I’ve got some big love for handful of things right now …

NeoStrata

I’ve been using Paula’s Choice AHA and BHA products this year but they’re both coming to the end of their bottle. I came across reviews for NeoStrata’s Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Cream 5% and got a sample of it from Shoppers Drug Mart.

I love it. It’s super creamy and it exfoliates. It feels great under my foundation. The full size is on my shopping list next pay day. It usually sells for about $39 but it’s on sale at Shoppers for around $26 until December 18.

UPDATE & STUPID ALERT: After buying the full-sized version of this and using it for about a week I decided to look at the ingredients – something I had failed to do up to this point. Alcohol is literally the third or so item listed. Not one of the acceptable types used in skincare but straight alcohol. I stopped using this immediately and tried to find the receipt. No luck. It’s a lovely ‘feeling’ product but I’m simply not going to use something that contains such a high concentration of alcohol on my already very dry skin. Thanks but no thanks.

Bobbi Brown

Regular readers know how obsessed I am lately with foundation. My current favourite is Maybelline’s Fit Me Hydrate and Smooth.

I wanted to treat myself this Christmas to a high-end foundation and was planning to buy Chanel’s Vitalumiere Satin Smoothing Fluid Makeup (supposedly very good for dry, mature skin) but after getting a sample of it, I was so disappointed.

I have a feeling the SA didn’t shake the bottle before pouring the sample and it was like applying plaster to my face.

That led me to Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation. I read a bunch of reviews online and lots of folks with dry, older skin seemed to really like it. So I got a sample yesterday (in Porcelain which I think is a tad too pale for me) and it’s glorious.

This is totally going on my Christmas list.

Lise Watier

Eyebrows have been the bane of my life lately. Overplucked as a teenager and never recovered, they have a life of their own.

For a while I’d been using MAC’s Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Tailor Grey to fill in my brows. But I needed something darker.

I bought and returned two MAC brow pencils. Why does every cosmetics company think people with brown hair want auburn eyebrows? Every pencil I tried was far too warm. Ugh.

I finally stumbled upon Lise Watier’s Eyebrow Pencil in the shade Châtain – it’s the perfect mud colour. Kind of grey, kind of black, kind of brown. And it’s brilliant.

Impruv

Terrible name, great product. In the never-ending search for a good winter moisturizer for my dehydrated, ageing skin I found Stiefel Impruv Derma Membrane Structure Cream for dry, sensitive skin. Horrah! That’s me.

I read somewhere on another blog that you’ll find it on some dusty bottom shelf at Shoppers Drug Mart. And that’s exactly right. It’s inexpensive ($18) and contains some fabulous ingredients.

I read a lot of reviews from Canadians who say this saved their skin during winter. So I’m giving it a go and so far, so good.

Canadian Beauty Bloggers Network on Facebook

I’m a member of this (closed) group on Facebook and turned to the other members for dry skin advice.

I asked:

What are your dry/dehydrated skincare recommendations? I live in Winnipeg and no matter what I put on my face it still feels tight. The best luck I’ve had so far is with Eucerin’s Aquaphor ointment but it’s not very practical for daytime use. I’ve tried lots of stuff so I’m hoping one of you has a miracle moisturizer recommendation to kick Canada’s winter butt! 

One cream recommended to me several times was Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. The folks at Beautypedia don’t think much of it but – apparently – it’s a bit of a cult beauty product.

I rubbed a bunch of stuff on my hands yesterday at Sephora (namely Josie Maran’s Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment and a couple of First Aid Beauty creams) and fell in love. Stupidly I didn’t look for the Embryolisse stuff.

Clearly I have a lot of moisturizing to do over the next little while.

[Along with the winter skin advice it was recommended that I exfoliate, use a cream or oil cleanser and a good serum. I’m already doing that. My skin must be doomed.]

Bobbi-Brown-Long-Wear-Gel-Eyeliner

Recently I wrote about Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner.

You can get it at the drugstore and it’s super cheap, looks good and applies easily.

But, like any beauty blogger worth his/her winged liner, I couldn’t stop there.

It’s supposed to be smudge-proof and waterproof for 24 hours and, after wearing it on a bike ride with watery eyes, it stood up to its claim.

Then I wore it during my weekly workouts and, while it pretty much stayed put (through my sweat), the little wings at the end of my liner smudged a bit and it transferred under my eyes.

