Spring Cleaning Makeup Brushes

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Makeup brushes are a breeding ground for dirt, oil and bacteria. It’s recommended you wash your brushes daily. But let’s be honest, nobody has time for that. I spend close to an hour doing my makeup, I’m already late for whatever event I’m supposed to go to, I’m not about to take the time to wash my brushes too. So here’s a more realistic time line.

Liquid Foundation Brushes/Sponges – Daily (Like, actually. It’s gross to put on yesterday’s caked on makeup)

Powder Brushes, Eye-shadow brushes – 2-4 weeks, As long as you don’t have a cut or a popped pimple, powder brushes can be extended a little longer. Helpful tip to keep brushes germ-free, when dusting off excess powder off a brush, DO NOT blow on them, you’re breathing germs onto your brush this way! Tap the barrel of the brush on the back of your hand to remove excess powder. I will also tap off the brush before using it.

Liquid liner/Brow Brushes - <1 week. These tend to get goopy and caked with product, keep these clean so that your eyeliner and brows are always sharp and flawless.

Shopper Drug Mart’s beauty brand, Quo came out with a brush cleaning shampoo and a silicon brush cleaning mat. The shampoo cleans and conditions both natural and synthetic brushes. The argan oil helps nourish the brush hairs and keeps them soft and not bristly. The formulation is perfect for brush cleaning because it doesn’t foam or form a ton of suds, like a traditional shampoo. This makes rinsing the product out easier. The second is a silicon mat with varying raised textured surfaces. This provides a clean area where you can run your brush along to work in the shampoo and get between all the hairs for a deeper clean. The silicon is an easy surface to clean after each use, just rinse under warm water.

You don’t need to buy these things to clean your brushes, of course. Using regular shampoo is just as effective. It is also a good way to get rid of the last bit of shampoo in a bottle. However, shampoos produce a lot of soapsuds, which may make rinsing your brushes more difficult. So dilute the shampoo to reduce suds. And if you don’t want to splurge on the mat then you can simply work the shampoo with your fingers. The mat is just a convenient tool.

Steps For Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes.

Things you’lll need:

Two buckets or tupperware with warm water
Shampoo/brush cleaner
Brush cleaning mat (optional)
Paper towels

Step 1: Fill each bucket with warm water, pour a couple of drops of shampoo in one of the buckets. Making a soapy solution ensures that you don’t just glob on huge amounts of soap onto the brush which wastes the shampoo but also it’ll make it difficult to rinse later when there is a ton of soap.

Step 2: Swirl your brush into the soap mixture, if you have a mat, you can work the soapy water into the brush by swirling the bristles across the mat. You can also work in the soap with your hands. Keep your brush head facing downwards at all times. Try not to get the ferrule wet, this is where the glue holds all of the hairs together, you don’t want to damage or dissolve the glue, causing the brush hairs to fall out.

Step 3: Rinse using the second bucket, swirl the brush in the clean water. You can gently use your fingers to get all the soap out. Pat dry with the paper towel, and let it dry lying flat. Make sure you let the brush hairs dry in its original shape; you don’t want to the brush hairs to be distorted or kinked when it dries. The best way to dry the brushes is actually to let it dry hanging upside down and letting the water drip out. They have brush holders for this purpose, or you can hang them by the handle using large bull clips. If not just let it lie flat, until it’s completely dry.

I find that cleaning the brushes this way prevents the brush hairs from absorbing too much water, and therefore they dry a lot faster. All my brushes were dry in a couple of hours and were ready to use the next day. 

To quickly clean and disinfect on the spot you can use a brush disinfecting spray. I got mine from Sephora. Spray 2-3 pumps onto the bristles and then tap dry on a clean paper towel. I use this normally with things like my eyebrow angle brush. Because I use it everyday, it gets clumped up quickly. I concentrate the spray on the bristles, this helps loosen the caked on brow gel and then clean it off with a cotton pad. You can use this spray to quickly disinfect any brush.

I hope this helps with your brush cleaning needs. It really doesn’t take long. I managed to clean all my brushes in less than 30 minutes. Try it out!

