December 10, 2013

12 Days of Beauty Giveaway!

If you follow me on Instagream, you may have seen a few pictures tagged with #12daysofbeauty. The items in those pictures were generously provided by the lovely folks over at Cover Girl, Olay, Crest, Pantene, Herbal Essences, and Vidal Sassoon - and this is your chance to win them! :P

All the items featured in the picture below will be included in the prize pack:

  • COVERGIRL Flamed Out Shadow Pencil 
  • COVERGIRL Nail Gloss 
  •  COVERGIRL Clump Crusher mascara 
  •  Pantene Expert Collection Keratin Repair 60-second therapy Ampoule 
  •  Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Moisture Whip
  • Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Tousling Hairspray
  • Olay Total Effects Line & Dark Circle Minimizing Brush
  • Olay Silk Whimsy Body Lotion 
  • Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Boost & Lift Hairspray
  • Clairol free product coupon 
  • Satin Care Shave Gel with a Touch of Olay and Venus & Olay Sugarberry Razor Cartridge– 
  • Crest 3D White Holiday Smile Survival Kit 

  • The rules:

    - Must be 18 or have parental permission.
    - Must be a Canadian resident, as the prize is being sent directly from the brands here in Canada.
    - Leave a comment here if you wish, but you need to include an email address where I can reach you.
    - Otherwise, email me at, with "12 days of beauty" as your subject line, and your full name and address included in the body of the email.

    The giveaway is open from now until Saturday, December 14th at 6pm EST. I will contact the winner via email. If I don't receive a response from the winner by Sunday, December 15th at 6pm EST, I will choose another winner.

    And in case you don't follow me on Instagram (and why not?? who doesn't love makeup hauls, wine and cute dogs?), here are the pics you may have missed:

    (Disclosure: I am a #BeautyUnited blogger. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events. The opinions on this blog are my own.)

    December 05, 2013

    Shu Uemura - New Generation Eyelash S Curler, Tokyo Lash Mascara and Tsuya Youth Infusing Eye Concentrate

    Shu Uemura just came out with a new eyelash curler, the New Generation Eyelash S Curler - and this little guy is AWESOME, especially if you a) have smaller eyes, b) only need to curl a portion of your lashes, or c) are curling someone else's eyelashes.

    Shu Uemura - New Generation Eyelash S Curler, Tokyo Lash Mascara and Tsuya Youth Infusing Eye Concentrate

    The New Generation Curler is about half the width of a regular curler, and has an innovative design. Instead of fitting your lashes through the open portion of a regular curler, and applying pressure with your eyes open (and trying not to panic that you've somehow squeezed your lid or eyeball at the same time), you curl your lashes with your eyes closed. The white pad at the top rests on your closed lid, so that when you clamp down you know you are only doing so on your lashes. I do find it takes a bit of practice, as you have to retrain yourself to curl with one eye closed.

    If you're a makeup artist, this is an extremely handy tool to have in your kit, for those clients who are wary about metal implements coming at their eyes.

    The narrow design is also fantastic for small eyes and short lashes, which may otherwise have trouble fitting into the average eyelash curler. Since you are covering less lash with each clamp, the downside is it does take a bit longer to curl your full fringe.

    Shu Uemura - New Generation Eyelash S Curler, Tokyo Lash Mascara and Tsuya Youth Infusing Eye Concentrate

    And doesn't it kinda look like a wee little Aliens baby?


    No? Just me?

    A well. It's a darn cute little chest-buster.

    Shu Uemura also has a few other new things in their catalogue: the Tsuya Infusing Eye Concentrate and the Tokyo Lash Mascara.

    Shu Uemura - New Generation Eyelash S Curler, Tokyo Lash Mascara and Tsuya Youth Infusing Eye Concentrate

    The Tsuya Infusing Eye Concentrate contains various anti-aging ingredients to combat drooping and darkness  - what Shu calls "small eye syndrome" - but is also supposed to provide an optical lifting effect and act in some ways like a primer for eyeshadow payoff. I don't know about this "small eye" business, but I did see a smoothing and tightening of the skin directly under my eyes and over my eyelid. Not to the point of fooling anyone into thinking I had an eye-lift, but enough to give me a little cover for the four hours of sleep I've been averaging lately. I appreciate that this is an eye treatment that you can apply directly to the eyelid, since the majority are too greasy to use there.

    As an eye primer, I can't say it compares to something like the Nars or Urban Decay primers, but it does help eyeshadow adhere better than it does to a bare eyelid, and it also worked well to minimize texture under concealer. I think if you are more interested in the skincare benefits but appreciate the benefit of smoother canvas for your eyeshadows, then this might answer your needs. At 70$, you would certainly be paying for the double-duty.

    Shu Uemura - New Generation Eyelash S Curler, Tokyo Lash Mascara and Tsuya Youth Infusing Eye Concentrate

    Tokyo Lash Mascara is a very, very black mascara. It has an almost matte finish, so it absorbs all the light and looks incredibly sooty. The effect can be quite dramatic. It has a malleable texture, so my lashes remained soft and pliable to the touch, yet they held a curl beautifully. It reminds me in some ways of the MUFE Smoky Lash.

    The brush has criss-cross bristles that catch lashes, and tapers down slightly to get those smaller lashes at the inner corner. The bristles are spaced far enough apart that you can build volume easily, especially if you have sparser lashes. Mine are wispy, which means that a mascara like this tends to clump on me, especially if I use my usual "wiggle" application. I had a cleaner application if I just brushed the wand through without moving it horizontally through my lashes. With one coat, I had good length and volume, and great curl. With multiple coats, the volume is intense, but you do risk clumping if you share my lash type.

