NAILS | Holo Mermaid #CBBxManiMonday

We are more than halfway through the Holo Taco Rainbow Collection and I have been WAITING for this green! I love greens, blues and purples so the last couple of shades will be shades I look forward to trying, but the green is pretty amazing too! This is Green Taffy and in the bottle, I was expecting something like Nubar Reclaim and it is verrrrry similar. I think Green Taffy is a touch brighter and maybe a bit more multidimensional on the holo, but these two polishes are very much in the same family for me. While I obviously HAD to take photo of Green Taffy in its holo glory, I still needed some nail art for our "Summer Lingo" #CBBxManiMonday theme and what goes well with green? Mermaids of course!

Holo Mermaid Nail Art
Some polishes PR gifted

SHEET MASK | Verso Intense Facial Mask

You are probably going to see slightly more sheet mask reviews thanks to embarking on the #100DaysofSheetMask challenge again this week, but instead of putting pressure on myself to review EVERYTHING I use, I focused on dedicating blog reviews to just 2-3 of the more interesting masks out of the 7 I use each week. Maybe it's a brand I love, a cool technology in the mask or some noteworthy ingredients like the Retinol 8 used in the Verso Intense Facial Mask! 

Verso Intense Facial Mask
 Purchased by me

NAILS | Orange and Feathery #MidWeekMani

I so rarely do my nails in the middle of the week, but I have been timing my holo nails with hopefully some sunny days off, which are now Sunday and Monday until further notice, which means that in between, I want to showcase AS MANY summery bright manicures as possible before we say hello to Fall. It's insane that we are already into the first week of August. 2020 is going to be such a weird way to remember things. Already, my memory of things is "Before COVID" or "After COVID" and it's not like COVID is really over either. I just think of March and April as that scary time when we didn't know what things would be like and honestly, with the numbers climbing back up again, I feel like the Fall might be another scary time. I am definitely one of the more cautious people who totally doesn't mind not seeing people in person and if anything, I am a TRUE homebody as I was doing just fine hanging out with my husband and cats, but now that I am at work, I do get some extra socializing so I welcome staying at home. It must be so hard being single now, but at least we might have $100,000 worth of glory holes thanks to YouPorn LOL. If you don't know about this, leave a comment and I will link you the tweet! 

 Polishes PR gifted

LIFESTYLE | What I Learned About Myself and Money in Quarantine and My Plans for 2020

Remember at the beginning of this year when 2020 still seemed like it was going to be ok? We can all agree that every month this year has been intense with all of us having to do some major self-reflection and serious thinking about our futures and how we plan on conducting ourselves. Bad things happen in the world all the time, but COVID-19 shut down THE GLOBE. Every single person on the planet has been united and affected by this incredibly contagious disease and I count my blessings every day that myself and those closest to me are still healthy. While I have been back at work for the last 2 months, being without work for 7 weeks gave me some much needed clarity and I know I am not alone in that. I never thought in my working life that I would have this amount of time off and after freaking out for about a week, I pulled a Carrie Underwood and basically said "Jesus, Take the Wheel". Whatever will be, will be and if I'm going to be at home with nowhere to go, I may as well do what I want on my own terms and in my own time.

NAILS | Holo Ikat #CBBxManiMonday

Today's manicure was somewhat frustrating in that summer heat makes polishes pretty goopy and very rarely do I remove the base colour and redo manicures, but that's what I had to do with this Ikat design. Not only did I have some issues with creating the design, but the application of Holo Taco Lemon Sucker as well. Holo finishes can fix most of my nail polish grievances, but in this case I am really not sure when I will use this shade again other than for a photo prop.

Holo Ikat Nail Art
All polishes purchased by me

SHEET MASK | Mediheal Line Friends Edition

I have a feeling that by now, a large portion of you have seen this rabbit, bear and chick in various places. Originally developed for use as stickers or emojis for the messaging app LINE, Cony (rabbit), Brown (bear) and Sally (chick) now have a following of their own similar to Hello Kitty and the Sanrio gang. Though I consider myself fairly "Canadianized", I will admit that I have sought out LINE friends paraphernalia like cell phone cases and household accessories. When I first picked up the Mediheal Line Friends edition of their bestselling sheet masks, I just thought the packaging was cute and did not know about the characters. I thought this packaging was limited edition, but I have seen it sold in-store and online with updated expiration dates so it looks like you can get them anytime!

Mediheal Line Friends Edition Sheet Mask Review
 Purchased by me

NAILS | Holo Taco "Orange Drink" Swatch

I know that an entire blog post to this ONE colour is totally unnecessary, but the Holo Taco Rainbow Collection deserves all the attention! Each and every nail angle is just pure nail porn and with our summer finally hitting Vancouver two weeks ago, I am going to take advantage of every shred of sunlight I get just to watch my nails sparkle! I thought about doing nail art, but orange is sort of a tough colour to work with and I didn't want to use black and have this be a Halloween nail art post (though I cannot WAIT for Halloween manicures!). With regards to Halloween, the other thing I cannot wait for is wearing a fun face mask to work! We have to wear company-provided surgical masks, but on Halloween I have been all cleared to draw some lips and fangs out of cardboard and stick them on our masks to have a little fun! Yes, I know COVID is terrifying and if we get a round two in the Fall, I might not be so perky about the whole thing, but for now, it's a way of staying positive. 

