Thursday Favourites: May 21st

Hey y’all!

This week I wanted to share with you all a skincare product that’s relatively new to my lineup, but has quickly become a staple in my daily routine. I’m talking about Herbivore Botanical’s Lapis Balancing Oil — one of the many facial oils Herbivore offers in their skincare line. I had been itching to try Herbivore’s skincare products for a long, long while now (as many of you already know, I’ve been a fan of their body products for a while now). However, I sometimes find it difficult to work new products and brands into my routine — why mess with a good thing, you know?

I finally got my chance after receiving a sample of a different balancing oil from Sephora, which I ended up loving. I decided I could use a balancing oil in my regular line-up. And since I knew I wanted to add this oil in the future and change up my routine, why not give Herbivore’s version a try to see if I loved their skincare as much as I love their body products?

Initially, I purchased this product in a sample size from their little “True Blue” skin clarifying duo, so I could get a sense of what this product was like before committing to the full-sized bottle (which is HUGE, and I love how long I know this is going to last me). The duo also comes with a sample size of their Blue Tansy resurfacing and clarifying mask, so I got to try out both at once. When it came to the Blue Tansy mask, it was my first time using BHA products on my skin — and I personally was just so-so on it. I know others love this mask, and if you’re looking for a good BHA exfoliator, I’d still recommend giving this one a shot — it just wasn’t for me. The Lapis Oil, on the other hand — well, it was pretty much love at first use.

Balancing oil, in comparison to other facial oils out there, is meant to reduce redness and blemishes in the skin. As the name suggests, it is meant to help balance out excess oils — making it great for combo skin. Ever since I’ve starting using this oil, I’ve basically been able to kiss any remnants of my past combo skin goodbye — this oil helped neutralize both dryness and oiliness in my face to just leave my skin feeling normal in the mornings. As well, it really helped with redness in my complexion (particularly around my nose, where I always had redness no matter what I tried).

What I love most about this oil in particular, however, is how sheer and non-greasy it is. As far as oils go, it’s incredibly lightweight, and by the morning I always find it’s completely absorbed into my skin. It should be noted that I mix it with my other all-time fave facial oil, Biossance’s Vitamin C + Rose Oil, so I don’t actually know how this product is as a stand-alone. However, the two of these combined every night help reduce any redness in my skin, keep it blemish-free, build up my skin’s natural barrier, add radiance and keep my skin looking firm and beautiful. As well, these products mix together super well and have no problem absorbing by the next day. Together, this products have really upped my skincare game. If I had to choose my favourite part of my evening skincare routine, applying oils in the final step is 100% where it’s at.

If this sounds like the facial oil you’ve been needing to add to your daily line-up, be sure to check it out at Sephora here!

I hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully it’s starting to feel a little summery wherever you’re at right now. This May has been crazy hot for Vancouver, but honestly I’m kind of enjoying it — it’s a little much sometimes, but I love being able to go outside in my summer clothes and enjoy some fresh air for once. After the last few months inside, I kinda really needed it. (And for those of you still under stay-at-home orders or who just need to relax and get their life back in order, stay tuned for my post this Sunday on Spring Stay-At-Home Self Care!)

Much love,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: May 14th

Hey y’all!

Soooooo……. it’s finally happening. For those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll probably already know what this post is about. I have one certain product that has made it’s way on to countless self-care, best product and gift lists without ever having an official post all to itself. Seriously, post after post I find myself mentioning this product — its ended up being mentioned in more of my posts over the last year than I can even keep track of. However, when I tried this product for the first time ever almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a sort of mini-review and it made me feel as though I had already covered it. For a while, I thought giving it a slot in my Thursday Favourites segment was a little redundant. However, it’s become clear over the last year of my blogging journey that not only does this product deserve a post of it’s own on account of how much I rave about it constantly, but at this point the original post was shared so long ago that I’m sure you could all use a little refresher. Plus, with both some improved writing skills and a much deeper familiarity of this product under my belt, I’m hoping this post will do it more justice.

If you haven’t already figured it out, the product I’m referring to is Herbivore’s Crushed Amethyst Body Polish — a staple in my collection and one of my all-time favourites. This was the product that launched my Herbivore obsession, and finally gave me a holy-grail body exfoliator after years of constantly testing and tossing different products with no success. I never had an exfoliator I had purchased more than once — every one I tried had either been too expensive, ineffective, hard to find or just kind of meh overall. Each time, after I used one up, the hunt was on for which one I would try next, which for someone who exfoliates regularly, got pretty exhausting.

