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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% and Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% Review

I was very naughty last summer.  The CC cream with SPF 30 that I had been using had run out and, instead of getting a replacement, I thought I would slum it and just use a bit of concealer with a daily moisturizer that had SPF 15.  Big mistake.  An SPF 15 might be all right for periodic exposure to winter sun but is woefully insufficient as protection against the glare of an angry summer sun.  The result was that by the end of the year, I had a face covered in freckles and sunspots.  Wah!  Vitamin C has a proven track record at tackling uneven skin tone but the prices of quality Vitamin C serums, meaning ones with a high percentage and a stable formulation, will give you a heart attack right on the (sun)spot.  I had been hearing a lot of buzz about The Ordinary, a skincare line by The Abnormal Beauty Company with targeted ingredients and a price point that will make you salivate but all the buzz seemed to be coming out of the UK.  So, naturally, I assumed that they were a UK brand.  I was so sad and resigned myself to making reluctant friends with my sunspots.  It was quite by chance that I discovered the line is manufactured in Canada and that a freestanding store had opened, quite literally, down the street from my home!

You can bet that I made tracks there so fast that I left smoke trails behind me.  I picked up the Vitamin C Suspension 23% with HA Spheres 2% and the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.  And the price you ask?  The Vitamin C was an astoundingly low $5.80 CAD and the Azelaic Acid $7.90 CAD.  At this point, I really do have to give props to them for coming out with a skincare line that is so easy on the wallet.  In all seriousness, even those on very, very tight budgets want and need to feel good about their skin.  Whether you are a poor student battling pimples from too many late nights cramming for exams and scarfing chocolate bars or a middleaged woman on a fixed income dealing with menopausal skin that has decided to undergo its own midlife crisis, I think that an affordable skincare range that delivers is such a blessing.  In a weird way, their philosophy of "clinical formulations with integrity" is the skincare equivalent of Everlane in terms of transparency and delivering a product without a lot of marketing faff.  A word of warning, you do need to have a chemistry degree or a pretty good understanding of how the ingredients work alone and in combination to navigate their line.  I read over their website very carefully before going in to the store which helped a lot although the website can make you think you have stumbled across the syllabus of a Chemistry 101 class and cause even more confusion and angst.  The store is a reflection of the line with its exposed brick walls and simple industrial shelving.  If you are one of those skincare mavens that loves lots of pampering with chandeliers, satin, ribbons and over the top, vague promises, then this might not be the place for you. But if you are a cosmesceutical junkie, then you will take to The Abnormal Beauty Company like a duck to water.

I have been using both lotions for 2 months now with the Vitamin C on my face and the Azelaic Acid on my hands and feet.  The packaging of the Vitamin C warns that a slight tingling sensation can be expected but, unless I really slap it on, I don't feel anything.  It could be my skin has acclimatized to vitamin acids after years of prescription strength Vitamin A but I stopped Vitamin A years ago because I couldn't stand the constant peeling and flaking anymore.  I think my skin just reacts better with Vitamin C.  Within 3 days, I noticed my skintone was so much brighter.  I still have the freckles but I do think it helps to fade a tan.  I wear bareMinerals Complexion Rescue tinted cream with SPF30 during the day as I do think it is important to use a high SPF whilst tackling sun damage.  I tried the Vitamin C under the tinted moisturizer but the moisturizer balled like mad so I switched to using the Vitamin C at night.  I was told by the store clerk that the Azelaic Acid is slower at tackling uneven skin tone.  The tan lines on the tops of my feet caused by wearing sandals all summer did fade away but I wasn't sure if it was because I wear boots all winter or because of the Azelaic Acid.  I tried the Azelaic Acid under the tinted moisturizer in the daytime but it caused balling as well.  All in all, I am really impressed and went back to buy a second tube of Vitamin C.  I am really curious to try the Lactic Acid as I have never tried an acid peel before and I have heard that lactic acid is very mild and a good introduction into the genre. I am even tempted to give their retinoid offerings a go. Have you tried anything from The Ordinary?  If so, what are your impressions?