Holo Taco Orange Drink Swatch
Purchased by me

SKINCARE | COSRX Hydrium Moisture Collection

Up until this point, I had only tried two COSRX products even though they are such a cult favourite when it comes to Korean skincare. Their product line is extensive and I think I just felt overwhelmed since EVERYTHING looked good. With a focus on skin health at an affordable price, COSRX consistently uses ingredients that have been proven to actually DO something. The packaging is simple and the purpose of each product is clear while allowing the user to cocktail and create a skincare regime that suits their lifestyle.

COSRX Hydrium Moisture Collection
PR gifted

NAILS | Summer Fruit Slices with Ella + Mila #CBBxManiMonday

It's officially summertime once I get fruit on my nails! It's also an exciting day because I get to try a new nail polish brand that I have only gotten a chance to admire through swatch videos on YouTube or on Instagram. Say hello to 7-free, vegan and cruelty-free ella+mila, named after the twin daughters of founder, Narineh Bedrossian. These polishes are geared towards all, but especially for young kids who want to spend some quality time with their moms and paint their nails! 

Ella and Mia I Pink I Love You Swatch
Polish provided by PR

SHEET MASK | Yadah Red Energy Mask

Some of you know that I decided not to renew my FaceTory subscription after having it for two years not because of a decrease in quality, but because of the crappy USD to CDN exchange rate. There is also a shipping charge which also gets converted into CDN making it really hard to justify right now. I think we are all trying to be more mindful about where our money goes and I know I can live without buying sheet masks for probably a solid year! What I will miss is the exposure to hard-to-get masks and brands I have never heard of as well as the FaceTory brand of masks which I really enjoy. One of the brands that I have to thank FaceTory for introducing me to is Yadah

Yadah Red Energy Foil Mask
Part of my Facetory subscription

NAILS | OPI "Don't Tell a Sol" #MidWeekMani

I'm going to use these midweek manis to chat as that is something I truly miss now that I am back at work. It is evident that I no longer have as much time for introspection and being as "in touch with my feelings" as before, but I think that might be a good thing. Someone at work noted that I seemed happier and was laughing and joking more. The team we have now is small and we have all spent each and every day together working the same exact shifts for the past 2 months. We get along, no one fights or talks shit about another person and everyone knows their role to keep this machine going. It has been quite incredible to witness and be a part of because I never thought I could feel at peace in an environment I had come to accept, over the past 5 years, as stressful. I'm sure things will change again, but so far so good and I will enjoy it!   

OPI Don't Tell a Sol Swatch
 Polish provided by PR

NAILS | Heating up with Holo Taco with Red Licorice #CBBxManiMonday

Sorry this is coming to you a little late! I had a work training session via Zoom for the whole day that was pretty intense that I had to take a nap right after! I can't believe I have another two more days of virtual role-playing...wish me luck. I had posted a few weeks ago that I rewarded myself with the Holo Taco Rainbow Bundle for my birthday and though it was $98 USD, I am still happy I have this family together as I've always enjoyed Cristine's videos and quirky sense of humor.

Holo Taco Flame Nail Art

 Holo Taco Collection purchased by me

SHEET MASK | Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisture Mask

I am probably not in the best mood to be writing about something as relaxing as #SheetMaskSunday, but I am annoyed that one, I have to work on my day off and attend a 5 hour virtual workshop and two, talk about a sheet mask that I had hoped would be a bit better than it was. The new Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisture Mask is another biocellulose sheet mask that claims to be unique, but is in fact fairly derivative and on the entry level spectrum of its kind. Though I suspected this would be the case, I wanted to find out as Philosophy does make some pretty amazing products especially in the area of peels. When I worked for them five years ago, they were at the beginnings of wanting to pitch themselves as the "peel brand" and were among the first chemical exfoliators I used.

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisture Mask Review
 Purchased by me

MAKEUP | Blue Mask, Blue Eyeshadow

This is more of a rambly post as opposed to a makeup look post, but the time has come to embrace wearing a face mask. In Asia, masks are worn with ease, but here in North America you'd be hard pressed to find anyone wearing a mask who isn't in a healthcare setting. Even if people are obviously coughing or sick, there is no mask wearing and I have always been one of those who wished it was more the norm. Well, I guess now I have my wish. I will only speak about how face masks are perceived where I live in Vancouver, but generally I used to see a few on public transit during cold and flu season and I want to say almost only on Asian riders. There is definitely a social anxiety to how people will perceive you should you be wearing a mask. Working in retail, it's almost better to go home than come to work with a mask because of how clients will look at you, but now that it is the rule, I have had no choice but to get used to wearing one five days a week.

