Tag Archives: skin care

Shoppers’ Splurge

I finally did it. After over 10 years of using my Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Card, I reached the maximum number of points! Add that to a spend-your-points event and that equals $200 of free stuff! Here’s what I got:

First a couple of skincare bits:

And now on to make-up, etc.:

  • Quo Brand Face Contour Brush. I have a couple of Quo brushes and I find them quite good.
  • Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in UnapologeticI have one of these in a much more neutral shade and love the long-wearing formula. This colour is super pink and perfect for spring.
  • Revlon Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. I’ve talked before about my love of these lip butters. This is a beautiful watermelon shade that is super moisturizing.
  • Revlon nail polishes in Lily (purple) and Dreamer (blue). Some nice spring shades.
  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Midnight. I’m sort of getting back into eye liner and have heard great things about this one. Thought I’d switch it up a bit and go for navy instead of black. Looking forward to experimenting with this one.
  • Benefit They’re Real! MascaraA cult favourite and my first high-end mascara purchase. Will it live up to the hype?

Phew! That’s a lot of stuff. Can’t wait until this happens in another 10 years!

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Review: Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Wash

I was stocking up on some essentials on Vitacost when this face wash caught my eye. It was pretty affordable, so I went ahead and ordered it and I’ve been using it for my evening cleanse for a few weeks now.

Though it has coconut water and coconut oil, unfortunately, it does not smell like coconut. However, it’s still pretty great. The smallest amount produces a really soft, luxurious lather that leaves my skin feeling clean, but not dry.

This same range has many more products and I may have to pick up their toner or lip balm one of these days. Have you tried anything from Alaffia?

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Face Serums

I often wonder if face serums are worth their expensive price tag. Supposedly, they are a crucial component of a skincare routine packed with anti-aging ingredients that keep your skin looking young. However, because they are generally touted as offering long-term results, it’s hard to justify spending lots of money on products that don’t seem to be doing much on a day-to-day basis.

In my case, I do usually spend more on serums than other products. I figure why spend a fortune on a cleanser that is going to be rinsed off in a minute or a toner that is just going to evaporate off my skin? If serums do what they claim, then where is my credit card?

(I’m not too concerned with going all natural when it comes to serums – you want some powerful anti-aging action, you’re going to need some chemicals.)

Though skincare gurus tell you to use a serum in the morning and evening, because they are expensive, I only use them in the evening. I cleanse, spritz on some rosewater, and while my skin is still damp, I apply a bit of serum. I’ve been alternating between two as of late:

Neither seems to be doing much for my skin in the short-term, besides providing some extra moisture. Ask me again in 25 years.

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Affordable Natural Skincare

When it comes to creating a natural skin care routine, there’s no need to break the bank. Here are a few affordable and natural skin care products I’ve been trying out:

  • On the high end of the affordable spectrum is this Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Cream. I’ve been using this as a night cream and it is lovely. Smells like marzipan and absorbs well.
  • I just started using this Acure Organics Facial Cleansing Creme with Argan Oil and Mint. A really nice simple cream cleanser that smells like a mojito and rinses off cleanly.
  • When my skin is breaking-out, I like to use this Now European Clay Powder as a face mask. The first time I used it, I followed the directions and mixed it with water, but after a minute or two on my face, it started drying out and got SO ITCHY and I couldn’t stand it and had to rinse it off immediately. I now mix it with honey and a tiny tiny bit of water and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Maybe it’s psychosomatic, but after I use it, my skin seems to glow.

When it comes to skin care, do you stick to high-end products or are you more a fan of budget buys?

p.s. Use the code QZC051 for a discount at iherb.com.

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February Birchbox

Here’s what I got in my last and final Birchbox:

  • Harvey Prince Hello Shampoo and Conditioner. I haven’t tried these yet, but they have that same strong cologne-y scent that the hand lotion from the December box had. I’m sure they’ll work fine; I’ve never been wowed by a shampoo and conditioner.
  • Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain – Heartthrob. I’ve been searching for the perfect red lip colour for my fair yellow-undertoned skin, and I think this might be it. It’s a gorgeous tomatoey colour in a really comfortable formula. It’s a bit sheer, but can be built up quite easily. Doesn’t really stain the lips, but lasts a good amount of time if you’re not eating or drinking.
  • theBalm cosmetics Cindy-Lou Manizer. A beautiful pink highlight in the cutest packaging.
  • derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub. Haven’t used this yet as I’m still using the scrub from the December box, but I’m sure it’ll be just another facial scrub.
Swatches of the Cynthia Rowley lip stain and theBalm highlighter.

