September 18, 2019

Zoya Fall 2019: Sensual Collection A

When I started my blog almost 10 years ago (OMG, where does the time go?!), it was mostly a way for me to share my obsession with nail polish. Pretty much all of my first posts were nail polish swatches and reviews! In the spirit of nostalgia, therefore, I'm throwing it back to my early days of blogging and sharing some of the polishes from the Zoya Fall 2019 Sensual Collection.

Back in the day, Zoya was really difficult to get ahold of here in Canada but now thanks to retailers like Nail Polish Canada, which sent over these polishes for me to play with, it's much easier for us Canadians to try out different brands. The Sensual Collection features 12 colours in total. Collection A, which I'm featuring today, is composed of neutrals and reds and Collection B is composed of purples and darker shades.

For those of you who have never tried Zoya before, the brand is known for its formula -- it's big 10 free but doesn't sacrifice quality. Not only is the staying power great, but all of the polishes were well pigmented and streak-free. Each swatch you see in this post is two coats.

Joss is a neutral pink crème. It's quite light but would be great to wear in a professional setting. I really liked it.

Kinsley is neutral brown crème. This is probably my least favourite of the shades from Collection A because I don't think it flatters my skin tone at all (kind of blends in like mannequin hands).

Foster is a neutral chocolate brown crème. This type of shade is not for everyone but I actually like a good brown nail polish in the Fall. This one looks super creamy and rich.

Briar is described as warm red crème but I actually find it leans on the dusty rose side. It's my favourite from this collection.

Margaret is a bright red crème. I found this a bit difficult to photograph because in the bottle it seems to have more pink in it. A red like this is a classic for Fall!

Rashida is a red shimmer. This is the type of shade I often associate with Christmas and it's the only one in Collection A that isn't a crème finish. Even though it's a bit early to think about, it would be nice for a holiday party!

Find the Zoya Fall 2019 Sensual Collection online at Nail Polish Canada.

June 24, 2019

MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Nude Creme Liquid Lipsticks

You can't go wrong with a classic nude lip... it's the perfect complement to a "no makeup makeup" look or to pair with a bold eye. And now, thanks to the pros at MAKE UP FOR EVER, it's easier than ever to find your perfect nude with the new Artist Nude Creme liquid lipsticks. The line of shades was designed specially to match a wide range of skin tones. After all, what looks like a nude lip on me probably won't look the same on you!

I was very impressed with the range which really is quite inclusive... not just a bunch of lipsticks designed for pale skin. However, you don't need to stick to a classic nude that matches your skin tone if you don't want to -- the shades are all really nice and wearable.

MUFE sent me a couple to try out and I picked 01 (Uncovered), the lightest shade, and 09 (Pure), which is really targeted towards a darker skin tone. For reference in the swatches below, I am a little tan right now since it's summer and probably around a MAC NC25.

Make Up  For Ever Artist Nude Creme in 01 (Uncovered)

Make Up For Ever Artist Nude Creme in 09 (Pure)

I found the darker shade, 09 Pure, transferred rather easily and got on my teeth which was not a problem with the lighter shade, 01 Uncovered. I do think this can easily be fixed next time I wear it by using a lipliner and a two step blotting application process. Personally, however, I will probably get the most use out of 01 Uncovered since I tend to gravitate towards light peachy shades.

Conclusion: the Artist Nude Creme lipsticks are sooooo nice. They are extremely pigmented and opaque with a creamy, satin finish. Although they aren't glossy, there is a bit of a shine and they feel hydrating on the lips. At $25 CAN, I'd say these are in line with the type of quality you can expect from MUFE as well. Find the whole lineup at Sephora.

May 19, 2019

My Microblading Experience at Studio Sashiko (Before/After Pictures)

I've never really liked my eyebrows -- prior to microblading, they were kind of sparse and looked weird with no product on them. Like many other girls my age, they were over-plucked in the mid/late-2000s (thankfully they grew back) and in recent years I finally figured out how to fill them in but it's still been annoying, especially when they wiped off if I got wet or sweaty. Nothing worse than having half an eyebrow!

I started hearing about microblading a while back and was incredibly intrigued by the process. It seemed like just the thing I was looking for: tiny hair strokes are "tattooed" on (it doesn't go as deep as a traditional tattoo), leaving you with natural-looking brows for 1-3 years. I talked about it so often that my husband offered to pay for me to get microblading for my birthday 3 years ago (he literally wrote "eyebrows" on a piece of paper and handed it to me as my present)... but since I'm scared of needles and pain, it actually took me until now to finally cash in on my birthday gift.

