30 January 2013

MAC Archie's Girls Collection - Preview

I popped into my local MAC store today, and had the opportunity to preview the Archie's Girls collection before its official release date on Feb 7, 2013.

When I saw the sales lady take out the display, I almost died.  It was brand new and nobody had touched anything yet.  The lady said that she didn't even put the powders onto the display yet.

It got really busy at the counter after my arrival, so I was left alone to devirginize the collection.  I went mad, trying on all of the lipsticks first.  I swatched everything... even things I wasn't interested in, lol.  I almost felt the need to light a cigarette after that euphoric experience... too far? haha

I managed to snap some photos with my iphone4, but I would refer you to MBB's amazing post for HD pictures and swatches.
The powders won't taken out yet.
Betty Collection
Veronica Collection
I will give my opinion on lipsticks.
(I don't know my MAC foundation match, but in their MSF Natural, I'm in Medium.)

Girl Next Door - super sheer cool-toned lavender. it was not flattering me at all.
Betty Bright - bright pastel coral pink. it looked great on me with one application and dabbing.
Oh Oh Oh - deep deep brown red. I looked like I had smeared blackberries all over my lips.

Daddy's Little Girl - super bright berry fuschia. it was very bright on me, but I think it would be beautiful for the spring.
Ronnie Red - tomato red. it looked like a strawberry red on me.
Boyfriend Stealer - sheer vampy deep blueberry purple.  I looked like a goth haha.

In the end, I shortlisted the lipsticks into these three:
Betty Bright, Oh Oh Oh, Daddy's Little Girl
I pre-ordered Betty Bright (Betty lipstick), Daddy's Little Girl (Veronica lipstick), and Prom Princess (Veronica powder blush).  I'll be picking them up next week, on Feb 7th.

Let me know if you picked up anything from this collection.  I know that it was released online this afternoon and a lot are already sold out!

- M

22 January 2013

DIY - Reuse Your Old Candle Glasses (Method 2)

Last Summer, I wrote a post on how to clean off the leftover wax and wick from your old candles that won't burn anymore.  See that post here.

Recently, I've found a better method of removal... one that barely requires any effort.

1. Put the candle into the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until you start seeing cracks in the wax.

 2. Take a butter knife to help you pop out the leftover wax and wicks.

 3. Clean the glass with dishwashing soap and wipe clean.
Please remember to use your sink strainer!  You do not want hot wax or glue to go down your drain.

4. Use it to store whatever you want. Ta-Da!

- M

20 January 2013

REVIEW: NIVEA Extra Whitening Deodorant / Anti-Perspirant

I had first heard about this product from one of Ingrid's old videos.  I'm talking about the archives -- before she went all cheerleader Cali girl on rainbow prozac.

When I heard about it, I didn't really think much of it, since I didn't have any issues with armpit discolouration.  After my trip to the Mayan Rivera last summer, I noticed that I had some minor dark spots on my armpits, so I recalled the video.  I searched all of the Canadian and American shelves for this deodorant, but was never successful in finding it.

Thankfully, I knew I was going to Asia in November/December... and you know they got whitening shit under control hahaha.  Two months ago, I was doing some major hauling in Asia, and had purchased this Nivea Extra Whitening 48 hour Deodorant from Watsons, a popular drugstore chain.

When I bought it, I didn't think too much of it.  I figured that it was worth a shot.  They were ~100 NT (Taiwan currency.  1 CAD = 28 NT), so there wasn't much for me to lose.  I grabbed two, thinking that if it was going to work, it would be a slow process.

I rarely sweat on a regular basis, so the only time I wear deodorant is when I'm working out.  I really wanted to get rid of the dark spots, so I made sure to apply deodorant daily, after every shower, even if I didn't plan on going to the gym.

Holy crap!   In less than a month since returning from Asia, the dark spots on my underarms have diminished -- they're almost gone!  I've also noticed that my underarm skin is a lot smoother, and shaving is a lot better. Some in-grown hairs have disappeared too.

I really recommend this stuff... I don't know what voodoo shit is in it, but it's amazing.  Unfortunately, most of the explanations on the packaging is in Chinese, so I don't understand it.  According to sasa.com, it contains licorice extract, which is supposed to be a natural reducer of skin darkening?

