A Darke Kind of Beauty: Spring Palette and brushes.

I did some serious splurging for spring, but I had too. I wanted to do purple eye-shadow for spring but the colours I had were way too dark, so off to Sephora I went. I wasn’t impressed with the silver/grey I got from their line of eye-shadow products. Too much sparkle and not enough matt. I have *very* large eyes and hooded eyelids. I need matts. Urban Decay didn’t have anything I liked either, but Kat von D did, so after doing some research, I picked up her PLUM palette. All I can say is holy shit. These are rich colours that are very pigmented and creamy, but there’s quite a bit of ‘fly away’. I’ve found patting the shadow on is the best way to apply and because it’s so pigmented you don’t need a lot. What’s really cool about this palette is that instead of colour names on the bottom of the container it has what you use the colour for. Very helpful. Also, the palette is in the shape of a coffin! Seriously adorable.

She has three others; SAGE, RUST, and SMOKE. I think each are perfect for the other seasons.

My second big splurge was on brushes. The eye-shadow applicator I normally use was rough so I got some new ones. I love E.L.F brushes. They’re so soft, and I now own a kabuki brush. Not sure what I do with it, but I like the fact I can tell people I own a kabuki brush.

The last brush I bought in my splurge was bloody expensive; a foundation brush. $41!

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It’s so worth it. I don’t use my fingers to apply foundation (well, not since the 80’s) and the sponges don’t seem to spread the foundation evenly and get dirty and mucky too quickly. Putting foundation on with the brush not only spreads it more even, but I use less with a brush. I now have three that are strictly face brushes; one for foundation, one for powder and a third for bronzer. I expect this to grow when I get some highlighter and blush, and you can’t have makeup brushes without makeup brush cleaner. Brushes are incredible to use, but you need to clean them. I used to do it once every few months; usually when I changed eye-shadows, but I found this little beauty cleaner and I’m going to do them once a week.

cleanerGeez I love playing with this stuff!

A Darke Kind of Beauty: Cleansers are not soap.

When I was in grade seven, my mother went away for a week and I spent the time with friends. I remember that week for two reasons; first, it was the first time I’d been away from her for so long, and second, being the age that I was, I had my first (and nasty) breakout of pimples. She bought me some over-the-counter medicated skin wipes and told me to wash my face every morning with hot water and soap and then use the wipes, the breakout would be over by the time she got back.

She was right.

It wasn’t until my thirties that face cleansers became popular, and I’ll admit, I was a skeptic at first. After all, why change something that’s working? Except it wasn’t, I just didn’t know it. As a teen, I’d faithfully wash my face with soap and hot water, but as I got older my skin changed and for the longest time I didn’t change products. It wasn’t until I read an article by a dermatologist that stated that bar soap should never be used on the face and neck, that I decided to change, and I’ve been washing my face with a proper cleanser ever since.

Taking care my skin is a full time job that can be broken down into three parts; environment, lifestyle and genetics. Two I can control, one I can’t. Using cleansers that are created for my skin type is the first step, and while bar soap may be more gentle than it was thirty years ago, keeping my skin healthy is all about what I leave behind.

There is a big difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. A good explanation is here. http://www.justaboutskin.com/dry-vs-dehydrated-skin/

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The one by Fresh is expensive, but I got a free sample once and fell in love. I love the smell and Husband noticed a change in my skin after a week. It’s very gentle with a soy base that smells like cucumbers. I use it in the mornings but I’m thinking about looking for something a little less pricey. I know the package says ‘makeup remover’, but it’s not that good at removing makeup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is my weekly exfoliate. It has ground apricot nuts as the exfoliant. Ground walnut shells is another good exfoliant, and avoid any product that contains ‘microbeads’. They’re not environmentally friendly and do more harm than good. The one thing I don’t like about this product is that I have to rinse a few times to make sure all the product is off my face. I always end up leaving some in my hair line. They say you should exfoliate once a day, but if you have any type of oily skin, a daily abrasion can make the skin produce more oil. I stopped using a buffer because of this. Oily and combination skin are always tricky to take care.

