Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Tosowoong | Time Shift First Essence | Korean Skincare

If you haven't heard already, essence waters are one of this year's top words to add to your beauty vocabulary. Having made big waves in Asia over the past few years, they are a combination of toner and high nutrition essence to deliver a potent dose of concentrated skin care benefits in an single easy to use application. Today we're talking about the Tosowoong First Essence, my first Asian essence water experience!

Brand: Tosowoong
Product: Time Shift First Essence*
Collection: Time Shift Range (Toner, Serum, Emulsion, Essence, Cream)
Size: 150ml
Price: 38000WON (approximately $40CAD)
Availability: Tosowoong Website (Int. Shipping), Tosowoong eBay Shop
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.

As one of the most popular essence waters in the Korean beauty market right now, this Time Shift First Essence contains 80% black yeast filtrate as its main skincare ingredient. Combined with a handful of other plant extracts, it is supposed to provide moisture, reduce wrinkles and improve skin brightness. It's made without mineral oil, artificial colour, artificial fragrance, GMO ingredients or parabens. The Time Shift range is marketed for both men and women, especially those with troubled or sensitive skin between the ages of 20- mid 50s.

The product itself comes packaged in a hefty and elegant glass bottle with a screw cap and single hole dispenser on top. It looks right at home next to some of the higher end products in my skincare collection and aesthetically it's very well designed.

The bottom of the bottle is stamped with the manufacturing date (Korean products usually prefer a manufacturing date versus an expiry date but expiry is usually 3 years unopened or 1 year once opened). The box is printed with all the descriptive information and the ingredients list (I have the English ingredients at the end of this post).

Meant to be used as the middle step between your face wash and moisturizing cream, essence waters (as a whole) can be used in place of toner/serum or in addition to your toner/serum. To keep things simple, I've just been using the First Essence after cleansing my skin and right before my face cream, twice a day morning and night.

One thing to note about essence waters is that they are not meant to be used with a cotton wool. Traditional toners will advise you to saturate the cotton and sweep it all over the skin but essence waters are to be used by dispensing a few drops onto the palm of your hand (hence the small opening) and patted onto the skin for better absorption.

Unfragranced and with a water like consistency, this was gentle yet refreshing on my skin. If you're prone to over washing your face with heavy foaming cleansers (or acne fighting cleansers for that matter), this puts immediate moisture back to your skin without a hint of stickiness. Each application only takes a few drops and even with more than a month of usage, I still have plenty left in the bottle. For days when my skin is feeling extra sensitive or stressed, this can also be used as a quick refresher to calm and sooth troubled skin.

Now I think it's important to note that the First Essence is meant to be used in conjunction with the rest of the (extensive) Time Shift range for maximum cohesive results. However I have noticed more suppleness, smoothness and a temporary reduction in visible pore size when using this regularly. The fragrance free formula and lightweight consistency were also a welcomed change when my skin was irritated and I loved being able to put this right on top of my regular skincare when I need a quick pick me up. The hydration is immediate yet potent enough for mild to slightly dry weather and made my combination skin balanced, elastic and quite happy.

For those looking for intensive anti-aging benefits or brightening results, you may want to look elsewhere for something more potent or think about adding the serum and cream in addition to the First Essence for enhanced results. On it's own, I didn't see any major results in either category.

Compared to the Biotherm Life Plankton Essence Water (reviewed), this has a better texture and will be more suitable for a wider range of skin types and is more comfortable to use but the Biotherm seems to exhibit more immediate repairing properties.

I love how gentle the Tosowoong First Essence is and its been a great product to hydrate, soften and help minimize pore size. However I'm not fully convinced that it's quite as miraculous as its advertised to be in all its skincare aspects especially for brightening and anti-wrinkle. This would make a great enhanced toner product for those looking to simplify their skincare routine and are looking to upgrade their basic skincare to something with more nutritional benefits while not quite ready to delve into serious anti-aging products. Great for sensitive skin, oily to slightly dry skin types and in my opinion a perfect men's product as well.
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INGREDIENTS: Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Water, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sucrose Palmitate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Asparagus Lucidus Root Extract, Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Pinus sylvestris bud Extract, Pinellia Ternata Root Extract, Plantago asiatica seed extract, Portulaca Grandiflora Extract, Robinia Pseudacacia Flower Extract, Psidium Guajava Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Abronia Villosa Leaf Extract, Cinchona Succirubra Bark Extract, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Badger Oil, Adenosine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Monday, November 24, 2014

