My Skincare Routine!

Hey y’all!

At this point, I don’t think I even need to tell you guys how much I love skincare. I’ve been sharing my favourite products, tips and techniques with you all for over a year now — and honestly, if you’re looking for suggestions to build your own routine, it’s pretty fair to be overwhelmed by it all. Skincare is not something that you learn overnight — it takes years of trial and error, learning ingredients, and knowing your skin type to master it. The one problem with skincare is that there is no magic solution, no “one size fits all”. Everyone is different. Some people benefit from the simplest of routines and products, whereas some may need more complex and multitasking products to achieve clear skin. Some people may love their oils, or serums, face masks or creams that other people found to be incompatible with their skin type. And of course — some people are blessed with naturally perfect skin, whereas some people may require help from aestheticians and dermatologists to put them on the right track. (And if you’ve really been struggling — consider seeing a dermatologist! They’re really the most knowledgeable people out there on the subject).

My skincare routine was not something that I came by easily — it honestly took me years to land on staples for the basics alone. From there, I added in different products, with different ingredients to target different things and experimented with how they worked for me. Some products I totally hated, whereas some were almost what I needed — but I had to search through different brands to find the perfect match for my needs.

I’m sharing my routine with you guys not so you can copy it down step by step and and replicate it perfectly (unless you want to, then by all means do!) as because what works for me will not work for everyone. I just wanted to show you all not only the type of products I use and how frequently I use them, and how each product benefits my own skin. As well, I wanted to show the trial and error that went into creating this routine, and how I discovered what worked for me. For reference, my skin is dry/combo — so if you have a similar skin type a lot of these products may work for you as well!

One last little tip — while I am familiar with my skin type and the products that benefit it, it’s not the only important aspects of skincare. We all have specific concerns we try to target that differ between us all, no matter what skin type we have. For those of you who may be starting from scratch — I think what matters most is finding staples that benefit your skin type, and then adding steps in that target your specific concerns. For instance, your face wash, toner, and moisturizer (the three most basic steps) should focus on complimenting your skin type — whether it be oily, dry, normal, or combination. From there, if you have specific concerns, you can try adding in serums, face masks, eye creams, or oils that target these specifically. In terms of my own specific concerns, I buy products that focus on fixing my puffy/dark/hollow under eye area, my dry skin, balancing my t-zone and dry areas, and keeping my skin firm and bright. However, this one is really up to you — it’s really where skincare becomes the most tailored to you personally.

Step #1: Exfoliation

Product: Peter Thomas Roth’s FirmX Peeling Gel Exfoliant

Skin Type: Normal

Use: 1-2 times per week

This product has been my go-to exfoliator for over a year now, and I’m still impressed by it every time. I personally prefer enzyme peel exfoliators to physical exfoliators when it comes to my face — they feel gentler and more effective to me. This exfoliator is my fave because of how easy it is — you just rub it onto your dry face and all your dead skin just rubs away! I’ve never found it irritating, either — it leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh every time.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #2: Oil Cleanser

Product: Shu Uemera’s Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil

Skin Type: Good for all skin types

Use: Night

This was a recent addition to my line up — but I already can’t really imagine my routine without it. This oil-based cleanser helps to remove any makeup and impurities from my skin, and I’ve noticed how much cleaner my skin feels ever since I began double-cleansing. Oil-based cleansers can remove pollution-based and other unwanted grime that water-based cleansers cannot — which is why it’s important to use both daily.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #3: Gel Cleanser

Product: Tula’s Purifying Face Cleanser

Skin Type: Oily, Normal and Dry

Use: Night

This water-based cleanser has been my holy grail face wash for over a year now. Not only is it super effective in terms of removing impurities, it’s gentle and worked well to help clear up my combination skin. Plus, the probiotic element definitely worked wonders on my skin’s natural balance. It’s a bit of a pain to get your hands on in Canada, but the bottle is so large it lasts at least a year.

Buy it at Tula’s Online Store or Nordstrom!

Step #4: Face Masks

Products: Dr Jart+’s Shake and Shot Rubber Masks, Dr Jart+’s Lover Rubber Masks, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, Fresh’s Rose Face Mask, Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

Use: Night

I’ve included a whole bunch of my favourite masks here, so I’ll keep this short and sweet to help keep this as clear as possible. The two Dr Jart+ masks are single use and come in a wide variety of formulations — meaning you can choose whichever one sounds best for you based on your own skincare concerns. Glow Recipe’s mask aims to refine pores and provide light exfoliation while combating dryness and oiliness, leaving skin plump and soft. Fresh’s Rose Face mask is a fantastic and speedy hydration mask — as well, it would work well on sensitive skin, IMO. The other mask by Fresh — their Black Tea Instant Perfecting mask — helps maintain skin’s youthfulness, adds glow and evens out skin textures. All of these face masks work with all skin types, so it just comes down to choosing what you want based on your personal skin concerns. As well, there’s many fantastic masks out there that I have yet to try — masks really are one of the best ways to personalize your skincare and tackle issues that other products don’t address, so experiment and find what works best for you!