Once I finally mustered up the courage, I booked in with Savanna Dillon at Studio Sashiko. It's a bit of a drive from Vancouver to Langley where they're located but Studio Sashiko is pretty famous in the microblading world and I was willing to travel for the best. This is a semi-permanent face tattoo, after all!

I started the process at the very end of December and now that it's complete, I can honestly say it was worth it. I love not having to do my brows anymore and I feel more "done" even when I'm not wearing any makeup. Savanna did an amazing job creating individual hair strokes where none existed before and I've had so many compliments on how natural they look (no one has known they were microbladed until I told them).

5.5 months after first session and 10 weeks after touch-up (no brow products used)

Since I spent so much time considering whether or not I wanted to try microblading and it's also an expensive process (some places offer cheap deals but in my opinion, it's worth it to pay more for quality so you know you'll be satisfied at the end), I made sure to document my path to perfect brows for the blog. It's funny looking back at pictures of my original brows because I kind of forgot what they looked like!


As I mentioned earlier, Studio Sashiko is located about an hour drive from Vancouver in Langley but it's a really open and welcoming space. Savanna made me feel comfortable right away with her warm personality and took the time to explain what she'd be doing. I'd also already stalked her Instagram account so I was familiar with her work and knew I liked it (highly recommend checking out your artist's social media beforehand).

Although it's a 2 hour appointment, the actual time spent microblading is not that long. In fact, most of my appointment was spent drawing and deciding on the eyebrow design and waiting for numbing cream to work. Thanks to the aforementioned numbing cream, I couldn't really feel the needles but there were a few sensitive points where there was some sharp pain. Overall, it was totally bearable. Savanna did a couple passes (numbing cream + microblading) before we were done.

Top: natural brows / Bottom: immediately after first session

Top: natural brows / Bottom: immediately after first session

The first day was probably the most painful... once the numbing cream wore off, my eyebrows felt really sore. You have to dab the tattooed area gently 5-7 times a day for about a week with lukewarm water and a disposable paper towel. This removes any plasma and oil build-up and prevents scabbing. There was a bit of blood when I dabbed on Day 1 but it went away by Day 2.

I was sent home with some detailed care instructions and a little pot of barrier cream that I was to apply with a cotton swab for 2 full weeks. The card also had this really cute meme on the back that described the general healing process.

Overall, I'd say the timeline was pretty accurate to my experience. The soreness was gone by Day 2. I didn't find my brows looked particularly dark & thick as they healed, as per the card, but I suspect this is because I have dark hair (they probably would look very dark if you're a blonde). My brows started to feel a bit itchy around Day 4 and flaking didn't start until Day 8.

Here's what the flaking looked like on Day 10:

Day 10 Post-Procedure

On Day 12, I started to feel concerned because my left eyebrow pigment looked completely gone. However, the full healing process takes approximately 6-8 weeks. Because the skin is constantly regenerating and naturally exfoliating, the colour does actually "bloom" later on and take on a new strength.


A touch-up is highly recommended about 8-12 weeks after your first session. I know it might be annoying to have to go back and potentially pay more (the touch-up session at Studio Sashiko costs $150), but it's really important. It gives the artist a chance to assess how your brows have healed and fill in spots that didn't "take".

The process touch-up session was very similar to my first session and took about the same length of time. I noticed the after result was a lot darker than it had been after my first session since the new strokes built on the previous strokes.

Top: healed, 10.5 weeks after first session / Bottom: immediately after touch-up

Top: healed, 10.5 weeks after first session / Bottom: immediately after touch-up

In terms of healing, I also found it to be a lot easier this time around. The flaking was significantly less noticeable, likely because of the base colour already being there.

5.5 months later, I am still SO happy with my new brows. You can see the healed result didn't stay as dark as immediately after the touch-up since I know some people are concerned about having really noticeable brows. I'm not sure how long it will be until I have to get them redone but I care for them by avoiding using any abrasive/exfoliating products on the area (e.g. retinol) and applying sunscreen to protect them from fading/prolonged sun exposure.

All content and photography © alison*elle. Design By The Sunday Studio.