As previously mentioned, I got it at around $4.  If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, you can find it at sasa.com for about $1-2 more, which isn't too bad.  I couldn't find the 48 hour one on the website, just the 24 hour one... but, really... do you really need it continuously for 48 hours...? haha

*Note:  None of the links are affiliate links.  I paid for everything myself, and am not compensated in any way.

- M

17 January 2013

January 2013 Topbox (Privé Box)

Topbox introduced the idea of the Privé Box in the new year.  It basically means that instead of receiving a variety of brands in a box, we will be only be receiving products from a single brand.  Personally, I preferred the former... since, I signed up to receive products that I typically wouldn't pick out on my own.

This month's was Clinique.
Good news:  I'm super familiar with Clinique products, and enjoy some of them.
Bad news:  I'm super familiar with Clinique products.

What irks me is that you can receive all of these samples easily from the counter or from their bonus gifts.  My mom and I only stock up on Clinique skincare products during their bonus gift months, so I have plenty of these little samples around.  Paying $12 + tax for these samples seems a little ridiculous.

I will be giving the Repairwear Corrector to my mom - I've sampled it before and obviously, with a sample, I didn't see any results.

I will also be giving away the Clarifying Lotion (aka. Toner) because when I tried it years ago, it burned me.

I'll be keeping the Eye Makeup Solvent, because it's amazing.  Before Bioderma, it was my only makeup remover.  It's not great with stubborn waterproof mascara, but everything else easily comes off.

The eyeshadow I got is Mink.  The shades are complementary to my skintone, but I might still give it away to my mom.  It's so chalky and the pigmentation is pretty bad.

I'm pretty disappointed with this month's box... I may unsubscribe after the February box.

- M

14 January 2013

Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey

I was first introduced to the brand by no other than the biggest enabler, R.  See her post on how she evolved to JM English Pear and Freesia.

I had gone to the Jo Malone counter in Nordstrom thinking that I would spray some scents onto papers for my bag (I like opening up to good scents).

I decided not to even spray Orange Blossom, since R says that Marc Jacobs Oh, Lola! smells like it when it's mixed into with my body's natural scent/chemicals.  Though, now, my curiosity is killing me.

I saw that there was an individual stand just containing Earl Grey and Cucumber.  I recalled a huge buzz around it as it was previously released through a limited edition collection of tea scents.  As an avid tea drinker and a big fan of earl grey, I had high hopes for the fragrance.  Unfortunately, I was left super disappointed.  The scent was heavily based on the tea's spicy notes.  I felt like the cucumber was misleading as it didn't seem to add any notes of freshness or lightness--Frankly, I didn't even recognize any cucumber notes.

Mostly, I played around in the fruity to floral part of JM's scent spectrum--I love how they have such a nice range, and their general philosophy of personalization through mixing.  Wild Bluebell and Nectarine Blossom and Honey were my favourites.  I love Wild Bluebell because it is so delicate--When I smell it, it actually gives me the stereotypical image of endless bluebell fields.  I love Nectarine Blossom and Honey, because it is the perfect marriage of citrus and floral.  Every other fragrance line seems to either go full on citrus or full on floral.  And, I happen to be that asshole wanting floral with a citrus kick, haha.

After eons of ooo-ing and ahhh-ing at the simplistic and cozy displays of the Jo Malone counter, I was quick to realize that I was definitely going to be making a purchase right there.  After all, why not finally get a 30 mL bottle of what I've been stalking in Canada, at a discount?  Of course, by discount, I'm only referring to the Canadian to US price difference and the lack of sales tax in Portland:
Canada:  $70 CAD + tax for 30 mL
Portland, Oregon, United States:  $60 USD for 30 mL

If you have read my most recent haul post, then you would already know that I ended up picking Nectarine Blossom and Honey over Wild Bluebell.  Wild Bluebell is amazing, but it is way too delicate for any lasting power on my skin.

Since I was making a purchase, I felt more in the right to request for a sample.  I asked for Wild Bluebell, and was informed by the saleslady that she had already put in a sample of it.  She said that Wild Bluebell's scent was complementary to Nectarine Blossom and Honey.  Then, the saleslady asked if I also wanted a sample of Earl Grey and Cucumber.  *Cue tally addition to why American customer service is so much better*  This is why I would much rather drop my money south of the border.

