Sephora VIB Sale Haul 2017

I did a bad thing. With the stress of finals, moving, and a million other things, I went from wanting to buy one thing during the sale to buying all of this. Oops. I had a real treat yo'self moment obviously. So far I am loving all of these things though, so that softens the blow to my poor bank account.

The thing I had planned to buy was Chanel's No. 5 L'Eau. This newish addition to the line-up is a fresher, more modern version of the original No. 5. No. 5 is one that you either love or hate. My grandmother has worn it for as long as I remember so I love it, but it is a pretty strong fragrance. This updated version has top notes of lemon and orange, followed by rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, and finally cedar, with soft and cottony musk notes. (This I got from the Sephora website lol). This is a super clean scent and I absolutely love it. I will say I wasn't expecting it to be so blimmin' tiny. I definitely should have paid the extra $14 for the 1.7 oz, but oh well! I next added the Sephora Collection Brow Pencil. This little guy is half the price of the Anastasia Brow Wiz and as far as I can tell works just as well. I got the colour soft charcoal, which is very grey-toned and I like it much more than the ABH colour options.

A couple weeks ago when I went to Charleston I got the new NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, so I decided I needed (obviously) the Radiant Creamy Concealer as well. I've only used it once so far, but I definitely see why everyone loves it so much. For some reason I thought it would be quite thick or too dry (read the name Amelia), but it sits so beautifully under the eyes and really helps to blur and conceal. Because I got a new concealer, I clearly needed to pick up a new foundation as well. I've been drooling over the Burberry foundations and decided to go for the Fresh Glow. If you guys remember, a couple months ago I ordered the Cashmere Soft Matte foundation and Burberry canceled my order (eye roll). I'm glad I decided to get this one instead thought because it's so so beautiful on the skin. It blends in incredibly and is one of those bases that looks like you have incredible skin. Will definitely be doing a full review on this in the future.

I last-minute panic ordered the Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay in Refreshing Green, I mean look at the packaging. Minimalist dream. Plus it was only $15! This one is a wash-off foam mask that is meant to gently cleanse and exfoliate. I've never seen anything like it so I needed it for testing purposes, right? I also got the Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Sheet Masks because I adore sheet masks and have heard incredible things about this one.

Finally! Those are all of the things I accidentally bought in the VIB sale! Let me know what you guys picked up! And if there are any specific products you'd like to hear more about, tell me and I'll get up a review soon.

The 'My Skin But Better' Base Edit

The no-makeup makeup trend is really hitting hard nowadays, and there are tonnnnns of bases out there promising a no foundation look. Luckily for you I'm kind of loving this trend and have tested out mannnnny products that make you skin look just like skin (only better). I actually put on a full coverage foundation the other day (one I used to adore), and I hated it. So here are my faves with minimal coverage and a whole lot of beautiful skin.

My all time favorite is obviously the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint. Skin Tint is an "imperceptible wash of colour" that evens out the skin. It gets rid of discolouration like redness, but lets your skin show through entirely. A lot of people don't like this because they say it doesn't have any coverage. But that's the point people! It doesn't add any coverage or weight to your skin. It just makes you look like you have good skin. This is my every day go to and I adore it. (Don't forget you can get $$ off my shopping through my rep page). For a reaaaally no makeup makeup day, I like the Estée Lauder Even Effects Corrector. This is kind of like a hybrid between Skin Tint and a tinted moisturizer. It's much much dewier than Skin Tint, and possibly has even less coverage (but also has SPF 30). It's best for those with dry skin because of the dew, and I mostly stick to it in the winter. I like it because it gives a tiny bit of colour to my skin and makes it look hydrated! Another hydrating base is the Estée Edit Skin Glowing Balm. This one is a weird sort of moussey texture, but once blended into your skin it looks beautiful. It has a touch more coverage than Skin Tint, but still lets your skin show through completely. The best thing about it is that it comes in 12 shades, not a huge range, but for a tinted-moisturizer type product that's pretty impressive!

If you're looking for a traditional tinted moisturizer, the Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer is my favourite. It's pretty hydrating and plumping, but not overly dewy like other tinted moisturizers. It's got more of a satin finish, with a very light amount of coverage that (again) looks just like skin. It also smells like cucumbers as you put it on which I'm sort of obsessed with! This gives you 1.7 oz as well, more than the typical 1 fl oz meaning more bang for your buck woo! It's another one that just blends in effortlessly and doesn't require any thought. If you're looking for a bit more coverage, look no further than the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation. This stuff is so so beautiful. It's very quickly made its way to the top of my foundation list for its incredible finish. It's a super liquid texture that's easy to blend, and ends up with what I would say is a buildable medium coverage. It melts into the skin and really just looks like a second layer of beautiful, smooth skin! It seems to have some blurring effect, which is fine by me thank you very much. I wore this is Charleston for a full day out in the heat and it by some magic held up. I'm telling you guys, the stuff is gold.

If you have more problem skin, it can be hard to embrace this no-makeup trend. Believe me, I have areas I'd like to cover up. But covering up all of your beautiful skin is doing it no justice! I think using a super light base and then spot concealing the areas you want to hide is the best. I have a million different concealers I use for this depending on my mood (I'm crazy), but the easiest is the Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick. It's got a super-blendable texture, full coverage, and a creamy finish that doesn't leave blemishes looking dry (which makes them even more noticeable).

Are you guys embracing the no-makeup trend? Let me know what your favourite bases are!

Skin Smart 005: BHAs & AHAs

My number one skincare question is: "what's the difference between AHAs and BHAs?" This is something I still have a hard time remembering so I thought this post would be an awesome reference for the both of us! I won't go into too much detail about specific acids because I do have a post on those here. But lets jump into the science!

