March 30, 2015

FOTD: Lise Watier Expression Collection

Now that the March Equinox has passed (and brought with it tons of rain), I'm trying to wean myself off the simple black liner/dark lippie combos that I've been sporting for months. You know... time to embrace colour, rejuvenation, sunshine, and all the other good stuff that this new season brings. To get myself started, I turned to Lise Watier, a brand that can always be counted on for a great Spring collection (a few examples here and here). This year they've released the Expression Collection, which features fun packaging and shades aimed to inspire creativity, spontaneity, and individuality.

For my eyes, I started with the Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Fairy Pink as an eyeshadow base. Next, I applied the colours from the the Palette Expression Eyeshadows, using the pale yellow as the base, light aqua in the inner corners, turquoise on the outer corners, and a blend of the charcoal and light aqua along my bottom lashes. Lastly, I used the Féline Eyeliner in Vert and Eyeshine Expression pencil to tightline. On my lashes I am wearing AVON SuperExtend Winged Out Mascara.

On my cheeks, I am wearing the Expression Blush Trio which I would say is the star of this collection (along with the eyeshadow palette). The three shades can be used individually though I am wearing them blended together in this FOTD.

The Rouge Gourmand Velours Expression is an easy-to-wear matte lipstick that completes the look along with the Nail Lacquer in Expression, a warm orange/coral that's perfect for Spring/Summer.

Lise Watier Expression contains limited edition products which will be available online and in selected retailers like London Drugs until the end of April.

March 27, 2015

My Current Cleansing Routine: Clarisonic Mia 2

A few months ago, I picked up something that's been on my beauty wishlist for ages: a Clarisonic Mia 2. Unlike the standard Mia, the Mia 2 features two speed settings and a timer that beeps to let you know how many seconds to spend on each area of the face. I've become quite addicted to the process and my skin feels noticeably softer after use.

What I didn't realize before purchasing my device, however, was that you don't actually use it to remove your makeup. If you did, you'd end up scrubbing the makeup deeper into your skin and clogging the pores. Plus, the brush head would just end up a dirty, unhygienic mess. So obviously this means makeup must be removed first! Accordingly, I have made some changes to the products I use which I thought I'd share.

I usually begin by removing my eye makeup first. Because my eyes are extremely sensitive, I prefer to use cleansing waters since they are gentle and non-irritating. My two favourites are Bioderma Sensibio and Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Solution.

To remove my face makeup, I find it easiest to use makeup removal wipes. Natracare Cleansing Makeup Removal Wipes are a good pick because they're organic and free of chemicals. The cloths feel soft which makes them great for sensitive skin and they smell very fresh, kind of like lemons.

With my Clarisonic, I started out using the Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser that came with my kit. The cleanser is okay though I don't love it. Once I run out, I will be switching to my tried and true Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser which I've been using since high school.

Do you have a Clarisonic? What products do you use with yours?

March 25, 2015

Nine West Grand Re-Opening at Pacific Centre

Fellow Vancouverites, take note: Nine West is hosting its grand re-opening party at Pacific Centre this Friday, March 27 and there are some amazing deals to be had. The first 100 customers will receive a $50 gift card, but even if you miss out on that you can still take advantage of a 20% discount all day. Is this not the perfect time to stock up on new shoes for Spring and Summer or what? Plus, enter to win free shoes for a year and indulge in some free cupcakes while you're at it -- yum!

March 22, 2015

Jealous Body Scrub

Coffee scrubs have been popping up all over the Internet these days so I was excited when Jealous Body Scrub asked me if I'd like to try their product. Not only was this my first foray into the world of coffee scrubs, but the company is also based in Vancouver and you know how much I love supporting local businesses!

One package of Jealous Body Scrub costs $17.95 and is made with 100% natural ingredients: premium Robusta coffee grounds, organic cold-pressed coconut oil, raw brown sugar, sea salt, vitamin E, and minerals to protect and repair the skin. The combination of these ingredients smells absolutely delicious. When I first opened the package I seriously could not stop sniffing it.

The company claims the product will reduce the appearance of cellulite, eczema, stretch marks, age spots, varicose veins, psoriasis and acne. However, you don't have to worry about dryness either as the cold-pressed coconut oil hydrates your skin at the same time (a lot of people use coconut oil as a moisturizer so this is no surprise). If you're interested in learning about how all the ingredients work, I suggest reading these FAQs, as Jealous has done a far better job explaining things than I ever could.

