The Best of Real Techniques

It’s not too often that I talk about the tools of the trade, but today, I have a few drugstore recommendations for your brush collection. I have found many inexpensive brush brands are just as good, if not better, than the popular MAC or Sephora type of brushes and these are no exception.

Real Techniques is one of my go-to brush brands because I trust in the quality. The brushes are cruelty-free, durable, soft, secure and reliable. Some of these brushes are here since I started my make up collection over 4 years ago and are still going strong. I have tried quite a number of their most popular brushes but found that these four brushes are the ones I consistently use and return to.


Contour Brush

When I do want some extra colour and reach for the bronzer, I find this brush is the perfect size. It diffuses my bronzer without making it look muddy or getting too dark. It fits perfectly along my hair line, on my temples, under my cheekbones and around my jawline. If you are paler or afraid to go overboard with your bronzer, I highly recommend giving this a try.

Detailer brush

This pointed, tiny brush is my go-to for detailed work. It is small enough to fit wherever I need it to go like my inner corners but large enough that it deposits all of the pigment you need. It is fantastic for smudging, or placing colour wherever  you need it.

These two brushes came in the Real Techniques Core Collection set.

Base Shadow Brush

The Base Shadow brush is my go to for blending out cream eyeshadow. In fact, this is the only brush I will use. It is both dense but fluffy making it fantastic at diffusing the colour without removing it. This is now available in this convenient eye shadow brush duo**.

Setting Brush

I am not sure how I used to apply highlighter without this. Most people use this to set their undereye concealer but I find that it doesn’t pack it on the way I prefer. For me, this is perfect for blending out highlighter. I like a strong highlight personally, but this small brush allows for a lot of colour to be placed on the skin, but keeps the glitter under control. This is sold separately but is worth every penny.


One final thing to mention: if you already had any of the brushes now available in the duo packages, the brushes are similar but with slightly redesigned packaging. They work just as well and feel just as lovely as they always have. I am excited to have a backup Base Shadow Brush and Deluxe Crease brush to use when mine are dirty. I recommend trying them out if you haven’t already!

Til next time, ttfn x

#MOTD: Silver & Gold🎶

Most people would think of greens and reds when you’re talking about Christmas, but I wanted to do something a little different this year and draw inspiration from my favourite Christmas Tune: Silver and Gold. I am all kinds of nostalgic about that little tune.

But other than simply loving the song, I thought I would challenge myself to come up with different ways to incorporate the two shades. I’ve gotta say I’m pretty pleased with the result! Would I wear this to my family Christmas dinner? Probably not. That doesn’t make me love it any less. 

For the products, I love that I was able to use so many favourites of mine while doing something different than I usually do. I was also able to use products I haven’t had the chance to wear yet like NYX Stone Fox which is so much better than I thought it would be! For anyone keeping track, I was able to do silver shadow and lips, and gold liner and highlight. My blush also has some gold sparkle to it of course. This look is also almost entirely drugstore products!

Products used:

Gurlain Meteorites Perles primer

Covergirl Trublend Fixstick in the shade light

Rimmel Lasting Finish Full Coverage Foundation in Light Porcelain

Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer in Ultra Light

BH Cosmetics HD Brow Pencil in Blonde

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk

Lorac Pro 2 shades Beige, Cool Grey, Charcoal, Silver, Chrome

L’oreal Infallible pigment in Hourglass Beige

NYX Studio Liquid Liner in Extreme Gold

J Cat Sparkling Cream Palette in SCP107 Suzie (I used the gold shade)

Colourpop Creme Gel Liner in Dirty Talk

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara in Black

Wet n Wild Fergie Shimmer Palette in Hollywood  Boulevard

Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink

Physicians Formula Super BB Insta Ready Bronzer

L’oreal True Match Blush in C 1-2

Rimmel Stay Matte Translucent Powder

NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Stone Fox (with some Lorac Silver Shadow on top)

I hope you enjoyed this different look in time for the holidays. Let me know what you plan to wear this Christmas!

#MOTD: First Impressions ft Essence

Here I am with another one branch MOTD post but with a twist: this will also be a first impression for most of these products! Let’s get started.

 Eye primer: Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base which is way darker and tackier than I thought it would be. I realized later that perhaps I put way too much on.

Eyeshadow: Essence All About Candies eye shadow palette. Starting with the Essense Contour Powder in light, I used the bronze shade in the crease to create a transition shade. Using the yellow gold, I set the rest of the eye shadow primer then covered it with the red/orange shade to neutralize and brighten the lid. With a mixture of the blue and green, I coloured the outter corner in. At the end of the tutorial, I blended out the crease with the purple/blue mix.


