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Sick Day Essentials

Pardon the lack of posts this week, lovelies!  I've been fighting off the most dreadful of throat infections, so my schedule has been largely Tylenol 3x a day, and lots of sleep.  Funny enough, I find being sick brings more people to your bedside than when you're healthy.  It must be my schmexy drag queen voice.

And because I've had a few visitors, I've been using my hands to apply Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer in Bisque (I might be in love...) all over, focusing on areas I might need it.  For any redness around the nose and blemishes, I've been using my Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-3 on a Beauty Blender, my lazy-day face tool.  I also use it to blend out Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach to hide any darkness under the eyes.  Here's a little cheat I do when I'm feeling very tired, I take the lighter colour from my Secret Camouflage compact and do the Kim Kardashian highlight.  I apply this oil-free concealer in a triangle shape under my eyes to help brighten the area and lift any darkness and hide puffiness. Miracle.  Depending on how healthy I want to look, I'll add a couple dots of Stila Convertible Colour in Peony, for a quick, blendable flush.  Because my eyes also get quite swollen, I'll put on a cream shadow -- my favourite of late has been NARS Cream Eye Shadow in Mykonos, but more on that later.  Five products, no brushes -- proof that I really am ill... -- and you'll be rocking an almost-healthy glow!

A few other essentials that have helped me through a four-day apartment lockdown:

Water, water and more water.  It's exceptionally dry in my apartment, so I've been throwing back 1.5L bottles just so I don't have to travel to the kitchen.

An eye mask.  For those times when you need to catch up on sleep because you've spent the night coughing away. I particularly love the 40 Blinks by Bucky, it really blocks out all the light. The best part is the molded cups -- they don't put more pressure on your eyes and they don't crush your lashes.

Book Three of the Game of Thrones series.  For times when you feel a little better but really shouldn't go around prancing outside.  I'm addicted.  I'm also having more and more trouble resisting the show before I finish the books.

Homeoplasmine.  I speak about this French pharmacie favourite endlessly, but it really is the best product for the inevitable dry, chapped skin you'll get from blowing your nose.  My hands have also gotten awkwardly dry this weekend -- you know when the webby skin at the base of your fingers gets dry? Yeah.  You can see how well-loved mine is.

Penhaligon's Elizabethan Rose Eau de Toilette -- the fresh, green cut of this soliflore makes me feel like I'm outside, enjoying the amazing weather with everyone else.  It settles into a not-to-sweet floral that smells more realistic than any other rose fragrance I've ever sprayed.

The French Pharmacy Repurchases

Someone's missing...that Bioderma Hydrabio Lait always checks out on me.

As much as I like to indulge my Product Attention Deficit Disorder, I always keep a few stand-by products handy, just in case things don't work out.  Finding those permanent products can be trying, but when you find one, know that your life is forever changed. *cue dramatic music*

Sometime last year, I fell down the French pharmacie rabbit hole.  Fell is even a mild word -- I tumbled straight head-first and there was no gravitational suspension to keep me from plummeting straight into a German Apotheke (the rabbit hole isn't always directionally accurate, but it's close).

I fell in love with Bioderma Sensibio (as did everyone, their mother and their dog, based on the MakeUpAlley reviews) and its other-worldly ability to remove makeup, correct eye liner mistakes and in a pinch, clean brushes.  I've gone on and on and on about our love affair, so let me focus on its sidekick:  Shiseido cotton.  Yes, it's not exactly French pharmacie.  Yes, I'm paying $9 for cotton.  A little bird told me it will soon be increasing to $11 due to a global cotton shortage...please don't ask me to fact-check that, I'm not sure how I'd explain that on my Google history.  Bottom line, it is the softest, yet most effective cotton I have ever used, and you need to stock up before the cotton shortage takes it away from us.

To throw a wrench into the mix, here's another Bioderma favourite: Bioderma Hydrabio Lait -- it was a Garance Dore-inspired purchase, and I haven't looked back.  This is my cleanser of choice when I've gone through my proper skincare routine the night before.  You know that feeling you get when you are absolutely certain that you've chosen the right products and you wake up with the smoothest, most glowing, most perfected skin you've ever had?  This cleanser helps you retain all the goodness you've put in the night before, but refreshes away all the gunk that's accumulated.  It's that good.

Possibly the most backed-up item in my beauty arsenal is Avene Eau Thermale.  Yes, I occasionally cheat on it with Evian's version, but I always, always come back to this.  It's my toner, my setting spray, and my main hair-styling product in one.  I use it before and after cleansing, after makeup, and after heat-styling my hair.  I have no idea how or why it makes my curls so soft and touchable, but it does.  My best hair tip is to spray a light mist of thermal water on your hair before using a hair oil to seal it in.  Magic literally ensues.

