September 30, 2013

Yves Rocher: Volume Vertige Lash Curler Effect Mascara & Single Eyeshadow Intense Color

Back in high school, my mom and I used to frequent the Yves Rocher store at our local mall but I haven't been to one in years as there are no stores here on the west coast. Now given the chance to reacquaint myself with the brand, which is known for its botanical ingredients, I have to say that I really like what I've seen so far.

This month Yves Rocher launched its new Volume Vertige Lash Curler Effect Mascara ($22 CAD), enriched with Elemi Gum which is a fixing botanical extract.

The patented Reservoir Brush is designed to release product without having to dip the brush back into the tube every time you coat your lashes and the Elemi gum formula is touted to be "as effective as a lash curler." However, as my issues with non-waterproof mascara have been well-documented, I remained cautiously optimistic when it came to testing this out.

Overall, Volume Vertige is not bad but it will not be replacing any of my favourites. While it did not cause as much drooping as many other non-waterproof mascaras, I don't find it adds much volume to my sparse lashes. I would recommend this for someone with fuller, naturally curled lashes (I don't think I'll ever be able to get away with not using an eyelash curler first).

In addition to the mascara, there are 36 new shades of Single Eyeshadow Intense Color ($16 CAD) to look forward to and collect. Made with rice extract, the eyeshadows have a creamy texture and come in three finishes: satiny, matte, and sparkling.

I received Nude Rose and Matte Ash Brown to try out and was very impressed with the formulas of both. Nude Rose is a satiny finish with some shimmer. It works great as a base or highlight colour. Matte Ash Brown, my personal favourite, makes an excellent crease colour.

The folks at Yves Rocher also happen to be giving away a makeup kit valued at $275 every week until October 15 during their Makeup Days contest. Be sure to check out their Facebook and Pinterest for more information... it's a great way to get your hands on some amazing products!

September 27, 2013

Cocoon Apothecary

A while back, I received some products from Cocoon Apothecary, a Canadian artisanal skincare company that specializes in eco-friendly beauty products. As you all know, I love supporting local companies and even better when it's one that has such a great brand philosophy: to make skin and body care products that are as good for your skin as they are for the Earth.

I have been putting these products to the test for the past month and am now ready to share my thoughts. Good news: no breakouts whatsoever (this is a typical concern of mine when trying out new skincare).

The Rose Dew Facial Toner ($20 CAD) is an alcohol-free toner made with certified organic hydrosols of rose and witch hazel. It feels very refreshing on the face and although I'm not a huge fan of florals, the rose scent is light and not too cloying.

My favourite product, the Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream ($40 CAD), is intended for normal to dry skin. Though my skin typically leans oily/combination, it has been working well for me now that the weather is cooler and my skin needs more hydration. The cream feels rich but not thick or greasy and it absorbs quickly. The rose scent is similar to the Rose Dew Facial Toner.

For those with extra dry skin, Cocoon Apothecary recommends adding a few drops of Organic Rosehip Oil Facial Serum ($24 CAD) to the facial cream (or it can be applied directly to the skin). The serum is made with a pure organic oil that has been cold-pressed from rosebuds that have swelled with seed. Clinical studies have proven this oil to be effective for sun damage, scars, and fine lines. Seems like a miracle product but unfortunately I can't get past the smell... it's hard to describe but it does not smell good to me.

Touchy Feely Body Lotion ($21 CAD) is unlike any other body lotion I've ever used. It's made with organic olive oil, a natural moisturizer, though I find that this means it takes a while to fully absorb into the skin. I do love the rosemary and lavender essential oils, however, which make for a very relaxing scent especially when I'm feeling stressed.

The Ancient Mud Facial Mask ($24 CAD) is also a real treat as there is nothing I enjoy more than a good face mask. This one is made with dead sea mud to re-mineralize and purify the skin, glacial marine clay to draw out toxins and exfoliate, and neroli & rose essential oils to nourish the skin.

All in all, I have been really impressed with Cocoon Apothecary and I love the fact that all of the products are non-toxic, natural, and free of petroleum and parabens. Plus, check out that beautiful packaging! The amber glass bottles are 100% recyclable; the labels are even plant-based.

Find Cocoon Apothecary online or and certin natural health retailers.

September 24, 2013

Revlon by Marchesa Nail Art 3D Jewel Appliqués: Royal Burgundy

One of the beauty collaborations I'm most excited for this Fall is the limited edition Revlon by Marchesa Nail Art 3D Jewel Appliqués™ Collection, set to come out this October. Collaborating with Revlon, Marchesa founders Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman have translated their couture gowns into a set of eight intricate textured nail appliqués that I'm pretty sure many nail art addicts will want to get their hands on.

