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It’s no secret that I love makeup, but I must confess that skincare really excites me. I mean, like REALLY. Rodial is a brand that I’m slowly becoming more acquainted with, and I literally jumped at the chance to test out their Vitamin C Collection. Also, how uplifting is the orange colour of this range? And that’s just for starters …

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Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser (CAN $65.00) | Both cleansers were launched last year, and I’ve been loving them equally. Housed in a plastic bottle with a pump dispenser, this cleansing gel is formulated with Vitamin C for brightening, Fruit AHA‘s for their exfoliating properties, Glycolic and Lactic Acids to help tighten pores while firming & toning the skin, Pomegranate Extract for its powerful antioxidant properties, and Blood Orange Water to help stimulate the skin with a cocktail of nutritive components. Meant to be applied to dampened skin, the texture of this cleanser is very lightweight and rinses off easily, leaving no tight-skin effect behind. Personally, I find this one of the easiest cleansers I’ve ever used and even though I have no clinical evidence, I feel like it works so well with the rest of the range that I layer on top and something tells me that it’ll play well with other brands as well (note to self to test this theory out).

Vitamin C Brightening Cleansing Pads (CAN $56.00) | Housed in a jar that closes air-tight, this version is obviously the easiest cleansing option of the two, containing pads that are saturated with a complex blend of Fruit, Lactic, and Glycolic Acids to help smooth and retexturize the skin, Salicylic Acid to help tighten pores and tone the skin (also effective for those with blemish prone skin, but I recommend doing a patch test first to make sure your skin can handle it), and pure Vitamin C for its brightening properties.

As stated above, I love both cleansers, but I’ll only use the two together every second day. These are excellent in picking up anything the gel cleanser didn’t, and the surface of each pad also ensures I give my skin an added boost of exfoliation. The benefit of the Salicylic Acid means it makes short work of any would-be blemishes (they don’t dare) and helps keep my skin in optimum condition.

Vitamin C Glow Tonic (CAN $55.00) | Brand new for 2019, this toner is meant to be used after cleansing and serves to prep your skin for other products to follow. Formulated with 0.5% Vitamin C, 2% Glycolic Acid and 0.5% Salicylic Acid — the latter ingredient helps with sloughing off dead skin cells — the directions state to use this product 2-3 times per week, but my skin is able to tolerate using it twice daily and I’m absolutely loving the results. That said, my daughter on the other hand, experienced major sensitivity with just one use, so it pays to A) know your skin and B) always do a patch test first. Another perk is the bottle; the flip-top cap reveals a wide push-down dispenser, making it super easy to release the toner onto a cotton pad placed on top (and absolutely zero spillage, thank you).

Vitamin C Drops (CAN $89.00) | Ok, So now that you’ve cleansed & toned your skin, it’s time to pamper — and that’s where this face oil comes in. Another new release for 2019, this is formulated with a stabilized concentration of 6% Vitamin C in a selection of carrier oils (Babassu, Almond, Castor, Sunflower, and Carrot) and is not only meant to boost the other products you layer on top, but also helps to hydrate and brighten the skin. Other benefits include the ability to neutralize visible free-radical damage, increase skin’s radiance and luminosity, and helps to support the visible reduction of age spots and pigmentation. You can use this oil both morning and night: I administer between 4-5 drops (the instructions say 2-3, but again, judge according to your preferences) that I warm up between my fingers before patting it along my face & neck, then I massage that thoroughly in. The lightweight texture of this oil helps it absorb quickly into the skin, without leaving any greasy residue behind. For the record, this product is one I fully intend using until the last drop … and I’ll definitely be picking up more after that.

Vitamin C Brightening Mask (CAN $110.00) | You had me at mask. This lightweight gel is infused with 5% pure Vitamin C along with a blend of 10% exfoliating Fruit Acids and AHA‘s to really help even out tone and with resurfacing the complexion. The unique push-down dispenser system ensures the integrity of the contents by not allowing any oxygenation, and one pump is all you need for the entire face and neck. An excellent mask to reach for whenever you feel your skin looks dull or lacklustre, it can be applied 1-2 times a week; the directions say to let it work between 15-20 minutes then you can tissue off any excess, but I guess I’ve been needing it all, since I don’t have any excess leftover. My skin does feel a bit tacky after the 20 minutes are up, but it doesn’t bother me since I jump right in with the rest of the products, and this seems to be working great. One important thing I’ve noticed is that when I use this mask (which I prefer to do so in the evenings, before going to sleep so I can allow it to work overnight), is that I wake up to truly radiant skin — and this is 100% true. Unbelievable, but still.

