This Thursday I’m going to be covering a product that is still relatively new to me — which only speaks to how quickly I’ve fallen in love with it. While I only received the Dry Bar Prep Rally Spray in my Winter FabFitFun box only two months ago, I already know that I’m going to be repurchasing this product as soon as I use it up.
Before receiving this product in my box, I’d been searching for a long (like, seriously long) time for a good, go-to heat protectant spray. For the longest time my go-to was the Pureology Colour Fanatic Beautifier Spray — my hairdresser sold it to me, and I really didn’t know enough about hair products to know if I even liked it or not. While it certainly was a good product — in retrospect it became heavy and sticky quickly just by spraying in the tiniest bit too much. However, upon switching to a Vancouver hairdresser Pureology became increasingly harder to find (a huge struggle, since it literally used to be the only brand I used on my hair). Ever since then, I’ve just been switching around from one heat protectant to the next, never really settling on something long term.
I was just finishing up a sample bottle of Bumble&Bumble’s Thickening Spray (which was actually pretty good) when I received this bottle. And while the Bumble&Bumble spray was good — this one was better. I believe the hallmark of a good heat protectant is that once your hair is all dried and styled, it should be as if you never sprayed any in at all. There shouldn’t be any stiffness, greasiness, heaviness or stickiness to your hair — but there also shouldn’t be any heat damage whatsoever. Dry Bar’s Prep Rally spray, so far, has met all of these requirements.
Not only does this spray smell fantastic, it’s nice and light too — once you’ve dried your hair, there’s no evidence or feeling you ever sprayed it in to begin with. Really, the only evidence I’ve been using it at all is that my hair remains undamaged since I’ve started using it. While I’ve used products in the past as heat protectants that I felt didn’t leave behind much of a residue — this one really seems as though nothing remains behind at all. My hair just feels like smooth, shiny, soft and healthy hair — as if it were au natural.
Does this sound like the heat protectant you’ve been needing in your life? Be sure to check out DryBar’s Prep Rally Prime & Prep Detangler at Sephora here!
I hope you’re all having an amazing week — we’re just about one week out from the end of January, so be sure to hustle towards achieving all of your monthly goals! Personally, I’m having a bit of a rough week — I came down with the flu on Tuesday and it’s really been taking a toll on me. If you guys have any tried-and-true flu remedies, I’d love to hear them! Drop a comment and let me know what makes you feel better quickly when you’re sick. I have a long week ahead of me — especially considering that I’ve had to take two days to recover already — so I have a lot of catching up to do, on top of next weeks tasks. Wish me luck!
Growing up, I honestly never paid much attention to my own hair. I never straightened or curled it, I didn’t choose shampoos based on my hairs needs, and with exception of a brief period in time where I regularly used moroccan oil, I really didn’t add any other products to my hair.
However, as time went on, I began to experiment one product in my hair regularly: hair dye. During high school and my early years in university, all I wanted to do was dye my hair all kinds of colours. My mom wasn’t much of a fan, so I wasn’t allowed to go to crazy — I was mostly limited to colourful streaks (I usually went for purple or red). However, university rolled around and with my newfound freedom came that classic eighteen year old need to do something a little crazy. However, I still to this day haven’t been able to commit to a single tattoo idea (even though I really do want one) and the concept of box dye scared me, so, I went to Lush and bought some henna. (As I’ve discussed before, DO NOT BUY THIS WITHOUT DOING RESEARCH FIRST. You can’t dye your hair again until all the henna dyed hair has grown out and has been cut off. If you have no intention of dyeing your hair otherwise for the next year or so, by all means go for it! Just make sure you consider what you may want in the future and do a little research first.)
However, it wasn’t until I started dyeing my hair blonde that I really realized the importance of caring for my hair. While I loved being blonde, bleaching your hair can be a super damaging process (especially when your hair is as dark as mine is). For the first few months, my hair was always frizzy and dry — and suddenly I was thrown into the world of hair care and hair masks.
Over the years, I’ve used many masks and treatments — some I loved, others I didn’t. While I’ve eventually had to give up on certain brands simply because their products were too hard to find or repurchase, I’ve finally found what actually might be the PERFECT mask — and, I can just get it at Sephora!
