400 lux: The affordable contour/highlight with Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Sticks

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Contour and highlighting is a must for me, and although I mostly use a powder bronzer for my highlight combined with a shade lighter than my skin tone for my concealer, acting as a highlight, I have found that I have been reaching for cream bronzers more (maybe because cream blushes are so in at the moment?).

It seems like a big fad right now is using a cream foundation in a dark shade to use as your contour.  Bobbi Brown’s Foundation Sticks are a great option for this, however, if you don’t want to shell out the C$53 for the product, Maybelline has a great alternative.

Fit meColours of Fit Me dark

Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation is available in 12 different shades, running the gamut from pale to dark. I haven’t actually tried this product as a foundation, but it’s fab for contouring. Since I’m a fair-skinned girl, I chose to go for the really deep colours because you obviously will be blending these bad boys out.  I would say I’m Ivory or Classic Ivory right now in the foundation, and for this post, I actually contoured with 330 Toffee and 310 Sun Beige.  I also have 340 Cappuccino, which will be perfect for the summer when I have a tan (well, “tan” as I don’t get too dark).  The great thing about this product in particular is that it goes on as a gel foundation but sets as a matte powder, so you get the best of both worlds.  These also blend out perfectly.

Concealers

For the contour, I also kept it affordable and in the family with Maybelline’s Fit Me Concealer, which packaging is very similar to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.  I have the colours Fair and Light, and the trick with this is to go a shade or two lighter than your skin tone to brighten up the eye area. The doe-foot applicator on the wand makes this product extremely easy to apply and control where the product goes.

Okay so there are a few ways of doing the whole liquid contour/highlight thing.  I have done an in-depth post about it in the past but this is the way I usually do it when I am really playing up my makeup.  If it’s for everyday wear, I will just layer the cream bronzer/deep foundation over my regular foundation, then blend.  In this instance, we are starting with the contour and highlight and then adding the foundation on top for a more natural look.

Steps

1. Starting with a dark cream foundation, apply this to the hollows of your cheekbones, your temples, along the bridge of your nose and on the bottom of your chin.  I used Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation in 330 Toffee.

2. With a concealer, lighter than your skin tone, apply this under your eyes, on the bridge of your nose up to your forehead fanning it out, along the edges of your mouth, your cupid’s bow, and on the centre of your chin.  I used Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 15 Fair.

3. With your regular foundation and a damp Beauty Blender, apple this on your face blending everything out.  I used a full-coverage foundation (Becca Ultimate Coverage Complexion Creme) so it ended up covering a lot of the colour (hence why I went back in for the next step).

4. Because I wanted to make my contour a bit more pronounced, I applied 310 Sun Beige along the hollows of my cheekbones and then blended that in with my damp Beauty Blender.

5. To add a bit more oomph under my eyes, I went in with Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, which is like a dupe for YSL’s Touche Eclat.  This product really brightens up the eye area, which is perfect for this look.

finalLiquid contour and highlighting may look a bit scary when you are first applying the products (think moments of “what the heck am I doing?”), but once everything is blended out, the whole thing looks so natural.  Also, I love layering a powder contour over top of my liquid one to really sculpt my cheekbones and make the colour last longer.

What are your favourite products for liquid contour and highlighting?

Please note, this post contains products sent by PR.  All opinions are my own.

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What’s in my travel skincare/hair bag

Title

So upon planning for my two-week European holiday, I knew that I had to take advantage of as much space as I could possible handle.  I only brought a regular-sized suitcase and a backpack, so I had to majorly cut down on how much makeup I could bring (the horror!) and the skincare I choose to take as well.

Since I have a whole drawer filled with samples, as well as oodles of new products to try and review, what to bring in terms of skincare was easy.  The hair part was a little tougher.