Vitamin C Face Soufflé (CAN $110.00) | Both this moisturizer and the eye treatment are new for 2019, and what makes them stand out is their lightweight and almost “whipped” texture. The formula contains 2% encapsulated Vitamin C to help deliver a gradual vitamin release, to go with an excellent hydration factor. Other benefits include helping to provide brightness and an evenness of tone, as well as improving skin’s elasticity and the promotion of collagen synthesis — the latter is something that I really look for in a moisturizer as I’ve gotten older and started noticing some slackness (don’t even get me started). Bearing a delicate citrus fragrance, it dissipates fairly quickly after application. The wonderful part about this texture is that is absorbs relatively quickly, but it’s the after feel that has me excited: what I’m left with, is touchable & velvety-soft skin.

Vitamin C Eye Soufflé (CAN $99.00) | Enriched with 2% encaspulated Vitamin C, this eye cream not only offers hydrating properties, but helps to visibly brighten the delicate skin around the..

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For beauty lovers, Marc Jacobs’ Summertime Coconut Collection is always hotly anticipated. I mean, coconut: doesn’t get more Summery than that, am I right? Infused with a varied selection of coconut ingredients (how many times can I say “coconut” in one paragraph?), these products not only smell amazing, but perform equally beautifully. Then there’s the recently launched Youthquake, a multi-tasking moisturizer with pineapple in the ingredients and so perfectly fitting into the theme. I just love makeup synergy, don’t you?

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Youthquake Hydra-Full Retexurizing Gel Crème (CAN $79.00/50 ml) | If you’re looking for that one perfectly ultra-functional moisturizer, then look no further than this baby. With a fresh & light creamy pineapple fragrance (which I absolutely LOVE), this has been created to work on a variety of skin types (normal, dry, and combination — oily is the only obvious exclusion). This is a multi-tasking product that aims to help with dryness, dullness, uneven texture, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s texture is also unique, being a lightweight gel-crème that feels cooling upon initial application, then literally melts into the skin without any sticky after-effect. By the way, before Youthquake was officially launched, it was sent to Lady Gaga’s makeup artist who used it on her client several months before as well as the day of this year’s Met Gala to prep her skin for that ultimate flawless canvas. I’d say it certainly worked, if the pictures are anything to go by.

As I’m still currently finishing up testing another skincare regimen, I haven’t delved too deeply into this moisturizer, but after a couple of quick tests, my initial thoughts are that I not only like the feel of Youthquake, but something tells me it’ll be absolutely perfect for when the hot & humid weather kicks in (which is just around the corner, in fact). I’ll update further once I have more results to report on. But it smells seriously gooooood and feels amazing to the touch.

UNDER(COVER) Blurring Coconut Face Primer (CAN $46.00) | Featuring 5 forms of coconut to nurture, hydrate & smooth the complexion, this is a makeup extending face primer in a transparent finish that was created to work universally on all skin tones, without leaving any cast behind. The texture is super lightweight and glides effortlessly along the skin, helping to fill in pores and fine lines for a soft-focus blurring effect, thereby leaving a smooth canvas behind. As expected, this primer bears a coconut fragrance, although it’s subtle enough to be unnoticeable once applied. There are silicones listed among the ingredients, and even though I don’t have any issues with that, it’s still something to note for those with sensitivities.

Tantalize O!Mega Bronze Coconut Perfect Tan (CAN $65.00) | Housed in an oversized yet slim-profile compact, this is a matte bronzer in a deeper hue than the original Tan-Tastic! The jet-milled powder is micro-fine and while the colour is darker than its predecessor, it’s still well within the neutral range and able to be worn by a variety of complexions. Inspired by Marc Jacobs’ love of coconut water, that exotic vibe is definitely present here as the fragrance of the powder is redolent with coconut, but one which also seems to dissipate quickly upon application (or I just don’t notice it anymore — which is a shame, since I freaking love the scent!). Staying power (over primer or foundation) is excellent, without showing any signs of oxidation or streaking.

I have to admit that I began using this bronzer the second it arrived, and while I have a plethora of bronzing options at my disposal, I’m finding it difficult to not reach for Tantalize. As far as powders go, this one ranks quite high in my view, as it provides a seamless finish upon the skin that never looks like it’s sitting at surface level. Another big plus is the finish; stated as matte, it’s actually more correct to say it’s a radiant matte, and therefore will never come off as flat or dull. Oh, and another bonus is the large pan size — there’s no brush it can’t handle, meaning you’ll be able to pick up an even amount of product per swipe every single time.

