When you are a little girl, dandelions don’t seem like a weed, instead they are simply beautiful little flowers that you can pick and give to your Mom or perhaps put in your hair. You certainly don’t have the faintest idea as to why adults seem to concern themselves with their removal. I’ve always thought they were pretty little rays of sunshine, poking their heads up among the grassy forest. It seems like sort of a needless fight really… yet people spend their hard earned money every year waging war. Don’t worry, I live in an apartment, so I’m not your neighbour and you don’t have to worry about my lawn being the bane of your existence.
Their sunny little faces always made me happy. In fact, I should probably use the words “make me happy” given that it was just over a year ago that I found myself picking a small dandelion bouquet on Prince Edward Island, right after my husband asked me to marry him.
Yet I digress… this is after all a beauty and travel blog.
What I mean to say, is that I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with dandelions and I now have a new reason to rave about their existence.
You guys might recall my being stoked about my most recent Topbox that featured samples solely from benefit cosmetics. I was so excited about it, I really wanted to make time to go into extra detail for some of the products. First up on my hit list is (you guessed it) the sample set I received featuring both the dandelion brightening face powder and the corresponding dandelion ultra plush lip gloss.
These two products have quickly raced their way up my list of favourite products.
The brightening face powder is a gorgeous soft pink shade. It creates a very subtle and natural looking glow. This “dandelion” powder applies nearly sheer but is easily built-up for a more noticeable look. And don’t forget the soft shimmery kiss this “everyday” blush leaves behind on your cheeks.
If you’ve been wanting a blush that leaves a nice natural look without being overloaded by shimmer or looking flat with matte, this product might be just what you need.
The full size product is .25oz complete with a brush for easy dusting. It retails for $36.00 CAD or$28.00 US.
Now, as much as I love the blush and think its a very versatile and flattering shade, my favourite of the pair is the gloss.
This “dandelion” Ultra Plus Lip Gloss smells absolutely amazing for starters! It smells like peaches with a slight touch of mango but isn’t too overpowering, it’s just strong enough to be noticeable. When I first did my Topbox research and I discovered the full size gloss from Sephora was $18.00 CAD or $16.00 US (for a 0.5oz) I remember thinking to myself, who is going to pay that much for a gloss…gloss is gloss. But honestly…I’m now one of those people that would be happy paying that for this product. This lip gloss by benefit is soft, smooth and as far in the opposite direction of “sticky” as you can imagine. It glides on incredibly smooth with no dragging.
The only draw back with this non-sticky lip gloss in “dandelion” is that the product isn’t really pigmented. Don’t pick this shade if you are hoping for a soft pink, it is mostly clear, but will do the trick if you just want a pop of shine…and for your lips to feel amazing. benefit does offer this gloss in a variety of colours, so if you are wanting something with more colour, perhaps check out their darker shades.
Here is a swatch of both of the dandelion products for you. It really allows you to see how sheer and soft the blusher is (very faint, yet visible on the left) as well as the clear finish of the gloss (on the right):
I also used them both in the below makeup look. Whenever I go heavy on the eye makeup I like to keep my cheeks and lips soft and subtle, so both dandelion products worked great for that purpose:
Now if you are wanting to try out these two products, but don’t feel like spending $54 CAD or $44 US, benefit cosmetics actually has a great value set for those interested in rocking these in tandem this Spring. It is called “feelin’ DANDY” and is available where benefit products are sold. Sephora carries it for $32.00 CAD or $28.00 US.
You’ll also be able to try out “posie tint” and “high beam” minis as well. It’s a hard deal to beat and allows you to try multiple products for a very affordable price!
Have you tried the dandelion Ultra Plush Lip Gloss or Brightening Face Powder by benefit? What did you think?!?
And now for my most important question: how do you feel about the dandelion weed? 😉
So, Saturday night we safely arrived back home in Ottawa. After two flights and a very long day, we were in a word “exhausted”. I’ve got to say, it felt very amazing to sleep in our own bed!
