Battling the Dreadful Dryness - My Current Winter Skincare Routine

Winter has officially arrived here in Canada, bringing with it sporadic weather conditions including bitterly cold temperature alerts and bouts of snow or sleet. Unfortunately these harsh elements can take a toll on our skin, so it's important to change up our routine and introduce new products that will help battle the dreadful dryness and windburn.

Here's a look at my current winter skincare routine:

Makeup Removal & Clean
During the colder months I prefer to use a cleansing oil rather than a foaming face wash because it can be a little more gentle on the skin. I'm currently using the Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil, which not only melts away all of my makeup but also leaves my skin feeling clean, hydrated and soft.

Buff Away Dead Skin Cells
It may seem strange to use a scrub on chapped skin during the winter, but it's important to buff away dead skin cells which can create that flaky, rough texture we want to avoid. I exfoliate only once a week using the St. Ives Nourished and Smooth Oatmeal Scrub + Mask. It doubles as a hydrating treatment and can be applied generously to the face and left on for 5-10 minutes so the ingredients can really soak in. The tiny particles are gentle and effective, without stripping the skin.

Treat Blemishes
Pesky pimples pop up no matter what time of year it is! I'm suddenly suffering from more breakouts lately than I have in the past, so I am thankful for this skincare best friend: Tea Tree Oil. I get mine from The Body Shop because it is less concentrated and not as drying as pure versions found in nutritional stores. A little really goes a long way with this stuff! I apply a small amount onto a Q-tip and use it as a spot treatment on blemishes. After a couple of days, the red spot is basically invisible!

Facial Hydration
I wasn't the biggest fan of Skin Drink from LUSH during the summer months - it was a little too thick and greasy for my liking. But as the days got colder and my skin became more and more dehydrated, the moisturizer became a skin saver! It's super thick and a little goes a long way. I wouldn't suggest this product for those with oily skin, but if you're suffering from major dryness, this will work wonders. Be warned though, it does have a strange (somewhat foul) scent.

A deep moisturizing night cream is an absolute must for me. They tend to be a little more rich and are designed to penetrate the skin over a longer period of time, especially overnight when the focus is on rest, repair, restore and regenerating. Right now I am using the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, which was a recommendation from Dev's cousin, Krista (thanks lad). I've only had it for a couple of days but so far I'm really enjoying it! Keep an eye out for a full review soon.

An eye cream is also pretty essential, not only to make my puffy peepers appear more awake, but to also help makeup like concealer glide on smoothly and not crease throughout the day. I'm currently using the 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, which was a sample from my very first Birchbox. It's not my favourite, but does the trick.

Body Hydration
Finally, to prevent my body from looking like a scaly alligator, I like to use Bio Oil. Yep...the product known for treating stretch marks and scars! It's formulated with plant extracts, vitamins and mineral oils which also make it a really great moisturizer as well. I focus it specifically on my elbows and hands, where I tend to get the most dry.

Of course the most natural way to re-hydrate our bodies and battle the dreadful winter dryness is to simply drink...no chug...load and loads of water. But you guys knew that...

I aim to drink 1.5-2L of water a day. Some days are easier than others, but I can definitely feel a difference in my skin when I drink lots of good ol' H20.



January's Birchbox - See What's Inside

It's a bittersweet day as I write this post. My January Birchbox has just arrived and I cannot wait to tear into it and test out new beauty products. But part of me wants to savour the moment and take my time, for this could very well be my last unboxing. Those of you who have been following me for a while will remember that I was gifted a 6-month subscription to Birchbox back in July for my birthday.

Six months and six incredible boxes later, my subscription has come to an end. But first, a look at what's inside my January Birchbox! 

The beautiful pink, purple and orange packaging says '2016: The Year Of _____' in silver writing on the front. Inside there is a sheet of stickers featuring different inspiring words including strength, creativity and fearlessness. It is up to each individual consumer to place a sticker in the blank space and dedicate a theme for the year, helping everyone become motivated to accomplish their dreams.  

I find it somewhat ironic that January's box celebrates the start of something new. Perhaps it's a sign that I should give a different beauty service a try. 

What's Inside:

Whish Three Whishes Body Butter - Lavender (Full size = $26)
"Luscious, antioxidant-rich formula that firms, softens and soothes."

