Skin-Saving Drugstore Faves: St. Ives Scrubs!

Hi lovelies!

Today I want to share with you a few little products I absolutely love. St. Ives scrubs are amazing overall for soft, smooth, hydrated skin, but I have three favourite products in particular:

From left to right: 1.) St Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter Hydrating Body Wash, 2.) St Ives Even & Bright Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Scrub, and 3.) St Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub.

1.) First and foremost, the Oatmeal & Shea Butter body wash is sooo smooth and, well, buttery! It moisturizes beautifully and leaves a gentle, subtle, fresh shea scent. It’s not overpowering at all. I love this body wash because it’s gentle on my skin, very well-priced (I can sometimes even find it at the dollar store for $3 or so), and isn’t heavy, so it lets my skin actually breathe. 🙂

2.) The Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange scrub works wonders for my blackheads. It’s very gentle, so I use this every other day or so to gently exfoliate my face. It evens my skin wonderfully and wakes me up in the morning because it smells so great! One precaution, though: I often get some into my hairline and in my eyelashes/eyebrows, which is sometimes hard to rinse off completely, and when it dries it looks like white specs in my eyelashes which is super weird looking! So I use this in the shower so I can rinse it off more thoroughly.

I have tried many of the other facial scrubs (including the famous apricot one and the green tea scrub) and while I find that they all work well, the pink lemon & mandarin orange is my favourite because of how it evens my skin tone, is gentle, and the energizing scent!

3.) The Apricot scrub’s directions actually say to use it on your face, but I find it’s too rough for that. I use it on the rest of my body, especially my arms and legs. I have these weird little bumps on the outside of my upper arms, and my arms and legs tend to get very dry, and this scrub has worked wonders. It almost feels like a mini massage! I have also used this for blackheads on my back and it’s helped a little bit there as well. I also use the scrub wherever I shave, because exfoliating beforehand allows for a smoother, longer lasting shave! This is the best body scrub I’ve tried. Also: the 300mL tub is significantly cheaper per volume than the 150mL tube thing, and they’re exactly the same product. I think it was $1 more for double the volume (the 150mL was $5, and this was $6 if I can recall correctly).

All in all, I absolutely love these St Ives scrubs. They make my skin soft, smooth, and moisturized. My arms and legs look so smooth and healthy thanks to the oatmeal body wash and apricot scrub, and my face is so even and my blackheads are reduced thanks to the pink lemon and mandarin scrub.

Have you tried these scrubs before? Let me know what you think!

Love always,
Holly

Monday Makeup Haul—Neutrals and Cult Favourites!! :)

Hi all!

I’ve really been wanting to try out some new makeup products lately, especially some of the cult favourites. Soooo I finally treated myself to my first actual Sephora purchase ever (what?? Crazy, I know), and scooped up the Naked 2 Basics palette, Benefit They’re Real trial size mascara and the companion Push-Up Liner, both in black.

I also finally found the Real Techniques brush starter kit at Walmart! I’ve been searching for these for literally ever! 🙂

Additionally, I took a gander at Rexall because I read somewhere that they sell nyx products. I fell in love so hard with nyx when our local Target opened, but then Target pulled out of Canada and I panicked and hoarded as much nyx as I could during the closing sale but didn’t do proper research to know what faves I really should have picked up. So then I kept seeing “Top nyx products” pins on pinterest and felt so much FOMO. It was bad. Needless to say, I got really excited when I found the nyx aisle in Rexall. I bought the new dark circle concealer/corrector, the skinny black liner, and the jumbo lip pencil in Pecan, which is basically nude on me. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

ALSO The Body Shop went nuts and had one of their crazy sales again (woohoo!), so I was able to pick up their mineral powder foundation for $3. All they had were three tins of the one shade left. I took a gamble on it and GUESS WHAT KIDS, THAT’S MY SHADE. I basically died from sheer happiness.

Takeaway: I’m fairly easy to please.

Here’s a fun little instagram pic I arranged, because we all love those and I wanted to feel like one of those cool famous beauty bloggers:

Feelin’ fancy.

Anyway, down to the first impressions:

Real Techniques buffer brush: it’s super soft, even more so than my Sonia ones that I occasionally rave about to friends. The other brushes in the kit are the same in that sense. I often see these brushes in celebrity beauty bloggers’ instagrams or vlogs so I’m really looking forward to using these. I tried this with my Body Shop mineral powder foundation today and it looked almost airbrushed!! I’m super excited to try the rest of the brushes!

nyx Jumbo Lip Pencil in #719 Pecan: This lip pencil is so soft and buttery! I love the colour (it’s basically my nude lip colour to be honest). I love it with bold brows and minimal eye makeup. Very excited to use this in looks, coming soon 🙂

nyx Dark Circle Concealer/Correcter: This concealer is super orangey, which is supposed to cancel out the blue shadows under your eyes. I’ve tried it twice now and it’s done a bit for my ever-present hereditary dark circles, but it didn’t conceal them entirely. I think I might need a more yellow shade instead!

nyx Skinny Black Liner: This isn’t the most colour-intense liner I’ve seen, but it’s definitely smooth and easy to apply. I do like the skinny liner because it makes for a natural, barely-there, or buildable line. It’s perfect for tightlining. I’m looking forward to testing its staying power!

