MOTD: August 25/19

Brows: Elf Cosmetics

Lips: Lisa Eldridge

Lashes: Tarte

Empties August 25/19: Biossance Squalane+Tea Tree Cleansing Gel, ELF Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser, and Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil


  1. Biossance Squalane+Tea Tree Cleansing Gel
    Rating: High-end Hero

    My skin right now is probably the worst it has been in my life, or at least the worst it’s been since the really awful breakouts of my teenage years. I can’t vouch for whether or not this will help with acne as literally nothing is helping with my acne at the moment due to a chronic hormonal condition I am working on getting sorted out, but it did give a nice cleanse and minimized a bit of oil. I really like Biossance’s squalane-strong products. The only potential beef I’ve got with the product is the tea tree oil, as tea tree can be an irritant to so many folks. However, it’s not like they tried to sneak it into the formulation, it’s right there front and centre in the name of the product and prominently featured in the product description online. Though it didn’t help with my breakouts, I did enjoy it’s gel consistency and gentle foam, so I am going to mark it as a high-end hero.
  2. ELF Cosmetics Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser
    Rating: Bargain Beaut
    This cleanser comes highly recommended from a number of skincare Youtubers I follow, including Gothamista. This is a non-foaming gel cleanser that I really enjoyed as a first cleanse to remove makeup. I found it to be fairly gentle, and enjoyed the strong coconut smell. For less than $10, I really can’t complain about it. The only red flag I noticed with my very limited knowledge in the ingredients list was the parfum. So, if you’ve got sensitivities to fragrance, just be mindful of that.
  3. Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil in Dark Brown
    Rating: Bargain Beaut
    I love most products that I’ve tried from Essence, and I wasn’t disappointed by this one. It retails for less than $3 Canadian, so even if you don’t end up liking this purchase, you’re still only out less than the price of a cup of coffee. It’s a soft pencil, had decent staying power, and I enjoyed the way it looked. The dark brown shade wasn’t too warm-toned, which is often the case with brow products. I think it is slightly less environmentally damaging as it is a wooden pencil that you sharpen, so the only waste is the small plastic cap and the thin plastic wrap it comes packaged in. Though not perfect or zero-waste, I imagine it is slightly less damaging than the plastic twist-tubes many brow products come in. The brush on the cap was the right balance of firm and soft, and I did end up using it a fair bit to smooth out and blend the brows after pencilling them in.

NO BUY 2019: July Update, Over-saturation of the beauty industry

Well friends, I blinked and suddenly summer is half over. Having left the medical aesthetics industry since my last update, I was fortunate enough to have a few weeks off before starting my next work adventure to mull over feelings I have about the industry and the products produced by it, and my relationship to these skincare and makeup products.

I recently saw a conversation starting Instagram post by @temptalia that asked “What do you think are the biggest challenges facing beauty brands right now?”. I popped into the comments to chime in, and starting reading through all of the other responses. There was a variety, but there were so many people stating that the over-saturation of the market with new beauty releases and launches was not only a huge challenge for beauty brands to keep up with, but for consumers to process as well. For myself personally, I’ve noted that lately I’ve been almost desensitized to new launches; nothing excites me anymore. I think this is partially because there are so many launches that it is overwhelming to stay up to date with even a few favourite brands, but because these launches are so frequent and short notice, they often are not of good quality. We’re getting more products of poorer quality, less time to search for reviews and tutorials, less time to try out and thoroughly enjoy the products, before they are deemed as old news.

While reading these comments, I thought back to launches like Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Modern Renaissance. Launches were a little bit slower back then, and I feel like palettes such as this had the time and leisure to exist in their own spotlight. Tutorials were abundant, and I felt like I was using something exciting and current several months after it launched. Now, I look at the palettes on my dresser and most of them have already been forgotten about. I don’t see anyone talking about my Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice palette, or my ABH Norvina palette, not even in passing. With the rise of Project Pan, more and more folks are realizing that they cannot use their makeup up quickly enough, and that trying to keep up with this insane amount of product being pushed out into the market is leaving them feeling burdened, rather than thrilled by their beauty splurges.