I had a total urge to try Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner which is basically the high-end version of the same thing. So I did – fortuitously I had to return something to The Bay and bought the Bobbi Brown liner instead.

The comparison

Bobbi Brown’s liner is more tenacious than Maybelline.

The colour I got (Graphite Shimmer) is virtually identical to Maybelline’s Charcoal.

In fact, both liners are identical in every way EXCEPT their durability – same pot, same size, same creamy consistency, same ease of application.

But Bobbi Brown comes out on top because it really is long wearing. After running both under water and smudging on the back of my hand, Maybelline disappears. Bobbi Brown stays put.

The kicker

Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner costs around $10 CA. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner costs around $30 CA. So this is one expensive eyeliner!

Wanna know what it looks like? EXACTLY the same as the Maybelline eyeliner I’m wearing in this post.

MAC Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation

One thing I’ve noticed is that as the weather gets colder my skin begins to shrivel up.

No amount of moisturizer, serum or oil seems to stop it. And it’s mostly on my cheeks.

I’m planning to buy a humidifier this winter but, like any obsessed beauty blogger, I’m also looking at ways my everyday makeup can help ease the problem.

I do all I can to prep my skin with moisture before applying makeup but I figured maybe I could do more with the foundation I use AND perhaps finish my makeup by spritzing with a moisturizing toner.

I stumbled across this video review of MAC’s Mineralize Moisture Foundation from the Beautypedia folks and, after checking out lots of other reviews, decided to buy it.

Winter is so harsh in my part of Canada and this foundation is raved about by folks with dry skin.

Putting aside how yellow Mercedes’ face looks in this video, I agree with everything she says.

My verdict: it’s a great foundation.

I never use a lot of foundation: one small pump, and I still have some left over. First I dot it sparingly on my face then I go over it with a damp Beauty Blender. I actually bought the same shade as Mercedes uses in the video above (NC 15).

I put a tiny bit of loose powder on my forehead and under my eyes, on my chin and on my cupid’s bow with a small brush.

It has a satin finish (meaning your face will look a bit shiny after you apply it). It doesn’t sink into my fine lines or pores. It provides light coverage although it’s marketed as a medium coverage foundation. My guess is you could easily layer it to build up the coverage.

It’s easy to apply BUT it’s pretty expensive: $43 CA (around £22). But it comes in loads of shades.

I’ve come to realise I’m not much of a budget foundation gal. Unless I can test a foundation on my face in the store, I’m not going to buy it. I’ve gone drugstore for foundation a couple of times and ended up returning it to exchange it for another colour. And that’s just a hassle. Plus, I’m lazy.

• • •

MAC Prep and Prime Fix Plus

I also got my hands on MAC’s Prep + Prime Fix + which I’m spraying on my face in the hope I’ll look less like a shriveled prune. I’m told you can use this toner before or after applying foundation. I’m planning to keep it in my makeup bag and use it throughout the day during the winter months. I’ll give you an update soon to let you know whether it’s worth the investment.

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel EyelinerI used to wear liquid eyeliner ALL THE TIME. I don’t remember when I stopped but I did.

If you’ve read my about page you’ll know I stopped wearing a lot of makeup but have gradually been coming back to it.

One of the things I never thought would make a comeback on my face was liquid eyeliner. I was pretty sure my ageing eyelids wouldn’t stand for it.

Twice a week I don’t wear mascara because I workout and workouts equal sweat and sweat equals ruined mascara. Waterproof or not. On those days I still wear eye makeup but use a clear mascara instead.

I’ve invested in long-wearing eye products which stay in place through my exercising. And I’ve gradually been wearing more and more makeup on my workout days.

I’ve been using two waterproof pencil eyeliners (in black and taupe) but suddenly had an urge to ditch those and use liquid eyeliner.

After reading up on the best rated eyeliners on Beautypedia I narrowed it down to Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($33 CA) and Maybelline’s Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($10 CA).

When I was a kid, I used liquid liner that went on very wet and dried to a matte, black finish. If you were unlucky, it flaked off. Today – in 2015 – formulas have changed dramatically. Gel liner is THE thing. It’s neither wet nor dry. And not a flake in sight.

The Bobbi Brown eyeliner gets rave reviews EVERYWHERE. But $33? That’s a bit much dontcha think?

