Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sephora Birthday Gift 2021 | Nars Laguna Bronzer and Afterglow Lip Balm Review

I just shared a Sephora Haul, linked here, and decided to also do a dedicated post for Sephora's free Nars Birthday gift for this year.

Every year, Sephora offers its Beauty Insiders the opportunity to choose a gift for FREE! This year, because non-essential stores are still closed, I had to make an online purchase to get my free birthday gift. Luckily, there was no minimum purchase as well as free shipping with no minimum purchase!

This year, there are 4 freebies to choose from:
  • Nars Laguna 2pc mini-set featured in this post
  • Moroccanoil 3pc mini haircare set
  • Laneige 3pc skincare set
  • Kerastase 2pc haircare set - online exclusive

As a Sephora Beauty Insider (free to join) you can choose one free gift per year with no purchase required. You can access your birthday gift 2 weeks before your actual birthday and anytime after your birthday.

I have been wanting to try Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder for quite some time, so I was glad it was offered as one of this year's freebies. 

The Nars Freebie Includes:

Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder 2.5 gr
Afterglow lip balm in Laguna 1.1 gr

Top: Nars Laguna Bronzer/ Bottom: Nars Laguna Afterglow Lip Balm

Birthday gift:  Nars Laguna bronzer and Afterglow lip balm  πŸŽ‚

Laguna Bronzing Powder:
The bronzer is tiny but I can still fit my brush into the pan without any issues. The packaging is just like their full-size counterparts and contains a small mirror. 

The powder is not nearly as dark as it appears in the pan, which is a good thing for me. I was afraid it was going to be too dark for me and would be difficult to blend. Turns out to be not too pigmented and blends like a dream. It is buildable and I actually needed 2 or 3 applications to get the colour that I wanted. I was surprised that the Laguna Bronzer has quite a bit of micro glitter which only shows up in certain lighting, thankfully. It also has a gold sheen to it which can only be seen from certain angles. The colour is great on my light/neutral skin tone, although it shows up quite orange in the swatch, it doesn't look orange on my face. It adds a nice bronze-y glow that I happen to love all year round. It definitely gives that summertime bronze beach look.

AfterGlow Lip Balm in Laguna:

The Afterglow lip balm also comes in the same beautiful packaging as its full-size counterpart. The balm has a nice slip to it and feels good on the lips. It is somewhat hydrating but not very long-lasting. It also has a tiny bit of a sheen with a dot of micro glitter here and there, but very little so it isn't bothersome to me. The colour is very sheer natural looking, and makes the perfect addition to the Laguna Bronzer, adding to that summertime bronze beach look when paired together. Giving me #beachvibes

The sizes in this freebie kit are quite tiny and considering how much bronzer and lip balm I use, I don't expect them to last long. (Bronzer and lip balm are 2 of my most used products).

Overall, I'm very happy to have finally tried these products. I probably won't purchase the full size of the bronzer because I am generally not a fan of glitter on my face, I don't mind some shimmer, but not glitter. The Afterglow Lip Balm is just ok for me, especially considering the high price tag.

Some of the other freebies like the Laneige and the Morrocanoil kits are probably a better value but if you are also dying to try Nars Laguna, you can't go wrong, especially for free, and I hope my swatches and review have helped with your decision! 😍

You can view all of this year's free birthday gifts and sign up to become an insider at

Which gift will you choose this year!?


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Sephora Haul! The Ordinary, Sephora Hello Favourites + 2021 Birthday gifts Review

Sharing a fun little Sephora haul today 🌞 which includes 2 FREE birthday gifts (my Aunt let me have hers.. . so sweet! πŸ₯°) We had to make a small purchase online to receive our birthday gifts because stores are still closed. Shipping was πŸ†“️ with no minimum purchase! πŸ™Œ

Sephora Favourites Hello! Greatest Beauty Hits bag was on sale for $10 and includes 6 samples as well as a 15% off coupon. Most samples are so small that I'd say unless you need a new blush, this "Hello Sephora Favourites" isn't really worth it.  I was excited by the Tarte Jelly Glaze but it's tiny!!!

