Review: Akar Skin Balance Toning Mist

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What It Is: Toner

What It Does: Helps tone and balance skin.

Active Ingredients: Rose, Neroli, Saffron, and White Willow Bark

Verdict: If you’re one of those people who has always avoided toners because you’re afraid of alcohol stripping you away of essential skin oils, then throw away all your fears with this toner! This toner isn’t alcohol-based, but rather it uses soothing floral waters to hydrate AND keeps oily skin under control. I’m a bit picky when it comes to toners, they need to feel as though they’re getting rid of any dirt or grime there might be, but at the same time, I don’t wish my skin to feel like it’s dangerous to be near a match cause of the high alcohol content. I recommend this toner if you’ve got normal to combination skin. The only downside to this toner? Its hefty price. If you can splurge, the toner is worth it. If you can’t, then Pixi has more economical options.

Price: $55

Where To Buy It: www.akarskin.com

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Review: Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack

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What It Is: A deeply cleansing and detoxifying mask to help manage excess oil.

What It Does: Detoxifies oily skin.

Why It’s Special:

-Creamy, White Kaolin Clay gently cleanses, while vitamin-rich leafy greens and superfruit antioxidants nourish the skin.

-Minimizes the appearance of pores, so skin looks balanced with a velvety, clean matte finish.

-Draws out excess oil and impurities, particularly good for oily or combination skin types.

Good To Know: Allergy tested, dermatologist tested, appropriate for all skin types, appropriate for sensitive skin, fragrance-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.

Verdict: Glossier are best known for their skincare products, since their company motto is: Skin first, makeup second, and because of that I may have expected much more by their face mask. I don’t think the face mask is bad per se, but since it’s supposed to be clarifying, I was hoping that the clay at some point would’ve hardened more than it did and extracted some gunk as past clarifying masks have done (notably the Tony Moly one). I suppose since I have highly oily skin, I wanted a face mask that could temporarily dry out the oil. However, this face mask seems to be designed to clarify and moisturize. What that means is that when the clay dries down, it never makes your skin feel tight and when you wash it off, your skin feels silky smooth. So for that respect, the face mask works well, especially if you have sensitive skin. However, since my skin is very oily I was hoping for something that would leave my skin feeling a little dried out and clean. I recommend this if you have sensitive skin but need a clarifying mask. If like me, you’re on the oilier side, I’d recommend you invest in a charcoal face mask instead, as that will do the trick.

Price: $22

Where To Buy It: www.glossier.com

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Review: Dr. Botanicals Lemon Superfood All-In-One Rescue Butter

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What It Is: Balm cream

What It Does: Hydrates

Active Ingredients: Vitamin A, Coconut Oil, Lemongrass Oil, and antioxidants

Verdict: Since we’re living during a pandemic, I’ve had to up the number of times I wash my hands (let’s just say that I now understand why OCD people feel so anxious). But all this handwashing has caused me to get hand eczema (a very unsightly and painful issue). This butter is meant to be used all over the body, and under normal conditions, I probably would’ve considered using it as a face moisturizer. But these are unprecedented times, so I decided to use this all-in-one rescue butter for my hands (because of its Vitamin A qualities). Let’s just say that this butter has been a lifesaver. In a matter of TWO DAYS, my hand eczema disappeared and I was left with beautiful pre-pandemic hands. This butter is so rich that a dime-size is all you really need for hours of hydration (or up until you have to wash your hands, yet again). Apart from this butter being a miracle-worker, it also serves as a mini-aromatherapy session as it has a light lemon scent that helps ease any feelings of anxiety you might be feeling (and honestly who isn’t anxious right about now?). I love this product SO MUCH that I’m willing to purchase it when I run out (I received this in an Allure Beauty Box). I completely recommend this butter for all of your skincare needs, you won’t be disappointed.

Price: $14.90

Where To Buy It: https://us.drbotanicals.com/

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Review: Curology The Cleanser

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What It Is: A lightweight cleanser

What It Does: Cleanses skin without stripping it of its essential oils

Verdict: I’ve seen this brand being advertised both on Facebook and Instagram. They promise to take your skin concerns and tailor them into a skin routine that is made to target and solve your problems. I received this in a current Allure Beauty Box, and since they know what skin type I have (combination, oily) I figure that they probably sent me a cleanser that would target my skin issues.

As far as cleanser goes, I love that it doesn’t have any strange scents. It’s actually scentless, which I prefer. It also is a lightweight gel consistency, which is also one of my favourite textures for cleansers. I’m not a huge fan of the foam ones or ones that are too thick or runny.

I love that it gets rid of oiliness or residual makeup without drying out your skin. In fact, it leaves your skin feeling hydrated and soft. As a cleanser, I am happy with the way this one made my skin feel and may look into purchasing their custom skincare in the future.

Price: $19.95 and up for a set that includes the cleanser, a custom treatment cream, and moisturizer

Where To Buy It: curology.com/allure

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Review: Kneipp Mineral Bath Salt in Dream Away

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I always prefer a bath over a shower. However, being always on the run in the mornings I can’t really indulge in a luxurious bath. So, I often make it a staple for my Sunday nights. I love using bath salts cause they smell amazing, make my skin feel exfoliated and soft, and they just really relax me. When Allure’s Beauty Box for October included these bath salts from Kneipp, I was intrigued.