I’m so far behind with things I want to post about on here, so I will do my best to get caught up. I’ll try to mix in trip photos over the next couple of weeks amidst everything else. While in Europe I ran into a couple of make up brands that I’d never heard of before and to the best of my knowledge, aren’t available anywhere in North America, so I was sure to pick up a few items so I could share them with you. And hopefully learn more about them from my European readers who have likely had a much wider experience with them.
The first one I wanted to post about is KIKO Make Up Milano. Available online at their website for residents of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and the UK…KIKO Cosmetics is currently only available for sale in Europe.
KIKO’s identity is rooted in “Made in Italy” values and the world of the capital for fashion, art and design. The research into original textures and colours is combined with research into quality formulas with guaranteed performance, for a perfect fusion of quality and creativity.
We ran into this stand alone cosmetics store in the shopping district of Venice. They had every makeup and skincare product under the sun and tonnes of nail polishes too. And as you can see, it was packed! They had so much product in this little shop, I really wasn’t sure where to start. Because I had no idea of if there were any “must-haves” for this brand, I just snooped around and picked out a few things I thought I would enjoy giving a try.
I ended up opting for two eye pencils, an eyeshadow palette containing 4 shades and a nail polish.
The Color Fever Eyeshadow Palette I decided on was the one called Hyperreal Green Wood (no shocker there!).
Inside the box the palette comes inside a small velvet pouch for safe keeping. And you’ll be happy to know the lid offers a full size mirror with no wasted space.
The Hyperreal Green Wood palette features 4 gorgeous shades that are easily paired together and are all shimmery baked eyeshadows so they can easily be used dry or wet, depending on how intense you want the look to be.
The look I’ve created here is using a dry brush. And I found them to be very vibrant with lovely pigmentation and great blendability. After several hours of wear I experienced no creasing, fading or patchy wear of any kind. I was very happy with this palette and the overall quality of the eye shadows. I paid 12,90 Euro for this palette in store (that is equivalent to about $17 or $18 US dollars).
I also purchased Nail Lacquer 298 (no cute names, only numbers) for 3,90 Euro (which is about $5-$6 USD). The nail lacquer was not at all like I expected. It was a very sheer shimmer and after trying it out, I would think this is best used as a top coat if you wanted to add some shimmer to a matte or creme blue, green or black polish.
This picture here is showing 3 coats. I did 5 and still had a visible nail line, so you’d have to do at least 6 for an opaque/close to opaque look. Not sure who has time for that?
Unfortunately I only picked up the one shade, so I have no idea of whether this is just the case with their shimmer formulas and if an experience with a creme would’ve been different. I imagine it would be. Perhaps if anyone has tried out more than one of their nail lacquers you can leave a note below?? I’m really curious!
As mentioned earlier, I picked out 2 eye pencils while at KIKO. The first one was from their “Glamorous Eye Pencil” line and was number 404. It was only 2,90 Euro which is equal to about $4 USD.
It is a nice rich plum shade in a waterproof formula that starts out blendable and then sets into place.
For this swatch, I did a single fine line on the left which is just the width of the tip and then did a thicker swatch so you could see the true colour a little bit better.
The other eye pencil I decided to pick up was from the Smoky Eye(s) Pencil line in shade 03 (Violet Indigo). This one retailed for 6,90 Euro which equates to about $9 or $10 USD.
When I saw this product, I knew I just had to give this a whirl because it was the first time I’d ever seen a brush on the end of an eye pencil opposed to a smudger.
For the above swatch, on the left again I did the single fine line to show the width of the tip and on the right, I’ve lightly blended it out using the brush on the other end.
Both eye pencils had an extremely creamy texture and slid across my lids gently with ease. Below, you can see I tried pairing the blue one with some brown crushed pigments to add a pop of colour to my look which created a nice alternative to brown or black.