So you’ll understand how happy I was to find this YouTube smackdown from the fabulous Makeup Geek.

I also read this great post from Rock Paper Beauty.

Decision made! Maybelline it is. In the colour charcoal. Not black.

I do love jet black but for everyday wear I want to soften things a bit (being over 40 and everything). Maybelline’s charcoal is very close to black but that bit softer.

The finish is really nice. It’s not a flat, matte colour. It has a tiny bit of sparkle in it but it’s not that noticeable. It’s more of a glossy finish.

And it’s SO EASY to apply. I don’t think I’ve ever used a liner that’s this easy to put on. No dragging AT ALL. It’s buttery soft. Good news for my sometimes-crepey lids.

I actually use MAC’s 208 angled brow brush. And I apply it as close to my lashes as possible. When I’m done, I sort of stick the brush up gently into the roots of my lashes too – not quite tightlining but making sure I cover up the skin.

I’ve yet to wear the eyeliner during a workout but, so far, I’m super impressed with it.

I went out on my bike today and the wind and cold made my eyes water A LOT. But that Maybelline stuff stayed in place.

If you’re looking for a gel liner, I honestly don’t think you need to spend big bucks. This Maybelline liner is a keeper. The irony is, Beautypedia gave it a crappy review. And you know how I am about my Beautypedia reviews. I think this is one case where they got it wrong.

Maybelline EYE STUDIO LASTING DRAMA GEL EYELINER Charcoal 2

PS: if you’re interested, I’m wearing a brand-new lip gloss from Elizabeth Arden and I love it! This is Luminous Lip Gloss in Rosegold. It’s sort of rosey and sort of gold. It’s also sort of expensive ($25 CA). I’ve been loving my cheap Rimmel lip glosses but I had an urge. Shhh. Don’t tell.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Tailor Grey 2

I’ve just discovered the best eyebrow fix.

Most recently I’ve been using a variety of shades from my Paula’s Choice Matte eyeshadow palette to fill in my brows. But none of the colours is quite right. Too dark, too warm, too light.

I ended up blending together a couple of the colours, mixing with water and applying with an angled brush but I wasn’t quite satisfied.

Before that I was using MAC’s Brow Set in Bold Brunette but I’d started to find it too dark.

After spending all evening looking at eyebrow products on Beautypedia and watching a bunch of YouTube videos (my favourite is Lisa Eldridge below), I was all set to buy MAC’s brow pencil in Lingering.

Then I watched this video from Mary Greenwell and something she said really stayed with me: you’re filling in the shadow behind your brow hair. Stay away from red or blue based colours and look for something earthy.

I recently bought MAC’s Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Tailor Grey and had a sudden brainwave to try it as an eyebrow product. It’s a great earthy colour.

IT IS PERFECT!

And I don’t have grey eyebrows.

I use a small eyeliner brush to lightly apply it and then quickly comb through some clear mascara.

Taking pictures of eyebrows is difficult. While you may not be particularly impressed with how things look in the photo below, what I can tell you is I haven’t been this happy with my eyebrows in years.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Tailor Grey eye brow filler

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly mascara 1

DECEMBER 2015 UPDATE

I recently bought the waterproof version of this mascara and LOVE it. The brush really does take some getting used to but the results are worth it for those of us with sparse or thin eyelashes. I was in the market for a waterproof mascara and originally bought Clinique’s High Impact Waterproof mascara but ended up returning it because it made me look as though I only had about five eyelashes.


I’ve lost count of the amount of mascaras I’ve loved.

It’s one of those products that (like foundation) I’m always searching for.

I’ll find one that looks good but is hard to take off, hard to apply, flakes, smudges under my eyes or is too expensive.

In a fit of mascara indulgence a few months ago, I bought a handful of drugstore brands including L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly. On a bit of a whim really. Beautypedia said fairly decent things about it so I figured I’d try it.

It sat in my little mascara pot for ages. I’d use it occasionally but it wasn’t my ‘go to’ mascara.

I found it hard to apply because of its weird brush – which is a bit like a rubbery 3D comb. I even poked myself in the eyeball a couple of times.

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly mascara 3

Not wishing to blind myself in the name of beauty, I didn’t use it much.

Then I went to a wedding in September and had to do my makeup in a hurry and ended up using this Butterfly stuff. During the handful of times I’d used it before, I noticed it stays fairly clean looking after I’d applied it. It doesn’t smudge under my eyes and I can create quite dramatic lashes with it.