 

 

 

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The last two are used the most. The black one has a charcoal base and I use it in the shower. The hot mist opens my pores more and it cuts right through the oil and moisturizer/makeup build up from the day. It’s very deep cleaning but the charcoal does leave my skin a little tight. It’s great for blackheads.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Body Shop one I use outside of the shower. It’s a more soapy than the Fresh product so I can get a good lather going and scrub my face good.

 

 

 

 

 

I know, I know, too many products but considering how important our skin is to our overall health, it’s something I don’t take lightly.

Nail Art: Metallic and Pinks

Now that I’ve found a way to keep my nails long without them braking (yay for gel nails) I’m going to try and have a new polish swatch/nail art each month. I realised I’m a month behind, so this month will feature two nail art; one that I had for the month of January and the other that I have for all of February.

First, January;

I saw this metallic polish on a YouTube channel I subscribe to. I thought it was the most incredible and so beautiful! I was hoping for an ice blue or some kind of blue shade for winter, but they had either the metallic green or silver, and you know me, can’t resist the dark shades.

Not as many compliments as the gold glitter, but not everyone is into the darker shades. This really stands out in natural lighting. You can distinguish the greens and purples more than inside lighting, and the faint hint of blue is more prominent too with natural light, or I thought so.

The base for this was green, which went neon after it set. The power my manicurist applied was dark and sparkly; like a fine glitter and he put it on with an application brush that would be the same as those disposable eyeshadow brushes, but a longer handle. The only drawback was; it began to peel a few days later. Not by much, but I noticed it. They were all still pretty good four weeks later, and I was pretty hard on my nails. Also, as you can see my nails are SO LONG! I couldn’t do anything with them. As much as I love long nails, there is a point where I have to cut them. I have no idea how those women with really long nails do anything with them.

For February I decided to go with a red, and wouldn’t you know it, this colour stood out.  I swear, I find this colour in everything and have two bottles of polish at home that is this same colour, but I figured fuchsia for Valentine’s Day. I got accent nails too; and my manicurist did this free hand. Can you believe this? I don’t think I could do this; not on myself. Nails are shorter too (such a relief).

 

A Darke Kind of Beauty: Greys and Berries

One of the things I like about winter is that I get to wear thee darker shades of eye shadow and lipstick. Last winter I was into shades of purple; this year its grey. I had planned on some dark shades of blue maybe even an ice blue, but I’m still not over wearing it all last spring.

Grey’s are nice; they can be soft or harsh and mix well if I did want to add some blue. I am a dedicated fan of Urban Decay, and I was disappointed when I couldn’t find any grey tones on the pallets I have. Don’t get me wrong; there are some nice shades on the Naked 1 pallet, but I wanted four grey-only shades that would complement each other. For that, I had to buy from the Sephora Collection.

 

These are nice shades and are easy to work with. There are three matt and two glitter with the center colour almost like a gun-metal grey. I can’t take a decent picture of them on; I tried three times and it didn’t look anywhere near as nice as it did on.

Another dark colour I’ve been waiting patiently to wear is berry-tone lipstick. I bought two this season – Rebel Chic from Sephora and Oh So Wicked from Rimmel. Both are excellent colours, and as you can see from the Rebel Chic is a matt while Oh So Wicked is a gloss. I like matts in winter. I find it more in character with the season than a gloss look. Gloss reminds me of summer.

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Rebel Chic [top], Oh So Wicked [bottom]

The Rimmel [lower swatch] was so luscious and moist and it smelled SO GOOD, but didn’t stay on well. It also highlighted any lip flaws such as dryness and flakes, and as you can see from my swatch, it’s gloppy. The same with the Sephora but it wasn’t as prominent. Both did feather so I bought a lip liner.

These colours are also good for the holiday season as well.

Nail Art: Golden Sparkles for the Holidays

I know, I’m a little late for this one, but if you follow me on Instagram you saw this nail art back in December.

