Review: Kocostar Rose Lip Mask

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Sheet and face masks have been all the rage lately, and it’s no different with lips masks. In the age of Instagram and selfies, lip masks are one of the most coveted masks there are, but this lip mask is more than a mere photo prop. This mask truly leaves your lips feeling smooth and ultra-hydrated, and the best part of it all is that it smells like you’ve got a bed of roses resting upon your lips. Some say that this lip mask forces you to lie down, but it actually didn’t slip off on me, so sitting up was possible.

What It Is: Hydrating Lip Mask

What It Does: Smooth, hydrates, and plumps lips

Verdict: To say I loved this lip mask is an understatement. This lip mask was utterly amazing! Not only does this lip mask smell like you’re walking in Marie Antoinette’s rose garden, but it truly hydrated and plumped my lips in ways no other lip mask has ever done before! Another bonus is that this lip mask is free of parabens and pthalates (chemicals you probably shouldn’t have near your mouth anyhow). This mask can be used any time of day, even before a night going out, since the serum doesn’t leave your lips drenched, however, it sinks into your lips and once the mask is off, there’s no sticky residue, meaning that you can easily wear lipstick on top without wiping off any excess beforehand. Out of the many lip masks, I’ve tried, this is hands down my favourite one.

Price: $38 for 20

Where To Buy It: www.anthropologie.com

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Review: Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Liquid Lip in Gwenyth

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By now, we all know about Gwenyth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog Goop. Well now, she also has a beauty brand called Juice Beauty to go along with the blog. I’m not particularly crazy about the blog Goop (because some of the stuff on there is either ridiculous or downright dangerous/not healthy at all). But being a makeup addict, I was thrilled to find this in my Allure Beauty Box for February, although I had no high expectation cause I’m very picky when it comes to liquid lipsticks. This liquid lipstick promises to look shiny like a gloss, but without the sticky effect. The shade is named after the creative director of the makeup (ahem Paltrow) and the colour is reminiscent of the ’90s berry hues that were on everyone’s lips think Courtney Love and Courtney Cox back in the day, (unless you were wearing the matte browns instead).

What It Is: Liquid Lipstick

What It Does: Provides shine and colour to lips.

Verdict: The moment I opened up the tube and noticed how sheer the formula was I knew that I wasn’t going to be a fan. And sure enough, after wearing it for six hours, this liquid lipstick did what most lipglosses do, it BLED and it somewhat faded. Now, I know many people prefer moisturizing lipsticks and don’t care if they have to reapply (which in that case, this may be the perfect lipstick for you), however, I expect a lipstick to NOT budge once I apply it (maybe I’ve gotten spoiled ever since using Jeffree Star’s liquid lipstick where it won’t budge, smudge, or bleed for ten+hours). Also, I’m not really a fan of berry colours either. Or at least, they’re pretty to look at, but for some reason never look so amazing on me (maybe cause berry tones are made for cool skintones and although I’m pale, I have a warm skintone). But if you’re looking for a high-shine glossy lipstick, then this may do the trick for you. The formula is luxurious and the colour is vibrant, so it’s got that going for it. It just isn’t the sort of liquid lipstick I prefer.

Price: $24

Where To Buy It: Juicebeauty.com

By: Azzurra Nox

*swatch of the shade Gwenyth below

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Review: Honest The Younger Eye Cream

It seems like every celebrity out there lately has a beauty brand (think Drew Barrymore, Salma Hayek, and Rihanna just to name a few), so of course, Jessica Alba decided to expand her Honest brand to include a makeup line. The unique aspect of her brand is that she prides on using natural ingredients and that it celebrates diverse beauties. Plus, since many of the products were Best of Beauty winners by Allure since their launch, I decided to check it out.

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Packaging: I love that it’s both simple, yet sleek and sophisticated.