Buy it at Sephora! Dr. Jart+ Shake and Shot | Dr. Jart+ Lover Rubber | Glow Recipe | Fresh Rose | Fresh Instant Perfecting

Step #5: Hydrating Toner

Product: Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner (Original review here!)

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination and Oily

Use: Day and Night

This toner is absolutely fantastic if you’re looking for a non-drying, alcohol-free product to add to your skincare routine. You have to be kind of careful with toners as they can often be sort of drying — but this one definitely has a solid hydration aspect that really helps my skin feel soft and smooth after use. It does a good just of wiping away any excess product or impurities, leaving my skin perfectly clean each night.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #6: Brightening Toner

Product: Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir

Skin Type: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive

Use: Day and Night

I won’t lie, when I first starting starting using this product I wasn’t really aware it was a toner — hence why I use two! Two toners isn’t at all essential to a good skincare routine, but these have both improved my skin and using them together has made my skin super soft and glowy. At this point, I’m so used to using two toners that I’m just sticking with it — I can’t imagine giving one up because they both help me so much! Plus, neither of these really add much time to my skincare routine so it doesn’t matter much either way.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #7: Collagen Serum

Product: Murad’s Rapid Collagen Infusion

Skin Type: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination

Use: Day and Night

I’ve only been using this serum for a few months, but I’m already obsessed. I’ve actually just purchased my second bottle, because I (tragically) have run out of this product already. Not only is this stuff great at anti-aging, but it smells fantastic and keeps my skin looking fresh. Plus, it’s cream formulation makes it easy to apply morning and night without leaving behind any weird residues or messing with my makeup.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #8: Moisturizer

Product: Clinique’s Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator (Original review here!)

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination and Oily

Use: Night

This has been my holy grail moisturizer for as long as I can remember. I just love everything about it — it’s light, non-greasy, leaves behind no residue but still packs a crazy amount of moisture. I love the gel formulation — it just feels so much better than heavy cream-based moisturizers IMO. I really feel like this product is the true definition of “works for all skin types” — I really can’t imagine this moisturizer NOT working well for someone.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #9: SPF Moisturizer

Product: Origin’s A Perfect World™ SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer with White Tea

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination and Oily

Use: Day

It’s universally true that everyone should be wearing SPF every day. Whether you’re outside all day or not, certain UV rays can still filter inside and cause unseen damage. Better to wear sunscreen now than to pay the price down the road, am I right? This is a great morning moisturizer due to it’s high SPF content, so it’s become a staple for me. I have, with time, found it a little to heavy for my skin, which sometimes leaves it irritated — so I’m probably going to be branching out to new brands in the future. But in the mean time, this is a pretty solid product that adds necessary sun protection to my skin!

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #10: Eye Cream

Product: Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination, and Oily

Use: Night

Eye cream is super important to my routine, as my under eye area is my biggest area of concern for myself and my skin. I’ve yet to find the perfect eye cream for me, sadly, but this one is overall a pretty great product. I don’t know that I really need to be using retinol on my skin just yet, so it’s not for me, but if retinol is something you’re looking to try I couldn’t recommend it more.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #11: Lash & Brow Serum

Product: Shiseido’s Full Lash and Brow Serum

Use: Night

Lash serums are another product that I’ve never really found a solid holy-grail product to use consistently over the years — but I finally think I’ve found the one. I’ve actually noticed CRAZY growth in my lashes and brows in the month that I’ve been using this product — for the first time ever, my lashes look really long and healthy, and my brows look nice and full. Plus, the applicator for this product — a doe-foot appliactor — seems a little weird at first, but actually makes applying the product sooooo much easier. I’m worried that I’m going to burn through this product fast since the package is awfully small, but I still think it seems 100% worth it and I’ll definitely be repurchasing.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #12: Balancing Oil

Product: Herbivore Botanical’s Lapis Balancing Oil

Skin Type: Normal, Oily and Combination

Use: Night

Ugh, I am absolutely obsessed with this stuff. I’ve been using it for a while now, but I still look forward to applying it every night. It’s really helped “cure” my combination skin and has helped eliminate the redness from my complexion. Seriously, if this sounds like the kind of product you need you should give it a go!

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #13: Brightening and Firming Oil

Product: Biossance’s Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil (Original review here!)

Skin Type: Normal and Dry

Use: Night

And finally, the last part of my routine — my favourite, holy-grail Vitamin C + Rose Oil. This product really was a game-changer for me. It’s really helped to firm up and brighten my complexion, as well as rebuild my skin’s natural barrier. My incidence rate of zits and blemishes PLUMMETED after I started using this product. If you don’t already have a way to incorporate squalene into your routine, I’d really recommend it — it really changed my skin exceptionally for the better. If this exact product doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for, every product in Biossance’s line includes squalene — so you can take your pick from a crazy range of skincare products!

Buy it at Sephora!

Final Steps

Use: Night

Finally, after I’m done with all my skincare, I finish up for the night with a handful of final steps — I moisturize my body and hands, apply my usual hair oil, rub on a thick coat of lip balm and slick castor oil over my lashes. This way, I can guarantee that not just my face, but my whole body is hydrated and cared for — which leaves me looking and feeling my best.

