Way back in 2014 (that seems so crazy long ago!) I did a post on my skincare routine for sensitive, acne-prone skin. I thought it was about time to do an update 🙂 As I am getting older, my skin is changing. I’m finding it much drier, and my breakouts are more hormonal, which means that there’s not a lot that topical treatments can do (more on that later). Nearly three years later, some of my skincare products are the same, some I have since stopped using, and I’ve also introduced a few new products. I sometimes find it difficult to get information about products that are fragrance-free or good for sensitive skin, so I hope this helps others out there! Continue reading
Category Archives: Face
Its always a bummer to have to do a less than positive review, but a gal has to be honest, right? With a Sephora gift card I received over Christmas, I wanted to try out a new product. I love using a gift card to splurge on something totally new. I’m already a huge fan of the Laura Mercier Secret Concealer and have repurchased it multiple times. I like to use it under my eyes and pair it with a highlighting or illuminating type of concealer like the L’oreal Magic Lumi. I had the $38.00 CAD Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter on my wish list for a while. Advertised as a “versatile concealer and highlighter for the undereye area and the face that provides sheer coverage with a soft, radiant finish” I thought this would be a great product for creating some luminous glowiness under my eyes.
About a year ago, I ordered some of the (new at the time) NYX High Definition Blushes. I used the (also new at the time) NYX Canada website and sadly you can read about my disastrous shipping/customer service experience with the site if you’d like. I cannot recommend ordering from nyxcosmetics.ca. Despite the experience, I did quite like the High Definition Blushes and did a full review and a comparison to the old NYX blushes, which I really loved, in a December 2015 post. I hadn’t been using them very much lately, but I had recently made a resolution to cycle through my rather large blush collection and use them all more, after hitting pan on a MAC blush I’ve been obsessed with. I pulled out my NYX High Definition Blush in Nude ‘tude, and right away noticed that the blush had significantly faded, and in several spots the colour had shifted to an almost pale yellow! Continue reading
After discovering this fragrance-free skincare brand, I was interested in trying out more from Japanese-brand Boscia, which makes masks that don’t have any added perfumes or artificial fragrances. I had previously tried out and reviewed some of the Boscia sheet masks. When I was in line at Sephora, in that oh-so-tempting section filled with miniature sample sized versions of products, I spied this Boscia Multi-Masking Medley pack of single use, peel-off masks that included the Green Tea Oil-control mask, the Bright White Mask, and two packs of the Luminizing Black Mask for $23.00 CAD. Continue reading
In June, I did a review of the Foreo LUNA silicone facial cleaning brush. My Clarisonic Mia that I’d had for nine years had suddenly died and I was on the fence about repurchasing a Clarisonic. I decided to try the Foreo LUNA for Sensitive/Normal Skin instead, mainly because it promised to be gentler and because of its dual-sided functions: You use it for one minute for cleansing, then flip it over and use it for one minute on the anti-aging setting with your moisturizer or serum. Continue reading
Hey everyone! I just wanted to do a quick post about the free items I got with my latest Sephora order, especially because one of the Beauty Deals is pretty great and is still available on the website. When I placed my order, I ended up qualifying for VIB Rouge again [hangs head in shame and cuts up credit card]. I was happy to see that the VIB Rouge Welcome Gift was actually available this time. I never did get the VIB Rouge gift last year (which I think was a mini Marc Jacobs Beauty Lipstick) even after contacting Sephora, who continually said they were “out of stock”, which I think was pretty bad customer service considering how much one has spent when one hits the Rouge level. The only VIB Rouge gift I’d received was for 2014, the first time I qualified, and that was the mini Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick. So I was really pleased with the 2016 VIB Rouge Welcome Gift, a super cute mini NARS blush.
