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Batiste Dry Shampoo

I used to wash my hair every day when I was a kid.  I was also kind of a daydreamer/shower-singer so there have definitely been times where muscle memory just kicked in and I'd shampoo twice.  Or three times, if I had a particularly good song going.

Then I went on this hideous trip where I had no access to a shower for five straight days.  I'm too traumatized to remember, but I think it involved several multikilometer portages.  I had a friend who was complaining about greasy hair...let me just remind you that as an everyday shampooer with oily skin and one could touch me when it came to greasy hair.  I argued as much and finally offered her my head to touch.  We're still friends and she has yet to ever touch my head again.

A couple years later, after not one, but two hyper-damaging perms, I finally got my hair act together. I went through a very difficult two-week phase of not washing my hair, and it changed my life.  And my hair.  First of all, did you know that your hair can get so dirty, it almost looks clean again?  It could be a direct result of no longer knowing what clean hair looks like, but I'm fairly certain that your hair has a fail-safe mechanism and cleans itself.  Ha.

Anyway, I've learned to stretch my shampooing routine to a few days; first day wash, second day heat style, third day dry shampoo, repeat as needed.  I've been a diehard follower of Klorane dry shampoo on Phil's recommendation, and I do love that one.  It really does take away that gross hair smell and replace it with something wonderful.  And it cleans your hair.

Then I had a twitter conversation with Rasilla, and she mentioned how great Batiste dry shampoo is.  $8.99 for a 200 ml can?  Impossible.  Then I tried it.

Holy mother of grease-fighting.

The Original* dry shampoo smells the best -- it smells fresh and soapy, exactly the way a shampoo should.  It left my hair feeling clean for a full 24 hours, which is impressive since I usually have to reapply after 10 - 12.  Blush* works exactly the same way as the original.  I can see a lot of people preferring this scent; it's floral, like a light cologne.  XXL Volume* has an extremely vanilla/caramel gourmand scent, and Dark & Deep Brown* smells like chocolate.

These all perform fairly similarly -- in the video, I show you how much volume the XXL gives me.  As for the Deep Dark, it's not quite as dark as my hair, but it definitely doesn't leave as much residue.  It's actually light enough to work for a lot of dirty blondes, but I imagine that the light version could act as a temporary root touch-up.  One thing I will say about the Dark & Deep Brown is that it didn't collect in white flakes at my roots.  After a full day of wearing the others, I'd scratch my head, and all the product would flake off.  It's less of a problem if you're blonde, but on my dark hair it got to be pretty noticeable and I'd have to wash my hair.

All in all, these are a freakin' steal.  They're readily available at Rexall, Pharmaplus, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobeys, or online at -- $4.99/50 ml, $8.99/200 ml.

*PR Sample

Face Oils

Oils have a terrible reputation in the acne-prone world -- it's as though people think they're being peddled bottles of bacteria-ridden excess sebum. I recently put an oil on a very dry-skinned friend of mine, and even she freaked out about what the oil would do to her skin.  Cut to one week later, and she was happily ordering her bottle of Pai Rosehip online.

With oils, as with all products, you need to keep in mind that not everyone uses the same one, trial and error is your best friend, and you need to give them enough time to work. That is, do your research, get a whackload of samples, and don't freak out if your skin purges.  Here are the ones I've been playing with lately.

Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate* $35/30 ml
This combination of fruit and seed oil touts some anti-aging and healing claims that I can't speak for, given my age.  I do think that it helps calm down some of my breakouts, but I wouldn't rely on this as sole treatment. This is the driest oil of the three -- I find that I need three to four drops to cover my entire face, because it literally feels like it absorbs the second you put it on.  This is great for underneath your makeup, or even to mix into foundation for a lighter coverage. I've been using this mainly at night with the rest of my Pai skincare (post to come!).  Also, this smells like chocolate.  It's not bad, but it does confuzzle my brain a little.

