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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Decluttering Series: Weekly Sample Testing with Reviews- Week of June 22


First off, I`m so sorry for the shody lighting. It`s a really stormy day here and I've tried every lighting possible and this was the best I could get. The flash only made things worse. Now, on to the products and reviews!

If you saw my post on June 19th you already know that I`m on a mission to use up all of the beauty samples that I`ve been collecting. Here is the original post that started this challenge Beauty Samples Stash: Reviews, Challenge and Decluttering!

I realize that it`s difficult with certain products to know how they perform based on one or a few uses, especially skin care products. But, I do find that I can get a good idea whether or not I like a hair product, even with just one use. 

For reference, my hair is highlighted/bleached, fine, naturally wavy and very frizzy.

Here are the products I used this week with mini reviews on each one.


Pantene Age Defy Shampoo and Conditioner

Claims: to Fight 7 signs of aging hair:
Breakage
Split Ends
Frizz
Unruly Grays
Lackluster Color
Thin Look
Dryness

My Results: Don't I wish that this shampoo and conditioner did all it claims to do! Unfortunately my hair didn't like it at all. One word "Straw." It`s been a long time since I used a product that left my hair feeling just like straw, but those were my results. I`m glad I got to test this out with a free sample and obviously I wont be purchasing.


Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser

Claims: 
Reconstructs strength and helps repair hair
Protects hair from future damage
Strengthen and rejuvenate the look of hair
Strong hair that looks rejuvenated
Hair`s strength is reconstructed from root to tip

My Results: I didn't really expect much from this. It`s an inexpensive drugstore line and I know maybe I shouldn't always judge based on that as there are MANY great drugstore products. The product had a pleasant scent to it, but I`m more concerned with results than scent.  At first. I didn't notice anything special, my hair didn't feel particularly soft while shampooing and conditioning etc. After I finished blow drying my hair, I ended up pleasantly surprised as my dryness and frizz were reduced a lot but not completely. I also noticed my hair had more shine and my blond hair does not usually look shiny (without a shine product.) Not bad for such an inexpensive product. I think this would work great on someone with healthier hair than mine, I still need more power in my products for my bleached, frizzy and delicate hair.


John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

Claims: 
Reverses the look and feel of damage with every use
Weightlessly restores strength for full bouncy styles
Protects brittle strands
Reduce the risk of breakage and split ends

My Results: Not much to say, it wasn't bad but nothing special. After I dried my hair it did seem a little better than it did initially but my hair needs something more. Based on the name of the product and it`s claims, I expected better. The results were very average on my hair, it`s definitely not great for my naturally frizzy hair. Again, I need more power for my fragile hair than what this offers.


Dove Pure Care Dry Oil for Hair

Claims: Nourishing hair with African Macadamia
Nourishes and revitalizes hair
Protects hair, adds silkiness, softness and shine
Lightweight and non-greasy

My Results: This product has quite a strong perfume scent to it. I am not sensitive to scent`s but I did find this quite strong. I would agree that it is lightweight and non-greasy. However, it did not prevent my hair from becoming a massive frizz-ball after being exposed to the humidity and dampness from the rain today. Even when I came home and reapplied some more to try and tame my giant frizz-ball it didn't perform. Although the product doesn't claim to prevent or tame frizzies, I have come to expect it from being a regular user of hair oils. If you have frizzy hair like mine, I cannot recommend this hair oil; unless a. you don`t have frizzy hair or b. you know you wont be exposed to any frizz producing elements.

Have you come across any Holy Grail products from samples that you've tried?

Best, Amy



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Simple Skincare Micellar Cleansing Water: Hype or Love at First Swipe?!


I've heard a lot of hype over the Micellar Cleansing waters lately. I had yet to purchase one and I was lucky enough to win Simple Skincare's Micellar Cleansing Water in a blog giveaway recently. 

I had heard about the one by Bioderma for some time and just recently started hearing about other brands, some more affordable, coming out with their own Micellar Cleansing Waters.

