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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Removing Makeup

It is so important to remove your makeup and too many people skip this step.  I have oily acne-prone skin so this is a necessary step for me in trying to maintain control over my skin's condition.  I have tried many different types of makeup removers and will review some here.  You will find that the type of remover you prefer will depend on your lifestyle and your skin type.

I find that because eye makeup is the trickiest to remove I focused my efforts in finding the best removers for liners and mascara.  Removing foundation, blush and shadow are far less effort and may only require your usual facial cleanser.  Here are some reviews for eye makeup removers;

MAC Cleanse Off Oil

This is the priciest of the products reviewed.  I used to use this all the time and it works wonderfully.  I ran out and decided to find an alternative while I was at the drugstore rather than making the trip to MAC.  I am glad I did.  As well as this remover works it is pricey and for something I use everyday I realized that I could save quite a bit of money switching to another product.  I found the best was to use this remover was to apply it directly to a cotton pad and hold it on my eyes for about 30 seconds, then wipe off the makeup.  Con: this product (like many eye makeup removers) tends to get in your eyes and it causes your vision to blur temporarily.

Huggies Baby Wipes

I prefer the Shea Butter wipes most of all, they seem to work best and leave my skin soft.  These are so cheap for the number of wipes you get and let's face it, it's so convenient to just grab a wipe! It is best to store the container upside down so that when you turn it over and remove a wipe it will be very saturated.  I have tried no-name or store brand baby wipes and  they just don't compare. The store brand wipes are thin and less saturated and take more effort to remove makeup.

Garnier Fresh Grape Water Makeup Remover

I purchased both the remover wipes and the liquid remover in this line.  I didn't like either.  I found that both formulas did not remove makeup very well at all and the wipes were not saturated enough.  Even if the wipes were more moist I still don't think they would have done the job.  I used 3 times as much liquid and about 3-4 wipes to remove all of my makeup.  The wipes are more expensive than the baby wipes.  I ended up giving a friend the wipes I had left and an unopened package.  It wasn't even worth it to me to just use them up.  I didn't want to put so much effort into the removal and I didn't like tugging on the skin around my eyes so much.  The liquid remover will be going to my friend as well, if she even wants it, it works as well as the wipes.

Clean & Clear Soothing Eye Makeup Remover

I have used this remover again and again over the last 10 years.  There is a reason I always come back to this one.  This remover works! It removes all traces of my eye makeup quickly and completely!  It is a very oily product, I don't have to use too much of it and it's relatively inexpensive.  The only downside would be the blurry eyes, but that goes away quick enough!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive Oil gives you the biggest bang for your buck! Check out my last Blog post on Homemade Beauty.  Olive oil has so many great uses for beauty and it is one of the best eye makeup removers.  I used this on one eye and the MAC Cleanse Off Oil on the other eye and found no difference whatsoever (aside from price, that is)!  Both eyes blurred a little, so that's the disadvantage to using an oil, but they really work well to melt away the makeup!


Good ol' Vaseline!  Right now this is my favourite makeup remover! It works wonders at removing stubborn eye makeup and it leaves my eyes super moisturized!  It, like the extra virgin olive oil, has so many other beauty functions!  Vaseline is the cheapest of all removers mentioned and it is so easy to find.

I hope you enjoyed this post and discovered some new removers to try! Don't forget to always remove your makeup before bed, your skin will thank you for it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homemade Beauty

The skin care industry is a multi-billion dollar business, estimated to be worth USD43 billion per year.  There are always new products with new claims to get you the beautiful skin you've always dreamed of.  You can spend a small fortune on lotions, potions, creams, toners, masks, scrubs, etc., etc., etc.  I was getting tired of spending so much money only to find that some of these products would cause breakouts or just not really do much of anything for my skin.  I decided that I would do some research and trials with some back to basic (and cheap!) products for my skin and hair.  My wallet and my skin are thanking me-BIG TIME!
I have put together a list of beauty treatments you can try with things you can purchase at the grocery store or drugstore.  There are so many natural and simple ingredients you can use in place of commercial beauty products, but I will just focus on my tried and true favourites.  Please give them a try and see the fantastic results!

Lemon Juice

I mentioned lemon juice in my last favourites post.  Lemons have natural antiseptic and astringent qualities as well as lightening effects on the skin.  I use lemon juice with sugar on a cotton pad every 2nd or 3rd night as a very refreshing exfoliating scrub.  I also use lemon juice on it's own all over my face and leave it for 15-20 minutes before rinsing to help tighten pores and to lighten some discolouration.