And there you have it! My skincare routine is rather extensive, I’ll admit — I’m pretty high maintenance. However, that doesn’t mean that you need as complex of a routine to achieve clear skin! Some people honestly benefit most from simplicity — it really just depends. However, I hope you all got a little inspo from this post, or learned something new about skincare! To me, skincare is the ultimate beauty tool and self-care ritual, so I’m really happy to finally be sharing my whole routine with you all.

What do your skincare routines look like? I’d love to hear about all of your all-time fave products, as well as if any of the products mentioned above are part of your day-to-day routine! While I do love my routine, I’m always open to suggestions — so I’d love to hear which products you couldn’t live without!

Have a lovely week, babes! Sending good vibes all of your ways — hopefully everything goes amazing!

Much love,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: June 18th

Hey everyone!

Soooooo, I’ve had this blog for over a year now — which means over a years worth of my Thursday reviews! Back when I started my blog, I actually used to post these on Tuesdays — and it took me a month or so to really get into the rhythm of writing out review-based posts and the structure and format that I desired for my blog.

However, I was also crazy excited to jump right in — and many of my first posts on my blog detailed some of my all-time fave products. However, reflecting back on this posts a year later, not only do I realize I shared a lot of my best recommendations before I really had an audience to share them with — but also, honestly, I could have written them a lot better.

As such, the next few weeks are going to highlight four of my absolute, all-time favourite products that I shared posts on last summer, in the first few months of my blogging journey. And it felt kind of fitting that the first post where I re-share a favourite should be the product I shared my first post on — Biossance’s Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil!

This product honestly kind of revolutionized my love of skincare. I always was a fan, but this product introduced me to Biossance and their squalene based products. Squalene, if you don’t know, is a vital part of your skin’s barrier that is naturally produced by your body. However, with age, you produce less and less — limiting your skin’s ability to block out dirt and pollutants. While squalene has been incorporated into many skincare products and lines before, it was almost always made from harvesting shark’s livers — which is bad for so many reasons. Biossance, however, found a way to create 100% vegan squalene from sugar cane — allowing you to use it without causing damage to animals and the ocean’s ecosystems.

After adding in squalene to my regular routine, I noticed such a change in my skin — I’ve always had relatively clear skin, but after using this product tiny blemishes and irritation where completely wiped away. As well, I could actually FEEL my skin’s barrier rebuilding after a single use — I didn’t even know that it had begun to break down. With environmental pollutants and excess dirt blocked from my skin, it began to look SO much more clear and healthy.

Some other things I love about this product is how thick and hydrating it is — without being greasy. It always absorbs fully into my skin by the morning and doesn’t layer on so thick that it makes my skin feeling like it’s suffocating. As well, the vitamin C element leaves my skin looking hydrated, bright and plump (kind of a weird way to describe it, but it does). I’ve been using this product for over a year now, and I don’t ever plan on stopping — while it seems rather pricey, I’ve only gone through one bottle in a year and a half of use.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been needing in your life, check it out at Sephora! (and if you’re not sure about this product specifically, you can always browse Biossance’s full line — all their products have squalene, and so far, every one I’ve tried has been so worth it).

Happy Thursday everyone — I hope your weeks are going well so far!

Much love,

Meredith

2019 Round-Up: The Best And The Worst!

Hey y’all!

2020 is quickly approaching, and I’m not sure about you guys but I am SO ready for it. I love fresh starts, and New Years is the ULTIMATE new beginning.

To wrap this year up, I wanted to do a little round up of all my favourite and least favourite products of the year. I love discussing all the products that worked best for me on my blog — but until now I’ve avoided discussing what didn’t. I was trying to avoid being too negative in my reviews and content — but at the same time, I feel it’s important to discuss what doesn’t work. If nothing else, hopefully I can save others from learning from mistakes I’ve made.

So before we get into it, this is going to be a two part post: the first part is going to cover my ten favourite and five least favourite products of the year, and the second is going to be my top five favourite skincare and makeup brands, as well as the top five brands I’m excited to try in 2020!

One last little disclaimer — all my reviews, obviously, are personal to me. If one of my “least favourite” products is a product you use and love, or were hoping to try, don’t let my opinions stop you! Some things work better for some people than others, and just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean it is inherently bad. As well, I do not have any bad will for the brands I’m discussing — many of them are brands I love, and while they’re other products are absolute favourites of mine, some just didn’t cut it for me, and that’s okay! The brands I’m discussing, overall, are still wonderful.

So, let’s get into it!