Another problem that has cropped up due to the frequency of releases and buyers not only being disinterested but not having the money to even consider supporting all of these launches, is a whole lot of expired makeup. This was brought to my attention by a video that Lauren Mae Beauty did two weeks ago where she discusses problems she had noticed with products in the Sephora sale section. Many of the products available on the page were released years ago, and were likely expired or at least very quickly declining in remaining quality. Not only is this awful for consumers who buy these products, thinking they’re getting a great deal, but ending up with poor quality or expired products, but where are all of these products going to go when they don’t sell? Sure, some will end up in your local Marshalls or Winners where some poor soul will end up buying it, but at some point I imagine that a lot of this product is going to end up in a landfill, either because it is unsellable or because those who bought these expired products got little to no use of them and disposed of them.

To sum up my ramble, there’s just too much damn makeup out there. People are getting overwhelmed, and not enjoying what should be a lighthearted, artistic hobby. I find myself getting caught up in these launches time and time again, and am so disheartened when I come back to reality and realize that I just have too much, that what I’m buying is honestly no longer worth my money sometimes, and that I am wasting the money I work hard for. I want to embrace Hannah Louise Poston’s mentality of having fewer, nicer things. I find myself thinking, how lovely would it be to have a minimalist collection of divine luxury makeup? One or two eyeshadow palettes in multipurpose shades that I can professionally wear to work but also vamp up a look for a night out with friends, perhaps a Pat McGrath and a Natasha Denona or a small Viseart collection. Two foundations, one lighter, one darker, of good quality to mix throughout the seasons. One setting powder. One mascara. One brow gel. One bronzer. Two, maybe three blushes for variety. A dozen lipsticks, max. I could throw the whole kit and caboodle in a bag and hit the highway on a trip, with no stress or additional thought as to what makeup products I’d pack and whether or not it’d be enough. The money I could save! Instead of sitting at home broke with makeup I don’t have enough faces to be able to use it all, I’d have more disposable income for evenings at the theatre or more weekend trips with my loved ones. Experiences, rather than pretty items that I am not actually enjoying anymore because I simply have too many of them.

It all seems so appealing, but breaking those consumer habits have proven to be so difficult! July was not a great one for spending, however, I’m feeling inspired to revisit my no buy rules, put the guilt and blame behind me, and carry onwards with what I hope will be better choices.

Unfiltered ramble aside, here are my totals for July:

Dollar value of products I used up in the month of July 2019: CAD $411

  1. Amika Soul Food Hair Mask, $36
  2. Colorescience Sunforgettables Medium SPF 50, $79
  3. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide, $89
  4. Laroche Posay Cicaplast Hands, $13
  5. Laroche Posay Lipikar 400ml, $33
  6. Tarte mini lip balm gloss, free deluxe sample
  7. Essence Make Me Brow, $4
  8. Hourglass Vanish Stick, $61
  9. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara, free deluxe sample
  10. Gehwol Med Protective Nail and Skin Oil, $22
  11. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, $24
  12. Glo Skin Beauty Hydration Mist, $27
  13. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Vanilla SPF 31, $23

Dollar value of products I purchased in the month of July 2019: $392.69

  1. Nivea Body Lotion, $14
  2. Lisa Eldridge Lipsticks, $210
  3. Elf Cosmetics Order, $43.69
  4. Lush purchase, $125

My goals going forward into August are:

  • No purchases for the month of August. Even skincare-wise, I don’t think I will run out of any particular category for the whole month, so I do not need to purchase anything.
  • Continue to declutter and trash products I do not like, that have expired, or that have sat unused for more than half a year.
  • Avoid social media. I’m not sure if I’m going to delete apps temporarily or just limit my time on the apps, but I feel like every time I log on I am being sold to by not only the influencers I follow, but the MLM monsters who are always trying to slide in my DMs. I need breathing room.

I hope you are having a great summer, and that if you are on a no buy or low buy journey, that it is going well! I’ve failed my rules a lot lately, but I’m learning so much about myself, my habits, and the culture of buying, so that is one success!


Sustainability: Reusable Cotton Rounds for Skincare

Skincare creates a lot of unnecessary waste, let’s be honest. I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly guilty and stressed out by my environmental footprint as of late, especially when it comes to hobbies like skincare and makeup. I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my waste in my daily routine, and noticed that I go through a lot of cotton rounds, anywhere from 1-4 a day, for my skincare and nail care routines.

