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Christina’s Cold-Weather Holy Grails + Daily Skincare Routine

By Christina, Skincare Contributor

Christina is a professed skincare and makeup junkie living in La Belle Province (aka Quebec, Canada). When not reading beauty blogs and magazines, stalking the beauty aisle of her local pharmacy fawning over new products or making her girlfriends spend way too much money at the beauty counter, Christina is studying full-time to obtain a masters degree in marketing, with a research focus on multicultural marketing and advertising strategies in the beauty industry. You can follow her on Twitter @cbellevue25.


Christina’s Cold-Weather Holy Grails + Daily Skincare Routine

This year, du jour au lendemain, the weather in Montreal became very cold all of a sudden. As a result, I’m quickly stashing away my summer products and winterizing my beauty routine for the coming months. I have combination skin on the sensitive side, therefore it is important that all year round, my skin stays matte, acne-free and properly hydrated especially the skin on my cheeks and around my mouth, which tends to become very dry or dehydrated. For the longest time, I felt those objectives were contradictory, although with time and experience, I have finally been able to develop a solid skincare routine that has allowed me to reach all three of these goals simultaneously, much to my (skin’s) relief.

Here is my updated Fall/almost-Winter daily skincare routine with some of my colder-weather holy grail products that you might also want to look into if you share some of the same skin concerns as I do:

In the AM: Keeping my skin moisturized is key (face & body)

In the morning, I wash my face in the shower with a pea-size amount of AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam ($50.00) to remove any leftover night cream or sebum. This foam cleanser smells delightful, is gentler than any of the other foam cleansers I’ve tried in the past and the tube lasts forever it is a definite must-have for me.

To hydrate my face, I like using La Roche-Posay Tolériane Fluide ($26.95) mixed in with a small scoop of Philosophy Turbo Boost Vitamin C Powder ($35.00) for antioxidant action. I swear by this La Roche-Posay moisturizer, simply because I find it is the perfect moisturizer for combination to oily skin with sensitivities: it’s light, oil-free, fragrance-free, and it sinks right into your skin. For sensitive skin on the drier side, another good option in the Tolériane range is La Roche-Posay Tolériane Ultra Intense Soothing Care ($34.95). I also use this cream whenever I feel my skin is very dehydrated. What I like about this product is that it has a thicker consistency and offers excellent long-lasting hydration, yet it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy after applying.

Before applying my powder foundation, I prep my skin with a dab of Nurturing Force Blot Out Offensive Mattifying Cream + HD Primer ($24.00) applied with a foundation brush for an even application. I discovered the Nurturing Force brand when I attended The Makeup Show in NYC this summer, and it turned out to be one my favourite skincare products ever. This cream is made with aloe vera and is silicone-, paraben- and alcohol-free which is great news for any skin that is sensitive or that cannot tolerate silicone-based primers very well. It is a wonderful product for any skin type, and it does an excellent job of keeping your face fresh all day, not causing any breakouts and increasing your makeup’s staying power like nobody’s business.

To keep my body moisturized, I will usually wash with a body cleansing oil in the shower. I love La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lipid-Replenishing Anti-Irritation Cleansing Oil ($14.00) because you get to wash and oil it up at the same time, how amazing is that?! I also keep my favourite body butter, Belle Butters Orange Dream Cream Butter ($12.50), in the bathroom and apply it on my knees and elbows right after the shower. Little tip for all the natural hair ladies and gentlemen out there, this shea and orange butter cream is a fantastic multi-tasker, because you can also use it on your hair for twist-outs/braid-outs with great definition (especially on type 4a and 4b hair), or to seal in the moisture.

Anywhere I go, I always carry a tube of my favourite hand cream, L’Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Hand Cream ($10.00), because ashy is to-tal-ly unsexy!

Check out Christina’s evening and night time routine! 