Face Mask Makeup
Mask purchased by me and makeup PR gifted*

BOOKS | What I've Been Reading Vol. 2

This post seems like perfect timing as Vol.1 of this series happened right at the start of Quarantine. I was still working trying to find a way to feel safe leaving my house and feeling this immense anxiety which I know I lot of you related to. It all seems so long ago. It seems like life is divided into pre-COVID and now which we can't even call "post-COVID" because folks, it's not over so wear a mask, keep your 2m of distance and don't think of it as a "mask on your freedoms". I actually only read ONE book in the 7 weeks I was off work but it WAS almost 1000 pages and had FOOTNOTES so it was a tough one to get through. I've had a hard time getting back to reading as I always want to sleep or just veg and watch my ASMR videos to get to bed, but I think it also depends on the book. I went a bit light on my reading in terms of content the last 4 months, but I plan on reading what I would consider some heavy hitters over the next couple of months so after these more fun reads, my brain is itching for something a bit more meaty!

NAILS | Under the Sea #CBBxManiMonday

If you Google image search "Little Mermaid Nails", this manicure by Spellbound Nails is one of the first to pop up AND also one of the cutest ones I have ever seen. I think I remember seeing these nails back in 2013 when they were posted as this was around the time I followed a whackload of nail polish bloggers and marked it as something to try on the bucket list. I guess 7 years later ain't bad!

Polishes PR gifted

SHEET MASK | Wishful Thirst Trap Cocoon Mask

When makeup brands branch out into skincare, I always do a little side eye because the skincare always ends up being something that isn't particularly innovative, but claims to be or just uses average ingredients and has fancy packaging and a big marketing budget to make it the hottest thing since sliced bread. As much as I hated to admit it, a lot of Huda Beauty products I have tried have turned out to be some of my favourites. I was initially very resistant to trying and featuring her products because I don't identify with the image she projects nor do I want to be yet another Instagram groupie of hers and many other "influencer brands" that have emerged over the last 5 years. 

Wishful Thirst Trap Cocoon Mask
 Purchased by me

SKINCARE | Soo'Ae Squeezed Lemon Collection

I've said it A LOT now, but I can't stop saying how unbelievably CUTE the Soo'Ae Squeezed Lemon Collection is! I was more familiar with their sheet masks as I went to Walmart last year and bought probably 30 masks (much to my husband's chagrin)? It was a bit of a splurge, but I had a feeling this kbeauty brand had decent and affordable skincare so I made a little note to make sure to give the rest of their products a try because there are some NICE ones (ahem the Refining Rose line)! 

Soo'Ae Squeezed Lemon Collection
PR gifted

NAILS | Ode to The Little Mermaid #CBBxManiMonday

This month, the ladies and I have decided on "Summer Lingo" as our theme so the words we are choosing from are things like: "beach", "tropical", "mermaid", "fruit", "cactus", "heat" etc so expect to see some fun manicures for the next few weeks! I have ALWAYS wanted to do a "Little Mermaid" set of nails and there just never seemed like a good time until now I guess! Little Mermaid nails are a bit dated now as it was really popular about 5 years ago and then we must have all gotten it out of our systems so I haven't seen them in a long time, but because of that, there were a wealth of designs to choose from! I finally settled on this design by @agikeringer as I thought it had all of the best elements of Ariel and I always loved her friend Flounder!

The Little Mermaid Nail Art
 All polishes provided by PR except Girly Bits "Le Freak"

SHEET MASK | Trish McEvoy Hydrate and Glow Dry Sheet Mask

You guys know how much I love my dry sheet masks and though I know they aren't for everyone, I have found them to be a mess-free way to save some time and hydrate my skin especially on those lazy nights (which are slowly feeling like EVERY night). I pretty much compare every dry sheet mask that comes out to the one from Charlotte Tilbury because it's the easiest and most accessible to find for most of us whether it's online or in person at Sephora, Nordstrom or Holt Renfrew. Even though the dry sheet mask technology was developed and first used by Nanette de Gaspe, CT was the first to make a dry sheet mask that wasn't over $100 and now that there are enough dry sheet masks out there at just under $30, the NDG pricing just seems ridiculous! The Trish McEvoy Dry Sheet Mask has similar claims like CT in that it promises luminous, hydrated skin without the mess in just 15 minutes, but there are some very slight differences that I will get into below!

Trish McEvoy Hydrate and Glow Dry Sheet Mask
 Purchased by me

MAKEUP | Indigenous-Owned and Made in Canada Cheekbone Beauty Liquid Lipsticks

I am so SO happy to be featuring Cheekbone Beauty on Cosmetic Proof today as ever since I saw it on Jennifer's Instagram (@jennifer_q85) last year AND Dragon's Den, I have been wanting to support this company and try their lipsticks! I kept putting it off as I know I have FAR too many lipsticks as is, but when I went into Quarantine a couple of months ago, I said to myself that I would spend on beauty more wisely and with the state of the economy now, it makes the most sense to buy Canadian. Then came the Black Lives Matter movement and the spotlight has been rightfully directed at the systemic issues that have plagued the BIPOC community for decades and/or centuries. I wrote what amounted to a journal entry a few weeks ago which sums up what I want to do for myself and for these communities of colour.