As you can see, the rich metallics, intricate prints, and lavish colours are accented with opulent jewels and dainty beads. Very Marchesa and very gorgeous.

Lucky for this nail art addict, I received a set of the Royal Burgundy appliqués from the #blogvancity event I recently spoke at (see recaps on J's blog and Sheila's blog) and figured that my (belated) birthday party this past weekend warranted just the occasion to wear them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who loves "special occasion nails"!

Unlike the more complicated processes of some other nail wraps (example), I found applying these relatively hassle-free. All you need to do is start with clean nails, apply the stickers that fit, and file off the edges. To make the process even easier, included in each pack is a mini nail file and cuticle stick. Since I wear my nails short, I also used scissors to cut off the excess sticker before filing.

With minimal work, my nails ended up looking perfectly Fall-appropriate with this beautiful burgundy and gold design inspired by this dress. I haven't been able to stop staring at them!

Wear time on these nail wraps was okay but they did start showing tip wear on the second day (the overlay rubbed off to reveal white underneath). I'm not sure if this is because of my vigorous filing or not, but because the designs are so intricate it actually wasn't very noticeable.

The Revlon by Marchesa Nail Art 3D Jewel Appliqués™ are limited edition and will be available at drugstores and mass retailers for $8.95 CAD. I know I'm planning on collecting a few designs... who else is with me?

September 19, 2013

Moto Mania

My lightweight moto jacket has been getting lots of wear this year (see, for example, here and here) so when I stumbled upon this heavier version with its colourblocking, easy drape, and trapunto-stitched elbows, I was instantly sold. Pretty sure this is going to be a Fall staple!

Tee: Wilfred Free (Aritzia) / Jacket: Wilfred (Aritzia)
Pants: 7 For All Mankind (here) / Booties: Report (similar)
Hat: Holt Renfrew / Bag: Marc By Marc Jacobs (here)

September 17, 2013

MAKE UP FOR EVER #110 Foundation Kabuki Brush

MAKE UP FOR EVER recently released its Artisan Brush Collection, the most expansive luxury makeup brush collection available today with seventy-six (yes, you read that right) brushes in total. Aside from the years of work spent developing these beautiful hand-crafted brushes, what makes them even more special is their specific synthetic fibre technology. The brushes with straight fibres allow for more generous and precise application, while the brushes with wavy fibres allow for a lighter and freer application. 

I was lucky enough to receive one of the face brushes to preview, the #110 Foundation Kabuki Brush (Medium). All of the brushes are numbered (100s = complexion; 200s = eyes; 300s = lips; and 400s = artistic specially designed for professionals).

The #110 is a medium, dense kabuki brush made with straight fibres and tapered bristles that form a point. This shape provides flexibility for even greater firmness and precision than with a traditional kabuki. As you can see, it's also got a short and slender gunmetal handle that fits nicely in my hand and feels quite weighty. However, most of the brushes in the collection are actually made with beech wood handles (though the gunmetal is featured on all the ferrules).

MAKE UP FOR EVER recommends this brush for all types of foundations to get a quick and even result. In particular, liquid foundations but also compact and loose powders. I personally use mineral foundation on an everyday basis so a good kabuki brush is a beauty necessity. The #110 does its job extremely well, blending and buffing to perfection. Plus, the tapered point makes it easy to apply the powder around my nose in a more controlled fashion. Turns out I love this brush so much that it's actually replaced my trusty MAC 182 which I've been using for the past 8 years. Now that's how you know it's good!

All brushes are available at Sephora online and MAKE UP FOR EVER boutiques. Select brushes are also available in Sephora stores.

September 15, 2013

mark. 10th Birthday Beauty Collection

To celebrate its 10th anniversary this month, mark. has introduced the new limited edition 10th Birthday Beauty Collection which allows us to share in a bit of that glorious "birthday glow." Fitting, as my own birthday was this past Thursday (happy birthday to me)!

The star of the collection is probably the mark. The Day 10 Year Anniversary Eye Palette ($18 CAD). The shadows are oddly creamy in texture which makes them a little hard to work with. Because of the formula, I find they apply best with fingers instead of brushes (the included sponge applicator proved useless for me). The shades have a soft, pearlized finish and are fairly sheer except for the left-most shadow, a rich and shimmery brown, that I really like.

The Wonder Glow Blush & Glow ($18 CAD) is an ultra-fine powder that adds some nice highlight to the face. mark. says this product can be worn as an all-over luminizer but I personally think it works nicer as a blush.