The Best (And Worst) Of 2019

The Best: Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

This product single-handedly changed my skincare. Not only is this the most mega-hydrating serum OR product I’ve ever seen — the squalene content in it really helped to rebuild my skin’s protective barrier. The amount of clogged pores and breakouts I’ve had since starting this product has gone down so significantly that this is officially a staple in my nighttime skincare routine until the end of time. While I do find it a little too heavy to apply in the mornings, I do find applying it before bed and letting it sink in overnight is perfect — my skin feels so soft the next day AND there’s no residue. A lot of heavy moisturizing products won’t absorb fully and leave behind traces the next day, but not this one. Plus, you know that feeling you get when you’re using a new skincare product for the first time and you’re always excited to apply it? A year later, and I still get that feeling every night.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx™ Peeling Gel

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel

There are very few products, no matter how much I love them, that I would deem “perfect” — but this one is one of them. I love everything about this exfoliator; from how gentle it is, to how easy it is to apply and remove. No harsh scrubbing or long mask wait times required — this stuff exfoliates your skin instantly and effectively, and leaves your skin soft and clear.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Biossance Squalane + Bamboo Deodorant

Biossance Squalene + Bamboo Deodorant

It really hurts me to add anything by Biossance to this list, they’re one of my all-time favourite brands. Sadly, this product was a serious let down. I bought it on a bit of a whim in the Sephora check-out line, thinking that a) Biossance could do no wrong and b) I should really switch to natural deodorant anyway. When reading up on reviews after I purchased this product, there were a lot of fairly low ratings, however, there were also a lot of people saying that these comments were from people who didn’t wait out the two week “detox period” you have to go through when switching to aluminium-free deodorant. So I waited out the two week period, smelling absolutely terrible but waiting to love this product once my detox was over. And then the two weeks were up, and I kept waiting. However, I kept sweating through this product within an hour; as well, the scent — which I can only describe as very weird and a little earthy — only made me smell worse when mixed in with my natural body odour.

Finally, my manager at work literally had to confront me about how bad I smelt — which was incredibly embarrassing but also a wake up call that after a month, it was time to call it quits. This deodorant simply did not work for me (and honestly, actually kinda made me smell worse). I wasn’t quite ready to give up on natural deodorant, however, so I switched brands and now find aluminum-free deodorant works better than any other I’ve used in the past. Plus, as Biossance’s product was $17, I was saving a lot of money by switching, so win-win, right?

My recommendation? Instead try: Tom’s Of Maine Natural Deodorant!

The Best: Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Okay, I know I’ve already discussed this product so, so many times before, but it really is amazing. First of all, it smells like lilacs — one of my all time favourite scents. Second of all, it does a fantastic job of exfoliating, and unlike many other exfoliators, the grains do not melt away as you scrub. One of my largest pet peeves with salt- or sugar-based exfoliators is how quickly the exfoliating elements of the product simply dissolve as you use it, meaning you use a lot more product. With this product, I guarantee you, you won’t have that problem. Not only that, but it exfoliates evenly and isn’t too harsh — plus it’s packed with all kinds of hydrating oils, leaving your skin feeling soft as every when you’re done.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Function Of Beauty Shampoo + Conditioner

Function of Beauty Custom Shampoo

You guys already know how much I love this product. After years of bleaching out my hair, I had resigned myself it would likely be damaged beyond repair until I grew it out. I already put so much effort into caring for my hair that I couldn’t imagine what else I could do to revive it. Function of Beauty totally changed that. Not only is it super fun getting the chance to totally customize your own shampoo and conditioner — but it shows real results, too. My hair is SO shiny and smooth now, seriously, it feels healthy for the first time in years. I actually can’t remember the last time, if ever, my hair felt this healthy. Give this product a shot, healthy hair or not, and trust me — you won’t regret it.

Read more about this product in my reviews here and here!

The Worst: Lancôme’s GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara

Credit: @lancomeofficial on Instagram

As I’ve discussed before, I rarely branch out from my select few favourite mascaras, and when I do — I tend to regret it. I’ve made this mistake one other time this year with Milk’s Kush Mascara, however, nothing has ever been as much of a disappointment as Lancôme’s GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara. It’s advertised as some kind of magical all-in-one product that will lengthen, curl, and volumize your lashes — but I really didn’t find this to be the case. Frankly, not only was this the clumpiest mascara I’ve ever tried, but it hardly did anything to accentuate my lashes whatsoever. With it’s fancy curved applicator and incredibly steep price, you’d think this mascara would be a godsend. I really hate to say it, but I found it the complete opposite — it was honestly the worst mascara I’ve ever tried at any price point.

My recommendation? Instead try: Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes or Dior’s Diorshow Iconic OverCurl Mascara!

The Best: Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes

Huda Beauty Neon Obsession Palettes

My idea of “living my best life” would be owning one of each colour of all of these palettes. They are hands down THE most beautiful and pigmented eyeshadow palettes I’ve ever tried. They’re creamy instead of powdery, allowing them to blend seamlessly. My favourite aspect is how they cover every shade you’d need to blend out a full look in each specific colour set in only nine shades. I’ve seen a lot of people who get offset by how “small” these palettes are for their price — but they’re absolutely worth it. Not only are they pigmented enough to give you enough bang for your buck — but they also contain just about as much shadow as any nine pot palette. They’re just arranged in a way to make them purposely compact — making them perfect for travel.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

This year, I finally got back into contouring. I fell out of favour with it back when it was hugely popular, as I often found that powder contour did not give me a natural look — it fact, it often looked muddy. However, after seeing enough videos watching artists use cream and stick contour instead of powder, I felt inspired to try again.