Cheekbone Beauty Liquid Lipstick Review
 Purchased happily by me

HAIR | ghd Helios Professional Hairdryer

In every sector of the beauty world, there are the brands and products that are so luxurious there are  angels constantly singing around them and ghd is one of those brands. My first experience with ghd was 5 years ago with their limited edition, 1" Periwinkle Professional Styler. After having gone through a number of cheap hair straighteners around the $50 mark, I started looking into ones that were better quality and ghd was the first brand that popped up. It also helped that at the time, I was working as a freelancer in Sephora so I was always checking out the ghd styling tools as they were right next to the brand I was working for. I used to think the key to having nice-looking hair was all in the flat iron, but it turns out having a hair dryer that does most of the heavy lifting from the start can save you a lot of time in the styling step!

ghd Helios Professional Hairdryer
 PR gifted

NAILS | Inspired by Omorovicza Packaging #CBBxManiMonday

I got probably the hardest combination I could have rolled in this last week of "Nail Art Roulette" - "Sunset x Inspired by Packaging". I mean, what am I supposed to do with that? I was a bit clueless as to what to do so I scoured by beauty products to see if there was ANYTHING that could work and if that didn't work, I was going to check out kitchen cleaning products but luckily, I DID find something when I was opening up a tube of Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser. Look at that pattern! It ended up looking more like a mod nail art design than sunset, but I used sunset colours so I will count this as a win! 

Mod Nail Art
Polishes provided by PR

SHEET MASK | Consonant HydrExtreme Charcoal Sheet Mask

Ooh, it has been a long time since I have talked about Toronto-based skincare brand Consonant, but they are always in the back of my mind as a steady skincare constant. Though their award-winning Natural Foaming Face Wash is still one of my favourite cleansers, my abundance of skincare and cleansers this has led me to a long absence from this brand until I realized they had a SHEET MASK. Those two magic words are like my "skincare panty-drop" so I immediately picked up a pack from Sephora when I found out they carried the brand. The HydrExtreme serum is a massive cult favourite that is made with only TWO ingredients: a proprietary blend of Cassia Angustifolia Seed Extract and Vegetable Glycerine which supposedly outperforms hyaluronic acid. I have not tried this serum (yet!) as it is a pricey one, but it is on my list for later this year. The HydrExtreme Charcoal Sheet Mask is infused with this very blend and is the first charcoal mask I've tried that smells REALLY good!

Consonant HydrExtreme Charcoal Sheet Mask Review
Purchased by me

SKINCARE | Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

I didn't think I would do more than my Instagram review of the new Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum, but over the 7 weeks of use I came to really enjoy how versatile this serum was. In general, I don't give into the hype of "trendy" skincare brands and while I get excited just like any other skincare lover when a flashy brand releases a new product, I look beyond what other influencers say as I am finding that more and more people just say "OMG, thank you Brand X for this amazing product" and are "so grateful" without actually doing some critical thinking. Either they are afraid that they won't receive PR anymore or merely read the marketing jargon that's given to them or better yet, don't realize that they are already 90% sold on the product because it looks pretty on their Instagram feed. Taking all this into account, I was VERY excited when I was selected to review this for Influenster back in March because the ingredients list was a lot more impressive than I thought it would be! This was a REAL vitamin C serum that also had PHAs and I was READY.

Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum
 Product provided by Influenster

NAILS | Neon Gradient #CBBxManiMonday

Sorry, I am a little late with this one, but I have been trying to get a bunch of things done on my "Sunday" off which have included renewing my Driver's License, getting special cat food from the vet, locating some Japanese Curry mix (the Glico kind because that's the BEST kind) and then baking my muffins and doing meal prep for the week. Then I got caught up in this whole Susan Yara/Naturium business (so sad Susan, so sad) and then it was time for a nap!

Neon Gradient
 PR gifted

SHEET MASK | JM Solution Lacto Saccharomyces Golden Rice Mask

So, I had a bit of a sore throat this week and although it wasn't one of the key symptoms of COVID, I had to stay in one day from work just to keep an eye on things and after much saltwater gargling, propolis spraying and just sleeping, I awoke the next morning to a normal-feeling throat. In pre-COVID times, I wouldn't have thought twice about going into work, but now we are checking temperatures, asking "how are you feeling questions" and making an extra effort to keep ourselves and others healthy even if it may just be a simple cold or allergies. We've also been eating a ton of vegetables and fruit since going into Quarantine and with such minimal exposure to people (neither my husband or I have been using public transit), the only way either of us will get sick is from stress or something truly random that we catch from outside. I haven't had a cold or flu in over a year so fingers crossed that everyone stays healthy for the rest of the year!