VIDEO | Get Ready with Me | Makeup For Filming

  • Dollywink | Otona Series Lashes in "Sweet Cat" | Review
  • Shu Uemura | Lash Curler | Review
  • Clinique | Even Better Foundation | Video
  • Shu Uemura | Brave Beauty Makeup Look | Blog Post
  • Maxime Poulin | Guerlain Interview| Blog Post
Dolling up can be hard work. For those who've been following me on Instagram or who know me in real life will attest to the fact that unless I'm going out or working on blog posts my bare face is all you are going to get. But dolling up is also a ton of fun and I take every opportunity to wear as much makeup on my face as possible when the occasion calls! So in preparation of getting ready to film a video, I thought I'd share with you my routine for photography, film, event makeup including the odd tips I've picked up along the way. Even better? I didn't end up with enough time to film a video after this and just decided to walk around the rest of the day with my half face. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beauty Look | #shupette Shu Uemura x Karl Lagerfeld Holiday Collection

It looks like we're going to be having a very kitty Christmas.

This holiday season beauty and fashion come together once again in this limited edition Shu Uemura x Karl Lagerfeld Shupette Beauty Collection. The fabulous feline behind the inspiration is actually Karl's royally spoiled cat Choupette who's been jet setting with the top designer and is now featured in her own makeup ad.

Here's a quick look at what I have in my hands from this collection. All the products are printed with a cat-errific drawing of Choupette by Karl himself. I just adore the sweet little ribbon and how her eyes sparkle of sapphire blue!

"Up the glamour quotient with colorless shimmer powder with kitty-soft silky texture and gentle pink and gold sparkles." | Shop it!

Super soft and delicate, this loose powder has a fine mesh sifter lid (I removed it for the photo) and a kitty print face puff for a quick and easy application. I'm usually not one for shimmer face powders are they tend to photograph terribly but this one is more of a luminescence that feels and looks like angel dust. Pale skins can wear this all over while medium to darker skin tones may find this better used as a highlight.

"Diamonds are a Shupette's best friend. This loose iridescent powder trio comes in brilliant sparkles so you'll catch the paparazzi flashes and be the belle of the night.
Loose powder glitter trio comes in brilliant sparkles of pink, gold and platinum that are perfect to finish your celebrity look
"  | Shop it!

A trio of sparklers that's perfect for gifting, this contains a gold, white/pearl and pink glitter set. The box labels it as eyeshadow but I would recommend using this sparingly as a finishing pop of shine as it is a bit gritty to work with as an all over eyeshadow on its own. Layer it over a powder shadow, pop on the center of the eye lid, the inner corner or as under shadow and you'll be good to shine.

#01 BLUE, #02 PINK | $45CAD
"Paw on a parisienne chic cat eye with the palette that includes the gor-geous “Shupette blue”, or get cute to the maximum in a bright pink tokyo kawaii cat eye.
Three pearly eye shadow shades pre-set in exclusive Shupette custom case." | Shop #01 & #02

Whether you're feeling playful or sweet, these two eyeshadow sets will help you set the mood. All six shades contain some kind of pearl, iridescence or duo-chrome shine. Pigmentation is great and the powders can easily be layered to create varying intensities without getting muddy or cakey. Smoothness varies between shades but none were terribly hard to work with. Note that the case can be taken apart and all the pans are interchangeable with other Shu customizable palettes.

"Partial accent lashes with metallic silver highlights and Shupette-blue crystals just for you to eyedolize yourself." | Shop it!

Of course no Shu Uemura collection is ever complete without a fabulous set of lashes. For Shupette, they have designed spikey accent lashes with silver foil and blue jewels on each piece. Each set contains 3 pieces for the top lashes and 3 pieces for the bottoms lashes, per eye. This is definitely an affordable collector's piece for lash lovers out there!

  • Rouge BonBon Fantasy Lip Palette | #01, #02 | $45CAD
  • Furry Fantasy Premium False Lashes | $100CAD
  • Silk Cushion Cheek | $35CAD
  • Eye-need-shu Pencil Eyeliner | Midnight Black & Gala Brown | $28CAD
  • Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil | $98CAD
  • Eye & Lip Palette | $ 115CAD
  • UV Tsuya Skin Under Base Mousse | $46CAD
  • Eyelash Curler | $24CAD
  • With Love from Paris Brush Set | $95
All items are limited edition and are also available at Holt Renfrew, select Sephora and Hudson's Bay Shu counters nationwide.

