Sunday, January 3, 2016

Loving Lately - December 2015

I'm a few days late here, but let me start by saying happy 2016 to all of you! I can't believe 2015 has already wrapped and that the holiday season has come and gone. To me, the holidays always feel like the weirdest build-up and anticipation for this particular stretch of the year then it all winds down before I've even realized it's arrived. That being said, I had a fantastic holiday season surrounded by family and friends, so I'm grateful for that. I've had some new discoveries that have helped streamline my routine (the first two products mentioned below in particular), so let's delve in!

While I've certainly spent a chunk of time committed to a couple of brow products, in my usual fashion, I'm always open to something new. This pomade crayon made its debut at Toronto Fashion Week and was touted for its ultimate ease of application, resulting in unfussy brows that  actually look natural. As in not filled in meticulously with a slew of products. Just a few semi-errant strokes of this stuff through your brow hairs and you suddenly look more put-together. It's priceless. I use the spoolie on my Lancôme Eyebrow Reshaper Brush to brush the product through my hairs and call it day. On occasion, I may run Benefit Gimme Brow through my brows after if I'm facing a special event (such as holiday festivities), but overall, this stuff is simple, fast, good and affordable. That last attribute is key because brow products are one category I am forever replenishing.

I have this product in Deep Brown (heavily swatched on my hand, shown above), which I find ashy enough to not pull red on me at all, but anyone who needs a more ashy, black-based shade will have to continue their search for the ideal brow product. This pomade crayon is available in 4 shades and should be popping up in Canadian drugstores in due time; it's already widely available stateside. 

A huge deterrent of exercise was the unavoidable impact it would make on my hair. I usually only wash my hair once a week - that's all it tends to need, and my psoriasis seems to prefer less interaction with shampoo - so working up a sweat a few times in that week-long span throws off my usual hair regime. After picking up increasingly challenging (and thankfully fun!) BCBD classes twice a week (headed up by the one and only Eva Redpath), I found myself with heinous hair sooner in the week than usual. While I've obviously tried dry shampoos before from a bevy of brands - high and low - I wasn't too impressed and felt they usually only masked odour (functioning like Febreze - no thanks) and added tapioca starch in spades to my hair instead of actually quasi-cleaning it. Naturally, the geniuses over at Living Proof (MIT scientists are behind this concoction) threw a hat in the ring with this dry shampoo and it is better than any other formula I've come across. Not only does it absorb unwanted odours, but it also absorbs sweat. That basically sealed the deal for me! The formula takes about 30 seconds to kick in, so shake the can, spray on your roots, wait half a minute and brush out for hair that is a hell of a lot better-looking (and smelling) than it was before. 

Aside from the hyper-adorable packaging (resistance is futile), this blush palette offers up all 6 Too Faced Love Flush blush shades in a travel-friendly format with a handy mirror. The formula apparently boasts 16-hour wear time, but I'm not sure who that's actually a concern for; I'll just say these blushes wear for a long time without fading and the formulation is super pigmented, so a little goes a long way and call it a day - cool? 

Swatches (L to R): Love Hangover, Baby Love, I Will Always Love You,
 How Deep Is Your Love?, Justify My Love, Your Love Is King
The colours included can carry you from everyday looks through to evening looks. And it's cute. Like, abnormally cute. This palette was the only source of blush I took on a recent stint to Florida and it worked marvellously, standing up to the heat and humidity alike. Baby Love can also pass as a bronzer on me (I'm hovering somewhere around NC40/Chanel Beige 40 or Beige 50 these days), and I was surprisingly pleased with every colour in this palette. Oh, and it's actually a solid value for such a variety of shades. Snap this one up!

Aside from the usual seasonal dryness, I developed a tiny patch of eczema on my right hand that was annoyingly persistent. I decided to try to counter this parched patch of skin with persistence of my own in the form of consistent hand cream application. Normally, I'm kind of the worst with hand cream; I own a ton of different formulations in a wardrobe of scents, but I still seldom use the stuff. I have plenty of tubes I love (Cle de Peau's with SPF 18 was a staple in my school bag, I also love the Ambre Vanillé one from Laura Mercier), but nothing I would apply regularly. This Bliss formula contains macadamia seed and grape seed oil and no major fragrance (nothing offensive or distracting here) and really softens skin while leaving little residue. I can still use a touchscreen gadget afterward without leaving a ton of grease all over the place. I also have been reaching for Diptyque Baume Genereux (purchased before Diptyque repackaged from a jar format to a tube), which does leave a bit of a residue on hands since it takes a little longer to absorb. It has a warm, inviting apricot scent, which is actually kind of delicious and comforting. The formula contains Shea butter, argan oil, apricot kernel oil and vitamin E, for silky skin. It's a bit of a treat, but it's so lovely, particularly after a long or cold day. Highly recommend either of these formulations for knackered hands!

The holidays are usually a time of year when I would shift back into a gel manicure routine purely for longevity, but let's just say I was a bit lazy this year and dropped the ball when it came to booking myself in at Tips for a holiday mani. I stuck to my usual glittery reds and metallics, but as usual with most textured polishes, it's a challenge to prevent massive chipping. This Lancôme gel top coat actually let me go virtually a week with only minor tip wear. It takes a little while to dry, but patience pays off. Let me just go on record to state that I wash pots/pans by hand and clean my home pretty vigorously without gloves, so the lasting power this gel top coat afforded me is a mild Christmas miracle. All quick-dry top coats can exit my stash - they're notorious for chipping prematurely versus their slow-drying counterparts. 


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