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Top 10 of 2015

FullSizeRenderLast year I returned to work with a mixture of positive and negative feelings. On the positive side, I was able to rejoin the beauty world on a professional level and get myself back out there making my connections and learning all about new products and techniques. I also managed to get back into a regular beauty routine.

In addition to my professional exposure to beauty items, I also was so inspired by social media and other bloggers to try some new things. Instagram, YouTube and beauty blogs lead me down the road to seek out some of the items on this list, while others fell into my hands unexpectedly.

Here are my top 10 picks of 2015.  This list covers a good range of products and brands, and there is something in this list for any budget. I hope you enjoy!

1. Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour – 444 Gabrielle
RougeCoco2015_collection

Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour is a gorgeous, buttery lipstick that hydrates for hours, and the shade 444 Gabrielle is a stunning red. Read about my journey towards finding the lipstick here, and enjoy the full review.

2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, Custard0607845012344

Coverage? Check! Easy to apply? Check! A vast array of shades to choose from? Check! I call my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard my sleep in a tube. A sweep of this magic wand will make under eye darkness disappear quicker than you can say “Put another pot of coffee on.”  Visit my full story on this concealer here.

3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit- Light To Medium contour_kit_powder

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit has traveled to other countries with me. I love the versatility of it and it is super slim and easy to pack. I know there’s a plethora of contour products out there to choose from right now as it is all the rage, but this one caught my eye early on when I saw it plastered all over gorgeously sculpted faces on Instagram. Check out my review of it here, where you will also see some before and after photos!

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4.  Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

Liquid lipsticks are showing up in every brand right now. They are touted to be matte, highly pigmented and long wearing. The unfortunate part is, this trifecta of liptick promises rarely comes to fruition.  That is, until I tried Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipsticks.

Ladies and gentleman, these simply do not disappoint. They are not easy for us Canadian Foxes to get our hands on as you can read about here, but I tell you that if you are so lucky to get one, you will see how it rises above so many others.

matte_powder_medium5. Cover FX Matte Setting Powder 

Not new to the market, but a discovery of mine in 2015. I rave about it here, and can tell you that this super – fine powder is a keeper that will be a staple of my makeup bag forever, either in its matte form or illuminating form… or both!

6. Quo Blending Spongehwthumb

Initially chosen as a stand – in for the pricier Beauty Blender sponge, I can honesty say that this one is a winner on it’s own! Effective blending at a cost that any pocketbook can handle, the Quo Blending Sponge is a an easy way to shake up your foundation routine and try a new trick.

Learn all about how I use this sponge here and take a little time to rethink the makeup sponge!

7. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyelinerwhite

Oh the quest for the perfect liquid liner came to an end once I found the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner . This is a gem that I stock up on and keep reserves in my desk just in case. Love love love this liner! Want to learn more about this liner? Check out this link for more!

 

8. Revlon Ultra HD Matte LipcolorCapture

I discovered Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor only days before 2015 came to an end, so this one was close. This one was also impressive enough to make the list and bump something else off! I have been a life long supporter of Revlon products, particular their lipsticks. I rave about this new one here.

 

9. Benefit Instant Comeback Facial Serum

whiteSeriously, I did not have high expectations from a brand known more for it’s cutesy packaging and makeup items. What a wonderful surprise this serum gave me! You can read the full details of this unexpected winner here and find out how this not – so – new product even found it’s way onto my 2015 list. There’s always a story and this one really speaks to the power of a sample!

10. Cover Girl The Super Sizer by LashBlast Mascara 

cg_super_sizer_1This was the year of surprises! I never would have thought that Cover Girl would end up on my list as I thought this was a brand that was from my teen years only. Well, here I am a lifetime later and being wowed by this affordable and impressive mascara. Wanna know more about it? Of course you can read all about it here, where I go into details about the Super Sizer!

 

 

That wraps up my top 10 of 2015… I would love to hear about YOUR favourite discoveries over the past year. Tell me about them in the comments or visit my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (Foxy Face Beauty for all) and let me know!