Swatches of the Cynthia Rowley lip stain and theBalm highlighter.

Overall thoughts on Birchbox

It was fun getting a little surprise in the mail every month, but subscription services like this are to try new products and brands and in only three months, there was a lot of duplicates. In three boxes I got:

  • 2 hand creams
  • 2 facial scrubs
  • 2 lip tints (and 1 lipstick)
  • 3 products from Harvey Prince
  • 2 products from theBalm
  • 2 products from Cynthia Rowley

This just isn’t enough variety. I will not be continuing my subscription.

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December Birchbox


I was pretty excited when I heard Birchbox was coming to Canada and even more excited when Kevin gifted me a three month subscription. Here is what December’s box looked like.

Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. This is a facial exfoliator. I’ve used it a couple of times and don’t think it lives up to the claim of mimicking the effects of microdermabrasion, but it’s a scrub and does what it’s suppose to. I also like that it is paraben and sulfate free.

Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream. A cream with a cologne-y scent that is nice, but boy does it linger. Would not use this on any large body area for fear of projecting the scent into a ten foot radius for the whole day.

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner. A nice, basic, black eyeliner pencil. Goes on smooth and stays put throughout the day.

theBalm Staniac. This is meant to be a lip and cheek tint. While it looks fairly dark in the vial, it is extremely sheer. Like sheer to the point of invisible. On the lips, I had to apply layer after layer to get any colour. I also found that it was nearly impossible to get an even application and for a stain, it wore off really quickly. This product is slightly better on the cheeks, but still requires a lot of product to get any colour to show up. Pretty disappointing.

amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo. I haven’t tried this yet, but am excited to. I’ve wondered whether a dry shampoo will work on my curly hair and now I have the chance to try it out.

Overall, a pretty good first box. I’m excited to see what the next two months will bring.

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iHerb “Haul”

iHerb has become one of my go-to online shops for lower-end natural/green skincare. Because it’s based in the U.S., I never purchase that much in one go as I don’t want to get stuck paying duty. I’ve found I can spend about $40 and not get dinged. Here is my most recent iHerb purchase:


If you’re interested in placing an order with iHerb, use the code QZC051 to get a discount.

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You’ll Never Guess What I Wash My Face With…


Well, you probably will, now that you’ve seen this picture. Honey! It’s one of the weirder products I use since transitioning to a more natural skin care routine, but I find it’s really great for my morning face cleanse. I simply scoop a bit out with wet hands, rub it over my face, rinse it off, and then use a damp washcloth to make sure it’s all off. Honey is naturally antibacterial and doesn’t dry out my skin like traditional cleansers.

Are there any weird products in your skin care routine?

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A Tale of Two Moisturizers

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Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying to be more conscious of the ingredients in my skin care, hair products, and make-up. One of the first products I’ve focused on is face sunscreen as this is something I use everyday and is intended to absorb into the skin. 

  • My first foray into natural sunscreen was the John Masters Suncare SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen. This was highly recommended by the authors of No More Dirty Looks, the book that started my interest in natural or green products. I am not a fan. It is extremely thick so does not spread well and I required a good amount to cover my entire face. I also found that this sunscreen does not sink in and left my skin looking greasy. Further, near the end of the day, this sunscreen would collect in certain areas of my face so I would be left with small white marks on my forehead.
  • I picked up Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30 at the recommendation of one of my favourite natural beauty blog/vloggers, Ecoholic Beauty. I have just started using this, but already, it is miles ahead of the John Masters sunscreen. It is thin so I only require a small amount to cover my face and it applies beautifully and fully absorbs leaving my skin matte. It holds up all day and wears well.

(If you’d like to pick up your own bottle of the Devita sunscreen, please feel free to use my iherb code – QZC051 – to save on your order.)

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