Skin

I use my Clarisonic every night after I take off my makeup, but I chose not to bring it because I thought it would be more of a pain than anything (in regards to charging the thing, etc.).  For my cleanser, I brought a mini of Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap that I got in a past gift with purchase, my toner was also Clinique (HG status y’all), the Clarifying Lotion 2.  I didn’t choose to bring the whole three-step system and actually brought along Olay Fresh Effects {Dew Over} Hydrating Gel Moisturizer, which I ended up loving because it’s a gel formula, so it’s nice and soft to the face, and best of all, lightweight.  Because I was travelling a lot (multiple trains and planes), the sheer, breathable formula delivered much-needed hydration to my skin, without it feeling heavy or oily. Plus, the light, cooling effect it had on my face was a nice bonus as well.  My eye cream was also by Olay Fresh Effects, their {Bright on Schedule} Eye Awakening Cream, which comes in a squeezable, rollerball tube. The product, which I applied both morning and night before my moisturizer, cools the skin underneath your eyes, while the sheer, lightweight cream hydrates and reduces the look of puffiness and dark circles. It’s oil-free, absorbs fast, and won’t clog pores, plus it’s infused with honeysuckle, white tea, and cucumber extracts, so my eyes didn’t show those long nights/ (sometimes hungover) early mornings ;).  Olay Fresh Effects also has a fab cleanser, {Out of this Swirled} which has microbeads that cleanse and exfoliate your face.  I’ve been using this cleanser everyday, morning and night and absolutely love it.  The bottle was a bit too big for my travels, but if you are looking for something affordable and does the trick, check this one out.

As for makeup remover, I did bring along a mini bottle of Clinique’s Take the Day Off remover, which I didn’t end up using because I also brought along Garnier Clean + Smoothing Remover Cleansing Towelettes for Sensitive Skin, which were bomb.com.  I’ve tried many wipes, and these ones are great for removing everything. I didn’t even need to go over my eyes one last time with an actual makeup remover.

Damage eraser

For hair, I chose to bring Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser line.  I was actually sent mini bottles of this stuff in a past Influenster Voxbox, where they sent lab samples and we were supposed to guess the brand.  We then got sent the entire full-size bottles of the line.  I brought along the shampoo, conditioner, and split-end tamer (a must in my books!).  The line reconstructs hair’s strength by 90 per cent.  To be honest, I brought along this line because of it’s handy bottles, but I have been using this at the gym and I actually really do like the formula.  It makes my hair look super shiny and soft, and smells great.  Again, I highly recommend this product for everyday use.   I did bring one of the Pantene Expert Advanced+ Keratin Repair ampoules for a deep conditioning masque about halfway through my trip to bring back some moisture to my hair.  I’ve reviewed these in the past and love them because of their small size.  The only other hair product I brought along was Pantene’s Ultimate 10 BB Cream, which packs some serious punch.  It’s like 10 different products in one, so I killed multiple birds with one stone, so to speak.

I also brought along Pureology’s Fresh Approach Dry Shampoo for days where I didn’t want to shower or wash my hair.  A dry shampoo is a must for travelling!

Aside from the Clinique makeup remover, I was actually really happy with what I chose to bring.  Everything was perfectly sized for travel so it left me plenty of room for other stuff I needed to pack/ what I wanted to buy.

Razor

I also want to mention that if you are looking for a fab travel-sized razor, Venus has released the cutest mini razor, the Venus Snap with Embrace, which is actually the most perfect thing for travel and I’m sad that I didn’t receive it earlier because it would have come in handy (it’s now in my gym bag). The razor has a mini handle and is housed in a case, so not only is it super cute, but compact and travel-friendly. I brought my regular Venus razor, which doesn’t have a case, and found that all my other products in that same bag got kind of gross because of the residue from the razor.

What are your skincare and hair travel faves?

Please note, this post contains products sent by PR. All opinions are my own.

Disclosure: I am a #BeautyUnited blogger. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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#amazefesteurope – Paris hostel guide: St. Christopher’s Inn Gare du Nord

TitleSo when I was looking into accommodations in the city of love, I knew I wanted to stay somewhere nice, since a) Paris is all about romance, and b) I have expensive taste.  Well, since I wanted to keep costs low and hotels in Paris are notoriously expensive (like London), I had to hostel it up.  Luckily, since Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, there are lots of hostel chains that have locations there.