As many of you guys already know, Ouai has quickly been becoming one of my favourite brands for hair and body products since I first received their Leave-In Conditioner in a FabFitFun box. In fact, this has already been the fourth time I’ve featured Ouai in a Favourites Post — isn’t that crazy? (If you want to hear which of their other products I’m obsessed with, be sure to check themouthere!).
Similarly to their Scalp and Body Scrub, I was introduced to the Ouai Treatment Masque in one of Sephora’s sample boxes — but I just recently purchased this full-sized and I couldn’t be happier with it. First of all, this product is INCREDIBLY thick and luxurious without being heavy or greasy. Honestly, I don’t know how they’ve done it, but not once have I ever used this and felt like my hair felt weighed down after drying it out. While it is super creamy in texture and hydrating in nature, it doesn’t add excess weight your hair doesn’t need — which keeps it looking voluminous and healthy.
Second of all, I have noticed a HUGE difference in the shine and health of my hair since I started using this product. My hair, no joke, is probably the softest it’s ever felt in it’s life. Since my hair still has bleach damage near the ends, I used to struggle a lot with my ends drying out if I went too long without washing my hair. This mask has completely changed that — my dry, frizzy ends are nothing more than a memory now. (Which makes my life a lot easier, honestly, since if I have to swing a dry shampoo day it makes my hair look and feel a lot less gross overall.)
If this sounds like the hair mask you’ve been desperately needing in your life, be sure to check it out at Sephora here!
I hope you’re all having a lovely week and are still soaking up all that post-new years motivation! I, for one, have been having one of the most productive weeks I’ve had in a while — fingers crossed I can keep up this energy for all of 2020!
Don’t forget to stay tuned for my first holiday vacation post this weekend — I can’t wait to share my trip with you all! Over the next two Sunday’s I’ll be sharing both my trip to West Palm Beach and Disney World, Florida with you guys, so get excited to read all about it!
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
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.
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.
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?
The Best: 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.
The Best: Function Of Beauty Shampoo + Conditioner
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
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
For my first favourites post of the month, I’ve decided to share with you all Ouai’s Extra Dry Shampoo. Ouai has quickly become one of my new favourite brands — I already took interest to them after receiving their Leave-In Conditioner in my Spring FabFitFun box, but especially after trying more of their products recently — it’s safe to say I’m in love.
December can be a busy month — with the Holidays coming up and the end of the semester for many of you in school, it’s easy to fall behind. If you’re too busy with trying to achieve your goals before 2020 to keep up with your regular hair-wash schedule (we’ve all been there, I won’t judge) dry shampoo can be a real godsend.
I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with dry shampoo — I often find it either is incredibly powdery and noticeable, or does absolutely nothing at all. Seriously, there’s nothing more frustrating than deciding to forgo washing your hair to save time only to have your dry shampoo change absolutely nothing about your greasy stands. It’s one of my all-time greatest pet peeves.
I’ve gone through all sorts of brands of dry shampoos over the years — I’ve never bought the same brand twice. I was always hoping the next one I’d try would suddenly change everything, but after a couple of years I kinda started to give up on the concept I’d ever find a great dry shampoo. That is, until I bought Ouai’s Extra Dry Shampoo!
This stuff is truly amazing — it does come out super powdery at first, which I was worried about when I first sprayed it on. However, Unlike a lot of other dry shampoos, it actually turns invisible as it absorbs all the grease in your hair, meaning it actually works. I’ve finally seemed to find a dry shampoo that walked the fine line between not being a gross, powdery mess that left obvious residue all over my dark hair, as well as actually doing it’s job.
This dry shampoo is even better than that though — it smells FANTASTIC, and it leaves my hair feeling like it’s actually freshly washed. We all love how dry shampoo can help greasy hair pass as not that dirty, but this dry shampoo goes above and beyond. It actually makes your hair feel really clean — no one will ever know you missed a day in your hair wash schedule!
If this sounds like the dry shampoo you’ve been needing to get through the holiday season, you can find it on Ouai or at Sephora.