Tantalize Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter (CAN $58.00) | As this is my first gel highlighter from the brand, I was curious to see if it lived up to the hype and OMG — let’s just say that it definitely exceeded all my expectations. Housed in a frosted glass container with a pump dispenser, this is a coconut infused gel-liquid highlighter that can be applied directly to skin, or mixed in with foundation and/or moisturizer for an extra shot of luminosity. As with the rest of the collection, coconut plays a key role — 5 versions of it, in fact:

  • Coconut Alkanes – to help with longer wear
  • Coconut Milk – for deep hydration
  • Coconut Water – to provide refreshing electrolytes
  • Coconut Polysaccharides – to help condition skin
  • Coconut Fragrance – light & fresh (which helps with that beach vibe)

I love wearing highlighter and when it’s strategically placed, it really does the best job of brightening the entire face. That said, highlighter overload can not only look horrific, but can also spotlight things you’d rather keep under wraps (large pores, scars, etc). The beauty of this version, is that it literally blends seamlessly into the skin for the most “natural” looking finish (as opposed to powder which can sit at surface level and/or appear cake-y). I’ve yet to wear it mixed with foundation or moisturizer — although I’m curious to see if I can pull that off — but have been loving this paired with the Tantalize bronzer; they work beautifully together, as both are in a similar tone. As to application, fingers work well but I prefer using a small dense synthetic brush for the job … simple, effective, and 100% mess-free.

Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara (CAN $34.00) | Although not a new release, this mascara is new to me and since I’ve heard so many raves about this product, I just had to test it out. My criteria for mascara are non-negotiable: it must provide volume, length, not flake or smear, and be easily removed at the end of wearing. Oh, and it needs to be an intense black hue. Velvet Noir checks off every single box and has now been added to the rotation list of my mascara faves (in case you’re wondering, that includes offerings from CHANEL, Louboutin, and NARS).

I love a large brush and while rubberized bristles are excellent for definition, I prefer more traditional bristles such as this to provide the volume and length I look for. The swatch below is with 2 coats — pretty impressive, am I right? Notice I didn’t say anything about clumping in my criteria list, and that’s because provided the formula isn’t gloopy (which this definitely is NOT), I have no issue with clumping since it can also provide a hit of added volume.

The last couple of years I’ve been slowly delving more into the Marc Jacobs brand, and from everything I’ve tried thus far, I have to say that the products in today’s post have truly impressed me. What’s more, I love how everything is also decently priced — definitely not as high as traditional luxury brands, but certainly performing like they are. For what it’s worth, I was had at coconut. Enough said.

Available at Sephora

Kindly provided by Marc Jacobs for my unbiased consideration

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Fragrance as a gift for Father’s Day is not exactly groundbreaking … unless it’s CHANEL, of course. Launched in 2018, Bleu de CHANEL Parfum is the latest flanker in that range and apart from the beautiful lines of the bottle, it also happens to smell amazing; so good, in fact, that I’m hoping my husband doesn’t notice that I’ve been using it too. Shhhhhhhh

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The face of Bleu de CHANEL Parfum, Gaspar Ulliel

I knew this PR package would be different when I saw the bag

The dustbag contained the fragrance which came comfortably nestled in a limited edition CHANEL towel

Bleu de CHANEL Parfum (CAN $163.00/100 ml) | Desribed as an aromatic-woody fragrance and housed in a square-cut bottle of navy blue heavy glass with gold silkscreened lettering and a magnetized cap, Bleu de CHANEL Parfum follows the enormous successes of Bleu de CHANEL Eau de Toilette in 2010 and Bleu de CHANEL Eau de Parfum in 2014, both created by Jacques Polge. Created in 2018 by Olivier Polge (Jacques’ son), this newest version ups the ante to a whole new level and marks it as the first perfume for men in the range. Taking the crispness and woody freshness of the first fragrance along with the seductive amber tone of the second, then intensifying it all via the addition of a new wood note — creamy sandalwood from New Caledonia, a rare species that is protected in part by CHANEL and obtained through a sustainable supplier, you get a fragrance that is unlike either of the two and yet the core remains unmistakably familiar. While perfume is ubiquitous in the world of women’s fragrances, men’s versions have not been as exposed to this higher concentration; Bleu de CHANEL Parfum has not only permanently changed that concept, but has done so in a way that seems modern and utterly elegant at the same time.

At first spritz, the opening is undeniably zesty, crisp, and somewhat citrusy, then within minutes begins to morph into something more wood-like in tone thanks to the vetiver and cedar. The next phase is where the magic happens, as the intensity & lush creaminess of the sandalwood makes its presence known, softening the edges of the previous notes and fusing them all into this beautiful composition. With an excellent sillage (staying power), the finish is a warm-skin dry down with just the barest whisper of powder … and literally makes you want to lean in for more.