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Benefit To The Rescue!

Benefit Instant Comeback Facial Serum has been around for a few years, and while I was aware of it I was not too inclined to try it. I adored the packaging of course, but did not think I could take this brand seriously when it came to skincare.

whiteAt some point last year I received a trial size of this serum. It got thrown in with a bunch of stuff on my “to – do” beauty list. It should not go unmentioned that the sample size was actually a mini version of the full sized product and not just a sample package or vial. As usual this company impresses with it’s consistent adorableness and weaving that cute – factor down to even a sample.

Once late November hit here in Canada, I started noticing my moisturizer was not enough anymore. My face was tight and my skin was getting more reactive due to the dehydration. I went through my product stash to see what I could try out and came across the forgotten Benefit sample. I decided to give a try.

Am I ever glad I did! This serum lives up to the name “Instant Comeback”. My skin felt hydrated immediately. The serum was sucked right into my thirsty skin and did not leave behind any stickiness. Within a few days my skin started to glow again like it does in the summer when there is actual humidity in the air. Gone was the tightness and reactiveness!

The serum has a slight scent, which is lovely and light, and it really feels like I am giving my skin a big glass of water along with a nutritional supplement (my description, not a product claim).

A small detail that I can’t overlook it that the little sample bottle is easy to refill from my full sized one – instant travel size forever.

Tell me Foxes, what do you do to overcome wintery effects on your skin?

 


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A Divine Cleanser

I love a good cleanser. I also love a good scrub. Put them together and I am pretty much going to try it out. Origins GinZing™ Refreshing Scrub Cleanser appealed to me as this is a brand I have been wanting to use for awhile now, and this seemed like a great starter product.

First of allUnknown, this feels divine! The gentle exfoliation smooths without aggression, and the aroma is refreshing and energizing thanks to Grapefruit, Lemon and Spearmint.

I prefer to use this one the shower to make it easier to rinse off all of the little scrubbing beads, and I only use it maybe 3 times a week. I even work it into the décolleté area to smooth this area and prep for a good moisturizer.

After trying this product out, I am quite likely to try a few more in this brand. Possible the start of a new affair…


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Product Review: Aveeno Fresh Essentials®

*Disclaimer: These products were supplied to me at no cost to review. This does not sway my opinion is any way and this is a review I would have given even if I paid for them.

I first used an Aveeno product back in high school when I was suffering from super dry skin. It was a body moisturizer with oatmeal and I had seen it advertised on the pages of my Sassy, Teen and Seventeen magazines. It is funny how times have changed and how we learn about things now through such wide variety of media streams! Anyhow, the oatmeal lotion was superb to heal my dry and flaky skin and I even used it on my face.

I have always associated Aveeno with oatmeal. But here in modern day, I realize that it is about so much more than just oatmeal. They have a whole range of skin care for face and body, and they even have a super hot spokeswoman – the lovely Jennifer Aniston. I will admit that it has been many years since I tried any Aveeno products, so when these items arrived on my doorstep I was eager to check them out and experience them on my skin.

The products that came are part of a line called Fresh Essentials® and they are touted to “replenish moisture to stressed skin and reveal natural beauty with ACTIVE NATURALS® ingredient, Southernwood Extract and vitamins A, C, &E.” The idea of this line is to keep what’s good for your skin IN- and the bad OUT. Now I have been working in the business a very long time, and the vitamin A, C, & E is a commonly used antioxidant cocktail that you will find in may skin care products.

SCIENCE LESSON: An antioxidant helps to block the effects of free radicals in your skin. Free radicals are are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons. These can be formed naturally, but things like excess sun exposure can cause a free radical.  Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. They can really weak havoc and react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or even die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.

The addition of Southernwood Extract in this formula is said to also provide antioxidant protection and help to strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier. This in turn will help your skin keep the vital elements like water in your skin and guard against the bad stuff from getting in (hence moisture barrier). 