Until next time!
Karen

Konjac Sponge – Changing up your skin routine

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I was in Winners the other day, going through their cosmetics and skin care and sometimes you find that great one-off product. I came across a Konjac sponge and it reminded me how much I enjoyed using them as part of my skin care routine. In short, it’s a biodegradable reusable sponge made of a Japanese plant fiber that gently exfoliates skin, helping slough off dead skin cells. It can be used alone or in conjunction with cleansers to really get that deep clean. This sponge is gentle enough to use daily and after several uses, your skin is softer and refreshed looking.

What is Konjac?

Also known as Konjaku, Devil’s Tongue, Snake Palm and Voodoo Lily, Konjac is a perennial plant that grows in Asia. It has a potato-like corm that grows in the ground and a stalk plant that produces a lily-like flower. The Japanese have used the corm as a food source and as a beauty remedy for many years. The sponge is made up of the vegetable’s plant fiber to create a webbed/meshed sponge and can be infused with skin benefiting properties, such as green tea, for added anti-oxidants and to help with inflammation, clays for added vitamins and minerals, and activated charcoals, to promote the removal of oil and dirt. The Konjac Sponge is 100% natural and biodegradable.

How does it work?

The sponge is made up of soft mesh-like fibers that act as a gentle exfoliator for your face and body. The fibrous sponge sloughs off dry/dead skin cells, and removes some surface dirt and oils, leaving the skin feeling soft and refreshed. It can also help remove non-waterproof makeup, but to get a deeper clean and to ensure all your makeup/dirt and oils are removed, it is best to use it in conjunction with a cleanser.

How do you use it?

When you first get the sponge it will be dried out and hard, run it under warm water to soften it and to make it flexible. You can now massage the sponge onto your skin. Use a separate sponge for your face and body.

You can use it with or without a cleanser. Without a cleanser, the sponge simply scrubs the skin, removing skin cells and some dirt and oils. To get a deeper clean, I always use it with a cleanser. In the mornings, I simply pump on the cleanser, and then massage my face with the sponge, working it in problematic areas, like around my nose, and right now my chin and upper lip, because of dry skin patches. I rinse the sponge under the water and squeeze the sponge to remove excess soap. Then I continue to use the sponge to rinse the rest of my face. At night, I typically remove my makeup first with a face wipe and makeup remover and then in the shower, I will use the sponge and a charcoal cleanser in the same way as my morning routine.

When you are done with the sponge, squeeze out as much water as you can. Don’t “wring” out the sponge like you would a towel however, you’ll just damage the sponge and it’ll have a shorter shelf-life. Store the sponge on a bath rack OR thread a string through it to hang it in the shower. You need to let the sponge dry out in between uses or else mold will grow and that’s just not fun.

How long does the sponge last?

Typically the sponge will last for 2-3 months. Over time the sponge will loose its elasticity. I suggest replacing it within 2-3 months anyway even if it lasts longer, because over time bacteria will build.

Where do you buy them?

Winners ($6CAD) – The brand I picked up was “Spa Sisters”, a Green Tea infused Konjac sponge, a great find. Once again, this may or may not have been a one-off kind of product from Winners, you know how they have a bunch of random things you can find and may never find again. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find one too but I did find their website and linked it for you! 

The Face Shop ($6CAD) – They have both the original Pure Konjac sponge and the Charcoal Konjac sponge. What’s unique about theirs is the teardrop shape. The shape helps get into corners, like around the nose, a lot easier. I have used the charcoal sponge and love it. After the Spa Sisters sponge, I will be repurchase the charcoal sponge.

Boscia at Sephora ($16-20CAD) – Boscia has their pure Konjac sponge, charcoal sponge and hydrating clay sponge. I personally have not tried these before BUT it is made of the same plant fiber as any other Konjac sponge. I want to think you’ll get the same experience with the cheaper alternatives.

If you have any other places where to find this sponge, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

 

Using the sponge with my cleanser instead of working the cleanser with my hands, really has improved my skin. I find my skin feels softer and cleaner – without being dried out. I have a pimple on my chin that has scarred and the sponge has helped scrub off the dead skin cells and promote new skin cell growth. You will need to use the sponge for a couple of days to start seeing the difference but I think it is worth the try. It is a great natural exfoliator that is suitable for all skin types, especially for sensitive skin because it really is gentle.

If you try the Konjac sponge out, let me know in the comments below!

I'll talk to you guys next time,

Karen.

 

U&A’s Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2016

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🎄🎁Hey everyone!