As for usage, this product should definitely be used in the bath or shower because it is messy. You wet your skin first so that the scrub actually sticks and rub it in circular motions, leaving it on for 5-10 minutes so it has time to do its work... After rinsing the scrub off, skin is left feeling super smooth and moisturized. I can see getting addicted to this for sure.

March 19, 2015

Valentino Noir Rockstud Pumps

Apparently I've been on a bit of a designer shoe kick lately (hello beloved Alexander Wang oxfords which I'm sure you've noticed have been featured in many of my outfit posts since I got them -- I have been wearing them almost everyday). Nonetheless, I will admit that this latest pair ended up being a somewhat unexpected splurge.

I had decided that I wanted an edgy pair of heels but really had no concept of what those would end up being. When I happened upon these Valentino Rockstud Noir Pumps at Holt Renfrew, I decided to give them a try... and they ended up coming home with me, whoops!

I know that Rockstuds have been majorly overdone in the blogosphere and to be honest, I was never really interested in them before. However, once I tried them on, I finally understood why they're so popular. For a 4+ inch heel, they are surprisingly comfortable. And this is coming from a girl who almost never wears heels so that's got to count for something, right?

March 15, 2015

Coordinated Lips & Tips: Mark. Get It Together Set

It's been a while since I last properly featured a full mark. collection on the blog (see here and here) though I have been using quite a few of their products over the years. For Spring, I'm loving this cute Get It Together Lipclick and Lacquer Set, which features a small-sized lipstick and two mini nail polishes.

The idea behind the set is to make it easy for people to match their lip colour with their nails which I didn't realize was actually a "thing" but why not, I guess.

The Lipclick shade is called Coral Fixation and is a really nice vibrant coral. It has a Satin/Cream finish and feels comfortable on the lips. The packaging is really fun as well since it features a magnetic cap that clicks closed (similar to the MAC Mineralize Rich Lipsticks but not quite as luxurious as Chanel or Estée Lauder).

To coordinate my nails, I used Coordinating Coral as the base and added Go Bolder Gold to the tips. Both polishes applied evenly and I really like how they look together. I then decided to add a white line (Kiss Nail Art Paint in White) and ended up loving the result. They look a bit like Easter eggs!

March 11, 2015

Even Blonder thanks to Hype Hair Studio

In my last hair update, I mentioned that I wanted to go even blonder on my next salon visit so I couldn't believe my luck when the kind people at Hype Hair Studio offered to help me make this "dream" a reality. A sunny Saturday later, off I headed to their salon, conveniently located in my neighbourhood of Kitsilano (and also a block away from one of my favourite brunch places, The Oakwood Canadian Bistro... yum).

When I arrived, I met JP who was my stylist for the day. She made me feel immediately at ease and we got to work discussing the plan for my hair. I had a very specific idea in mind of what I wanted to do: bring the blonde up  higher since my hair has been growing out and get the tips as white as possible. JP understood what I was looking for and did what she could to achieve this. In the end, my tips were exactly the white blonde I wanted. However, because we had to bleach my natural hair colour closer to the roots, it turned out more golden at the top since dark hair carries red/orange undertones. While this adds dimension since there's a colour gradation I know another session will be necessary to fix the brassiness and get it to the more ashy tone I prefer (side note: I have actually been debating going back to brunette so whether or not this happens remains to be seen).

Since embarking on my blonde journey I've gotten used to how long the entire process takes (about 3 hours) because it requires bleach and toner, plus the cut and style. Thankfully JP was easy to talk to and I was also provided with magazines and drinks while I waited for the colour to set.

For the cut, I didn't want to lose too much hair so I just got a simple trim into a long bob. I'm finding my hair looks better curled than straight right now (unfortunately this is not so good for late mornings when I don't have time to style my hair) but JP was kind enough to give me some styling tips, even letting me practise with her flat iron.

Hype Hair Studio recently won Gold in Westender's Best of the City readers choice survey for the third year in a row, which doesn't surprise me one bit. The salon space is very warm and inviting with lots of windows and natural light, and all the stylists seemed highly skilled (while I was there, I witnessed a whole range of services going on around me from colour, cuts, and styling to even a perm). It's definitely a good place to check out if you're looking to get your hair done in Vancouver!

March 9, 2015

Going Western with #HarleyStyle

Apart from my brief stint in Calgary (where police officers actually wear cowboy hats) and my Japanese pajama/pseudo-Western shirt, I am about as far from being "country" as they come. However, I have always thought cowboy boots were kind of awesome so when the opportunity to try these Harley Davidson Loreley Boots popped up, I was so on board.