While I mentioned in my original post that after just one (yes, seriously) use of Herbivore’s body scrub not only was I in love, but I was fairly certain I was sold on it for life, I don’t think I really realized how true that was. But now, nearly a year later, a brand new jar just arrived in my latest Sephora order and I’m just as excited to start a fresh jar as I was when I first tried it. This stuff is hands down the best body scrub I’ve ever used — but don’t feel the need to just take my word on it blindly, because I’m about to tell you all the reasons why.

First of all — the actual scrub aspect of this product is amazing. The scrub particles aren’t too big that they’re ineffective or painful, but aren’t too small either. Never once has this product left me with little scratches all over my body, which I can’t say for every exfoliator I’ve tried. However, something I really love most is that the particles don’t really dissolve — something I’ve noticed with many other body scrubs is how the “scrub” element melts away as soon as the product mixes with water — meaning you have to use a lot more of the product to get the job done. As Herbivore’s Body Polish is actually made with real crushed Amethyst, the scrub doesn’t melt away, meaning you waste less and get your money’s worth.

Another thing about this product that has me obsessed is how HYDRATING it is. Something that I find to be an important aspect of an exfoliator is ingredients, such as oils, that soak into your skin as you use the product, which help both to keep the exfoliator from being too harsh and leave your skin feeling soft AF. My skin has never felt softer than it does fresh out of the shower when I’ve just used my Amethyst scrub — between how effective it is at exfoliating away everything it should and how incredibly hydrating and absorbent it’s ingredients are, my skin feels baby-smooth every time.

Lastly, I just wanted to give a little shout-out to how amazing this product smells!!! Because I’m absolutely obsessed with the scent. This product smells EXACTLY like lilacs, which is one of my all-time favourite scents. It’s fresh and calming, and for myself — very nostalgic as it reminds me of the lilac trees outside of my home in Toronto. For those of you who aren’t crazy about scented products, don’t worry — it isn’t super strong. It’s not anything overwhelming or heavy, just the lightest amount of perfume that really makes this product absolutely heavenly. (Plus, everything Herbivore makes is both vegan and cruelty-free, so you really can’t go wrong).

If this sounds like the body scrub you’ve been needing, you can check it out online at Sephora here! As well, Herbivore also carries a Coco Rose body scrub if that sounds like something you’d prefer. However, as someone who’s tried both, I’d definitely the Amethyst scrub — the Coco Rose’s scrubbing particles are much finer and dissolve a lot more easily, plus I MUCH prefer the scent of the Amethyst scrub. Not to say the Coco Rose isn’t fantastic as well — but between the two, the Amethyst scrub is the clear winner to me.

I hope you guys are all doing well! I’m finally starting to feel like I’m beginning to get back into a good rhythm with blogging, so hopefully I’ll be more active again soon once I get ahead on my blogging schedule. Just in time, too — we’re going to start lifting restrictions in BC soon! Fingers crossed I’ll be able to keep up all the good habits I’ve started once we start to return to normal life.

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

2019 Round-Up: The Best And The Worst!

Hey y’all!

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

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

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

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

So, let’s get into it!

The Best (And Worst) Of 2019

The Best: Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx™ Peeling Gel

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Biossance Squalane + Bamboo Deodorant

Biossance Squalene + Bamboo Deodorant

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

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

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

The Best: Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Function Of Beauty Shampoo + Conditioner

Function of Beauty Custom Shampoo

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

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

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

Credit: @lancomeofficial on Instagram

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

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

The Best: Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes

Huda Beauty Neon Obsession Palettes

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

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

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes

Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes in “Eat Cake”

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

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

The Best: Lilly Lashes

Lilly Lashes in “Miami”

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Cover FX Custom Beauty Drops

CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

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

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

The Best: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer!

Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer

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

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

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

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

My Top Five Skincare Brands

Biossance

Credit: @biossance on Instagram

Herbivore Botanicals

Credit: @herbivorebotanicals on Instagram

Ouai

Credit: @theouai on Instagram

Fresh

Credit: @freshbeauty on Instagram

Dr. Jart

Credit: @drjart on Instagram

My Top Five Makeup Brands

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Credit: @anastasiabeverlyhills on Instagram

Huda Beauty

Credit: @hudabeauty on Instagram

Kylie Cosmetics

Credit: @kyliecosmetics on Instagram

Nars

Credit: @narsissist on Instagram

Tarte

Credit: @tartecosmetics on Instagram

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

ColourPop Cosmetics

Credit: @colourpopcosmetics on Instagram

Glow Recipe

Credit: @glowrecipe on Instagram

Charlotte Tilbury

Credit: @ctilburymakeup on Instagram

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Credit: @jeffreestarcosmetics on Instagram

Farmacy

Credit: @farmacybeauty on Instagram

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

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

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

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

Xo,

Meredith

Holiday Gift Guide #1: Self-Care Edition!

Hey everyone!

This week I’m kicking off the first part of my three-piece Holiday segment — Holiday Gift Guides! Each week will have it’s own theme, and comes with plenty of recommendations of all my favourite products and gift ideas! My hope is, for those of you who absolutely hate Christmas shopping, that you’ll be able to find a couple great ideas from this post.

Even at the best of times, Christmas shopping can be an ordeal. Picking out gifts for anyone can be stressful — yet alone those who are simply impossible to buy for. As well, aimlessly walking around crowded malls is unpleasant to say the least. No matter how much you love shopping, when it comes to Christmas crowds, we all have other things we’d rather be doing. Hopefully, with these lists, you’ll be able to go in with a plan, get all the gifts you need — and the reward of seeing how much joy these gifts will bring will make up for all the struggle.

This week’s theme is self-care, so if you have someone in your life who’s been feeling a little overwhelmed this year and really needs to spend time over the holidays relaxing and recuperating before 2020, this list has you covered. Any one of these items would make a great gift, or for a particularly special someone — feel free to package them all together into a little self-care basket!

For Someone Who Loves A Little Luxury

Who doesn’t love a good candle? Candles make the easiest and most ultimate home-decor/self care gift for so many reasons. They’re cute, simple, create a cozy atmosphere in the winter. Plus, they make cute decor even if you don’t want to light them. I personally ADORE Jo Malone candles over any other brand — they may be expensive, but they smell AMAZING, can burn forever. These candles make absolutely stunning additions to any room they’re in, and don’t overwhelm too much with a heavy smell.

Feeling inspired? Check out this product here!

For Someone Who Loves Smooth Skin

Okay, we all already know that I adore the Herbivore Crushed Amethyst Body Polish. It makes the perfect gift for anyone in need of a little extra TLC this holiday season for so many reasons. First of all, weekly exfoliation is super important to maintaining clear, soft, healthy skin — especially in the wintertime. As well, this exfoliator smells like lilacs (!!!!), comes loaded with all kinds of hydrating oils, and provides a fantastic exfoliation. It’s not too rough, nor does it dissolve in water as you use it. There’s very few products in the world I would deem completely perfect — but this is definitely one of them.

Feeling inspired? Check out this product here and at Sephora here!

For Someone Looking To Decorate

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been referred to as a “plant mom”. My apartment has more plants than any other kind of decoration — I can’t help it, I just love them! Plants make a perfect gift for so many reasons. First of all, as decor, they go with just about everything. As well, plants are great for filtering air in stuffy apartments, and have been proven to alleviate symptoms of depression. So whether its a little aloe or an extra-large Philodendron, consider plants for anyone in your life who could use a little decor and a pick-me-up!

I’m not going to link to any online shops, but some good plants to consider are aloes, cactuses, snake grass, rubber plants, miniature palms, dracaena, or money trees!

For Someone Who Struggles With Winter Weather

In many places, winter is just a truly brutal time for your skin. Besides the cold, it can often get incredibly dry — leading to all sorts of problems for your skin, face, and lips. Luckily, in Vancouver where it rains all winter, its not too much of a problem — but I still remember how dry winter can get from my years in Toronto very well. So, for anyone who may need a little help tackling winter dryness, I have a couple solutions that would make great gifts!

The first item on this list is the Fresh Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm. I’ve been using this lip balm for over a year now, and I’m pretty convinced its the best one there is. This lip balm hits all the necessities for me — it’s ultra hydrating, incredibly smooth, and not a little bit sticky, greasy or heavy. Plus, it smells amazing! I guarantee this lip balm would make a great present for anyone who hates suffering from dry, cracked lips this winter season.

