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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
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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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Benebabe Forever

photo 4-7The first time I ever visited the United States as an adult was when I went to Las Vegas in the early 2000’s. I had never seen Benefit Cosmetics products in real life, but I took my Allure magazine with the ear marked pages that raved about Benefit products and hauled that baby cross border and into a Sephora (also marking my first Sephora visit ever). Like a beacon in the night, the Benefit wall was calling my name as soon as I stepped foot in that store. Here. It. Was. I was looking at of the Benefit products I had read about and longed to see in person and now I could even touch them!

Within the first hour, my travel companions abandoned me as they did not share my marathon interest for beauty products (I know, right???). I played for hours and shopped the whole store, decided on products and then put some back, then picked up more…you get the picture.  I was in serious danger of maxing out my credit card! As far as Benefit goes, I decided on 4 items – Hoola Bronzer, Dandelion Face Powder (as a gift), Ooh La Lift Instant Under Eye Brightening Boost and the iconic Benetint. I was in heaven with my treasures and so pleased to finally have my hands on my very own Benefit!

When I think back to that trip to Vegas I often refer to it as the first time I bought Benefit. I am not sure why this adorable product line resonates with me so much, but I have a strange and sometimes all consuming attraction to it. I have since visited their stores in San Fransisco and New York City, their counters in multiple Macy’s and Ulta stores around America, and even had the honour of my own Benefit counter when I was managing a store. I feel a little like a cult member, and if you are like me or know anyone like me, you will know that people have fierce and unapologetic allegiance to the Benefit brand.

photo 1-7Well, tonight (June 4th, 2015 for the record), something really awesome happened to me. I went to the grand opening of the Benefit Boutique in Toronto. CANADA’S FIRST BENEFIT BOUTIQUE!!!! Take a moment to let that sink in. That’s like introducing me to sunshine after living in darkness for years (uhhh – kind of like when I lived in the Arctic in the winter actually).

Now one thing I adore about this brand is that they take everything they do to the next level and weave their brand DNA into everything. I have yet to catch a miss on their behalf. For example, I have visited their Toronto offices and it is a delightful and airy space that has pristine white desks and pink accents. Their pens, file folders, post-it notes all incorporate the prettiness and cuteness that we have come to expect from the brand. Their workspace is an inspiration and true reflection of what they do and what they create. Kind of makes grey cubicle walls seem like a prison setting… just sayin’!

OK- now back to the Benefit Boutique… Walking up the “pink carpet” to the store, I notice that even the handle on the door is personalized with their branding (of course). There is a lot of activity going on and the space is filled with people here for this monumental event, The Benebabes are busily performing services  and other Benefit Canada team members are dressed up as Benefit characters and giving us tours of this beautiful girl cave (take THAT man caves!) and offering us sparkling bevvies.

photo 1-5At the front of the store you see the whole brand on display with testers. This is all presented on beautiful furnishings that of course are in line with their brand DNA. It is a total play area that makes me feel like a kid in a candy store (or even like myself in a candy store). The product packaging in beautifully designed and they are like little pieces or artwork themselves. I do not ever feel as though my Benefit products need to be put away in the drawers and cupboards with everything else – they deserve to be seen!

photo 2-10Chairs and work stations line one side of the boutique and this is where aestheticians perform waxing services and makeup applications. Brows are being tweezed, waxed and designed at all the stations and it’s humming with activity. Once again, from the wall paper to the hand held mirrors, storage units and lighting, not an opportunity is missed to convey the Benefit brand identity.

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Heading to the rear of the store, we discover their special rooms for services. First, the “Pretty Room” is where they take you for any non-face waxing services or other things that may require some privacy. I am certain with summer upon us that this room will be very well used! Next door is the “Bronzing Room” where you can step in for a perfectly applied airbrush tan using Vita Liberata Luxury Tan products. The  Bronzing room walls and floor are well protected with a tent set up for you to step in and get your bronze on.

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A little into the night they have a ribbon cutting ceremony and a food truck outside with specialty teas and coffees as well the most delectable little doughnuts! One of my favourite things was watching people who just happened to be walking down the busy street take in this scene and observing the delight on their faces as they take in this excitement along with the rest of us. Benefit draws you even if you don’t know what it is! photo 4-6photo 3-7

 

So something to be noted: they also offer a “Beauty Bash” for clients. You can get a group together and have the run of the place to yourselves for an after-hours private party which includes bubbly, small bites, make-uppers, brow shaping, lash or brow tint, and some serious one-on-one pampering These bashes come in a customizable theme, size and time. Hello wedding parties and general girly celebrations! Oh, what fun!

You can find the Benefit Boutique in  Toronto at 2614 Yonge Street (Yonge and Ellington area). It’s a definite must-see whether you are a GTA resident or planning a trip to the city. photo 5-4

So Foxes – are you also a Benebabe? What is YOUR go-to product from Benefit?