I’ve always been drawn to men’s fragrances — and not just to smell on my guy, but to personally wear as well. When Bleu de CHANEL Parfum, arrived, I was excited to sniff this on my husband but when testing it out, I found myself wanting to hoard it, then I figured I can always borrow it from him. So if you’re looking for a gift that totally doesn’t say “last minute” for dad (or the dad figure in your life), I totally recommend swinging by your nearest CHANEL counter to give this a shot — then be prepared to have a hard time letting it go. #justsayin

Available at CHANEL counters nationwide

Kindly provided by CHANEL for my unbiased consideration

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Once again, Rihanna has shown that she not only understands what consumers want, but delivers it too — and the recent launch of the Sun Stalk’R bronzers brings this point vividly home. Available in 8 shades and more importantly, dedicated to a variety of undertones, she’s got you covered. Literally.

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Sun Stalk’R Instant Warmth Bronzer (CAN $38.00/each) | Housed in octagonally shaped rose-gold packaging with a full sized mirror on the inner lid, there are 8 shades available in total. The finely milled texture feels incredibly buttery to the touch, and blends seamlessly into the skin without showing any signs of oxidation throughout wear. The finish is interesting; definitely matte although not of the light-absorbing variety, but rather one that imparts a natural sheen to the skin.

I tested these bronzers out applied over a new foundation that came in (which has completely blown me away — but that’s for another post), and I could tell by even the first swipe that there was a whole lot of good going on. For one thing, each shade lays down beautifully with just the right amount of pigment per brush-ful, and secondly, the effortless manner in which each blends out is truly amazing. Finally, the wear time closed the deal, with my skin looking as good at 10+ hours later, as it had from the start.

Inda Sun | Fair with neutral undertones and the lightest shade available. As seen in the swatch below, not only does this provide a light whisper of colour, but can also double as a contour. Personally, I like to “cocktail” my makeup by layering several hues, so I use this shade for the centre of my face where it gives a more believable touch of colour.

Shady Biz | Light with warm undertones, and the best “tan” hue for my skin tone. There’s an obvious warmth to it and I prefer applying this shade along larger areas (side of cheeks, forehead, neck) then go in and diffuse a bit of Inda Sun on top for the most natural looking finish. It gives that “I just got back from a day at the beach” kind of glow.

Private Island | Light to medium with warm undertones, and the deepest of the three shown for my skin tone. This shade is a bit too intense for me right now, but something tells me it’ll be spot-on perfect once I’ve picked up a light tan. And yes, since my skin doesn’t tan perfectly even on its own, adding a light touch of a bronzer such as this definitely helps.

Cheek-Hugging Bronzer Brush 190 (CAN $45.00) | Made with plush synthetic bristles, the chiselled angled shape of this brush has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of using it, let’s just say you’ll have a hard time going back to any other bronzer brush. The softness of the bristles is astounding and not only can I not stop touching them, but I absolutely love the smooth & gliding feel along my skin. There’s just the right amount of density to pick up powder to perfectly deposit it along the face, while the brush’s unique contours helps to get into all areas which then provides the most natural-looking finish.

Sculpting Bronzer Brush 195 (CAN $42.00) | The custom “cat paw” shape of this brush not only works beautifully for applying traditional bronzer, but makes it perfect for applying contour as well — and then you can do what I do: use this brush to diffuse the two seamlessly one into the other. I’ve also used this brush to apply both highlighter and blush, and I’m totally impressed with the way it handles itself in those areas too. Oh, and it’s just as soft and plush as the previous brush aka: totally addictive.

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Covering fragrance is tricky at best, mainly because the field is so vast and definitely subjective to each wearer’s tastes. That said, I am quite passionate about scent and while I may not have the fancy terminology down, I do know what I like; surprisingly, that usually includes traditionally labelled men’s fragrances … and to that end, I’ve discovered that Mugler makes some of the most wearable unisex offerings there are. Here’s a perk: buy it for him, and you get to wear it too. I call that a win-win.

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Mugler’s iconic Angel has gone off to spawn many other iterations, and that includes several for men as well — all with their own unique stamp. Then there’s Les Exceptions, a collection of luxury fragrances that draws inspiration from the brand’s couture heritage, with each telling their story in a creative new way.

