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

#MOTD: Samples and Travel Size Beauty

Though I don’t post empites on my blog anymore (I use Instagram and Snapchat for that), there is no better feeling than finishing up a product. It’s almost as exciting as trying a new product. That’s exactly why I love trying out sample and travel sized products.
Because of that, as you can imagine, I have quite a few to go through. I have enough to make an entire look using around than $60 while using mainly high-end products. I have listed below where I received these products/whether they were a sample or travel sized. I hope you enjoy the look!

Samples-left-2

 

Clarins Hydra-Essential Cream (Influenster – Deluxe Sample)

Estée Edit Pore Vanishing Stick (Sephora – Sample)

Tony Moly BCDation (Jolie – Foil Packet Sample)

NARS Creamy Concealer in Vanilla (Travel Size – $16)

NYX HD Shadow Base (ipsy – sample)

Trèstique mini highlight stick (ipsy – Deluxe Sample)

Make Up For Ever HD powder (travel sized – $24)

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Paaarry (Sephora birthday – deluxe sample)

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil medium/deep (Sephora – deluxe sample)

Marc Jacobs highliner gel in Blacquer (Sephora birthday gift – deluxe sample)

Urban Decay eyeshadow (Sephora – deluxe sample)

  • Skimp all over the eye
  • Guilt all over the lid

Bare Minerals (ipsy)

  • Passion in the outter corner and in the crease

Coastal Scents (ipsy)

  • Greige in the outter corner

Buxom Lash Mascara (travel sized but no longer available – under $25)

Kat Von D Bow and Arrow liquid lipstick (travel sized but no longer available – $25)

I hope you enjoyed this look! Do you have enough sample sized products to create a full face?

Til next time, ttfn x

Battle of the Brands: Boscia vs Pilaten

I am all about these types of peel off masks. I so so satisfied to peel the mask off, no matter how painful, and see how many blackheads came with it. How big, how deep, where they were on my face. It is just of oddly satisfying.

For a while, I had heard a lot about the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask which seemed very promising. However, when I initially had a sample to try, I recall being pretty disappointed. That’s when Roxanne and I discovered the Pilaten Black Head Pore Strip on Amazon. After quite some time using these, I thought it was time to compare and see what the differences actually are (or is it all in my head?)
  L: Boscia R: Pilaten

The biggest difference here is most obvious in the picture above. The Boscia mask is far more creamy, and thick, making it slightly harder to spread. It also separates quite noticeably where some of my pores are if you only apply a thin layer. In contrast, the Pilaten mask is thinner and easier to spread, making it much easier to get an even application. As you peel each mask off, the Boscia mask is noticeably more rubbery and flexible while the Pilaten is quite paper-like. However, as for the results, both pull out your blackheads in a similar fashion. Both hurt to peel off, though the Pilaten mask is meant to simply be a nose strip. They are actually quite similar products once they dry.

A 2.8 oz Boscia Luminizing Black Mask is $42 at Sephora, while you can get a very decent amount of the Pilaten masks on Amazon for $2-6 depending on how many packages you get. Each package has enough for 2-3 masks depending on how much of your face you’re covering. I can’t confirm whether either mask is cruelty-free.

Let me know whether you have tried either of these before and what you thought! If you have any cruelty-free recommendations, let me know that too!

Til next time, ttfn x

#MOTD: My First Video

As you may have guessed, this little tutorial here also comes with a video! I am not sure how often I will include a video, whether this is the style I will stick with, and so on, but I hope you at least enjoyed this one!

Primer: I used the Cover FX Calming Primer for the first time here.

Concealer: the BH Cosmetics Studio Pro Perfecting Concealer. I used the yellow shade on my redness and the lightest pinky shade on my undereyes. Following that, I used some Hard Candy Glamoflauge in Ultra Light under my eyes to brighten. After some foundation, I added in a little more and blended it in fully.

Foundation: A recent discovery and favourite is the Gosh X-Ceptional Wear Foundation in Porcelain.

Powder: To set it all, I used the Essence All About Matt powder.

Brows: Quo Brow Focus in Brunette.

Eye shadow primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Eye shadow: I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills World Traveller palette. This was limited edition but many shades are still available. All over everything, I used Soft Peach. In the crease and outter corner, we have some Fudge. On the lid, I added Bellini for a little more shimmer and pigment. Going in with two of my favourite shades of the palette, I put Intense Gaze exactly where I put Bellini, then Pink Champagne on top. In the crease, I added Azure quite heavily and blended until I was happy. I had to touch up with Pink Champagne when I was done.