 

 

 

 

 


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Speedy Makeup For Most Of Us

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With Pinterest, Instagram and other platforms you can find tens of thousands of absolutely beautiful and stunning makeup looks. I can spend hours looking at these and even longer emulating them or creating my own. I am in awe of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to get the “Kim Kardashian Contour” and love seeing the before and afters on these videos. But, let’s get real…unless you are an enthusiast or work in a job that requires this perfection everyday, all of this is simply too much. The average person has to get their face done and out the door in time, and many people I know will skip it altogether to meet the needs of others first.

I used to spend close to an hour applying my makeup and doing my hair each day. Then I had kids… Makeup application has become something that I have to sneak in during a nap or an episode of Dora and my hair is however it looks after I run a hairbrush through it. Or I have to do the unthinkable – wake up earlier than they do so I can shower and put on my face.

Luckily, I have found a few shortcuts along the way, and I am so thrilled with the result that I don’t think I will return to my old ways. It’s actually been quite eye-opening, and I have learned to like my face a lot more with less or even no makeup at all. I would’ve never fathomed this pre-children! Now that I really give it some thought, I was probably wearing makeup the equivalent of a ballroom gown to gym class most of the time. Maybe just a little overdone. (This is where my friends will hide their giggles and “told you so’s”!)

Please note: All beauty products pictured are my own and they are used regularly so they are not perfect stock photos.

Back to the topic of a speedy makeup application.  Here are the steps I take to get my face on in about 10 minutes or less:

  1. Moisturize – I used to apply eye cream but have eliminated this step during the day and only use it at night (if I remember). When I was new to the beauty industry I would advocate complicated 5 – 6 step skin care regimes and preach them to the eyes – glazed over moms in my store looking for a routine that would suit their lifestyle. I was a naive and out of touch salesperson when I was young,  with little understanding of how little time a mom actually gets to herself. Also, not everyone is going to put that much time in to a regime (kids or no kids). Now, I look for something in a moisturizer that does it all.
    • La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV SPF 30 is perfect for summers as it is lightweight hydration with a hefty sun protection factor (SPF)
    • If it is really humid and I don’t need the SPF I love Neostrata Oil Free Matifying Fluid. This magical concoction allows me to apply powder over top immediately afterwards without any tugging or pilling
    • Biotherm Aquasource is a winter fave and I may add a serum if especially dry
    • Lips –  Bite Beauty Lip Mask as I raved on and on about it herephoto 3-4
  2. Eyes – I start with my eyes and then work my way back to them – there are not any rules so do it in whatever order you like.
    • Gosh Forever Eye Shadow Metallic Stick in 02 (Beige) drawn on each eyelid (one swipe) and use the warmth of my finger to spread over eye lid
    • A touch of Urban Decay Walk Of Shame (WOS) eye shadow in my crease (applied with a contour brush)
    • Urban Decay Glide-On Pencil in Bourbon is a nice day eye liner and I just make a line close to my lashes and a flick at the end for a subtle cat eyephoto 5-3
  3. Face – Once my eyes are done I like to conceal and even out my skin
    • Bobbi Brown Cream Concealer applied under each eye with a large concealer brush. I draw it in the darkest hollows and use a combination of the brush and my fingers to tap it in and work all around the area (NEVER rubbing as this will irritate the eye area and remove product)
    • My routine used to consist of liquid foundation and a powder over top (a heavy coverage powder). While I adore the look that this produced (perfection) it was time-consuming and perhaps a wee bit much for everyday. Now I use Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup and apply with their chisel brush. I can cover my face and blend this in under a minute easilyphoto 1-6
    • Add some contour and colour with Shiseido Bronzer – I dip my large fluffy brush and quickly swipe it on one side of fame, dip brush and do the other sidephoto-20
    • For blush I dab brush into powder by Benefit (Coralista) and apply to apples of my cheeksphoto 1-3
  4.  Eyes Again – Now I return to the eyes.
    1. Define my brows with Benefit Gimme Brow – see this post for full details
    2. Mascara the heck out of my lashes! At this time I am not super loyal to any one brand and I like to experiment or use different ones each day
  5. Lips – This is where my creativity and mood will strike. When in a hurry I like something simple and familiar. In this case it was NYC Cityproof Twistable Intense Lip Color in Ballroom Blush – this is a really fast and easy methods to apply colour on lips!

As far as hair goes, I do attempt to get away with washing it as little as possible (I went a record 5 days in a row once- to work!). Check out this post for some hair time-saving tips, and also consider using heat appliances from time to time to get some longevity in between washes, as well as creativity with bobby pins, elastics and other hair accessories.

 

 

And that’s all Foxes! Now this is NOT the makeup look I would be posting about on Pinterest or Instagram bragging about a special skill or an outstanding eye makeup, but this is a look that is super achievable by every busy person. And that, my Foxy friends, is most of us.