Over The Musk Les Exceptions (CAN $200.00/80 ml) | Launched in 2014 and created by Christophe Herault & Olivier Polge, this is best described as a musky/amber/woody accord. Housed in a sturdy outer faux-bois box, the hinged top opens up to reveal the clean lines of the Art Deco-inspired bottle nestled inside a crisp white sueded interior. Both the cap and heavy glass bottle are banded in metal along the sides, echoing the clasp on the exterior box (which is also embossed with the brand’s “star” motif).

When I hear the word “musk”, I’m instantly transported back to the mid 70’s and my high school days where this scent was overpoweringly EVERYWHERE (unfortunately). But that was then, and thankfully the version found in Over The Musk is a far cry from that noxious hippy-dippy mania. A rare ingredient that was originally extracted from the musk deer, today’s musk is now artificially created and definitely nowhere near as “animalistic” in nature. Thanks to botanical Ambrette Seeds (another very expensive ingredient in perfumery), this iteration has been transformed into something more plant-based, softened up & rounded out with Cashmere Wood and hints of Vanilla, but also given a unique little fiery kick with Black Pepper.

What makes Over The Musk so intriguing for me, is how surprisingly wearable it truly is — something I never thought I’d say about any musk fragrance. But here’s the trick: go very, very, lightly. My favourite way to wear this is by spraying it in front of me then walking into the mist; barring that, I spray a bit on my fingers which I then dab onto my pulse point & back of the neck. The reason being, is that this is a scent that displays its true beauty when it’s not screaming in your face, but only caught through fleeting glimpses. The musk note has an initial early presence but then becomes tempered by a floral softness, with a final warm-skin dry down that’s both sexy as hell, and utterly cozy. And yes, while I love smelling this on my husband, I’ve since appropriated it for myself #sorrynotsorry

Angel from Mugler, was my go-to from the day it launched and remained that way for several years. As my tastes evolved, I started investing in other fragrances but every now & then I’ll pull this old favourite out and each spritz brings so many memories rushing back. When I learned that several interesting men’s options in the A*Men range exist, the two I was most drawn to were Pure Malt and Pure Havane; I knew instinctively that not only did each have notes in them that I’d love to smell on my husband, but that I’d want to wear as well. Turns out I was right — no surprise there.

The unique kidney-shaped bottles bear the signature Angel star, standing out beautifully via a cut-out window on their rubberized exterior. Another plus to this shape, is that it fits ergonomically in the palm of the hand while the integrated sprayer means you don’t have to fuss with a cap. Brilliant, no?

A*Men Pure Havane, Eau de Toilette (CAN $99.00/100 ml) | Created by Jacques Huclier in 2011, this is described as a gourmand tobacco fragrance with a wood-earthy accord. Inspired by the lush tobacco aroma of the finest Cuban cigars, the composition includes Fresh Tobacco Leaves (top), Honeyed Tobacco & Vanilla (heart), with a base of Patchouli, Amber, Labdanum, Styrax and Bitter Cocoa to round things out.

Let me get this out of the way first: I freaking LOVE this fragrance and think it just may be the sexiest one I’ve ever worn and/or smelled on a man. More than the sum of its parts, I definitely get tobacco with the first spritz, but it’s diffused in what seems like an almost chocolatey haze (hello, Angel gourmand). The distinct masculinity of this scent may continue throughout its duration, but it also appears to soften & warm up as it goes, finally coming to a creamy honey-like finish with just the barest hints of cedar — as though it absorbed some of the redolence of a well-stocked cigar humidor.

A*Men Pure Malt, Eau de Toilette (CAN $99.00/100 ml) | Created in 2009 in honour of traditional Scottish whiskey, this is described as a smoky/woody/spicy accord. But this composition is also rather surprising in that while it may lean obviously boozy, it does so in a manner that is wearable, sexy, charming, and totally sophisticated. Think: James Bond at a pool party. The fresh pop of citrusy/fruity top notes Bergamot & Orange, give way to a heart of Coffee Bean, Vanilla & Patchouli for a full-bodied creamy character, with a base of Musk, Amber and Peat adding a unique smoky finish.

When I presented both this and Pure Havane to my husband for a sniff test, much to my surprise he chose this one as his new daytime scent. I know, right? Who would have thought boozy fragrance for day? Alcoholic-leaning name aside, this fragrance is actually exceptionally wearable for both day & evening, as the notes seem to perfectly merge along the skin without overpowering the wearer — just go easy with the spritzing. I call this one a lean-in, as I can’t resist getting even closer to my husband when he’s wearing it.