I've been flubbering between moisturisers lately -- it's been that in-between weather where I can't just slick on one of my beloved oils to fight back the intensely dry winter air, but not quite warm enough that I turn to my summer spf-only routine.  What to do?  Remember this combination from last year?  While I can't quite bring myself to repurchase the serum, I did fall in love with Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid.  It's one of those products that you mindlessly throw on in the morning, only to touch your cheek a few hours later and wonder, "Why does my skin feel so good?  What did I put on today?" It's Caudalie, baby.

I've tried for years to convince myself that I don't need an $18 concoction of water, essential oils and grape extract, but I've decided to embrace my Caudalie Beauty Elixir addiction.  This never leaves my purse in the summer -- it calms any motion sickness that arises during impromptu road trips, soothes the irrationally bitter jealousy that arises when people talk about going on vacation, and wards off city grime.  An absolute essential.

I feel like I'm forgetting a few things, so there will probably be a follow-up post to this one, but for now, share your best Pharmacie products in the comments!

Dior DiorSkin Nude Tan Paradise Duo 001

I've been on the hunt for a new blush for some time now.  My current blush collection is filled with one of two extremes:  aggressively pigmented orange/red/hot pink or dusty rosy-pink.  Time to branch out.

Before we get started, I have to address the issue of coral.  How is it exactly different from peach?  I'm never sure, but every once in a while, I'll point at a colour and say, "You.  You are peach."  Then I'll point at one that's a smidge darker/lighter/coral-er and name it coral.  How do you know?

For the purposes of all future blog references, I'm going to define peach as a combination of orange and pink with more yellow in it.  That is, it'll be more orange than pink.  Anything that leans more pink will be safely ensconced in its coral kingdom.  For example, Tarte Tipsy is a vibrant peach, whereas this beauty coral.

This insanely beautiful chrome-quilted compact is a blush/bronzer duo from Dior's Summer 2013 line, the Diorskin Nude Tan Paradise Duo in 001.  One one side, we get two shades of bronzer -- a medium brown on top which mixes beautifully with darker, cool-toned brown to give an extremely realistic tan.  The key to a believable bronze is the amount of red in the pigment -- since a tan is glorified burned skin, there will always be red pigment, so even the most olive of skins will need a tiny hint of pink in their tan.

The other side is made up of two blush colours, one shimmery, one matte.  The shimmery quadrant is a shimmery coral and matte quadrant leans darker and more pink.  When mixed together they render a bright, medium-pink blush.  The magic happens when you mix all four shades together, they give you the most perfect coral.

I can't tell you how it happens or why it happens, but I have a very strong feeling that it's got something to do with the rosy shimmer mixing in with the peach-toned bronzer and all four shades amalgamating into a beautifully complex combination.  The colours lay down on your cheek in an almost imperceptible texture -- I rubbed my fingertips into the bronze side and double checked to make sure there was pigment there.  It's that smooth.  The shimmer in the pink is delightfully creamy, and even before blending out the product, the texture will have already disappeared, leaving you with nothing but your newly-blushed and bronzed skin.

Burberry Pink Azalea

Ladies (and some gentlemen?) -- I present you with my second Burberry product ever:  Lip Velvet No. 308 Pink Azalea.  Let's begin.

Beyond being a lip junkie, I'm a texture junkie.  As much as I'm obsessed with depth of colour, my favourite part of putting makeup on is the actual feeling of applying product, and feeling the textures and seeing how they translate onto skin.  The texture of this lipstick is phenomenal, especially for a matte.  I often find matte lipsticks fairly drying, with a tendency to cause the skin to pull and emphasize any rough patches.

When I first apply the product, the bullet glides smoothly over the lips, depositing a highly pigmented, thin layer of colour.  I can't even explain how impressed I am with the way this product lays down colour -- the colour is completely even in one swipe.  What I like most is that the texture will never feel cakey, simply because you would never need to pass the bullet enough to build up the colour.  As a result, the colour lasts for several hours on me (short of eating anything legitimately oily), since the colour doesn't collect and separate from your lips.

The colour itself is a browned raspberry -- at first I thought it would be an accidental dupe for Chanel #28 Romantic, but that's shinier, sheerer and cooler-toned; it pulls much more pink on my lips.  By comparison, Pink Azalea is reminiscent of the brown-toned lipsticks of the 90s, but in the best possible way.  It's incredibly versatile in that it can be a muted, office-appropriate lip, but with a couple more swipes, it turns into a beautifully dark, berry that gives your lips a vampy look without committing to a blackened lip colour.

The casing for the lipstick is matte plastic, and it's much lighter than its eye shadow counterpart.  The Burberry check covers the lid, which swooshes closed magnetically.  Incredibly satisfying.

Burberry lipsticks retail for $36/3.5g and are available at Holt Renfrew in Toronto and Vancouver.  Based on the comments in the last post, I need to try Pale Barley, Midnight Brown and a blush!  I was previously lusting Tangerine and now I'm also anxiously awaiting the arrival of Blossom.

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