearing Mocha*. I normally stick to black mascara, but I was excited to switch things up and give this dark brown a try.

"Take your unique eye color to new limits with double the volume, double the impact. expertly coordinated shades with eye-brightening crystals create multi-dimensional amplification. the lash enhancing brush with volume-boosting grooves finds and flaunts every lash for big bold volume that won’t smudge or flake." -Almay 

Almay's Intense i-color Volumizing Mascara comes in a large grey tube. The wand is fairly large with short bristles. Almay pairs each of their mascara shades with an eye colour, and Mocha is paired with green eyes. However, I really think that anyone can wear brown mascara, and I think that it works well with my blue/grey eyes. This mascara goes on easily, and I'm happy with the volume that I get from a single coat. I'll rarely wear more than one coat of mascara, so I need one that gives a lot of volume with that first coat. This formula also adds some length, and it holds my natural curl throughout the day. This mascara isn't waterproof, and it comes off easily with eye makeup remover at the end of the night. I don't have any issues with this mascara smudging or flaking throughout the day, but I haven't been able to test it out in the Summer heat! 

I've been really happy with Almay's Intense i-color Volumizing Mascara in Mocha, it's a nice change from your standard black mascara! This mascara also comes in Sapphire, Plum, and Midnight, which all sound intriguing to me. Have you tried a brown mascara before, or do you tend to stick to black?

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Project Pan Update #1

I'm back with my first project pan update! Back in January I share some products that I wanted to use up in 2014, which you can read about here. Well, it's about time that I update you on my progress, and I though that I should add some new products into my project pan! I actually haven't purchased a single beauty item in 2014, besides boxes of hair dye. I'm pretty proud of myself!

Products that I've used up:

Boxx Cosmetics Bronzer in Kala
Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

What I have left: 

MAC Lustreglass in Star Nova - I haven't used much of this yet, I need to start reaching for it more!
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer - Another one that I haven't used much of!
Sephora + Pantone Light Storm Liquid Shadow in Smoky Grape - I know that this one will take some time, and it's not a shade that I wear everyday.
Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil in Blonde - I wear this almost everyday, and it's almost completely gone.
OPI Charged Up Cherry - I've been using this as my pedicure shade, and I'm slowly working my way through it!
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser in Brightening - Love this as an undereye concealer!
Maybelline Fit Me Bronzer in Medium Bronze - I finished off my Boxx bronzer last month, so now I've been reaching for this one a lot more!

What I'm Adding:

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Primer* - I only have about a third of this left, and I do quite like it. 

Benefit Girl Meets Pearl sample (reviewed here) - Since I used up Benefit's High Beam, I'm adding another liquid highlighter into my rotation. I really like adding this into my liquid foundation, it gives some life to a matte formula!

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation (reviewed here) - This has been my go-to foundation since I used up Estee Lauder's Double Wear. This formula from Benefit is lightweight and I think that it will work perfectly in the warmer months!

Stila Lipglaze in Dazzle Berry (reviewed here) - This is just a mini size, and it shouldn't take me too long to finish it up. I really like this formula from Stila, and this shimmery berry shade is really pretty!

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque (reviewed here) - This product is amazing, and I really don't want to use it up! But, I've hit major pan on this, and I shouldn't just hoard it, I should enjoy it!

The Body Shop Born Lippy Strawberry Lip Balm - I absolutely love these lip balm tubs from TBS, and I need to start working my way through my stash. I go through lip balm at an alarming rate, so it shouldn't be too hard for me to finish this off. 

Vichy Dermablend Ultra-Corrective Stick* (reviewed here) - I've been using this all over my face before using a more sheer coverage BB cream or foundation. This helps to give my skin a flawless finish, I absolutely love it! I don't have too much of it left, and it shouldn't take too long to use up.

Agadir Argan Oil Hair Treatment* (reviewed here) - I've been using this 3-4 times a week since October, and it's only now getting low! I absolutely love this stuff, but I do have other hair oils in my collection that I'll turn to afterwards.

Benefit Full Finish Lipstick in Pinking of You - I've had this for a while, and it's such a beautiful colour that I should be wearing it a lot more often! I really like this formula from Benefit, but since it isn't sold at Sephora a lot of people don't know about it. I bought mine at Shoppers, and I recommend that you check them out! 

L'Occitane Almond Delicious Hand Cream* (reviewed here) - I absolutely love this scent & formula, but I like to try to stick to using one hand cream at a time (or else I'd never finish off any of them). So, this is my current go-to.

So there you have it, all of the products that I'm currently making my way through! Once I finish off a few more products I'll be back with another update. I'm going to China at the end of the month, and I will allow myself to purchase beauty products while I'm on holiday. Have you been doing a project pan this year, or have you done one in the past? What products are you currently trying to use up?