Fragrance is a huge part of who I am, with so many memories and experiences triggered by specific scents. For example, I may not be able to tell you what my husband wore when we first met over 30 years ago, but I can tell you what he was wearing: Kouros by YSL — and for years he stuck to that, but lately he’s been open to exploring new options (grudgingly). In fact, he’s even pickier than I am when it comes to fragrance so I was pleasantly surprised to find that he took to both Pure Malt and Pure Havane so well. He didn’t stand a chance with Over The Musk as my daughter & I appropriated it. So here’s my thought: I know that buying fragrance for Father’s Day may not be groundbreaking, but you may want to consider the options presented here … especially since they could potentially expand your fragrance library too. Like I said, win-win.

Available at Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada

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Isn’t this flower the very picture of Spring? Obviously inspired by the season’s invigorating spirit, Givenchy has created The Power of Color Collection for Spring 2019, filled with vibrant shades for eyes, lips, cheeks & nails … and after the brutal Winter we’ve just endured, I’m most definitely ready to bring on ALL the colour I can.

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For this collection, the brand’s iconic leather lipstick casings have been given a gorgeous new ombré look — and I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely take any chance to whip one of these out in public just to see people’s reactions (yes, I can be vain like that). Complete with a stud at the base, yet another Givenchy symbol, the lipstick bullet also comes embossed with the House’s emblem.

N° 332 Fearless Le Rouge Intense, limited edition (CAN $50.00) | A deep coral red shade with an ultra creamy texture that provides full coverage with the first swipe, and with a gorgeous shine at the finish. Despite its emollient nature, it’s still relatively long wearing — obviously not as transfer free as a matte, but one that fades to a nice stain. Delicately rose fragranced, the scent dissipates upon application.

N° 05 Spirited Le Rouge Perfecto, limited edition (CAN $49.00) | The strong orange colour seen in the tube is somewhat misleading, as this applies more along the lines of a tinted balm. Gliding easily along the lips, the formula not only hydrates and protects, but provides a subtle plumping effect as well. This can also be applied before lipstick for an extra boost (both colour & nourishment), but I feel you get the full benefits wearing it solo.


Dual Liner, limited edition (CAN $42.00/each) | Housed in a retractable pen, these are dual-colours liners that can also serve as eyeshadow. The slanted bevelled tip has a thinner portion of colour on one end (I’m guessing that’s the “liner” part), with a complimentary larger portion of colour on the other end. The texture is smooth and glides effortlessly without tugging or pulling on the delicate skin around the eyes, and each can also be blended out to a certain degree — just work one eye at a time to avoid the product from setting too quickly. You can mix both shades together for a unique new combo and while each is wearable on its own (BONUS: you only need your finger to smudge them out), they can also be worn under eyeshadow for extra staying power + boost of colour.

  • N° 3 Dynamic – emerald green & sky blue
  • N° 4 Passionate – deep pink & tangerine

Prisme Blush Powder Duo, limited edition (CAN $63.00/each) | Both blush duos have been given the same gradient look to their outer cases as the lip products, silkscreened with the brand’s 4G emblem. Inside you’ll find a full-sized mirror on the inner lid along with a soft bevelled brush (that’s surprisingly usable, I might add). Each has two shades of complimentary hues and gives you the option of applying them individually or swirled together for a unique new colour combination. Staying power when applied over primer/foundation, is excellent without showing any significant fading throughout wear.

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I was recently invited to visit Dior’s spectacular new counter at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy (Montréal), where with the help of their fragrance specialist David, I was matched with my perfect scent, Oud Ispahan. When that was done, I then had the opportunity to test out a customized Dior Prestige facial treatment — which was ah-mazing, by the way. Rounding out today’s post are the new Summer 2019 Lacquer Sticks, because why not?

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Both the entire selection of colour cosmetics and skincare ranges are well represented at the new Dior counter — including the exclusive Prestige Light-In-White Collection. Surprisingly, however, I was more drawn to the stunning new fragrance counter and their impressive array of matching home accessories (candles, soaps, home scents).

The range of Maison Christian Dior fragrances is available here, with options that include personalization (you can have the bottle engraved), exquisite gift wrapping, as well as uniquely customized gift boxes.

This fragrance counter seems like it goes one forever, no? Having this many options can almost feel overwhelming, but thankfully there’s always a specialist on hand to help make the decision easy-peasy.

Another unique feature of this new Dior counter, is that it also carries the exclusive range of Élixir Précieux — pure concentrates that can be worn alone (but go lightly, as these babies are potent), or mixed with your selected fragrance to add a whole new dimension of scent.

To sweeten the deal further, this Dior counter also offers treatment services with their very own private space, where I received one of the best facials in recent memory. No, but seriously; my skin was basically glowing.

