Smashbox Photo Finish Primers

The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer was one of my first big girl make up purchases. In 2013/2014, I was just getting into the make up scene on YouTube (as a viewer, of course). I wasn’t quite blogging yet but so many popular YouTubers had been recommending this and the Benefit Pore-fessional. I had received a sample of the Pore-fessional through ipsy and was not into it at all, but it did make me want to find a primer that worked. In the end, I was ready to give the Smashbox Primers a shot, despite the steep $44 price.

Guess what? I loved it. I was relatively unfamiliar with primers at that time and with few drugstore options, I was excited to find one that worked for me so quickly but the price was painful. It was only after that I discovered the amazing deal that was the $20 travel-sized ones and after my success with the original, I decided to pick up two more: the Pore Minimizing and Colour Correcting formulas.  After two years or so, here I am with what has been my favourite primer. What’s there not to love? With all three of these formulas, I find that my make up lasts through the day, my pores are minimal even with simply the original formula, just about every foundation and powder work well with it and it is comfortable. The Smashbox Photo Finish Primers all give you that soft, silicone look and feel which I like. The one complaint I have heard from many oily-skinned bloggers and friends is that is does give your face some shine before the end of the day. That is absolutely true in my case too, but I don’t mind the look. Once it gets out of control, I simply use a blotting paper or a tissue and it is as good as new.
 The differences between all three are minimal. As you can tell here, the consistency of the Pore Minimizing Primer is not the same silicone as they other two are (in fact, it is a fluffy texture). In my experience, it makes my face much slicker, but also shiner through the day. Of the three, it is my least favourite. For me, the Colour Correcting formula is where it’s at. I have some redness especially around my nose and chin that this ever-so-slightly helps with, but it has the same slippery texture as the original.

This post is in celebration of Smashbox changing their status to what I consider to be a cruelty-free company!

Til next time, ttfn x

Five Fall Favourites 2016

We’re starting slow.
I’m here with some of my fall favourites after a long winded absence. I hope you didn’t miss me too much. While I’ve been gone, I got married, we bought a car, and I took the chance to organize my life a little bit. It was a stressful few months but happy none-the-less. Though I did slow down on buying and even wearing make up, skin care and nail polish, I was able to find some fantastic favourites for autumn.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette


Available at Sephora for $55 CDN.
This 14 shade palette of quality eyeshadows contains a beautiful array of warm shades with a few romantic shades sprinkled in. I have been obsessed with ABH eye shadows for some time now for their pigment, wear time and blend-ability. In fact, I wore them on my wedding day. If you haven’t already given them a try, I would recommend picking up a single or four (a single is only $16 CDN at Sephora) or take the plunge and get a coordinated palette of shadows. I seriously doubt you will regret it.

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Matte Long Wear Lipstick in Drop Dead Red



Available at Sephora for $25 CDN.
I am very impressed by the longevity and strong pigment of these liquid lipsticks. I picked this shade up for autumn/winter since I didn’t have such a deep red in my collection and wanted something that would stay put on my lips. My only issue with this is it does transfer no matter how long I leave it to dry. It does become a beautiful matte on the lips and was not patchy in the least. I am sure I will pick up a few more of these to try during the Sephora sale (coming November).

Wet n Wild Fergie Centerstage Collection To Reflect Shimmer Palette in Hollywood Boulevard



No longer available
I received this in a make up swap a few months ago and have been loving it as a warm, golden highlight. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like it would work and would be too dark or colourful on me, but mixed, it is a lovely yellow gold highlight that is light enough for my pale skin. It’s huge, it’s inexpensive, and it’s just the right amount of highlight on the cheekbones. If you can get your hands on these highlighters, I would recommend picking one up.

Kaia Naturals The Takesumi Detox Bamboo Charcoal Deodorant in Cold Pressed Rose


Available at Kaia Naturals for $21
I will start off by saying this isn’t perfect. Does it withstand summer sweat? Not entirely. Is it inexpensive? No. However, the most noticable benefit to this deodorant so far is it is helping with the discolouration on my arm pits. The deodorant is also aluminum free, vegan and 99% natural. I have also been breakout free since using this deodorant which tends to be a theme amount natural deodorant. Though I wish it was less expensive, I am pretty pleased with it so far.

Lush Shampoo Bar in Jumping Juniper


Available at Lush for $10.95
While perusing the Lush store in my city, I came across the Shampoo Bars. These convenient little suckers have no packaging, making it a little more environmentally friendly, lather up extraordinarily well, and smell great. They seem to last quite a few washes which was my top concern when purchasing it. My hair always feel clean after using this and I can typically last three days oil-free.

