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

Be Flawless With Cover FX

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Contouring Made Easy With Cover FX’s Contour Kit

My favourite foundation and honestly the only thing I use on my face is Cover FX's cream foundation. Cover FX makes finding your shade easy and comes in a wide range of skin tones. They have three different undertones, P = Pink, N = Neutral and G = Golden, and the number represents the depth of shade; the higher the number the darker the shade. I'm G50 - the golden undertone is great for the yellow undertone in asian skin.

Cover FX's cream foundation has amazing coverage. It blends completely with my skin and hides all my skin imperfections, flawlessly.I use their cream foundation as a concealer to spot treat the areas I want to hide. For example, the dark circles underneath my eyes, my chin, and some acne scars on my nose and cheeks. I only use it all over for special occasions.

I have been using Cover FX for years now. I started using it because the foundation I was using before discovering Cover FX was causing me to break out where I didn't normally break out. A girl from university told me about Cover FX, I tried it and never looked back. Cover FX is dermatologically tested to not clog pores and is free of parabens, fragrances, talc, and a bunch of other stuff. It's ideal for those who have acne prone or sensitive skin. Not to mention it's cruelty free!

Cover FX released a contour kit which is only currently available online for Canada. Bryan went to New York recently and I got him to grab one for me while he was down there (I had to have it, of course!). You can find your contour kit by matching your shade with the range each kit comes in. There are 6 different kits that is based on undertone and depth of skin. For example, I'm G50, so my shade falls in the G medium Deep kit. In each kit you get 4 different shades you can use to highlight and define your facial features. It even comes with an instructional card - ensuring you get it right every time. Some of you may think contouring is time consuming and just added work to your makeup routine. However, often when you put foundation all over, it flattens your face, and washes you out. Contouring reintroduces shades and highlights back to your face, and enhances your features. The kit makes it easy to achieve this.

Above I'm wearing the cream foundation in G50 and have used the contour kit in G Medium Deep - I prefer a more subtle look, but you can chisel out those cheek bones more if need be!)

First impressions, I really like this kit. The consistency is the same as the cream foundation and blends super easily. The colour range I matched my skin tone to was bang on. The darker shades defines the cheek bones without looking muddy. Now, because you're working with a cream foundation, it does take a little longer to blend into the skin than using a press powdered bronzer. Having said that, if done properly, the application is much more even - less likely to be patchy, which bronzers can do. I will probably use this kit when I'm going out or for a special occasion. For me, it's too heavy to wear daily.

How to use: I suggest applying the cream foundation with a damp beauty blender sponge. The sponge helps blend the foundation with your skin effortlessly. You want to use the darker shades just underneath your cheek bones, your temples, underneath your jaw line and blend down the neck. With the lighter shade, you'll want to put it in the centre of your forehead, down the nose bridge, the chin, underneath your brow bone and the area under your eyes. The highlight shade can go on the high points on your cheeks, down your nose, and the brow bone. Set your makeup and mattify your look with a loose translucent powder all over.

Let me know if you've tried Cover FX's Contour Kit and what you think! Show me your looks on Instagram. I'm @kernh. Follow me!

Where you can buy these products I mentioned:

Cover FX Cream Foundation - Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart ($42 CDN)
Cover FX Contour Kit - Sephora ($48 CDN)
Beauty Blender - Sephora ($28 CDN)

The year is slowly drawing to a close! The next post I'll be recapping my favourite beauty products of 2015. So, look forward to that.

Until then,
xoxo, Kern.