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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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Line It Up

Trends aside, I have always been a fan of the liquid eyeliner. I love how it creates a strong definition and adds a little glam. I have tried many liquid eyeliners over the past 20 years, and usually I have issues with the length of wear, the applicator or the formula bothers my eyes. The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a winner that hits everything out of the park without any “side effects” of my common issue. white

The applicator tip is precise and flexible and this allows me to can create a thin or thick line, and a cat eye in a cinch! It stays on like the name states – all day, and I have not experienced ANY smudging! The formula is some magical elixir that doesn’t bother my ultra – sensitive eyes, and I have even used in my lower water line without issue (on occasion, not often!).

IMG_8300I have taken cuticle scissors to trim off the fraying, and although this works to clean it up the application tip is compromised and I don;t get the same precision.

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is definitely a makeup bag staple for me from now on. I only use black, but it is also available in several other colours. The Midnight shade ( a deep blue) is calling my name….

 

Do you use a liquid eyeliner? Which one is your fave?


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Mascara Blast

Cover Girl The Super Sizer by LashBlast Mascara came into my hands by chance. I had a false eyelash/mascara crisis at work and someone gave me this Cover Girl mascara. I was worried to try it as my eyes are crazy sensitive and it had a weird looking brush. Out of desperation I applied this to my lashes and it seemed to do the trick, although difficult to really tell what it was really like since I had globs of lash adhesive stuck in my eyelashes.

cg_super_sizer_1I tried it again the following day and was pleasantly surprised with the ease of application as well  as the result. That weird little brush surprising delivered the formula to my lashes with easy precision and the formula really bulked up to give me a nice amount of volume. The smudge proof factor is there too! It doesn’t smudge all day, even on my lower lashes, and this

I had been using $30+ mascaras for at least 10 years now, so I was pleasantly surprised when this affordable one was able to wow me. I found the only downside for me is that it seems to be good for only  about a month before my eyes start to get irritated. I simply toss it, pay less than $10 for a new one and everything is right in the world again.

Tell me about a time a beauty product performed better than expected for you. Help me build a new shopping list!


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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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Ready, SET, Go!

matte_powder_mediumCover FX Matte Setting Powder is is a not a new product, but it is one that I have added to my regular regime in the past year. In the past, I used the Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder. With trends changing recently to a more matte finish with precision highlighting, I opted for the matte one when I was replacing it.

I love this powder so much. It is totally sheer and does not disrupt the colour of my foundation. It is easy to choose a shade as it only comes in three colours, and all which are sheer so you can not go too wrong. The powder is so lightweight with an incredibly fine texture, almost like a dust. When applied over my foundation or tinted moisturizer, it instantly transforms my skin so it feels totally natural like I have nothing one – no stickiness or texture, just feels like my skin.

Let’s talk about the brilliant packaging for a moment. One of my pet peeves is with a loose powder is that it gets everywhere, especially when you travel. This one has a cover that twists over the dispenser to shut it, or to allow just a few holes exposed to control how much comes out. I travel all over with this powder and have never had so much as a trickle of a leak!

This powder is a keeper that will be a staple of my makeup bag forever, either in its matte form or illuminating form… or both!

Foxy Friends, tell me how you set your makeup? 


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I Am Living Proof (that good hair products actually exist)

I have been hearing about Living Proof products for a long time, and while beauty editors feature them frequently and the reviews are all pretty glowing, I have trouble finding hair products that work for me and generally I do not believe the hype. I saw that Sephora had a set for Christmas and it was a very good value, so I added it to my wish list/ told my husband to go buy it for me. 

First off, Jennifer Aniston is a spokesperson/ co-owner. Who hasn’t dreamed about having her hair at some point in her career? It is always on point and looks incredibly healthy. So naturally, a partnership with a hair company seems obvious,  but the fact she is an actual co-owner says a little more to me than if she were just a spokesperson. Jen

Next, the founders and creators are scientists. Like, MIT scientists. Not that other scientists fall short, but MIT is an impressive credential to even someone like me who is not part of the scientific community (surprised by this? LOL!). Their team consists of science-y folks as well as investment partners and stylists.

Science has a lot to do with these products. The team combined molecules to ensure that we all have an amazing hair day. This sounds crazy and magic (like in this previous post where you learn I like to deem certain types of products to be magic), but the technology in this brand is nothing short of amazing. I will speak more to this after I share my personal experience with the products.

My set came with a full size Prime Style Extender (which is the one I had been dying to try), and a small size of the Instant Texture Mist and of the Flex Shaping Hair Spray. My hair texture is very fine and I tend to lack volume but have frizzy ends (due to frequent colour processing and heat styling). I am always experimenting with different hair products and it is very rare that I make a repeat purchase on any of them.

Prime Style Extender ($15 – $68) In short, this product is supposed to make your style last longer. I did not know exactly what this meant when I tried it. Would it make my hair look good morning to night? Would my hair get a second day out of the style? I really hate washing and styling my hair, so days that I actually do this I usually put extra effort in to get some longevity out of it. This product gives me hope.

