Sample then Splurge? Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance

Breakouts, breakouts, breakouts. I’m trapped in the never-ending cycle of ‘I shouldn’t wear make-up because I’m breaking out’ but ‘I need to wear make-up because I’m breaking out’. I’ve been trying to methodically deal with the root cause of these chin blemishes but I’m concerned that I’m also making my life more difficult and disrupting the healing process by using the wrong products on my skin. If you’ve been following me on this blog, you might notice that I will splurge on anything that helps to conceal, cover, and stay. But I also detest being taken advantage of by ‘luxury brands’.

So, I got out my samples and started testing. I have recently had full size products of Smashbox, Hourglass, and Stila. My face kept getting worse so I figured it was time to pull out the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance sample and it proved worth the spurge.  At $26 for one measly ounce it better be! This lightweight, creamy gel creates an invisible barrier between skin and makeup to prime your face for color. I find my foundation spreads easier, lasts longer and feels better on my skin. Since I typically use very matte products on my face, I like that the radiance adds a youthful pearlescent tint that stops my make-up from looking too mask-like. It is also dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic with all sorts of vitamins, etc. to keep my face healing but looking healthy. I highly recommend this primer.

Fun fact, on the Sephora site Laura Mercier touts that she was the first to invent foundation primers!

Are there any other primers I should try?




Ciate London The Pretty Eyeshadow Palette – A Review

I don’t hear all that much about Ciate London palettes. They seem to be most known for their nail polish and don’t play the PR game as heavily as other brands do however one of my favourite youtubers talked positively about these palettes. Upon hearing what she had to say about the brand, and after falling in love with the colour scheme of this particular palette, I had to have The Pretty Eyeshadow Palette by Ciate London. I’ve actually owned this palette since December and thus have had over 6 months to get to know it. Here are my final thoughts on the Ciate London The Pretty Eyeshadow Palette.

The Packaging is a sturdy plastic with a really cool graphic eye that winks at you when you tilt it. It reminds me of those cards you used to get in chip bags in the 80s that had images that shifted or moved when you tiled the card. Maybe I’m dating myself… I’m old.

It also includes a nice quality mirror. 

One of my beefs with the packaging is that not all pans are the same size. The 4 pans that surround the centre shade are a little awkward to get in to with a fluffier brush. It’s not the end of the world but I don’t really care for it. 

Due to the weird layout, 9 eyeshadow shades are included. It basically lays out like 2 quads + a matte highlight. I like the colour selection. I think it was a great choice to have 1 matte highlight, 4 mattes, and 4 shimmers. It makes the palette super wearable. You get 4 lid shades, 2 transition shades, 2 shades to deepen it up and your highlight. Bam! Done!

Unfortunately the purples that I was drawn to initially didn’t really work out on the lid. The deep plum just looks dark. I find that when I swatch the deep plum and the deep brown they look different but when I wear them I can’t tell them apart.

The 2 light champagne shimmer shades look identical as well. When I swatch them side by side I can tell one is slightly more pink and contains a touch of micro glitter but that’s only upon close inspection.

I wish that they only included one champagne shade and had a light purple shimmer shade as another lid option. 

The shimmery shades don’t pick up well on a brush. Or not on any of mine…. The best way to use them is with your finger. The mattes seem to pick up on a brush no problem. I found every shade to be extremely buildable which was awesome! They blend beautifully but have a tendency to look a little muddy or just dark when you use the deeper shades. I think thats a function of those particular shades and not the shadows themselves.

Overall I don’t hate this palette. The formula of Ciate London shadows is generally quite nice and so I’d try out another palette. The colours of this palette just didn’t work out the way that I’d hoped. Given that out of 9 shades, there are 4 shades that look similar to each other on the lid, I find that it lacks the variety I thought that I’d get out of it. In the end I find myself making gold or champagne looks. The purples aren’t standing out. I have soooo many other palettes that I can get really gorgeous gold and champagne looks with that I didn’t really need to add yet another one to my collection. For that reason, I don’t like this particular palette but I’m totally coveting other offerings from Ciate London such as the Chloe Morello collab.