"Did Alison just say Harley Davidson?" is what you are probably now thinking, and "Since when does she ride a motorcycle?" is likely your next thought. Well, it turns out that while these boots can do double time as footwear for all those motorcycles I'm not riding, they also make a truly excellent fashion statement.

Sweater: Vince / Jeans: Paige Denim (darker wash) / Scarf: Fine Finds
Boots: Harley-Davidson (c/o) / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (c/o) (here)

March 6, 2015

Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser

Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser is a new makeup remover from Garnier designed specifically for sensitive skin. The product is enriched with purifying moringa flower extract and contains no alcohol, dyes, or fragrance.

The formula appears to be an interesting combination of cleansing oil (though it's not actually "oil" according to the packaging) and cleansing lotion which I haven't seen before. I would recommend lightly shaking the tube before use, otherwise the "oil" will seep out first when what you really want is to get a good mix of the two. You apply the cleanser to dry skin, massaging it to break down your makeup, and can either wipe it off with a cotton pad or rinse (I personally prefer to rinse). After use, my face was left feeling smooth and moisturized and I could see how this would be good for those people with sensitive skin types.

Garnier also claims that the product "dissolves even waterproof mascara" and since that's all I wear, I was pleased to see that this was indeed the case. However, my eyes are extremely sensitive and I found the cleanser irritated them despite the fact that it's ophthalmologist-tested. Since stinging eyes are obviously something I want to avoid, I don't think this product is right for me. It's a shame since it does actually do what it claims!

Disclaimer: Product has been provided by Garnier Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Garnier Canada.

March 3, 2015

Wave Wall

This wave wall reminded me of a certain Canadian band from the late 90s/early 2000s, Wave, best known for their single "California"... which is where I will be headed for vacation Easter Long Weekend! See what I did there? Anyway, I know it's still a month away, but I can't wait!

Silk Blouse: Club Monaco (similar) / Sweater: Billabong (c/o)
Faux Leather Leggings: Club Monaco (here) / Shoes: Alexander Wang (here)
Bag: Marc By Marc Jacobs (here) / Sunglasses: Ray Ban (here)

March 1, 2015

Hair Picks from COLAB, LUSH, and Phyto Paris

Although my everyday hair care routine has remained fairly regimented since I lightened it (see my guide to caring for blonde hair), a number of other hair products have been sent my way these past few months that I've also been experimenting with. Here are my thoughts on a few of them...

With my colour treated hair, I've been trying not to wash it too frequently in order to avoid fading and brassiness. That's where dry shampoo comes in! As you may already know, I typically use Batiste but lately have been testing out British brand COLAB from model and beauty blogger Ruth Crilly.

In Canada, we now have access to two high fashion-inspired fragrances from the COLAB collection, available online and in select retailers (including London Drugs). London is a mix of bergamot, musk, and magnolia but smells overly perfume-y to me. I personally prefer Rio, which is fruity and tropical (think Escada's popular summer fragrances). The Sheer Invisible line features a fine transparent formula to work for all hair colours. My fellow brunettes know that there's nothing worse than looking like you've rubbed your roots with white powder, am I right? The product is nice for keeping greasy hair at bay though if you're looking for volume I would not recommend it. COLAB does, however, also have an Extreme Volume line, which is likely better for that added oomph.

For the eco-conscious among us, LUSH Cosmetics recently launched six new shampoo bars: packaging-free solid shampoo that you just add water to use. I have used Seanik before but I found it drying so it wasn't a good fit for my hair type. Thankfully I decided to give these another go because it turns out I love Honey I Washed My Hair. Featuring the super popular honey-toffee scent from the Honey I Washed The Kids soap, this shampoo bar is such a treat. I have been alternating it with my purple shampoo days so I bet this one little puck will last me ages as it can be used up to 80 times.

To add moisture back to my dry ends, I have been using the Phyto Paris Repairing Thermal Protectant Spray. The spray contains botanical keratin and hyaluronic acid to repair, while a heat-activated extract of yun zhi provides protection for heat styling. It's a bit like a leave-in conditioner and leaves my hair feeling really nice.

Another Phyto Paris product I like is the Botanical Scalp Treatment. It's a pre-shampoo treatment that you apply and leave on for 20 minutes before washing your hair and helps balance the scalp. I find that I especially need something like this during the colder months and the blend of essential oils (cajeput, lemon, rosemary, sage, and cypress) is very refreshing.

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