JM Solution Lacto Saccharomyces Golden Rice Mask
 Purchased by me

SKINCARE | The Ecocertified Mary Kay Naturally Collection

I have been struggling to write this review for months now and not because the products are boring by any means, but over the years I have found it really hard to sit down and pump out multi-product posts unless they are round-ups. Gone are the days when I had the focus to to do skincare reviews so now when I do, it's because I like the brand and/or have found something interesting to chat about. Today's it's both reasons as I was truly excited and happy for Mary Kay when they launched their COSMOS Natural certified by ECOCERT Mary Kay Naturally collection last Fall as having this third party certification means a checklist of things to fulfill like environmentally friendly production and processing, no GMOs, no petrochemicals, recyclable packaging and a responsible use of resources. It's also not just the brand that gets the certification, but EACH product so you might come across a brand that only has a couple of products certified as it does cost quite a bit to have done. I always get excited when I see that ECOCERT stamp on a product so when this collection landed at my doorstep, I couldn't wait to give each product a whirl! 

Mary Kay Naturally Collection Review
PR gifted

NAILS | What the Croc? #CBBxManiMonday

When were "crackle" nails a thing? 2012? I remember trying to get into them and in general never got into that textured look even though I could appreciate how cool it was that a nail polish could dry into a "crackle"! Then, through a beauty pen pal exchange with someone from the UK, I was sent a Barry M polish that dried down to a "croc" effect probably seven years ago. Today is the day I wear this polish for the very first time and it's...weird, but interesting. 

 Gifted by a friend

SHEET MASK | A'Pieu Real Big Yogurt in Plain, Strawberry and Apple

I was so SO good about planning my posts in advance, but just as I suspected, going back to work even for the shorter hours, is kicking my butt on the energy front! I even drive to work now instead of taking transit, as I do not feel fully comfortable being on public transit yet, (no one seems to wear masks anymore now that BC is in Phase 2...) which saves me 30 minutes of transit time, but I still feel like my evenings move in slow motion. Once we make dinner and watch some Netflix, it's pretty much time to shower and go to bed so I have accepted that blogging and being super organized is now a thing of the past, but it was nice for those 2 months. One thing I do love is having a set two days off every week as my work is closed on Sundays and Mondays in order to adhere to BC's COVID recovery rules. We will see what happens later on this summer as we are aiming to be open six days/week, but I will enjoy the regularity for now as this is something I have NEVER experienced in the world of retail! 

A'Pieu Real Big Yogurt One-Bottle Sheet Mask Review
 Purchased by me

MAKEUP | Huda Beauty Winter Solstice Mini Lip Strobe Collection

I really do miss lipgloss. Granted, I really didn't think I'd be able to wear ANY makeup once I headed back to work as I was convinced that wearing a face mask would upset my skin too much, but other than some congestion in my chin area, I haven't had any major breakouts. I had my first facial last Sunday and my esthetician noted that the lower half of my face had quite a bit more texture than the upper portion which I definitely blame on the wearing of the face mask. I think I just have to be really good about removing my makeup right away and exfoliating more regularly with both an AHA and BHA. Back to my lips though, I basically ONLY wear tints or matte lipsticks now that I have been back at work for almost a month. I'm glad that I have quite the collection to keep me entertained, but while I was in Quarantine and enjoying the EI life it was glosses I wore most and for a couple of days, I was livin' the iridescent life with these Huda Beauty Lip Strobes!

Huda Beauty Winter Solstice Mini Lip Strobe Collection
 Gifted by a friend

SKINCARE | Derma E Vitamin C Instant Radiance Citrus Facial Peel

I thought that my first run-in with Derma E was when London Drugs started carrying it, but as it turns out, it was actually in an Ipsy Glam Bag six years ago with their Microderm Abrasion Scrub, which is one of their bestsellers! While Derma E is in the "realm of clean beauty", I have grown to like them for their plant-based approach to skincare while still focusing on efficacy. I have mentioned before that while most natural products seem nice and simple, as we hit our 20s and beyond, our skin needs actives and ingredients that peel, stimulate and target real skin issues beyond just hydration. In addition to ingredients, Derma E also has a number of environmental initiatives including making sure the ingredients used in sunscreens are coral reef safe and being aware of their carbon footprint as a company. I use so much skincare that sometimes it's hard for me to talk about it all, but for the last two weeks my skin has been craving clarity, but I didn't want to be too aggressive so I turned to a couple of products from Derma E and fell for the Vitamin C Instant Radiance Facial Peel! 

Derma E Vitamin C Instant Radiance Facial Peel
 PR gifted

NAILS | Matte Pink #CBBxManiMonday

Some of you may know that this month's theme is a little different as the ladies and I randomly drawing from a set list of themes we put together so all three of us should have different combinations although Renee and I ended up drawing the same combination last week! I got the theme "Matte Pink" which is actually quite broad and I know I could have tried a little bit harder here, but I REALLY wanted to use this new Bio Sculpture Gemini Nail Polish because this is one of my favourite shades to wear any day of the year! 