    The Tokyo Lash also lasted really well on me, with no smudging or flaking throughout the day.

    Shu Uemura - New Generation Eyelash S Curler, Tokyo Lash Mascara and Tsuya Youth Infusing Eye Concentrate
    One coat on the left eye.
    Availability: All items currently available from, as well as select Sephora locations. New Generation Eyelash S Curler is 27$ CAD, Tsuya Eye Concentrate is 70$ CAD, Tokyo Lash Mascara is 29$ CAD. (Btw - they are currently offering 15% off with code CYBERSHU.)

    Pros: Curler answers the needs of the dainty-eyed and implement-wary. Eye Concentrate has a smoothing and brightening effect, a mild primer qualities. Mascara gives extra-dark, full, curl-friendly lashes with a soft-texture finish and intense fullness when applied generously.

    Con: Lashes can take a bit longer to curl. Eye concentrate is pricy for relatively moderate results. Mascara can look clumpy on finer lashes when not brushed through vertically.

    Have you guys tried any of these? What do you think of the funky new curler?

    (These items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. Contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.)

    December 01, 2013

    Philosophy Time in a Bottle

    Skincare products are the hardest thing to review. More so than cosmetics, which have immediate and visible measurables (texture, pigmentation, longevity), skincare really needs to be used for several weeks to gauge any kind of effect. And then you can't really be 100% sure that any changes you've noticed are due to the product, the interaction of that product with another one, or a variety of lifestyle or environmental changes.

    That said, I'll do my best for Philosophy's Time in a Bottle, because I think for the right skin type, it's pretty extraordinary.

    According to Philosophy, Time in a Bottle promises to "defy the appearance of all major signs of aging" by "helping to promote skin's natural renewal and protections processes".

    It is indeed loaded with a LOT of antioxidants and skin-benefiting extracts, and has mix-when-you're-ready format for integrating the high potency vitamin C (the little pink jar in the photo below). The later helps to preserve the vitamin C's integrity, and effectiveness.

    Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethylsilane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-8, Butylene Glycol, Polyethylene, Glycerin, Dimethiconol, Methoxy Peg-18, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Coffee Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Pongamia Pinnata Seed Extract, Angelica Archangelica Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Plankton Extract, Ptfe, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Tocopherol, Polysorbate 60, Lecithin, Sclerotium Gum, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Retinyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Micrococcus Lysate, Bacillus Ferment, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Maltodextrin, Trisodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Disodium Edta, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Sorbic Acid, Adenosine, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Parfum/Fragrance, 1,2-Hexanediol, Silica, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Alcohol, Acetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Bht, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

    Kind of overwhelming to look at, but the fact that the extracts and antioxidants are right up there as opposed to the end of the list is a good indicator that they're not token amounts, good for nothing but label appeal.

    A couple of the more interesting ones I found while googling the ingredients:

    Coffee Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract - helps to smooth and tighten the skin, and protect against photo-aging. (Link to survey of studies.)

    Bifida Ferment Lysate - has been shown to reduce skin sensitivity. (Link to study.)

    Pongamia Pinnata Seed Extract - has been shown to reduce inflammation. (Link to study.)

    Squalane has a pretty established skincare record as a great lubricant and moisturizer, as does glycerine as a humectant. This formulation also contains alcohol - and a lot of it, as it is a primary ingredient. While this does give the serum a very lightweight feel and is a good carrier for the extracts and other ingredients, it can exacerbate dry skin, or provoke an overcompensation of oil production.

    Despite the alcohol content, I am extremely fond of this product for the effect it has on my skin, and the loads of positive comments I have received about how nice my skin looks on days that I've used it.

    I think in terms of creating a smoother, firmer, more radiant-looking skin, Time in a Bottle wins across all categories. The effects were marginally visible after one use, and more so with every use until the difference was obvious at one week. My skin looked more taut, the grain appeared finer, and my pores looked diminished. I also had a definite glow that wasn't shiny or shimmery.

    As nice as the effects were, they were magnified dramatically when I applied makeup. I don't know if it altered the way my foundation sat on my skin, but something about it also provides an excellent priming function. The effect was most pronounced with my Lancome Teint Visionnaire (which has skincare benefits as well), but it made all of my foundations look smoother, more radiant, more skin-like, and with near invisible pores. Friends, family, even random makeup counter SAs stopped to tell me how lovely my skin looked.

    All that to say - this is almost my new best friend. However, I do find that I have to take occasional breaks from it, or else reserve it for days when I need my skin to look outrageously good. When I used it for four weeks straight, I found that my skin started to get more distinctly combination - oilier in my oily areas, more dry in my dry areas. Not dramatically so, but enough that I noticed. It's worth mentioning that this is also the time of the year when heating and dry air can wreak havoc with my complexion, so it's difficult to parse out how much the alcohol component is responsible.

    As of right now, I'm using it part of the time, and almost like a primer for it's skin-smoothing and tightening properties. (Though I still layer a moisturizer over it in my dry areas.) It might not be true love, but it's pretty darn close!

    Availability: At Sephora stores and online, as well as Price is 74$ CAD and USD.

    Have any of you tried Time in a Bottle? Has it been a skin saviour for you?

    (This item was provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. Contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.)