Have any of you tried Ciate London’s palettes? If so, what do you think of them?


ELF Beautifully Bare Smooth Matte Eyeshadow – A Review 

The ELF Beautifully Bare Smooth Mate Eyeshadow is $4.99 CDN. I picked up the shade Nude Linen. There was only one other shade available, Blushing Rose, but their website does offer 2 more shade options. 

ELF claims that the Beautifully Bare Smooth Matte Eyeshadow:

Create(s) a flawless, natural look with this lightweight liquid matte eyeshadow. This silky smooth formula defines and contours the eyes for long wear. Enriched with Vitamin E to help nourish and hydrate.

I was actually hoping to be able to use this product as an eyeshadow base or on it’s own as a quick one and done product. It didn’t work for me as a one and done eyeshadow. The colour is too dark for my skin tone and it just looked off. It also creases if it’s not set with a powder. 

As an eyeshadow base (or primer) it reminds me of the Laura Mercier primer, the Essence primer or the Benefit one. They all have a lightweight feel and apply like a concealer. Of course ELF is far cheaper than Laura Mericer and Benefit so that’s a huge bonus! It worked to hold my shadow in place and provide a clean base to work off of but it won’t stand up to rigorous physical activity.

Personally I won’t be repurchasing this product because the colour is too dark for me. It provides a nice texture for an eyeshadow base but does little to make my shadows pop. If the shade matches your skin tone (or you can find one that does) it could be worth checking out – especially given the price!


BH Cosmetics Marble Collection Warm Stone Palette

When I first tried this palette I didn’t care for it because the look I tried didn’t come out like I’d hoped and it required a lot of blending. I was debating on giving it away but decided to give it a second chance. Here are my final thoughts on the BH Cosmetic Marble Collection Warm Stone Palette and a more detailed review than my previous haul provided. 

This review has been a long time coming. I’ve had this palette for about 6 months now. I’ve used it off and on but found myself just not wanting to reach for this palette. It’s definitely not love for me.

First of all the packaging is better than expected from a company such as BH Cosmetics. It has a sleek marble design on the cover in firm plastic packaging and includes a large mirror. Normally BH has flimsy plastic packaging or cardboard, this palette feels like a total step up for them!

The Warm Stone Palette comes with 12 great shades. The colour selection is really nice and I personally don’t have many palettes that resemble this one. 

Each row could work as a quad and the entire palette coordinates. There’s no wrong shade combo here. I love it when companies make picking shades easy! 

The shadows themselves had respectable pigmentation. Here’s some my swatches:

Top Row

Middle Row

Bottom Row

When I went to create looks with the Warm Stone Palette I found that the shadows were tough to work with. In swatches they have a pretty nice, smooth texture except the pink shade in the last row which requires building even in finger swatches. The shadows require a lot of blending and building when applying to the eyelid. Swatches can be deceiving and this palette is proof! I wasnt able to get the shadow to build up at all. They didn’t appear on the lid as they did in the pan or in swatches. They faded pretty quickly. Overall, this was a a bust for me. 

The above picture is my eyeshadow look using the top Row of this palette. I tried to build the deep brown shade up in my outcorner and it hardly shows. The lid shade is the peach shade in the palettebut sadly it translates to gold on the lid. I was disappointed with how it turned out.

That being said, I saw a YouTuber “Emily Noel” give this palette a good review and the look she created with it was great! I think if you’re better at applying makeup than I am (not a hard thing to do) then you might be able to make this one work. It could be a lot better with a setting spray. If you’re not on a budget then personally I’d suggest looking elsewhere such as the Sweet Peach Palette. It’s unfortunate because there really is so many things to love about this palette. Great packaging, great shade selection, great price but sadly for me the shadows themselves don’t have the attributes that I normally look for in my eyeshadow. 


