Winter Survival Guide: Beauty Edition

So it’s been getting extremely cold in Vancouver the past couple of days (and the rest of Canada shakes their head at us). But seriously, today is a whopping -5 degrees Celcius, with a high of -2. Us university students are buried in final exams, papers, and it’s a stressful time for everybody. I haven’t been able to write much cause the last few weeks have been absolutely crazy, and I got very sick over the past week. And to top it off, my home’s heater broke and I’ve been freezing for the past week or so.

But amidst the craziness, the temperature changes have made my skin and hair very dry (when it is normally oily), and I’ve had to take extra time out of my day to take care of it and make sure it stays moisturized. I thought I’d share some of my tips and my favourite products to help combat the chilly weather.

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1. MOISTURIZE YOUR FACE. While this may seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how many people are lazy when it comes to moisturizing, myself included. I have oily skin, so I can normally get away with just washing my face with Cetaphil and going to bed. But in the wintertime, even my oily skin gets dry, and so I make sure to moisturize my face before I head out the door and before heading to sleep.

Moisturizer doesn’t have to be expensive (I messed up my skin last winter trying out high-end products), but it does have to work for your skin. I’ve been using the Neutrogena Oil-Free Sensitive Skin Moisturizer for around 4 years now, and it works beautifully for both morning and night. It’s light and water-based, but still hydrating, and I’d imagine it work for a large range of skin types. And it only retails for $10-$15, and one bottle lasts a very long time.

2. STAY HYDRATED. This is important year-round, but especially during the holidays. All that cold weather, central heating, and alcohol at holiday parties will really dehydrate your body and dry out your skin. Drink plenty of water (and no, cocktails don’t count) to keep your body and your skin happy and healthy.

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3. Okay, even I’m surprised that I’ve included body lotion into this. I’m not going to lie, I am very picky about moisturizers, and I don’t like 99% of the lotions I own. I find body lotions in general to be very sticky and uncomfortable (and don’t even get me started about body butters). But I was gifted this Sugar Lemon Body Lotion by fresh by a friend on my birthday, so when I noticed that my legs were getting dry from the weather, I finally gave it a try- and I LOVE it. It’s so light but hydrating, sinks into my skin like a dream, and smells exactly like it sounds. My legs are visibly less dry after only a couple of uses. It has a hefty price tag for a lotion (around $30), but for me it’d be worth it, because I don’t remember the last time I actually liked a body lotion.

I discussed my favourite hand cream in an earlier post, which you can bet is equally amazing as I am just as picky about those. I’ve been reapplying every couple hours, whereas every other time of the year you’d be lucky if I applied it once a week.

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4. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! A few years ago, I wondered why I was suddenly breaking out come Fall/Winter, and read in a magazine that it is especially important to exfoliate in the winter, as those dry, dead skin cells build up on your face and leave it looking dull, and can lead to breakouts. And it turns out they were right- within a week, my skin had mostly cleared up. I have been using this one lately in the shower: The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Exfoliator. It is REALLY GENTLE- actually a bit more gentle than I’d prefer, but it does the job and doesn’t irritate my skin. This would work for even those with hyper sensitive skin- the beads are microscopic and will not irritate you in the least.

To compare the products side by side:

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From top to bottom: Neutrogena moisturizer, Fresh body lotion, Body Shop exfoliator

They all look extremely similar, all light, non-irritating, sensitive-skin friendly, and do their job well. (Excuse my hand.. it’s rather tired looking)

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5. Can’t forget about the lips, cause I don’t know about you, but I constantly have to reapply this time of year. These two have been my favourites lately, and the Burts Bees Lip Balm has been my favourite for years. Since the beginning of high school. My whole family loves them. The Vaseline Lip Therapy is very potent and great for bedtime. I apply it with a Q-Tip (because I hate dipping my fingers into jars) before bed, and wake up with soft, smooth lips.

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6. As for hair, this has been my love for the past few months. I have long hair and very, VERY dry ends, and this really helps to hydrate my hair and smooth it out. The Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Deep Treatment was also a gift from a friend, and it is seriously amazing. I’m not even joking- it is a miracle for it’s price ($2.99!). However, at the moment you can only get this in the states, so if you can get yourself down there, I highly recommend you try this out. I stocked up at Target, but you can probably find this in similar department stores.

Because I like to recommend products that are mostly affordable and can be easily accessed (I am a student after all), another hair mask that I love is the L’Oreal Total Repair Replenishing Mask.