Overall I was really happy with the quality of products and given the price, you really can’t go wrong. The brand is quite affordable and offers an absolutely massive range of colours and options for people, no matter their age. The prices make it easy to try out multiple products right away unlike some high end brands that add up so quickly. Now all I wish is that I’d grabbed a lip product to test drive too…and honestly, some of everything would be nice! So, I can definitely say that I would buy KIKO products again if I’m ever back in Europe. Hopefully someday they will expand their on-line store and make shipping to North America possible!
So, for all my North American readers, keep your eyes peeled for KIKO Make Up Milano on your next trip overseas and for my European readers, I’m really curious if any of you are fans of KIKO Cosmetics and if there are any “must-have’s” people should know about?!?
Thanks for reading!
BE WHAT YOU WANT
I think it is safe to say that everybody loves getting free stuff. I’ve personally made it very clear that I’m a sucker for a good “gift with purchase” and constantly want to buy value packs and sampler kits because they are a better deal. So when a fellow blogger and friend of mine, Rebecca over at The Lipstick Gal, turned me on to BzzAgent several months ago, I thought it sounded like a great idea! At the time she was reviewing a set of Gucci perfumes she had received for free for simply signing up to be a BzzAgent. The company BzzAgent puts a great deal of value in word of mouth advertising and they believe that people who have sampled certain products or know someone who has tried it out, are more likely to branch out and try something new. With a whackload of clients, www.bzzagent.com is looking for more and more people all the time who are interested in trying out a variety of free products. Their campaigns involve everything from household items, to pet food, beauty and skincare products, or even food for your family. So no matter what your interests, hobbies or daily grind involves BzzAgent has something for you to try out. All they ask is for feedback and for you to share coupons and samples with your friends.
To get started, all you have to do is sign up! It doesn’t cost you anything, other than a few minutes of your time to fill out a few surveys. The surveys help them match up future campaigns that might suit you. If you don’t have pets, they won’t send you dog food, etc. I had signed up several months back and had practically forgotten all about it, until I received an email inviting me to a BzzCampaign for Burt’s Bees. They wanted to send me some brand new, full-size products from their Intense Hydration line for absolutely FREE! Naturally, I accepted and within a week I had about $45 of free product arriving at my door.
I received a full sized Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream with Clary Sage, a full sized Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser with Clary Sage…as well as a mountain of Night Cream samples to give away to friends, family, co-workers, etc.
I’d never tried anything from Burt’s Bees skincare line before. I’d dabbled in their lip products, like most everyone I think…but that was where my experimentation had ended until very recently. I was excited to try out some new skin care products as I didn’t have much of a routine that I was dedicated to.
But before I talk about the individual products I got to try, I want to talk a bit about Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration products being 99% natural and the part “Clary Sage” plays in their line of Intense Hydration products.
Burt’s Bees is a product line very dedicated to making natural products that are GOOD FOR YOU. They pride themselves on using the best natural ingredients available and processing them in the simplest way possible. Every package they have for sale states clearly on it, what percentage of natural ingredients are inside so you always know exactly what you are putting on your skin or lips. Burt’s Bees doesn’t test on animals and they do their best to limit their environmental footprint by using innovative packaging and ensuring zero waste goes to landfills from their facilities. They are certainly a company you can feel good about supporting with products you can feel good about putting onto your body.
The Intense Hydration line is made with Clary Sage and I found the story behind this crucial ingredient particularly interesting.
Deep in the windswept hills of the Mediterranean, a lone plant fights for its life against the elements. Clary Sage survives and thrives in spite of its harsh surroundings, thanks to the plant’s fierce will and exceptional ability to adapt and retain moisture. This remarkable botanical is the inspiration behind Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Face Care line – the brand’s natural ode to soft, supple and revitalized skin.
In clinical studies, 100% of women tested said their skin felt hydrated after using Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration products. That is a stat that is hard to argue with.
Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser
Burt’s Bees Description states:
- Provides intense hydration and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Leaves skin feeling soft, supple and revitalized
- Removes dirt, oil and makeup
- Rinses easily without leaving a residue
Intense Hydration Night Cream
Burt’s Bees Description states:
- Replenishes moisture while you sleep – wake up to skin that feels soft, supple and revitalized
- Provides intense hydration and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Absorbs quickly thanks to a rich, non-greasy formula
My thoughts after 3 weeks of testing:
I suffer from dry skin mainly throughout the Winter months. Winter in Canada can be quite drying to all of my skin, but my face always seems to suffer the most, or at least I worry about it more than anything else. I have combination skin that lends itself to being quite dry from November through March. It’s especially bad this time of year because when it is really cold outside, I tend to engage in extremely hot showers, which further dry out my skin. It is near impossible to keep my skin hydrated.
Once I received this set, I really wanted to give the products a fair shake and created a routine where I would remove my eye makeup and use this cleanser and night cream before bed each evening. The first thing I noticed about this facial cleanser is the amazing scent. It smells clean and refreshing…almost like what you’d expect a a fresh, mountain meadow to smell like. This cleanser is not an exfoliant, so the formula is very soft and not too thick. It spreads easily onto a wet face and a little goes a long way. It feels extremely gentle and truly does rinse off easily with no hassle. What I noticed immediately was after I finished washing, my face wasn’t tight and dry feeling. I’ve experienced several cleansers that although they left me feeling clean, they also left me with an immediate need for face cream, this thankfully wasn’t one of them. I proceeded to apply my overnight eye cream and then the Burt’s Bees night cream all over my face. So every night I’ve been going to bed with soft and supple skin that feels very refreshed and clean. Over the course of the past few weeks, there have been a couple of nights where I didn’t make time for my new routine and I went straight to bed. Each time, I paid for it the next morning and woke up feeling dry, tight and even experienced some flaky, dry skin across my forehead. With Burt’s Bees I’m able to wake up feeling hydrated, instead of feeling like I need to go straight into “damage control” mode and play catch up. The night cream isn’t greasy at all and I end up feeling hydrated for about a 24 hour period after each use. So it isn’t until the following evening when I start feeling like my skin could use some more nourishment.
So if you suffer from dry skin in winter, or any time, you should really consider giving Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration a try and see if it is right for you!
Do you suffer from dry skin? What do you use to keep your skin feeling soft and hydrated?
Thanks for reading everyone and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Well, I’m sure this post isn’t coming as a shocker to any of you. I’ve always been a sucker for value sets, gifts with purchases and the Sephora Favorite samplers.
Draw the Line is the 2012 eyeliner sampler from Sephora featuring 3 full size products and 3 deluxe minis.
This set allows you to “Flick, drag, sweep, or smudge with cream, liquid or pencil. Create countless looks with this essential black eyeliner kit.” Available on-line or in-store this set retails for $28.00 US ($82.00 value) or $34.00 CAD ($98.00 value).
I was really excited when I saw this eyeliner sampler. I’ve been on the hunt for a new liquid eyeliner (felt tip) as well as something that will work on my waterline. As lovely as MAC’s fluidline glides across your lid, it has never worked well on my waterline. In under an hour after application I will have little chunks flaking off and creating a mess under my eyes. So now, I have a new gel liner (that is actually waterproof) as well as a couple of waterproof pencils I can put to the test.
Let’s take a closer look at the products inside:
- Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in “Midnight Black”. At 3.4g/12oz this is one of the three full size products. A cream eye liner like this is the favourite of many, it offers a similar look to a crisp liquid liner, but is easier to apply. It does require an eyeliner brush though, which is not included. Sold individually, this product would be $22.00 US or $27.00 CAD. 7 different shades available on-line or in-store.
- Urban Decay 24/7 Waterpoof Liquid Eyeliner in shade “Perversion”. At 1.7ml this is the second of the full size products. It is a classic liquid eye liner brush, not a felt tip applicator. If you have a steady hand you can create gorgeous precise lines with this one. This product, when sold individually is $19.00 US or $23.00 CAD. 11 different shades available on-line or in-store for this cult favorite. And after just two products in , we’ve already blown the cost of this sampler set out of the water. I love a good deal!