I use sugar in a couple of different ways.  I use sugar and an exfoliating scrub with lemon juice, as mentioned above, or with honey.  When I use honey and sugar I can also scrub my lips and it works better than any lip scrub I've purchased.  I don't like to use the lemon juice on my lips as it can be drying.  I also add sugar to a bit of extra virgin olive oil for a more moisturizing scrub.  This too can be used on the lips.  You can use the sugar and honey combo to use as a body scrub as well of you can just use your favourite body wash and add a little sugar in the palm of your hand.  WARNING!- sugar can be abrasive, always scrub gently in a circular motion.


LIQUID GOLD! This is probably my favourite beauty product from the pantry.  I use it either on it's own or as a base for my masks.  When I use honey my skin feels so soft, my skin looks so even and I have a really nice glow.  I slap this all over my face and leave it on for about 15 minutes, then rinse it with warm water.  Surprisingly it rinses away quickly and nicely (not what you'd expect from sticky honey).  As mentioned you can add sugar to make a scrub and mask in one and use it as a lip scrub.  I also use honey with oatmeal and with Aspirin for other types of masks! I will give some easy instructions and recipes below.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

I love this stuff.  I think I use it the most of everything I'm mentioning. It has so many great uses and it is so cost effective considering it's multiple uses.  EVOO is very moisturizing.  I use it on it's own as a moisturizer at night, sometimes I add a drop or two of glycerin when I need a heavy duty moisturizer.  I use it with sugar as a face/lip scrub.  I use it with a bit of dish soap to clean my makeup brushes (it takes and oil to get rid of other oils!).  I use it as an eye makeup remover.  I also use EVOO as a hair mask, saturating my hair for 15 minutes before shampooing.  It repairs my dry ends and leaves my hair so soft!  You can also use EVOO to soak your finger nails, it will moisturize the nails and cuticles and actually nourish your nails and make them stronger!


Yogurt is great for the skin, it is cooling and calms redness and puffiness.  The lactic acid in yogurt acts as a natural exfoliant.  Be sure you get the plain unsweetened yogurt.  I use this on it own as a mask and I also add honey and oatmeal from time to time.  I find if I have active breakouts, the yogurt calms them and reduces the size!


It is worth the $15 coffee grinder you will need for this ingredient.  Ground oatmeal can be added to honey or yogurt and applied to the skin as a mask and it will sooth dry itchy skin.  It is also fantastic in the bath if you have dry-itchy skin.  Be sure to use regular oats, not the instant kind.


Aspirin (ASA) is great for treating acne prone skin.  Added to some honey of a bit of water, Aspirin can reduce redness and reduce blemish size.  The acid exfoliates revealing soft skin.  Be sure to use uncoated Aspirin and moisturize with EVOO afterward.


You can find Glycerin at the drugstore usually where the rubbing alcohol is sold.  Glycerin is in almost all beauty products, especially moisturizers.  On it's own it can actually dry out your skin, but added to 3 parts water or adding 1-2 drops to a teaspoon of olive oil it will leave your skin soft and smooth and without dry patches.  If you have a favourite moisturizer already, you can add a few drops of glycerin when applying to make it an intense moisturizing night cream!  One part glycerin and three parts water in a spray bottle will keep for about 2 weeks.  This recipe can be used as an all over moisture spray and also as a mixing medium for mineral makeup!

So, as you can see there are so many wonderful and cheap grocery/drug store items to make you beautiful!  The best results will be finding a balance that's right for your skin type and sticking to that routine!  Let me know your homemade beauty secrets!


I made these as easy as possible 1-3 ingredients only.  I used to shy away from homemade beauty regimes because I believed it would be too much work, but with these simple recipes you'll save a bundle and find it so easy to have beautiful skin (and hair)!


Lip scrub- 1-2 drops of extra virgin olive oil or honey and a pinch of sugar

exfoliating face scrub-  1 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of sugar.  Saturate a cotton pad with the juice then sprinkle on some sugar.  Rub the cotton pad gently over face, avoiding eye area. Rinse (if you happen to lick your lips mmmmm lemonade!)

exfoliating and moisturizing face scrub- 1tsp olive oil or honey and a pinch of sugar


Yogurt Mask- 1/4 cup yogurt on it's own or add 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp oatmeal. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse.