Now if you know me, you know I can not pass up on a pair of false lashes so I built my look around them using shades of blue and accented with soft coral hues on the lips and cheeks. Choupette is definitely a princes so I wanted to keep the look pretty yet playful.

  • SHU UEMURA | Light Bulb Foundation* | Medium Light Beige
  • SHU UEMURA |  Pampearl Me Loose Powder*
  • SHU UEMURA | Hard Eyebrow Pencil* | #05
  • SHU UEMURA | Eye-need-shu Shadow Trio* #01 
  • SHU UEMURA | Tint in Gelato* #CR04

  • On clean moisturized skin, I applied one pump of the Light Bulb Foundation which has medium buildable coverage and a satin-glow finish. Buff this out with a brush for even coverage. Then top off the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose and chin with a light press of Pampearl Me Loose Powder.
  • Shape brows with the Hard Brow Pencil in an arched shape. This was a little hard than I thought as it was also my first time using this cult favourite brow shader, looks like I still need some practice but the application was very smooth and the colour payoff was perfect.
  • Using the #01 Blue trio (I was completely mesmerized by that duo-chrome deep blue), apply the medium periwinkle all over the lid and blending slightly past the outter edge of the natural eye shape. Switch to a bullet brush and run the deep blue along the upper lash line and then shading the outter edge of the eye and again blending outwards. Line just the outer tip of the lash line with a small thin flick of black liquid eyeliner. Run deep blue over the outer 1/3 of the lower lash line and the periwinkle along the rest of the lower lash line.
  • Time for the pizzazz! Because I have very sparse lashes that will hardly show in photos, merely popping the Shupette accent lashes over my own will look a little out of place. In this case, I first started with a full strip of light lengthening lashes then added the accent pieces on top concentrating on the outer edges for that feline look.
  • Finish off with coordinating coral lips and cheeks using the Tint in Gelato in CR04.

I dare you to wear this to a holiday party! Its sweet yet never boring and if the lashes are really not your thing then the blue and coral duo will still be a perfect match on their own. If you are to pick up a thing (or two) from this Shupette Collection, my favourites are absolutely this blue shadow trio along with the loose powder as they are both very versatile. Here's to a very kitty holiday season!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Instyler Ionic Hot Styling Brush | Video

Hair tools have become a bit of an mini addiction of mine as of late. Having long hair can often fall in the danger zone of being boring but what's a skill challenged girl to do?

My most recent acquisition after much fraught research is the Instyler Ionic 4-in-1 Styler which is essentially a hot styling brush meant to be used on dry hair for adding either fun waves, bouncy curls or frizz-free body to style challenged hair.

Website | London Drugs Regular Version | London Drugs Pro Version

For those who remember, I bought (and love) the Instyler Rotating Hot Iron (reviewed) last winter and while I loved the fast and efficient results there were a few drawbacks with now noisy it was plus some tricky neck burning incidents. While the 4-in-1 Ionic Styler takes care of those two problems the results are much harder to control and this seems better suited for creating varying texture in the hair rather than smooth glamourous curls. I'll let you decide in the before and after comparison photo (above) and let me know if you have a favourite lazy girl hair tool!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

EVENT: 60min with Maxime Poulin | Guerlain's International Makeup Artist

One of the most absolutely rewarding things about beauty blogging is being able to meet those who are passionate about what they do and a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Guerlain's International Makeup Artist Maxim Poulin to chat beauty philosophy, holiday makeup and of course that elusive je ne sais quoi that surrounds French women.

For those who are a fan of luxury products, Guerlain would be no stranger. Originating as one of the oldest perfume houses in the world, the brand was established in 1828 in Paris by Mr. Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain who later became the royal perfumer to French royalty Napoleon III and his wife Eugene. Success passed from generation to generation and the house of Guerlain soon delved into skincare as well as colour cosmetics and is now an iconic name in French beauty and might I add is one of my personal guilty pleasures.

As a member of the Art Team working alongside Guerlain's Creative Director Olivier Échaudemaison, Maxime quickly found an affinity to the brand's philosophy that spoke true to his own ideals about beauty.

"Let the individual woman shine through."

For him, having made up different women from all over the world, the idea of a singular beauty look isn't the goal. Instead, the makeup should bring out and enhance each persons individuality in a way unique and intimate to them.


Not having traveled very far myself, I was eager to hear his thoughts on how Canadian women think about beauty compared to other parts of the world that he's visited. His answer was somewhat unexpected.