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NARS Taiga Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Taiga Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Taiga Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Taiga Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Taiga Eyeshadow Duo ($33.00) is described as a “pale gold frost” and “gold-infused pewter.” The left side is a pale white gold with a frosted finish; it’s a bit sheer, and this kind of color is found in a lot of brands. The right side is an olive green with a dirty gold shimmer-sheen. It has good color payoff and a really smooth feel. I was half-hoping it was similar to Giorgio Armani #14, but it’s much greener. It’s a touch cooler-toned compared to theBalm Wocka, Wocka. Lancome Designer has a softer golden sheen, so it appears almost darker, but they’re very similar. Inglot #419 is also really close in color.

NARS line of pressed powder eyeshadows are supposed to be “highly pigmented, long-wearing, and crease-resistant.” They don’t wear all day on me without a primer, though some perform better than others. I typically get around eight hours with subtle creasing and marginal fading, but the usage of a primer will get me to twelve hours without any creasing or fading.

NARS Taiga Eyeshadow Duo

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See more photos & swatches!

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Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyper Liners: Rockstar Love, Puppeteer, Cute Robot

Tarina Tarantino Dream Hyper Liners
Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyper Liners: Rockstar Love, Puppeteer, Cute Robot

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyper Liners: Rockstar Love, Puppeteer, Cute Robot

I reviewed several of Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliners ($15.00 for 0.04 oz.) here, and I was extremely impressed with the formula. I have three more shades to share with you: Rockstar Love (black with iridescent shimmer), Puppeteer (dark brown with bronze shimmer), and Cute Robot (metallic deep blue violet). Can you tell I’m kind of on a quest to collect ’em all? (For reference, maybe more for me than you, I’m missing Spark of Envy and Tommy Jet.)

  • Rockstar Love is a soft black with iridescent, multi-colored shimmer. It’s one of the sheerest shades of the range that I’ve come across; it can be built up, but it’s weak in pigment in a single pass. It’s similar to Urban Decay Oil Slick.
  • Puppeteer is a red-toned medium-dark brown with copper and gold shimmer. It’s fairly pigmented in a single go and totally opaque in two passes. This shade looks absolutely nothing like the swatch on Sephora! It’s a little darker compared to Chanel Brun-Cuivre.
  • Cute Robot is an intense blue-based violet over a blackened base. As far as purple eyeliners go, it’s rather pigmented, but it’s not quite opaque in one pass. What I do really like about it is that it builds up well, because the underlying base formula isn’t too waxy. It’s inkier compared to Urban Decay Lust–it almost looks a bit bluer–more like MAC Prussian.

I encourage you to read my original review for a full-length post on these, but to sum it up: these are soft and creamy enough to glide-on easily across the lash line without dragging or tugging while delivering a fair amount of pigmentation in a single pass (and opaque in two). They don’t budge, fade, or smudge during the day, and they wore through a shower for me.

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyper Liners: Rockstar Love, Puppeteer, Cute Robot

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NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick

NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick
NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick

NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick

NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a vibrant pink-red with strong blue undertones. It’s more vibrant compared to Guerlain Liu and just a touch more compared to MAC Prolong.  It’s a very cool-toned lipstick, which means it really makes teeth look white, and it will naturally flatter cooler complexions better. I find that the intensity of reds (along with plums, berries, etc.) make them appropriate on warmer complexions, too, because of how rich and deep in color they are. It’s opaque in color and a little goes a long way!

The finish is semi-matte, but it doesn’t feel dry when applied or even a couple of hours after wearing it, which is unexpected and much appreciated. This color does stain, but it also wears for six hours comfortably and feels a touch drying as it contiunues to wear to eight hours. I didn’t experience any feathering or bleeding, though my lips are not prone to either generally. Mine didn’t have any noticeable scent, but I have had this particular shade in the to-review-bin for some time, so it may have lost it over time.

NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick Chic Red
Chic Red
Chic Red
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
97%
Total

Must-Have Colognes For a Man Who Likes to Smell Different

By Sam, Fragrance Contributor

Sam is am 18-year-old freshman at New York University, who is double majoring in Russian Literature/Language and Psychology with a minor in Vocal Performance. Were you to seek him out outside of class, you might find him brushing up on his fencing techniques (épée) at the local academy preparing to try out for NYU’s Division I after a two-year hiatus from a national team. He may be on set at a photoshoot, pursuing his career as high fashion model (you just might spot him walking the runways of NYFW soon!). Or he could be restaurant hopping, hitting up Balthazar for their terrine de lapin, Momofuku for a quick pork bun, and Café Boloud’s lounge side for a cocktail and hideously overpriced dessert. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch him belting out “Later” (from “A Little Night Music”) or “Purpose” (courtesy of “Avenue Q”) in the streets or dorm halls. But you can always catch him breaking his diet and sorting though a bag of almond M&M’s, snagging only the blue and green ones. Yellow if he’s desperate!


Must-Have Colognes For a Man Who Likes to Smell Different

It’s becoming a disturbing trend in the fragrance world for companies to rush out new colognes and perfumes simply to have a new bottle in their repertoire. But if you test it alongside other scents you could pull off any shelf, you won’t be able to detect much of a difference. Unfortunately, fragrance producers (as the tricky, conniving beings they are) have found out and distilled what sells to the masses and tend to stick to tried-and-true formulas and notes, throwing in only minor variations that are hardly noticeable amongst the muddled mix of generic woods and too-smooth leathers.

While it may be hard to find interesting, unique fragrances outside of niche perfumery houses or breaking the bank for gilded bottles, there are certainly a few you won’t have to search too hard for that fit this bill. And ladies, take note: although most of these are marketed as masculine colognes, many of them can be worn easily by a confident woman.

Some of these colognes are not going to appeal to many, especially those used to the overly-blended, generic scents that plague the market today.   These few special concoctions will become must-haves for anyone who enjoys taking a risk or simply wants to smell different than anyone else.

  • BVLGARI Black Eau de Toilette Spray ($54.00) | This cologne, housed in an interesting, round phial encircled by a black tire, has notes of black tea, heat, and rubber. It brings to mind contrasting images of hot asphalt and an attic in a summer home filled with old books and wooden chests of curios and mementos collected over decades. This one happens to be one my signature scents.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle ($77.00) | Even the bottle—a well-sculpted male torso—is interesting and different enough. With notes of powdery orange blossom, straw, and something vaguely sweet, this cologne projects sophistication and a subtle hedonism, for a fifties gentleman who enjoys his pleasures and the Italian Piazza.
  • Dior Fahrenheit 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette Spray ($54.00) | An interesting scent that many will dismiss based off of its odd description. And they would be foolish to do so. A powdery, slightly peppery opening smoothly develops into a unique combination of nutmeg and violet. These two intertwine and produce a scent that makes me unfailingly think of an old telephone pole coated in tar on a boardwalk at dusk. There’s a bit of that hot, raw tar smell combined with the saltiness of crushed shells and the warmth of a a setting sun radiating off white sand.
  • Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche Eau De Parfum Spray ($175.00) | A round, luxurious scent that calls to mind ancient Middle Eastern harems with its syrupy amber notes and smoky incense. Although it is sweet, there is nothing gourmand about this scent save for the slight hint of vanilla that occasionally peeks through. It’s an ethereal, dreamy cologne for those who prefer an more than an edge of mystery and allure.
  • Bang by Marc Jacobs Edt Spray 3.4 Oz For Men ($74.00) | Probably my favorite 2010 men’s cologne release, BANG is a unique, aggressive cologne that screams sex and danger. An opening heavy with spicy cinnamon straight from the bark of the tree develops into a mixture of black, white, and pink peppercorn with a bit of tobacco, reminiscent of extremely expensive cigarettes smoked only by Russian aristocracy in black designer button-downs and indigo wash slim jeans at an exclusive art opening downtown.
  • Philosykos Eau De Toilette ($88.00) | If you own one fig cologne, it should be this. A sweet creamy fruitiness is tempered with earthy greenness that may as well be the soil that lies of the base of the elegant fig tree itself. Or rather, this cologne is simply the experience of sitting below that tree, biting lazily into the soft flesh of the fruit plucked from the branches at the peak of ripeness distilled and bottled.

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