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If you can’t get your hands on the Aussie one, this one is also really hydrating, inexpensive (around $5), and lasts for a long time. This is also a staple in my shower. Just an FYI: I use hair masks/deep conditioners as my everyday conditioner.

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7. And because you know how much I love using face masks to de-stress, this Moisturizing Cream Mask by Caudalie is very soothing and hydrating. The reason why I don’t have my own photo of this is because I received a deluxe sample of this and used it all up. It’s a splurge at $42, but this is one of the few moisturizing masks I do like. I typically prefer clay masks for oily skin.

And that is it for my tips on surviving the winter season. Stay warm, stay hydrated, and take care of your skin! Good luck to those in the midst of exams, and have an amazing and well-deserved break!

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Happy Holidays from me to you! Thanks for catching up with me!

Beauty Essentials for School!

Now that school is back in full swing, I thought that I’d make a blog post about my beauty essentials for school specifically. It’s a stressful time for all of us students, and these products just help make things easier and brighten up my day. Most of these have been well-loved and trusted by me for years, so keep reading!

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1. First off: the most basic essential. Clear lip balm. Now I love my Burts Bees and have for years, but I picked up this Maybelline Baby Lips about a month ago because I wanted a lip balm with SPF, and I LOVE it! It’s so moisturizing and emollient, sits well on the lips, and smells like sugar and citrus fruits. Even if you’re going without makeup for the day, keeping your lips moisturized is important. Plus, it’s got SPF 20!

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2. Continuing with the lippies, this is my all-time favourite lip colour. And that’s saying something cause I am a lipstick hoarder. This is the Revlon Just Kissable Balm Stain in Honey. I received this as a gift last year, and I’ve loved it to death ever since. I even got quite a few of my friends hooked on this! It’s such a wearable, everyday MLBB (my lips but better) shade that is universally flattering on many skin tones, it has incredible staying power (it actually stains your lips without drying it out!), and it’s affordable. What’s not to love?

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3. Believe it or not, groomed eyebrows can make a big difference in your appearance, and especially in photos! Your brows frame your face and your eyes, and taking that extra minute to touch them up will make you look instantly more polished and put together. This is especially important if you’re going through company recruiting or networking sessions (commerce kids, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not just the suit that counts). My favourite brow wax is the ELF Eyebrow Kit. It comes with a little dual-ended brush for on-the-go touchups, but I prefer to use an angled eyeliner brush to apply this. It stays all day and best of all, it’s only $3! Definitely worth a try.

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4. This is probably my favourite thing out of all these products. The Boscia Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Balm has been a lifesaver for a sleep-deprived student like me. Getting out of bed when you’ve barely slept is hard enough, but you can help ease the pain with this eye balm. Just swipe it on your undereye area (read: eye bags) and you will instantly feel this AMAZING COOLING, REFRESHING SENSATION. I don’t even know how to accurately describe it. It’s absolutely amazing and helps to really wake up your tired eyes, and the sensation lasts for about an hour for me. I’ve tried many undereye rollers but they all fall short compared to this. It’s a steep price at $36, but it’s worth it, and one tube will last you for ages! You will thank me during those inevitable zombie mornings this semester.

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5. I’ve stated in a previous post that I don’t really like concealers cause they tend to crease on me, especially in the undereye area. However, this Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Eye Primer also doubles as an undereye concealer & brightener.

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It’s a sheer formula as you can see (I didn’t blend the swatch out at all), but it absolutely will not crease, and helps to brighten up those dark undereye circles from staying up all night studying. This is the only thing that has worked for me for years, and it never fails. So if you have problems with creasing, give this a try!

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6. Let’s say you’re running late but you still need to look nice and polished for something. The L’Oreal Magic Souffle Cream Blush in Plume is the perfect on-the-go blush to stash into your makeup bag. This matte pink shade will complement any makeup look, from a bare face to a smokey eye, and is so easy to use: Just lightly press your finger against the blush, dot it a few times on your cheeks, and blend with your finger. No fussing with brushes or powder fallout. Just a natural, healthy flush that brightens up your complexion!

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7. I’m really picky about hand creams, mostly because I don’t like lotions in general. They leave behind a sticky film and I am one to constantly wash my hands to feel clean. However, over the past year I’ve noticed that during the wintertime, my hands get really dry. This has never happened in the past, so I tried a bunch of hand creams until I finally came upon this one. The L’Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream is my HG, and this little tube has lasted me for ages! It’s so emollient and deeply moisturizes, but absorbs quickly into my skin and doesn’t leave any residue. A staple in my makeup bag!