Hey everyone! I have been interested in finding some more good face masks, since discovering a good fragrance-free sheet mask at the drugstore, the Rejuve Collagen Gel Face Mask. There are so many of these types of masks available now at Sephora. They are super popular. The problem for me is finding ones that don’t have added fragrances, which my face doesn’t react well to. So I asked the Sephora SA and she suggested the Boscia brand (originally a Japanese brand). Boscia claims to be “the world’s first 100% preservative-free skincare brand”, which is pretty cool, and their products don’t have added perfumes or artificial fragrances. I picked up 3 of their sheet masks to try out. Here’s what I thought.
Hi everyone! A couple of months ago my much-loved, extremely pink Clarisonic Mia suddenly died. It was a staple in my skincare routine. I’d had the sonic facial cleansing brush for at least nine years, and I guess eventually the rechargeable battery just gives up. Nothing can last forever I suppose. I was on the fence about repurchasing a new Clarisoinc for two reasons. The first was that when I looked into purchasing a new one at Sephora, I discovered they didn’t make the same Clarisonic Mia that I’d had anymore (the new Mia does not come with a stand for charging) plus there was also an entirely new model called the Mia Fit which was a completely different shape.
I was torn as to whether I should get another Mia or the smaller, more compact, round Mia Fit. The second reason I was hesitating was because the last couple of times I’d had a professional facial, the facialist commented that I was developing little broken capillaries and she was not happy when I told her I used the Clarisonic, which she believed was not gentle enough for my sensitive skin, even though I always purchased the Sensitive brush head. While I was debating getting another Clarisonic, I stumbled upon a whole other option…
When I was in Sephora in Halifax, I spotted the oddest looking display. Had Sephora begun selling “personal massagers”? Nope, the egg-shaped, vibrating silicone item was in fact the Foreo LUNA, a sonic cleansing and anti-aging tool. The very helpful SA generously took a great deal of time explaining to me how it worked and how it differed from the Clarisonic. Here is why I decided to buy the Foreo LUNA instead, and what I think of it compared to the Clarisonic. Continue reading
Hey everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying spring. Where I live in Canada its still pretty cold and actually SNOWED here twice this week 😦 The fiance, a Folklore Professor, says the folktale about May snow is that if you apply it to your face it “cures” freckles. I haven’t tried it. I think freckles are super cute anyhow!
As someone who is very pale, I am just starting to dip my toes (or beauty blender sponge!) into the land of contouring, highlighting, and colour correcting. This isn’t always easy, as many of these products don’t seem to be geared towards fair skin gals. I was really excited to try out the new Smashbox Color Correcting Sticks, which claimed to enable me to “seamlessly achieve complexion perfection.” Who doesn’t want that? 🙂 Continue reading
“Strobing” or basically highlighting seems to be the latest makeup trend. When you have very pale skin, finding a foundation light enough is a challenge, let alone finding something even lighter than your skin that could be considered a “highlight” (and don’t even get me started on contouring/bronzing, that’s a whole other post). Nevertheless, pale, I-live-in-a-Northern-climate, Nerdy Librarian Girl set out on a mission to find a highlighter for fair skin to partake of this strobing trend! Continue reading
Welcome back to part 2 of my Did Samples Make me Want to Buy it or Skip it? Today I’m reviewing the primers and foundation samples I received.