This contour stick is absolutely perfect for getting a seamless blend and natural look. I’ve not once had it look muddy or fake, it applies SO easily and flawlessly creates contour anywhere you apply it. I’m so glad I took the leap to get back into contouring with this product, it’s really upped a lot of my makeup looks!

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes

Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes in “Eat Cake”

After my first ever Kylie Cosmetics haul earlier this year, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of so many of the products I tried. This one, however, was incredibly disappointing. I absolutely adore liquid eyeshadow products for their incredibly pigmented look and easy application — but this product did not live up to others I had tried. It was dry and flaky; it didn’t even last until the end of my eyeshadow application before it had managed to flake off entirely. Not only that, but it took absolutely ages to dry and washed off with only the smallest amount of water. Even if you manage to apply this product well, it would never last a day without flaking or melting off in rainy weather. I’m sad because it was so beautiful, but definitely not at all worth it.

My recommendation? Instead try: Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow! (You can also read my review on this product here).

The Best: Lilly Lashes

Lilly Lashes in “Miami”

Lilly Lashes, along with Sephora’s Luxe Lashes, are one of my two all-time favourite lash brands. If you know me, you know no look is complete without lashes — I literally feel naked without them. While Sephora’s lashes do give an incredibly flawless and real look, Lilly Lashes are bold and long-lasting. Seriously, so long as you take good care of these lashes, they’ll last you forever. For something as delicate as lashes, that’s pretty impressive.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Cover FX Custom Beauty Drops

CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops

I’m sure I’m not alone in this when I say dewy skin > matte skin makeup. For the ultimate dewy skin look, I love Cover Fx’s Custom Beauty Drops! Not only do they give THE most natural yet blinding highlight — they’re extremely versatile. These drops can be added to foundation for a natural glow, applied underneath or on top of your makeup for a subtle or bold look, used as an eyeshadow, inner corner highlight, mixed into gloss and more! The possibilities are pretty endless — you can really use this product however you want. If you ever get the chance to test this product out, you’ll be sold in a heartbeat — they have so much depth to their colour and blend so flawlessly. They’ve become an absolute staple in my makeup routine.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

This might be a hugely unpopular opinion, but I’m not crazy about Glossier. While some of the products I’ve tried have been pretty great, it’s certainly not my all-time favourite brand or anything. While I do adore the Balm DotCom, and I do find the Cloud Paint/Haloscope duo gives me a great little glow if I’m in a rush to do my makeup — I really was not a fan of their skin tint product. This product really doesn’t do anything at all for your skin — I honestly couldn’t even tell where I had applied it or not as it made such a little difference. Nothing else about it is inherently bad, per se, but I feel like I would have been better off saving my money and just not wearing any kind of product on my skin, as it looked the same either way.

My recommendation? Instead try: Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer! (You can read my review on this product here).

The Best: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray

Urban Decay has been my go-to setting spray since I started even using setting spray at all. Seriously — I’ve never used another brand. I have, however, tested out just about all their setting sprays (and even some of their spray-on primers) and I have to say, this one is the best. While their other setting sprays are all wonderful — there’s a reason All-Nighter is their most well-known (and yes, its because this product will literally make your makeup last all night). However, when I decided to branch out and try their “Environmental Protection” spray instead, I was pleasantly surprised. It lasts every bit as well as the original All-Nighter spray, but I did notice an improvement in my skin after use. This product is designed to help keep out harmful pollutants in the air we all come into contact with every day — and based on my skin’s appearance alone, it definitely holds up to that promise.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer!

Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer

This concealer has been my holy grail under-eye product since I first ever started using it. I chronically suffer from dark, baggy under eyes — seriously, no matter how much sleep I get and how much stress I avoid, they always look like I haven’t slept in weeks. Not only is this concealer super pigmented, it has a thick yet creamy formula that helps to hide all discolouration and dark circles — no colour corrector required. On top of that, this concealer does a MUCH better job of not settling into fine lines and creases than any other product I’ve tried. It lasts all day without wearing off even a little, so once you’ve got this applied your under eye area will look as flawless as if you’ve just gotten back from a month-long uber relaxing spa get-away. Seriously, this stuff is that good.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Liquid eyeliner is another trend I’ve really started to get back into this year. Back in high school winged eyeliner was literally my “thing” — my friends even coined a nickname for me because of it. (It was “Nike” if you’re wondering). I kind of stopped with the liner for a few years, but this year I was ready to give it another shot. Back in high school, I had two go-to liner brands — Stila and Kat Von D. When I went to Sephora, however, they were out of Stila’s liquid liner, so I went for the latter. I know Kat Von D may not be the best role model, but I honestly didn’t even know which other brand to try. The result? I honestly cannot remember why I loved this liner so much in high school. It’s strange brush-type tip makes it incredibly hard to achieve a sharp point at the end of your wing, and it easily gets overwhelmed with eyeshadow — causing it to apply unevenly, dry out, and appear more of a dull grey rather than a nice, black line. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough at makeup in high school to really notice, but this product was a major let down.

My recommendation? Instead try: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner (or, my new favourite — Gel Liner and a brush)!