Those are the 5 products I’ve been enjoying the most this autumn. What have your favourites been?

#MOTD: Brozed beauty for pale skin

It’s summer and that means it’s time for even the palest of people to look a little more bronzed up. I am and never have been a big bronzer user but my opinion has totally changed with the addition of a few new products that are perfect for this season. Here is my bronzed up look for all of the pale people out there!


Foundation: I skipped out on a primer to get the full benefits and natural look of the Murad Oil Control Mattifier with SPF 15 plus the Derma E BB Creme with SPF 20 in light. This combination is you skin but better plus things out the BB cream which is slightly too dark on its own.

Concealer: I used the Essence Say No to Dark Circles concealer under my eyes. Yes, I have extremely dry skin under one of my eyes. It is annoying. Let’s ignore it.

Eye primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Powder: Elf Tone Correcting Powder in Cool to do a little bit of colour correcting since this BB cream is a touch dark for me still.


Bronzer: The star of the show is this Physicians Formula #Instaready Super BB Bronzer. Both super natural and just overly stunning.

Highlight: Wet n Wild Fergie Highlight in Hollywood Boulevard.

Blush: Summer means cream blush and I took a page from Nancy (aka Spiffykerms) book and used NYX Cream Blush in Glow.


Eyeshadow: I used the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Eye shadow palette. Starting with the taupe browbone shade in my crease then deepening it us with the gorgeous brown crease shade on the left. On my eye lid, I wanted something a little bronze so I went with the eyelid shade.

Eye liner: I used a thin layer of the Annabelle Stay Sharp eye liner in Bronzey in my waterline with some of my eyelid shade on top.

Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex.


Brows: For my brows, I used the Annabelle Browshow liner and highlighter on my brows and brow bone.

Lipstick: A combination of the Annabelle Stay Sharp lip liner in Java and the Essence Long Lasting Lipstick in Get The Look for that extra boost of colour.


This look is rather simple considering how luminous and perfected I felt! All of these products were totally pale-skin friendly and animal friendly (cruelty-free). I hope you enjoyed this look! Let me know what I should do next.

Til next time, ttfn x

 

Skincare & More Haul 2016

First of all, I am so sad to report I broke my streak of buying only cruelty-free products. I don’t know what lead me to believe Bath and Body Works was a cf company but upon my research today, I see that they in fact do sell in China and test when required by law. Sad news and a silly mistake on my part, but regardless, I thought I would show you what I did get at the semi-annual sale.


Bath and Body Works was my go to candle store. Their scents are very fragrant and the candles seriously last. However, this time, I did end up picking up a few more products that I don’t usually buy. First off, we did grab two candles of the same scent. This is the Honolulu Sun candle which literally smells like sunscreen and the beach. It is exactly what I want out of a summer candle and since it was on sale for only $11.50, why not grab two?

I also needed a new hand sanitizer for work and with the 3 for $5 sale, I figured I would grab a few here. I ended up grabbing my favourite scent ever, the Black Cherry Merlot, as well as the Sparkling Limoncello and Noir for men which I know might be odd but it smells like their Black Tie candle which is another fave of mine.

The final 5 things we grabbed I’ve never had before but both Ashlee from Making Up Ashlee and Samantha from Samantha Jane had picked up a few Wallflowers in their hauls so I figured it might be worth a try. Here are the Wall Flowers in the scent Honolulu Sun, Bow Ties and Bourboon, Cucumber Melon and White Sand Beaches. With that, there was one Bunny Wallflower plug in on sale for $5 so we grabbed that too.


If you follow me on snapchat (newkeybeauty), you know I also went for my very first facial at the Truth Beauty Company on Friday. I will have a whole blog post about that coming this week but I did also pick up a few things. You may recall from the Battle of the Brands post I did between Tom’s of Maine and Crystal Deodorant that neither were all that good on days where you might be going the extra mile and sweating your butt off. Liz from Stay Gorgeous LC recommended an alternative in the Schmidts Natural Deodorant in Bergamot + Lime. I was initially avoiding it because it contains coconut oil which tends to break me out but after a bit more research, I figure it is worth a try anyway.