- M

11 January 2013

REVIEW: Josie Maran Argan Oil

Over the last couple of years, the beauty industry and community has become absolutely obsessed with oils from Morocco.  We no longer exclusively consume oils for our breads or salads.  Moroccan oils are now sold on their own, as well as, within blends of other enriching ingredients.

I had spotted Josie Maran's Argan Oil at Sephora a few years ago, but did not have a clue to what it was or what it did.  It looked gimmicky to me... I would think:  Duh, of course, you would feel "moisturized" if you rubbed oil on yourself.  Plus, $50 just for a bottle of oil... What's so special about this oil, as opposed to, say, olive oil?
Then, two years ago, R incepted me (as usual)...  She had bought the 0.5oz / 15mL travel size bottle of mentioned Josie Maran's Argan Oil in Las Vegas (see her post here) and subsequently, started raving the crap out of it.  Three months later, I caved into the infatuation and bought the same travel size bottle.

I started using the 0.5oz / 15mL bottle in March 2012, and nine months later (December 2012), I found myself rationing the last few drops of it.
Seeing how over the last year, there has been another exponential growth in the variety of exotic oils with beauty purposes, I was definitely open to changing to a competitor's product.  After much googling, I had shortlisted the potential candidates to:
  • Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy ($35 USD for 1.5oz)
  • Moroccanoil® Treatment Light (around $30-35 USD for 3.4oz)
I didn't go with Ojon because they seem so secretive with their full ingredients list.
I didn't go with Moroccanoil® because of an impromptu conversation on Amarixe's youtube comment page, haha.  Amarixe never answered my question, but LoveleeLiU did, and I'm glad.  See my conversation below:
In the end, I decided to stay with Josie Maran's Argan Oil, because:
  • there's only one ingredient - 100% organic argan oil
  • I am willing to pay a $10 premium if it means less random filler and harmful ingredients (it's paraben-free and toxin-free!)
  • I already know I love it, so there's no chance of me hating it and wasting it
  • it's unscented

I was going to repurchase the exact same 0.5oz / 15mL travel size, but I figured since I was in Portland (sales tax free), I should just purchase the full size.
What you should note is that the dropper size for the full size is slightly larger than the travel size.  I prefer the travel size dropper because it's more precise and has better suction.  Because of my preference, I have refilled the travel size with argan oil from the full size.  The smaller bottle takes up less space on my bathroom counter, and it's a lot easier to pack for travel.
full size dropper
notice that the oil drips out
travel size dropper
notice that the oil is contained
This is the pricing from Sephora:
0.5oz / 15mL travel size bottle = $14 USD / $18 CAD
1.7oz / 50mL full size bottle = $48 USD / $58 CAD
You can also buy it directly from Josie Maran at the same prices.

Why do people use argan oil?
Skincare and haircare -- natural nourishment and benefits.

How do I use Josie Maran Argan Oil:
  • Hair:
    1. Apply 3 drops (travel size dropper) to my palm
    2. Rub my palms and warm oil
    3. Evenly apply oil to my hair -- from the hair at my ear's length to the ends
    4. Heat style
  • Skin:
    1. Apply 3 drops (travel size dropper) to my palm
    2. Rub my palms and warm oil
    3. Apply oil to elbows

    Sometimes, when I'm running late with no time to moisturize, I will apply anywhere from 3-6 drops to my legs.  I did this on numerous occasions during the Summer, haha.
The Josie Maran packaging details that there's many more ways you can use argan oil.  See the packaging in my post when I hauled it.
Sorry for the crappy iPhone photos -- I threw out the packaging without taking any new photos...

None (fragrance-free)

Dry oil

It's a holy grail product for me -- I use it daily and year-round.  I foresee myself continuously repurchasing this product.

What makes it even more awesome:
  • the bottle is made of thick glass, and not cheap plastic
  • cruelty-free

- M

10 January 2013

REVIEW: Soap and Glory Clean On Me Shower Gel

I follow mostly UK-based bloggers/youtubers and they're always talking about the Soap & Glory brand, because it is readily available to them in the drugstore (it's a UK brand).  Soap & Glory does everything from bath and body, to scents, to skincare, to cosmetics -- they pretty much have all bases covered.

I guess it's attracting quite a lot attention because it's been invited to the prestigious Sephora USA club.  Recently, a bunch of US bloggers/youtubers have been naming the Soap & Glory brand -- specifically, the brand's infamous Hand Food hand cream.

