Holiday Gift Guide #2: Skin Care Edition!

Hey friends!

I hope the last few days of November are treating you all well! With December now just around the corner, holiday season is starting to get into full swing. When winter holidays are so soon, it can be hard not to stress about gift giving — after all, it’s looking a little different this year. In order to save you from worrying about how you’re going to handle online shopping for gifts this year, I’ve made a compilation of what I consider to be some of the greatest gifts you can give so you can sit back and enjoy the holidays! Feel free to check out my segment from last week on Self-Care Gift Ideas for some extra inspo as well!

Skin care is one of my favourite things in life and, when done right, can make a fantastic gift. Of course, it can be difficult to gift if you don’t know where to start — many people already have their favourite staples, or special skin concerns that may not be compatible with certain products. However, I’ve gone out of my way to compile a list solely of items that won’t interfere with staples and are good for all skin types. As well, I adore all of these products, and my skin is super sensitive — so you shouldn’t have to worry about these products being too harsh on your family/friends/SO’s skin!

With such a wide range of products, there’s a gift here for everyone on your list from the skincare guru to the newbie looking to try something new in 2021. Hopefully, with the help of this list you’ll find something great for even the hardest people on your list to gift for!

Fresh Face Masks

These masks have been a staple in my skincare line-up for years now — so I can certifiably tell you they’d make a fantastic gift. Both of these masks are gentle on the skin and have a visible effect on your skin after just one use. The Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask has a smoothing effect on the skin — it really lives up to it’s “instant perfecting” name — while also leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized. The Rose Face Mask, on the other hand, helps to moisturize and smooth your skin (and if you’re unsure about a person’s skin type and sensitivities, would probably make the safer gift). Either way, however, both of these masks are of the BEST face masks I’ve ever tried and will absolutely, visibly, change your skin for the better.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out the Rose Face Mask and the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask online at Sephora!

Grace & Stella Eye Masks

As someone who tends to struggle a lot with under eye bags, there’s nothing I love more than a good eye mask. These eye masks, which come in sets of 12 and only cost $16.00, making them a pretty solid deal. They have a lovely cooling effect on your under eyes, and come loaded with caffeine to help you look more awake and alert. Basically, these are a gift that’s great for anyone who’s ever had a rough morning and could use a little boost to look like they’re 100% — even if they aren’t (and really, haven’t we all been there before?).

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Amazon!

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

This is a pretty new product that I tried recently and absolutely fell in love with. Glow Recipe was one of the brands I was most excited to try in 2020, and to be honest, it’s one of the best things to happen to me so far this year. Basically, all of their products are amazing, but if you know anyone who’s specifically looking to jump in on the new cleansing balm trend for removing makeup and cleansing your skin, this would make the perfect gift. I’ve tried samples of other cleansing balms, but they just don’t measure up. This product smells amazing and it WORKS. 10/10, would make a fantastic gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

This was the first product from Glow Recipe that I tried, and arguably their best known. From the first time I used it, I knew it was love. This mask leaves your skin feeling instantly softer and plumper and leaves your complexion looking moisturized and bright. Even though this mask uses AHAs to exfoliate, it’s incredibly gentle — and if you gift it to someone who has sensitive skin (like me) they don’t have to use it as an overnight mask — 10 minutes is enough to see results.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel Exfoliator

Exfoliating is a super important aspect of skincare that is so often overlooked. This exfoliator has been a staple for me for years now — it’s so easy to use and works so effectively. All you have to do with this product is gentled rub it over dry skin and watch all your dead cells be wiped away. It’s gentle, never caused me irritation, and is quick and satisfying to use. Do I need to say any more?

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Shiseido Full Lash Serum

I’d absolutely recommend this lash serum for anyone in your life looking for longer lashes. This is one of the few lash serums I’ve used that actually gave me visible results, and the doe foot applicator makes it easy to apply to brows as well. For anyone in your life who’s been wanting longer lashes or fuller brows (and who doesn’t want those things?), this serum makes the perfect gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Biossance Squalene + Tea Tree Detox Mask

This mask is another one of my all-time faves. Biossance has been one of my favourite brands ever since I first tried their Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil, and their products have never done me wrong. I absolutely love this mask, because to me it’s like a gentler version of a charcoal mask. I’ve never been able to find a decent charcoal mask that a) has a visible effect and b) doesn’t irritate my skin, so this mask has kind of been a lifesaver. It does a great job of purifying my pores, and rather than irritating my skin it actually softens it significantly. While charcoal masks may seem like a great gift as they are universally popular, if you know someone with sensitive skin looking for a good purifying mask — this is it.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Single-Use Rubber Masks