Nat’s Favourites April – June 2017

It seems I have been slacking on the blog lately, my excuse, the transition back to being on mat leave to work, I didn’t expect it to be this tired… early bedtimes and just all over tired / busy has taken over. But I miss you guys! So as a come back, here are my April – June Favs! Lots to chat about 🙂


Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar

I think I have talking about this before but I still have been using it like crazy this month. I love the neutral looks that are quick and cute that I am able to get out of it. The formula is great, smooth, blends well, pigmented, just easy to work with. I also do not shy away from the blue! Lots of people say, oh it’s a great palette but ignore the blue, I say, embrace the blue! I use it to add a pop of blue in the outer corner with a nice navy liner, see below!



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Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Palette – A Review

This was my push present to me! It was a total impulse buy. I happened to be at Shoppers, was feeling the hormones extra good, had some cash and recently learned Stila is considered cruelty free again! Hooray! I missed Stila so much 🙂 

The Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Palette is a travel palette that includes a colour scheme that is based on your skin tone. I picked up the Light/Medium palette. There are 3 more; Fair/Light, Medium/Tan and Tan/Deep.

The palette includes 5 eyeshadows and 2 blushes. A highlighter and bronzer are not included but that’s ok by me. I find that with travel palettes the bronzer and highlight are the products that make a palette not work for me because frequently the ones included aren’t to my taste or don’t match my skin tones. I’d be happy to bring my own bronzer and highlight.

I really want to address the packaging before I get in to the details of the product. I think that too often travel palettes packaging make it difficult to use the actual shades included. Travel palettes need to be small and compact but loaded with products. It’s a tough balance that I think Stila achieves. Each pan is large and I can fit a regular brush in to them without accidentally picking up product from the neighbouring pan. Yet the palette is still able to be small and portable (see pick below for a size reference).

And of course, the packaging is a sturdy plastic and includes a generous size mirror. Stila didn’t waste space on anything other than great products. To date, this is my favourite travel palette that I’ve tried.

Now as for what’s inside!

The 5 eyeshadows have the calibre of quality that I’ve come to expect from Stila. Smooth, blendable, pigmented and all around just good quality shadows. The 2 lightest shades don’t show up well in my swatches below because they match my skin tone quite well however they work beautifully on the eye. 

As far as colour selection goes, no new ground has been broken here. The intention of the palette is to create basic every day looks and so it definitely achieves that with it’s timeless gold and brown colour scheme. All the building blocks to an every day eyeshadow look are present; base shade, highlight, lid shade, crease shade and accent shade. There is a very practical balance of matte to shimmer shades. Every shade is good quality and works as I would expect them too. This palette was definitely well thought out!

The blushes included are gorgeous. You get a pink shade that comes off so fresh and awakening on the cheeks. You also get a more neutral dusty warm shade that is so unique! I own nothing quite like it. I love it on the cheeks but also as a crease shade. It’s warm, inviting and slightly complex because I can’t quite decide what colour it actually is. It’s magical and I love it!

As you can probably tell, I love this palette! I keep it on my vanity and reach for it all the time. I use it to fill gaps in other palettes since it has all the shades needed for a basic eyeshadow look, I use the blush in a quick pinch and I use the entire palette together when I don’t feel like fussing with my makeup and I just want to do something simple quickly. I’ve even done a full matte look with it and was happy with the results. I would absolutely travel with this palette.

Obviously there’s some cons to the palette too. The highlight shade has very fine glitter. It translates matte on the lid but I prefer a shimmery inner corner highlight so I use my highlighter for that. Some people might wish for a bronzer and highlighter to be included (I personally dont mind that they’re not included). And as I mentioned, the colour scheme is pretty basic. There’s no surprises here! If I could make the palette perfect the gold shade would be a little more dimensional so that I can could do a nicer 1 shade look with it. 

For me, the cons don’t really feel like cons. This is without a doubt the best travel palette that I’ve tried. I’ve been using it constantly and really feel like I’m getting my value out of the hefty price tag (It was $51 CDN). I might even pick up the Fair/Light shade because it looks gorgeous!


Project Pan 2017 – Tips for using up products for YOUR project Pan!

Here are some quick tips and tricks on ways to use up your beloved beauty products in order to make room for even MORE MAKEUP!! Enjoy 🙂

1. Highlighters aren’t just for your cheeks! 

  • Dust highlight on your collar bone and shoulders when wearing off the shoulder tops.
  • Inner corner highlight for your eyes and of course, brow highlight if you dare!
  • Lipstick toppers – the result can be a very interesting matte metallic look.