- Sephora Collection’s Waterproof Retractable Eyeliner in shade “09 Glitter Black” is the last of the three full size products at 0.31g. It is a vibrant black with tiny silver specks of glitter. It comes with a smudger on the bottom end as well if you are going for a more blended effect. This one is available in a mere 22 shades and can be purchased on-line or in-store for $12.00 US or $16.00 CAD.
- Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner in shade “Trooper”. This was the first product I reached for when I took off the plastic. The felt tip pen makes drawing on perfect lines quick and easy. The super fine tip makes any touch ups a breeze. This water resistant product is designed for application on the face and the body. The full size product is approximately 3 times the size of this deluxe sample and retails for $18.00 US or $22.00 CAD. You can purchase here or in-store and choose from 5 different shades.
- Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil is a favorite amongst beauty addicts and make up artists alike. This award winning product also doubles as a vibrant eye shadow. I was excited to try this matte black liner on my waterline and I’ve got to say it held up very well, with almost no signs of wear after several hours. Aqua eyes full size pencils retail for $18.00 US or $20.00 CAD and come in 25 different colors.
- Buxom Insider Eyeliner in “Black Jasper” is a black metallic, retractable, velvety liner.Its gentle design is tailored for application of the inner rims of your eyes. This liner contains antioxidants and vitamins to protect this delicate area. (I know, I know, I should’ve read this and tried this one first!) It is definitely next on my list to try out on my waterline. I might even try tight-lining for the first time! It makes it sound like such a lovely prospect! The full size Buxom Insider eyeliners can be purchased on-line and in-store for $14.00 US and $18.00 CAD. 8 shades give you some affordable options if you are wanting to pick this up.
I’ve swatched them all next to each other here so you can see the differences in opacity and thickness:
(click to enlarge)
I really am so impressed with the value of this set. For a bunch of black eyeliners…you really do get the best of everything. You have a wide variety of products with unique purposes…and you can’t beat the price no matter how you look at it.
What is your favorite black eyeliner that you can’t live without? Every girl has got to have at least one!
I have full swatches of their lip sampler “Give Me Some Lip” as well for anyone interested.
Holiday collections have already hit all of the shelves this year in mass. Sephora value sets and special palettes are all over the place and MAC’s collections have already seen some early sell outs.
MAC’s new sets have some definite re-promotes but I did see one lipstick that I just knew I had to have. After my 10 Gorgeous Lipsticks for Fall post, I realized I was really missing a nice deep purple/burgundy for this fall and coming winter. So I grabbed “Dramatic Encounter” from their limited edition Glamour Daze Lipstick collection.
Dramatic Encounter is a MAC Aplified Crème Lipstick, which I believe means that it is supposed to have a creamy moisturizing texture. If someone has more information about that, I’d love for you to comment below! 🙂
The shade itself is described by MAC as a deep purple. Indoors I found it was a very deep purple, at first glance almost black on my lips. But outside in natural light, you can see the red and burgundy tones in it.
The below swatches are all in natural light:
Personally I found it felt quite nice on my lips. Not too creamy as to be a smudge-fest and not too dry as to be uncomfortable. I kept a close eye on it throughout dinner and drinks with my compact and found it wore incredibly well. I was worried about it looking uneven and horrendous throughout the meal, but didn’t find that to be the case at all. The shade itself is quite opaque and covers easily with very little fuss. No need to be layering this one on over and over to get the true colour.
Are any of you sporting dark shades like this one this fall?
What holiday sets are you most excited about??
Full ingredient listing for MAC’s Dramatic Encounter Lipstick:
A few weeks ago I picked up the “Give Me Some Lip” set from Sephora’s website. I love trying new products and I always find that Sephora’s pre-made sampler kits are a great way to do that. You get to try new brands and shades that might be outside your comfort zone, or price range. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg, or invest in full size products that you end up wanting nothing to do with.