Since I've never tried this type of cleanser before, I have nothing to compare it to but I definitely don't need that to be able to determine whether or not this product works.

The product:

-no artificial perfume or dyes
-contains no animal derived ingredients
-is non-comedogenic
-is hypoallergenic
-no need to rinse
-hydrating
-198ml bottle



Taken from the bottle: "Our Micellar Water is a perfect blend of Multi-vitamins, skin loving ingredients, and gentle cleansers to cleanse the skin."




I was pleased to find that there is no fragrance and this is suitable for sensitive skin. I saturated a cotton pad as instructed and wiped off my makeup at the end of the day. Not only was this effective but it was so gentle and soothing to my skin and didn't bother my eyes. It says you can gently wipe around closed eyes, but not to get in your eyes (most products, even eye creams, say this.) I definitely agree with the hydrating claim. I have dehydrated/combo/oily skin and this didn't dry out my skin at all, it left it very comfortable. Oily skin gals may not even want to use a moisturizer after.

Love at first swipe? My initial reaction when I first tried this and looked at the cotton pad was "Woah, does this thing have some kind of superpower?!" I was shocked at the amount of makeup on the cotton pad. I flipped the cotton pad over once it was full of makeup and used the other side. Afterward, I took a makeup wipe to see what was left on my skin and there was practically nothing left behind! I also put makeup wipes to the test to compare; After using a makeup wipe to take off my makeup, using both sides, I then took a cotton pad with the Micellar Water and there was a lot of makeup left behind by the wipes. This was a great way to compare and really spoke volumes. Now, some may prefer to follow up with a quick wash after using the Micellar water, but you can definitely just use the Micellar water, especially on those lazy/tired nights.

I am pleasantly surprised and really impressed by the gentleness and effectiveness of this as a makeup remover. I find the Micellar Water to be more gentle and more effective than any makeup wipe I've ever tried! Plus, I kept looking at the bottle and thinking, I have a feeling this is going to be more cost effective than using makeup wipes too! It looks like it's going to last for a long time, the level is barely going down and I really saturate those cotton pads. And, being that this product is also fragrance free and more gentle and effective than my wipes, I think I've found a replacement for the wipes! (I think I can hear my skin thanking me now!)

I'm so glad that I was lucky enough to win this product in a giveaway as I'm not sure I ever would have bought into the hype of the Micellar Cleansers and purchased one. I can definitely say that I am SOLD! And, I'm a tough sell! 

Now, if only they'd come out with this Micellar water in a pre-packaged wipe! Maybe it's out already and I haven't heard, but I think that would be great for travel. ;) ;)

This retails for approximately $6.99

Here is a link to the Micellar Water on Simple Skincare's website if you'd like to get more information: http://www.simpleskincare.com/our-products/product/micellar-cleansing-water.html

Have you tried this or any other Micellar Waters? What's your experience?

Come check out a bunch of wonderful bloggers with their beauty related posts here at fabulousandfunlife!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Decluttering Series: Beauty Samples Stash Testing + Reviews #challenge



I love getting samples of new products to try but I don't always use them right away as I'm often trying to finish up some full size products that I'm using. Now I find myself in a sea of samples so to speak so I've decided to take on the task challenge of using up all of my samples.

Hair Samples


Face & Body


Other Samples


As you can see I have a lot to get through and these are only the small size sample that I've accumulated. I have given a lot of samples to friends and family when I had duplicates or items that I thought they would enjoy more than I would.

Storage

This is how I decided to store my samples to give me easy access until I finish them up. Oh, the victory I will feel when that day comes! All the hair samples are in the basket and everything else is in the clear zippered bag.

I will use a few samples each week and report back on my experience with the products. Some samples are one time uses and others will give me a few uses and may take longer to finish up. 

I am looking forward to this challenge! 