I also noticed they had Hurraw lip balms at the Truth Beauty Company and hearing so much about it from Shannon of Shaaanxo, I decided to pick one up in Earl Grey. This smells AH-MAY-ZIN and works like a dream so hopefully, I can pick up the full line soon. Yes, it feels that nice.

I also grabbed a product that Meg, the facialist used on me as a serum/moisturizer. This is the Pretty Rose and Citrus Purifying Facial Serum which I am planning to use as a cf replacement for my beloved Vichy Normaderm Night Detox. This is supposed to help with oil control while still keeping my skin moisturized and so far so good! I will be testing it for a few days to make sure I don’t break out but if you would like to see a review, let me know!


Full disclosure: I was also sent a few bits of skin care from Nip+Fab and Real Chemistry which I plan to review for you guys. I am honestly so excited to try the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads** which I suspect might be a bit of a dupe for the Dr Dennis Gross peel I used about a week ago. Already a pro for this product is that it smells amazing (like grapefruit). I will keep you updated for sure.

I also have two bits from the Dragons Blood range which first off, sounds very intense, but also is supposed to help with brightening, plumping and hydrating the skin. Here I have the Nip+Fab Skin Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Serum** and Nip+Fab Skin Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask**. Nip+ Fab is cruelty free and can be found at Shoppers Drug Mart!

The two products I received from Real Chemistry are peels: one for body and one for face. These are NOT masks, but more like a scrub to help reveal softer, brighter and smoother skin. These are the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-minute peel** and Real Chemistry Luminous 3-minute peel body**. I haven’t really tried anything like this before so I will absolutely let you know how it goes.


Of course, a staple for me is the COLAB Sheer Invisible dry shampoo in Rio which was on sale at Rexall. I again was influenced by Making Up Ashlee and picked up a Flower Beauty Win some, Rouge some cream blush in Pure Petunia. I am a sucker from cream blush and haven’t actually tried anything from Flower beauty before!

As you may have seen in my empties haul a few weeks ago, I ran out of my Reversa Solution for Oily and Acne prone skin** which was fantastic as a toner but I plan to use more for break outs in the future. I also spilled the Vichy Toner I was trying to use up in last months #Finish5 and so I had to pick up another toner. I spotted the Alba Botanica Hawaiian facial Toner which I am so excited to try! Another really exciting find for me was this brush cleaning pad from Danielle Creations. I have already tried this out and it was absolutely worth every cent!

These other two products are actually Roxanne’s but I plan to try them at some point as well. Here is the Skin Blossom Gentle Cleansing Milk and the North American Hemp Co. Smooth Cleanse Smoothing shampoo – both cruelty free and at least 91% organic.

I hope you enjoyed this haul which was very influenced by YouTubers. Let me know what you want to see a review on first. I would love to hear what things you’ve picked up lately.

Til next time, ttfn x

 

Battle of the Brands: Crystal vs Tom’s of Maine

When it comes to make up, there are hundreds of brands and options readily available when you’re switching to cruelty-free products but I have found the most difficult things to find by far are the day to day products. Shampoo, toothpaste, floss, sunscreen or deodorant to name a few. I did find a few helpful articles and several lists of brands that are CF, some of which do have these day to day products, but I am the kind of girl that likes to walk into Shoppers and see it in store. I don’t want to have to order my toothpaste or shampoo online. If I run out of something, lose it, forgot it when travelling and need it right away, I want to be able to grab it right then and there.

  
So I went to Shoppers with my list of CF brands and came out with these two popular and totally different deodorants: Crystal Body Deodorant and Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting deodorant. Both are all natural, cruelty-free and aluminum-free as well (which is good for the boobies of course). Both landed around the $6 mark.

  
The Crystal deodorant is really out there in my opinion – it is literally a block of Ammonium Alum that you moisten a little and rub on your clean pits. Important: rub until the moisture is gone and it starts to tug a little. Somehow, it works better. It is meant to be an invisible layer of smell protection – but it is not an antiperspirant. I found this didn’t do a whole lot for me. I am not too sweaty or stinky but when I put this on on a warm day, it did nothing to lessen the smell. When you give your pits a really good wash – lets say you put this on after a shower – it does do a little more but by the end of the day, it’s gone. I really wish it did work for me because this is a product that will last forever.

  
Tom’s of Maine is a little more like your typical deodorant but very creamy and soft. It comes in several scents and feels normal on your pits. I have the Beautiful Earth scent which smells quite fruity and nice. This is extremely comparable to the scent and overall feel/lasting power of the Lady Speed Stick Fresh Infusions Strawberry which I have used before however, this is also not an antiperspirant. Personally, I do like how this performs but if you’re a sweater or working out, this likely wont hold up either. It tends to last about 5 hours on a warm day.