Concealer: Essense Pure Nude Concealer in 10 Pure Beige and Essence Say No to Dark Circles.

Foundation: Essence Pure Nude make-up in 10 Pure Beige plus a little more of the Pure Nude concealer under the eyes.

Blush: NYX cream blush in Glow since I don’t own an Essence blush… yet.

Setting Powder: Essense All About Matt which I have owned for a while but haven’t used too much.

Bronze/highlight: Essence Contour Powder in light for both highlighting and some bronzing/contouring.

Lips: Essence Liquid Lipstick in Peach Party.

Brows: BH Cosmetics HD Brow Pencil in Blonde.

Mascara: Marcelle Xtention plus Curl mascara.

My overall thoughts really vary between the products. I love the consistency of the concealers but my favourite products of the bunch is the Contour Powder and liquid lipsticks. Both the highlight and bronzer are awesome for my pale skin and the lippies are glossy but pack a punch.

As for the rest, I did not like the eye shadow or the eye shadow primer. The primer was so pigmented with a very warm beige tone while the eye shadow was barely pigmented. That isn’t the case for all Essence eye shadows but they seem very hit or miss. For this palette, I had to pack on so much pigment that my lids felt dry and you still couldn’t see the shades. I did like the concealers and foundation as well though the foundation was a touch too dark. I will be able to wear it this summer though!

I hope you enjoyed this drugstore make up look. What are you favourite Essence products? I really hope to try out more from the brand soon.

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

Essense Hidden Stories Highlighters

A few weeks ago while perusing the aisles at Shoppers, I noticed a display full of new products from Essence. I am fairly new to Essence but they have already won me over with the quality of some (but not all) of their products and their price. I decided to pick up a few things but the most intriguing of which were the Essence Hidden Stories Highlighters in Rose in Wonderland and Enter Wonderland.


I decided to give it a try at $3 a pop because not only is this one of the few times I have seen a highlighter at the drugstore, they are both cream highlights which I haven’t really played with before. The shades are quite different from the highlighters that I have used both in colour and texture so I was extra curious how they would look on me.

First of all, lets talk about the formula. If you’re familiar with the Maybelline Dream Bouncy blushes, these are the exact same super soft texture. I found it was easiest to apply these using my fingers vs a brush to get a much more intense highlight which I prefer. These do seem to enhance your pores and dryness if you’re not wearing a pore-filling primer or something smoothing. They also don’t seem to look overly different from each other. Both have a slight pigment (either the rose or lavender) but they both end up being very comparable to a white/silver highlight. I was a tad bit disappointed that these weren’t overly pigmented but cream products do tend to have a more natural look.


 L to R: Rose in Wonderland and Enter Wonderland

The finished product looks lovely and they are very easy to work with. You can build them up a little bit before they look almost glittery but they do blend out evenly. The packaging is what you would expect from the brand: clear inexpensive plastic with some writing on it and no mirror. To me, that isn’t bad at all but I know some people don’t love it. They are compact, small and work best when applied with your fingers making it simple to travel with.

If you’re looking to try these, I would only pick up one shade since they do end up looking similar. They are worth a try especially if you’re looking to try out cream highlighters. They aren’t my favourite but I do like them and plan to use them! Have you tried their Hidden Treasures Cream Highlighters before?

Til next time, ttfn x




$100 Shoppers Haul

I was the lucky winner of the Canadian Beauty Bloggers + #Music Glam giveaway back in February. I know right? I feel like the luckiest lady ever. This prize pack included over $200 worth of skin care, make up, white strips, hair care and a generous gift card for Shoppers. Lets start with what was in the prize pack!

From Olay, there are three Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-aging skin care items: the cleanser, the moisturizer and cleansing brush. I passed the moisturizer on to my mom who uses this every day but the cleanser and brush are staying with me. I have been using and loving the brush thus far and plan to give the cleanser a go once I am finished the few I have open. From Pantene, I received the Intense Hydration shampoo and conditioner but also the Pantene Air-Spray which I have been loving! From Crest, I have the 3D White whitestrips with the new Flex fit. I find my teeth get extremely sensitive with these so Roxanne graciously took them off my hands.