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MAC High Strung

I'm not a huge MAC addict, but I do have a few MAC lipsticks in my collection that I love. I've recently rediscovered MAC's High Strung ($19 CAD/3g), and I thought that I'd share my thoughts on it with you today! This shade is so shimmery and pretty, and it's a great alternative to a bright lippie for Spring.

MAC's High Strung is a Frost formula, which I actually quite like. This pinky mauve has silver shimmer in the formula, and a frost finish.This lipstick adds a light wash of colour to my lips, and it isn't too bold or bright. MAC's formula is creamy and hydrating, and I find this very comfortable to wear. I also love that this is a shade that I can wear without a mirror, making on the go application a breeze! The hydration from High Strung stick around for about 3 hours, and the colour starts to fade at the 4 hour mark. While this colour does have a frosty finish, I don't find that it looks glossy.

I'm really enjoying this lipsticks - it's pretty, natural, and easy to wear. MAC's High Strung is a part of their permanent collection - have you checked it out yet? Also, did MAC recently raise the price of their lipsticks?! I feel like $19 is getting a bit steep... 

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Guest Post: Foundation Brush vs. Sponge

Hi fans of Beyond Blush! I'm Julie from Swatch and Review, and I'm so excited to be here today on Laura's blog as this month's Canadian Beauty Bloggers guest!

The theme this time around is tools, and since my daily routine always starts with the perfect foundation I decided to share with you the two foundation tools I use the most.

When I want sheer to light coverage, I'll use my BeautyBlender. To use, I just dampen and put a small amount of foundation on it. Then I dab, dab and blend all over my face. It's perfect to sheer out thicker foundations like BB creams too. 

This is my Hair and Makeup Addiction synthetic foundation brush. It has stiff duo fibres and helps spread my foundation on smooth, evenly in a fairly thick layer. I use this if I want medium to heavy coverage as it "paints" the foundation on.

Now you may be wondering what the difference is, so let me show you. Above is my arm before any foundation (use the big ole' mole to navigate).

Using MAC Studio Sculpt, I put a small dollop directly on the sponge and bounced it on my skin. As you can see it sheers the foundation out for if you want a natural look. This is also really good if you have dry skin since it doesn't involve any friction.

I used the same amount of MAC Studio Sculpt as I did before and applied it with the brush only. Mole completely covered.

With the warmer weather coming, I will probably put my foundation brush into hibernation for awhile as my skin isn't as irritated and doesn't need as much coverage in the summer.

What tools do you use for your foundation? Do you have any tricks or tips? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Thank you so much Julie for the informative post! If you liked this post, go show Julie some love on her blog, Swatch and Review! :)

Monday, 14 April 2014

I'm Going To China!?

You might know that I'm graduating university in 10 days, and to celebrate my boyfriend and I have decided to take a trip. We've been together for almost 6 years, and we took our first big trip together a year ago to New York City. This time around, we wanted to do something a bit different, and we debated a bunch of different destinations. At the top of our list were Greece, Spain, London, Paris, and China. Well, my boyfriend has always talked about his dream to visit China, so I agreed to be adventurous! I've really only been on resort-style vacations to the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Key West, Florida. So a trip to China is huge!

We first had to decide what city we wanted to stay in, and Beijing seemed to fit both of our interests. I've always wanted to see the Great Wall, along with other famous sites such as Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace. We found an amazing hotel right near Forbidden City, it even has an indoor heated pool! Right now, we're trying to figure out what we want to do while we're there, and what's the best way to make these plans. Should we use a tour company or go it on our own? We leave April 28th, which is approaching super quickly! I should also mention that in order to visit China, you need travel visas. You first need to purchase your trip, and then apply for a travel visa, which is pretty scary. I was really nervous that for whatever reason one of our visas would get denied. We spent hours making sure that our applications were perfect, and we headed downtown Ottawa to drop them off. The lady working that day was incredibly nice, and said that ours were the first applications that she didn't have to make any corrections to (and we were also the youngest applicants!). So that put us at ease, and 4 days later we got a call to let us know that our visas were ready to be picked up! You have 90 days from the time your visa gets approved until the day you enter China, so don't get your travel visas too early.

So now we're trying to get everything in order before we fly out. We fly from Ottawa to Detroit, and then from Detroit to Beijing. Total travel time: almost 19 hours! I don't know how I'll survive the plane ride, so if you have any travel tips please let me know!

I've heard that certain social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, so I won't be around much on the interwebs. I am trying to pre-write some posts so my blog isn't abandoned! If you've ever travelled to Beijing, I would love to hear any tips that you had. Also, what Asian cosmetics do I need to check out while I'm there? I checked Google Maps and there's a Sasa near my hotel! :)

Do you have any upcoming trips planned or in the works? Where's your dream destination?

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