Eye liner: I added a bit of Annabelle eye liner in Espresso.


Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex.

Bronzer: Tarte The Sculpter in Park Ave Princess.

Blush: BH Cosmetics Blush Palette

Highlight: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer.

Lipstick: Hourglass Liquid Lipstick in Canvas.


Please let me know what you think of my first ever video and this format for a tutorial. All of the products used were cruelty free, but not all of the brushes!

Til next time, ttfn x

 

My first ever Make Up Geek haul ft. Sephora, Nail Polish Canada

This may or may no surprise you but I have never made an order for Make Up Geek products before. It’s a little crazy how quickly MUG blew up but I never did get swept into all the hype. I’ve heard so many good things but most commonly that they are very similar to MAC at half the price. I planned on checking them out sooner or later and finally, I found the deal I had been waiting for.

  

Top L to R: In The Spotlight, Bedrock, Masqurade. Middle L to R: Shimma Shimma, Mermaid, Peach Smoothie. Bottom L to R: Mai Tai, Poppy, Phantom.
I had a good idea of what I wanted but hadn’t taken the plunge until I saw a beautiful-fantastic-amazing sale: 9 shadows for $30. Here is a similar deal but this exact set is no longer available (the individual shades are). The best part about this deal was that 5/9 shadows were ones I was eyeing up.

In The Spotlight: I hadn’t heard about this shade before but it might just be my favourite of the bunch. It is a wildly intense rust/gold duo-chrome.

Bedrock (wanted): I don’t know exactly what drew me into this matte taupe-grey but I am glad to have one in my z palette!

Masqurade: I hadn’t heard about this shade either but all you had to say was purple foiled eye shadow. Sold!

Shimma Shimma: I had heard endlessly about this shadow and now I totally understand why. It’s a GORGEOUS champagne sparkle that stands out.

Mermaid (wanted): I am not a frequent blue-eyeshadow girl, this is so unique and stunning. It is an amazing aqua gold pigment.

Peach Smoothie (wanted): Has anyone not heard of peach smoothie? I wanted to try this orangey peach shade and see what all the hype is about.

Mai Tai: This is really subtle baby pink/peach shadow that is freaking gorgeous.

Poppy (wanted): Who could resist a rorange like that?

Phantom (Wanted): This shadow is rightfully named. This goes from a soft lilac to a vibrant frost depending which way you’re looking at it. A very stand out shade.

  

Top: Voltage. Bottom: Dirty Martini.
Then of course, while I was at it, I wanted to pick up a few singles that caught my eye.

Dirty Martini: I can honestly say I don’t have anything this colour in my collection. When this khaki/olive shade started trending in the fall, I fell deeply in love with it. I have a lot of plans for this beauty.

Voltage: This is a very interesting white/yellow duo-chrome that I am excited to play around with.

  

Top L to R: Voltage, Mermaid, Shimma Shimma, Dirty Martini, Peach Smoothie, Poppy, Bedrock. Middle L to R: Mai Tai, Phantom. Bottom L to R: In The Spotlight, Masqurade.
  
From Nail Polish Canada, I had to pick up an essential: the Lippy Girl Lip Love Lip Conditioning stick. Roxanne and I are hooked on this and it lasted us forever. Vegan, cruelty free, amazing quality. To bump me up to free shipping, I also picked up the elf blush brush for blush and the Real Techniques Setting brush for highlighting.

Unfortunately, I also picked up the LA Girl Pro Conceal in the wrong shade (Light Ivory is the second lightest shade and it is WAY too dark for me – oops!). In my next order, I will pick up Porcelain and see how that goes.

   
   
Is any haul complete without some Sephora goodies? Somehow, I was able to convince myself that I needed even more eye shadow so I picked up the ABH Artist Palette. I am in love with their eye shadow formula like you wouldn’t believe so it really was a no brainer.

While I was at it and I had 15% off (Thank you VIB Rouge status), I also picked up one of the few available Too Faced Melted Matte lipstick in Drop Dead Red. I shockingly have no lip products this colour so I didn’t feel too guilty picking it up plus I get to try out their newest creation. So far, I haven’t worn it out but the colour is just as perfect as I imagined. I originally went online looking for the Urban Decay Corrector Fluid in Green that I was drooling over in store the previous week. It seems to be like a liquid concealer but it dries down to a beautiful matte that you don’t really have to mess around with. It’s kind of perfect.