When presented with a fragrance selection as vast as this, it helps to know which notes you’re most drawn to and upon meeting the fragrance specialist, all it took was a few simple questions to pick out some possible contenders. My preferences run towards anything vanilla, oriental, or woody, and the one that checked off all my boxes, was Oud Ispahan.

Oud Ispahan Eau de Parfum (CAN $285.00/125 ml) | Created by Dior’s in-house master perfumer François Demachy in 2012, this is an aromatic oriental but one that happens to also be unisex in nature. The Labdanum top note moves into a delicious heart of Turkish Rose, Patchouli & Saffron, finally being rounded & grounded by a base of Cedar, Sandalwood, and Laotian Oud.

According to M. Demachy, “Oud Ispahan is like opening the doors of an Oriental palace with ochre walls and being struck by its fragrance. The smoky scent of burning wood blends with that of sweet floral water on washed hands. That’s the scent of this smooth atmosphere, where rose, frankincense and resin linger. The perfume is velvety and sensual, like the roses of the Orient“. I literally could not agree more with this description; the first sniff of this scent made me imagine the Taj Mahal with its ornately detailed Harem room, plumes of incense wafting gently on the breeze and lushly redolent roses everywhere.

As someone who happens to love masculine-leaning scents that have heaping loads of mystery to them, it was a given that I’d be attracted to Oud Ispahan. Oud may not be everyone’s cup of tea as the wrong proportion of this ingredient can be rather overpowering, so tempering it with rose was a brilliant touch. The initial spritz reveals a soft incense-like note, which then begins to evolve into a more smoky floral heart, finally coming to a creamy woody-earthen tone that lingers like a soft caress along the skin. As I said: this fragrance definitely pushes ALL my buttons. As to the sillage (staying power), that will depend on your own body’s unique chemistry, but I personally find that Oud Ispahan wears beautifully on me, staying long enough to enjoy but never irritate.

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Thanks to social media, I’m pretty sure there’s not a person out there who hasn’t admired Dior’s tote bags with their instantly recognizable “Oblique” pattern (see below) — this same design is now also found embossed upon the surface of the brand’s recently launched Tri(O)Blique Eyeshadow Palettes. Originally called Diorissimo, this print is now ubiquitous thanks to a reboot by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director of Dior … and while owning one of these bags may be out of reach for most, thankfully these palettes are way more attainable.

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Inspiration: Dior’s Oblique Tote Bag

3 Couleurs Tri(O)Blique Eyeshadow Palette (CAN $72.00/each) | Housed in the brand’s iconic navy lacquered casings, each palette opens up to reveal a trio of complimentary shades in a range of finishes: shimmer, metallic, and satin matte. The surface pattern is literally a work of art, and I’m not lying when I say that it actually hurt me to mar the design — but the agony was definitely worth it. The texture is so buttery that it feels almost creamy to the touch, displaying excellent colour saturation and an easy blendability. Staying power, when applied over primer, is bang on as well, staying fade-free and crease proof until removed.

By the way, I recommend visiting @DiorMakeup on Instagram to see the looks Peter Philips created with these palettes (4 short video clips).

653 Coral Canvas | This trio is comprised of a metallic coral/peach (top), a sparkly gold (centre), and a chocolate brown satin/matte (bottom). Definitely warm leaning, these colours work beautifully for a daytime look — but can always get dialled up for evening by intensifying the deep brown at the outer eye corner, and I something tells me that this palette will be perfect to offset a tan.

053 Smoky Canvas | This trio is comprised of a metallic slate (top), a brilliant silver (centre), and a charcoal satin matte (bottom). Decidedly more cool leaning, this palette is definitely there for a more dramatic effect and contains basically all the shades you need to create that perfectly effortless-looking smoky eye.

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Easily one of the most highly anticipated products to come from CHANEL this year, the Water-Fresh Tint from the Les Beige 2019 Collection is as unique to look at, as it is to wear. Boasting a new breakthrough technology, let’s just say that your skin has now found its bestest BFF … or at least, mine certainly has.

The rest of the Les Beiges 2019 Collection previously reviewed here

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Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint (CAN $85.00/each) | Available in 6 shades and housed in a rectangular tube with a dose-controlled pump dispenser, the transparent base not only displays the shade, but makes it easy to monitor product usage. Each Water-Fresh Tint also comes with its own kabuki brush which works beautifully for a smooth application. The cutting edge patented microfluidic technology of the formula is a first in the cosmetics field, and is composed of 75% water which provides an instantly refreshing sensation upon contact with the skin.