Instant Texture Mist ($18 – $32) – In the past I have used volumizers and I expected a similar result – usually disappointment because the product weighed my fine hair down too much or just made it feel greasy. This one was a surprise! They claim you will “Get tailor-made texture in 10 seconds with this weightless texturizing spray (that lasts for days).” Hmmm… let’s see what really happened.

Flex Shaping Hairspray ($18 – $29) – This is an intriguing product to me as it is a “3 solutions in 1 spray.” A multi-tasking hairspray to get any look on damp or dry hair. You can use it to set, style or finish, and is remains touchable and brushable without flaking. I put it to the test!

Day 1

Day 1

Day 1 -So, I put the Prime Style Extender on my damp hair and blow dryed it as usual. I decided to skip my mousse so I could see what this product alone would do. I was super impressed with the way my hair looked with simply blow drying. It was smooth and shiny, and I usually required my straightener to get this result. I still used my straightener a little out of habit. My hair looked great all day long, and it did not tangle at all. So, I went to bed with it put up on top of my head with an 80’s scrunchie like I usually do.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 – I woke up and took out the scrunchie and shook my hair out. What??? It looked good. Almost as good as yesterday, and I just needed to brush it a wee bit to get it all where it belonged. If anything, my hair had a little more volume than the day before. I am very happy with this result since usually my day 2 hair needs a lot more work and my straightener to get out all of the kinks. I use a touch of the Flex Shaping Hairspray to hold the style and tame any runaway hairs that are sticking up. I am pleased with the spray as it feels absolutely weightless and has no stickiness at all, and seems to hold invisibly.

Day 3

Day 3

Day 3- Hair looks a little limp today but still not frizzy or messy. I decide to try out the Instant Texture Mist today to see what happens. I spray a little in one side and “fluff” my hair with my fingers. I can feel immediate texture – like it has substance to it now and isn’t as slippery or limp. I spray some all over and decide this may be a fun experiment to use my straightening iron to curl it. Usually the curl slips right out of my clean, fine hair, but this texture mist gives my straightener something to grip onto and the waves are staying as I twist it down my hair.  I curl all over my head, ensure the hair is cool and then gently run my fingers through curls to relax them for a softer wave. I like this hair do a lot thanks to the added texture!

Day 4 – My hair does not look so good when I wake up. It is a little more messy and chaotic. But heck, I am gonna make it work. I just can’t bear to wash it and could really use a little extra sleep.  I give it a good brush out and use the the Flex Shaping Hairspray before using my straightener to smooth it out a bit. I end up pulling it into a low pony tail but the top of my head is not looking like anything good at all. It is OK for “weekend” or errand hair, but I would not want to wear it to work this way. It is a little too messy and unkempt for my preference, and there are little pieces sticking out all over the place. I did not take a picture of this day as I also went bare faced all day and felt a little blah.

Using the items from this set gives me up to 4 days between a hair wash. Any of you with a busy schedule or those of you who hate washing hair can appreciate the power of this. I would recommend taking a little extra time on day one to really smooth your hair and get it right, and the following days my hair seemed to fall into place without much coaxing. I generally prefer to only go for the 3 days before I wash it again, but if the fourth day lands on a weekend and I have no plans I will allow it to happen and anyone who witnesses it probably would never guess it has been that long anyhow.

As a result of falling in love with the Living Proof products that I tried, I actually spent a little time reading the company website to understand what sets them apart. They worked much better and they differed from everything else I had previously used. It is most definitely the brilliant minds creating these formulas that came up with AH-MAY-ZING (magic) ingredients like this:

  • OFPMA – In the Prime Style Extender, this is a brilliantly bulletproof molecule that creates a thin, invisible shield around every hair strand. It makes your hair become healthier over time, strengthens and protects hair, balances the flow of moisture in and out of strands, so damaging moisture flux is controlled, fights off humidity and frizz, helps your hair repel oil and dirt so it stays cleaner, longer (magic!) and makes the hair texture polished into a smooth, glossy lustre.
  • PBAE is found in the Instant Texture Mist and it creates a micropattern of thickening dots on every hair strand, making hair look and behave like textured, full, thick hair. PBAE creates friction and space between every fine hair strand to fight flatness without any of the damage or baggage of conventional technologies, it makes hair behaves like full, thick hair with body and volume, and the hair has volume and texture that is revivable and long lasting (magic!).
  • Flexible Web Technology is in the Flex Shaping Hairspray and it holds hair in place at any step during the styling process. When used to set, Flex creates lasting volume, waves and curls with touchable, brushable hold that is buildable. When used to style, Flex builds, shapes and adds structure to any look and is completely layerable without build up, When used to finish, Flex gives flexible hold, natural movement and humidity protection with a beautiful shine that never flakes.

Overall, the Living Proof products really blew me away. I feel as though I have finally discovered something that lives up to its claims. I even found the same set on sale after Christmas and picked up another one. The set was a great deal which is incentive enough to purchase, but I can honestly say after using these products for over a month now, I would not hesitate to pick any of these up at full price. They are totally worth the investment to me, and I look forward to trying more products in the line.

So tell me Foxes, have any of you ever used Living Proof hair products? Which one(s) and what were your results? Please share as I am looking for suggestions on what to try next!


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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!