My Top Five Skincare Brands

Biossance

Credit: @biossance on Instagram

Herbivore Botanicals

Credit: @herbivorebotanicals on Instagram

Ouai

Credit: @theouai on Instagram

Fresh

Credit: @freshbeauty on Instagram

Dr. Jart

Credit: @drjart on Instagram

My Top Five Makeup Brands

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Credit: @anastasiabeverlyhills on Instagram

Huda Beauty

Credit: @hudabeauty on Instagram

Kylie Cosmetics

Credit: @kyliecosmetics on Instagram

Nars

Credit: @narsissist on Instagram

Tarte

Credit: @tartecosmetics on Instagram

Top Five Brands I’m Most Excited To Try In 2020

ColourPop Cosmetics

Credit: @colourpopcosmetics on Instagram

Glow Recipe

Credit: @glowrecipe on Instagram

Charlotte Tilbury

Credit: @ctilburymakeup on Instagram

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Credit: @jeffreestarcosmetics on Instagram

Farmacy

Credit: @farmacybeauty on Instagram

And that’s a wrap on everything from 2019! It’s crazy to think we’re officially two days away from the new year and a WHOLE NEW DECADE. I, for one, could not be more excited to see what the new year will bring. This upcoming year should be one of new beginnings, and it’s definitely for the best! I can’t wait to see what goals I accomplish and what changes will be made by this time next year.

Do you agree or disagree with my reviews? I’d love to hear it — especially if you love something I didn’t. As well, I’d love to hear all of your favourite brands of 2019 and what you’re hoping to try in 2020 — I’d love a little extra inspo!

Stay tuned next Sunday to hear all about how to make the perfect, maintainable and achievable New Years Resolution! A lot of people feel all kinds of pressure to completely redo themselves come each new year — which can have a lot of negative impacts. If you’re interested, I’m going to be sharing next week how I set attainable goals for each year that help push me in a positive direction towards being the best version of myself.

Happy end of December, y’all, hope the holiday season has been treating you all well!

Xo,

Meredith

Holiday Gift Guide #2: Skincare Edition!

Hey everyone!

Happy December, and welcome officially to the Holiday season! This week I’m going to be sharing the second instalment of my Holiday Gift Guide series — Skincare Edition! For anyone who follows my blog regularly, you’ll already know I’m huge on skincare. Not only does it have the obvious benefits of giving you a clear, smooth complexion — it can also be an act of self-care, a nighttime routine, and a way to boost your confidence.

This is exactly why skincare makes such a great gift — it can have so many purposes! Whether its splurging on something someone else wants but doesn’t want to spend loads of money on, putting together an at-home spa night, or just sharing a product you love with others, there’s a skincare product out there that will make a great gift for anyone in your life.

All of the products below are some of my tried-and-true, all time favourite products. Many of these I use every day, and none of them have ever failed me before. As well, all these products are generally suited for all skin types, so if you don’t know the specifics of the person you’re gifting for, that’s okay! You may already recognize a few of these from my weekly “Favourites” segment, but I’ve also incorporated some products I haven’t gotten the chance to post about yet. Either way, I hope this post helps give you some great gift ideas, or inspire new ideas for gifts you’d like to gift to others in your life! (Or, you know, just products you want to try out for yourself. There’s no shame in that!).

For Someone Looking To Moisturize And Rebuild Their Skin’s Natural Barrier

Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

This product right here is probably my all-time favourite skincare product. For those of you who’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you’ll probably remember that this serum was my very first ever product featured in my weekly Favourites segment. The Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil is a great product for almost everyone, as it both helps to hydrate and firm the skin — as well as rebuild it’s natural barrier. Squalene, an ingredient found in every Biossance product, it vital to the skin’s protective barrier that keeps pollution and dirt from entering into our skin. However, as you age, your body begins to produce less and less squalene naturally, which is why it’s important to reintroduce it via your routine. Don’t let its price deter you — one bottle lasted me an entire year. While this product is pretty universal in terms of skin types it works for (as it is a rather lightweight oil formula), Biossance has a whole line of products that contain Squalene. If you’re looking for something a little better suited to the person you’re gifting for’s personal needs, be sure to check out their whole line for more inspo! (I’ve tried two other products from their skin care line that I personally adored, so I’d say no matter what you end up purchasing it’ll likely make a fantastic gift).

Feeling inspired? Check out the Biossance Rose Vitamin C + Squalene Oil here! You can also check out the entire Biossance line at Sephora here.

For Someone Who Wants To Add A Little Brightness To Their Complexion

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Know someone hoping to add a little brightness to their complexion? The Caudalie Beauty Elixir spray is the absolute perfect gift. This spray makes a great addition to any skin care routine, and can also be used periodically throughout the day to help freshen up your skin! I’ve been using this product for years now and love how fresh it keeps my skin feeling and how simple it is to use. Dull skin has never been much of an issue for me, and I definitely have this spray to thank for it. As well, this spray works on all skin types (even sensitive) so if you’re worried about not knowing the specific skin type of the person you’re gifting it to, it shouldn’t be a problem. As well, this product can double as a makeup setting spray for anyone trying to avoid harsh chemicals in their makeup routine!

Feeling inspired? Check out the Caudalie Beauty Elixir at Sephora here!