Becca Backlight Priming Filter ($46 CAD): This primer claims to be “infused with 3 unique pearls to add light behind your complexion.” I like a glowy, dewy type of finish so I had high hopes for this Becca primer, a brand known for their highlighters. After an ingredients check, I was happy to see this was a mostly water-based primer, but then frustrated that it had added fragrance (urgh! #sensitiveskin #thestruggleisreal). Still, I gave it a try. After using this a couple of times under my MUFE Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation, I have to be honest, I saw absolutely no difference. No light. No glow. It did not create “an aura of light behind [my] foundation.” I prefer my Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector instead which is a great, light, fragrance-free moisturizer/primer for dry sensitive skin, and about half the price. Verdict: Skip-it. Continue reading
Make Up For Ever has come out with a new HD under eye concealer! The only foundation I use is the MUFE Ultra HD Invisible Cover which I’ve reviewed and also included in my 2015 Favourites. MUFE has shades light enough for very pale skin (I use the lightest foundation shade, Y205 Alabaster). I couldn’t wait to try the MUFE Ultra HD Concealer. It comes in only 5 shades, but lucky for me, the lightest, Y21 is super light! It is the lightest concealer that I have ever seen from any brand. If you’re a pale-skinned girl and have had a hard time finding a light enough concealer, I would definitely check this one out. Continue reading
I had been seeing the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder on favourites lists everywhere. My skin is on the drier side, so I don’t generally use a ton of powder, except on my chin and around my nose where I can tend to get a little shiny throughout the day. I find that my Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation doesn’t require much powdering to set and I like leaving the luminous finish. I’ve been loving the MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Light, which made my 2015 Favourites. When I ran out, I wanted something to replace it faster than I knew a MAC order would take to arrive. MAC can take three weeks or more to get to me, whereas the new Canadian Sephora shipping is crazy fast – about 2-3 days! Continue reading
Who doesn’t love NYX, am I right? My favourite NYX product is their powder blushes, and I was a bit concerned that they seem to have discontinued their familiar blush line and come out with a new formula and packaging. I went to the recently launched NYX Canada website to order some of the new High Definition Blushes along with some other items. You can read about my disastrous shipping/customer service experience with the site if you’d like. The four blushes I ordered survived and I really wanted to review them (although I cannot recommend ordering them from nyxcosmetics.ca).
The original line of NYX blushes came in 29 shades. The new HD blushes have 24 available shades, and only two of the original shade names remain (Amber and Taupe) although I’m not sure if they are still the same colour. Sadly there is no Angel, one of my all time favourite blushes. Continue reading
While I was in The Body Shop checking out their makeup products, I mentioned to the SA that I can’t use the skincare products because I’m really sensitive to scented products. She told me that they had a small line of products for sensitive skin that were fragrance-free. I didn’t know that! I decided to try the Aloe Vera Eye Defense which is $19 CAD. The area around my eyes is extremely sensitive and I have had reactions to nearly every fragrance-free cream I’ve tried including Clinique. The one eye cream that doesn’t irritate my skin is the crazy pricey Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm ($80 CAD!), so I normally stick to my dermatologist recommended, water-based, unscented Complex 15 and use it around my eyes as well my face. Continue reading
A little while ago, I attended a fundraiser for my local women’s centre and I won a gift basket that contained, among other things, a $25 gift card for The Body Shop. As you guys probably know, I have super sensitive skin and cannot use scented products, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out some more of The Body Shop’s makeup line. I have only ever tried their Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder, which works great on fair skin, and their Honey Bronze Shimmer Lip Balm. I recently popped in and they were having a buy one get one free sale. The SA was very helpful and assisted me with sanitizing and trying on several things, and I decided on a few of their lip and cheek products.
I am a blush-addict, so of course I had to try one of their All in One Blushers: “This extra-fine powder blusher gives smooth, buildable colour and has great staying power. With ingredients including vitamin E and marula oil, it’s make-up and skincare in one.” I picked the shade #01 Macaroon, a pale peachy shade with a satin finish – not entirely matte, but with a hint of sheen. Continue reading
The Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush has been on my wishlist ever since I first laid eyes on the mind-blowingly cute packaging. Not having a Sephora anywhere near me, was the only thing that stopped me from immediately going there and buying the entire collection! When I placed a Sephora order last month I added Baby Love to my cart. When the blush first arrived, I could not even. I mean, observe the cuteness! Continue reading
Miceller water, according to this cosmetic scientist, contains micelles or spherical liquid crystals that “vastly reduce the irritancy of some detergents”. If your skin is sensitive at all, micellar water is a great choice for removing makeup. I’m a big fan of the Bioderma Sensibio H2O micellar water, but frustratingly, it isn’t carried by any of the stores in my area. I always buy like 2 or 3 bottles, or however many I can fit in my suitcase, whenever I travel.