What It Is: Hydrating eye cream

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Chamomile, and Calendula

Verdict: Now you know that I have a certain love/obsession for eye creams (you can check out some of my faves here). The skin around the eye area is the thinnest, meaning that it’s one of the first places to show any signs of aging. Plus, it feels rather refreshing whenever I keep my eyes hydrated. One of the things that set this cream apart from others, is that not only does it have hyaluronic acid (which zaps wrinkles!) but it also features barbary fig and baobab fruit, which are both rich in essential fatty acids. I know a lot of eye creams out there claim to work, but the difference between all those others and this one is that THIS ONE WORKS! Not only does it work, it works FAST. I love how it leaves my eye feeling both hydrated and soothed. Plus, I love how rich the cream feels but at the same time it is lightweight. I’ve actually used this on my forehead as well and noticed that it has tightened up the skin there and the faint expression line I had basically VANISHED. This cream will have you looking younger and rested in no time. So do yourself a favor, and treat yourself to this luxurious cream that won’t break the bank, but will leave you looking like a million bucks!

Price: $28

Where To Buy It: Target or https://www.honestbeauty.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Peels: Why does your skin need them?

 

IMG_0882With so many skincare products floating around nowadays (masks, serums, moisturizers, etc.) it’s no wonder that a gal (or even guy!) may feel stumped as to where to begin and why they even need a certain product in the first place. But have no fear! My aim is to make this journey easier for you, and today the focus is on one of my favourite skincare products: PEELS.

What are Peels?

It’s another form of mask (usually one you can leave for up to 30-minutes to overnight) that allows for deep exfoliation of the skin. Facial peels will remove the top layer of skin, meaning that it’ll get rid of any dullness or imperfections by exposing the newer skin to the surface.

Chemical peels are the most potent, and depending on the strength of the acid is how deep your skin will be exfoliated. The higher dose of acid, the greater chances of getting fantastic results.

What are Peels best for?

If your skin concerns are: aging, acne scars, melasma, and hyperpigmentation, then chemical peels are the best thing that could happen to your skin. The only downside? Do NOT sunbathe up to a week before or after a peel, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Which Chemical Peels are best for you?

Oily skin – Salicylic acid based peel

Aging skin – Glycolic acid based peel

Dry skin – Mandelic acid based peel

Recommended Peel: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula

This peel visibly transforms your skin in just THREE days!

Benefits of this peel are:

  • firmer, smoother skin
  • smaller, tighter pores
  • a radiant, more even complexion

Key Ingredients: Glyconic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Resveratrol, Genistein, Chamomile, Green Tea, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, and Vitamins A, C, E

Verdict: Dr. Dennis Gross’ peels come in two steps. The first step is a surface refiner, meaning that you apply this one to prepare your skin. You leave the product on for two minutes before applying step two, which is the deeper treatment. The deeper treatment is targeted to penetrate deeper into the pores, exfoliating and removing the top layer of skin. I usually use peels at night, so I can keep them on overnight, and wake up the following morning to brighter, smoother, and supple skin. If you’re in search of having the softest skin ever without blemishes, then I truly recommend a peel! And this one, in particular, is one of my favourites because it targets the majority of skin concerns: aging, dullness, and acne! So do your skin a favour, and treat yourself to a peel!

Price: $27.98 (5-count on amazon.com)

Frequency of Use: It’s usually recommended to do a peel at least once a week if you have problematic skin, but if you don’t, then even twice a month or once a month is enough to reveal brighter softer skin.

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Essie Brings Back the 90’s

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If you were a teen in the late 90’s, then you’ll feel a strange sense of deja’vu that has inhabited the streets lately. Young girls wearing chokers, velvet tees, flannels, bodysuits, and bold brownish red lipstick making one feel as though you were in 1997, but nope it’s 2017, and the 90’s are back and wildly more stylish than ever.

For those of us who lived through it and kept a few nostalgic memorabilia and garments we’re able to resuscitate our old flannels and bring our chokers back to life after a twenty year hibernation. But what about our coveted makeup?

Have no fear as Essie has brought us a whole new line of 90’s inspired nail varnish that will make you feel like Revlon’s Street Wear never got discontinued.