These are hands-down my favourite single-use face masks of all time. They’ve recently rebranded these masks a little, but Dr. Jart+ makes some of the greatest sheet masks I’ve ever come across so even if they’re a little different, I’m not concerned (however, I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same). These masks come with ampoule and a rubber sheet mask to lock in the product for the duration you choose to wear it for. It’s a great way to treat someone when they’re needing a little self-care night — these masks are definitely on the pricier side for single use masks, but the results make them oh-so-worth it.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Herbivore Rose Quartz Facial Roller

If you’re worried about not knowing someone’s skin type before buying them a skincare related gift, a rose quartz facial roller is pretty much the perfect way to go. Facial rolling has all sorts of benefits, such as de-puffing, treating fine lines, soothing your skin. It really helps push all the skincare products you use into your skin as well, making sure you reap all the benefits. It really doesn’t matter what age, skin type or routine the person you’re gifting for has — this will be a perfect addition to their skincare collection!

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Mount Lai Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool

This skincare tool is also the perfection addition to any skincare lover’s collection — regardless of skin type. Unlike facial rollers, gua shas held to massage and brighten the skin, as well as sculpt the face. On top of that, they really help to boost circulation and can help stimulate your lymphatic drainage, boosting skin clarity and making your skin glow. Gua shas are simple to use and, like facial rollers, really work well for absolutely everyone — making them a fantastic gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Mount Lai Jade Textured Facial Roller

And finally, for anyone who’s really been needing a way to massage out their face in 2020, Mount Lai’s textured jade roller is the exact gift they’ve been needing. This jade roller is covered in tiny little bumps to help massage out every little knot on your face, leaving your skin feeling beyond pampered and brand new. Even if you’re looking to gift to someone who (gasp) doesn’t really care much about skincare — I think we can all agree we’ve been needing a good massage after this year. Plus, same as all the other facial tools, this product works for all skin types.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

I hope you’ve all been having a great week! It’s crazy how close we’re getting to the end of the year — this year has really been simultaneously the longest AND shortest year of my life. It’s definitely going to be a weird holiday season this year — I’m curious, how do you all plan to spend it? Are you going 100% virtual for the holidays this year, or do you have a plan with your bubble in order to be able to spend some time in person? Whatever it is — I hope you’re all staying safe while still enjoying the holiday season as best you can!

If you’re still looking for some gift ideas, stay tuned for next week’s segment where I outline some of my favourite lifestyle gift ideas for the 2020 holiday season! I hope you guys are all enjoying my gift guide series so far, as well — it took me a lot of effort to put this all together, and all of your comments, reads and shares mean so much to me! So, basically, thank you all for your support — it means a lot.

Much love,

Meredith

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

My Picks: Sephora Sale Spring 2020!

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

Hey y’all! Happy Sunday!

This week marked the beginning of Sephora’s Spring sale, and now kind of feels like the perfect time to treat yourself. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve actually been saving a lot of money ever since Social Distancing was enacted, and it’s been a while since I splurged and got myself something nice. Not only did I need to do a little restock on items I had been running low on, but I branched out and got a couple of new products I’ve had my eye on for a while. Honestly, I’m already a little too excited to try out my new stuff — waiting on a package is 100% more exciting when you’re on lockdown with not much else to do.

If you’re not already familiar with Sephora sales, they often happen around the holidays and offer special rewards for members. The sale kicked off on April 17th for VIB Rouge members offering a 20% discount, with VIB sales starting on the 21st offering 15% off, and will be open to all Beauty Insiders on the 23rd with 10% off basically everything in store. These sales end on May 1st, April 29th and April 27th, respectively. If you’re not a Beauty Insider, fear not — you can sign up anytime, earn points, and it’s totally free!

I figured that I’d use this time to make a little list of products I’d recommend trying right now — some of my all-time faves that I feel would be perfect for stay-at-home enjoyment. This list ranges from skincare, self-care to spring makeup that you can play and experiment with to combat boredom during this time (and just about everything in between!).

Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe

This mask is absolutely perfect for giving your skin a little extra TLC while working from home. First of all, it is SO lovely to apply — it’s lightweight and smells amazing (it’s made with real watermelon, and you can definitely tell). But past that, it’s gentle exfoliating and hydrating effects help to clear your skin and make it glass-skin level clear and glowy. If you don’t really have a solid skincare routine but have looking to get into the habit, now is the perfect time! If you make a routine now, it’ll be so much easier to keep up your routine when your schedule starts picking back up. Plus, you’ll come out from it all and head back to work with flawless skin, ready to take on anything the world throws at you!