Suti Rejuvenate Organic Face Oil $52/30ml
I won this in The Blossom Shed's giveaway about a year ago, and I love this!  The powerhouse combination smells like orange peel.  This doesn't absorb fully the way that the Pai oil does, so I prefer to use it like a treatment.  Before bed (or early in the morning on a weekend), I'll slather 5 - 6 drops of this all over my face and let it sit for about a half hour and remove the excess with a one-ply tissue.  I also really like to mix this into my other moisturizers if they're just not doing it for me that day.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil $58/50 ml
Argan Oil has been the wunderkind of all skin and hair care for the past five years.  To be perfectly honest, I'm getting a little sick of all the shampoos that slap Argan on the label for the sake of it.  There are other ingredients out there!  That said, I love this multi-purpose oil, it really does hydrate my hair (possibly more than my beloved Kerastase Ultime...), and it's great on days that my skin feels parched and rough. One of my favourite tricks is to layer it under Nuxe Reve de Miel for an extra-hydrating kick.

*PR Sample

Shower Friends

I've never considered bath things under my umbrella definition of "beauty products", but with the abundance of "What's in my Shower" posts popping up, I've found myself oddly fixated.  I do enjoy shower time, and I wish I were more of a bath person so I justify spending money at Lush but...what do people do in baths?  Especially those of us who lack iPads -- what is it that you do in there?  Also, what do people think about while they do cardio?

My full-fledged shower routine probably takes about a half hour -- that includes washing my hair, dry-scrubbing, doing a hair mask, the whole shebang.  I spoke about dry-brushing in this video (isn't that a blast from the past?  It was when I first realized I could directly upload Youtube videos from my phone), so I try to do that whenever I remember.  It ends up being about twice a week.  Then in my shower, I wash my hair with one of two shampoos -- the Pureology Purify Shampoo or the Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Shampoo, which I've decanted into an old Aesop container.  I no longer keep litre bottles in my shower ever since I once dropped one on my foot and my neighbours thought I was being attacked.  Which I was, technically.  In its matching conditioner container, I mixed up my Macadamia Deep Repair Mask with half a bottle of the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment.  I'm kind of enjoying this pump bottle -- it's way less messy than scooping the product out of the tub with my hands.  I try to leave that in for as long as I can, so I'll comb that through, pull my hair back and play with my other products while it sinks in.

For body products, I use Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap as my squeaky-clean shower gel, and switch to L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil for days that I need more hydration.  With both, I use my Salux Wash Cloth, which provides all the exfoliation that I didn't get when I dry-brushed.  I originally reviewed this wash cloth here, and it makes all my body products twice as foamy!  For face products, I keep whatever I'm trying to use up in my shower.  Right now it's the Lancome Creme Radiance (for days that I really need a deep clean) and the last four or five pumps of Nuxe Lait Demaquillant.  I also have a deluxe sample of Kate Somerville's Exfolikate that I've been really enjoying using.  Would love to find a less expensive alternative though!  After the rest of my body has been taken care of, I'll turn on the cold water and rinse out the hair mask.  That's my ultimate shiny-hair weapon (except for Chi Silk Infusion, but that's another post).

What shower products are you loving at the moment?

Empties #1

Empties videos are fun because they give you insight into what people have been using -- I can go on for
days about a product, but it takes a little something extra for me to actually finish using one.  Don't judge that two of these were samples, they were really big samples!  I do like the idea of doing these -- I think it'll be much less pressure than a full-out Project 10 Pan, but I can still keep myself on track.  I doubt this'll be a monthly thing, but now that I've found the perfect place for my empties to live, I'll film one whenever that bookshelf starts getting a little crowded.  One thing I didn't anticipate was the urge to haul after filming this.  Dangerous...

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

This is the first Estée Lauder product I've tried in a long time -- I used to play with their makeup but I haven't in years because they had this weird, fruity, old-lady fragrance that made me feel so sick.  I'm so traumatized that I don't dare go near their counters for a whiff of their current cosmetic line up to see if they've changed their fragrance yet.  Sad, because they have some interesting products I'd like to try out!

This made its way into my life around October last year. I saw it at Winners (the place I purchase everything in my life) at $60 for this 50 ml bottle.  I did the first thing anyone would do and checked the reviews online, as well as the retail price.  This sort of thing is the sole reason I have a smartphone.  I'm not usually much of an Estée Lauder girl, but this product received so many raves, I had to see for myself.