The very first product that I tried was the Aveeno Fresh Essentials® Daily Exfoliating Scrub. I tried this in the morning while I showered, and I enjoyed the gentle exfoliation. It was not aggressive by any means, but it felt like something was actually in there. It did not foam a ton, which I really like because I find things that foam a lot are really drying. It rinsed away clean and did not leave a residue. I can’t say there was any significant scent in this scrub, but it had a mild and pleasant smell. This product comes in a 145 mL tube and retails between $9.97- $12.99 CAD. I will give my honest opinion here that I think this is a steal for the price.

Next, I tried the Aveeno Fresh Essentials®  Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30. Sometimes moisturizers that have an SPF over 15 in them can be quite heavy and difficult to rub in. This was not like that at all. The moisturizer was delivered via pump, and one pump was more than enough for my face. It absorbed quickly and left my face feeling comfortable and moisturized, but the most amazing part is that I was able to apply a powder foundation over top of it about 15 minutes later without any streaking or patchiness. The lotion that I was using before I tried this never seemed to absorb and made my powder go on weird. I like this moisturizer a lot, and considering I usually spend around $40 for 50 mL, this Aveeno Fresh Essentials® Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30 is HUGE at 74 mL and costs a mere $16.97- $19.99 CAD. 

Then, in the evening I tried the Aveeno Fresh Essentials® Hydrating Night Cream. This cream felt very nice going on my skin, and it was also quickly absorbed. I like that I didn’t feel it on my skin since quite often I find night creams to sit on top and rub off all over my pillow or make my hair stick to my face. This one was another winner from Aveeno, and in the morning I was definitely well hydrated still. This night cream retails for $16.97- $19.99 CAD for a standard size jar of 49 mL. photo 1

What I liked: You can get started on a simple skin care regime for less than $60. It felt wonderful and proved to be very effective for me as I tested this in a cold snap during winter time. Overall the line is attractive and functional.

What I would change or improve: I would like the night cream in a squeeze tube as I don’t like dipping my fingers into the jar. I would always enjoy packaging that looks more premium, but realize that would increase the price too. I honestly had to really stretch my mind to find things I would improve about this product.

Who I would recommend this to: Normal or normal to combination skin. People of any age looking for hydration and/ or sun protection built in to their daily moisturizer.

It should also be noted that these Aveeno Fresh Essentials® products are all oil- free, hypoallergenic (does not use any known allergens) and non- comedogenic (does not clog pores).

So this is my first official product review of something that I was provided at no charge to try for the purpose of this blog. I am please to have been able to review something that I actually like and can see myself using again. I wrestled with the idea of taking products from brands/ PR firms to try for the purpose of reviews because I really want to keep this blog honest, so I have decided that if I accept something to try I am NOT obligated to review it or give a BS positive review. If I like it, I will tell you. If I don’t like it I probably won’t even mention it at all. Deal?

Now it is your turn to tell me something Foxes – have you ever used an Aveeno product? Are you using any now? I would love to know!


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Day 21: Foxy Advent Calendar Tip Of The Day

Lucky Foxes – your Day 21 beauty tip is from a beauty industry rock star. With close to thirty experience in the beauty industry, Douglas Atkinson continues to bring a unique and refreshing perspective to an ever – changing business. I first met Doug in 2005 when he won a COSA for Trainer of the Year. He was the life of the party over with his quick wit, classic movie quotes and sense of humour with an edge.

As a makeup expert and trainer, Doug has worked with many of the top beauty brands in Canada. He was the official makeup artist of TV’s “Diva on a Dime” and has made numerous television appearances and been the star of many media events. He has also been a featured guest in most of the beauty retailers all across the country where throngs of women would be waiting for their time with Doug. He is able to connect with them and make the meeting about so much more than just makeup and skin care, and he lets the women shine!

Doug2pic1“I have to say that in the 28 years that I have been in the cosmetic industry that I have seen trends come and go and then return again but one thing remains constant and that is the constant desire to capture and retain beauty. Billions of dollars a year are spent on products to enhance sallow or tired complexions, reduce the sun damage that we incurred in our youth, lift a sagging jawline or fix the look of tired eyes or large pores. Trust me,  I have done thousands of makeovers with hundreds of different products and some are worth the money.