Okay basic definitions first. An AHA, or Alpha-Hydroxy Acid, is an acid found in foods (like milk, apples, grapes, etc). The ones found in your skincare are generally synthetic, but lactic acid for example is originally derived from milk. They work by breaking down the substance that holds your skin cells together. BHA, or Beta-Hydroxy Acid, is the structural name for salicylic acid. It's obviously also a chemical exfoliant but is lipid soluble as well (it cuts through oil). More on this later. Your skin exfoliates a huge amount of dead skin daily, but as we age this process slows down, meaning that supplementing with chemical exfoliants becomes helpful in keeping your skin smooth. 

AHAs are water soluble and have small molecules meaning they can penetrate the upper layer of the skin and really work to exfoliate dead skin cells away. They act in both the dermal and the epidermal levels, because the exfoliation prompts cellular renewal. There are many many many different kinds of AHAs: Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, etc. As I talked about in my acids post, I really love glycolic as it has the smallest molecules and helps the most (personally) with keeping my skin smooth. Because AHAs exfoliate away dead skin, you're left with brighter, fresher skin at the surface. Working mostly at the surface layers of the skin, they're best for helping with things like reducing signs of aging and sun damage. Because of their water solubility they are ideal for drier skin (but anyone can use them)! AHAs have also been shown to increase skin barrier function (keeping nasties out and moisture in), increase epidermal thickness (making skin look more plump), and restore hydration. Major win. 

BHAs are oil soluble, obviously making them more ideal for oily skin. It is found naturally in willowbank, but is generally synthetically produced also. Salicylic Acid is awesome because it can work inside the pores to break down the buildup of oily clogged up dead skin. It's also both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory meaning it helps combat acne bacteria and soothes skin. Basically a super ingredient, right? BHAs are generally less irritating than AHAs (although they reap the same benefits), so are much better for sensitive skin.

Both AHAs and BHAs need to be absorbed into the skin, so your glycolic face wash really isn't doing that much. Sorry. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with using these, you're just not really benefitting. AHA and BHA serums are my favourite, but you can also find masks and moisturizers as well. Like I said, I personally love Glycolic Acid so my favourite products are the Pixi Overnight Glow Serum, Pixi Glow Tonic, and The Ordinary Glycolic Toning Solution. BHA Products I love include Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion and the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid. I do also love Sunday Riley Good Genes (Lactic Acid) and am going to be trying Exfolikate! I've recently been trying out The Ordinary's AHA + BHA Peeling Solution (terrifying), and loving the results. This contains Glycolic, Lactic, Tartaric, and Citric Acid as well as Salicylic Acid so it really packs a punch. 

How often you use these depends on your skin. I have previously used something like Good Genes every day and had no negative effects, but if you have more sensitive skin this probably isn't the best idea. I've cut my routine back a bit and am trying to be more consistent so this is what works for me: I use the Pixi Glow Tonic or Ordinary Toning Solution Nightly, every other night I'll use one of the serum-like products (ie Overnight Glow, Good Genes, Skin Perfecting, etc), and once a week I'll use the AHA + BHA Peeling Solution. This is in conjunction with my moisturizers, etc. Please remember that this works for me and may not work for you. listen to your skin!!

I hope you all find this helpful, and please ask me any questions you have!

The Highlighter Edit

I love highlighters. A lot, in fact it's becoming a bit of a problem as I can't seem to stop buying them. I love how healthy they make your skin look whether you choose to keep them a glow or build them up to a blinding sheen. I used to be a powder only kind of girl, but as I was pulling out my favourites I've realized that I've become a cream stick convert!

The Balm's Mary LouManizer has been my long time highlight love, and I think it may have been my very first! It's a beautiful champagne colour in a buttery formula that glides over the skin. It's not one to pick up on any skin texture because it's so smooth and it can be built up to be quite blinding. This was closely contested by the CoverFx Perfect Light Highlighting Powder in Moonstone, which is a much icier version. I've said before that this doesn't look that interesting in the pan, but on the skin it is so so gorgeous. The formula is really similar to the Balm in that it's super smooth, but it's definitely a bit more intense on the skin. Lastly for powders is my newest addition, the highlighting side of the Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow Palette. This formula is again super buttery and creamy, but the shade is slightly more golden. It's not quite as intense as the other two, but provides the most natural looking lit-from-within glow. Obsessed. I need to give an honorable mention to the Pixi Glow-y Powders, especially in London Lustre, because they are incredible especially for the price point. The only reason they aren't in the photo is that the green packaging throws off that aesthetic (Instagram probs). But, I really really love the formula and they're incredibly similar to much higher end powders.

If you're looking for a dewy glow, look no further than the Glossier Haloscopes. If you haven't tried this yet, scoot your butt on over to my rep page and pick one up (with 20% off your first order, woo!). The outer ring is a beautifully shimmery cream highlight, when mixed with the inner solid-oil core creates the most incredible dewy sheen. My favourite shade is Quartz, but Moonstone and Topaz are also beautiful. For a similar sheen without the dew, I love the NARS Copacabana Multiple. This is a cream highlight, but is one of those formulas that sort of sets down to a powder finish. The colour is absolutely incredible and gives quite a bright sheen that still looks like a part of your skin. The TreStiQue Highlight Stick in Maldives Luminescent and Benefit Watts Up are awesome for on the go (especially this baby version). Both are a creamy champagne colour that don't quite set down like the NARS, but also don't stay tacky. And they're super easy to blend which makes them great to stash in your bag.