In Canada, select Shoppers Drug Mart stores have the Soap & Glory brand, but the variety of products is very limited.  I've only seen some bath and body, and face products.  The Canadian prices on the brand are also heavily inflated.
Please let me know if you have seen the brand in any other stores.

As you would have guessed, my interest in the brand and its products was definitely sparked.

Anyway, when I was in Portland, USA last month (see haul post), I saw that the nearby Sephora carried Soap & Glory.  Naturally, I bought a 100 mL travel size bottle of Soap & Glory's Clean On Me shower gel to try, haha.  It was $5 USD.  The decision to purchase it was on a complete whim.  I didn't even smell it to see if I would hurl at the scent!  I'm so happy I did though, because I've been using it daily, since returning from Portland.

I love the super girly and retro packaging of all of their products.  Somehow, it's cute and not tacky.

Milky cream with a pink tint.

According to their website, this is supposedly their Classic Pink scent.  It's citrus-y with a tiny hint of sweetness.  I love it -- it's sooo good (I'm totally imagining the way Sammi says it).
The scent kinda lingers a little bit on the skin, which I love.  It's not obvious, but you can definitely smell it if you were to smell your wrists (yea, I do that... hahaha).

I would describe it as a gel-y cream, rather than a creamy gel -- if there was a spectrum between cream and gel, it would be closer to the cream side.  Think of it as a cream with a gel-like consistency.

It lathers amazingly.  I've never used a shower product that lathered this much.  Also, a little product goes a long way.

It doesn't suck the life out of my skin -- no squeaky clean feeling.  This shower cream leaves my skin nicely moisturized, without any films or oils.
My skin has been very dry lately, because of Winter and my habit of cranking the heat.

Aside from it being on the pricey side of shower gels/creams within the drugstore, it's perfect.  To be honest, it's just a matter of optics.  If it was never sold within the drugstore, and only in Sephora shops, I wouldn't even think twice about purchasing it at its current price point (as I did).

If I can find the 500 mL pump bottle of this, I would definitely repurchase it (after I finish all of my LUSH soaps).  It contains SLS and a shit-ton of parabens.
I am also super interested in trying out their other scents, and products.  I may be hooked.

- M

9 January 2013

Bath and Body Works - After Holidays Sales

Valentines is throwing up all over the malls... another retail season has passed, which means... Bath and Body Works candle hoarding time!

I picked up a 3 wick (14.5 oz) of Snowed In last week for $11.25 CAD.
It's basically the scent of a christmas tree.  It's less "fresh" and crisp than the Fresh Balsam and Evergreen (both are also part of the Holiday 2012 collection).
On the BBW website, Snowed In is described as:
Escape the frigid winter wind, wrap up in your toastiest blanket and warm up this inspiring blend of fresh juniper, sugared sap and sage for the perfect day in!

Anyway, two days after I bought it, I found it marked down to $10.
So, today, I went back to get a price adjustment (FYI, you can get a one-time price adjustment within 14 days of purchase).

I used the $1.45 CAD credit towards a single wick (4 oz) of Merry Mistletoe that was $5 CAD.
I think this is my favourite holiday scent.  It smells like you're eating a candy in a forest.
On the BBW website, Merry Mistletoe is described as:
Celebrate under the sweet scent of blue spruce, frosted cranberry and a kiss of citrus.

Both candles are from the Slatkin & Co. brand at BBW.

Alike my other candles, I will be re-purposing the glass candle container after the candle is done.  You can see how I clean and re-purpose them with method 1 here and method 2 here.

- M

7 January 2013

Estée Lauder Peach Nuance Blush

Ever since I saw essiebutton's post during the peak of the coral hype last year, I've been feverishly combing through every single Cosmetics Company Outlet and Estée Lauder counter I came across.

Of course, Estée had been talking about a peach blush.  This particular one was called Witty Peach, and was supposedly a shimmer version of EL Peach Nuance.  EL Peach Nuance had been all the rage, because it was argued to be the ultimate dupe for MAC Ripe Peach.

Anyway, as you may recall from my Portland Haul (post here), I managed to finally track down EL Peach Nuance.  I was overjoyed when I found at least 10 of them in the CCO.

classic EL packaging
sorry about the fibers...
I swear I didn't photoshop lol
For professional shots, check out Temptalia's post here.