The serum has a gel-like consistency, not too thick, just liquid enough to smooth comfortably over your face.  For me, this is best applied on days that my skin is acting up -- since  I'm a bit of a serum freak, I alternate between ones that I think are what my skin 'needs' that day.  I'll get into more about that in my Skincare Routine this week.  This makes for a fantastic everyday serum -- it definitely delivers on its promise of radiance.  After I apply this at night, my skin feels smooth and hydrated, and looks way more even.  You don`t usually need more than a couple of drops, every once in a while I like to use an entire dropper-full all over my face and neck like an overnight treatment.  This works especially well if you feel like your skin is acting up, acne-wise.  Otherwise, I prefer to use moisturisers over all my serums to really lock them in.

Real Techniques

You may or may not have heard the Twitter explosion when people caught sight of the Real Techniques brushes at Walmart/Shoppers/London Drugs (the Canadian trifecta of drug store makeup).  It's here, people, and it's real.  We have full access to the entire collection!

I've never properly reviewed these before, because I haven't actually collected all the ones I want (ahem, see claim at the end of yesterday's post).  The five I've picked to wax poetic about all come from different sets or are sold individually.  I have yet to try the Travel Essentials collection or the Core Collection, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have.

Deluxe Crease Brush:  I caved and bought a second one of these.  They are just so perfect for concealer -- under the eye and anywhere else.  The densely packed brushes are arranged in a cylinder, so it's almost like using your finger to blend out product, if your fingers could give you an airbrushed finish.

Expert Face Brush:  I also recently acquired the Sephora #45, and the two are almost interchangeable.  This brush is very dense, but not at all difficult to clean -- a complaint I've heard more than a few times about the Sigma Sigmax kabukis.  This doles out primer and foundation like nobody's business -- it literally goes swirl, swirl, swirl and your entire face is done.  I also use mine for extremely sheer cream blushes like the ones from Fusion.

Stippling Brush:  I featured this in my drug store favourites, and a reader commented that I'd gotten her all excited about it then broke the news that they weren't available in Canada.  No longer!  I love this brush even more than my MAC 187 and 130 combined.  Where the 187 is too large and loosely packed and the 130 is a little too dense and small, Goldilocks would be more than happy to take on the RT Stippling brush.

Blush Brush:  I like to picture this as the synthetic version of the Suqqu Face Brush.  I've never actually tried that one before, but after seeing Lisa Eldridge use it in almost every single video, I can tell that it's a full, tapered powder brush.  I use this brush interchangeably for blush, bronzer, powder and occasionally highlight -- the pointed shape makes one of the most versatile brushes I own.  This is also a nice alternative to the NARS Yachiyo, especially if you prefer synthetic brushes.

Setting Brush:  Warning, this brush is way smaller than you would picture.  Even after all the reviews that mention its miniscule size, I was still surprised when I unwrapped it.  It's actually the perfect size for blending out the edges of your eye makeup, for sweeping powder under the eye, highlighting your cheekbone or contouring your nose.

These brushes feel like they were made for people who aren't necessarily makeup artists -- I admire that quality about them.  The taklon bristles are also incredibly soft and easy to wash.  If you've never thought about purchasing brushes before, this is an amazing line to go with.  The effects of their application are right on par with several of my more expensive brushes, and there are definitely shapes in this line that are reminiscent of speciality brush lines.

Let me know if you try them, and which ones are your favourites!

brush storage.

Storage is my first love.  I'm not the most organized person in the world (ask anyone who's ever set foot into my apartment-turned-closet), but I am supremely nosey and I love love love storage/collection posts.  The combination of those two has lead to several hours of #makeupcollection browsing on every blog/youtube channel/instagram/pinterest board I've been able to find.  In fact, the first thing I do when I come across a cool-looking blog is search 'storage'.  I'm obsessed.

I've gone through a few incarnations of brush storage, from having them all over my dressing area (if that counts as storage), to having them in a drawer, to the candle holder brush storage, and now this.

I heart these like nothing else.  They satisfy my first requirement of brush storage, which is to keep them dust-free.  I also wanted it to be clear, so I could see my brushes and remember to use them.  After looking through several clear cereal containers, I decided that they also had to be an appropriate width that my giant man hands could fit into them.  Finally, I came upon the clear jar on the left during a Saturday wander at Winners.  I think I said something ridiculous at the time about not letting my brush collection exceed that one jar.  Ahem.  