The set comes in a small glossy pink “book” with a shimmery ribbon on the right hand side that you can tie to keep it closed.
Full Ingredient List (click to englarge):
When you untie the ribbon, you can open it up to find your six products tucked away neatly.
The “Give Me Some Lip” set contains:
- 0.08 oz Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment (very sheer berry rose)
- 0.12 oz Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Child (sheer nude)
- 0.1 oz Bite Beauty Lip Shine in Vintage (sheer mauve/plum)
- 0.1 oz Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Baby Doll (soft pink gloss with lots of shimmer)
- 0.1 oz Tarte LipSurgence™ Natural Matte Lip Tint in Hope (warm rose shade)
- 0.5 oz Sephora Collection Glossy Gloss in Precious Pink (described as a very sheer pink with iridescent shimmer)
That is 2 full size products and 4 travel sized products. This lip sampler of Sephora Favorites can be purchased on-line for $30.00 CAD or $25.00 US. The Tarte product itself retails for $31.00 CAD or $24.00 US. So really, think of it as buying one of those…and getting everything else for free!
I want to take a closer look at all the products and shades here, to help you decide if this value set is truly for you.
Let’s start with the Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment by Fresh:
- This was my first product by Fresh and I’ve got to say that it is just lovely. I finally understand what all the fuss is about! It is so soft, it almost melts onto your lips as you apply it (no need to press hard with this product). This lip treatment leaves your lips feeling hydrated with a pretty, natural, subtle tint. It is also SPF 15, so that is a nice added bonus too! The scent that accompanies this lip product is sweet like fruit yet lightly floral.
Next up let’s look at Tarte Lipsurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint in “Hope”:
- This is my second LipSurgence product from Tarte and I love it just as much as my other one. I find this shade very wearable for the everyday. The nice matte finish doesn’t make it too intense, but “Hope” still adds a nice deep colour to your lips. All of their LipSurgence products have a slight minty scent to them (to me they smell exactly like dental floss) and have a long hydrating wear time.
Now for, Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in “Child”:
- This is a fantastic nude lip gloss that glides on sheer and softens your natural lip colour while adding a nice neutral shine. It has a very light scent of vanilla to it and has a flexible flat-sided sponge applicator that was soft and comfortable against my lips. I see myself getting a lot of use out of this for bold eye make-up that calls for a nice soft and subtle lip.
Laura Mercier Lip Glace:
- Babydoll is a nice pink shimmer gloss with a lot of shimmer and sparkle that comes with a sweet dessert smell. The sponge applicator is angled and stiff which makes application quick and efficient with little room for error. I think “Babydoll” is a nice complimentary shade to go with a variety of skin tones and make-up styles and preferences.
Bite Lip Shine in “Vintage”:
- The light scent that goes along with “Vintage” I can only describe as a black cherry, or a spicy cherry of sorts- it is definitely sweet, but has a little bit of punch as well. This lip shine is a gorgeous sheer mauve/plum shade that basically deepened my natural lip colour and added shine. It has a really nice consistency and I love the natural richness of it on.
Last but not least, Sephora’s Glossy Gloss in “Precious Pink”:
- This product is by far the glossiest of the set, I definitely see where it gets its name “Glossy Gloss”. This sheer soft pink gloss basically goes on clear and contains a great deal of iridescent shimmer. Your lips will feel soft and slippery, look plump and smell like watermelon. This is a great everyday gloss, especially for the summer months.
(In the same order as shown above)
All in all, for the price I’m really happy with this multi branded value set. I find it offers a nice variety of shades as well as textures – I really have no complaints with this purchase and am really glad I bought it!
Is there a certain brand from this sampler set that you love/hate? I’d love to hear about your favourite lip products for the season!
P.S. Here is a look using “Hope” LipSurgence natural matte lip tint by Tarte: