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 30th

Hey y’all!

So first off, my apologies for having this post ready for you all a day late — I’m still recovering a little from my bout of the flu, and I’ve had a lot of schoolwork assigned this week so unfortunately that took priority. But it’s all good now — and better late than never, right?

Today, I wanted to share with you all another product I was introduced to through FabFitFun and absolutely fell in love with — the Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair. As many of you know, caring for my hair has been a huge struggle for me over the last few years. Back in 2015, I decided to go blonde, and while I don’t regret it one bit it definitely made looking after my hair and avoiding damage a huge challenge. Even now, while I’ve returned to my natural brunette colour, I still have residual damage from my dyed-over bleached ends.

Over the years, I tested out so many products to prevent damage to my hair I almost feel like I’m a bit of an expert now. I tried more masks, sprays, creams and conditioners than I can even count. There was definitely a bit of a learning curve involved — discovering there was more products out there than 10-minute hair masks, noticing how some products worked much better than more for others — and most importantly, realizing that leave-in products should NOT be leaving my hair feeling sticky, heavy, and gross.

For a while, I avoided leave-in products for this very reason. It honestly seemed like most of them were more likely to leave residue behind in my hair than actually fix any problems. To be completely honest — I’m not even sure I would have ever tried a product like this one if FabFitFun hadn’t introduced me to it (but I’m so, so glad they did!).

What really makes this product work is how light it is. It’s not really a cream, or even a gel — its a consistency I’ve never come across before. It’s uber-lightweight and almost seems as though the base is made of water — so as soon as you smooth it over your damp strands, it blends right in.

Honestly, I was blown away by the results the first time I ever used this product — it left my hair so unbelievably smooth and soft. I hadn’t had my hair look so shiny and healthy in YEARS. With time, I’ve only grown more sold on it, too. While I received this product in a Fall 2019 FabFitFun box, to this day I had yet to have this product leave my hair feeling greasy, sticky, or negatively effected in any way. There’s been a couple of occasions where I’ve poured some out before blow drying and thought to myself “whoa, that is DEFINITELY too much product”, and yet I still haven’t had any classic leave-in products results. While so many other leave-in products in the past may have helped with the downside of leaving my hair covered in residue or just otherwise feeling a little nasty — this product has all of the benefits, and so far no downsides.

Does this sound like the hair product you’ve been dying to try? Check it out on Aveda’s website here!

Happy last day of January, everyone! I hope you all had a great month and managed to achieve your goals. I’m personally beyond excited for February — I have a lot of big plans that I can’t wait to put into action! What are your February goals? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: January 9th

Ouai’s Treatment Masque

Hey y’all! Happy Thursday!

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 them out here!).

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!

Xo,

Meredith

Tuesday Favourites: October 15th

La Biosthétique Expert Treatment Protection Cheveux Complexe Express Care Volume and Ouai Leave-In Conditioner

Hey y’all!

Quick update — when I started this weekly segment, I simple chose Tuesday because that was the day I wrote my first review on. At the time, I scheduled my other blog posts around this — Sunday’s made the most sense for a weekly post, with a post on Thursday as well to even out the week’s schedule. Since then, however, I took a step back and limited myself to two posts a week — something that has really been working for me and I’m likely going to stick with.

So, now, I’m looking for some feedback. While it feels strange to change the day of a weekly segment I’ve had since the start of my blog, I also feel it would make a lot more sense to move this segment to Thursday and have my posts be spread more evenly throughout the week. What do you guys think? Have my reviews impacted you at all? Do you have a preferred topic — makeup, skincare or haircare? Are you still enjoying this segment, or would you like to see something new? Or, alternatively, would you rather I put all my effort towards one great post a week and abandon this segment entirely? I’d really love to hear from you guys about what’s working for you and what isn’t, and I’ll be sure to update depending on the feedback you guys give me! If you’re really loving the posts and still want one every Tuesday, let me know! Otherwise, I’ll continue the segment on Thursdays from now on (or whatever else your feedback and advice suggests is best!).

Anyways, let’s get into this weeks review. This Tuesday, I decided to discuss some of my hair favourites — the La Biosthetique Expert Treatment Protection Cheveux Complexe Express Care Volume spray and the Ouai Leave-In Conditioner!