   
  I hope you enjoyed this mid-spring haul. I know I certainly did! All products mentioned are cruelty-free (as far as I am aware). Have you tried any of these products? What do you think?

Til next time, ttfn x

 

Nail Polish Declutter

I have a lot of nail polish. I try and go through frequently and declutter but usually, I will just get rid of anything I had recently used that I didn’t care for. This time, I took the time to swatch (you might have seen on snapchat) every single shade and evaluate the formula and whether I liked the colour or if it had a purpose. I had a goal to get rid of 1/3 of my collection because I knew there was enough in there that I wasn’t using or loving.


  

So as I said, I went through with swatches (by the way, my snapchat is newkeybeauty), but I wanted to go through my process and progress on my blog as well. You will see I have some distinguishable favourite shades but I feel like there is still a variety of colour, texture and brand in the collection. There are also shades I don’t gravitate toward, or that I only go for certain shades of that colour so I was able to get rid of some super similar polishes. How many classic red nail polishes does one person need?


  
One other thing I noticed is how many textured polishes I really had especially for someone that doesn’t LOVE textured nail polish… I really don’t need one in every colour though there are some GORGEOUS exceptions like the two by Julie G. A pet peeve of mine is sheer polish and this exersize really highlighted the polishes that either didn’t end up opaque after even 3 coats, or didn’t dry/bubbled after it did become opaque. The formula just didn’t work for me so those were tossed too.


  
Finally, there were a surprising amount of duplicates that I didn’t realize were duplicates. For example, the Revlon Fearless and Deborah Lippmann It’s Raining Men are incredibly similar but I much prefer the DL formula. I am also leaning towards cruelty free brands more and more so some of my decisions reflected that.


  
I have a handful I am still so on the fence about but for now, that’s over 20 polishes I didn’t need or shouldn’t have out of my collection. Not quite the 1/3 I was hoping for but I am more comfortable with what I have. This also helped me discover what holes I have in my collection  (like a good royal blue?) so if you have any polish brand recommendations, please point me in the right direction. I am looking for CF brands specifically under $20!

Til next time, ttfn x

Battle of the Brands: Sephora Collection vs Essence

I wanted to sneak in one more blog post before March was through. This month, Sephora Collection was the Canadian Beauty Bloggers brand of the month and I do have one Sephora Brand gem to share.

I am an oil slick. My skin has been improving over the months but I have accepted the fact that I might need a little extra something to help my skin stay a little less shiny through out the day. Introducing every oily girls bffl: the blotting paper.

Not all blotting papers are made equal I’ve discovered. You would think that it is a pretty generic item but that is not the case. I haven’t tried two that were alike so far! However, these two are pretty similar so I wanted to put them to the test. Here I have the Sephora Collection blotting papers and the Essense All About Matt oil control paper. The biggest initial difference is the quantity: you have 50 smaller sheets in the $3 Essence pack and 100 in the $7 (on sale – usually $10) Sephora Collection pack.The price difference isn’t so crazy in my opinion and you can frequently grab the Sephora brand on sale in a variety of types. These happen to be the Vitamin C + E pack.

As far as size, the Sephora brand is thinner but larger while Essence is fatter but noticeably smaller. They are both compact enough to be carried around and durable enough but I have to admit, I much prefer the Essence packaging. Sephora has your typical folded card pack with a little sticky bit to help separate the sheets. The Essence packaging on the other hand it extra fancy. It is a slide-able package with a bit of the sheet poking out. When you pull out your sheet, the next sheet comes up with a little poking out again so it is much easier to grad and go with it. It’s similar to tissue.

 

The most important thing to me is how the sheet preforms. I hadn’t expected there to be much difference but I could tell right away the Essence sheet was not up to par. I have to use 3-5 to sufficiently mattify my face where I only use 1-2 of the Sephora brand (if that). Here, I did half of my face with one and the other half with the other. Then I went back over the Essence side with the Sephora sheet because it honestly just didn’t cut it. In my opinion, you can see and feel the difference.

I wouldn’t bother giving the Essence blotting papers a try unless you’re looking for something inexpensive that doesn’t get rid of all of the extra oiliness on your skin. A drugstore option that does work is the Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. They are quite different than these but worth a try if you are an oily skinned person like myself. I hope you enjoyed this Battle. Stay tuned for another coming soon!

Til next time, ttfn x