Matte Pink Nail Art
 PR gifted

SHEET MASK | Mediheal Greenteatree Meshpeel Mask

Firstly, I want to say that just because Cosmetic Proof will go back to mainly beauty content doesn't mean I am forgetting about the fact that we are in the midst of a global civil movement. This is so big and impossible to ignore without tremendous effort at this point so I will do my best to uplift brands owned by people of colour with a focus on black and indigenous ownership. For now, I will probably stick to Canadian businesses as the US exchange is awful right now but I will make exceptions if a product or brand looks promising so stay tuned for the rest of 2020 to have some more brand diversity! 

Mediheal Greenteatree Meshpeel Mask Review
 Purchased by me

LIFESTYLE | Before We Get Back Into It...Reflections on This Past Week

It feels strange to be back in this space, just casually talking about a sheet mask or some other beauty product I've been loving, but personally I got to feel and reflect on a lot of things that I haven't let myself do before. Honestly, I never thought I would get involved in a Black Lives Matter movement or donate to organizations that seek to eliminate police brutality and improve black communities in the US. I never thought I would make a list of books and documentaries that will help me better understand the relationship between black and white people in America. Most importantly, I never thought I would address that uncomfortably tight feeling I would get in my chest everytime I saw someone black wrongfully convicted, murdered or jailed because of the colour of their skin. I realize now that that was my conscience telling me how wrong this was and that it was more than OK to talk about it. In fact, I should have been talking about it a long time ago, but growing up in an Asian household, racism is something we never discussed at home. We never talked about how someone who is white or brown or black should be treated the same because it was almost just a given that everyone was human and the only time something needed to be addressed was if someone was being mean which, from my memory, was a mix of everyone. While this somewhat apathetic view of skin colour meant we didn't necessarily discriminate, it also meant that we didn't concern ourselves with racial injustice or feel motivated to understand it let alone speak up and come to someone's defense publicly.

NAILS | Minimalist Rainbows #CBBxManiMonday

For the month of June, the ladies and I will be doing something different with our manicures in that we have chosen 5 colours (rainbows, neons, sunset, pink and black/white/nude) and 5 themes (gradient, minimalist, matte, texture and inspired by packaging) to work with. We will each "roll the dice" to see which combination of the two we will get, but we aren't telling each other so not only will every week be a surprise for you, but it will be a surprise within our group as well! As you can tell with my combination, it initially seemed challenging to try to do an understated rainbow as rainbows on their own are loud and colourful, but leave it to a dotticure to make something look minimalist!

Nail polishes PR gifted

SHEET MASK | Dr. Althea Premium Squalane and Conditioning Silk Masks

This is going to sound crazy, but now that I've tried so many sheet masks (and will continue to try more in my lifetime until I am but a little Asian prune) it takes a lot to catch my eye. What caught my eye with these two Dr. Althea sheet masks was the fact that the packaging was metallic and...horizontal. I just thought it was interesting even though it's all just a matter of perspective, but I also had heard good things about Dr. Althea and had used one or two sheet masks through my FaceTory subscription and had a positive experience. I was also really curious about just HOW silky these masks would be and now I wish I could have my sheets made with this sheet mask! 

Dr. Althea Premium Squalane and Conditioning Silk Masks
Purchased by me

MAKEUP | YSL Rouge Volupte Rock'N Shine Lipsticks

It feels a bit strange talking about glossy lip products since they won't be something I will be wearing in public for the next little while since they smear all over the inside of my face mask. While I don't necessarily need to wear a mask at work every single second like if I'm alone or working far away from my co-workers, I do wear one with clients. Even some of my matte or satin finishes have transferred and stained all up and down the inside of the face masks and though it might be easier not to wear any lip colour whatsoever, I do derive much joy from wearing lipstick and looking put together for work. That doesn't mean I don't wear glossy lips when I'm at home (because I do!) or that I can't still ogle some beautiful YSL Beauty packaging and prepare for the day when we will be rid of COVID or at least have a resistance to it. I just pray to God that there isn't COVID version 2.0.

YSL Rouge Volupte Rock'N Shine Lipsticks Review
  PR gifted

NAILS | The Ciate Denim Manicure #MidweekMani

When I used to work at the mall, browsing at Winners was a dangerous lunch time activity and a lot my beauty self purchases came out of that store for years with many things purchased on a whim or because they were "such a good price" only to be used 6 years this Ciate Denim Manicure kit. This is when I am glad nail polish doesn't go bad! I made it a point during my 7 weeks off work to go through some of these kits that I purchased and because the #CBBxManiMonday team and I have monthly themes, "denim" never really seemed to fit it with any of them, but since I had a bit more time over the last few weeks, I sat down one night to watch Tati and paint a pair of jeans on my nails!

The Ciate Denim Manicure
 Purchased by me SO LONG AGO!