Christmas is just around the corner and I’ve been busy shopping, trying to get it all done early. This time of the year always reminds me of gingerbread cookies, warm knit sweaters and holiday gift sets 😂. In all seriousness, most of your favourite brands come out with sets that bundle their best sellers together or they release limited edition items like eyeshadow palettes. This gives you an opportunity to try new things, or get the makeup you wanted in a kit with extra stuff. It's all enticing and a great way to stretch your dollar a little more, or a way to spend even more money during the holidays. But you know, there is no such thing as too much makeup!

I’ve picked up some great beauty gift sets that I wanted to share with you guys. To those that I will be seeing this holiday, and are reading this, unfortunately some of my gifts will be spoiled for you. But it’s all for the blog! For the rest of you, I hope this list will help you buy for that makeup hoarder in your life. Without further ado, lets show you my Christmas Beauty Gift Guide 2016.

1. Revive Beauty Blender or W.O.W. Mini Beauty Blenders, $6.99ea at Marshalls.
Compared to the $28CAD you'll fork out for the original Beautyblender, this is a steal. I found these dups at Marshalls for only $7. I will most likely do a full review on the two blenders but for a dup, Revive holds up pretty well. It absorbs water similarly to the BeautyBlender, and applies makeup easily and smoothly. The mini sponges will be great for contouring or applying cream shadows.  If you've never used a beautyblender-like sponge before, this is a cheap and cost-effective way to try it! 

2. Smashbox LIGHT IT UP Primer Set, $44CAD at Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Ask anybody and they’ll tell you smashbox makes one the best primers out there. This set is a full sized Photo Finish Foundation Primer with a bonus travel sized Photo Finish Primer Water. It comes in a fun fluorescent box ready for gifting and great to reuse for storing all your other makeup! I love this primer and I know whoever you buy this for will too!

3. Smashbox LIGHT IT UP 3 Palette Set, $55CAD at Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Okay, this is really cool. This set comes with three mini palettes, an eyeshadow palette, contour palette, and a lip palette, all perfect for travelling. The Eyeshadow palette comes with six colours: (L to R) Vanilla, Flamingo, Russet, Totally Nude, Amethyst and Dark Cocoa. The Contour palette has three colours: Contour, Bronze and Highlight, and the lip palette comes with three glossy and three matte lip shades: (L to R) Cognac, Pretty Social, Inspiration, First Time Matte, Jam On It Matte, Bing Matte. This is such a fun set, it comes in the same fluorescent box as the primer set and the palettes matches the box. It has a little bit of everything, perfect for the person you don't quite know what to get.

4. Tarte Colour Wheel Blush and Highlight Palette, $55CAD at Sephora.
I admittedly bought this one for myself a couple months back, but it would be a wonderful gift to receive. This is a beautiful blush/highlight set, it comes with 8 blushes and two highlighters. The top colours are very bright and summery: Mod, Deco, Surreal, Culture, and Idol and the bottom ones are more warm for the winter: Concept, Icon, Montage, Ironic, Crafty and Concept. With a range from dusty rose to bright pinks and corals, this palette will fit with many skin tones. You can even multipurpose this palette and use it as eyeshadow. I like using the highlight colours to brighten the inner corners of my eyes.

5. Lancome Juicy Shaker, $28CAD at Sephora or Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Remember juicy tubes? I must’ve had 20 of them, no word of a lie. This is the new Lancome Juicy shakers that replaced the Juicy tube. They have a nurturing oil layer and a pigment layer, you shake it up to emulsify the layers together and use a spongey applicator to apply it. These are such a fun twist to lip gloss. They’re not overly pigmented, they give that little pop of colour and shine to the lips with out being too sticky or high maintenance. And they're a great stocking stuffer! It comes in 11 shades, I have it in Mangoes Wild. (I'm sorry I did not take an up close picture!)

6. Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette in Mind, $60CAD at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart.
Stila makes wonderful eyeshadows, that are always so pigmented and apply effortlessly. This one isn’t a holiday set and is available regularly throughout the year. This palette is a neutral all matte palette, with some bold pops of colour like the purple shade or the burnt orange. The only thing is, when I first purchased the palette, the shadows were cracked. I went to several Shoppers Drug Marts after to find a replacement and many of them were cracked. I think it has to do with the old packaging. The new packaging is the one I repurchased, which is the same eyeshadow palette but a different exterior, and I feel like this case is a lot sturdier than the old packaging.. here’s to hoping.

7. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black, $29 at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart.
This is also not a holiday item, but it does come in a gift set consisting of three eyeliners. I just wanted the single black waterproof eyeliner. This is by-far my favourite liquid waterproof eyeliner. It’s absolutely the best in my opinion. Just like the colour says, it is such an intense black, and it dries relatively quickly, so there won’t be any chance for transfer on the folds of your eyelids. And when they say this is waterproof, they mean it. Go ahead and bring on the water works, this guy won’t budge. 

8. Quo Roll and Go Brush Set $55CAD at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Beautiful black handles with rose gold ferrules, this set comes with 10 brushes and travel case that will upgrade anybody’s vanity. If you've bought makeup brushes before, you know how expensive they can be, especially buying a whole set like this. Quo makes beautiful synthetic brushes, and this set is no different. The brushes are soft to the touch and have a good weight to them. The handles aren't overly large, or long, making them easy to hold. The bristles are dense which I like so that you can easily pack on eyeshadow or powder. Playing around with them, it doesn't look like they shed the bristles easily. Having said that, I haven't had a chance to use these brushes fully yet, but I use Quo brand brushes everyday for my makeup and I have no complaints. This is a steal for this many brushes, especially if you compare it with a powder brush from their professional line which is already $45.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you found a little inspiration in this blog post for your holiday shopping. I want to say that a gift isn't about its monetary value at the end of the day. I love makeup and I wanted to share all the things I love with the people I love and that's what inspired this beauty gift guide.

Happy Holidays! I'll see you in my next post!

xo, Karen

2016 Advent Calendar DIY

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It's that time of year again, where everyone is hitting the stores looking for the best deals for the holidays. As I'm furiously shopping for others (and let's be honest, for myself..I can't help it), beauty advent calendars are everywhere, from NYX to Benefit Cosmetics. As I drool over them, I noticed they can be quite pricey, and sometimes filled with maybe a couple of items that you want, and some things you definitely don't want. I've been in a crafty mood lately and thought, why not make my own advent calendar that I can personalize for someone. Beauty advent calendars is what spawned the idea to make this, but you can put anything you want in it. This year my boyfriend (Bryan) and I, along with our cat (Zoey), are going to do 12 Days of Christmas. Twelve days leading up to the Christmas, we each get to take turns opening a door and get a "stocking" stuffer gift. We put a price limit per gift of $1-15 and for Zoey, we're gonna fill her doors with treats and handmade catnip toys.

I had a lot of fun making this. Making the doors were the worst part, just because I had to map out each door before I cut them out. The doors will be the most time consuming part, but other than that, it's quite easy to craft this up!

My advent calendar is HUGE, because why not?! By no means do you need to make it this big, use whatever you have at home to make this the most cost-effective calendar. So, if you're in the festive mood and want to learn how to make your own (beauty) advent calendar, keep reading!

Some things you'll need:

Two boxes (Cereal boxes are a good idea)
wrapping paper
glue/tape
x-acto knife/scissors
measuring tape/ruler

1. Start with two boxes. The first you'll make your calendar out of and the other is just for extra cardboard you're going to use/cut up. The box I got from work, and it's 35"Lx24"Wx3.5"D, which is absolutely huge for an advent calendar. Feel free to make this as BIG or as small as you want! I suggest using a cereal box, that will work really well. 2. Wrap the first box however you like, I suggest using a glue stick to glue down the wrapping paper. (I did not do this, I wrapped it and taped it down, and then had to go back a glue down the paper on the doors).

3. Using the extra box, cut out two strips of your LxD and three strips of your WxD. Cut notches out halfway though the strips, three for the LxD and two for the WxD. Make sure the notches are evenly spaced out, as shown above.

4. Slot the strips together, and it should look like a grid, see above picture. This will act as the dividers for your calendar.

5. Before you slide the divider in to the box, just mark out approximately where the divider will be by setting it on top and draw the grid pattern with a pencil. After you've done that you can go ahead and slide the divider into the opening of the box. You can seal the box with some tape.

6. Mark out boxes using the gridlines you drew as a marker to where the boxes should be. I made the boxes smaller than the actual area of the grid, 17"Lx14"W and I did my best to put it right in the setting of each square of the grid. Use an exacto-knife to cut out three edges of the box, leaving the fourth edge, to create doors. You don't need to be perfect, I eye-balled the positioning of all the boxes here. Once you have some doors made, you can adjust the positioning of the grid inside now. Cut some triangles on the length of the open edge of the door for finger holes for easy access.