This is not a sponsored post.  Affiliated links may be added in the future.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: La Vie En Rose Flannel Pyjamas and Clif Energy Bars

You know you have turned the corner into adulthood when all you want for Christmas are practical things that add value to your life.  Top of my list were pj's that I could button up the front.  Now that pulling sleep tees or any kind of tee over my head has become a monumental task, I became obsessed with finding comfy pj's that I could actually put on without assistance.  Forget sexy lingerie.  However, a casual stroll through the local mall before Christmas quickly devolved into an obsessive, panicked trek as all I could find were miles and miles of...sexy lingerie. Is this what designers think women want to wear in the middle of a Canadian winter?  In despair, I tasked Monsieur with my Christmas list which consisted of one thing and one thing only, pj's that buttoned up the front.

And this is what I got on Christmas Day.  I include them in this week's Weekly Roundup because I have been living in them for the last month and a half.  Monsieur thinks they are incredibly cute and loves the bright red.  He scored them at La Vie En Rose.  He said that there wasn't a great deal of choice as the other pj's had cartoon like designs printed all over them and the red one was the least offensive.  I wouldn't have cared if they had giant smiley faces all over as I was so pleased to have something I could put on without assistance.  Would you like to see a post on what to wear when faced with a physical challenge?  It would just focus on challenges faced with the upper body and would, obviously, be from my perspective and what solutions I have come up with.  Let me know in the comments!
Another thing I have been obsessed with are Clif Energy Bars.  There was a point when even lifting my arm to fork food into my mouth was an arduous painful endeavor.  By the time dinner was over, I felt like I had run a marathon and would topple into bed afterwards, exhausted and dispirited.  You know you have hit a low point when eating, one of the most primal of pleasures in life, no longer interests or captivates.  Then I stumbled on Clif Energy Bars.

I have never been a fan of granola bars (or the newly styled energy bars).  By the time I got to the middle of the box, I would be bored senseless with the compressed horse feed masquerading as human food.  But these Clif bars! I am especially fond of the white chocolate and macadamia nut one. Densely soft and squidgy but still satisfyingly chewy, it has that perfect balance between salty and sweet.  It is definitely an energy bar.  One evening, caught up in the late night munchies, I downed a bar and was so jacked up that I was unable to sleep for hours.  Hmmm, I think I am going to go munch on one now.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day: Valentine's Day Makeup and Francois Nars Eye Paint


Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day.  I know this day gets a bad rap as being gimmicky and commercial.  Perhaps we should start a movement to rename it Hyyge Day?  Have you heard of "Hyyge"?  It has been sweeping the internet.  A day dedicated to being comfy and cozy and living slowly and intentionally sounds good to me!  
I picked up Nars Eye Paint in Iskandar recently.  It had been sold out at my local Sephora for months.  The Eye Paint line consists of mainly metallic and shimmer finishes and Iskandar, a dark gold, was the only one that was constantly sold out.  I had really wanted it for New Year's Eve as I thought it would add a lovely touch of glamour.  So, when I saw a couple of pots appear on the shelf just in time for Valentine's Day, I swooped one up.  I have had to give up my beloved ink eyeliner as it requires a steady hand, not a hand shaking from pain.  I have been on the lookout for something that would be easier to apply and be longlasting so that even when I am ugly crying, I know that my makeup looks fabulous. Ha! I had tested it out on my hand prior to purchasing it and I can say that once it goes on, it stays on even, amazingly, through a hot shower.