Lastly, there are the Wonder Gloss Lip Shine lipglosses ($12 CAD) which come in three shades: Nude Shine, Peach Shine, and Pink Shine. I am not much of a lipgloss person but these are really nice. They aren't sticky, are super shiny, and even smell like birthday cake! Unfortunately Nude Shine and Peach Shine are basically undetectable on my pigmented lips so I have been using Pink Shine (worn below) the most.

The mark. 10th Birthday Beauty Collection is available through AVON/mark. Independent Sales Representatives, 1-800-265-AVON, or online.

September 10, 2013

Support The Team

One thing about me that surprises a lot of people is that I love football. NFL football, to be specific. I love the plays, I love the strategy, and I love how the game can change in a matter of seconds. So now that football season's in full swing, it's time to support my team... go Cards!

 Dress: Wilfred Free (Aritzia) / Vest: Loft 82 (similar) / Hat: New Era (here)
Shoes: Converse (c/o) (here) / Necklace: Forever 21 (here)

September 8, 2013

The New Crew

As the cooler weather starts to set in, I'm predicting one item that will gain increasing traction in many a Fall wardrobe is the new crew sweater. Part sweater/part sweatshirt and all sorts of comfy, the new crew can be layered to create a variety of different looks and add a little more personality to a basic outfit.

Obtaining such a versatile piece of clothing, however, doesn't mean you have to break the bank. Whether you prefer embellishments, stripes, or witty sayings, Old Navy has managed to create a statement new crew sweater for everyone.

I personally fall into the latter category (witty sayings) so these cute terry-fleece raglan tops immediately caught my eye:

Lucky for me, all Old Navy sweaters are now on sale until September 11 with prices starting at just $15. Time to stock up!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Old Navy but all opinions, as always, are my own.

September 7, 2013

Shopstyle Contest: Rate a Product and Win $1000!

I was recently asked to test out the new reviewing feature on Shopstyle as part of my work with the POPSUGAR Beauty Select and let me tell you, it's kind of addicting! As a beauty blogger, I obviously love writing reviews but the 5-star system makes it easier than ever to do.

As an extra incentive to get you sharing your own thoughts on the site, Shopstyle is also giving away $1000... all you have to do is sign-in, rate some products already in your closet, and each review will earn you an entry into the contest. That cash could make for one serious shopping spree!

All details on how to enter are here. Contest is open to anyone in the US or Canada (excluding Quebec) until September 26.

September 5, 2013

Blush & Black

This shade of pink is one of my favourites (it's basically a neutral, in my opinion) and I especially love a good blush pink & black combo. Add in my beloved Miu Miu Mini Bow Bag and you've got last weekend's date night outfit...  just perfect for dinner, gelato, and a stroll around the Convention Centre.

Top: Loft 82 / Skirt: Pink Tartan (similar) / Shoes: Aldo (similar)
Bag: Miu Miu (in black) / Necklace: House of Harlow 1960 (here)

September 3, 2013


To celebrate the beginning of Fall, I thought now would be the perfect time to host an END OF SUMMER BEAUTY GIVEAWAY! Might as well start the season with a whole host of new beauty products, am I right?

One lucky reader will win the following:
2Chic by Giovanni Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Hair & Body Super Potion
AVON Big Color Eye Pencils in Aquamarine and Lavender Mist
AVON Big Color Dual Ended Eye Pencil in Silver Smoke
AVON Eye Cream Swirls in Swirled Clouds and Swirled Gold
LUSH Cream Eyeshadow in Intuitive
Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments in Never Fade Jade
Maybelline Master Smoky in Black Smoke
NYX Glam Liner in Glam Black
L'Occitane En Provence Lipgloss in Cherry Blossom
AVON Color Precise Lipsticks in Fuschia Finish and Infallible Mauve
mark. glossworks Lipglosses in Roseland and Tempest
Maybelline Color Show Holographic Nail Polish in Blue Blaze
Seche Nail Lacquer in Rose II
Viva La Nails Flower Water Decals
NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam
Meaningful Beauty by Cindy Crawford Anti-Aging Night Creme
STELLA by Stella McCartney Gentle Body Cleanser
+ some extra surprises

How to Enter (mandatory entry): 
♥ Follow my blog on Bloglovin and leave a comment below with your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

Extra Entries (leave a comment for each one):
♥ Follow me on Twitter and tweet "I just entered to win @alison_elle's END OF SUMMER BEAUTY GIVEAWAY! -" (+1 entry)
♥ Like my Facebook page and share the contest post (+1 entry)

Since I will be shipping this out myself, this giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway closes SEPTEMBER 15 and a winner will be chosen by a random number generator. Good luck!

Congratulations to the winner - T. of Initialed!

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