Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Beauty Look | All lash - Nude Makeup (ft. Esqido)

Esqido Lashes - Minimal Makeup

Esqido Lashes - Minimal Makeup

If you've been a regular here in this part of the internet, it'll be no surprise to you that false lashes are one of my all time favourite things. While our appetite for extravagance has only increased in recent years, false lashes can absolutely be worn with a very bare faced makeup look for a clean and understated vibe. My look here is something you could wear daily to the office or for casual weekend brunch.

Esqido Lashes - Minimal Makeup

  • MAKE UP FOREVER | Waterblend Foundation*
  • MAKE UP FOREVER | Ultra HD Foundation*
  • MAC | Mineralized Skinfinish | Soft & Gentle
  • MINISOO | Liquid Eyeliner
  • HOURGLASS | Eyebrow Pencil
  • ESQIDO | Mink Flase Lashes* | Silhouette
  • COVERGIRL | Total Tease Mascara WP*
  • NUDESTIX | Lip & Cheek Pencil | Whisper
  • RIMMEL | Lip Liner* | Tiramisu

Speaking of lashes, here I am trying out the ever popular ESQIDO mink hair lashes for the very first time. Having tried everything from synthetic to human to mink, I can say that while the lash fibres do look great on these, I personally don't find a huge aesthetic advantage to mink in particular. 

The website advertises a cotton lash band and the hairs are pressed / glued onto the band versus knotted. I do still find the band quite thick and can be uncomfortable wearing for long periods of time but on the other hand it does provide sturdiness. I love that the colour of the lashes are dark without looking fake and there is a tinge of satin shine yet no glossy flashback in photos.

Esqido Lashes

Esqido Lashes

There are currently 28 styles to choose from the ESQIDO range and I'm wearing Silhouette which is a medium volume style that's slightly longer in the middle and shorter at the sides. The styling of all the lashes are well thought out and provide a good selection in volume and density. 

My main challenge with these however was the curvature of the lashes which went too far out before they curved up at the ends. This means that the lashes were unnecessarily long yet didn't provide a whole lot of visual lift. If you wear glasses, then this will also likely bump into your lens. A stronger curve would have been ideal personally.

Esqido Lashes

Esqido Lashes - Minimal Makeup

Lastly, you'll notice that this look is heavily focused on skin, brows and the tiniest swipe of liner. i decided to go with a bare lid just to show you can actually wear a great look with very little fuss. Creating a polished look relies on clean definition and skin flattering pops of colour but a little extra lash never hurts either...

Chat soon,

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Ordinary | Alpha Arbutin + HA


The Ordinary Skincare - Arbutin

Canadian brand The Ordinary lit an instant frenzy amount beauty enthusiasts by giving use what we've been asking for all these years. Simple, ingredient based products focuses on the science of what works and scrapping all the fillers…all with a shockingly low price point. After a good decade experimenting with my own skin concerns, I felt relatively confident in knowing the handful of ingredients seemed to be the most effective and was thrilled to see two of my favourite things arbutin and hyaluronic acid mixed into one bottle.

According to The Ordinary…
Alpha Arbutin reduces the looks of spots and hyper-pigmentation. It's used at a high 2% concentration versus a standard concentration of 1% and supported with a next-generation form of Hyaluronic Acid for enhanced delivery. Alpha Arbutin is much stronger in effect than Arbutin or Beta Arbutin.
The Ordinary Skincare - Arbutin

Brand: The Ordinary
Product: Alpha Arbutin 2% HA
Size: 30ml
Price: $8.99CAD
Availability: The Ordinary online
Would I (re)purchase: Probably not.
Website: www.theordinary.com

Aqua (Water), Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

I've long struggled with uneven skin texture, uneven skin tone and large pores. Though I'm naturally light skinned, I scar and mark easily which is evident on my forehead and some pigmentation spots scattered throughout.