Swatch: bareMinerals Gen Nude Blush in Call My Blush (no filter, taken in natural daylight)

Out of Sephora's Hello Favourites kit, I'd say that the mascara and blush are the standout products. I am a bit disappointed in Tarte's Jelly Lip Mask as it is not my favourite but I'm glad I got to try it. I am excited to use the Rescue Mask as I love these sort of leave on face masks. I'm also excited to try Sephora's Ultra Glow Serum as it has fabulous reviews!

Second purchase was The Ordinary caffeine solution 5% + EGCG. This was only about $6 for 30ml and only takes a tiny drop for each eye πŸ‘ So far so good with this product, it definitely helps with puffiness temporarily. Will share a full review after using it for more time.

1st Sephora πŸ†“️ Birthday gift:  Nars Laguna bronzer and Afterglow lip balm birthday gift was my 1st choice as I've always wanted to try this bronzer 🌞 

Top: Nars Laguna Bronzer/ Bottom: Nars Afterglow Lip Balm in Laguna 
(no filter, taken in natural daylight)

Nars kit includes:
Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder 2.5 gr
Afterglow lip balm in Laguna 1.1 gr

I was surprised that the Laguna Bronzer has quite a bit of micro glitter which only shows up in certain lighting. I like how easily it blends and the colour is great on my light/neutral skin tone, although it shows up quite orange in the swatch, it doesn't look orange on my face. It adds a nice bronze-y glow that I happen to love all year round. It definitely gives that summertime bronze babe look.

The Afterglow lip balm has a tiny bit of micro glitter as well, but very little so it isn't bothersome to me. The colour is very sheer and makes the perfect addition to the Laguna Bronzer, adding to that summertime bronze babe look when paired together.

Second πŸ†“️ Sephora Birthday Gift:  Moroccanoil birthday gift comes with 3 samples: original Moroccan treatment (15ml), Hydrating styling cream (20ml), Night Body serum (10ml).

If you have damaged or dry hair like I do, this is a great kit to try out! Everyone's hair is different and reacts to products differently, so this is a great way to try this line for free!

Out of the 2 birthday gifts shown here, the Moroccanoil hair kit is the better value in my opinion but I just had to finally try Nars Laguna ☀️ 

There are 2 other free birthday options this year:
 Laneige 3 piece skincare set and Kerastase shampoo and conditioner set which is an online exclusive.

Note: You need to be a Sephora Beauty Insider to be eligible for a free birthday gift, it's free for everyone to join!

You can view all of the free birthday options for this year at birthday-gift
Which Sephora birthday gift are you going to choose this year?! 


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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Huge Empties | Makeup, Skincare, Haircare, Supplements

Happy New Year and welcome to the first post of 2021!

I have a huge empties post to share, chocked full of makeup, skincare, haircare and a lot of supplements as per usual. No wonder I have so much.. my last empties was in September! Linked here.

I will make my reviews brief and link to products whenever possible. Prices listed are approximate.

Skin and Hair

I always use Garnier Micellar Water and have switched to the one for dry skin for the winter. I will probably continue to use the one for dry skin because I just love to get as much hydration into my skin as possible. This one would be great for people with more oily skin.

Repurchase- Yes

This was a decent product but the pump broke on me after only a few uses and the brand didn't respond to my inquiry, so I tried to decant it into a jar and use it that way but it became a huge mess. This colour was also too light for me. 

Repurchase- No

This felt more like a lotion than a serum to me. Mine also smelled of hemp or CBD oil. It is said to lift and firm the skin. I can't really say that I noticed any lifting but I did like the way it made my skin look and feel. I would purchase this again but I would like to try their moisturizer from this line first. 

Repurchase- Yes

I love this oil! Actually, I love most skin oils! This has great ingredients and a little goes a long way. It definitely made my skin feel soft and hydrated. I use it as a last step in my skincare routine to lock in all of my skincare. I love oils for all skin types. It's so soothing and healing. Oily skin should actually use oils as it will feed your skin the oils that it needs so it will stop over producing oils. Oils did wonders for my skin when I had oily skin and acne, it actually made my acne disappear. Now that my skin is dehydrated, I need oils just as much!