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8. Okay. This is the one thing I can’t leave my house without. I have supremely oily skin, especially in the nose area, and have to blot twice a day usually. Shiny isn’t a good look on me. I’ve tried so many different types of oil sheets but I just keep coming back to this one. The Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets does the job like no other. These especially come in handy when you have P.E. Class in high school, or you have to make an unexpected sprint for the bus or from class to class.

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They’re not actually papers, which is what most of them out in the market are, but blue films that actually soak up all the oil. Yeah I’m going to stop cause it’s kind of gross, that’s as much detail as I’ll go into. If you have oily skin, try these! They are a total lifesaver. I always have them around with me.

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9. I don’t know about you guys, but when I stress out over school, I simultaneously break out, and it sucks (my skin tends to be so nice during summer!). This is my favourite non-prescription acne treatment. The Clean & Clear Popped Pimple Drying Paste has really high reviews all over the Internet, and for good reason. You apply this before you go to bed, and when you wake up in the morning, your acne will be dried up and diminished, less inflamed, and just less prominent.

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It works especially well if you have a tendency of popping pimples. This will help minimize any scarring left behind and heal it quickly. I never pop pimples, but sometimes you can do so by accident (ie: scrubbing at your face too roughly with a washcloth). This is for bedtime use only, as it dries to a bright white colour (like the swatch above) and I don’t think anyone wants to walk around outside with this on their face.

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10. I am not usually big on perfumes, but I will always have a rollerball or atomizer stashed in my bag for emergencies (ie: P.E. class in high school, crashing at a friend’s place and not being able to shower, etc). I received the Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue EDT as a birthday gift from my friend, and I love the fresh, clean scent of this perfume! It’s very wearable for everyday and not overpowering.

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I was pleasantly surprised when I took off the cap and saw that it was a spray bottle, and not a rollerball! Rollerballs are a cost efficient way of trying new perfumes, but can be kind of gross (sweat can dilute the true scent of the perfume). Sprays are more hygienic and easier to use. This scent is sophisticated, understated, and clean, all of which I love. It won’t overpower the senses of the person sitting next to me, so it’s wearable for school as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! I have wanted to post for quite some time, but have been ridiculously busy and each blog post takes a lot of time to create. If you swear by any products for the school year/wintertime, I would love to know! More beauty-related posts will be coming up soon, so stay tuned, and have a great school year!

My Top 10 Summer Beauty Favourites!

Venturing further into the world of beauty blogging, I have decided to dig out my top 10 most-loved beauty products of the summer to share with you guys! I know a lot of beauty bloggers/gurus like to do “monthly favourites”, but I feel like I don’t try enough new products a month to write anything interesting. I think seasonal favourites would be easier for me to do!

These products have been tried and tested by me, and I absolutely love them. Note that they may not work for all skin types: I have oily-combination and sensitive skin, so adjust according to your needs.

First off, we have my favourite nail polishes of the summer:

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1. They’re both by Essie, and they’re Mint Candy Apple and Cute As A Button.

Mint Candy Apple is probably my favourite polish out of my whole collection- it’s such a flattering and unique colour, eye-catching yet not being too over the top. It’s the most perfect shade of mint I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I hunted through probably 4 or 5 drugstores till I found this in a Shoppers.

Cute As A Button is something I picked up by chance. I REALLY wanted a bright pinkish coral, because all the pinks I have are soft pastels, and I noticed that Shoppers was doing a sale on Essie polishes. So during my work break I ran over, swatched a bunch of corals and pinks, and ended up with this one. What I love about it is that it is the perfect combination of pink and coral. It’s not too much of either, and actually looks different under different lighting. It’s so vibrant, but it’s still not too in your face. My perfect summer colour!

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2. This is my holy grail product of the summer. I discovered this in May and haven’t stopped using this since. I was on the market for a powder foundation because I felt that liquid foundation was too troublesome to apply and take off, I didn’t need such heavy coverage, and less is more in the summertime. I picked this Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Powder up at Target, and I’m obsessed with it.

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As you can see, it has been very well-loved (the photo above is a repurchase, this is the current one I’m using). I can get away with just wearing this, it’s quick and easy to apply (and remove!), it looks and feels super light, letting my natural skin show through, keeps my skin matte, and cuts down my time to get ready in the morning. Also contains SPF 15.