My brushes were getting really crowded, and I started noticing that certain hairs were getting bent from consistent contact with neighbouring brushes.  I couldn't find another apothecary jar like the first one, so I took to the internet.  The jar on the left is a candy jar from Target, this is the 2-gallon version.  .  I do wish this container were an inch or so taller so you could actually see the brush heads, but that`s more of a visual gripe that I have.  

Also, the jars are filled with rice.  Not because I`m Asian, but because I was too lazy to get any of those pretty marbles and this was the only thing I had in my house that worked.  Fine, maybe a little because I`m Asian.

My brush collection will not exceed these jars. 

Leave your (or your favourite) storage or collection posts in the comments!

Red Lips

I'm a lipstick snob.  I said it.  I try not to be, but there really is nothing quite like an expensive red lip.  There is just such a marked difference in the depth of colour, the texture and the finish.  For me, lipstick can be quite an intimate experience -- the brush, the blot, the phallic, stain-preventing finger-suck.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  Below are three of my most luxurious red lip purchases (plus a budget buy!).

My first luxe lip acquisition was Giorgio Armani 400.  Check out Emily Weiss wearing the Maestro here (the photo that inspired this very post!).  It's a very classic red (as most of these are) that looks different on everyone.  Because the colour is relatively neutral, your skin tone will play a huge role in the colour you end up with.  For example on Tod, it pulls extremely true red, while on me, it's a much richer, blue-red.

Next up is my most recent acquisition, Chanel Pirate.  This is less blue than GA 400, but the texture is to die for.  It goes on 98% matte, and the pigmentation level gives the most beautiful painted lip finish.  This texture is my favourite of all the lipsticks here -- it's not quite as lightweight as a Tarte Matte Lipsurgence, but it is the closest I have ever come to it in lipstick form. I also can't stop playing with the packaging -- you press the gold logo and the lipstick shoots out at you.

Le Metier de Beaute Madaket is a higher end version of MAC's Viva Glam I (with a touch less brown), a long-time favourite of mine.  It's a dark, berry-red that epitomizes vampy sex.  It's not quite as matte as the Chanel Rouge Allure but definitely nowhere near as shiny as Armani's offering.  This colour pairs so beautifully with a nude eye and barely-there mascara -- easily the most chic option of the bunch.  The slightest blue undertone lets me lightly blend this into my cheeks without fear of ruddiness.  This leaves the most beautiful stain of all these options -- like you've been eating berries!

The bonus red:  I've been loving OCC NSFW Lip Tar for days that I know I want a super pigmented lip.  There is no way to stain your lips with this -- it's all or nothing.  Most people claim that a lip brush is essential for these, but I always end up applying it with my finger and using way too much.  I wouldn't worry about wasting it though, you get twice as much product as you do in a normal lipstick.

My favourite red lip trick is to powder the lip after you've applied it.  I'm a matte lip lover and Marcelle Face Powder ($14 for an incredible 70g)  gives the most satiny, beautiful finish.

What are your favourite reds?

Weekend Away

This weekend is Chinese New Year, and to no one's delight but my mother's, I'm staying with her for the entire weekend.  Not to be too dramatic about this, but when I'm away from my brush collection for too long, I get a little squirmy.  That said, I do love packing for any sort of travel (suburbs are indeed a foreign place), so I thought I'd share what I'm taking.

I always bring a mini Bioderma with me -- I found this minuscule one in Slovakia.  I know people normally travel with the 100 ml one, but that seems intimidating.  20 ml is perfect for a weekend.  I keep a magnum of Cetaphil cleanser at my parents' house but I always seem to forget this fact and bring one of my own anyway.  This time it'll be the remnants of my Dr. Hauschka Face Cream -- get ready for my first-ever empties post!  I've been trying out this Black Friday treat,  a baby version of Ole Henriksen's Three Little Wonders set.  For some reason my skin freaks whenever I'm in the suburbs (almost as though there's not enough grime in the air and water), so I try to bring anything too heavy or overly moisturizing.  The Truth Serum provides the perfect dose of antioxidants, and their Invigorating Night Gel is the perfect overnight treatment for skin that's acting up.  The standout of the collection so far has been the Sheer Transformation moisturiser, which packs the perfect amount of oil-free moisture.  My family is absolutely crazy about skincare, so I'll probably bring one or all three of these and we'll have a family mask sesh.  We're cool like that.