I don’t have a lot of make up from COVERGIRL but of course, I do already own the COVERGIRL lipstick in Succulent Cherry. I love it but don’t need two! Also from COVERGIRL is the new Plumpify Blast Pro mascara and Trunaked Goldens palette which I haven’t tried yet (honestly, my eyes have been horrible) but I have heard many good things.

 Now, onto the $100 haul. I have been a lot more conscious about what beauty brands are cruelty free and so with this $100 card, I decided to add more to my collection. Directly before this card came, my Shoppers stocked up on NYX but I was a little disappointed in their lack of selection. Never-the-less, I did pick up two things: the NYX HD Concealer in Fair which I have heard SO much about and the NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Stone.

Swatch of NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Stone.

On recommendation from Sarah at, I also picked up the GOSH X-Ceptional Wean Foundation in 11 Porcelain. I recently went through my foundations and discovered I only have two that work for me when I am this pale so ta-da, I picked up another which (first impression) I adore and matches me perfectly.

Swatch of the Annabelle Skinny Brow in Universal Medium (left) and Universal Light (right).
From Marcelle, I picked up an old fave (or three) of the Marcelle Double Precision liquid eye liner. This is super matte and lovely eye liner that I totally recommend. I also decided to finally pick up the Annabelle Skinny Brow liner in Universal Light just to see if it works out better than the Universal Medium.

When I was there, I also needed some nail polish remover and the Quo Nail Polish Remover in Regular and Strengthening. I always forget which of the Quo removers I don’t like so I figured if I got one of each (except the blue/green which I just finished), I would know which one I disliked. As you can tell, I already used up some of the Strengthening remover. And then I went a little nuts with Essence.

I have tried and love and almost used up the Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops that I have reviewed before but I also needed a new base coat so I also grabbed the Essence Gel Nail Polish Base coat. I have the top coat already to try as well so I am excited to see how these two work together.

I had hopped to pick up the NYX Proof It Waterproof eye shadow base but since it wasn’t at Shoppers, I got I Heart Stage eye shadow base from Essence. I am not sure if this is going to help prolong my eye shadow wear but I thought it was worth a try.

I noticed Essence also had a few new products out so I picked up two of their new Liquid Lipsticks and two of their new highlighters. I have wanted to find some drugstore highlights to try and also different shades so these are the Hidden Stories highlighters in Rose in Wonderland (pink-silver) and Enter Wonderland (purple-silver). On first impression, they are a tad glittery but I want to play around with them more since they are my first cream highlighter experience.

Swatch from L to R: Essence Hidden Stories highlighter in Enter Wonderland, Rose in Wonderland, Essence Liquid Lipstick in Colour Party and Peach Party.

The two liquid lipsticks I kind of love so far. They are super minimal packaging wise which I love/hate, but they wear beautifully. These are Colour Party (pink) and Peach Party (Coral).

That’s my rather large haul for you! I am ultra-excited to try out all of these new beauties. Let me know if you want to see any reviews and I would be happy to do that!

Til next time, ttfn x

NYC Expert Last Lipsticks

Hey all! I’m here with more budget beauty and I think it’s about time I reviewed and swatched the NYC Expert Last lippies in full. These are an astonishing $2 most places you go and have a wide variety of shades. I have four here that I love but this is certainly not all there is.

I’m going to start with my biggest complaint. These are not a long lasting lip colour by any means. They might last for two hours, they will not last you a meal or even a drink in some cases, and it leaves you with a bit of colour just on the outline of your lips so when you wear these, keep a mirror handy and make sure you take the shade with you wherever you’re going. The packaging is yet another con with these but it’s expected when it comes to that inexpensive price tag. The silver writing on the packaging scratches off pretty easily, it feels cheap and I don’t now if this is a flaw in design, packaging or user error, but I always get lipstick on the lid. With a clear lid like this, it looks a little ugly. Onto the good things:

Air Kiss is a hot pink, no ifs ands or butts.

Creamy Caramel is a beautiful brown nude.

Blue Rose is a bold fuchsia shade with a blue sheen to it.

Pure Coral is a bright coral colour.


The colours are definitely bold and beautiful. They look and feel awesome on the lips for things like pictures or maybe when you’re out shopping. I have worn these to work (8-10 hours) but have to reapply constantly. They do transfer and do travel a bit if you’re not careful but all of this is pretty easily maintained.

Do I recommend these? I think they are worth their price, take that as you will. It all depends on what you’re looking for. I like owning these and I want to collect them all but I only wear them when I am ready to maintain them. What do you think of these lipsticks?

Til next time, ttfn x