Meet GIRLY GRUNGE a soft silvery metallic shade with a dash of lavender that looks like it could’ve been the love child of Revlon’s Street Wear nail varnish Prissy and Gunmetal.

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This varnish is both durable (no chipping for two weeks!) and fast-drying, both a must for a busy gal that hasn’t got the time to spend hours on her manicure (although it’ll look like you DID spend more time than you really did to get one).

So turn up the volume on Hole’s Miss World, apply another coat of purple mascara, and slip into a pair of Spice Girl platform boots cause 1997 is back, baby and the second time around is even better than the first.

Price: $9

Where To Buy It: Target or http://www.essie.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Makeup Tutorial: Life is Peachy!

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I’m a huge fan of peach hues when it comes to makeup, but finding the perfect shade of peach can be quite daunting! So when I saw that Colour Pop had a few shades of peach, I jumped right on it and ordered several shades. This look is quite simple, but at the same time very fresh and chic and I could see it being used for a day-time cocktail party or ya know, just glamming it up as you binge-watch American Gods cause ya gotta be one fancy beyotch as you stuff your face with Captain Crunch berries.

Base

As usual I prepped my undereye area with Smashbox’s Photofinish Primer, and although there may be other cool primers out there, I’m really happy with this one, so I’ll usually stick to what I love before I branch out to others. Now, I’ve been looking for a new concealer for months to BLOW ME AWAY, and seeing that Allure lauded Colour Pop’s concealer so much, I knew that I just HAD to try it. So I ended up getting Colour Pop’s No Filter Concealer in Fair 5. Well, let’s say that in photos, the concealer looked amazing, but in real-life not so much (can anyone say, crease-much?). By the end of the day I felt like Steven Tyler and his million wrinkles. Not cool.

I set everything with Makeup Forever’s Ultra HD Pressed Powder in Transluscent and used a pretty peachy hue blush from Clinique called Peach Pop (I believe this was a limited edition).

Using a tiny beauty blender I added some highlights to the tip of my nose, brow bone, and cheeks using L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator Prime & Highlight in C301 Ice Glace.

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Eyes & Lips

For my brows, these days I’m sticking to Brow Wow Wow from Medusa’s Makeup. I just LOVE this so much, and the angular brush that Medusa’s Makeup sent me with this is absolute brush heaven.

For the lids, I applied Colour Pop’s Super Shock Shadow in Kennedy and placed Colour Pop’s Super Shock Shadow in Bandit in the crease and lower lash line, while applying Wet N’ Wild Creme Brullee eyeshadow along my brow bone. I used Revlon’s Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen in Black to make a simple winged liner. I then applied Clinique’s lash building primer after curling my lashes, and let the primer set for a few seconds before applying a generous amount of Clinique’s High Impact Mascara in Black to both my top and bottom lashes. To brighten up the look I lined my waterline with Lancome’s Khol Crayon in Blanc.

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I finished off the look with Colour Pop’s Kathleen Lights’ collab Ultra Matte Lip in Alyssa. This shade is the perfect pinky nude that you simply need in your life right about M-E-O-W.

Let me know what you think of this look!

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By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Skinfix Facial Cleansing Cloths

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What It Is: Individually wrapped cleansing cloths

What It Does: Remove makeup or can be used as toner

Verdict: I’m usually skeptic when it comes to pre-soaked cleansing cloths because I use a lot of liquid liner and mascara, and those never seem to work for me at all in getting rid of makeup. Not to mention that by the time you finish up the packet, the cloths are almost dry! This isn’t the case with these at all, as each cleansing cloth is individually wrapped, meaning that not only will they remain soaked and won’t dry out, but you can also pop some of these in your handbag for any makeup emergencies, or if you need to freshen up. I’m absolutely in LOVE with the scent (it’s a fresh cucumber scent, ie. very clean-feeling). Now, if you’re looking to use this to take off some serious eye-makeup, I suggest you use about three cloths. But I do prefer these over any other pre-soaked cloths I’ve used in the past.