HAIR | Conair Unbound Cordless Auto Curler

I have been back at work just one week and I am already struggling to write. This past week has been challenging and tiring both in just getting back into the routine of going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up early (I am NOT a morning person). I rarely have breakfast so being able to sit down in the mornings and have a proper meal was something I truly enjoyed. I am also still trying to keep up with meal planning and baking since I don't plan on getting prepared food anytime soon. I know we want to support local business and restaurants, but the process of sanitizing the packaging the food comes in reminds me so much of grocery shopping that in my mind, it isn't worth the stress. I can feel that at some point I will want some takeout as I miss some of my favourite restaurants, but right now we are still enjoying cooking everything. I am all for buying a meal for someone else though so once I get back into the groove of work, I plan on continuing what I started earlier this year with buying from local and small businesses and giving to charity. I just got some cute reusable face masks from the Vancouver Aquarium for my husband and I as they have and will lose much of their tourism business this year like so many other places, but I have a soft spot for animals so I will happily support them. Now, I have totally digressed, but such is the way of things since this pandemic began so I'm sure many of you can relate!

Conair Unbound Curler Review
 PR gifted from LDBeauty

NAILS | OPI Mexico City Inspired Flowers #CBBxManiMonday

Summer always has the BEST nail polish collections because everything is just so BRIGHT and I love it! The sad news is that now that I wear gloves at work, no one will see them except all of you, but it just goes to show that I do the nail art for my own enjoyment so even if I wear gloves most of the time ManiMondays are here to stay! Today's manicure was inspired by OPI's North American Education Manager Sigourney (@nailartbysig) as I had been looking for a way to use more of the OPI Mexico City collection and when I saw her nail art, I knew I had to give it a whirl!

Bright Flower Nail Art
 Polishes PR gifted

SHEET MASK | Huxley Secret of Sahara Mask Oil and Extract

My last experience with an oil mask was less than stellar, but that was mianly because I didn't realize that the Sephora mask was a cleansing oil mask as opposed to an oil-in-essence mask which, after using both now, are VERY different! I first heard of the latter mask after seeing a few kbeauty reviews on the brand Huxley, which other than having a very popular skincare line, also has a sheet mask called the Secret of Sahara Mask Oil and Extract. This is a blend of certified organic Sahara prickly pear seed oil and cactus extract that will level up your sheet masking experience especially if your skin is in need of hydration!

Huxley Secret of Sahara Mask Oil and Extract
 Purchased by me

HAIR | Meditatively Washing my Hair with the Innersense Organic Beauty Pure Trio

There are A LOT of brands out there and I don't know about you, but with Instagram becoming oftentimes, the SOLE platform that brands get famous on, I am constantly saving photos to my created "Wishlist" of products to look into and try. Though I only discovered Innersense Organic Beauty through a Detox Market press box a few months ago, this brand seemed to have a large following on Instagram so I did a bit of investigating. I'm always in the market for healthy haircare that will be safe AND effective on colour-treated hair as it is still generally the salon-grade products that "cut to the chase" the quickest. Innersense seemed to be a blend of the two having been founded by husband and wife team Greg, the chemist, and Joanne, the hair stylist, and has since become a well-known and beloved brand especially among those in the textured hair community. The products are pH balanced and I kind of enjoy the philosophy behind the brand of treating the act of hairwashing and haircare as a ritual or "ceremony" as they would phrase it. I think of a skincare routine that way, so why not my hair which influences so much of my life and how I feel?

Innersense Pure Trio
 PR gifted

MAKEUP | Avon Cashmere Complexion Longwear Foundation and Concealer

Nothing excites me more now than a fresh bottle of foundation to try out. I didn't always used to be this way with the first foundation review only appearing on Cosmetic Proof in 2013 because that is when I first used foundation EVER! Up until then, it was Asian BB creams or the Pur Minerals 4 in 1 Pressed Mineral Foundation because it was powder and easy to blend. Liquid foundations would freak me out because I was convinced they would be cakey, but over the years I have found that by taking care of the "canvas underneath", most foundations get a fair chance and give me a good idea of how they wear and look throughout the day.

Avon Cashmere Complexion Foundation and Concealer
 PR gifted

MAKEUP | Milani Amore Matte Metallic Lip Cremes with Lip Swatches

When I first started getting into makeup, it was the drugstore stuff that pulled me in. At the time I was watching Michelle Phan and Holly Ann get ready with NYX, Maybelline and Milani. Those were the brands I heard a lot about and I bought everything they used because they were the first Asian influencers I saw using shades that worked with my skin tone. Now, I have MANY women of colour to choose from which is fantastic and though I feel like I have moved on from drugstore makeup as a whole, there are still brands that stay on my radar because they do have some cult favourites that I swear by. When it comes to Milani, it has to be their Liquif'eye Eyeliner and their Luminoso Blush. I am literally wearing this blush as I type this! Now, I had never tried a lip product from them and why I decided to be adventurous and blindly buy these Amore Matte Metallic Lip Cremes I don't know, but it was on a lunch break at work and maybe I was feeling sassy. Regardless, they did not turn out to be something I would want to experience often, but they did seem pretty cool in theory.