And there you have it! Label it with some numbers, and decorate it however you'd like! Honestly, I spent all night making this, while watching Gilmore Girl reruns and did not feel like making it super fancy.

I hope you try this out, it's a great way to personalize a gift, especially an advent calendar. And it also puts you in a festive mood leading up to the holidays. I have some great beauty gift ideas, and that post will be coming very soon. I know I haven't posted much, but you're about to get a barrage of holiday posts!

Please share your advent calendars with me, you can tag me on instagram, @kernh, or in the comments below!
Good Luck! Karen

A Closer Look: Setting Powders

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When using a liquid or cream foundation you're going to want to set the foundation with a setting powder to create that flawless, seamless look. Setting powders absorb excess moisture and oils and prevents the makeup from creasing or caking throughout the day. I find that setting powders are great for normal to oily skin. If your skin is very dry, adding a setting powder over your foundation may dry out your skin further. For those with very dry skin, skip this step and go for a liquid to powder foundation.

Setting powders come in a pressed compact or as a loose powder. Normally they are white in colour and go on transparent or they can be slightly tinted to a flesh tone. Either way, a good setting powder will be fine enough and soft enough to be absorbed into your skin and fill in the pores, giving a smooth look with no residual powder left over. I've tried a few setting powders and at some point you start to think that they are all the same. And that got me thinking, are they the same? What goes into these products? I did some research, I looked at my most commonly purchased products, shown below, and quickly broke down the main ingredients in all of them. You'll see that many of these ingredients are common to most of them.

Clockwise from the top:

Make Up Forever Super Matte Loose Powder Ingredients: Talc, Silica, Nylon-12, Silk Powder, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Dehydroacetic Acid. May Contain: Iron Oxides, Mica, Red 27 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 10 Lake, Red 7 Lake, Red 21 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Ultramarines, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 6, Manganese Violet, Chromium Oxide Greens, Chromium Hydroxide Green, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Slica, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide.

Joe Fresh Translucent Loose Powder Ingredients: Talc, Silica, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder Ingredients: Silica 

Tarte Smooth Operator Ingredients: Amazonian Clay, Silica, Talc, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Kaolin.

Silica or Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), a natural mineral found in sand, clay and granite. It's very versatile in the makeup world, typically used to bulk up products. It is also anticaking, prevents products from clumping and it's very good at absorbing oils and moisture.

Talc or Talcum Powder (Magnesium Silicate), is used to absorb moisture, a bulking agent, and anticaking. Talc has become controversial over the years because in its natural form, talc is known to contain asbestos - a carcinogen. So when talcum powder is processed, they are manufactured "asbestos-free" for things like cosmetic use, but there is always that risk. Actually, a few years ago, CoverFX reformulated their products and completely eliminated talc from their entire line, replacing it with Mica. However, you still see talc in many cosmetic products today.

Mica or Sheet Silicates - Micas are a group of silicates that are physically and chemically similar, forming sheet layers. It is used as colour additives in makeup, and has reflective properties to give that shimmering effect in mineral foundation. It is also used as a bulking agent and is also good at absorbing moisture and oils. Working with mica poses a high risk of exposure through inhalation. I should mention that inhaling any fine particle poses a risk to your respiratory health.

Amazonian Clay or Aluminum Silicate. An ingredient used in all of Tarte cosmetics. Amazonian clay is collected from the banks of the river basin in the Amazon. The clay is collected through a selective process to maintain and preserve the environment and its natural resources. The clay is dried and then shaved into a fine powder which is directly used to bulk up Tarte cosmetics. Like the other silicates, it absorbs moisture and oil to mattify the skin, but this source of clay contains many natural nutrients that also promises to nourish and help improve the overall quality of skin.

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), a natural mineral used as a colouring agent, a whitener/lightener, and also used as a UV blocker. This is a very common ingredient in sunscreen or sunblock. Titanium Dioxide is normally coated in silica and alumina what in sunscreen because they can be absorbed into the skin, which can then photo catalyze the production of free radicals (highly reactive compounds) that damage DNA (which then defeats the purpose of a UV blocker).