As I’ve discussed before, I used to bleach my hair and still have problems to this day with the bleached portion being uber dry and damaged. It takes a lot of effort to care for bleached hair, and for years the products I used just weren’t cutting it. My hair was so dry and frizzy, nothing seemed to help.

With enough time (and a lot of trial and error) however, I found a combination of products that helped my hair grow in healthy and stay healthy, even with all the processing my hair had been through. Since i’ve returned to being brunette, luckily, my hair has already started to grow in more healthy naturally, but these products still do an amazing job of taking care of my bleached-out ends.

The first product, from La Biosthetique, is a leave-in treatment meant to help restructure, strengthen, and moisturize hair. I love this treatment because its so easy — you just spray it into your roots before drying your hair and massage it down to your ends and voila! Since i’ve began using this product, not only has my grown-out, bleached hair become stronger and more resilient, but my hair growing in is so much stronger and healthier than my hair has ever been before, even before I started bleaching it.

The second product, Ouai’s Leave-In Conditioner, is pretty self-explanitory from the name. However, what I love about this specific product is how light-weight it is — it doesn’t leave any residue at all, and doesn’t weigh down the ends of your hair one bit. I was nervous to try this product initially for these exact reasons; I had received this product in a FabFitFun box and had never heard of the brand before. I should have known better, because FabFitFun has honestly never let me down, and neither does this product. I spray a little in my ends before blow-drying, and it helps keep them shiny and moisturized despite how damaged they are.

That’s it for this weeks review! If either of these products sound like just what you’ve been looking for, be sure to check out La Biosthetique’s Leave-In Treatment here and Ouai’s Leave-In Conditioner here!

Thanks for reading y’all! I hope you’re enjoying these segments, and I really would appreciate any feedback you could give, big or small, in the comments below so I can tailor these posts to your best interests!

Stay tuned for this Sunday’s post, and to keep updated on what I choose for the future of this segment!

Lots of Love,

Meredith

My Experience Dyeing My Hair

Me as a blonde, December 2018

When it comes to hair, I’ve pretty much done it all. Cut it all off for cancer donation, had highlights, balayage, ombré, crazy colours, henna dyed it, you name it. But the biggest change I ever did was bleaching it blonde. I’ve since dyed my hair back to brunette, but I was a blonde for the last three years.

I really loved being blonde, but I also felt it was time for a change. I don’t even remember how and when I decided to go back to brunette, but once I decided it was a done deal.

Dyeing my hair blonde, however, was a seriously different process. It took me ages. My hair naturally is incredibly dark brown, which would already be tricky enough lightening to the extent that I did. I had an extra layer of difficultly added (literally), though, as I had previously been dyeing my hair with Henna dye.

I’ll take a little aside here to discuss a disclaimer on Henna as hair dye: it is absolutely NOTHING like other hair dyes, or henna tattoos. I’d encourage anyone considering it to do some research of their own, but I can discuss my experience here (as well as the fallout that came from me not doing any research whatsoever). At the time I was a young, bright eyed first year looking to do something to accentuate my newfound independence. However, I’ve always been somewhat rational in my time being free to do as I please so anything too radical (ie. tattoos, piercings) was kind of out of the question, as that kind of thing I personally would want to put a lot of thought into. When I saw Henna hair dye being sold at a store I won’t name, it sounded perfect. The salesperson hyped it up perfectly: all-natural hair dye that would turn my then-balayage locks a stunning ginger, as well as acting as a hair treatment. I was sold.

Me, after my first round of highlights to go blonde after Henna, December 2015

Henna works amazingly for some people, but there are downsides I was not aware of before I dove in head first. First of all: henna does not come out of your hair. Ever. The colour may fade, you may not be able to see it, but it’s there. If you’re doing it once, or have no intention of ever going lighter, this really doesn’t matter. But when I walked into the hair salon and asked to go blonde, I was shocked to find out that until all my henna-dyed hair had been grown out and cut off, the answer was essentially a no. I eventually started out slowly with highlights a few months later, but honestly, for almost the entirety of my first year blonde my hair always had a strawberry tint. Furthermore, the amount of bleach needed to hide the henna dye as best as my hair stylist could was immense. It totally fried my hair, and all in all it took about a year of highlights to get it to look “blonde”. Even for another few months, it was still dirty blonde at best.