The Ordinary Skincare - Arbutin

Dispensed from a dropper style lid, this arbutin treatment has a clear but slightly viscous consistency and beads on the skin almost like a fluid gel. It spreads easily, dries quickly and appears to form a very thin film over the skin which isn't noticeable at first but is certainly obvious when a sticky layer starts to form on the neck of the bottle. Only about 3 drops is necessary to cover my entire face generously. There is a slight bit of tackiness but it shouldn't be a problem after adding a moisturizer.

Having used this consistently twice a day for about 5 weeks as my sole treatment product I did notice some slight overall evening in my skin tone. I wouldn't say it effectively treated any dark marks I had but it was just as effective as many of the higher end products I've used, some even at up to 10x the price of The Ordinary so that's definitely a win in itself!

The Ordinary Skincare - Arbutin

I had started to experience minor red spots and increased clogged pores but can not be 100% certain if it's due to this treatment or the moisturizer I had been using. While there was nothing in the ingredients list that looked like an alarming red flag, the fact that this forms a film over the skin raised some doubts. I've since discontinued both and may try reintroducing this treatment back into my routine to see if it's the real culprit. I did not otherwise notice any other redness or sensitivity. There is no fragrance in this product.

After my wash routine and before my moisturizer.

Sekkisei Foaming Wash*, Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream*

The Ordinary Skincare - Arbutin

The Alpha Arbutin 2% HA treatment by The Ordinary is a lightweight, fragrance free treatment that rivals many of the higher end skin tone enhancing products on the market. The texture should be comfortable enough for most skin types yet despite containing hyaluronic acid, I did not find this very hydrating and I recommend an additional layering serum if moisture is a concern. My main disappointment was not seeing the great results I had with other arbutin based Asian products but I can say this is as good as other effective western brands I've used to date. I'm also not a fan of the texture and sensorial experience. The Ordinary does recommend combining this with other products and many people choose to couple this with an exfoliator. Given the price point however, I would suggest you try this first if arbutin is what you are looking for and I do think it trumps most of what you can find at the drugstore level.
Chat soon,

Friday, November 10, 2017

3 Things: Trying out stylist fave hair products

Winter Haircolour 2017
Current haircolour for winter 2017

Ever since I had my hair coloured professionally for the first time last spring, I've been attempting to make a more dedicated effort towards keeping my tresses in shape. Yet from learning how to smooth the frizzies to battling my round brush, it's a whole lot harder than I thought. In celebration of this weekend's Canadian #Contessa2018 Awards held on November 12th in Toronto, which honours those who keep our colour shinning and our hair coiffed, I was challenged to step up my own hair routine using some stylists approved products! Here's my thoughts on 3 products from the week.

Hair products for fall - Contessa2018

For anyone who's ever gone lighter, you'll know that the biggest looming fear is brassiness so my attention immediately gravitated towards the Oligo Blacklight Blue Shampoo* which contains argan oil, amino acids and is also sulfate free. From the first use, I was impressed with the intensity of the purple lather as most of my previous products foamed up white despite appearing coloured in the bottle. I prefer starting off with a clarifying shampoo for the scalp then using this as a second step cleanser and colour refresher but was easy to work with and definitely a step up from your average drugstore option. For conditioning, I reached for one of my favourite brands and their newest blonde enhancing range, the Joico Blonde Life Brightening Masque* which applies as a lightweight cream and gives a great smoothing effect for fine to medium textured hair. I've always been pleased with the texture of Joico's products and this one is no exception and while many people prefer a complete purple set, I do think simply using one colour depositing product in your routine is enough for regular maintenance. To perk up second day hair, I've also started incorporating the Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo* in my morning prep and have been loving the aerosol free pump system! With a quick squeeze of the bottle, a light puff of herbal scented powder dispenses through a nozzle hole in the cap. This smart thinking solves the dichotomy of choosing between messy sprays or messy pour out powders and is both travel friendly and eco friendly. While I wouldn't categorize this as a texturing or heavily oil absorbing product, it does make a great post wash refresher for normal to dry hair and would be an excellent office drawer staple which is exactly where I plan to keep mine. 

