some british beauty goodies

I find it impossible not to have product-envy when reading blogs from ladies overseas, and every time someone I know goes to the UK, I always have a shopping list for them.  Recently, my family who lives outside London came for a visit, and since I had plenty of notice, I had lots of time to do research and compile a list. Behold: my recent british beauty goodies.

british beauty goodies

Here’s what I got:

Barry M Hi shine Gel effect nail paint in Elderberry and Coconut: 

Two awesome colours. Elderberry is very close in colour to Essie’s Borrowed and Blue, which I also love, and Coconut is a lovely off-white/cream shade.  I do find the formula a bit thick and hard to work with, but as a nail polish addict, I’ll put up with sub-par formulas if the colours are worth it.   Take the term “gel effect” with a grain of salt because this definitely does not mimic gel polish, though it does have a nice shiny finish.

Good Things 5 Minute Facial Mask:

A classic clay mask, free from questionable ingredients like parabens, sodium laureth sulfates, and mineral oil. It also smells delicious, which I’m guessing they want you to think is due to the avocado and goji berry extracts, but there is fragrance in the formula. Regardless, I quite like this as a standard mask, to use once or twice a week.

Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan BB Skin Perfector in Light Matte

Now that’s a mouthful! Unfortunately we don’t get Rimmel body products in Canada so I was excited to try this, as Rimmel is one of my favourite drugstore brands. I’ve only swatched this so far, but I look forward to using it on my arms and legs once my summer tan fades away in the coming weeks (sadness!). This isn’t a self tanner, but rather a tinted body cream that washes off.  For a fake tanning rookie like me, this means that mistakes can be washed right off!

Tanya Burr Lip Gloss in Aurora and Chic 

I was most excited for these, as I love Tanya Burr and there was a lot of hype and positive reviews about her new line of lip glosses. As promised, these are extremely pigmented and have a lovely, non-sticky formula.  As you can see from the swatch below, Aurora is an opaque, slightly cool-toned pink, and Chic is an almost peachy nude. I definitely want more of these!

Tanya Burr Lip Gloss

Sleek Contour Kit in Light 

Such a handy compact – this has a bronzer, highlighter and blush, cased in a slim black case with a large mirror. This would be ideal for traveling! I think the shades are pretty universally flattering, and I especially love the blush shade.  Sleek Face Contour Kit

What products do you lust after that you can’t get at home? And more importantly, what should I add to my next UK shopping list?!



mascara mondays and Rimmel scandaleyes retro glam

In honour of the blog’s namesake, I’m going to devote Mondays to reviewing mascaras.  I generally have at least five on the go at any time, and my favourites vary constantly. I am a huge believer in the huge impact a few coats of mascara can make on your overall look – it wakes you up, brightens your face, and can add some serious drama with minimal effort!

I like to go big with mascara. I’ll build up my lashes, coat after coat, until my lashes are really thick, voluminous, and stand out against even my darkest, smokiest eyes.  In terms of mascara formula, what I’m looking for can best be described as “spiky lashes”.  This may be weird, but I’m not a fan of soft, fluttery, natural-feeling lashes. I have an embarrassing habit of touching my eyelashes a lot, and I love it when they feel really spiky and dramatic – almost hard. I know this isn’t for everybody, but the good news is that if you’re after more natural lashes, you can achieve this with almost every brand and formula – just limit it to one coat and you’re set!

The first mascara Monday is devoted to Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam. Rimmel is generally my favourite drugstore mascara brand so I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed when purchasing.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Galm

Rimmel describes this as a “bold, wide-eyed false lash look” and I agree that you can really build this up to get super thick, dramatic lashes. The brush is made of natural bristles and has a curved, hour-glass shape, tapered at the top and thicker at the base. I have this in 003 Extreme Black and it’s a standard, nice black colour, with no grey undertones that you sometimes find. The picture below was taken at the end of the work day, after I’ve worn this mascara for about 10 hours. My lashes are still looking quite full! DSC_0100

This mascara gives you really full, thick, lengthened lashes. But one of the best things about it is that it builds really well.  On initial application, if you wait about 30 seconds – 1 minute between coats, the next coat kind of grips on to your previous coat to build thickness and keeps getting your lashes fuller.  I am specifying this because when you do this with some mascaras, I find that you’re almost just moving around the first coat, instead of building on it and thickening your lashes.

This also builds really well hours later after it’s dry. You know when you want to spruce up your makeup after work or school for evening, without removing it all and starting from scratch? One of the best ways I find there is to do this quickly is to add more mascara, to revive your lashes if they’ve “fallen” during the day or are just a bit less dramatic than when you left the house that morning.  This mascara should be your go-to for this! The formula is wet enough that it totally builds up even on pre mascara’ed lashes.  Take a look at the photo below – I added 1-2 coats after taking the picture above. They totally thickened and voluminized! I’m very impressed. And in case you’re wondering – they’re very spiky!

DSC_0107My final verdict on Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam is:

  • formula: 8/10
  • brush: 7/10
  • overall look: 9/10

Check those lashes! You have tried this or any of the other Rimmel Scandaleyes formulas?



the pinkest of cheeks

There is a blush product in my, ahem, large makeup stash that is so good that my desire to hail its praises to the world literally was one of the reasons why I felt I had to start a beauty blog. That’s a quite a statement! But I stand by it. I introduce to you: BECCA Beach Tint, a “water-resistant colour for cheeks and lips”.