This is my second month with gel nails and I still love them. The best thing about them is I get to have beautiful nail art like this.

I had so many compliments on them too. A gold sparkle ombre is elegant for the holidays. Simple but extraordinary at the same time. I saw a lot of nail art over the holidays and while they were beautiful, they seemed a little too much. Maybe for an accent nail, but to do all my nails that way felt over-worked.

This was a simple application. Just clear (gel) polish, let partially dry, and then manually place sparkles on the nail. I didn’t do this either. My manicurist is incredible and she thought of this style too.

The gold sparkle goes with any outfit and it’s simple enough to go from work to party. If you have many social engagements over the holidays, you might want to think something simple like this for your nails.

This year I’m going to work on getting a few more tools. I have some great ideas for next year.

A Darke Kind of Beauty: Winter Skin Care

Ol’ Man Winter rolled over my area the third week of November. Seriously, we had summer-like weather almost right up to the point the snow storm blew through, but I was already prepared for the onslaught of cold, dry air that comes with a Canadian winter.

First of all, if you’re not looking after your skin in winter, you really should be. Not just on your face but your whole body. During these months the face and hands are the primary parts of the body that are exposed to the cold on a regular basis. The dry air sucks moisture from my skin leaving it dry, cracked, and itchy. I use a night cream for day and night application because the thickness of the cream can be used as a barrier to the cold air. If your favourite moisturiser has a night cream, I suggest using it in place of your day cream. Winter is also the time I use foundation. Again, it acts as a barrier between your skin and the air.

Daily moisturising is great, but once a week I do a spa treatment.  First of all, it’s fun. Second, many of the home spa packages have vitamins and minerals that promote healthy skin. For me, it’s also about giving my skin a much needed boost. Mature skin (like mine) needs a bit more care so I use three different products on a three week rotation. You may have seen my Instagram pics of me with a facial cream on. I don’t hide the fact I get down and dirty when it comes to my skin.

The three I use are;

img_20161127_103526 Lush’s The Sacred Truth. It’s specially made for mature skin. I love Lush. If you haven’t tried it, you must! They’re a bit pricey, but their products are hand-made with real ingredients.

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The second spa treatment I use is a collagen mask. One of the biggest wrinkle problems is the lack of collagen in the skin. This helps to replace it (also, taking vitamin C helps the body to produce collagen. The one I use is relatively cheap and you get two treatments per package.

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The third is a detox mask of blue clay by St Ives. Clay has been used for centuries on the skin and with the minerals in them they are great for pampering yourself. There are different colours depending on what you want or need. This article gives you a good idea of how clay masks work and what’s in them.

When purchasing any skin care product, do some research on products first.  Advertisers make you feel as though you need all of it, but you don’t. Stick to your skin type and what you want the product to do.

A Darke Kind of Beauty: Gel Nails!

I’ve had the worse time growing out my nails. They get to a certain length and either beak off because of work, or some other reason. Mostly because of work. This has become a serious problem for me and my nail art obsession. Enter Husband’s anniversary gift to me; a gift certificate to a nail salon! Seriously, does this man know me or what?

I’ve never had artificial nails before other than the glue on/press on ones. I did a little research on both gel and acrylic and was hesitant about getting them done because of possible damage to the nail bed (you have to ‘scuff’ the nail bed so everything sticks better). Well, I went in and had them done. Took all of 30 minutes and wow, I am so impressed!

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Look how perfect that manicure is! Look at the polish! She got NONE on my cuticles and it’s been the first time in years my all ten of my nails have been the same length. I got them short for work, but I might get them a bit longer next time. Yes, I said next time. My nails have become brittle and thin and I dislike the fact that only one hand ever looks nice. I will keep you posted as to how long they last. I’m hoping to get at least two weeks out of them, but the manicurist said if I take care of them, it could be as long as a month.

The colour is Bogota Blackberry Gel colour by O.P.I.

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