Phenoxyethanol - a preservative to minimize bacterial growth in cosmetics. Also a stabilizer in soaps and perfumes. May cause an allergic reaction, from eczema to hives.

Overall, each of the products mentioned perform similarly, they absorb oils, mattifies the skin, and gives your face that smoothed over look. However, I'm going to have to single out NYX's setting powder, I am not a fan. This is purely silica, and doesn't blend or absorb into the skin as well as the others and it leaves a white cast on my light-medium skin tone.  I can only assume that the powder is not as soft, and being harsher, it doesn't melt into the skin as well or as quickly. If you want a drug store brand, I by far prefer Joe Fresh's setting powder. Last thing, if talc is a concern for you, try CoverFX's setting powder, which I have also used, but isn't pictured.

I hope this was informative for you guys. I wanted to learn more about what goes into a product and therefore, I am sharing with you what I learnt. All the ingredients can be found on the Sephora website or on the packaging of your product. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them in the comments below.

For more information, I will link my sources below in order as the information appears:
https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/silica
http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/talc/
http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/mica/
http://tartecosmetics.com/page/amazonian-clay
https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/titanium-dioxide
http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/phenoxyethanol/

Until next time!
xo,
Karen

Brow Tinting

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Brow tinting is essentially dying your eyebrows to darken the colour. It isn't a new thing but I've just been introduced to it thanks to my Instagram feed (follow me @kernh, shameless detour). I have pretty light eyebrows, typical for an asian, so I was completely intrigued. I found a place in the heart of downtown Toronto, Mync Beauty. They do brow tinting, and numerous other beauty services . Mync Beauty has three locations, I went to the one on Queen St. West. I didn't do very much research on the place, which is unusual for me, but it received a lot of positive press, from the Marilyn Denis to Hello! Canada. I was pretty excited to try it out, so I went in head first and told myself I'll worry about the consequences after! (that's a terrible philosophy to live by..)

Having said that, I was super worried that it was going to turn out terribly. I invited my friend Tiffany, who was brave enough to come and try brow tinting with me. It didn't help me that Tiffany kept joking about potentially coming out with sharpie eyebrows! Although, we'd look hilarious, it's not quite the look I wanted.

Thankfully, we had a wonderful aesthetician, Ashley, who reassured me that wouldn't happen. The process is gradual, and the depth of the colour is built over several applications of the brow dye. Ashley chose a colour that would match our hair colour and started by removing any brow product and applied a layer of dye on the brows. The dye is a gel concentrated with the brow pigment - similar to regular hair dye, but I assume less harsh since it's going on your face, which is thinner and more sensitive that the rest of your skin. The gel is only on for about a minute and is then removed. The colour shows pretty much instantly, and if you want the brows to be darker, another layer is applied. I did it three times, and Ashley concentrated the colour towards the ends of my brows where it's the lightest, and where I wanted to really show. After that, I had also requested to do their "highbrow" service, where they clean up your brows and shape them if needed. For me, I asked for the stray hairs to be cleaned up and a have them trimmed. I have never had anyone do my eyebrows before, I was a bit skeptical, but she did a great job, and I like the way she tweezed my brows. Below are the progress photos:

What my brows looks like before and not filled in.

Brow gel on!

Marking out where to tweeze (outside the lines)!

The next day - what my brows look like after three applications of brow dye, and tweezing. Even though my hairs are sparse, I can see the difference in the ends of my brows.

My brows fully filled in by me!

My brows are quite sparse to begin with, so I wasn't expecting them to be thick and dark afterwards (although if there is a process for that, sign me up! Let's be clear, not sharpie eyebrows). But even so, my brows are darker and a lot more defined. Tiffany's brows came out especially well! She has fuller brows than I do, so the brow product took to her hairs better, and really became more defined. She really didn't have to fill them in afterwards either!

The dye lasts for a couple of weeks depending on your skin care routine, for example, how often your cleanse or exfoliate. For me, I don't think the colour will last more than two weeks, considering I do have an extensive skin care routine, which I've posted about before.

The Brow Tinting is $20, and the Highbrow is an extra $16 if done together, it's $23 alone, but if it's your birthday month, like it is mine, then Highbrow is free.

All and all I had a good time! Thank you to Mync Beauty for taking care of Tiffany and I. If you want to learn more about Mync Beauty, please visit their website, here.

If you've done brow tinting before, I'd like to know about your experience! Or if you have any more questions about it, please ask below.