Happy hair day,

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tips on sewing a workwear wardrobe

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

Workwear. One of those words that sounds terribly boring on the surface but has so much inner potential. While I do prefer non-fussy and easy to wear pieces, I also advocate for a working wardrobe that makes you excited and happy to put on clothes in the morning. When it came to off the rack options, my struggles had always been fit and price point. Being short and dressing professionally can often be at odds with each other. And then it suddenly struck me, with a twist in colours and fabric choices, there was no reason that I shouldn't or couldn't sew my own workwear. Here's a peep at what I picked up recently and my plans creating your own ready to work sewing capsule.

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

Before you get too excited picking out patterns left and right, it's crucial to evaluate your everyday environment both at work and on the way to/from work. This is especially important if you transit as you'll need to account for weather and temperature challenges. Personally, this translates into comfortable but weather proof pieces that will keep warm on the road but still dust off nicely when I step into the office. Full length pants with ankle coverage so I can pair with boots along with an easy pull on waist design so I'm not fumbling with zippers and buttons. Options in crisp wovens or wooly knits would be ideal.

The magic word of the fashion world, layering is something to keep in mind when planning a handmade wardrobe as well. Lots of brands offer patterns that contain a mix and match set of pieces that you can duplicate in different colours and textures but still maintain a cohesive overall look. These are great if you find a silhouette you love or don't want to fuss with piecing together individual separates. All the hard planning is done for you so all you do is sew it up and go.

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

If tackling a whole working capsule seems much too daunting, start off with one key area in your collection that you want to expand. For me, this means tops, blouses and sweaters because while I can get away with wearing the same two pair of pants throughout the week, I am missing interchangeable top pieces that add fun to dressing up. This translated into buying designs for silky tops that will make use of all the fun prints I always see in the fabric store but never know what to do with. Think multi-seasonal, the same pieces could be worn solo or layered under a long vest in the chillier months.

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

Its sounds like common sense but having a vision of the colour palette or specific fabric for your sewing pattern before you check out means you're more likely to sew  it and see it to completion. I would say this takes the most experience to truly grasp because it's so easy to just see the design as its made in the photo sample. Figure out what element attracts you to that pattern and how will it look with the rest of your closet. When I see Butterick 4136 for example, I know it'll be so stylish as a gingham or tweed skirt paired with tall suede boots and a cozy sweater.

Just as I started this post talking about the challenges of great fit in a professional capsule closet, I want to end on this note as well. If you do a little extra digging, you will find that the Big 4 (Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls) do have a few options for petite sizing which means you're more likely to get a better fit straight from the envelope with minimal adjustments. Most of today's picks were chosen for exactly this reason and I can't wait to get started on them.

Follow my sewing progress on Instagram #sewwithgerry through the week to see what I'm making.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ARMANI | Because Its You & Stronger with You Perfume


Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

They say good things always come in twos. Armani's latest launch plays with the idyllic notion of romance by releasing a fragrance duo that mirrors the masculine and feminine side of love. The softly rounded glass bottles with corresponding ring caps compliment each other yet subtle differences in design and tone set them apart.

Because it's You* is described by Armani as passionate, feminine and magnetic with notes of raspberry, rose absolute and vanilla bean. By contrast, Stronger with You* has warm spicy notes of pink pepper, sage, chestnut and musk which designed to reflect a confident elegance that's at once charming yet mysterious. Paired together, Armani wanted to rewrite a modern youthful love story.

SHOP ARMANI | Sephora | ULTA (50ml @ $90CAD) 

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

Having worn the woman's version and sampled the men's, I think my main conclusion is that this was a brilliantly swoon worthy marketing campaign that fell short of delivering an equally magnificent product. 

Because it's You is launched as a fruity floral and the scent on my skin is incredibly sweet...almost too sweet. It rides on the popularity of sugary scents from the last few years but lacks in wow factor. The opening is strong with a loud raspberry pop that quickly mellows out to reveal layers of rose with a vanilla base. There's certainly a youthful identity tied to this scent that feels like its lingering at the cusp of womanhood but haven't quite found its place. I find the dry down to be quite floral and likable but lacking in complexity. Staying power is average to good, lasting a solid 4-5 hours with a morning application. If you love My Burberry, you'd likely gravitate towards this.