Makeup-wise I'm pretty lax around my family -- none of them ever wear makeup so I always feel weird when I pack it on.  That said, I'll probably be bringing my lazy face essentials in case I get a break from the family festivities.  Lip colour of the weekend?  One of these, plus this red lip that I picked up at IMATS.

Happy Year of the Snake (that's me!) and I'll see you Monday!

Am I missing any weekend essentials?  Sound off in the comments!

Review: Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation

Even though winter is the time I usually go for a heavier makeup look, the -15 weather is just not conducive to bouncing out of bed to put makeup on.  Bouncing out of bed to write about makeup on the other almost always works out.  Ahem.

That said, I need a little coverage in the winter -- while the leftover summer tan on my body takes a lot (like,  of time (months and months and months) to fade, my face lightens considerably, and I end up looking a little like a sick person.  This foundation came in a starter set from Josie Maran that retailed for $77.  It came with a full-size argan oil and minis of her highlighter and moisturiser.  Given that the foundation costs $55 on its own, and I love her argan oil, it was an amazing deal.  I got the kit in light/medium.

I'm not sure what drew me to this the first time I asked for a sample.  I just know that I took it home and proceeded to scrape every last drop of the gray-flecked liquid.  It's a weird colour/texture; it pumps out as a whitish-gray liquid.  It starts off looking a little orange as you apply, but the coverage is light enough that it won't register that way.  When it dries down on your skin, it feels very matte and a touch powdery, like dry sunscreen.  I really like the way that feels -- reminds me of the beach!

I would solidly categorize this in tinted moisturiser territory -- on days that my skin doesn't need extra hydration, I'm comfortable skipping moisturiser and using this instead.  I also use my hands to apply, since it absorbed into all of my tools -- it's really liquidy. I'm really looking forward to trying this in the summer when I get much darker.  I was also really into mood rings as a 90s child.  That said, I wouldn't get this foundation on the basis that it's supposed to self-adjust since it's insanely expensive.

People who want a flat matte finish will find that this base lends itself beautifully to powder -- wear time is definitely extended when I bother to give my face a quick once-over with E.L.F. HD.  I'm not one to really fuss about how long my face stays on though.  I take it off the second I get home and reapply before I go out.  My first rule of skincare!

What other tinted moisturisers have you tried?  Let me hear it in the comments!

Review: NARS Orgasm vs TheBalm HotMama

Hot Mama, Orgasm

One of my all-time favourite blushes is The Balm's Hot Mama -- the first time I put this on, I remember my eyes widened at the perfectly peachy-pink flush that graced my cheek.  I tilted my head from side to side and watched as the sunlight hit my cheekbone and reflected its finely-milled shimmer.  This is one of those blushes that works in the summer and the winter -- it's not too dewy for the summer when my skin makes its own glow, and not too bright for the winter when even my ever-tanned skin starts looking a little sallow.  I'm pretty sure I wore this blush every day for two weeks straight.  If you know how I am about anything, you'll understand how much I have to love something to show it that sort of commitment.

NARS Orgasm is a cult favourite -- you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't played with this or featured it at some point.  Since Hot Mama is supposed to be a dupe and I'm constantly on the search for something better (product ADD!), I leaped at the chance to get this when it came in this year's Sephora Super Stars kit.  This is another peachy-pink shimmer with gold shimmer throughout.

I apply both with a NARS Yachiyo and I have to say, I prefer Orgasm's dupe, Hot Mama.  The colour is slightly peachier and the shimmer is more subtle.  It's not that they're so different that you need both, but I would thoroughly sample both before buying.  While Hot Mama gives me that my-cheek-but-better look, Orgasm pulls a bit red on me, making me look more ruddy than flushed. There's a very creamy quality to the colour of Orgasm, like it has more white pigment in it.  If you're a little less olive than me and you don't mind the difference in glitter size, NARS Orgasm is a pretty safe bet.  I can completely understand why this is a cult favourite, but it just doesn't work as well on me as Hot Mama does.  Now that I have both, I tend to use NARS Orgasm in the evening when I know there'll be softer lighting that will diffuse both the redness and the glitter.

TheBalm is available at Rexall -- Hot Mama retails for $26 CAD for 0.25 oz
Orgasm is available at NARS counters and Sephora -- $32 CAD for 0.16 oz

Have you tried either of these?  Which do you like?

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