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask)

Pastel Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette by Huda Beauty

One of the activities I’m most looking forward to now that I’m done my studies is practicing and experimenting with makeup. This is especially true when it comes to eyeshadow — it’s not something I wear often in my everyday makeup, and I’ve been dying to practice and improve my skills both in terms of everyday looks, but growing my confidence when it comes to more experimental looks as well. These palettes are SO cute and perfect for spring, and are something I’ve been dying to try for a while. Huda Beauty’s Obsessions Palettes, as you guys already know, are some of my all-time favourites, so I know the quality of these palettes is going to be next-level, and I can’t wait to see what they can do.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Huda Beauty’s Obsessions Palettes — post on these ones in particular coming soon!)

Mini Anastasia Beverly Hills Spring Lip Gloss Set

Credit: @anastasiabeverlyhills on Instagram

This is something I purchased for myself this Sephora sale, as they were just recently released. I’m obsessed with these colours and when I saw them, I knew they were the perfect treat for myself as a pick-me-up during these stressful times. I’ve tried ABH’s lipglosses before and the quality of them is insane — they’re so pigmented and beautiful. These are perfect for a cute, nude spring-time look, and I can’t wait to give them a try.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here!

Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish by Herbivore Botanicals

I’ve already made about a billion posts mentioning this product, so you guys all know by this point that it’s one of my all-time favourites. I’m going to refrain from saying TOO much right now, as I’m FINALLY going to be writing a proper review on this product soon (I know — it’s about time!). All I’m going to say right now is that this really is the best exfoliator I’ve ever used (and I have used so, so many). It smells heavenly, exfoliates gently but thoroughly, and is infused with all kinds of oils to leave your skin feeling as smooth and soft as it ever has when you’re done. 10/10, perfect way to treat yourself during these times.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Herbivore Botanical’s Crushed Amethyst Exfoliator here — it’ll be getting a full post of it’s own soon, I promise!)

Treatment Masque by Ouai

I’d highly recommend this product if you’re looking to come out of Social Distancing with the shiniest, healthiest hair of your life. Similarly to exfoliators, I’ve also used many, many hair masks in my life — they were a real lifesaver back when I was bleaching my hair regularly. I’ve come to learn what makes a hair mask just “good” compared to what makes it great — and this hair mask is FANTASTIC. My hair is healthier than it’s ever been — its so smooth and shiny that it basically reflects light and really shows the depth of my hair colour. It achieves all this without being heavy, too — after all my time using this mask, I’ve never once accidentally ended up with greasy hair or heavy roots by accident. This stuff, no joke, has totally revived my hair and I couldn’t be happier with it.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Ouai’s Treatment Masque)

Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm by Fresh

I know I just posted a review of this product, but it really is the best. It’s just so lovely and smooth, and it works wonders on chapped lips. If you’re looking for the perfect lip balm, this is it. And if you were looking for the perfect time to buy it, the time is now! After all, this sale is only on for a few weeks — and this is the perfect little self-care item to avoid dry lips when you’re cooped up in your home all day long.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Fresh’s Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm)

Pillow Talk Instant Eyeshadow Palette by Charlotte Tilbury

You guys already know how much I love this palette. It is THE perfect palette for fresh, glowy everyday looks. It comes with four pre-set looks, that range from every day to nighttime looks. Whether you’re looking to experiment with makeup in your newfound new time, or just want to stock up on staples while this sale is on, this is the perfect time to get your hands on this limited-edition palette.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Palette)

Lover Rubber Face Mask by Dr. Jart+

If you’re planning an upcoming spa night, these masks are a must. First of all, the rubber mask-element are SO fun. But past that, these really are the best single-use masks I’ve ever tried. They legitimately change your skin within a single use and leave your skin looking brand-new. If your skin is looking a little worse for wear lately, or you’re feeling stressed and just need a little pick-me-up — invest in one of these and take a night off for self-care. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Dr. Jart’s Lover Rubber Masks)

Solid Brush and Sponge Cleaner Mini by Sephora

If you’re looking to do a little spring cleaning right now and get your life together during this time off, this is the perfect purchase to grab during this sale. This brush cleaner, which is only $10.50 (!!!) will leave your brushes looking brand new. Not only is it a crazy-effective cleanser, but it doesn’t leave behind any residue and has never damaged any of my brushes in the least. Plus, it comes with a little silicone cleaning pad to help scrub out every last little bit of makeup and grime out of your brushes and leaving them in perfect condition.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Sephora’s Solid Brush Cleaner)