I had read various reviews on the Eye Paint and most of the few negative reviews center around complaints of fallout and that it feels quite "chunky."  I did notice in testing the various shades, that Iskandar seems creamier and easier to apply than the other colours.  Perhaps the formula is slightly different to the others?  I can say that I have not experienced any fallout at all.  I use an ELF small angled brush and am able to apply it very easily.  It is almost like foiled eyeshadow.  A word of warning however, it will show every single wrinkle and crease in your eyelids so I would not recommend plastering this stuff right up to your eyebrows (unless that is the look that you are going for).  Used as a gel eyeliner, in discreet amounts, it draws light to your eye.  Iskandar reads as a subtle antique gold and for me, is entirely appropriate as a modern twist on an every day neutral or to add that touch of soft, romantic glamour to your makeup.  Have you tried Nars Eye Paint in any of the other shades?  I am really keen to try out Ubangi which is a dark metallic navy.
Talk to you soon!  Now go and give a loved one, whether that loved one is of the two or four legged variety, a hug!

This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Too Faced Love Flush I Will Always Love You Dupe And Milani Luminoso Baked Blush

If you have been reading along, you will know that I bought Too Faced's Love Flush blush in "I Will Always Love You" (which is a warm, apricot hue) a while ago.  I have been using it religiously ever since as, these days, I am constantly worrying if I have a wan/horrified/dispirited look to my face and so feel the need to compensate with a bit of colour in my cheeks.

I did try to avoid the bunnies for as long as possible but had to give in eventually.  As I do with Easter chocolate bunnies, I started, quite guiltily and apologetically, with the ears by brushing the ear tips very, very gently.  It was weirdly satisfying to hit pan and then some as it is always nice to know that one has wrung every cent out of an expensive product and done one's best to use up every last crumb.  After all, how often does a woman ever use up an entire eyeshadow?  I love this blush exceedingly, however, there is no doubt that it is rather pricey.  The search was on to find an acceptable dupe before my beloved Too Faced had completely run out.  I had heard many good things about Milani's Baked Blush in Luminoso and so when it went on sale for 20% off, I decided to give it a whirl.

It has a little brush that stores in a mirrored compartment underneath although I prefer to use a full sized blush brush.  There is a slight shimmer compared to the Too Faced blush which is completely matte.  And it is ever so slightly more pink whereas the Too Faced blush is more apricot hued.

I have to say that I really, really like the Milani blush!  The slight shimmer gives you that glowy, lit from within  look that is so on trend at the moment.  It wears well compared to Too Faced's 16 hour promise.  The one thing that concerned me about the Too Faced blush was the "overspray" which I thought was a bit wasteful considering the cost.  There is a bit of a mess with the Milani blush as well but considering how affordable it is, I don't mind it all.  This brings me to the price.  With the taxes and the 20% off sale, it came to well under $8.00 CDN which is a bargain.  Even though you get 3.5 grams with the Milani compared to Too Faced's 6.0 grams, it is still an absolute steal.  I have just noticed that my beloved Too Faced lipstick in "Spice Spice Baby" is running out so am wondering whether I should attempt to find a dupe for it as well seeing as this experiment was, in my books, so successful?  If you have a dupe for that please let me know! 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

LBH January Favourites: Ole Henriksen, bareMinerals, First Aid Beauty, Tarte

Time for another monthly favourites!  I still can't believe that January is done and dusted and I am staring down the barrel towards Valentine's Day.  I visited Sephora on Boxing Day, a place I have never visited on Boxing Day as I didn't think it was a place for finding screaming deals.  However, this time I was pleasantly surprised.

These box sets were $15 each which I thought was a great deal.  The Tarte blush is a full size and the Ole Henricksen Sheer Transformation Creme is 1 fl.oz.  I am in love with the Sheer Transformation Creme.  It has hardly any scent and absorbs quickly and easily.  It doesn't break me out and my skin feels moisturized and hydrated for hours which is no mean feat as I am in the middle of a Canadian winter.  I know the fact that it comes in a pot is an issue in terms of hygiene and keeping the ingredients stable.  However, I figured it was a small enough size that I would probably use it up before these issues became relevant.  I have been applying it twice a day for a month and have about a week's worth left at the bottom.  The wipes have a lovely citrus scent and I have decided to set them aside for when I am travelling.