Second of all — although significantly less important — henna is SO difficult to do. Its messy, its hard to apply and to prep, hard to wash out and keeping it in your hair for hours is honestly exhausting. If henna sounds right for you then don’t let this deter you (pain is beauty rings true for this one). But do your research first.

Anyways, back to the real matter at hand: bleaching my hair. I will absolutely never regret doing it, I really did love being blonde. But WOW was it ever high maintenance.

First of all — the upkeep. I know it is to be expected, but before I did it I really didn’t know how intense it would be. First of all, it’s expensive: be prepared to drop a LOT of money on constant hair appointments. Now that I’ve stopped dyeing my hair I’ve had so much of my budget free up for other things. It was worth it, but it was crazy expensive. And for those of us with super dark hair, the amount of time spent in the chair at hair appointments is a lot. I’m talking about 5+ hours each time. It really was so time consuming, especially since I had to go in for highlights every 6-8 weeks.

Me shortly after going blonde, September 2016

Second of all — the maintenance outside of dyeing appointments. I was never great with hair–growing up, I always had shorter hair so I couldn’t do much with it myself. Bleaching my hair was a HUGE learning curve. I use about 4-5 different products before blow drying my hair still to this day, and I absolutely cannot wash it without using a hair mask if I want to help keep it looking healthy. Furthermore, my hair was so fried I could almost never style it. Straightening and curling it, even just once in a while, took a noticeable toll on my hair. I’ve never been one for doing my hair every day, but if I had been it certainly would have been out of the question. I took supplements to help it grow in healthier, but ultimately I just had to be super careful with it 24/7.

All this being said though, I LOVED being blonde. Changing your hair is such a simple and fun way to make a major change in your life with little-to-no consequences. After all, it’s just hair–it can always grow back. If you dye it and hate it, cut it all off and regret it, and just about everything else in between, it’s all temporary. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, I’ve come to realize there’s a reason people going through a break up always start with drastically changing their hair — it’s a fresh start, but also not a permanent one.

My hair the day I dyed it back to brown, March 2019

While I loved being blonde, I also love my brown hair now. It really did feel like a fresh start, and I really loved seeing the reactions it got (particularly from my friends who had never known me with my natural hair, many of whom assumed I was a natural blonde at first). Upon dyeing it back, I immediately noticed a difference in how healthy and shiny it was. I still upkeep my fairly high maintenance hair routine, as most of my hair is still bleached underneath the brown dye, but overall it’s already a lot less overwhelming to take care of now. Plus, a huge bonus of dyeing it brown on top of the bleach is that my hair has slowly changed to a lighter shade in the months since I dyed it, keeping it fun and interesting. I love changing my hair, and it’s absolutely something I’ll keep doing. That’s the best part about hair, it’s all temporary! You can always change your mind. Even I don’t know what I’ll do with it next, but I know that the change will come at some point.

Some last few tips I have: hair should be an investment. It is such a large factor in how you present overall, and is 100% worth splurging on. If you can afford it, get your hair done at a hairdresser. At-home bleaching can work just fine if you know what you’re doing, but if you don’t and have the money to spend getting a professional to handle it, is it worth the risk? Also, and this may be my personal opinion, but hair care products are one of the few things where the cheaper options are often significantly less better than the expensive ones. Cheap clothes, with the right eye, can be paired for an expensive look. The right drugstore makeup will often be praised over high-end brands. There are cheap and DIY skin care options that work wonders with the right formula for your skin. But I really do find that with hair, you’re better off splurging a little. If you’re going to go blonde, purple or colour-treated shampoo is basically a must-have to keep from constant bleaching and upkeep. Hair masks are a good investment to help keep your hair healthy, and I would also suggest an oil or some related product to keep your hair nice and moisturized. I never struggled with dry hair until I bleached it out, but depending on the amount of bleaching it can really end up taking a toll on your strands. Furthermore, be ready for it to take a few tries if you have darker hair, as it can be so damaging to go all the way blonde at once. But all that being said, if you’re thinking about it, go for it! It really is fun to try switching things up, and while I love my natural hair, being blonde really was fun (but more fun than brunettes? Not so sure about that one).

My current hair, May 2019

Of course if you want any more advice, have any advice to give or just want to chat about it at all if you’re considering a switch feel free to hit me up!

Love,

Meredith