Though I haven’t experienced any negative reactions, it is common when switching between deodorants. These are also natural and work differently on everyone’s body just like everything else so even if the Crystal Body Deodorant didn’t work for me, it may work for you! That being said, the clear winner here for me is definitively Tom’s of Maine and I plan to look into more of their hygiene products!

Til next time, ttfn x

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick

This review is long overdue. I am here today to look at a line of stunning classic lipsticks that totally make an impact. Several months ago, Marcelle sent me a few of their new Marcelle Rouge Xpression lipsticks** to try and at first glance, I was a little intimidated. They are very bright and bold. To me, they scream spring. So here we are, with spring in bloom (well, not really) and I have been testing these lovely ladies out for you.

The packaging itself is sophisticated and sleek but easily damaged (you may be able to see the scratch marks on the matte black from them being in my bag). They look a little bit similar to the NARS Audacious lippies but since I have never tried any from NARS, I can’t say whether or not they are dupes.

Regardless, they stand out. The three shades I have are extremely pigmented with a cream finish similar to most lipsticks. They seem to be consistent and feel lovely on the lips.  They also end up being pretty true in colour from the bullet to the swatch to the tag on the end of the lipstick. Online, they are a little darker.

French Rose is the lightest of the three. It is a bright baby pink shade. I tend to have problems with this type of shade but with a lip liner, it works much better. There is a little bit of a frosty look to it as well but that could just be me!

Vivid Coral is exactly that: a beautiful and vivid coral shade. It is bold but not too crazy and actually, I have nothing even similar to this!

Fuchsia Flare is my favourite of the three. It is a berry-like fuchsia that is super easy to wear. As you can see, it comes off kind of light bit still very colourful.

I don’t think I could say one bad thing about these lipsticks and that includes the price ($12 approx per lipstick).

  

One swipe of colour each. From L to R: 825 French Rose, 970 Vivid Coral, 880 Fuchsia Flare.

There is a large variety of shades for every skintone. If you haven’t already, try these out! Marcelle is a cruelty-free Canadian brand which I love and support.

Til next time, ttfn x

Sephora Holiday Haul & Review

Hey all! Here we are again with some new Sephora goodies. I took advantage of the $25 off of $50 coupon and picked up one Holiday set and one mini/travel sized product that I already knew I would love.

I decided to give the Too Faced Melted lipsticks a second try after seeing Chelle from Make Up Your Mind talk about them oh-so-lovingly. With that in mind, I picked up this mini set of 6 Too Faced products. I normally an so in love with Too Faced as a brand from their cruelty-free status to their adorable packaging but I didn’t get along with their Melted lipstick before. This Too Faced Melted Kisses and Sweet Cheeks set included 3 of the Melted lipsticks and 3 Love Flushed blushes which I had already tried and love the formula of.

Too Faced Melted Kisses and Sweet Cheeks
too faced nude peony fig
too faced nude peony fig swatch
Each lipstick is paired with a blush so you have:

Melted Nude and Love Hangover which are the nudey peaches of the bunch;

Melted Peony and Justify My Love which are lovely baby pinks; and

Melted Fig and Your Love Is King which are the plummy shades.

too faced love hangover justify my love your love is king
too faced love hangover justify my love your love is king swatches
I love the blushes as I suspected but what about the lipsticks? I had tried Melted Peony before and found it was kind of gritty and oily feeling. I may even go as far as saying it sucked. This time around, I like them! They are absolutely different than what I had tried before and I’m glad I tried them again!

sephora haul

To make this a $50 purchase, I also grabbed a Smashbox Photo Finish primer in the purple Pore Minimizing formula. I have pretty religiously been using the other two primers (original and colour correcting) I own so I thought I would try yet another. I am crossing my fingers they come out with a mini of their blemish control formula as well but I may take a chance and give it a try anyway.

This primer was just as lovely as the other two but I would say the hardest to spread. I will say that I do get oily when using any three of these primers but I just blot or deal with it because they make my make up application a million times easier and feel  better than others I have used.

I hope you enjoyed this little review! Be sure to let me know what you think of the Too Faced Melted lipsticks or Love Flushes blushes & Smashbox Photo Finish Primers! I think they can be love/hate products but now you know where I stand.

Til next time, ttfn x