"Canadian women" he begins, "have the great advantage of learning from other cultures. Being exposed to so many multi-cultural influences, they often pick up on certain elements and add it to their own routine."

For Maxime, there isn't a well defined beauty aesthetic here in Canada like there tends to be in other countries but rather a mixing of different styles that blend into one another. In short, we're interested in experimenting with new things and aren't afraid to mix and match.


Being one of the iconic French beauty houses, the subject natural drifted to the topic of that elusive je ne sais quoi which seems to surround all French women.

"What is it about French women?" I ask. "What is this beauty secret that make them so chic even when they are simply out grocery shopping?"

"It's just an intuitive feeling" Maxime explains, his own French accent very much befitting this conversation at this moment. "It more about an attitude rather than a particular look or product or style. Actually, the style is usually never perfect and this is done purposely. If the hair is very done up then the makeup is more casual or vice-versa. Women in France, whether they wear a lot of makeup or not usually have a certain beauty routine, where they dedicate a small amount of time each day just to themselves to engage in their own small beauty rituals. It's the way of living a womanly lifestyle."


At this point, I could no longer deny the constant flicker of my eye towards the beautiful display of makeup that lined the counter. I asked Maxime to talk me through a few ways to create a fall and winter look, even something you could wear to all those holiday parties which we all use as an excuse to wear our fancy lipsticks.

Here's his quick break down
  • Go for gold. It illuminates the skin in a beautiful warmth which is especially welcomed this time of the year in the dull weather when skin can look a bit lackluster.  Gold tones run through most of Guerlains colour products from primers to eye shadows and these colours bring a touch of warm radiance to any skin tone.
  • A smokey eye never fails. One of his favourite ways to wear an easy smokey eye is to create a layered look using a brown gel pencil blended from the lash line upwards then layered with a black kajal pencil at the base of the lash line which is smudged with a cotton bud or small brush, mixing with the brown and transforming the looking into a softly shaded smokey eye that is easy to wear for day but can also be transformed for night time.


"You can not go wrong with a red lipstick" Maxime insists.

And to this I must agree. There's almost a magical transformational quality about a crimson lip that makes even the most simple of makeup styles look chic and presentable. It's of my favourite ways to put on an event ready face when I'm not in the mood to match eye shadows colours.

Guerlain's lipsticks are an indulgence and rightfully so. From the exquisite mirrored compact of its Rouge G range to the creamy formulations and beautiful shine infused with mango and shea butter. Maxmine introduces me to #25 Garconne, a richly pigmented classic red that is infused with ruby powder. How's that for holiday glamour!

But the trick to the perfect red lip, whether it's a cherry, merlot or scarlet, is the right preparation. Taking the effort to do the proper steps will ensure the most beautiful results and do justice to the colour as well. Your red lip routine should ideally include; exfoliation, hydration, primer, lip liner, lipstick, blotting and then a reapplication of lipstick to built up lasting saturation.

FIND GUERLAIN | Guerlain Online | Sephora


Having jetted his way from Paris to Montreal, Toronto and then Vancouver I'm sure Maxime has been living out of a suitcase for weeks. Even so, his enthusiasm is infectious and there was never a dull moment chatting with him about makeup, beauty philosophies and detox juice...yes we went there as well. It was his first time in Vancouver and I wondered if any of you had the chance to meet him at the makeup event at The Bay downtown later that day?

Until next time Maxime, come back any time.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Edition | 3 Gifts for the Picky Beauty Lover

We're vain, judgmental and rather picky. I get it.

Beauty lovers can hard to shop for, especially the ones that seem to have everything. But fear not for I have devised the perfect plan to check these nice (or naughty) people off your holiday shopping list with a few product recommendations and some shopping tips as well to get you along.

  • JILL STUART | Blush Mix N* | Get it here 
  • CLINIQUE | Even Better Foundation* | Get it here 
  • LANEIGE | White Plus Renew Essence* | Get it here

STRAWBERRYNET | If none of these perk up your interests, browse their other 32K products with great sales and free shipping to make things a little easier.

My top tip for picking the perfect gift for a beauty lover is very simply, think outside of the box. A gift doesn't necessarily have to be expensive to be amazing. With everything just a mouse click away, try looking for something unique from another country or even a limited release to really impress them. What makes a gift extra special is always the attention and detail you put into knowing something about your recipients and searching for something that speaks to their everyday style. You have so many options out there and I'll be sharing a few more holiday gift ideas in the upcoming weeks. Remember, you have no excuses for generic gifts this year!