The only reason why I got the First Aid Beauty set was because it came with a deluxe sample size of Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum which I was really keen to try.  I have been using it on my eyes and it has been doing a good job at keeping the incipient crepey-ness (is that even a word?) at bay.
I picked up a travel sized bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream mainly because the Sephora nearest to my home is constantly, annoyingly sold out of Vanilla 02.  I didn't mind as I thought buying a travel sized tube would be a good way of trying the product without investing in the full size.  Happily, I am obsessed with it.  I used to use Clinique's CC Cream but I have always had issues with Clinique's colour range.  I really wanted something that had a high SPF and didn't require a lot of faffing around to apply, especially as these days, my arms are akin to penguin flippers in terms of usefulness.  Because it is a gel cream, the consistency is wonderfully light and fluffy, smooths on like a dream and absorbs into the skin instead of just sitting on top of it.  It is satisfyingly moisturizing but if you have dry patches, it will cling to them so you will need extra moisturizer or primer.  The coverage is sheer to medium.  Basically, I end up with skin that still looks like skin, just better.

When Sephora finally got a couple of tubes in of Vanilla, I snatched one up even though I hadn't finished the travel size tube yet.  That just goes to show you how obsessed I am with it.  
Did you visit Sephora on Boxing Day?  I am a convert and will definitely be checking out Sephora next Boxing Day!

This is not a sponsored post.  Affiliate links may be added at a later date.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Teeny Tiny Mini 5 Day Decluttering Challenge

Happy New Year!  Yes, I know it is almost the end of January but January isn't over yet so I think I can still wish everyone a Happy New Year?!  This is a different Weekly Roundup than usual.  My health took a turn for the worse and my days are spent in constant, 24/7 pain management.  Housekeeping, never a thrill in the first place, became an onerous, long drawn out process.  Monsieur, bless him, has really stepped up to the plate and is like a man on fire.   He has admitted in the past that he was oblivous to clutter and mess but now demonstrates a heretofore unknown discipline and rigour when it comes to keeping the home tidy and organized.  I still wanted to contribute and help as much as I was able and realized that it was imperative that a bit of decluttering needed to happen just to keep the home manageable.  Now I have tried various methods in the past but doing a 30 day decluttering challenge or even a 10 day challenge has always intimidated me.  If you don't know what a 30 day challenge is, on the first day you declutter one item, the second day 2 items and so on and so forth.  It tends to get more difficult around the 15 day mark (at least it does for me).  So I thought I would start with just a teeny tiny challenge, a 5 day challenge. Here is what I decluttered.

A couple of t shirts as I have great difficulty these days in pulling tops over my head, an unused baking sheet and a decorative plate.

I was really shocked at the amount of expired vitamins and supplements lurking in the kitchen cabinets.  What a waste of money!

Two pumpkin scented candles and a couple of pairs of holey socks.

This last one, an old unopened jar of Giorgio body cream made me do a double take.  If you take a close look, you will see that the liquid has completely separated away from the semi-solids.  

It is like the body care equivalent of not so freshly churned butter with a hard waxy lump floating in a sea of rancid oil.  Ewww!! Imagine slathering this stuff over your body.
So, at the end of 5 days, I had decluttered 15 items.  And when I say decluttered, I mean donated and recycled where possible.  It wasn't hard or intimidating at all.  And that is the point, to make it so easy that you can't help but gain a "win" and the confidence to keep going.  I might try another 5 day mini challenge or even do a series of them.  Please comment below if you would like to join in or have any tips on decluttering!

Linking up with Share Your Cup.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of my faithful readers!  I hope 2017 brings you and your family all that your heart desires.

Scrambling to get the tree up on Christmas Eve.  Here is Monsieur giving it a good watering whilst wearing his Santa slippers.

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