I started searching my Facebook skincare groups for a solution, and noticed that a lot of folks use reusable cotton rounds made out of fabric. Simply use, wash, and use and use and use and use and use until they wither away to nothing. I started looking on @etsy for an option to purchase, as my sewing skills are abysmal and I don’t even own a sewing machine right now. Fortunately I found Katherine’s page @farmgirldesign.nb , a fellow Canadian who could ship everything for only $3 to Saskatchewan! I purchased two sets of 16 rounds, plus a mesh bag to wash them in do they don’t get lost in my machine. I picked out a fun floral print, as well as a plain black set, thinking that I can use the black ones for things like removing nail polish that may stain. —
Yes, this does initially cost more than my usual $1-2 for a pack of Joe Fresh cotton rounds, but over time I believe it will equal out, if not be more affordable, depending on how well I take care of these and how long they last. Considering I was spending about $12-17 a year for disposable cotton rounds, one pack will have paid for itself in just one year of use. I was also pleased to discover that @etsy takes measures to offset the pollution created from shipping items! Another plus in my books. —
I just fished these out of the mailbox so I haven’t had the chance to try them out yet, but I will keep you posted! I’m hoping to gradually switch out more and more of my disposable household items for longterm, reusable items, as my budget allows. 😊🌱 I plan on storing the clean rounds in an cute plastic @amika hair mask container that I’m repurposing, and keep the dirty ones in the mesh bag in my bathroom until ready to wash.

NO BUY 2019: June Update

To put it bluntly, I did not have the same success in June as I did in May, though I’m not sure if I spent quite as much in June as I did in April.

I’m going to skip past the preamble and get right into the numbers:

Dollar value of the items I used up in June:

  1. Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $88
  2. Laroche Posay Micellar Foaming Wash, $22
  3. SkinFix Oil Cleanser Deluxe Sample (free)
  4. SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum, $125

Items purchased in June:

  1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution to replace my near empty Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner, $8.70
  2. IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 that definitely broke my No Buy rules, $58
  3. CoverFX High Performance Setting Spray Mini to replace my empty setting spray, $20
  4. The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants as I had no liquid sunscreen for the face, $9.70
  5. Biossance The Tea Tree Trio (minis) to replace my gel cleanser and partially break my No Buy rules, $38
  6. ELF Cosmetics Order of blushes, brow gel, etc. that were partially replacements, and partially sales purchases that broke my No Buy rules, $35.35 USD or about $46.43 CAD

Items used up: $235 
Items purchased: $180.83



MOTD: June 19, 2019

Face: @essencemakeup Redness Correcting Clay Primer, @gloskinbeauty Luminous Foundation in Tahini mixed with @covergirl Clean Matte Liquid Foundation in 520 Creamy Natural (this foundation is NOT matte but is still awesome), @gloskinbeauty Cream Blush in Fig, @fentybeauty Shimmer Skin Stick in Sinamon, @physiciansformula Butter Bronzer, @gloskinbeauty Pressed Base (tzone only) in Golden Dark, @hourglasscosmetics Veil Setting Powder, and @amrezy x @anastasiabeverlyhills Highlighter

Eyes and Brows: @urbandecaycosmetics Primer Potion in Original, @natashadenona Sunset Palette, @armanibeauty Eyes to Kill Mascara, @cheekbonebeauty Brow Gel

Lips: @essencemakeup Soft Contouring Lip Liner in 04 So Lovesick (over the entire lip) and @besamecosmetics Lipstick in Tango Red

June 19, 2019: Skincare Sample Empties Review

@belifcanada is a brand that is new to me, but so far, I haven’t had problems with it. The True Cream Aqua Bomb has a gel-cream formulation and feels silky smooth on my skin. It had a pleasant, gentle scent and didn’t break out my oily, acne-prone skin. I only used this at night as it was on the thicker side, so I can’t vouch for how well it sits under makeup.

The @belifusa Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask is the thicker, mask equivalent of the Aqua Bomb Cream. Not my cup of tea as my skin type doesn’t really need hydrating masks most days, but again, very pleasant, and leaves you with a glowy sheen when you wake up. —
@drunkelephant ‘s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser got the job done. It has a nice lather, removed a fair portion of my makeup, and felt nice on the skin. While not life changing for myself personally, if this is a product that appeals to you, I don’t think you’ll have any regrets in picking it up. For myself though, the cleanser is where I spend the smallest portion of my skincare budget unless it’s packed with AHAs and BHAs, so I’ll probably be sticking to more affordable options for my first cleanse. Drunk Elephant always kills it with their bright, happy packaging though!