Here is what I tried this week:



-TreSemme 7 Day Keratin Smooth System- Wow, did I lose a ton of hair using this 3 step system. I lost a lot of hair during each step and I have no idea why. Maybe it's not suitable for fine, fragile, bleached hair, but I didn't read that on the packaging anywhere. I didn't even follow the part of the instructions that tell you to go over each section with the flat iron 3 times, once was enough for me. The end result was dry hair and it only remained straight for the 1st day, after that my waves started to come back. I did not notice any special straightening from this product over using any normal shampoo, conditioner and treatments.. other than a lot of hair shedding!  I have two more of theses samples and they are going straight in the garbage.

-LaCoupe Argan oil Smoothing Shampoo and conditioner- My fine, curly hair was totally weighed down by this products and looked dirty with no style. Maybe better suited for people with coarse hair.

-Garnier Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser- This worked well at removing my makeup but still required a cleanse after. I prefer to remove my makeup with an oil, Micellar water or wipe over this lotion cleanser.

-Almay Smart Shade- This blended into my skin nicely and had light coverage that evened out my skin tone. I didn't have any irritation or breakouts from it but I found the shade turned dark on my light-medium skin tone. Maybe it oxidized or is the wrong shade. The sample was from a magazine insert and doesn't state the colour.

I hope you enjoyed this post and mini reviews. If you have a lot of samples to use up maybe you'll join me in this challenge.

Come check out some other great beauty blogs here! Fabulous and Fun Life Linkup Party!

Amy

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Maybelline Color Tattoo Bad to the Bronze Dupe for Less Than $3.50!? #Dupe #Swatches #Review







I just love finding a good dupe, especially if it's going to save me some money! I hope you enjoy this one! I think it's a good one so I can't believe I haven't heard about it yet. 

I was doing some grocery shopping the other day and couldn't resist perusing the makeup section, as usual. I came across some eye crayons by NYC that looked new to me. They're called the NYC CityProof 24 HR Waterproof Eyeshadow.  So, they claim to be 24 hour wear just like Maybelline's color tattoo. Although, I don't know anyone who wears eyeshadow for 24 hours straight and I'm not sure about the waterproof claim, but for only $3.47 I couldn't resist picking one up.

NYC CityPROOF 24HR Waterproof Eyshadow in Brooklyn Mocha (605)


Two of a kind:
NYC CityProof Eyeshadow in Brooklyn Mocha/ Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze


As soon as I got home I had to swatch my new NYC eye crayon. I notice immediately that it looked familiar and thought it looked like Maybelline's Bad to the Bronze so I decided to compare them.


Top: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze
Bottom: NYC CityProof 24 HR Waterproof Eyeshadow in Brooklyn Mocha



Left: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
Right: NYC Brooklyn Mocha

As you can see from the swatches, they are pretty much identical. I swatched them side by side and even when I turn my hand the colours stay pretty much identical.

Trying other lighting:
Left: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
Right: NYC Brooklyn Mocha


Top: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
Bottom: NYC Brooklyn Mocha


More lighting (odd lighting but shows how similar no matter what lighting):
Top: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
Bottom: NYC Brooklyn Mocha


Nighttime:
Left: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze (Here you can see it's a tad warmer in it's undertone)
Right: NYC Brooklyn Mocha


With flash:
Left: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
Right: NYC Brooklyn Mocha



Top: Maybelline
Bottom: NYC



Packaging and application: They obviously having different types of packaging and application methods. I find that they both apply very easily, it would just be a matter of preference. I for one, don't really like putting my fingers in products that will go on my eyes, but some may find more control using their finger. Although, both application methods were easy. The NYC crayon applies very smoothly with no tugging. To get the pigmentation that I wanted I did swipe the NYC crayon across my lid a few times. I also like that the lid on the NYC crayon snaps on, you can hear the snap, so you know it shouldn't dry out quickly. That's some good attention to detail for such an inexpensive product.  They NYC crayon also twists up, so no worrying about having to sharpen it.

24HR claims: I don't know about 24HR wear since I've never worn a shadow for 24 hours (at least not on purpose). I had trouble getting both off of my hand, it took a lot of scrubbing, a little more scrubbing with the Maybelline. The Maybelline definitely lasted longer on my lids when I wore them as a stand alone eye shadow.