As for those suffering from dry skin in the winter, the “Sleepy” Lush body moisturizer makes a great gift! It’s a little on the heavier side, which I’m usually not a fan of, but it’s not too heavy — and really helps with keeping skin soft if you let it absorb overnight. Plus, it smells like lavender, making it the perfect, relaxing end to any self care night!

As for hand cream, I’ve always been a big fan of Crabtree and Evelyn. Their luxurious hand creams come in all kinds of scents from neutral, to floral, to citrus, to herbal, so there’s guaranteed a scent for everyone on your list. They especially make fantastic add-ons to a gift, or a little gift when you’re gifting for multiple people (ie. teachers, coworkers, etc). Who could ever dislike having silky-smooth hands in the middle of winter, right?

Feeling inspired? Check out the Fresh Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm here (available in other flavours), the Lush Sleepy Body Lotion here, and the Crabtree and Evelyn hand creams here!

For Someone In Need Of An At-Home Spa Day

Nothing says “self care time” like a long, relaxing bath. For anyone in need of a good night off to unwind, consider bath bombs as a gift!

An absolute classic is the Lush bath bombs, you really can’t go wrong with these. They smell amazing and come in so many fun colours, there’s absolutely one for everyone here. A couple of my personal favourites are “Big Blue” and “Avobath“, but really, you can’t go wrong with any bath bomb from Lush. Plus, they have plenty of holiday-themed options to choose from!

These next two I haven’t tried personally, but I’ve been dying to get my hands on them and both look like they would make absolutely fantastic gifts. For someone looking for a true spa experience, Ouai’s new Chill Pills make the perfect gift! Not only are they supposed to smell amazing, but they’re formulated with Jojoba Oil, Safflower Oil, and Hemp Seed Oil, making them fantastic for your skin. As well, I’ve tried a number of other Ouai bath products and all of them were incredible — so I doubt you can go wrong here.

For someone looking for an insta-worthy soak, consider a bath bomb from WWFCO! I’ve been following them on Instagram for ages, and not only are their bath bombs beautiful — they’re handmade, and come loaded with unique and great ingredients in every bag. They have all kinds of rave reviews, so I’d be willing to put my money on these making an absolutely wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who needs a good, relaxing night off.

Feeling inspired? Check out Lush’s line here, Ouai’s Chill Pills here, and WWFCO on Instagram here!

For Someone Needing To Feel Special

This one is a particularly special one for me, as it was actually a Christmas gift I received last year from my little sister that I wear absolutely every day.

Kate Spade necklaces are so beautiful and simple, all of them make a fantastic gift. However, what makes this one in particular so special is how personalized it is. On the front, it’s engraved with an “M” (for Meredith!) and the back reads “one in a million”. Something this personalized is so sweet and special, and I can tell you firsthand makes an incredible gift for someone who needs to feel a little special this holiday season.

Feeling inspired? Check out this product here (and other Kate Spade necklaces here)!

For Someone You Want To Spend Time With

@element5digital on Unsplash

A manicure day is a great gift because it can also offer the gift of spending time with the person you give it to! A great way to pull this gift off is to make a little coupon to give to whomever you’re sharing it with, make plans to go sometime in January, and enjoy hanging out while pampering yourselves! This gift is also great because it works for just about everyone — whether its for an extra AF friend who want long, blinged out acrylics, someone who never gets their nails done and could use a pick-me-up and a bit of polish, or for guys who like to take good care of their hands. For an added cute touch, if you and the person you’re buying the manicure for are both getting polish, get matching nails!

As An Extra Little Add-On

@julianamalta on Unsplash

Gift cards can seem like a bit of a cop-out as a standalone gift, but when added in addition with something else can seem like a nice extra touch. Plus, I don’t know about you guys but I love online shopping — when it arrives it’s like a little gift to yourself, plus you don’t have to deal with crowded stores. For an extra special touch, add a note with something along the lines of “treat yourself to something nice” or anything else you feel works! Some great ideas for gift cards to add on can be Amazon, Sephora, FashionNova, Nordstrom, Aritzia, Glossier, The Bay, or UrbanOutfitters! Obviously, it all depends on who you’re buying for, but hopefully these options give you some ideas.

Hopefully some of you guys got some great inspiration from this post for your Christmas shopping this year, or at least got a little more in the Holiday spirit! Stay tuned for next weeks list — with a new theme and all kinds of new ideas!

Hope you’ve all had a relaxing weekend, and are gearing up for a productive week!

Much Love,

Meredith