Repurchase- Yes

This little sample lasted for a week and I was loving how my skin was looking and feeling. I definitely felt like it was firming my skin. I would love to get a full size of this product and see the results. I am asking myself why I haven't been trying this brand sooner!

Repurchase- Yes

I heard so many Bloggers raving about this product, and since my hair is in dire need of some help, I had to try it for myself. What a let down! I used the whole bottle and not once did I notice any benefits. For some reason, I just didn't see any results. 

Repurchase- No


This was the perfect shade, a nice nude/ pink/ MLBB colour. Unfortunately, it dried out really quickly which is unfortunate because I  love that it's all natural, too!

Repurchase- No

So disappointing. Not moisturizing, only lasts a few seconds, very little colour, a dirty looking orange on my lips. I have light-medium skintone. Not good for dry or dehydrated lips. Threw it in the trash. I would recommend some other Nivea lip products over this one.

Repurchase- No

This goes on clear but is supposed to be self adjusting and add some custom colour to your lips. It quickly turns my lips bright pink and migrates outside the lip line, leaving me with clown-like-lips! Not a good look. Another one straight in the bin! I would recommend Soft Lips lip balms that are not self adjusting. 

Repurchase- No

I've been using this product for years! It's great for aging skin as the formula is moisturizing but thin, and also works as your concealer. It doesn't settle into lines (unless you use too much), a little goes a long way and it lasts forever. A tube usually lasts me for about 1 year!

Repurchase- Yes

This concealer has zero coverage. I kept trying to make it work but it just wasn't happening. However, this is quite old, perhaps their newer formulas are better. 

Repurchase- Maybe their new formula, not this one

I liked this mascara very much but definitely prefer their Lash Princess Mascara over this one. It was still nice to try something new and it wasn't bad at all. Lash Princess just gives me more length and volume. I like BIG lashes! lol

Repurchase- Lash Princess!

I just received this mascara free with an online order. It was such a let down! It gave me the wimpiest lashes, might as well not wear anything. It comes with one of those gimmicky wands that can straighten or curl. Sorry, Marcelle, you make some great products, this just isn't one of them. 

Repurchase- No

Oral Care

In my quest for a whiter and brighter smile, I switched to this mouth wash based on the rave reviews. I love that it is alcohol free! I gives me fresh breath and I do feel that it helps with the maintenance of whiter teeth. I have reorder it in a version without hydrogen peroxide to see which I prefer.

Repurchase- Yes


These were easy to take everyday and tastes great. It has the right form of D3 for the maintenance of good health. D3 is one vitamin I will not be without, especially in the wintertime. 

Repurchase- Yes

This is a Canadian brand that is new to me. Vitamin C something that I have just recently added to my must-have supplement routine, not only for it's multiple health benefits but for anti-aging/ skin benefits as well. These are corn-free, GMO, Gluten-free, and 100% vegetarian. I actually wanted to purchase time-released vitamin C but accidentally purchased delayed-release which is ok, but works differently. My goal is to take 2 time released vitamin C caps per day, but I usually only end up taking 1.

These hair growth gummies have such great reviews that I had to give them a try. I have been losing so much hair lately, maybe it's part of the menopause age, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to do everything I can to combat this hair loss! I used up one bottle which is a one month supply. I did not notice any less shedding or any new hair growth yet, but I understand that with the hair growth cycle it can take up to 3 months to notice a difference. So I'll be trying them again.. they taste so good and have great ingredients, so why not!

Repurchase- Yes

Webber Super Sleep with Melatonin- 90 tablets x 2/ $45
I LOVE these, I always buy them in a 2 pack. I've been using them for years! The right dose for me is 1 vs the 2 recommended. It really helps me fall asleep but it doesn't prevent early awakening, so I often take one when I wake early and it will usually help me fall back asleep. I do rotate my sleep supplements so my body doesn't get used to one which can make them stop working or have ill effects. 