Swinging a complete 180 degrees, Stronger with You has very traditional masculine traits that starts out with the sharp note of cardamon spice and quickly deepens to a familiar musk base. It's more leather jacket than a cashmere turtleneck and more James Dean than Bruce Brosnan. The ode to youthfulness remains consistent and in that sense pairs well with its counterpart. 

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

While both perfectly nice scents in their own respective category, I was just underwhelmed by the lack of complexity and depth in both of these bottles. Armani played it safe and delivered an expected duo with a snazzy social media worthy story line. Alternatively with a message like this I would have loved to see an older couple portraying strength and determination throughout the decades rather than young New York lovebirds. While this launch will certainly garner some fans, I question if it has the magic to become a classic.

Take care,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SHISEIDO | Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation


When it comes to big name beauty brands, Shiseido is an international powerhouse that somehow manages to stay under the radar here in North America. With a whole string of well established sub-brands under its name in the overseas market, I always wishes there would be more to explore yet low and behold Shiseido releases two harmonizing base products; Synchro Skin Luminizing Foundation and Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation. I had the chance to test out the latter in the past few weeks.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

Brand: Shiseido
Product: Synchro-Skin Foundation SPF20*
Colours: 11 shades
Size: 30ml
Price: 58CAD
Availability: The Bay, Nordstrom, Shiseido counters
Would I (re)purchase: No
Better Alternative: MAC Waterweight Foundation
Website: www.shiseido.com
Note: This product was provided by Influenster & Shiseido as a testing sample. I am not otherwise paid. All thoughts and review details are solely my own. 

Packaged in a sleek frosted pump bottle, the Shiseido Synchro-Skin echoes the fluid lines of familiar Japanese design. Though heavier in glass, it doesn't take up too much space on my vanity however the cap has to be matched a certain way to click closed which has be fickle.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

Due to the formulation, I recommend a vigorous shake before attempting to use the foundation for the first time. The high water content means there's often separation in the bottle so don't be alarmed if the first few pumps are just clear liquid.

Appropriately mixed, the texture of Synchro-Skin is smooth and creamy; easily spread with a brush or a sponge though I personally prefer the latter. The product spreads quite thin over the skin and feels very lightweight.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

The shade I had been testing out is labeled Neutral on the bottle but the Shiseido's website appears to denote an intensity number which I am not able to find. Upon initial application, the colour looks quite close to my skin tone but is perhaps a smidge dark compared to my neck. There is slight oxidization throughout the day. Unfortunately this foundation doesn't brighten up my complexion and I tend to look dull in a hour or two. See my other foundation matches here.

With varying methods of application, I can achieve a range between light to medium coverage which is great for everyday wear. There is a tendency to cling to dry patches so a heavier moisturizer or a smoothing primer is recommended. Over applying and over buffing the foundation can also emphasize dry patches. The initial dry down is a soft matte but will soften to a satin finish in about 30 minutes.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation
Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation
Shiseido | Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation (shade: Natural)

I found average wear to be 4-5 hours on my combination skin before it starts to breakdown so it's not particularly long wearing at all for it's name. Oil control is lacking when worn alone. I prefer the finish on the drier parts of my face after a few hours of wear but by then my forehead will need to be touched up.

This foundation needs proper double cleansing to remove. I initially noticed clogged pores after frequent wear but more thorough cleansing seemed to help. This is something I recommend taking off as soon as you get home instead of waiting around until bedtime.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

The Shiseido Synchro-Skin Lasting Foundation* is a light to medium coverage creamy product with a satin finish. The finish does look very pretty but it is for a very specific customer; someone who doesn’t have too many dry patches, has normal skin (or prefers to wear a primer) and isn't concerned about longevity. In every sense I simply found this to be a very average foundation. Personally, many things fall short for me but I may potentially give the glow version a try. 

Chat soon,
Twitter | Youtube | Instagram