I hope you’re all holding up well in quarantine, and have plenty of tasks and hobbies to keep yourself busy! While, yes, this is the perfect time to catch up on work and be productive, its also a time to relax and take time to enjoy yourself. If you’ve been looking to unwind, take care of your skin and practice your makeup I hope you found plenty of inspo from this list! Just remember, it’s important to be working towards goals, but it’s also just as important to take care of yourself. Don’t worry about using this time to constantly be working on all of your tasks — it’s okay to take a day off to relax, unwind, and do absolutely nothing at all. This is an unprecedented and stressful time — don’t let anyone tell you how you should be spending it! Just do what’s best for you and be sure that you’re taking care of your mental health.

Love you all!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: January 2nd

Dr Jart+ Rubber Lover Masks

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and amazing New Years! 2020 is finally here, so it’s time to getting planning and setting goals to make sure this year is a good one. I love New Years so much because it feel like a fresh start and really helps re-energize me towards setting new goals. Plus, now that it’s 2020, its not just a new year but a whole new decade! Make sure to start it all off on the right foot and stay tuned for my new post coming this Sunday on how to make the perfect (and maintainable!) New Years Resolution.

But enough about that, let’s get into today’s content! I recently discussed the Shake and Shot masks by Dr Jart+, but today I wanted to discuss one of their face masks that I love EVEN MORE. I’m all about starting the new year off on the right foot, and part of that is making sure my skin is clear and healthy to kick off 2020. That’s why I recently invested in a couple of my all-time favourite single-use masks — the Dr. Jart+ Lover Rubber face masks!

These rubber face masks became super trendy a while back as well — but for good reason. The rubber is just a cover for the ampoule that you apply underneath. It really allows it to absorb completely so you can reap 100% of the benefits of the product. No joke, I’ve never had any sort of mask give me as immediate results as this one. As soon as you take it off, your skin looks brand new. I’m always sure to invest in these before big events or whenever I need to look my best, because I know I can count on them to completely rejuvenate my skin.

Another amazing part about these masks is that the rubber mask aspect, unlike many other sheet masks, comes in two parts. I find this helps it fit to your face a lot better, and keeps it from making a mess of the mask or wasting product. As well, the ampoule solution is a thick, creamy consistency so you don’t have to worry about it dripping off underneath.

This mask is certainly a bit of a commitment — it’s a little pricey for a single-use mask, and requires about 30-40 minutes (which is a lot longer than other sheet masks). However, its completely worth it. If I had to only use one face mask for the rest of my life, it would be this one. Seriously, if your skin is really in need of some freshening up, don’t let the price deter you — it really is worth every cent.

If you’re wondering how this mask differs from the Shake and Shot products, I’d personally say this mask has better results. While the Shake and Shot has more formulas (it has six, compared to Rubber Lover’s four formulas), this mask packs a lot more punch and does more for my skin. As well, the Shake and Shot masks are formulated to solidify — meaning they peel off and leave your skin clear and smooth immediately. As the Rubber Lover masks are formulated with a potent ampoule serum, they leave behind product (similar to other sheet masks) to be absorbed after the masks’s removal. I do love the Shake and Shot masks dearly — I tend to go for them when I’m looking for something fun and quick, or for formulas that the Rubber Lover doesn’t provide. They still have an immediate effect and show some serious results — but definitely work differently from the Rubber Lovers (which I tend to go for when I’m really ready to settle in for some serious, immediate results). As well, I particularly love the Clear Skin Lover Rubber mask — a formula not offered in the Shake and Shot — for immediately clearing up my complexion. (Seriously, try it for yourself! Nothing has ever cleared up my skin as much as this mask. It’s unreal.)

I bought a couple of these masks recently so I could prepare my skin for my vacation (posts on that coming soon, I promise!) and also to start off the new year with fresh, glowing skin. Maybe I’m a little superstitious, but I’ve always been a firm believer that having a good start to the new year is vital to how well your year goes overall.

If your skin’s been looking a little worse for wear following this holiday season, be sure to check out the Rubber Lover masks at Sephora! This mask comes in four formulas: Hydration Lover, Clear Skin, Bright Lover and Firm Lover.

Happy New Year, everyone, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and are gearing up to have your best year yet! Stay tuned for this Sunday’s post for the perfect, maintainable New Years Resolution if you really want to start off 2020 in the best possible way.

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