Aspirin Mask- 2 uncoated aspirin dissolved in 1 tsp water to create a paste (optional: add 1 tsp honey) Leave on for 15 minutes then scrub, then rinse.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"All Drugstore" Smokey Eye!

This shimmery and dramatic smokey eye was created using makeup purchased at the drugstore.  You can be beautiful on a budget!  It just so happened that I chose all Maybelline products, but you can substitute for any products you like.  I love the eyeshadow quad I used in the video and I use it often.  I did not however like the Maybelline Liquid Liner and I definitely will not be repurchasing.  I found the formula way too thin.  Here is a list of everything I used in the video:
Maybelline Stylish Smokes eyeshadow quad in "02- Natural Smokes"
Maybelline Liquid Eyeliner in "Black"
Maybelline Expert Eyes eyeliner pencil in "Velvet Black"
Maybelline Great Lash mascara in "Soft Black"
Mark. Cheek Tint in "Cheeky"
Quo In The Club/V.I.P Lip gloss in "Pink Stilettos"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

March Favourites

I love trying new products and the month of March was no exception.  I have tried a number of new to me things and revisited some things that I used to use.  I found a lot of great things, but like always I tried out a few not-so-great things too.  I will let you know the winners and losers of the month!

Winner: Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in "White"

Kohl (also called Kajal) is an ancient eye cosmetic. It was made by grinding galena (lead sulfide) and other ingredients. Today the trend is to make it without poisonous ingredients. It is widely used in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes. 

Kohl eyeliner has the softest powder texture and is available in dark matte shades. This product may come in several forms: pencil, pressed powder, or loose powder. It is usually applied to the inner rim of the eye (the pink area behind the eyelashes) unlike other eyeliners as it does not irritate the sensitive tissue
in that area.

Using a white liner on the water line (inner rim) makes your eyes appear larger and makes you look more awake! Some mornings you just need that extra something, and the Rimmel liner works perfectly.  It lasts quite a while and does not irritate my eyes.  For some reason March was not a great month for me in the sleep department so I relied on this product to disguise my utter exhaustion!

Winner: Lemon and Sugar

I am so happy this has been working for me! This is such a cheap and effective treatment!
Lemon juice contains one of the AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids which is citric acid. It works by sloughing off dead skin, promoting skin elasticity, and enabling new skin cell growth rise from underneath. It also flushes out pores and keeps your skin feeling fresh and bright. Lemon juice has skin lightening properties as well which will help diminish age spots and acne scars.
Every night after cleansing my face,  I saturate a cotton pad with lemon juice and rub it all over my face (like a toner, avoiding the eye area).  It does tingle a bit but it makes me think it's working really hard!! I let the juice soak into my skin and leave it for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.  Some people leave it on overnight with amazing results.  I am gearing up to do that myself but I want to ease into it so I don't get any adverse reactions.  Every other night or every third night, after soaking the cotton pad, I add about half of a teaspoon of granulated sugar and rub this all over my face.  This is such a great exfoliant and my face just glows afterward!

Winner: Nivea Milk & Honey Lip balm

After using a "loser" lip balm that I really wanted to love and clearly didn't, I went back to my Nivea Milk & Honey Lip Balm.  The smell is incredible and the formula itself leaves my lips super soft!  I keep this on my night stand and put it on just before bed.  This lip balm is only $2, which excites me even more!

Loser: EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm

Like I said, I really wanted to love this lip balm.  The packaging was what lured me in, it is so cute!  I have other sphere lip balms (like Ballmania) but they all require you to dip your finger into the product and I don't like that.  The EOS sphere opens to reveal a dome shaped lip balm that you just rub directly onto your lips.  The shape makes it so great for finding it in the bottom of your purse.  Too bad the formula is absolute garbage :(  I used this for a few weeks hoping it would start to work but it never did, in fact it left my lips dry and I found my self reapplying so often.  At least I have my Nivea Milk & Honey!  

Winner: Yonka Emulsion Pure

This products deserves top spot for my March favourites!  I have had this product for about a year and a half.  For some reason I never got into a routine using this, and I don't know why.  I always have great results and yet I forget it's in my arsenal.  For the past month I have been using this and I will officially say I'm in a routine!  This is a milky, magical potion.  It is a blend of essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, rosemary, and geranium in their most concentrated form to render a pure and highly effective treatment for oily or problem/acne skin.  The best way to use this product is use a compress; soak a piece of gauze and hold it on the problem area for 15 minutes.  Do not rinse.  If I feel a pimple coming on, even the big hormonal cystic ones, I will do this at night and in the morning I wake up so happy! The redness is gone and the inflammation is reduced to almost nothing.  You can use the Emulsion Pure as an all over toner as well and the smell is incredible!