I also wanted to wash it off easily at the end of the night (and this one ticks all those boxes).

I haven’t used another mascara since then.

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly mascara 2

The brush definitely takes some getting used to. It has a side with short bristles and a side with longer bristles. I start by getting the short side right up against my lashes and eyelid and I keep combing and wiggling a bit from side to side. I finish by combing with the longer bristles.

This mascara is easy to fuck up but once I got the hang of it, I have to say it’s one of the best drugstore mascaras I’ve used.

The Beautypedia review nails it really:

What this mascara does do well is distribute itself evenly on hard-to-reach lashes. It also provides noticeable length as well as some curl, and the extra bristles easily sweep through any clumps that might develop from layering.

Liz Hover beauty Winnipeg Canada MAC Extended Play lash mascara

I recently bought MAC’s Extended Play mascara after reading great reviews about it.

My problem with most other mascara’s I own is the brush size: it’s usually too big and I end up poking myself in the eye.

MAC’s Extended Play Lash has a very slim brush perfect for smaller eyes and mediocre lashes because it allows you to get right in there and coat every lash.

I don’t use an eyelash curler (I did, for years, but managed to wean myself of it). I have very straight lashes, so curl or lift from mascara alone is another key benefit I want from my mascara. And, luckily, Extended Play delivers.

I don’t think this mascara is for everyone. If you want loads of volume, you’re not going to get it here. It’s the perfect defining and lengthening mascara.

It’s also, apparently, waterproof but I haven’t tested out that claim.

[UPDATE: I recently rode my bike home from work in a torrential downpour while wearing this mascara and can report this is not 100% waterproof. While it doesn’t drip black streaks down your cheeks like regular mascara does when you add water, it does slide off in little tubes. Don’t wear this and go swimming!]

Since posting about my favourite mascaras, I’ve bought loads of drugstore mascaras (because apparently I have a mascara addiction). And they were all a bit crap really.

MAC’s Extended Play is a total winner and $20 well spent.

Maybelline-Color-Tattoo-MAC-Pro-Longwear-Paint-Pot-L'Oréal-Paris-La-Couleur-Infallible

Above: Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow Eye Makeup; MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Frozen Violet; and L’Oréal Paris La Couleur Infallible in Amber Rush

I have a delicious collection of – mostly – MAC powder eye shadows. No other brand has ever come close to beating the fabulousness that is MAC (though I’m certain that possibility exists).

My favourite has always been Satin Taupe. I’ve repurchased this colour more than any other. I’ve worn it as a shadow and also – more often – as a liner (I’m gross. I used to spit on the brush and mix a bit of Satin Taupe in to create my own liquid liner.)

However, since reaching my 40s my eyelids have started a rebellion against powder eye shadows.

Crêpey. I’ll just leave that word right there.

Fortunately cream (or crème) eye shadows have come to the rescue.

I have a handful of cream eye shadows which I love. I can apply them with my finger, they don’t drop little bits of dust on my cheeks, they don’t make my eyelids crêpey (unless, of course, I over-apply them) and, most importantly perhaps, I don’t have to spit on them to use them.

My top 4 cream eye shadows

  1. Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow in Not Just Nudes (pictured below)
  2. L’Oréal Paris La Couleur Infallible in Amber Rush
  3. MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Frozen Violet
  4. Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Eye Shadow in Bad to the Bronze

Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow in Not Just Nudes

Have you tried any cream eye shadows recently? I’d love to hear your recommendations.

My-makeup-bag

This little bag of tricks goes everywhere with me and contains the stuff I use every day.

Clinique Deep Comfort Hand & Cuticle Cream

Thanks to those crazy Canadian weather conditions my hands literally chap and bleed in the winter. I often use the The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector but I thought I’d try this stuff from Clinique.

I also use canola oil, olive oil and shea butter on my hands.

evo Crop Strutters Construction Cream

This cream is my absolute holy grail hair product and it’s perfect for my super short do. It’s embarrassingly expensive (CA $42) but a little goes a long way. I’ll probably only buy it once, maybe twice, in a year. It gets rid of frizz and has brilliant hold.

Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment

I love Clinique’s Superbalm Lip Treatment which is tasteless and odourless. I also recently picked up MAC’s Lip Conditioner which I don’t like as much because the formula is thinner and wears off quickly.

NYX lipstick in Pure Red

Best. Lipstick. Ever. I’ve written about it in this post.

Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara

On my workout days I use this at home in the morning instead of black mascara. It gives me a tiny bit of definition.

Estée Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara

This is a sample size of my favourite mascara. I’ve yet to invest in the regular size, mostly because it means forking out CA $30. I’ve written more about this and my other favourite mascaras.

Lancôme Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer

Concealer is probably the product I rotate the most. I own about four or five which I regularly switch up depending on my mood. I keep coming back to Lancôme Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer because it’s so smooth and creamy and I can spread it everywhere. As far as me and concealer are concerned, less is definitely more.

MAC and Lancôme face powders

I don’t know why but I carry around two powders. I’m a devoted powder foundation gal (more on that in a future blog post).

MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder

This is a relatively new product for me. I wanted something less cakey than their regular Studio Fix. Apparently it’s been formulated for peeps like me and is more moisturizing than other powders. I really like it. But it definitely has to be applied sparingly.

Lancôme Translucence Face Powder

This is my absolute, all-time favourite face powder. I can’t say enough good things about it. Its only bad point is its price (CA $40). I’ve hit pan on this powder many times. It’s light, fine, wears amazingly well and has good coverage without being cakey.

MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set

I don’t have the thickest brows in the world. Unfortunately I didn’t listen to my mum who – when I was first starting to pluck my brows – told me I’d regret it and to stop immediately. And guess what? She was right. So they need a little help. I’m not a fan of brow pencils (too much work and I’m lazy) and I didn’t think I was a fan of brow mascara (which is essentially what this is) either.

I love this stuff. I use it every day. It grooms, fills and sets brows. AND it’s waterproof.

NYX Powder Blush

I’ve been using the same Estée Lauder blush for years. I spray it with a cosmetic sanitizer but it still doesn’t seem to perform as well as it should. I really should chuck it out. So I recently bought the NYX Powder Blush in Mocha based on a Paula’s Choice review. It’s cheap and looks promising.

OPI Crystal Nail File

A gal’s gotta have a nail file in her artillery. I picked up a box of 10 or something from Winners last year and they’re the best files I’ve used.

What’s in your makeup bag?

For ages I was a total lip gloss gal. It’s easy to apply and doesn’t, generally, look like shit when it wears off.

I have a ton of Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes and am a massive fan of Mac Lip Glass.

About two years ago I got my hair cut super short. Like, boy short. You might call it a pixie cut. Which means all the emphasis is on my face.

I felt washed out in lip gloss so began wearing bright lipstick. Now I’m rarely seen without it.

I bought Maybelline’s Color Sensational Lip Color in Red Revival – a long-lasting blue red (approx. CA $10).

Maybelline Red-Revival

Something happened in my 30s: lipstick started bleeding into the little lines around my mouth but, I discovered, matte lipstick solved this problem. So do lip pencils but that’s a topic for another post.

I turned – once again – to Paula’s Choice (aka the Cosmetics Cop) for advice and bought Maybelline’s Color Sensational Creamy Matte lipstick in Siren in Scarlet (approx. CA $10).

It’s more of an orange red which is a better colour for me.

Siren In Scarlet Maybelline

I do love it but the formula sometimes balls up and feels uncomfortable. And a girl needs more than one lipstick to rely on, right?

I added the following products to my collection. All come highly recommended. All have a matte finish.

Flower-Beauty-Kiss-Stick-Velvet-Lip-Color

Flower Beauty Kiss Stick Velvet Lip Color in Get to the Poinsettia (available only at Walmart, CA $7). This is not the actual colour shown.

By the way, this cosmetics line from Drew Barrymore is one of my favourites. They do some great stuff.

Mac-Russian-Red-lipstick

MAC Lipstick in Russian Red (CA $19).

nyx-soft-matte-lip-cream-amsterdam-smlc-01-3

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam (approx CA $10. Available at Rexall / Pharma Plus in Canada – as far as I can tell – or Target in the US). You can also order directly from their website.

NYX-matte-lipstick-Indie-FlickNYX-matte-lipstick-pure-redNYX Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick (top) and Pure Red (bottom) (approx. CA $10).

Do you have a favourite lippie and what do you like about it?