Milani Amore Matte Metallic Lip Creme
Purchased by me

NAILS | Fun Spring Flowers #CBBxManiMonday

I have a Pinterest board/archived Instagram list of nail art that I want to do and with only doing my nails once a week, it'll be a long time before I ever check everything off the bucket list! This is why I love having our #CBBxManiMonday themes every month as I get to focus on one area for 4 weeks and try all the techniques and looks I have been interested in! Today's nail art features the brand Bio Sculpture whose performance has been rock solid with every colour I have used so far. Even shades I think would be sheer are opaque so you will be seeing more manicures with Bio Sculpture shades for the summer season because there are some really pretty colours!

Spring Flowers Nail Art
All polishes PR gifted

SKINCARE | 5 Facial Oils That You May Want in Your Life

I love that facial oils are more common and seen as more acceptable in a skincare routine. I tend to use oils in place of moisturizer on days that I have sheet masked (I guess that's almost everyday?) if my sheet mask is on the more hydrating side. There are so many options and scents to choose from now that I realized I was using quite a number and hadn't really talked about them all in one place before so today I've got everything from drugstore to luxury beauty pricing!

 PR gifted

MAKEUP | Avon Glimmerkiss Liquid Lipsticks with Lip Swatches

It seems silly to think that it is very possible that no one outside of my home will ever see my lips again as they will probably be covered up at work and shopping with a mask, but I have to keep thinking positively and have faith that one day we will be able to show our full faces again. I guess for those of you who are able to work from home and take Zoom calls, then you might be able to get all glammed up and show off some sparkly lips with the new Avon Glimmerkiss Liquid Lipsticks! It's possible I may have grabbed one of these and baked with it on just to feel fancy because these guys pack a punch without feeling heavy. You can even eat your baked goods without the lipsticks budging as that has now become a VERY important requirement for me!

Avon GlimmerKISS Liquid Lipsticks
 PR gifted

MAKEUP | The Urban Decay Wired Palette: The Trials, Errors and Successes

Ever since my subscription to Seventeen magazine in high school, Urban Decay has had a special place in my teenage heart along with brands like Hard Candy and Revlon's Streetwear line. It was makeup that was edgy, something I could never be brave enough to wear or make enough money to afford. While I wouldn't call Urban Decay an inexpensive brand, I have always found that the quality I get is fair for the price. The eyeshadows have always been among my favourite formulations with every palette I have used being consistently solid in pigmentation and colour payoff. I had no reason to believe that the brand new Wired palette would be any different from previous ones, but lemme tell ya, this one is not like the others!

Urban Decay Wired Palette Review and Swatches
PR gifted

NAILS | Abstract Tulips #CBBxManiMonday

I have just gotten word that I might be headed back to work as early as next week as part of a limited team and I won't lie that I feel a mixture of relief that I still have a job, fear of how to stay safe and sadness that I won't be able to blog every single day, but it has been a good run! I know I won't have the same energy to do the volume I've been doing let alone actually schedule posts a week in advance which is something I have been able to do the last few weeks which I have to say has felt really good. Having the last 6 weeks off has been a myriad of feelings, but having the freedom to be in this space more has been very cathartic and a silver lining to the shitstorm that we will all need to wade through and start to understand in the coming months. No more handshakes, kissing on the cheek (I hated this custom anyway and it was only for meetings with French people) and what about if I need to help a little old lady who has fallen? This has happened before where I was the only one who rushed over so do we now just let bystander effect officially take over?

Abstract Tulip Nail Art
PR gifted

SHEET MASK | A by BOM Ultra Cool Leaf Mask

I started taking my sheet mask game REALLY seriously in the middle of 2018 and from there, I discovered so many Korean brands that took sheet masking to a whole other level. To this day, even with the amount of masking I do, there are thousands of masks I have yet to try! The quality, creativity and technology of Asian sheet masks has always been so much more advanced than what is available in the North American market with the multi-step masks being among my favourite examples of this. A. by BOM is one of the coolest and earliest brands I discovered and I cannot believe I have let almost two years go by without featuring them again!

A by BOM Ultra Cool Leaf Mask
 Purchased by me

BODY | Apothekari pH Balanced Natural Deodorant

Earlier this year, I pledged to feature more local brands and I thought I was doing so well until I looked back at every post I have written this year and realized that THIS will be the first time I am doing so! Granted, I have been doing a fair amount of it in my Instagram stories especially when it comes to bath bombs, but today is all about Vancouver and science-based skincare company Apothekari. They have a fantastic sunscreen that I reviewed last year and last Fall, after over two years in the making, Apothekari released natural deodorants! Coming in three scents, these deodorants are free of aluminum, parabens and baking soda with a formulation focused on pH balanced pits! We talk about using pH balanced products for our skin in our skincare routines, our hair and scalps, but what about one of THE most finicky and sensitive places like our underarms?!

Apothekari Natural Deodorant
 PR gifted