2. Keep your lipgloss, lipsticks, and hand creams in places where you will think to use them;

  • In a basket or obvious spot in your bathroom.
  • At your desk at work. 
  • In your purse (duh!)
  • On your nightstand.

3. Use up that body spray or perfume by keeping some in an atomizer in your purse. It’s great for freshening up on the go and helps you burn through those scents!

4. Don’t forget that bronzer can be many things too!

  • Bronze down the neck and shoulders.
  • Use it as an eyeshadow.

5. Inject variety in to your project by trying to use your products in as many different ways as possible, allowing you to “cheat” a little on your project. 

  • Trying to pan an eyeshadow palette but are bored of it? Try using a shadow in the palette as a contour or cheek highlight instead? Just because a product is one thing doesn’t mean it always has to be that thing!

6. Try to build routines around the products you’ve chosen for your project

  • I use my body spray and hand cream as I freshen up to go to bed. Added bonus; my husband loves that I go to bed smelling so good 🙂 
  • I put on lipgloss whenever I use the washroom (at home).
  • Routines and little rituals make using the product automatic and more enjoyable. 


Project Pan 2017 – Update #1 (Empties)

I intended on posting my progress for my project pan in early April. I wanted to capture my empties etc after March and try updating quarterly. However I had a baby in April and leading up to the babies arrival I had no time at all. Luckily I was able to pictures of my empties before I tossed them. Here’s my progress as of March 31st. Coming soon will be another update for the end of June which will have even more empties!

Project Pan Empties March 2017

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel – totally repurchased this but in the cucumber formula. LOVE this toner! It’s my fave 🙂

Peach & Honey Almond Body Spray – so glad to be done this one! I like it but was tired of it by the end. 

LANIEGE Mulberry Yogurt Mask – I enjoyed using this and felt it did a great job helping my skin during during a time where my skin is always really dry; pregnancy and winter.

Smashbox Photo Primer Water – I actually really like using this product and I found out that Smashbox is considered cruelty free again so I will be repurchasing it! I like using it to prep my face before makeup when I go to do my makeup well after I’ve done my skincare. That happens a lot when I’m home with babies. 

Julep Lip Gloss – This one went bad on me 😦 I had to throw it out. It was half done.

Pur Cushion Foundation – I wrote a review on it. Basically I find it to be a nice foundation but not for me. I dont think I like cushion application. 

Various Hand Creams – Oh so many hand creams… lol and still going through them!

Bonus Empties

I also used up a ton of other products that I wasn’t specifically trying to pan so I thought I’d include them here too.

Skincare Empties

Dr. Brandt Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion – I didn’t notice anything special with this cream other than that it is not oily at all. It reminds me of the FAB mattifying cream. 

Jouviance Rejuvinating Anti-Aging Cream – I used this as an eye cream and it was awesome! It actually got rid of eczema that was happening under my eyes (stupid pregnancy). If it wasn’t so expensive I’d totally repurchase. 

Jouviance Antioxidant Cream – I used this as my face cream for my morning routine. I loved this as a day cream. I never felt the need to add more oil to it to kick it up. It just did something for me. I haven’t repurchased it yet because it’s pricy however my dabble with Jouviance has made me want to get more in to anti aging products. 

Julep Mighty Nails and Cuticles – This is supposed to soften your cuticles and prevent them from cracking. If you use it regularly it works. I got this in a kit but won’t bother repurchasing. Hand lotion does the same thing. 

ROC Serum – I got this as a premium sample. It is a very thick serum that’s basically a cream. I didn’t notice a difference when using it.

Makeup Removers and Cleansers

Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover – I believe this is a favourite of Nats. It certainly does a good job! I like it as well but prefer to buy this typ of thing at the drugstore so I won’t repurchase.

Marcelle Gentle Makeup Remover for Sensitive Skin – I find this product to be identical to the Sephora one mentioned above. It does a great job removing waterproof makeup. I’m pretty sure it’s about the same price as the Sephora one as well. I’d repurchase this one over the Sephora one simply because I can quickly grab it almost anywhere.