The differences: Although they look pretty much identical in swatches and upon first application, you really see the differences after wearing them for a few hours. The Maybelline Color Tattoo stood the test of time much better. After a few hours the NYC shadow was creasing and wearing off, leaving mostly glitter behind. But, for the price the NYC is still pretty and would make a good eye shadow base. But, if you want a stand alone shadow, the Color Tattoo fairs much better.

Have you found any affordable dupes lately?

Come on over to Fabulous and Fun Life for a great linkup party!

Note to self: In the future, do swatches on your inner arm, not your vein-y hand!

Amy

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Product Empties #2: Makeup, Beauty, Skincare, Health with #reviews



My last empties post was back in April so I've collected quite a few more empties to post and review since then. Many products were close to being finished so I focused on using them up so I could move on to other products. Some are my holy grail products that I always repurchase and others were new to me. Many of my products that didn't make it to an empties post wound up in my Makeup Graveyard post.

Sometimes I feel like a beauty products hoarder, but the truth is that companies are coming out with new products with claims of the latest and greatest technologies at a pace that's impossible to keep up with. And, let's face it, it you love health and beauty products like I do, we're always looking for the latest and greatest in hopes of finding our new holy grail products!


Hair


- Giovanni 2chic Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Shampoo for Dry Damaged Hair-  I always look for sulfate free shampoos because I colour my hair. This one is sulfate free and still lathered really well. It has a soft, slightly perfume-y scent that I didn't mind. It worked well but I have my sights set on some other products from this line and also have many others to finish before I even consider repurchasing this one.

-Giovanni 2chic Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Conditioner for Dry Damaged Hair- I liked this conditioner, it did the job. I did seem to have less breakage and I like that it's more natural but it seemed fairly basic and I would like to be wowed by my next conditioner! Plus, I would like to try some newer products by this line and others. I have pretty difficult to deal with hair. 

- Garnier Fructis Style Curl Calm Down Anti-Frizz Cream- I have fine, frizzy and naturally curly hair. This cream did a fairly good job at taming the frizz but I have moved on to more natural oils for my hair that I feel are better for the health of my hair.


Cosmetics



-Elf Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara- This is a repurchase and I will continue to repurchase. I only use this to tame my brows and keep them in place and it does just that. I use both sides of the tube for my brows only. It's so inexpensive at $1.99!

-Sally Hansen Salon Nail Lacquer in Passion Plum- I swear I wore this on my toes for about 10 years it seems! I can't believe I finally finished it. It was such a deep plum it looked black. I will find a new replacement. These colours are easy to dupe these days.

-Jordana Eye Primer- I didn't get to finish this before it dried up but I did use it for a year or two and hit pan. It was a great eye base for only $2! I would repurchase if I ever get through some others I am working on now.

-Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla & Macadamia- This was OK, the lasting time was just mediocre. I would not repurchase as I would prefer lip products that I don't have to stick my finger in.

-Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm in Light/Medium- This had decent coverage and I liked that it had SPF 30. It says it hydrates all day and I would not agree with this, I definitely needed a good moisturizer underneath and I have combo/oily skin.  I would not repurchase as I am constantly trying out new BB creams and have found others I like better (currently, Physicians Formula Organic Wear BB cream).


Face and Body


-Retin-A Micro (Tretinoin gel) 0.04%- Retin-A is a prescription here in Canada and luckily it's covered under our medical plan. I have been using this for well over a year (maybe 2) and it's a very gentle formula. I've never had any irritation with it but I'm not noticing any more improvements in my skin so I might need to go up in strength.

-Reviva Labs Elastin & Collagen Skin Toner- This is total holy grail for me! I use other toners as well but this is the one I go to at night. It is the most gentle toner I've ever used! It's very soothing and doesn't cause breakouts or any irritation. It says for dry skin but I have combo/oily and I love it! I do decant it into a glass bottle with a pump from an old toner that I had. Definite repurchase.

-Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil, For Hair, Face and Body- I only used this product on my body so I can't say how well it works as a face or hair oil. I sprayed it on my body after a bath or shower when still damp, this way the product is absorbed better. Miracle Oil? Not so much. There was nothing miraculous about it! In fact, it left my legs dry and scaly and I've never had a problem with that before. I will not repurchase, however, I will re-purpose this bottle and fill it with my Organic Sesame oil that doesn't have any other ingredients and hydrates well.


Health


- Now Foods, Xyli White Cinnafresh Toothpaste- I've been using this toothpaste for years and my dental checkups have really improved for the better since then. I will definitely continue to repurchase this product. I am currently trying out their Neem/ Xyliwhite toothpaste from the same line. Note: it comes in mint flavours for those who don't like cinnamon.

-Jarrow Curcumin Phytosome with Meriva- I've been taking curcumin for quite some time. It's a wonderful antioxidant with an army of purported health benefits. I was mainly taking it as a preventative measure but after I ran out of it and decided not to repurchase, I suddenly gained 5 pounds in a month without changing anything else. I was trying to think of what I had done differently since gaining the weight and the only thing I could think of was that I had stopped the curcumin. I didn't think that would be the cause of the weight gain because I didn't recall reading about curcumin as an aid in maintaining or losing weight. So, I decided to google curcumin and weight and numerous articles came up about how it helps with maintaining blood sugar and weight (especially the excess weight around the abdomen area.) I quickly re-ordered my curcumin and I'm happily fitting into my jeans again! I wont be without this.

So that's it for my empties for a while I think. I'm currently working on my ridiculous amount of samples that I've collected while I was working on my full-size products. I intend to have some fun testing out all the samples and posting about them with some quick reviews.

Have you found any new holy grail products lately? I'd love any suggestions. Still on that hunt!

Please go check Monday Makeup Madness on Fabulous and Fun Life for lot's of other makeup and beauty posts!

 Amy


Friday, June 5, 2015

Makeup Graveyard #1- Purging/ Decluttering Some Makeup and Beauty Items!

Welcome to the Makeup Graveyard!


Well, it looks like the items pictured above wont be making it into any of my empties posts. Instead, they are making it to my firs ever "makeup graveyard" (aka. garbage.) Last night I got a burst of energy (nothing new-night owl here) and something prompted me to go through my eye shadows. Although, today, I have no memory of what it was that inspired me to do so. But, as you can see, I found more than eye shadow to add to my makeup graveyard. 


Above are the first batch of products that I decided were now fit for the trash and not my eyelids.They are either super-old, chalky and/or have no pigmentation. Although, I did end up saving the Essence Quattro palette from the graveyard and decided instead to pitch an ELF quad of similar colours that was MUCH more suited to the graveyard.  (note: the items are deep in the trash so I was not able to get another picture minus the Essence quad that I "saved.")

What's going and why:
  • YBF Palette, your connected collection- too old and dried up
  • Sally Girl eyeshadow quad, no colour just the number 388477- chunky and hard, yuk
  • Smashbox eye shadow quad in Juxtapose- this is so old and the powders are now hard
  • Annabelle 4 Show eye shadow quad in Vivid-eye- Zero pigmentation
  • Essence eye shadow quad in Over the Taupe- Saved!


Here is a picture of the inside of the ybf palette:

This was a nice palette but it's super-old and as a result lost it's pigmentation. I loved this one for my purse or travel as it has a nice array of neutral eye shadows plus a blush and lip colours. Although, I've learned that I'd rather not have lip products inside my palettes as they get kind of gross and gunky!