I hope you enjoyed this month's favoutires! Comment below with your favourites!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Flawless Foundation Routine

Watch the video below to see my foundation routine to achieve a flawless finish!

Products Used:
Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller in "Sheer Tint"
Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel
Makeup Forever Matte Velvet + in "Vanilla"
Benefit Boi-ing Concealer in "02"
Benefit Eye Bright Pencil
MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer in "NW20"
Benefit Powderflage

* All products mentioned in this video were purchased by me

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Contour, Highlight and Blush!

Whether you are looking to enhance your cheekbones or looking to create the illusion of defined cheekbones (that's me!), then follow these tricks of the trade! I will also show you how to disguise a large forehead -, slim your nose, and define your jaw line all with just a few products!

Contouring (Sculpting)

As you can see in the photo, I have indicated the main areas to contour but I will also explain a couple of other areas to sculpt that will further enhance your look!

You can contour with a powder, cream base, dark foundation, concealer stick or some bronzing powders as long as you follow these simple rules; the shade must be 4-6 shades darker than your skin tone and the formula must be matte!  I am really liking the Coastal Scents Blush & Contour Palette. 
Take a contour brush or chisel brush and start applying the contour shade under your cheekbones.  It should follow a line from the corner of your mouth to the top of your ear, however it should go over as far as your mouth, just under your pupil is perfect.  Be sure to blend this right into the hairline to make this as natural as possible.  Next, continue contouring at the temples and up the side of the forehead along the hairline.  **If you have a large forehead continue the shade around the hairline at the top of the forehead creating a big "C" shape from the temples.

If you wish to thin your nose you can apply the contour shade to the sides of your nose.  Blend very well! You can also shorten the appearance of your nose by applying it to the tip of your nose.

If you have a round face you may wish to define your jawline. Apply the shade on the jawline and just under the bones. You will want to avoid this step if you have a thin face or a very structured jawline as this can come off looking quite masculine to those face shapes. 

Be sure to blend all of your contouring really well using circular motions with your brush.

Highlighting (shaping)

Highlighting will enhance your look by drawing the eyes to the higher planes of your face.  You can also use techniques to straighten your nose.  I absolutely love the Cream Colour Base in "Hush" by MAC.  It has a beautiful shimmer that catches the light and is so gorgeous! You will also need a matte highlighter if you want to do a complete sculpt and shape.  In the photo I have marked the areas to highlight with a shimmery highlighter.  I will explain where you can apply the matte highlighter to fully shape your face.
Start highlighting by taking your shade right on top of your cheekbones from under the pupils to the outer corners of the eyes.  This area is particularly flattering when the light catches the subtle shimmer.  Take a small amount and run it down the centre of your nose.  This will make your nose appear straighter and slimmer.  You can use this as a brow highlight too!  Those are the only places you want to apply a shimmery highlighter.  For the next few places you will need a matte highlighter.  The one in the Coastal Scents Palette is great for this too.  Take this product on a fluffy brush and apply it to the centre of your forehead, on your cupid's bow and the centre of your chin.  You will also want to apply this matte colour on the tops of your cheekbones from the corner of your eye to your pupils to meet up with the shimmery shade.  Take a clean fluffy brush and blend all contouring and highlighting.  You should not see any lines, this is to look like natural highlights and shadows.


Too many times I see wrongly applied blush and hear people give such poor advice on how to apply blush.  I will tell you how to apply blush the proper and most flattering way!  DO NOT SMILE to apply your blush- doing so will cause you to apply your blush too low!  When you smile you raise your cheeks so your application falls when your smile does!  Instead, follow these tips to find the perfect spot to apply blush on your face!  Make a kissing face rather than a smile if you need to find your apples.  You can also draw an imaginary line from the corner of your nose (right in the crease beside your nostril) to the top of your ear.  On this line directly below your pupil is where you want to start applying your blush, from there all the way back into your hairline.  This should be right in the middle of the highlighter and contour shade.  Do not allow the colour to go any closer than this to the centre of your face, doing so will make you look years older and blush is meant to mimic a natural youthful glow!  Be sure to blend all of these steps together we don't want stripes!

Have fun shaping and sculpting! You are beautiful!