 On the topic of time Foxes, how much time do you spend on your face in the morning? Do you skip hair washing too sometimes?


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Spot The Difference

Top Left: natural brows/ Top Right: one brow done with Gimme Brow/ Bottom Left: both brows with Gimme Brow/ Bottom Right: both done with Gimme Brow and a brow powder

 

I am a mostly hairless creature. I can get away with shaving my legs only 3 or 4 times all summer, I have smooth arms with little to no hair, and my eyebrows are practically invisible. They exist, but I joke that they are see – through. To those if you rolling you eyes and saying, “I wish I had YOUR problem”, I get it. I know that I am fortunate in this area and have little room to complain. But I look like an alien without my eyebrows!

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Natural brows

I learned early on in my beauty career that defined eyebrows can make a HUGE difference on my face. If you see me without them, you might not be able to tell that they’re missing, but you will notice that something is a little off, not quite complete. There’s too much forehead or too much eyelid… just something doesn’t make sense. 

For years I have been an all out full glamour brow diva. I liked it strong and with a retro appeal. I have had two children since 2012, and my beauty routine has suffered a little. I am not walking around naked faced or anything, but I had to find some ways to compromise and shorten my application process. I have discovered that I actually prefer the results from some of these short-cuts. 

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Simply Magic

Now, my new go-to for a natural yet finished brow is Benefit’s Gimme Brow. This is a brush-on “fiber gel” and comes in what looks like a little mascara tube. It is so weird and awesome – the fiber gel is applied with the tiny mascara- like wand and it adheres to skin and hair to create the look of hair. It builds up what you already have and adds volume, and fills in where you don’t have hair with realistic looking magic. You will notice that when I do not fully understand how something works or if something is simply too awesome to explain I will refer to it as magic.

The brush itself is tapered and lets me brush on flat in the fuller part of my brow and use the pointier tip to apply to the outer area. So speedy. So awesome. So magical. This baby is water resistant, natural looking, buildable and long wearing. I seal the deal  by brushing a spooly brush through my brows after the product has dried. This gives me a pretty significant improvement with minimal effort!

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One brow with Gimme Brow applied

 

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Spooly brush on top, angle brush on bottom

I often use Gimme Brow all by itself now and am pleased with how speedy I can apply it. When I want a brow that stands out even more, or an “evening” brow I will apply a brow powder over top of Gimme Brow to amp it up even more. I used to use just a brow powder alone before I discovered Gimme Brow, but it tended to wear off a little throughout the day. Gimme Brow is great alone but also provides a nice base for when I want to apply powder, so when the powder fades or rubs off I have a back up plan! For powder I like to use the lightest shade available, usually a taupe or a blonde. I found that even when I apply makeup on people very rarely does anyone require a dark eyebrow shade to fill in the brows. You need an angle brush with a very fine edge, and a spooly brush for this too. I tap the angle brush in the brow powder and gently sketch along my natural brow, and then build on my natural brow to make them fuller.

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Gimme Brow and brow powder. Now you can tell if I am surprised!

 

Here are some brow powders that I have used and like:

Here are some application tips:

  • As mentioned before, almost everyone suits using a blonde or light brow shade. Unless you are really dark haired, stick to a lighter shade
  • Realize that this takes a little practice, but once you get used to applying brow products it is really fast
  • Start slow on just one eye brow and think about “sketching” – use light feathery strokes and avoid using a pressing motion or too much product on your brush
  • Compare after you have done only one eye – do not get up close and scrutinize it. Anyone that close to you should be interested in something other than your eyebrows anyhow
  • Do NOT use a magnifying mirror to do this. Those things serve mostly evil purposes
  • When you go to do other brow keep in mind that your brows should like sisters but not twins, and not like distant cousins
  • A spooly brush is super helpful to allow you to lighten the look, so do not freak out if it looks to dark or obvious. Spooly it! If you do not have one use a super soft NEW children’s toothbrush or an old but pristinely cleaned off mascara wand
  • The first time you wear your brows out, don’t be surprised if nobody notices. They might say something like “You look well rested,” or “You look good. Did you get an eye lift?”
  • Allow yourself to be uncomfortable for the first few times you see yourself with brows. It is something new. After a little while you will look back at old photos of yourself without brows and think that you look a little crazy

(One note that I really hope does not apply to you or ANY of my Foxy readers – if you are undergoing chemotherapy and stand a chance to lose hair, get used to drawing on your eyebrows BEFORE the hair falls out. That way you will already be used to following your natural shape and it won’t be such a daunting task on top of everything else.)

Ok Foxes, that’s my brow chatter. Tell me if you do anything to your eyebrows… what is your process? Lighten them, pluck, tweeze, sketch them on? I wanna know!