I hope you’re all having a lovely start to the month! If you’ve been enjoying my Holiday Gift Guide series so far, be sure to stay tuned for the third and final segment this Sunday! (And if you haven’t caught up and are getting a little desperate for gift ideas, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two!)
20 more days until Christmas and just 27 days until the New Year — it’s hustle season everyone! Go out there and achieve any last goals you need to make this year feel like it’s been a successful one.
So to preface, I apologize for the lack of quality in this week’s posts photos — I wasn’t intending this post for this week, and therefore had to prep photos for this super last minute. However, this means that next week you’ll be getting TWO posts on Sunday, so stay tuned for that! And, without further ado, lets get into it!
This weeks post is for everyone out there who LOVES curly hair, but can’t style their hair to save their life, or anyone trying to avoid heat damage to their hair at all costs.
One fact that I’ve found to be almost universally true is that almost everyone who’s outstanding at a certain aspect of beauty now, started with it young and went through all the terrible learning phases while in high school, meaning they came out into the adult world already having that skill down. Every makeup expert you know probably went through a number of TERRIBLE eyeshadow or brow phases back before the age of Instagram. Every fashion guru probably has an album stashed away of mildly embarrassing photoshoots of themselves in tacky 2000’s style outfits. And every girl who’s seemed to master casual, every day waves has probably owned a flat iron and curler since they were in middle school.
I, however, had short hair for most of my grade school days. After cutting off over twelve inches of hair to donate to cancer wigs when I was eleven years old, I was so taken with my newfound short hair after YEARS of being obsessed with having it as long as it would be that I kept it that way until the twelfth grade. Sometimes it looked cute, a lot of times it looked terrible, but most notably it was too short to do anything special with — much to my dismay every time a fancy event rolled around and I wanted to do my hair. It was uncurlable, and took every hack in a hair stylists book if I ever asked for an updo.
As such, I really never learned how to do my hair or thought to incorporate it into my daily routine — a fact that still haunts me to this day. OKAY, maybe that’s a little dramatic but not only do I always underestimate/forget how much time I’ll need if I want to make my hair look nice before leaving the house, but I also, for years, had NO IDEA how to do anything as basic as even curling my hair. Luckily, with years of trial and error and tips from my hair dresser I’ve gotten a lot better, but i’m still far from being excellent.
This is all exactly why I was so curious when I came across a review on Buzzfeed absolutely singing praises for these heatless hair curlers. People were absolutely raving about them and how simple they were. On top of that, anything I can do to reduce heat damage to my bleached-out ends sounds amazing.
Still, I was pretty skeptical. I tried heatless curlers once before (but a very different style) and it was an absolute mess. Still, after reading enough reviews, I decided to just take the leap. Thank god I did — these curlers are AMAZING. Not only are they super easy to use, you can sleep with them in and it’s not even uncomfortable. They give the same look as using a curling wand, and only a little bit more effort. The only downside is that you do have to wait — it’s not as instantaneous as heat curlers. However, if you’re prepared to sleep with them in it’s no problem — plus, if you take the time to put them in before doing your makeup you can still get a great curl out of them.
As well, your hair should be at least a little damp first. You don’t want to have your hair totally wet either, and it’s a little hard to find a good medium, although freshly blow-dried hair should work just fine. I learned the hard way today that if you don’t dampen your hair first the curls don’t last nearly as well — a good learning lesson but a little unfortunate as I was using them to take photos for this post.
The final result of these curlers is stunning though — it looks just the same as if you spent all kinds of effort with a wand (just minus the burns). I tend to use the medium-large ones to get a more natural wave, but if you’re looking for a tighter, ringlet-style curl this pack includes curlers small enough to give you that exact look. These curls hold fantastically too — which I was incredibly surprised by. Maybe it’s just my lack of knowledge when it comes to hair styling, but I always thought heat was essential to a curl’s hold. Turns out that’s not the case at all — these work fantastic without frying your strands.
If this sounds like the product you’ve been needing, be sure to check them out on Amazon here!
Be sure to stay tuned for a two-special post next week — my Tarte Custom Makeup Kit unboxing, as well as the first part of my surprise 3-piece holiday segment!