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.

Flatlay photo of Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Vitamic 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