Repurchase- Absolutely

I've had low thyroid (hypothyroid) for years now. My thyroid med doesn't quite keep my thyroid levels optimal and my body doesn't tolerate a higher dose. I got the ok from my Dr. to take this supplement along with my thyroid med and now my blood work finally shows my thyroid function at optimal levels. Note: I only take one per day.

Repurchase- yes

This is my favourite multivitamin of all times. I actually notice a difference in how I feel when I take them. They are choked full of fabulous ingredients. They are pricey but worth it, imo. Most Garden of Life products are pricey, but they are for a reason. I have been taking their Primal Defense for over 20 years! When I can afford it, their Vitamin Code for Women is my go-to multi!

Repurchase- Yes

Country Life CoQ10 100mg -120 veg soft gels / $36
I've been taking Q10 for almost 20 years. When my usual brand was discontinued, I looked for another one that also is made under the Kaneka trademark. This one is in the Ubiquinone form which is much less expensive than the highly touted Ubiquinol form. But after much research, I find that there is no reason to take the much more expensive form. Q10 is a wonderful antioxidant and is so great for heart health and has so many other benefits as our Q10 naturally declines as we age, so a supplement is a good idea, just double check with your Dr., of course. Note: these gel caps are small and easy to take.

Repurchase- Yes

I have always tested slightly low in iron. I probably should have been taking some iron all these years. It wasn't until I started getting RLS (restless leg syndrome) that I started to take my iron. My Dr. recommended 18mg per day for me. I take this at night and it nips any RLS in the bud! This iron is gentle and non-constipating. TIP: iron deficiency can be one cause of RLS

Repurchase- Yes

Sleep Supplements

Now Foods 5-HTP 50mg - 90 veg caps/ $15
5-HTP is another must have for me. It helps me with my insomnia and I also notice an improved mood when I take it regularly. I prefer the 50mg caps to higher doses so I can customize my dose. I usually only need 50mg but sometimes I'll up it to 100mg. 5-HTP is the intermediate metabolite between the amino acid tryptophan and serotonin.

Yet another must have in my arsenal of sleep supplements. This homeopathic remedy is very gentle and doesn't have any contraindications. It's often just what I need to help me drift off to lala land. I don't feel anything per se, but it does what it's supposed to, most of the time and I never have any ill effects.

Repurchase- Yes

Here is another homeopathic remedy that works wonders for me most of the time. This one has more of an effect than the one listed above, but they are both useful to me and each has their time and place. Homeocan also has another insomnia formula that is cheaper and comes in a small tube with pellets, but it has one less ingredient than this one (copper) and that formula doesn't work for me, but this one has excellent effects for my sleep! I usually purchase this from National Nutrition or Homeocan's website. I haven't been able to find it in any stores. 

Repurchase- I buy 3 at a time! That's how much I need it in my life!

Mercola Sleep Support with Melatonin - 25ml spray bottle/ $16
I also have this one on rotation for quite some time. YES, I have a lot of options for my sleep / insomnia issues as it is complex and ever changing. Sometimes my body becomes accustomed to a supplement so I need to change things up. If I had to choose just one sleep supplement with melatonin, it would be Webber's Super Sleep. This one by Mercola is great too, though. The first time I took it, it pretty much knocked me out, which is unheard of for me. It no longer has that strong of an effect on me but it does work well and has great ingredients. If you have insomnia, it might take some trial and error before you find what works for you. 

Repurchase- Yes

Last but not least, this Bach Flower Night Spray is another one that I always keep on hand for my sleep issues. It is super gentle and sometimes just what my body and mind needs to drift off to sleep. You've probably heard of Rescue Remedy which is super popular and this is produced by the same brand.

Repurchase- Yes, always have this one on hand

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I used up for the last few months. It sure feels good to use up products or even discard those that don't work for me. It's "almost" as gratifying as a good declutter!

Disclaimer: Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new supplements. Information provided here is based on our / my personal experience only and is not intended to treat. cure, or diagnose. 


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