The Body Shop Mineral Powder Foundation: This isn’t really a first impression since I’ve been using this almost every day for about a year and a half, but hey: this is my absolute favourite sheer powder. It provides sheer, even coverage that smooths over blemishes. Combined with the Real Techniques brush, it looks almost airbrushed!! I love it!! The first time I bought it, it was on sale for $5, and I fell in love right away (I actually think this product might have been the kickstart to my love affair with the brand itself!). One tin has lasted me a year and a half now and I still have a bit left.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics eyeshadow palette: six soft, buttery, colour-rich, matte neutral shades? Count me in. I’ve been longing for this palette for a while!! I’m not as into the shimmer shades that come with the full size palette, and the price tag is a little large ($62 here!) so the basics with just the mattes for $34 was perfect for me. I love the colours and I’m very excited to try the looks I’ve been pinning for so long!

Benefit They’re Real trial-size mascara, black: The wand looks similar to the Flower by Drew Barrymore 3-in-1 mascara wand when it’s straight, which I love and use every day. Since buying this about a week ago, I’ve used it every day, and it’s honestly my new favourite! My lashes stay soft, curled, and not clumpy at all!

Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner, black: This was suchhhh an impulse buy (I honestly probably have like twelve different black liners already), but I did want to try it out. So far it seems smooth, intense, and it doesn’t seem to move around, which is definitely a plus!

All in all: I feel very good about this neutral-themed haul and can’t wait to show you some looks created with these products. Stay tuned!

With love,
Holly

Sonia Kashuk Brushes Review: My New Favourite!

Hi everyone!

So my sisters bought me this set of double-ended brushes from Sonia Kashuk for my birthday a while ago, and I’ve been recommending them to friends ever since. I figured it’s probably time I told the rest of the world too! 🙂

The set I have is called the Sonia Kashuk Double Duty Brush Set, which is currently retailing at $23.79 on the Target US website. They look like this (pic taken from the website as well):

The first brush has a blush end (top) and a stippling brush (bottom). The second one has a foundation end on top and a concealer end on the bottom. The third brush has an eyeshadow crease end at the top, and the bottom end is an eyeshadow blending brush. The fourth brush has an eyebrow comb on top and an angled liner brush on the bottom end. The set also includes a case.

I actually love these brushes. They are so soft! They apply everything so smoothly and they hold makeup fairly well so doing your makeup isn’t messy. I also just love the look of them—they look so classy and expensive to me!!

My favourites are definitely the stippling brush, concealer end, and angled liner brush. I use the stippling brush every day to apply my favourite mineral foundation (The Body Shop). While I was fairly happy before using my e.l.f. all-over face brush for this, the Sonia Kashuk brush just blends everything so flawlessly. You literally can’t even tell that I’m wearing makeup when I use the SK brush.

The concealer brush is another fave because it holds product so well. You only really need a tiny bit because the brush controls it really well. It makes it really easy to blend and pat concealer well for a flawless finish!

The angled liner brush is amazing for when you want a softer eyeliner look. I often get this brush a little damp (not wet!) and then stick it in some black eyeshadow and draw a line that way. It’s softer than pencil or liquid liner and significantly easier to blend, but you can get a really precise line using this brush too!

The only bad thing I have to say about them is that I don’t know how to store them properly. Because they are double ended, they don’t work with the rest of my brushes, which I store standing up in a glass jar on my dresser (so pretty!). I can’t do that with these because I don’t want to ruin the ends, so I just have them in a drawer, which sucks because they’re so classy looking and I’d love to showcase them on my dresser. 🙁

All in all, I love these brushes so so so much. They’re amazing for everything from application to precise lines to blending. They truly give a flawless finish and they will really upgrade your makeup game!

Also: shoutout to my sisters for their awesome find and introducing me to this brand! I love having sisters that love makeup as much as I do! <3

With love,
Holly

DIY: How to Make Bioré Pore Strips More Effective

I love love love the idea of pore strips, and ripping all the gunk out from my nose. When I first bought a pack of Bioré pore strips, I eagerly followed the instructions on the package and kept touching my nose and feeling the strip harden. I was so so so excited. I waited the full fifteen minutes (which was not easy!), and then ran to the mirror to peel it off and…

I could see a total of maybe three blackheads on the strip, and another three billion still on my nose.

K. Thanks, Bioré.

I was not impressed.

As with all products, I tried to not form an opinion on a single use, so I tried again, and again, and again. I went through almost the entire package in a week. Still nothing. What the heck?

With one strip left in the package, I found myself on a Pinterest witchhunt for anything that could make these dang strips live up to their reputation…..and I found it. Woohoo!

As it turns out, a quick baking soda soak (called a disincrustant solution) before you use the pore strip loosens all the grossness from your pores, so the strip adhesive can grab it and stick better. I originally found this method on YouTube via MichelleReneeBeauty.

I’ll give you the SparkNotes though: get about half a cup of very warm water (in between warm and hot…be careful, don’t use water that is hot enough to burn you!) in a small bowl and add some baking soda. Keep adding baking soda until it just stops dissolving when you stir it. That’s usually about half a tablespoon for me. Stir until it’s as dissolved as possible, then stick a cotton round pad in the solution. Squeeze excess solution out of the pad so that it’s still wet but not dripping. Stick it on your nose and leave it there for ten minutes or so. Resoak the cotton pad if it dries out.

After the ten minutes are up, take the pad off of your nose. Wet your nose with some more of the solution, then use the pore strip as directed.

If your face is like mine, the pore strip will be like a little forest when you take it off…so gross, but so satisfying! Once, my boyfriend found me in my room with a pore strip on, and I begged him to let me try one on his nose (his was worse than mine! Gotta love teenage acne that doesn’t go away). Now he’s hooked too.

I have heard that steaming your face before using a pore strip works as well, but I have not tried it myself. Additionally, the slower you take the strip off, the better—if you take it off too quickly, the glue adhesive stuff can stick to your face, not the strip, so no blackheads come out. 🙁

As always, please be careful with any new procedure, and ask a professional first. Best of luck!

With love,
Holly