Price: $9.99 for 20.

Where To Buy It: Shop-us.skinfix.com

Discount Code: Up until October 31st, you can use the following CODE: SKINALLURE at the checkout and will receive 30% Off on your purchase of $15 or more.

By: Azzurra Nox

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Common Water Brands pH Levels & How They Can Affect Health

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Everyone (from your doctor to trainer) is always preaching about how we need to drink more water for better hydration and also for optimal skincare. But are all waters the same? With so many brands out on the market, it’s hard to tell sometimes which ones are actually beneficial for us, which ones don’t do anything at all, and the ones that are actually causing harm.

Here are some of the ways that either too low or too high pH levels can cause you harm:

Eye & Skin Irritation

We need to worry when pH levels are either too high (above 10) or too low (below 4). If you wash yourself or drink water with pH levels that are either too high or too low you could cause irritation to yours eyes or worsen skin conditions like eczema and acne.

Upset Stomach

High pH levels or too low can also cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in some individuals. So if you’re someone who suffers from that you should probably look into what water you’re drinking and see which one would be best for you.

With so many brands out there you’re probably wondering, which one is the best for me? Below is a list of common brands and their pH Levels. Anything below five isn’t the best, and the closer to ten is the optimal number for drinking water.

Vitaminwater: 3.4

Propel Zero: 3.5

Propel Fitness Water: 3.6

Penta: 4.0

Dasani: 4.5

Function: 5.0

Perrier: 5.5

Poland Spring: 5.8

Voss: 6.0

Ice Mountain: 6.0

Crystal Geyser: 6.0

Deer Park: 6.3

Smart Water: 6.5

Great Value (Walmart brand): 6.5

Gerber Pure Water: 6.5

Arrowhead: 6.83

Evian: 7.0

Volvic: 7.0

Zephrhyllis: 7.5

Absopure: 7.5

Fiji: 7.5

Super Chill: 7.5

Evamor: 8.0

Real Water: 8.0

Essentia: 9.0

Now from that list you can see that the best brand for an optimal pH Level drinking water is Essentia. I usually drink Fiji and although it isn’t the level that Essentia is, it’s still at a healthy level. All the other waters are probably okay, but the clear loser is Vitaminwater, which is below a 4-level and could actually cause those issues that were mentioned above or worsen them.

What’s important to remember is that water with an alkaline pH improves your body’s hydration levels, supplies essential minerals, and creates a healthy pH balance in your body. However, when water has an acidic pH level you can have skin and eye irritations, stomach problems, the water doesn’t provide a good source of nutrients, and it may lower the pH level in your body causing more harm.

So next time you’re in the grocery store think about which waters are actually doing their job, and which ones you should avoid as you’re just doing yourself more harm and actually paying for it, than anything else.

Did your water brand make the cut?

By: Azzurra Nox

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Review: Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream

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What It Is: A nourishing night cream to soothe skin

What It Does: Helps hydrate and nourish skin as well as even out skintone while you sleep.

Active Ingredients: 100% Mango Butter, Lavender, Lemon, & Bergamot Oils

Verdict: This cream is cruelty-free so if you’re looking for a night cream that falls in that category, this is a good choice. This cream is semi-thick. I have oily skin and was a little hesitant to use this cream seeing that I’m always afraid that any thick face cream will cause breakouts. If you’re looking for a cream that truly does hydrate and nourish, then this does the job. I can’t really speak about how well it is for anti-aging purposes as I didn’t see any major differences in that regard. Although this cream works best when combined with the Pixi Glow Tonic and the Pixi Glow Overnight Serum. Would I re-purchase this product? Probably yes. I do like the consistency and that it’s made from natural products. Plus, although the cream is extremely hydrating, it hasn’t affected my oily skin any adverse way. And that’s always a bonus.

Price: $24

Where To Buy It: Target or https://www.pixibeauty.com

By: Azzurra Nox