To that point,  I have had the opportunity again to experience the Darphin line of products and there are some incredible secret weapons in their line up. One of the best is the “Dark Circles Relief and De-puffing Eye Serum” . This wonderful gel actually does help with puffiness and dark circles and the result is almost instant! It doesn’t crack or get tight on the eye and it makes a visible difference if you have the issue(s) that it addresses. Is it worth a hundred dollars??? In my opinion , YES! So what if you burn the candle at both ends. Use this and even if you fall asleep at your desk you will still look good!

Another item that is worth the spend is from Dior. For years, the consumer in the know has come to the Dior counter and asked for the eponymous ‘Crème Abricot’. This odd orange butter-like looking substance in a round white container has a cult following. One thing that I noticed about the people buying it, women and men alike, is how well groomed their cuticles and nails looked. No hangnails. No ragged edges. A pot can last you long time if you are careful. Dab it on the cuticles and nails and keep them looking like you just left the shop. Is it worth $30+ ?? YES! Something you need to have in your beauty arsenal at all times . No matter what you spend on polish or what the trend is in colour if your cuticles don’t look good and aren’t in top condition your manicure will look like a ‘mani-can’t’. Worth it!”

Just in time to add to your list for some great stocking stuffers! My cuticles are absolutely ravaged this time of year and I am always so tired with the two little Foxes that live in my den – off I go to add more to my exploding collection!

What about you Foxes, would you spend $100 on an eye cream? What is the most you have spent on any skin care item?

 


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Day 18: Foxy Advent Calendar Tip Of The Day

As the Clarins Trainer and Special Events Specialist for Calgary, Southern Alberta & Saskatchewan, Leah Fisher has answered a lot of questions about skin care. Over the course of her almost 24 year beauty career, Leah has helped the women and men of the Canadian prairies battle the brutal effects of the harsh climate swings on their skin. This Day 18 tip will help your thirsty skin:

10815879_10152865807845987_980091080_n“In addition to your regular skin care regime, treat yourself a few times a week to a mask that will quench your skin’s thirst for hydration! When it is very cold or you have been exposed to the elements in any capacity, your skin suffers and can get easily dehydrated. You can really amp up a mask by adding in an oil that is suited for your skin issue. In the case of dehydrated skin, mix 3-4 drops of Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil in with Clarins Hydra Quench Cream – Mask. Apply the mixture to your face and leave on for 20 minutes or for very dry/ dehydrated skin massage the mask into you skin and sleep with it on. Awake refreshed and hydrated!”

Ahhh- there is nothing like a nice mask and a glass of wine… I know Leah didn’t mention wine, but what else are you going to do for those 20 minutes?

I have a question for you Foxes – do you use a mask? If so, tell me what kind and how often. I am curious to know…

 


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Day 14: Foxy Advent Calendar Tip Of The Day

 

Daniela Barbieri is a Beauty Boutique Manager at Shoppers Drug Mart, and I had the pleasure of meeting and working with her when I first moved to Ontario in 2008. In addition to working together, I also attended her wedding, and we even had our first babies only 5 days apart! Her 11+ years of experience and her bubbling personality shines through to all of her customers and they love to visit her time and again. She has a couple of great tips to wake up your look:

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 “Winter time can make your skin look dull and make you feel like you need a good dose of summer! I like Vichy Idéalia Eyes to give my under eyes a bit of golden glow and to help camouflage any dark circles. I also use it under my eye brow bone and on my cheekbone to give a nice subtle highlight. Stila makes a Topaz Kajal Eye Liner that I also use and recommend. This liner gives a wide eyed and open look, making you look like you’ve had enough hours of sleep.”

Dark circles? Check. Lack of sleep? Check. I will take both. Thanks Daniela for a tip that can help Foxes wake up from our winter slumber!

Foxes – eye liners with colour are sure back! Do you use something outside of the regular black or brown?