BECCA is an Australian brand that isn’t all that popular in Canada. I’d heard of them from British blogs; their Skin Perfector is often the most talked-about product.  When I saw a BECCA counter at the Sephora in Toronto’s Eaton Centre, I zero-ed in on the Beach Tint, snapping up the colour Dragonfruit, which is described as “poppy pink”. As you can see from the swatch below, it’s quite opaque and pigmented.

BECCA beach tint swatch

I am a lover of blush, but not a lover of the fact that it essentially disappears from my cheeks within hours of application. Blush is never, ever still on my cheeks at the end of the day. I’ve come to accept it, though it doesn’t make me happy. But Beach Tint to the rescue! This stuff has seriously impressive staying-power.

beach tintYou only need the tiniest, tiniest amount of product because it is quite pigmented. I use a synthetic brush (usually either a Real Techniques Contour or Stippling brush) to apply it on the apples of my cheeks.   If you aren’t comfortable with strong colours, this product can be a bit intimidating at first, but the “less is more” mantra will help you through your first few applications.  Start with a little bit and you can add more to build up to your desired intensity.  It blends quite well though, sheering out a bit on the skin with some buffing. And once it’s on, it will last all day! I especially like to use this product for long work days or special occasions when I don’t want to have to worry about touch-ups and want to keep that glowing pink cheek look all day and night.   I will admit that I’ve only used this on my lips once, even though it’s sold as a cheek and lip product; it was semi-drying, which is always to be expected with these types of products, but the colour shade and payoff was lovely. Top it with some gloss and you’re good to go! But really I think this product shines most as a blush.

BECCA Beach Tint comes in 8 shades and is $30 – since you only need the smallest amount, this will last you forever! My colour-shy friends, take a deep breath and try this out – I don’t think you’ll regret it.

my current skincare routine

A few months ago I made a discovery that my wallet would call unfortunate but my face would call miraculous – Caroline Hiron’s blog. Caroline is an expert in all things skincare, and her word is law, in my opinion. Caroline Hirons disciples, I have joined your ranks!

Caroline inspired me to update my skincare routine – and not just update the products, but add some steps that I had been neglecting, like daily exfoliating, toning, and overall being a little bit less haphazard and slapstick about my approach to skincare.   Based on all these updates, I present you with: my current skincare routine.

Before we start, let it be known: I have normal/combination skin. I have some oiliness along my t-zone, especially on my forehead (bangs = greasy forehead) and the rest of my face is pretty normal. I get a bit of dryness in the winter, but these days it’s definitely not a concern.

Morning Routine

Cleanse with Clarins Cleansing Milk and a face cloth; exfoliate with either First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads or Clarins Gentle Exfoliator; spray hydrate tone with Yves Rocher Vitamin Face Mist. My serum is Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, and finally I moisturize with L’Oreal Ideal Moisture 48 hour day lotion SPF 25, or Alpha H Daily Essential Moisturizer SPF 50+ if I’ve used a glycolic acid the previous night.

Evening Routine

First cleanse with Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, second cleanse with Clarins Cleansing Milk. I double-cleanse because I do wear a lot of makeup, so I really want to get it all off… and if I’m honest, because Caroline says to do it! But you know when you rub a cotton pad with toner or exfoliator on your face and it’s dirty afterwards? Think about it like this – all that stuff was on your face! Yuck.

After cleansing, I exfoliate with either the FAB Radiance pads, Kate Somerville Clarifying Toner Treatment, or Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA, then tone with Vichy Purete Thermale Soft & Soothing Toner. If I am using Paula’s Choice, I tone first then apply the exfoliator, because it’s a cream, not a liquid, and I don’t want to apply a cream and then basically wipe it all off with the liquid toner!   If I’m not being lazy I’ll apply an eye cream, which is either Alpha H Absolute Eye Complex or Yves Rocher Hydra Vegetal Fresh Gel. My serum is usually Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II, though I’m out currently and have been using Olay Fragrance Free Regenerating Serum, which is quite lovely. Sometimes I’ll follow this up with a moisturizer, but these days, in the summer, I do find that I don’t need it as much as I would in the winter.

About twice a week I’ll use Alpha H Liquid Gold, a fairly strong and effective glycolic acid. For the best possible description of Liquid Gold, check out amodelrecommends’s review.

If you follow Caroline, you will notice that my routines are 100% Caroline-inspired. Each step, and most of the products, are thanks to her. I do find that my skin has gotten smoother, less red and more even-toned since starting this routine a few months ago, and I also have been getting fewer blemishes. Even when I am my most tired, I try to follow every step of this routine, and I always, always, always take my makeup off before going to bed, even if it’s 3am and I’ve just devoured half a pizza. Ladies, it’s such a crucial step – you can’t afford to skip this!

Though this does seem like a lot of products, I have an equally long wish-list of skincare that I will gradually add to my collection, which may make a good topic for a future blog post, what do you think?

Do you use any of the same products as me? Do you have any recommendations for me?

just add beauty blog

Hello world! My name is Danielle; I am a Canadian twenty-something with an obsession for all things beauty – with a special affinity for mascara. This little corner of the internet will be my place to share product reviews, recommendations, and ramblings with you – thanks for stopping by. I’ve been talking about starting a beauty blog for a looong time, so…. let’s do this!


just add mascara