Micro-droplets of encapsulated pigments that are suspended in the base melt upon application, melding perfectly into the skin on contact and help create a radiant bare-skin effect. The ultra lightweight feel of this product also gives a slight blurring and smoothing effect upon the skin, while the sheer coverage provides evenness which still allows your skin’s natural texture to show through. The formula also includes Tamarind Seed Extract known for its moisturizing properties, to deliver long-lasting comfort and hydration throughout the wearing. Note that this produce bears a delicate Neroli Flower fragrance, one that is subtle and quite pleasant, dissipating immediately upon application.

The pump is one of the most efficient I’ve seen, enabling one to effectively control the amount of product dispersed without any waste. Instructions state to deposit an amount on the back of the hand first before application, but I actually prefer to pump it directly onto the brush and then apply it to the skin. The cooling fresh effect is immediately felt, and working from the middle of the face outwards using round buffing motions, the product blends seamlessly into the skin to leave behind the lightest veil of colour — but one that can be slightly built up — providing a lovely even-toned and healthy-looking tint to the skin. Note that there are in fact 3 distinct ways to wear this product: on its own for a sheer wash of colour, under foundation and/or bronzer as a base, or lightly patted on top of foundation to “wake it up“, as it were.

The short-handled kabuki brush has a bevelled flat top and includes soft dense bristles, but with enough flexibility to them so that they splay evenly along the skin.

Swatches of the entire range: just 1 small pump shown

Light – pale oyster/cream, ideal for fair to light complexions

Medium Light – soft ecru, ideal for light to medium complexions

Light Deep – light nude tan, ideal for light to medium complexions

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Les Beiges from CHANEL is probably the collection I anticipate the most, and this year’s grouping is majorly exceeding ALL my expectations. From the classic packaging to the utterly wearable shades, this entire collection has my name written all over it. Actually, it has Coco Chanel’s name written all over it, but you know what I mean.

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Is it crazy that this simple beige packaging excites me?

Healthy Glow Sheer Powder Exclusive Creation, limited edition (CAN $82.00/each) | Available in 7 shades, these face powders come housed in beige lacquered compacts printed with Mlle. Chanel’s signature on the cover. Each opens up to display a full-sized mirror on the inner lid, as well as a demi-lune brush. The surface of the powder is embossed with Mademoiselle’s signature and while delicately fragranced, the scent dissipates quickly after application. The texture, however, feels definitely different from what I remember; where the original is a slightly more pigmented and creamier both to the touch and upon application, the newer version feels somewhat drier. That said, I find that this year’s iteration to be more finely milled and able to provide a lightweight finish that melds seamlessly into the skin. My advice would be to use a dense brush for stronger coverage, or a dual-fibre brush for a more air-brushed finish. Overall, these powders are not designed for anyone looking for full-on coverage, but true to the French “bonne mine” (aka: healthy glow) effect, something they certainly accomplish with ease.

Before you ask, this makeup bag was a PR gift, and not available for sale – sorry!

  • N° 10 – champagne/ivory (the lightest available shade)
  • N° 20 – ecru (for light to fair complexions)
  • N° 30 – nude (the most neutral of them all, fair to medium skin tones)

The are several things to note in the above swatch; for starters, N° 10 literally disappears into my skin and in fact, I had a helluva time even trying to see it to accurately crop the picture (I’m still not sure I got it right, lol). Next, you’ll notice that even though the swatches for both N° 20 & N° 30 in the original formulation look several shades darker, they’re definitely still in the same tone.

Les Indispensables Natural Eyeshadow Collection, limited edition (CAN $110.00) | I’m going to call it right here and now: if there’s one item from this collection that you don’t want to pass up on, it’s definitely this palette. Housed in the same lacquered beige compact casing as the powders, it opens up to reveal a full-sized mirror on the inner lid, 9 neutral hues, and two mini dual-ended brushes (which work surprisingly well). The configuration of the shades is deliberate, clearly divided into 3 trios that are meant to work together — although that’s more of a guideline and not set in stone, obviously. With a beautiful mix of mattes, satins, & soft shimmers, this is a neutral-lovers dream palette. SERIOUSLY. As someone who tends to stick to these types of shades and happens to have enough nude eyeshadows/palettes to sink a battleship, I have a confession: this has been the one I’ve been reaching for 24/7 since it arrived, and I’m now even planning on getting a backup. Yes, it’s THAT good.

For the record, all the shades display stellar pigmentation and blendability, and the palette itself is a nice mix of cool, warm, and neutral hues — meaning it will suit basically all complexions. The texture is amazing as well, creamy-smooth, finely milled and when worn over primer, all..

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