Softens and firms are words I can't complain about! The formula is really nice too! It absorbs quickly without leaving any greasy residue, and although I'm not too fond of lavender scents, this one is quite subtle and nice. 

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect (Full size = $36)
"A sulfate-free leave-in conditioner that safeguards colour, strengthens, and nourishes."

Unfortunately I did not test this particular product out immediately, but I have had a few samples from the same line in past boxes and they were really nice. I have a good feeling this will be a hit. 

too cool for school DINOPLATZ HIGHLIGHTER (Full size = $40)
"This illuminating cream is formulated with tiny light-catching flecks to perfectly highlight your face."

I like this product! It's a liquid highlighter with a champagne/pink tone that blends super effortlessly on the skin. It looks great alone, but works really well as a base for powder highlights on top. I'm also a sucker for its eccentric packaging. Although a little tough to see in the photo above, it features a drawing of dinosaurs invading a city...somewhat childish, but also fun and unique!

TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint (Full size = $6)
"Lightweight, super-pigmented lip stain which dries quickly for a sheer, matte finish that won't budge all day."

This is such a strange product! It's very thin in consistency, but quite pigmented and dries quickly. When applied to the lips it can look a little patchy. I think the trick is to dab a little in the centre and tap it out with a finger to get that stained effect. 

I also wish that it were a more wearable shade. Out of six boxes, this is the third red lip product I have received. Don't get me wrong...I love a good red lippie, I just wish I had received a variety of colours to try. 

Dr. Jart + Water Fuse Water-Full Hydrogel Mask (Full size = $25)
"The hydrogel sheet mask is infused with hyaluronic acid, to transform your skin from dry to refreshed and rejuvenated."

Another sheet mask! Just in time to save my skin from the sporadic winter weather Canada is currently experiencing. I'm suffering from several dry patches at the moment, so I can't wait to give this bad boy a try. 

Overall, I think this last box was a win! And I somewhat like that there wasn't a perfume sample this time around. 

Now I must decide whether or not to subscribe myself to Birchbox. With so many different beauty subscription boxes on the market these days, (i.e. Ipsy and Topbox) I am tempted to test the waters with something new. Let me know what you think if you've ever tried a service other than Birchbox. 



Mani Spotlight: Essie Comfy in Cashmere

Confession: I've wanted to do this post for nearly a year now.

The problem was, I didn't actually own the colour. I had seen swatches online and thought it looked so stunning and unique, but Essie Comfy in Cashmere was sold out at every drugstore I visited.

Good ol' Santa (my Mom) pulled through this year and I was super stoked to find it bundled in my stocking.  FINALLY!!! I finally have my hands on it and the colour/finish did not disappoint my expectations. I'm so happy to add this polish to my collection and it has quickly become a favourite.

It's a cashmere matte formula with purple micro-irridesence. I don't quite understand how this works...it's definitely got that stone look once dry, but somehow it sparkles and shimmers at the same time. As a nail polish enthusiast, my knees get weak when I look at my nails with this colour on. It is the best thing I have possibly ever seen! And the feel! Oh the feel...it's not quite as soft as cashmere, but it's so smooth and silky to the touch.

The taupe/mauve colour screams "wear me on a cold winter day as you snuggle up next to the fireplace in your onesie."



Lucy Hale Cobalt Blue Eyeliner Inspired Makeup

No secrets here...I'm super excited for the Pretty Little Liars Season 6B premiere tomorrow!!! To celebrate, I'm doing my first ever celebrity inspired makeup look and today's muse is the gorgeous Lucy Hale (a.k.a Aria Montgomery).

I've had this photo of Lucy saved on my phone for quite a while. It's from the Teen Choice Awards last August and immediately when I saw her face floating around the Internet, I knew I wanted to try and recreate the beautiful makeup. Well, today's the day!

The grey smokey lids and cobalt blue eyeliner is so unique and stunning. It matched her blue dress perfectly and provided a bit of an edgier look.

Unfortunately, I don't have an eyeliner this colour, but managed to achieve a similar look by using the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black as a base. Once I was happy with the size and shape of my wing, I sprayed an eyeliner brush with Mac Fix+ and used it to pat a combination of blue shadows directly overtop. I found it best to work one eye at a time so the gel didn't set before applying colour. Fall-out was pretty much inevitable, which is why I waited to do my foundation and concealer after my eyes.