Until next time,
xo, Karen

Katy Perry x Covergirl Part 2

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Last time I told you guys all about Katy Perry's Demi Matte lipsticks, which I absolutely love. Walmart has the whole collection currently, so I finally found "Perry Panther", her black lipstick and I also picked up her Kate Kat Eye waterproof mascara. So I thought I'd give you a little update on those!

The black lipstick, adorably named Perry Panther, is definitely a different look for me but I've received a lot of compliments. The first coat I put on is sheer, but the colour is buildable to give you that solid black lip. You will need a lipliner for this colour because it is so dark, it easily bleeds and will smear. I don't suggest grabbing your pencil black eyeliners. They may be safe for your skin, but not on your lips, because it can be potentially toxic if ingested. If you can't find a black lipliner, a nude colour close to you lip colour should do or a concealer pencil that you can line just outside the lips to create a lipstick barrier.

Katy Perry has branched out to mascaras and recently released the Katy Kat Eye mascaras to give you the perfect cat eye look. I picked up the very black waterproof one but there is a blue mascara if you're adventurous! So I don't know if it's a mistake on the packaging but the brush on it looks like a full bristled brush that tapers to a point, but actually the brush looks like a spiral (see above). I tried to capture the brush as accurately as possible. Either way it doesn't bother me, the brush works fine. Other than that the product is true to the packaging. It is very black and very waterproof. The mascara definitely lengthens my shorter asian lashes and really adds volume to them (see below for before and after). It looks especially good with eyeliner. And it holds my lash curl all day!

I put on only a few coats of the mascara. You can definitely keep layering to get that desired length and build.

Some things to note, the product goes on heavy on the brush when you use it for the first time and clumps up. I suspect because it is a new mascara and the product is very 'wet'. I remove some of the excess product using the mouth of the mascara tube to scrap it off. This helps reveal more of the actual bristles and prevents clumping when applying the mascara on.

Overall, I like the product. I wore it all day yesterday in that Toronto humidity and rain and I didn't have "raccoon" eyes at the end of it. I hope she releases a line of eye shadows next =].

So I hope this was helpful. If you want to read more about the Kate Kat Matte lipsticks, please read my previous post which you can find here.

Let me know if you've tried any of these products and leave me a comment below!

Until next time,
xo, Karen

Katy Perry x Covergirl

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Trial and Error III: Katy Kat Matte Lipsticks

Covergirl teamed up with their spokeswoman, Katy Perry, to release 11 demi-matte lipsticks, the 'Katy Kat Matte' Lipsticks. They're velvety soft lipsticks that go on with minimal fuss and has a semi-shine finish with the non-sticky feel of a full matte lipstick. The formula is creamy enough that it doesn't dry out the lips but matte enough that it doesn't feather or blur around the edges of your lips. I still recommend a lipliner for longer lasting colour, especially for the darker shades, because it will transfer and fade while eating, drinking, etc.

All the colours are beautiful and have punny cat names because of Katy Perry's love for cats. I tried so hard to get my cat to take photos with me for this post, but she would have none of it! The colours I bought were, Kitty Purry - a dusty pink rose (with my tan, it looks baby pink on), Cosmokitty - a light lavender purple with blue undertones, Maroon Meow - a dark maroon and Catoure - a dusty reddish nude (yes, I think this best captures it). I genuinely love all the colours I chose, even Cosmokitty, it's very different from your typical pinks and reds, I don't know where I'm going to wear it but I love it! My favourite, and most used has to be Catoure. It's a great nude shade that just elevates your natural lip colour. It's so pretty and would look good on every skin tone. If I could buy them all, I would! The one I wanted that I can't seem to find is Perry Panther - a black shade.

Overall, these were a great buy! A drugstore lipstick that feels great on the lips and has full colour payoff, yes please! If you get a chance and see these at Shoppers Drug Mart ($8 on sale) or Rexall ($12-13), pick one up!

To see more go to, Covergirl.ca

Thank you for reading!
Until next time,
xo, Karen.

Trial and Error II

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Revlon – Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor

Revlon just released their Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor, a lightweight, 100% wax free, velvety liquid to matte lipstick. Revlon released 8 bold shades and I picked myself up the colour 'HD Addiction'.

