February 25, 2016

Neocell Super Collagen +C and Beauty Bursts

As you know, I have been sick on/off since December and the stress on my immune system has really been taking its toll on me. I was already taking a number of supplements (fish oils, probiotics, vitamin C, oil of oregano), but recently went to a naturopath to discuss additional options for boosting my overall health. My daily pill intake has now increased considerably but I'm finally feeling more like myself. Of course, time will tell whether my new regime is really having a positive effect rather than placebo but after months of illness let's just say I was getting pretty desperate for any solution possible.

That brings me to today's post, which is a little different because I'm going to be talking about supplements. However, they're beauty-related so still totally relevant for the blog!

A while back, I was contacted by PR for NeoCell to try out some products for the company's recent launch in Canada. Initially I was a bit skeptical because the idea of taking collagen supplements sounded really weird. However. since I've been focusing on improving my overall health and well-being, I decided to give it a try.

NeoCell's collagen products are specifically designed to support the body's natural collagen supply, helping skin achieve that healthy glow, hair grow thicker and shinier, and nails longer and stronger. As we age (something I'm all too familiar with given my impending 30th birthday later this year -- eep!), collagen also plays an important role in strengthening and rebuilding lost muscle mass and connective tissue.

If you're interested in trying collagen supplements for yourself, here are a number of easy to digest options: NeoCell Super Collagen+C Tablets, NeoCell Super Collagen Powder, and NeoCell Beauty Bursts™.

For those who are okay with taking pills, the NeoCell Super Collagen+C Tablets are standard oval tablets that deliver 6,000 mg of NeoCell collagen. If pills are tough to swallow, you can instead try a scoop of NeoCell Super Collagen Powder mixed in with water or juice. I personally don't like drinking my supplements so this is my least preferred method. Instead, I have been loving the yummy NeoCell Beauty Bursts™. These fruit chews aren't candy but they do taste pretty good (if a little chalky) and contain  2,000 mg of collagen, along with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. Talk about an easy way to pack some important nutrients into your diet!

NeoCell products are all-natural and contain no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, and contain no gluten or GMO ingredients. Find them at Whole Foods Choices Markets, and London Drugs.

P.S. I'm off to Chicago for a week-long vacation so I'll be taking a mini hiatus from the blog. When I return, prepare to be bombarded with photos from my trip!

February 22, 2016

TATCHA Luminous Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate & Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum

Over the past month, I've been testing out two new additions to the TATCHA Luminous Collection, the company's best-selling skincare line: the Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate ($110) and the Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum ($95).

You may recall that my first experience with TATCHA's products involved the Ritual Discovery Kit and I marvelled over the gorgeous packaging. Well, TATCHA continues to impress with these two products. The purple and gold just scream luxurious (and they better; these are on the expensive side and I'd expect nothing less at this price point).

The Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate features an ultra-concentrated formula of Okinawa Red Algae, Wild Thyme, Ginseng, and Squalane which you apply before bed for radiant, glowing skin when you wake up in the morning. The texture is unlike anything I've ever encountered before; it's firm to the touch (almost like Jell-o) but the tiny gold spatula attached to the lid allows you to scoop out the product easily. It melts into your skin instantly and a little goes a long way. I'm absolutely in love with this serum -- it's not sticky and feels hydrating, even with my oily/combination skin.

To wake up my undereye area, I have also been using the Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum, which combines the same Okinawa Red Algae with natural caffeine from Green Tea. The ceramic applicator is cool to the touch and feels incredibly refreshing on puffy eyes. Plus, the formula includes 23-karat Gold Dust to brighten and deflect shadows. Talk about fancy!

February 18, 2016

CND Flirtation Shellac Manicure by Onyx Aesthetics Studio

Last week, I was invited to Onyx Aesthetics Studio, a trendy nail salon in Gastown, to preview CND's new summer collection and get my nails done at the same time. The result was (I think you'll all agree) absolutely stunning.

This was my first introduction to CND nail polish, although I was sort of familiar with the brand before. They're most well known for their Shellac Brand 14+ Day Nail Colour, a professional service offered at nail salons around the world. Shellac is painted on like a polish but each coat is briefly cured under a UV or LED lamp. Manicures last for weeks with no chipping or peeling, are super shiny, and dry immediately.