The end result is not exactly the same. I wish I had a more metallic eyeshadow and it could have leaned a little more violet or electric blue, but I still like the way everything turned out. I had a lot of fun mimicking the look and I'm already on the lookout for more celebrity makeup inspiration.





Beauty Product Expiration Coding

If you're thinking about reaching into the deep, dark corners of your bathroom cupboard to use some old face mask you bought seven years ago...think again!!! By now that thing could have turned into a fuzzy, green monster and cause you terrible harm.

Ok maybe not, but your skin most definitely will freak out if you try to apply it.

It's important to remember that beauty products can expire. Pressed products like blush and eyeshadows can last longer than liquid foundations or facial moisturizers, but a day will come when it all needs to be thrown out. Even sunscreens loose their effectiveness after so long.

One thing I didn't realize before diving into the beauty industry, is that most companies use an icon to label how long the product can be used after it has been opened. So if you are unsure when an item in your collection may expire, check the back of its packaging for what looks like an open jar. The number inside of this image may say 6M, 12M or even 24M, which stands for the number of months before the product should be tossed in the garbage.

Some examples:

Most fresh handmade cosmetic companies, like LUSH, clearly label both when the product was made and when it has expired. It definitely makes it much easier to keep track of a product's age. How cool is it that there's even a picture of the person who made it?! Also...#BeardGoals for my male followers. Look at that bushy thing on Corey, the Compounder behind my Skin Drink!

If you pay attention to these guidelines - especially with skincare products- you'll prevent covering your face with bacteria, which could potetially cause future breakouts or infections.

And this has been a BSA (Birdy Service Announcement) brought to you by Kelly. Stay fresh people!



High-End Beauty Favourites from 2015

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2016 has kicked off to a great start for you all!

Today I'm sharing some of my most-used and favourite high-end beauty products from the year that is now behind us.

Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle
Highlights literally took the beauty industry by storm last year. I mean, who doesn't remember 'highlight on fleek'? For me, Soft & Gentle was my go-to for the lit-from-within - or disco ball - glow (depending on the day and my mood). It's a stunning peachy, champagne shimmer that can look quite subtle on the skin. Of course there are times when I go overboard and that's when it looks a little more muddy and metallic, think Tin Man-like. Overall, I can't get enough and I am obsessed with applying this beautiful highlight on a daily basis.

Mac Prep + Prime Fix +
This multipurpose spray is a more recent discovery for me and I have a feeling I'll be repurchasing it over and over again. I like using it once I'm finished my entire face to help eliminate excess powders and create a flawless finish. It's also great for dampening brushes to apply more intensely pigmented eyeshadows. Fix + contains glycerin, which helps make foundations or powders stick to this skin, encouraging a longer wear-time. It doesn't have any scent or cause me to breakout. Overall, it's a nice cooling spray and one of the more luxurious items that I 'need' in my collection.

Buxon Full-On Lip Polish in Kelly
I may or may not have bought this lip gloss purely for it's name, but surprisingly enough I also love the colour!! It's a sheer, electric pink with multi-dimensional shimmers and looks great on days when I'm wearing minimal makeup. It does something special to bring brightness to my face. Plus, it also smells like freshly baked vanilla cupcakes and has a cooling, tingle sensation on the lips. It's only downside is is that it can be somewhat sticky, but this helps its longevity at the same time.

This one is a no-brainer for me! Of all the eyeshadow palettes I own, it's the only one I have hit pan on. It's the one I gravitate to the most and I love it just as much today as I did when I received it for Christmas a couple of years ago. The shadows are insanely pigmented and buttery, they blend easily and wear beautiful on the eyes and the warm-toned colours are perfect-o!

Philosophy Purity Made Simple
Four letters...L.O.V.E! It's a simple word describing my emotions for this face wash. I am head over heels for Purity Made Simple and if there weren't a bagillion other skincare products on the market tempting me with their beautiful packaging and performances, this would be the only makeup remover/cleanser I'd ever need. It dissolves even the toughest of mascaras, is gentle on my sensitive skin and is somehow hydrating at the same time. Magical!

If you're curious to see what some of my drugstore favourites from last year were, click here. Please also feel free to share some of your 2015 favourites in the comments section below! I'm always curious to try new things.