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3. If I need a little bit more coverage, I opt for the Sonia Kashuk Concealer Palette. This is honestly the first concealer I’ve ever actually liked, because concealers normally cake up on me and don’t blend well. These concealers are so creamy and blendable, and meld right into my skin.

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It comes with two flesh-toned concealers, a green-toned neutralizer, and a setting powder. I use the lighter flesh-toned shade under the eyes, the darker one for blemishes (matches my skin tone perfectly!), and the green neutralizer around the nose area where it tends to be red. I don’t use the powder because I usually set everything with a powder anyways, but it’s still worth it because I can use all 3 concealers.

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4. The product that I wear every single day, without fail, is my beloved Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 30 Facial Sunscreen. This has been a HG product for 3 summers now and I can’t live without it. Since I have fair skin that freckles/burns easily, I have to always protect it with sunscreen. This particular one is light, blends in easily, doesn’t break me out or make me look oily, and looks good under makeup.

Wearing sunscreen everyday is important as it really slows down the aging process and helps prevent skin cancer and discoloration, and it’s good to start early for prevention rather than later to fix wrinkles/blemishes.

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5. While I’ve developed very good habits with facial sunscreen, sometimes I forget about the protecting the rest of my body. But as I said, I freckle and burn very easily, especially on my arms, so I have been trying hard to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen all over my body. This Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 30 Sunscreen for Face and Body has been my go-to this summer.

It’s a tad too oily for my face, but perfect for my body. It doesn’t leave that sticky texture that you find with a lot of sunscreen (which I absolutely hate), and doesn’t irritate my skin. Another summer must-have!

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6. This is my second summer using The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream, and I basically can’t live without it. It is the only cream that doesn’t leave any residue on my face, actually mattifies my skin, and doesn’t irritate or break me out.

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It has a very light, gel-like texture, and feels cooling and refreshing on the skin! It absorbs very quickly, leaving your skin matte yet moisturized. As you can see, I’m almost through with this travel size. I think I’m on my 4th travel sized jar this summer!

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7. This is my favourite cheap find of the summer! I had tried an ELF blush earlier on and hated it, but this shade is amazing! The ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion is beautiful, pigmented, long-wearing, and best of all only $3! The camera doesn’t do it justice: it’s actually this bright hot pink shade that is very flattering on the cheeks! Even though it’s hot pink, it doesn’t look fake or unnatural when applied, but instead it gives you a nice flush of colour on your cheeks. The formulation and packaging is comparable to NARS blushes, of which I own a few! But it’s 10x less expensive, which makes this blush a very cost-effective option.

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8. This is the second Freeman mask that I’ve tried, and my first-ever peel-off mask! The Freeman Facial Cucumber Peel-Off Mask makes your skin feel so clean without drying it out, feels nice and cooling, and is very affordable (ranging from 2.99 – 4.99). One tube will last you for ages! You apply it and leave it on for ~10 minutes, and when you peel it off, it’s the neatest thing ever, like seeing all the gunk on your skin being peeled away, leaving your face feeling squeaky clean!

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9. The Boscia No Pores No Shine T-Zone Treatment is my holy grail oil control product all year round. I’ve repurchased this countless times, and even though it’s a steep price ($44 CAD), one tube will last you for a long time. It mattifies my t-zone like no other. I only use this on my nose, because that’s where I get the most oily, and I use this day and night. I can’t live without it (and believe me, I’ve tried- and failed).

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10. And of course, we can’t finish off a beauty favourites post without a lipstick! This has been the perfect summer shade for me: the Maybelline Color Whisper in Who Wore It Red-er is the perfect balance of red and pink, and instantly brightens up your complexion without being too over the top. I like my deeper reds during the Fall/winter, and more pink-ish lipsticks during the summer.

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This is a comparison of the colour in the tube vs. the colour swatched. It looks really red in the tube, but comes out a bit pinker. The formulation is very light and moisturizing, but with that being said, it doesn’t have much staying power. If you eat or drink it will definitely come off. For that reason, I prefer the Revlon balm stains or lip butters over these lipsticks in general.

I hope that I gave anyone who was looking to try out new products some inspiration, and that you enjoyed reading this post! I’m still relatively new to beauty blogging, so hopefully this was thorough and in-depth enough of a review. I hope to be doing more review-type posts in the future, so stay tuned!