The new Flirtation Collection features six new Shellac colours: Lavender Lace (pale lavender), Sparks Fly (glittery coral), Be Demure (light candy pink), Aqua-intance (turquoise), Pink Pursuit (dusty rose), and Honey Darlin' (pale yellow). Linda, the owner of Onyx Aesthetics Studio, used all of these colours except Lavender Lace on the tips of my nails before hand-painting on a unique floral design.

In only an hour, I walked out with these gorgeous nails (no dry time required!) and have been receiving compliments ever since. It's been a week and while I do have a little bit of nail growth, my nails look just as good as when I first got them done.

The colours in the new CND Flirtation Collection are great for spring/summer, whether you want some crazy nail art like mine or just a basic mani. Plus, if you want to do your nails at home there's always the option of CND's Vinylux Weekly Polish System which isn't Shellac but is supposed to last 7 days with no chips. The Vinylux Flirtation Collection comes in eight shades: Lavender Lace, Be Demure, Aqua-intance, Pink Pursuit, Honey Darlin', Skin Tease (creamy white pink) Desert Poppy (bright coral) and Date Night (blue creme).

February 8, 2016

Canadian Tuxedo

Remember that whole being sick for the entirety of 2016 issue that I've been dealing with? Apparently I just can't seem to catch a break because after only a few days of what seemed like good health, I ended up sick. Again.

Anyway, enough complaining... let's talk about this outfit for a second. You guys know I have a thing for western shirts (case in point). It's a little weird but, you see, I really had to get this denim shirt. And then it only made sense to pair it with jeans because every Canadian should rock a "Canadian tuxedo" at least once in their lives, right?

Shirt: Levi's (vintage wash and similar) / Jeans: Frame (here and here)
Shoes: Vince (here)

February 3, 2016

Birchbox (January 2016)

My experience with subscription beauty boxes in the past has been fairly disappointing -- that is, until I received my first Birchbox. As the original beauty subscription box company, they obviously know what they're doing and they do it very well.

Many of us Canadian beauty lovers rejoiced when the company finally started shipping here (up until recently, it was a US-only service). Sadly, however, it seems some good things must come to an end. Birchbox announced yesterday that it will be putting its Canadian operations on hold with the March boxes being the last one to ship. Due to the current exchange rate and the high cost of shipping in Canada, I guess the company had to make a tough business decision. If only our dollar wasn't doing so poorly... not only has it made online shopping and trips to the States ridiculously expensive, now we're losing Birchbox too!

Since I've still got my subscription for the next few months, I figured I'd continue to share my thoughts. At the very least, we've gotten a taste of what a quality subscription beauty box would look like and can cross our fingers for its return one day.

I, for one, am really going to miss the actual boxes, which come in different designs each month. As a sucker for cute packaging this is a huge plus in my books. I've been keeping mine to reuse and store things in because they're so nice to look at. January's box says "2016: The Year of ________" on the lid and inside are some stickers to choose from (think words like "strength", "fearlessness", "risks", and "joy" to really get us thinking about how we want to theme this new year.) Speaking of which, how is January already over?

Here's what came in this month's box:

BioRepublic Cucumber Breeze Soothing Fibre Mask. I love sheet masks because they're so easy to use for a quick skin refresher. This one was nice and cooling when I put it on and the fibre mask is a really nice quality (it's thicker/puffier than other sheet masks I've used). Afterwards, my skin felt refreshed so I think it did its job!

Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray. Since my hair is so fine, adding texture is key. I currently use dry shampoo for that but this blowout spray is a good option if I've just washed my hair and am going to be blowdrying anyway.

Whish Three Whishes Lavender Body Butter. This body butter is really nice; the formula is creamy but not too thick and it absorbs quickly. The lavender scent is calming and the sample size comes in handy since I travel so often for work.

too cool for school Dinoplatz Pearl Bay Invasion. Ignoring the extremely weird name for a product, this is a cream glitter-based highlighter. I received it in #2 Baby Pink Clam, which is a super pretty gold-toned pink that reminds me a bit of NARS Orgasm Blush but in highlighter form (and of course, not nearly as pigmented).

TONYMOLY Tony Tint Delight in #2 Red. TONYMOLY is a Korean brand that I've heard a lot about but never tried before, so I'm glad tofinally get the chance thanks to Birchbox. Plus, how adorable is this tiny lip gloss tube? The actual product is a stain that dries matte and is great for getting that popular Korean gradient lip look.

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