I chose to stay at St. Christopher’s Inn, which has two locations in Paris.  One at 159 rue de Crimée (they call it the Canal location), and another brand-new locale at Gare du Nord (5 rue de Dunkerque).  Both locations looked nice, but since Paris is all about colour and design I stayed at the Gare du Nord location, which was great because it’s literally across the street from the station (which came in handy since it’s an easy train ride from the airport and then I took the Eurostar from the station to London when I left Paris).

St. Christopher’s has locations in 11 cities across Europe.  A hostel staple, every St. Christopher’s location also houses a Belushi bar, where you will find good eats and drinks (with plenty of drink specials).

Okay, so if you know anything about the area that is Gare du Nord station is located in, it’s kind of known as a dodgy neighbourhood, and this is coming from Parisians.  Upon coming out of the station, I was kinda like “where am I?” but honestly, coming from the murder capital of Canada for years in a row, it’s not that bad.  No one came up to me or anything, I just think the area has a bad rap.

St. Christopher’s Gare du Nord is literally a one-minute walk from the station and is also near the Gare de L’est Metro station as well, so if you think about it, it’s a great location because you can take the Metro anywhere.  It’s also a 20-minute walk from the Montmartre district (don’t let the sex shops scare you away!).

The hostel is very modern and definitely has a boutique feel to it.  The elevators to the rooms are located right across from the front desk and they offer a variety of different dorms and private rooms (including female-only dorms).  I stayed in a twin private room, which also had a private bathroom.  Honestly, it was like a hotel.

Room overviewFlowers Postcard

My room, located on the fifth floor had two twin beds, a generous-sized washroom with shower, toilet, and sink, as well as a small table, where St. Christopher’s placed some chocolate, fruit, and water bottles for my stay.  I did contact their PR person about staying at this hostel and they actually had a bouquet of flowers waiting for me, as well as a personalized note.  Considering it was a hostel, I was blown away upon entering the room.  Hardwood floors and a full-length mirror?  Yes, please!  This is not your typical run-of-the-mill hostel.

Two beds Wall Lips on bedWashroomShower

St. Christopher’s offers free WiFi access, bed linen, and best of all, free breakfast, which is served until 10 a.m. (I believe this was the cut off).  The breakfast is served continental-style in the attached Belushi’s bar and consisted of coffee, juice, milk, cereal, baguettes, Nutella, yogurt, granola, cheese, and meat.  Just like at The Generator in London, the breakfast isn’t stellar, but hey, free food?  You can’t say no to that!

Belushis

I think my favourite part of the hostel was Belushi’s bar, which is really big for a hostel bar.  They do offer drink specials and deals for guests of the hostel, including 25 per cent off food, which is a great deal since the food in Paris is pricey.  I had a burger and fries and it was actually pretty good, although the menu is more American than French (whatever, it’s my fave kind of food ;) ). They also give you a voucher for a free shot with your first drink when you check in.  Other specials included two-for-one mixed drinks and Corona’s, which isn’t that great of a deal because it’s seven euro for one bottle of Corona..  I mean, if you are a guest of the hostel then it’s good cause you are getting two Coronas for 3.50 each, but for me it that was a little much considering how cheap Corona is here in North America.

The hostel also features a chill-out room in the basement (it’s literally like two couches), which also has computer terminals where you have to pay for the Internet (weird, considering the WiFi is free).  The basement also has the locker storage.

Front check in elevator Chill out lounge

Locker storage

Locker storage

Overall, I absolutely loved this hostel and if you are looking for somewhere to stay in Paris, I highly recommend St. Christopher’s Inn Gare du Nord station.  Also, I have to give a shout out to the Scottish guy who works at the front desk (I didn’t catch his name), but he was a wealth of knowledge about the city and gave me some awesome recommendations and tips.  I didn’t get a chance to see the dorm rooms, but I have heard they are super nice and feature privacy curtains, as well as lights and plugs, which as you will learn when it comes to backpacking/hostelling, is a huge factor.

If I’m ever in Paris again, I would stay here in a heartbeat.

Check out their official site for more information and rates, as well as to see photos of the dorms (which also look super nice).

Please note, St. Christopher’s Inn Gare du Nord hosted my stay in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own (seriously, look at the place! Loved it!).

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