For Someone Looking For A Gentle Toner

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

While toner is a vital step in many skin care routines, a lot of toners can include alcohol or other ingredients in their formulation that causes them to dry out skin. If you have someone in your life who’s totally over toners only causing them to break out, consider gifting them to Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner! This toner is incredibly gentle and super moisturizing, making it a great solution for just about any skin type. This toner is formulated with so many fantastic ingredients that help moisturize your face, rather than irritate and strip the skin of it’s natural oils. Some of these include Rose Fruit Extract (known for its toning abilities), soothing and nourishing Rosewater, and Angelica Leaf Extract to help retain moisture. If you want to know more, be sure to check out the Favourites post I wrote on this product!

Feeling inspired? Check out the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner at Sephora here!

For Someone Who May Be A Little Tired After The Holiday Season

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks

Look, while the Holiday season is an incredibly fun time full of joy, giving, and family, it can also be incredibly exhausting. The month of December is often jam-packed with travel, shopping, exams, deadlines, and more — it can really take it’s toll bay the time January rolls around. For those of us (since I definitely relate to this) who struggle with dark circles and under-eye bags, we can end up looking a little rough by the time we arrive back to school and work. If you know someone who’s got a lot coming up this month, consider the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks as a gift! I received these in my fall FabFitFun box this year, and I instantly fell in love. These little masks do absolute wonders for brightening your eye area, so if you know anyone who’s going through it this Holiday season, treat them to a little self-care with these masks to help get them through this month looking their best.

Feeling inspired? Check out the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks at Sephora here!

For Someone Who Wants An All-Natural Spa Night

Lush BB Seaweed and Brazened Honey Masks

For the environmentally conscious/vegan lovers in your life, look to further than Lush for the perfect face mask gift. Not only are these masks formulated all-natural (and truly stellar) ingredients, they absolutely work wonders on your skin. For a few years, I avoided purchasing these masks due to my busy student lifestyle and the inconvenience of these masks short shelf-lives, but when I reintroduced them into my skincare routine I was really blown away by the results. Not only do these products pack all-natural, vegan ingredients — they have serious results too. These masks come in all kinds of different formulas for every skin type, but my personal favourites are the Brazen Honey and BB Seaweed. The best part about these masks is that if you save up five containers, you can take them back to Lush for recycling and they’ll gift you a free mask! What more could you ask for?

As a quick side note — these masks DO require refrigeration, which is something to keep in mind before you gift them. (So don’t wrap them up and leave them under the tree for weeks before Christmas!)

Feeling inspired? Check out Lush’s face mask line on their website here!

For Someone Who Wants To Try A New Skincare Trend

Dr Jart+ Rubber Lover and Shake and Shot Masks

As far as single-use face masks go, the Dr Jart+ Rubber Lover and Shake and Shot masks are hands-down my favourite of all time. Now, I don’t wanna give away TOO much info on these products, since I have upcoming Favourites posts scheduled for both of these coming soon. However, I will say these make incredible gifts because between the two of them, there’s a formula for every skin type and skincare concern. As well, no other single-use mask, or really any mask for that matter, has given me as strong and immediate results as these two have. These masks will make a perfect gift for just about anyone in your life, as they’re super on-trend (who doesn’t love a good rubber mask?), effective, and fun. Plus, they’re a bit of a splurge, so I personally never really buy them for myself without a big event coming up — making them a great gift for anyone who needs a little extra pampering who wouldn’t indulge in something like this for themselves regularly.

Feeling inspired? Check out the Dr Jart+ Rubber Lover and Shake and Shot masks at Sephora!

For Someone Looking For A Little SPF

Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer With White Tea

I only just recently purchased this product, but it too already has a Favourites post being released soon. However, I still wanted to share it in this post because I believe it would make a FANTASTIC gift. The Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer with White Tea makes a pretty great present as it really helps add a little SPF to your morning skincare routine, which is something all of us need. It can be a challenge to remember to wear sunscreen every day, especially since it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking we don’t need it during the cloudier months. However, UV rays can cause a lot of damage to our skin, causing premature aging and hyperpigmentation; and of course, some very serious health concerns. For anyone in your life who hates face sunscreen, or needs a way to incorporate sun protection into their daily routine — look no further! This cream is also super luxurious and moisturizing; it feels lovely, smells amazing, and is guaranteed to make anyone excited to apply it every morning!

Feeling inspired? Check out the Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer with White Tea at Sephora here!

For Someone Who Knows Healthy Skin Comes From Within

Active Collagen Supplements

For anyone really looking to up their skincare game, consider gifting some collagen supplements! While many skin care products contain collagen, the best way to boost your body’s collagen production is to ingest it, rather than let it absorb through your skin. For anyone who doesn’t know, collagen is one of the most important components in retaining our skin’s elasticity. With time and aging, wrinkles begin form from decreased collagen production. Therefore, collagen intake is vital to retaining youthful skin, avoiding wrinkles, and any anti-aging skincare routine. However, these pills do tend to be a little pricey, which can deter people from purchasing them for themselves. If you know someone who’s been considering trying them out but a little put off by the cost, they can make an amazing gift! As well, they really help to add to the routine for anyone who’s all about adding skincare to every aspect of their life.