What It Is: Bath Salts

Active Ingredients: Valerian & Hops, Essential Oils

A little bit about the product: The high content of pure and natural thermal spring salt is obtained from pure natural brine in Europe’s only remaining open pan salt works, the Saline Luisenhall. The brine is free of chemical additives and environmental influences and contains natural trace elements.

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting the water to become an electric blue once I popped these salts in, however, the child in me kinda really loved that added perk. I liked to sit back and imagine that I was a mermaid chilling in some extra blue waters. The salts felt extra soothing, and the scent was also relaxing. Valerian root is known to aid with sleep, so I can see why this was used as a means to coax you into a night of better sleep. Luckily, I took a bath at night, so that I wasn’t expected to be uber perky after basking in this pond of chill for twenty minutes. I recommend these bath salts if you’re looking for a way to relax and also feel very glam about it too.

Price: $20

Where To Buy It: www.kneipp.com

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Review: Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial

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Born of a Greek homeopathic pharmacy more than 20 years ago, the brand’s philosophy is rooted in the use of natural ingredients of the highest quality, skin and environmentally friendly products with clinically tested efficacy, and the products that can inspire and make us and our customers happy.”*

I’m hugely obsessed with face masks, but I’m even a bigger fan of sleep masks. Why? Because there’s no wait time with sleep masks. You can simply slather on the sleep mask and hit the sack and wake up to gorgeous skin (who wouldn’t want that?). This particular mask is guaranteed to make your skin look extra glowy no matter how much of a night owl you are (like me).

What It Is: Sleep Mask

What It Does: Guaranteed to make your skin, softer, smoother, and more radiant.

Active Ingredients: Wild Rose oil, Vitamin C, and Hyaluronic Acid.

Verdict: This mask is amazingly weightless. It’s like having a scrumptious souffle at the tip of your fingers, as the cream instantly dissolves into your skin. This mask has intense hydration and the Vitamin C helps to brighten your skin. This is the best mask for anyone out there who’s on the lazy side (like me) because it does all the work for you while you sleep! Even after the first application, you wake up to visibly brighter, smoother, skin! It’s a true godsend for anyone who has problematic skin or just needs an extra boost. I highly recommend it.

Price: $48

Where To Buy It: https://www.korresusa.com/

*Italicized blurb from website.

By: Azzurra Nox

Colourpop Haul & Review!

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For months I’ve been hearing such amazing things from this brand. From beauty gurus on youtube to Allure magazine, everyone has been raving about this brand. So of course I decided to take the plunge and try it out myself to see what the hype is all about.

I received 12 items in all, plus an eyeliner add-on because of the delay in shipping. I thought that was really nice of them, so kudos Colour Pop!

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No Filter Concealer in Fair 5

I was truly hoping for a miracle with this concealer because everyone raved (especially Allure) how amazing it is at masking undereye circles and blemishes. Maybe my hopes were too high for this, but I didn’t think this was an absolutely amazing concealer. The colour match was perfect, I’ll admit that, but the consistency of the product made for a somewhat stranger and cakey effect that I only managed to fix by applying another concealer (the Wet N’ Wild one) on top and blending the excess away with a beauty blender. Maybe paired with another concealer this does its job, but alone it’s not that great. Although, I must admit that the results on camera look amazing (but in person up-close you can see where it creases).

Peachy Keen Super Shock Shadows in Crimper, Kennedy, Cornelious, and Bandit

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Palette Pressed Powder in Outta Luck, Say I Do, Issues, and The News

Again, I’ve heard amazing things about their shadows and have been on the lookout for the best peach toned shadows, alas, while these shadows DO pack a lot of colour, both the Super Shock Shadows and Pressed Powder shadows wouldn’t really glide on the lid how I wish they would making for a somewhat patchy application. The consistency of these products felt somewhat chalky and I don’t know if that’s the reason why they didn’t apply as well as they should. However, they seemed to work better if I “packed on” the colour instead (which was more time-consuming for someone who’s always running late in the mornings!).

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Super Shock Shadow in Party of Five, Super Shock Cheek in High Five, Eyeshadow Brush in #11, and Creme Gel Liner in DTLA

I really love the feel of this flat, eyeshadow brush. It truly picks up lots of colour so that you can apply your shadow in one quick swoop! The blush was a gift, and whilst it wasn’t a fit for me colour-wise, it was very pigmented and blended beautifully. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a eyeliner affectionado. The Creme Gel Liner glides on amazingly well, and does set like a normal gel liner. Since it was a free item, they sent me DTLA which is a dark navy shade (I would’ve preferred either brown or black) but it’s a dark enough shade that it could almost pass off as black AND it was a gift so I’m not complaining!

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Ultra Matte Lip in Take Five and Alyssa

For the past year I’ve mostly been using Jeffree Star’s Liquid Velour Lipsticks every single day. I was a bit reluctant to try a liquid lipstick from any other brand just because I really, really love his a lot. BUT…I must say that I’m truly impressed! I picked the shade Alyssa which is a pinky-nude collab that Colour Pop did with youtuber Kathleen Lights, and it’s a very flattering shade for pale or fair skin! Take Five was sent to me for free, and it’s more of a pink shade but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Overall, I truly love how the lipstick lays on my lips. It’s not cakey, nor drying. It’s actually very hydrating for being a liquid lipstick!

This was one massive haul and I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you’ve tried any other products from Colour Pop or which ones are your faves! Would I re-purchase items from this brand? I’ll probably pass on the eyeshadows, but I’m going to definitely check out more of the liquid lipsticks and eyeliners!

By: Azzurra Nox