Jouviance Gentle Cleanser and Makeup Remover – Totally does the job but is a touch drying for me. I hear it’s great for hyper sensitive skin types. Personally I prefer the Pacifica cleanser over this one. 

Burt’s Bees Body Wash – This is a sample I had kicking around for quite some time. I think Nat gave it to me. I didn’t like the scent but used it up anyway. It’s not moisturizing so I’d skip on this one, even if you liked the scent. 

Makeup Empties

I’m so proud of the fact that I have some makeup empties! I’ve been working hard on getting through some of my collection. Here’s my makeup empties!

L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara – I’m pretty sure this was a repurchase. I like this mascara for an everyday look. It’s not dramatic but it’s budge proof and works well with lighter makeup. 

Essence Make Me Brow – This was a repurchase and I’ve since bought it again (in a lighter shade this time). This is a decent product given that it’s less than $5. I like to quickly use it on days where I have little makeup just to add a little something to my brows and hold them in to place. I’m on the hunt for a better version of this product that is also cruelty free (so no Benefit). 

Milani Brow Gel, Clear – This brow gel does the job! It’s clear, the brush is a good size and it’s super affordable. I use this brow gel to set my brows after I have used a pencil or powder to fill them in. I’ve since repurchased this item.

Burberry Fresh Glow – This item is supposed to be a luminous primer but honestly it sucked as a primer. It was too blowy for me as well. It looked ore shiny than dewy or healthy. I tried it all sorts fo ways and would definitely recommend skipping this. 

And that’s it for my Project Pan Update and Empties! I feel pretty good about the amount of product that I’ve managed to work through for just 3 months. As June comes to a close I have yet another Update & Empties post in the works! I’m feeling pretty good about my Project this year 🙂


Sephora VIB Haul

I saved up for the VIB Sale this past April. I felt like I definitly needed a treat or two this time around! Here’s my haul with some quick reviews and first impressions.

My Sephora Haul

FAB Ultra Repair Cream – I buy this for my hubby. He uses it on his face. It really help his eczema. I buy the smallest size because he uses very little at once and likes the small size for travel. Even the small size is a good price. For $15 you get 2oz of product. That’s actually cheaper than many drugstore creams!

BareMinerals Well Rested CC Eye Primer – This product is intended to be an under eye primer and an eyeshadow primer! I love multi tasking products. Upon first use I can see the potential here and I’m really excited to use it more. I’m in the market for an eyeshadow primer that cancels out my redness on my lids – if it can double as an under eye primer that would be a HUGE bonus!

BareMinerals Gen Nude Butter Cream Lip Gloss in Must Have – this was just a treat. I’ve used up quite a few lip products lately and felt like I deserved some more 🙂 I’m looking for my perfect, easy to wear, throw on with anything shade. This shade definitely fits the bill. It’s more sheer than I expected but it’s very much a basic “your lips but better” colour for me. Perfect for every day. The formula is creamy and comfortable but not long lasting. In my opinion the drugstore has a lot of great gloss options so you don’t need to pay $23 for a good one but if you want a treat I’d recommend it!

Laura Marcier Caviar Stick in Rose Gold – I’m in need for easy, one and done type products. I find it hard to get a good cream shadow product that can be used without primer. Many cult faves just don’t work for me. And since I try to buy cruelty free my brand selection can be a little limited as well. Missy and Nat LOVE that Caviar sticks from Laura Mercier so I finally took the chance on one this sale. I’ve only worn it once but I think it could last me through a typical work day. Now can it last when I go for a walk in the middle of the summer?? I will keep you posted on that 🙂

Hourglass Vanish Stick in Shell – The search for my perfect foundation routine continues. I’m interested in a foundation stick because I’m looking for more coverage but quick application. Isn’t that the dream for us all? I like the idea of stick foundations because I’ve seen quite a few tutorials on line where they use stick foundations only where needed. The skin looks uniform and prefected and the application appeared less tedious than blending a liquid all over your face. This was my big splurge and I really have high hopes for it.

So that’s my haul. Better late than never, right???