Feeling inspired? Check out some Collagen Supplements online here! Alternatively, you can find them at your local health and wellness pharmacy or food store.

And that’s it for this week’s ideas! Hopefully you all got a little something out of it — whether it’s for others or yourself (once again, no judgement here). Skincare can be a tricky gift to give as it’s obviously all super personal and varies hugely from person to person. However, all the ideas I’ve shared here are gentle on the skin and work for all skin types — so they should make a great gift for just about everyone. As well, if you didn’t find the inspo you were looking for from this post, you can always check out my first Holiday Gift Guide: Skincare Edition!

Happy December guys, I hope you all have a great month ahead of you! It’s the last one until we start the new year, so be sure to hustle towards finishing any goals you have left for the year before it ends. You can do it!

Xo,

Meredith

My Sephora Wishlist!

Hey friends!

As promised last week, here’s my Sephora wishlist. Currently, all the products I’ve had my eye on are either clean skin care (since you all know skin care is about 75% of my beauty routine) and eyeshadows.

I’m not always one to branch out in terms of new products — if I love something I tend to repurchase it until the end of time. Honestly, If I had endless money to justify having like, 15 different bronzers, blushes, highlighters and foundations God knows I would — but I’d probably end up sticking to the same products for daily use anyways.

However, there’s some products that I find having a range has more of an impact — you know, things where colour comes a lot more into play such as lip products and eyeshadow. While I buy new lip products a lot more spontaneously, eyeshadow is a much bigger commitment for me — it’s so expensive and I don’t do crazy eyeshadow looks all that often, so it has to be worthwhile.

Anyways, enough with my rambling — here’s all the clean beauty and eyeshadow at Sephora I’m dying to try!

Neon Obsessions Palette in Pink
Credit: Sephora.com

Okay, I’m really not one for crazy eye shadow looks — as much as I adore them, I find they often are challenging to execute (especially if I’m running late) and often look not so great on me. Even when I do experiment with eyeshadow, I usually stick to smoky or gold tones. That being said — this palette is GORGEOUS. If I ever was going to go totally crazy with colours, I’d definitely go for neon — and I love the shades in this palette. Even the two other colours in green and orange I’d be down to give a try. Plus I’ve owned some of the Huda Obsessions Palettes before (in Smoky, Topaz and Sapphire) and the pigment and quality of these shadows are amazing, don’t let their small size deter you. Find it at Sephora here!

Pat McGrath Labs Eyeshadow Palettes
Credit: Sephora.com

Okay, I’ve been dying to try out some of Pat McGrath Labs products since, like, forever. I’ve swatched a couple of their products at Sephora every so often and they are absolutely to die for. Seriously, everything from this line is just about the most high-quality product I’ve ever seen. However, at $170 per eyeshadow palette, it’s definitely a bit of a commitment. Fingers crossed I’ll get the chance to test some of these out soon, though. Find them at Sephora here!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Palette in Soft Glam
Credit: @loveofburgundy Instagram

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll already know I absolutely love ABH. I’ve tried out so many of their products and honestly? I’ve yet to find one I didn’t like. I’ve already tried out a number of their eyeshadow products in the past, but I’m dying to get my hands on the soft glam palette. I think the colours are just gorgeous, and have been super inspired by my long-time friend Erin to try out more of their eyeshadow collections. (BTW, you should go check her out! Her instagram is @loveofburgundy and it’s absolutely fabulous). Also, be sure to check out the product at Sephora here!

Like, Everything By Herbivore
Credit: @herbivorebotanicals IG

Herbivore is a brand that I’ve only recently been introduced to but absolutely ADORE. I haven’t yet gotten the chance to test out any of their facial products, but I have countless on my list for when I finally get the chance. In particular, I’m hoping to test out their facial oils — I love their whole “mix and match” concept. The Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative definitely has my eye as I haven’t tested out Retinol-based products in my skincare routine yet. As well, I’m certainly looking to give the Lapis Balancing Facial Oil, Phoenix Cell Regeneration Oil, and Orchid Youth-Preserving Oil a try! You can certainly count on me testing these out soon and I’ll absolutely update when I do.

Biossance Squalene + Marine Algae Eye Cream
Credit: Sephora.com

I really didn’t want to name an entire brand I’ve been hoping to try but let’s face it, I’d love to test out everything at Biossance as well. You guys already know I’m crazy about this brand and have seen amazing results from their products, particularly their Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil. However, as I’ve totally mentioned before, my under-eye bags have always been a huge concern of mine. While I’m currently loving the Dr. Brandt No More Baggage gel, I’d love to test this product out as well. Plus, Biossance has their own Phyto-Retinol Serum that I’d love to try as well — also featuring Bakuchiol which is supposed to reduce irritation. Check out the eye cream at Sephora here!

Have you tried out any of these products? If so, drop a comment below and let me know what you thought! If you guys have any products you love or are dying to try drop me a message since I’m always looking for new suggestions (as if my list of products to try wasn’t already long enough!).

Much love,

Meredith