About a month or so ago I found myself at the end of my supply. Panicked, I headed to Shoppers Drugmart in search of a fragrance-free makeup remover. The SA suggested Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution. Marcelle is a Canadian brand known for catering to sensitive skin, and their Micellar solution boasts that its “paraben free, oil free, alcohol free, non comedogenic, hypo-allergenic, for sensitive skin and eyes.” There is also no added fragrance. Continue reading
Hey there! I’m back. Its been a crazy busy month with work and I’ve had very little time for anything, especially blogging. The fall is the busiest time of the year for me. I thought I’d get back in the swing of things with a giveaway! I absolutely love MAC blushes and I thought I’d share my favourite MAC blushes for fair skin and at the end of my post I’ll reveal which of those 5 blushes I will be giving away to a subscriber! Continue reading
I have been using the Urban Decay makeup setting spray for several years now. The “Chill Cooling & Hydrating” setting spray is my favourite. I even have the mini size for when I travel. Thanks to the new Sephora Canadian shipping debacle, my setting spray has been out-of-stock for ages. Dangerously low, I was walking through my local Lawtons Drugs, and I noticed a product that looked remarkably similar to the Urban Decay setting spray, L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray. The packaging was extremely similar. I asked the SA if she knew whether or not it was similar to the Urban Decay setting spray and she said she had several customers try it and then tell her they switched to the L’Oreal! Well, that was all I needed to hear to make me want to try a possible drugstore dupe for the Urban Decay setting spray! Continue reading
I can’t believe its been ages since I last posted! I had an unexpected work situation occur: I had to take over a project in a sort of emergency capacity to get it back on track and it has seriously taken up all of my time for the past couple of weeks. Today was the start of the new semester at my university and even though I was busy with orientation events for new faculty and students all day and am exhausted, I really wanted to do a post and get back in the swing of things. I have several new products that I’ve been using that I’ve been dying to write about.
If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I’m head over heels in love with the MUFE HD Foundation (read about how its the best foundation for fair skin imo). Its the only liquid foundation I’ve found that is light enough for me, that doesn’t oxidize, and also doesn’t irritate my skin or break me out. I tried a lot of foundations in my quest for a good liquid foundation as evidenced by my foundation graveyard. So imagine my horror to discover that my beloved foundation was *gasp* being reformulated!
Turns out, I shouldn’t have worried. The new Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation is
just as even more awesome as the original. I didn’t notice a huge difference in the formula, although MUFE claims the new formula “appears more invisible, comfortable, and natural-looking than ever before.” I think it was just so good to begin with that its difficult to notice a huge improvement. It’s still long wearing and sheer and natural looking, letting your own skin come through but also provides good coverage.
For me the two differences are 1. even cuter, and more high-end looking packaging, and 2. improved shade range. I really like the new silver band around the bottle versus the original black. I also liked the addition of the little MUFE lips holding a makeup brush logo on the cap.
I think the most impressive improvement is that the Ultra HD foundation comes in even more shades; an astonishing 40 shades! (compared to 26 in the original formula). I had been using the lightest shade in the original line, N110 Pink Porcelain, which I still found slightly too pink-toned for me. In the new line, the equivalent of 110 is R220, but there is an even lighter shade (which looks to be about 2-3 shades lighter than Pink Porcelain), Y205 Alabaster. You can see the difference in the swatches below:
Alabaster is an even better match for me! So the new Ultra HD Foundation gets a huge thumbs up from me. If you have a difficult time finding a foundation light enough for your skin tone, definitely check this out. I think its nice that they include a sample of the Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer with the foundation as well.
The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation is $50 CAD.
Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤
I’ve been looking for a good foundation primer for ages. I’m noticing my pores more, especially around my nose and on my chin which primers help conceal and generally give your skin a smoother appearance. The problem is, most primers I’ve tried, like the Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish, Hourglass Veil Mineral, BareMinerals Prime Time, all contain a lot of silicone (that’s what gives them that really “slippery” feel) and have irritated my skin and caused breakouts. Many other primers contain oils, also not a great thing to put on acne-prone skin. Since I found my all time favourite foundation, the water-based MUFE HD Invisible Cover Foundation I’ve avoided silicone and oil based primers because a water-based foundation isn’t going to work well over a silicone or oil primer.
My search for a non-siliconey, oil-free, fragrance-free primer led me to discover Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector Complete Daily Corrector. Marcelle is a Canadian brand based in Montreal and their products are made in Canada. Marcelle is known for being a fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic brand that is formulated especially for sensitive skin. The Ideal Skin Perfector “perfects and corrects the appearance of uneven skin tone, dark spots, pores, and fine lines” and can be applied on its own or under makeup.
Water-based, there are no oils listed in the ingredients. It isn’t completely silicone free, but it doesn’t have that heavy silicone feel to it like a lot of primers do. It feels like a moisturizer. Its also paraben free for those of you avoiding parabens. I’ve been using it around my nose and on my chin. I don’t really need a primer all over my face.
It hasn’t irritated my skin, or caused any clogged pores or breakouts. I do find my foundation applies more smoothly over it and my pores are not as accentuated.
The Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector is $24.95 CAD. Marcelle is available in most drugstores and major chains, and online through the Marcelle website, Well.ca, and London Drugs. Its available in the U.S. through their American site.
Let me know if you’ve found any other oil-free, fragrance-free or non-silicone foundation primers.
Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤
Annabelle is a Canadian drugstore brand based in Montreal that began in the 1960s. Most of their makeup products are actually made in Canada. I have already blogged about my love of the Annabelle lip liners, which are some of my favourite lip liners ever and very similar to the MAC lip liners. One of the things I like most about Annabelle is that their makeup has no scent or fragrance and is great for sensitive skin. I thought I’d do a brand spotlight to talk about some of the best Annabelle makeup products I’ve been trying out and also one that was a “miss” for me.
First up are the Annabelle eye shadows. This brand has quite an impressive selection for a drugstore brand as well as lots of good neutral shades (also hard to find at the drugstore). The Annabelle Quad Eyeshadow in Java Jive with the four shades Cream, Camel, Beige, & Brown is an awesome neutral palette.
The quad itself didn’t photograph well and all of the pics I took of it are showing as way too cool and purpley toned (sorry!), but the swatches, below, are more accurate.
None of the four shadows are overly shimmery. They just have a bit of sheen and the darkest Brown shade is pretty matte. I like using the Cream shade to blend out with and on my brow bone. Its very light which is perfect for my fair skin. I can do an eye look with just this quad alone.
The cool-toned neutral Trio Eyeshadow in Haute Chocolate was another awesome find!
Both the quad and trio I tried are very long-wearing and don’t crease on me (I always use an eye shadow primer). There are 5 other quads and 9 other trios to choose from! My favourite though are the Annabelle Single Eyeshadows which totally remind me of the MAC eye shadows. These are made in Canada and come in 15 shades.
I have three of these: #225 Ivory, Suedine, and #127 Brown Frost.
Ivory is basically a dupe for MAC Brule. Suedine (french for “Suede”) is a gorgeous neutral taupey-brown, and Brown Frost is a good, medium, cool-toned brown, and both have the prettiest (non-shimmery) sheen. The Singles are so soft, easy to work with and long-wearing they perform like high-end eye shadows.
I was also brave and tried one of their TwistUp Retractable Eyeshadow Crayons. I don’t typically have much luck with creamy eye shadows, but the shade Taupe, a slightly metallic, golden shade that wasn’t too warm-toned for me was calling my name.