This isn't your typical liquid to matte lipstick. The Ultra HD lipsticks go on light and feel very soft on the lips. It has a creamy semi-matte finish - so it doesn't dry completely matte, and even after a couple of hours it maintains its creamy texture. This means it isn't drying on your lips like matte lipsticks normally are. I find these lipsticks aren't super long-lasting, the colour will transfer easily while eating drinking etc, but less so than your standard lipstick.

The lipstick is very easy to apply with its flat doe foot applicator. These are my favourite kind because you can use the flat side to spread the product over your lips evenly, and the tip of the brush to line and create a precise edge around the lip. I find this style of applicator very easy to get a defined lip without having to use a lip liner.

 

The colour I picked up, HD addiction, is gorgeous. It's a bold - I'm going to say - 'hot magenta'. The colour has blue undertones, which I find more flattering against my yellow skin tone. This lipstick is highly pigmented and has amazing colour payoff. And I have to mention, these lipsticks smell delicious! They smell like watermelon bubblegum - yep, that's how I'm going to describe it. I'm not normally one for scented things - they give me a headache easily, but this scent is pretty pleasant (I mean, come on, watermelon bubblegum!) and you can't smell it after you apply it.

Revlon's Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor is reminiscent of the higher end Anastasia Beverley Hills liquid lipsticks. I think they have the same colour pay off and the texture is pretty much identical, only down side is the smaller range of colours. I think it's a great dup for them, without the hefty price.

Some final thoughts, when I purchased this product, I was expecting a long-wearing matte lipstick, but I'm disappointed that the lipstick isn't completely matte. When a product says matte, I expect it to be matte, this was definitely more of a semi-matte finish, unless you were to blot it with a tissue to mattify the colour. I do love the bold colour, I wanted a colour that is very unlike me, and this hot magenta is very pretty. If you want a semi-matte lipstick that isn't heavy or drying with bold colours, this is still a great lipstick.

You can find these at your local drug store, Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall, and Walmart. I actually forget how much these were, but I don't think they were more than $12.

I hope you found this helpful, until next time,
xo Karen

NYX Face Awards 2016

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Hey Guys!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to enter the NYX Face Awards contest, where you enter a video of yourself doing a makeup tutorial - spoiler alert: I did not make the Top 30. I didn't expect to make it to the next round. I wanted to, don't get me wrong but I knew with thousands of applicants, and such amazing talent out there, I wasn't going to cut it. I want to think I did it anyway to break out of my comfort zone and really test the waters of my capabilities. I'm actually very proud of the way my video turned out. This was the first time I had ever filmed myself, and edited a video. I had taught myself the whole process in less than a week. I'm surprised I even managed it. There were some obstacles, of course. For example, having to borrow a camera - twice, and then downloading a video editing program - which also meant I had to update my OS in order to run the program, and as well things like whether or not I'd have the time to finish filming/editing. There are many things I need to work on, but all those things will come with time and more experience with making videos. Regardless of the flaws you might find, I learnt a lot during this process and I'm happy I did it.

Now a part of the contest rules was to not show other products besides NYX/the sponsor products. But I did want to share with you guys the products I used, so I'm listing them here. Many of these things I use daily and absolutely love!

Face:
Primer - NYX Pore Filler
Foundation - CoverFX Cream Foundation in G50
Translucent Powder - Make Up Forever Super Matte Loose Powder
Bronzer - Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Natural
Blush - Milani Baked Blush in Berry Amore

Eyebrows:
Brow Pomade - Tarte Brow Mousse in Rich Brown (Great colour for those with black hair but shines brown in the sun, asian/oriental hair I guess?)

Eyes:
Eyeshadow Primer: Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer
Eyeshadows: Limecrime Venus the Grunge Palette: Creation (dark orange)/Muse(brick red) and Tarte's Holiday Collection 2015 (not shown): Peach On Earth
Liquid Black Liner - Covergirl Full Lash Bloom Mascara (I actually like the Lash Blast Volume better - the orange tube)

Lips:
Lipstick - NYX Lingerie Liquid Lipstick in Exotic (not shown)

(FYI - All the links will lead you to their respective brand websites. You can find all these products at your drugstore, Shoppers Drug Mart actually carries many of these brands, or Sephora. Lime crime products are only available online)

As daunting as it is to be completely makeup-less on camera for all the internet to see, here is my first ever makeup tutorial, I hope you enjoy it! Let me know in the comments what you think.

xo, Karen

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