Here are the other items I came across today that wound up in the graveyard. As I mentioned, I ended up choosing to keep the Essence quad and instead trashed the ELF one above- the tones were similar but the Essence one was much more buttery and pigmented- sorry ELF, I love lots of your other products! :D


What's going and why:
  • Eye shadow brush from Ebay. It came in a 5 piece set for less than $2, the others are great, this one is SO hard and sharp, someone could get hurt!
  • Bella Pierre powder brush no.23- this is like putting makeup on with a brillo pad (I love many Bella Pierre products, just not this one)
  • Bella Pierre makeup base- product has separated and gone bad
  • ELF eye shadow quad in Drama- shadows are hard, chunky, and have no pigmentation
  • Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer Cream- well, besides the long name,....this has to be the worst BB cream or tinted moisturizer I have ever tried! I don't know if I just got a bad one but besides zero coverage it wont blend into the skin, it stays on the skin and leaves patches of product all over my face. Byeeeee!
I know I wont be missing any of these products and it makes me realize that I have to go through my things more often. Decluttering, purging or whatever you want to call it can be tough but it's definitely worth it. I don't want to get rid of things just for the sake of getting rid of things but if something isn't working for me anymore or maybe is past its prime, better to let it go and focus on the things that are working for me and wont give you an eye infection or something! *knocking on wood

Have you done any purging or have any tips on making it an easier task? Please share in the comments. I would love to get better at letting things go, they are after all, just things and not important in the grand scheme of things. ;)

Please go check out this and other beauty posts for Monday Makeup Madness on Fabulous and Fun Life!

xo Amy

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mini Beauty Haul, New Products! NYC, Wet n Wild, Quo Contessa (LE) Palette #makeup

HAUL!!

I love finding some new, budget friendly beauty products to try out! I wanted to share my new beauty finds with you. I thought some of you may be interested since they are all fairly new to the market and really budget friendly!


Shown above:

NYC CityPROOF Twistable Perfecting Lip Primer/ Quo Face Palette in "Contessa"/ Wet n Wild's new Wild Shine Nail Polish in Dreamy Poppy/ Wet n Wild's new Lipstick in 501C "A Short Affair"



NYC City Proof Twistable Perfecting Lip Primer- as far as I know this is a totally new products and I'm excited to try it out as I've never owned a lip primer before, and I love the newer crayon style lip products. I'm hoping it will help me wear some of my more unforgiving lipsticks and matte lipsticks that don't get worn since they settle into my lip lines too much. Cost $2.97



Quo Face Palette in "Contessa"- Includes full-size blush, bronzer and highlight. There was another palette with different shades but this is the one I was attracted to the most, although I admit that I was tempted to get both! ;)  I couldn't find any reviews online so I think I'll do a post with some swatches and a first impression. This was part of Shoppers Drug Mart's spring Limited Edition (LE) collection. My Shoppers had it on sale for $10 from $20, and I had enough points in my Optimum account so I ended up getting it for free!! Gotta love Shoppers Drug Mart's Optimum program!



Wet n Wild's new Lipstick in 501C "A Short Affair," This is a new formula in new packaging. This looked to be the lightest colour in the collection. I would say it's a neutral to cool tone light baby pink with a sheen (no glitter.) I quite like it so far! I have tested 2 of the new lipstick formulas and so far they seem to go on quite a bit darker than what you see in the tube. Cost $1.50





Wet n Wild's new Wild Shine Nail Polish 
formula in 477C "Dreamy Poppy." Note: This colour is not new but this is a newer formula that is supposed to last much longer than the previous formula. I never owned this colour. It looks like a gorgeous deep coral for the summer and would look great with a tan. Unfortunately, the  handle is broken on the bottle that I got so I have to go and exchange it. Cost $1.50


All in all this little haul cost me a total of around $6! Not bad at all! Granted, I got a great deal on the $20 Quo palette since it was half off and I had enough Shopper`s Optimum points to get it for free.  The cosmetician at Shopper`s Drug Mart said that each store may have the Quo palettes on sale at different times, so check your local Shopper`s if you are interested.. once they go on sale this cheap, I doubt they will last very long!

I hope you enjoyed my little haul and maybe you`ll want to check out a few of these for yourself.

Have you come across any new products or great deals lately, I would love to hear about them!

Xo Amy


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