I have used this on its own and under the Annabelle shadows and remarkably it hasn’t been creasing on me! I could barely get the swatch off my hand. Once these puppies are set, they aren’t going anywhere! Taupe is a beautiful, flattering shade that’s along the lines of MAC Powersurge Eye Kohl. Its like a browner, more coppery version of Powersurge.
The Annabelle Blushon powder blushes also bear a striking resemblance to the MAC blushes and are also Canadian made.
I have #44 Rose Fawn and #32 Pronto.
Rose Fawn is soft, cool-toned pink that is nearly matte with only a hint of sheen. It really reminds me of the feel and the quality of the MAC blushes. Its really pretty on fair skin and lasts all day. I’ve worn this one a lot.
One miss: I absolutely loved Pronto, the pale, neutral rosey-taupe type of blush shade I love, but sadly Pronto turned out to be a miss for me. It looks beautiful when first applied but it seriously oxidized on me and by the end of the day it was way darker and completely, straight up-bronzer brown. My BF even asked me what I had on my face. I didn’t have any issues with Rose Fawn oxidizing.
Another favourite of mine are the Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick Crayons. I have the shades Romance a nude, mauvey pink and Vamp a deep, burgundy-plum.
These really remind me of the MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencils (I’ve reviewed Kittenish and Spontaneous, and Sultana). Side note: How excited are you that MAC is coming out with more Patentpolish Lip Pencils in new colours???!!! The Annabelle Lipstick Crayons feel creamy and comfortable like a lip balm and you can pop them on without a mirror, but they stay on for hours. I mean, look how pretty they are:
Annabelle is available in most drugstores – Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, Rexall, Lawton’s Drugs – and Wal-Mart and Loblaws. If you are in the United States the Annabelle.ca site ships to the continental US, but doesn’t currently ship internationally. Here’s what I paid (yup bought all these myself and I’m not affiliated with the company in any way) for these Annabelle makeup items:
Annabelle Quad Eyeshadow: $10.95 CAD
Annabelle Trio Eyeshadow: $7.95 CAD
Anabelle Single Eyeshadow: $5.95 CAD
Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Eyeshadow Crayon: $9.95 CAD
Annabelle Blushon: $7.95 CAD
Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick Crayon: $9.95 CAD
I’d love to hear if you’ve tried the brand and if you have a favourite Annabelle product!
Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤
I’ve been in Ottawa for work this past week, and while I was there, visited the Sephora in the Rideau Centre. I totally went in to check out the Clinique Cheek Pop blushes with the super cute flower design. I’d been hearing several other YouTubers & bloggers mention them and was especially interested in the shade Nude Pop.
I have to say, in person, I was so disappointed. After swatching them, I found them to be way too shimmery for me (think lots of little individual flecks of shimmer). All the shades seemed to have the exact same finish. I’m just not a shimmery blush kind of gal. Feeling bummed, I wandered forlornly around Sephora till a SA asked if I needed any help. I told her my tale of Cheek Pop woe and she immediately suggested I check out the new Urban Decay blushes. I’m so glad I did. The “Afterglow” (named in typical UD fashion) 8-hour powder blushes are beautiful!
I think this is the coolest blush packaging I’ve ever seen. Several of the blushes were matte and had the softest, buttery texture, much like the UD eye shadows. I chose the shade Fetish, described as a “medium pink nude,” which I would say is a pale, neutral pinky-nude blush with a matte finish. UD describes the Afterglow blushes as “extremely blendable”, “sheer”, and “finely milled”, which I would completely agree with.
Look at the subtle, pale loveliness of this blush! Such a perfect blush for fair skin I think.
The Urban Decay Afterglow 8-hour Blushes are $31 CAD.
What do you think? Clinique Cheek Pop VS Urban Decay Afterglow? Are you loving the shimmery Cheek Pops or do you prefer a matte blush? I’d love to hear from you.
Thank for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