My Love-Hate Relationship With Matte Nails

Since the start of 2016 I have been wearing only matte nail colours thanks to this wonderful finisher from essie called matte about you. It transforms any nail varnish to a slightly dull, stone-like finish and I absolutely love rocking this beauty craze! There's also something so satisfying about the velvety, smooth-to-the-touch texture.

It dries 10x faster than a typical glossy top coat, which is a total game changer for me! To put it into perspective for you, I've spent countless hours over the years, sitting as if I were in a full-body cast waiting for polish to dry. Now imagine the disappointment on my face when I think my fingers are finally ready to make moves and within minutes there's one that has been wounded with a scratch. We've all been there...

My point is, I'm much more willing to paint my nails on a regular basis when using a matte top coat because it dries so quick and saves me several headaches. Plus it looks pretty cool too!

But I definitely do have a few bones to pick - not with the product - rather the trend itself.

Sure, it looks pretty and chic...if your nails survive longer than a day without chipping. It's evident matte formulas (no matter what brand) are pretty garbage when it comes to lasting-power. For some reason they chip much, much faster than their shiny sibling and even sometimes peel off in single layers. They also don't get along with oily products, so during the winter months a decision must be made between having nice matte nails or soothing dry, scaly hands with lotion. 

I also find that because matte top coats are so thin, they tend to draw more attention to ridges on my nails and accentuate imperfections. 

Ultimately, I have a strong love-hate relationship with matte nails. I love the way they look. I love how my nails feel. I love how quickly it dries. BUT...I do not love how quickly they chip and I do not love how it seems to accentuate ridges. 

Rant finished. 


My Experience Getting Eyelash Extensions

It seems that false eyelashes have taken the beauty industry by storm in the last year or so. But what normal person has the time or patience to apply a band of falsies every day? I certainly don't. However, I want long fluttery lashes as much as the next girl. Which is why I became intrigued by the idea of eyelash extensions and caved to curiosity just last month when I popped into Brow and Arrow Esthetics & Boutique for the treatment. 

Sidenote: The salon owner's name is Nicole and she's the only person I trust to wax the fuzzy caterpillars hanging out above my eyes. Check out her Instagram!

Ps. The photo above is post-extensions but pre-eyebrow wax so don't mind the mess going on there.

How does it work?
I clearly had no knowledge of eyelash extensions going into it because I thought they were sewed or tied on. Why I wasn't more nervous is beyond me. But oh man did I feel stupid when informed that they were actually just glued.

Before getting started, she secured my lower lashes with protective shields to prevent them from getting in the way. Then the application process began.

Patience is definitely key! For both parties...

It took roughly two hours and I couldn't open my eyes the entire time. I'm making it sound like a bad thing...but honestly, it was quite relaxing. The process was completely pain-free and I probably could have napped if I really wanted to. All of the credit must go to Nicole, who sat bent over the entire time to meticulously apply an extension to each existing lash.

Like a surgeon...or a very talented chopstick handler...she used a pair of long tweezers in each hand - one to isolate a natural lash and the other to pick up and glue the extension.

Technical Talk:
Nicole used synthetic mink lashes and applied a combination of 8mm and 12mm lengths in both 0.15 and 0.20 thickness. I loved how natural and soft they ended up looking. They also felt very comfortable and light!

Maintanance & Longevity
At first I felt as though I had to be super gentle and delicate doing anything around my eye area. It was a struggle to apply eyeshadow, curving my brush and hand in distorted positions to work around my lashes. But surprisingly, these bad boys clung like that kid from A Christmas Story's tongue on the frozen pole.

They lasted a little more than three weeks on me, but I made sure to take really good care of them. For the record, lash extensions are not fond of oils so it's important to avoid using skincare products that contain the slippery ingredient. I was sad to breakup with my cleanser for a short while, and opted for a micellar water to remove my makeup instead.

Eventually they began to fall out due to my natural eyelash growth cycle, but I was able to fill in the gaps with a little bit of mascara.

Overall, my experience was a good one. In my opinion it's a little bit of a luxury expense, but I think for anyone with a sunny, tropical vacation planned (lucky bums) these would be awesome! You can skip mascara and not have to worry about black running down your face after jogging out of the ocean, Baywatch style. They would also be really great for anyone that experiences frequent irritation from mascara.

What do you think about this growing beauty trend? Have you had lash extensions before?



Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Product Review

The difference between day and night creams are often questioned. Is it really necessary to use a second moisturizer in the evening? For anyone looking to brighten, plump and reduce fine lines or wrinkles, the answer is yes!

Night creams deliver a higher concentration of ingredients, which penetrate and restore the skin for a longer period of time. I've really learned to appreciate these intense hydrators over the last few years.

I've been testing out the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask for a few weeks now and so far I really like it! I used it every night before crawling into bed and the next day my skin looks radiant, smooth and feels hydrated.

The main ingredient - no surprise here - is water. Ionized mineral water to be exact. It has a super lightweight, gel-like consistency which provides a nice cooling effect once applied to the skin. Although it can feel quite slippery at first, the product sinks in quickly and does not feel greasy or sticky. If anything, my skin feels tight and I actually believe it has reduced the expression marks (a.k.a. wrinkles) on my forehead.

It also contains 'Sleepscent' - a blend of orange flower, sandalwood and rose, which act as aromatherapy to promote a relaxed, stress-free slumber. For anyone with sensitivities to fragrance, this could risk irritation, but I have not had any problems thus far.

Often times there are concerns about the expense of adding more products to a skincare regime, but at $30 for 2.7oz the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is reasonably priced. I also really like how it comes with an itty bitty spatula to scoop the product and prevent bacteria growth, prolonging it's shelf life.



January 2016 Beauty & Lifestyle Favourites

As always, the days are flying by way too quick and we are already well into a new month. It's time - actually, it's nearly past time - to talk about some beauty and lifestyle things I enjoyed most during January.

Beauty Favourites:
Maybelline Volum' Express Mega Plush Deep Velvet Mascara
Around mid-January I got these funky things called eyelash extensions, so for half of the month I didn't have to apply any mascara. But this Mega Plush Deep Velvet by Maybelline sneakily made its way into my stocking at Christmas, and intrigued by it's emerald hue, I couldn't resist experimenting with it during the first couple of weeks. Although coloured mascara is not my first choice on a day-to-day basis, I like the way it compliments my green eyes. It is not overly vibrant or super noticeable unless someone were to pop my bubble and get up close and personal. I really enjoy the formula too! It has a light, mousey texture and a flexible wand for creating soft, volumized lashes.

Ps. A post about my experience with eyelash extensions will be up in the next couple of weeks!

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black
An oldie by a goodie! This product is probably well past it's expiration date, but I managed to revive it a little while ago by adding a couple dribbles of eye drops. Ever since then I have loved using it to create a dramatic feline flick. I forgot how black, intense and just plain wicked it really was! It doesn't smudge and wears all day long. I've talked about how bad it is to use an expired product before, so I really must make a trip to the drugstore to buy a new one. It's seriously so good and I can't be without it in my collection.

Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette
I tend to be drawn to shades of purple eyeshadows and this palette is definitely up my alley. There's 12, intensely pigmented, all-matte colours including a good mix of crease, lid and smokey tones. They're not chalky at all and blend super easily. My favourite colours are Natural Beauty and Best Friend. I received this stunner as a gift at Christmas and already I've made a pretty good dent in some of the shadows. It's quickly become a favourite, go-to palette and I can't resist picking it up on a daily basis.

Essie Comfy in Cashmere Nail Polish
This polish is pretty much all I wore on my nails during the month of January. I received a ton of compliments, including one from my Mom who begged me to give her a manicure with the same colour. It's such a gorgeous matte mauve and I am still completely obsessed! If you haven't seen the post yet, check out my last Mani Spotlight for more of my thoughts on this beauty.

Lifestyle Favourites:
Perrier Pink Grapefruit
Yes, more water talk. I can just imagine you rolling your eyes. I've raved about the importance of staying hydrated but sometimes plain old aqua can be a giant bore. Both Dev and I have been obsessed with this sparkling refreshment for a little while now, specifically the pink grapefruit flavour. It's so refreshing and tasty, without any added calories. We especially love the slim cans! For some reason, the less expensive and larger, plastic bottles just aren't the same...

Switched at Birth
If you haven't seen this series yet, it tells the story of two teenage girls who were literally switched at birth and raised by different parents. The secret is revealed and both families must learn to live cohesively. There's no shortage of drama and something exciting happens during each episode, but what I find most interesting is the incorporation of deaf actors (several main characters are hearing impaired). These days it's easy to get distracted and flip through our social media feeds while watching TV, but the addition of sign language and subtitles in this show forces me to really pay attention. It's been a long time since I've completely relaxed to watch an entire episode of something, let alone three, four or five episodes in a row.

I hope you all had an awesome January, and here's hoping February is even better!



Valentine's Day Chalkboard Nails

I'll admit, there's a lot going on here. It's kind of like a relationship...

When someone is in love, they throw all they have into their partnership with that one special person. Sure, it can be a bit of a roller coaster ride, but at the end of the day it's beautiful chaos. I personally wouldn't trade it for the world.

In honour of Valentine's Day and to celebrate crazy, stupid love I created this manicure featuring a little bit of everything. Texture. Sparkles. Colour. Polka Dots. Hearts. Stripes. It's all there baby!

Each nail is actually pretty simple and easy to do, but I'm going to walk you through the steps I took to accomplish each look:

To achieve each heart shape for this pattern I used a medium sized dotting tool and created two spots touching each other...SING IT..."Side By Siiiiide". I then used a smaller dotting tool to drag the polish from either dot into a triangle shape, forming a point.

Pointer Finger:
This one's easy peasy! I started with a white base and created spots with a dotting tool using two different shades of pink.

Middle Finger:
The inspiration for these nails actually began with this concept. In an effort to create a chalk board effect, I used a matte black base and scrawled white "x's" and "o's" over the top. My fear of the manicure looking a little flat - and frankly, boring - with this design repeated on every one of my nails, prompted the colourful madness.

Ring Finger:
The hidden five-year-old, tutu-wearing, princess wannabe in me couldn't deny a little glitter. This finger got a good solid coat of Gettin' Miss Piggy With It, a gorgeous sparkly fuchsia from the OPI Muppets Collection several years ago.

This ones as easy as saying those three magical words, "I LOVE YOU". I simply applied thin lines with a nail striper over a white base. They're not the straightest stripes, but I don't hate it.

I should also note that I finished each nail (minus the glitter bomb) with a matte top coat to tie it all together.

Finito. Bellissimo. Amore.

Love is riveting, spicy, exciting, strange and beautiful...all of which I believe has been reflected in this manicure. It may not be for everyone, but I think these nails are a sweet way to celebrate the romantic holiday.