Do you need this?  No.
Is it gorgeous, and do you want this?  Yes.

As someone who exclusively uses Tarte blushes, this is definitely nowhere near the pigmentation.  I would compare this to MAC sheertone pigmentation.  It's definitely light, but gives a decent flush of colour.  It's perfect for me right now in the dead of Winter, when my skin is basically white.

Peach Nuance retails for $25 USD.  I got it for $18.50 USD at the CCO in Portland, Oregon (sweet, no tax!).

- M

4 January 2013

REVIEW: Benefit They're Real! Mascara

I received this sample in my November 2012 Topbox.  It's a super hyped product so I was definitely happy to receive it to sample.  There was no way I was going to pay $29 CAD / $23 USD to try it out.  What the crap, I just checked Sephora for the official price and found that you get this exact a 0.14oz tube of this for $12 CAD / $10 USD -- holy moneybags!
I thought it was cheeky that they labelled it as "Beyond Mascara"
This is what is promises to do:
ginormous brush


  • ginormous brush - gets all thin and baby lashes
  • nice wand design
  • amazing length
  • fair amount of volume
  • decent hold of curl - even on my stick straight asian lashes


  • crazy expensive
  • tube dries out quickly - starts getting really clumpy and sticky
  • minor smudging after 5-6 hours - at the outer corners
  • curls droop after 4 hours - again, on stick straight asian lashes


It's a bit of a wet formula, which I didn't like because I felt like each stroke was coating my lashes with too much and I wasn't able to define them as well.  Once it dried out a little bit, I loved it so much because it gave me the absolute perfect length, volume and curl.  I could see what everyone was raving about, and concurred.

Unfortunately, that opinion changed quickly...

One of the biggest downfalls of this mascara is that the formula dries out insanely quickly.  I only used this mascara five times, spread out over a month, and after the fifth time, I tossed it out even though it still had a bit of product left.  The formula had become so viscous that my lashes were clumping and spidery with even one coat.  It had become impossible to work with.

I'm not willing to pay $23-29 for a mascara that I can only use 12-15 times.
My guesstimate of 12-15 uses formulation:
I got 5 uses out of 0.1oz.  A full size tube has 0.3 oz.  The range is to factor in any excess drying haha.

Funny thing that I noticed when I was on Sephora.com:
0.14 oz is $10 USD
0.30 oz is $23 USD
This means that it costs 71cents per 0.01 oz for the smaller tube, but 77cents per 0.01 oz for the full time tube.  You get more value by opting for the smaller tube!  (You also minimize on drying out the tube with a smaller tube).

- M

2 January 2013

Portland Beauty Haul

Of course I would start the new year off with a haul post, haha.

December 28-30, 2012, the boy and I went to Portland, Oregon for a short (and tax-free) trip.
We stayed at The Nines, which I highly recommend.  The location is amazing -- It's right smack in the middle of a shopaholic's wet dream, at the Pioneer Courthouse Square.  It's a gorgeous hotel and basically looks like Tiffany&Co spat up all over.
we had a deluxe room
Anyway, here's the motherload:
From the hotel:
  • Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind Shampoo
  • Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind Conditioner
  • Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind Shower Gel
  • Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind Body Lotion
  • Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind Skincare Bar
From The Cosmetics Company Outlet (Woodburn):
  • Estée Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in 21 Peach Nuance $18.50 US (my post)
  • Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream $41.50 US
From Nordstrom:
  • Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey Cologne (30mL/1oz) $60 US
From Sephora:
  • Josie Maran Argan Oil (50mL/1.7oz) $48 US (my post)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in Perversion $19 US
  • Soap & Glory Clean On Me Creamy Moisture Shower Gel (100mL/3.4oz) $5 US (my post)
  • Caudalié Divine Oil (30mL/1oz) $14 US
  • Sephora Nano Sharpener $3 US
From Walmart:
  • Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment $5.74 US
  • Whispers Cotton Ovals (50) $2.58 US - I bought four of these
  • Covergirl LashBlast Fusion waterproof mascara in blackest black $7.98 US - I had a $4 off when you buy two coupon, so I paid $5.98 each

Stay tuned for individual reviews of most of these products!

- M