Being a Sephora cast member, I've had the opportunity to try many, many products, so when I recommend something on my blog, I truly stand behind it. Buckle up, this post is gonna be a long one.
Let's kick the post off with some skincare, for a change!
I only have a few skincare recommendations because skincare is something that is very much based on personal need and preference. When recommending skincare, I like to really learn about my client's needs, routine, and lifestyle- but that doesn't mean I don't have a few go-to's that are stellar additions to any routine.
Firstly, everyone needs a good cleanser, but shelling out upwards of 30 bucks for one is not a pleasant experience, no matter how sensorial the product. The Sephora Collection Clean Skin Gel ($14 CAD) is a fucking amazing cleanser for all skin types that doesn't break the bank, and I can't get enough of it. It's 14 dollars Canadian, a decent sized squeezy tube, and it's oil-free (so it's safe for those of you with lash extensions)! The Clean by Sephora Collection line has knocked it out of the park for me recently but this cleanser takes the cake. It tones the skin, and the sensorial experience of using it is very pleasant- the gel texture is very similar to the Fresh Soy Face cleanser, and after using it, your skin feels clean but not 'squeaky' or parched. Everyone needs to try this!
The second recommendation I have is not necessarily one specific product, but a category. Under-eye masks are ridiculously expensive for what they are, but they've become indispensable in my life. They do wonders to wake me up in the morning and de-puff the eyes. However, they are not all created equal, and cost-per-pair is a big factor to consider. The Sephora Collection eye masks are a good option because they come in four different varieties (Pearl, Pomegranate, Cucumber, Grape) each which target a different skin concern. They are made of a thin biocellulose that is soaked with essence, much like a sheet mask. They retail for $6 CAD and if you buy three pairs, you get one for free.
|Wearing the Sephora Collection Eye Masks|
The Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Hydro-Gel eye patches are, you guessed it, hydrogel eye patches infused with cucumber. I love these because they aren't in single-use packaging, and actually come out cheaper than drugstore pricing at 30 pairs for $60 CAD, but the initial price can be a bit hard to swallow- that's why I'd recommend picking them up during the sale.
The last skincare product I have to recommend has been an absolute godsend for me. It's the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cannabis and Oat Dry Oil and it retails for $37 CAD. This stuff is like a fire extinguisher for any inflammation on the skin. I mix this in with my moisturizer every day, with some of my masks, and sometimes I even use it as a scalp treatment. It provides instant relief from breakouts, itchiness, and sensitivity. Pure liquid gold in my book.
Now for makeup, which is easily the largest category for recommendations that I have. But for good reason! All of these products are tried-and-true in my book, and I tried to pick things that would be useful for a wide range of people.
The first product I'm going to talk about is probably the most subjective, but the Jouer Essential High Coverage Liquid Concealer ($28 CAD) is easily the best concealer I have ever tried, hands down. I am not normally someone who switches up my concealer- I've been using Maybelline Fit Me for about ten years. Nothing seemed to beat it out or be truly worth a higher price tag until I tried this concealer. It melts into the skin but still offers the fullest coverage in a way that doesn't look cakey or pastey- it just makes you look like there was never anything to cover at all. It sits beautifully on texture and you don't need to use a ton of it to get a good effect. I really recommend you try this one out if you haven't yet been totally satisfied with any medium-to-full coverage concealers, 'cause this one knocked my socks off.
Next is a product I've been using for close to five years, I want to say? It's the Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer ($26 CAD) and this sucker is worth every penny. It's the best eyeshadow primer I've ever tried and nothing else will ever compare. It's a clear primer that smooths the lid, is not super tacky but not drying at all either, makes shadow blend beautifully overtop and intensifies the pigment in the shadow as well. My shadows never crease or fade when I use this, and I have oooily lids. One tube of this stuff will last me two years of daily use, so I definitely get my money's worth out of it and will continue to repurchase it.
Following that is an small eyeshadow palette that swept me off my feet. The Violet Voss Fun Sized Eyeshadow Palettes ($24 CAD) are such a hidden gem within Sephora's eyeshadow offerings. The formula is impeccable- buildable, blendable, multi-functional, and versatile. The shimmers appear like a foiled oil slick on they eye yet don't fade throughout the day. There's four different mini palettes- my favourite is Fruit Sorbet, the rainbow palette- but they also have a pretty stellar Modern Renaissance dupe, as well as a palette with just muted jewel-toned foils.
|Wearing the Violet Voss Fun Sized Palette in Fruit Sorbet over the Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Eyeshadow Primer|
Next is a recent love of mine that has completely obliterated my previously complicated brow routine, and elevated my brow game 100%. It's the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel ($21 CAD), and it's a complete dream to use! I have thick, medium-coloured brows- the hairs themselves are very thick, but can get sparse in some areas because of my psoriasis. I'd never before found a tinted brow gel that did everything I wanted it to do- fill in and groom my brows. I don't need them to be super fluffy or feathery, I just want the hairs coated and in place. This product does all that and more for me. Ever since I got it, I haven't even touched my original Dipbrow Pomade- just this and then a light shaping with a brow pencil is all I need. I've been loving how it makes my brows look.
|Wearing Anastasia Dipbrow Gel in Medium Brown with Benefit Precisely, My Brow in 3.5|
Two blush palettes that I've been adoring are the Benefit Cheekleaders Mini Cheek Palette in Pink Squad ($40 CAD) and the Jouer Blush Bouquet Dual Blush Palettes ($38 CAD). While the Benefit one will appeal to people with fair-to-medium skintones, the Jouer duos have a menagerie of different shades to choose from. Formula-wise, they're both incredible- Benefit has always been known for having amazing cheek powder products, and these are no exception. I originally thought that the highlighter would be too deep for me, but it has a translucent pinky base with a strong sunshiney shift and it actually looks gorgeous on my skintone. The duo also contains the shades Dandelion- I love me a baby pink blush- and Galifornia, a gorgeous glowy coral. What I love about the Jouer Blush Bouquets most is the satiny, buildable, foolproof formula and how they chose shades for each duo that will complement anything you put on the eyes or lips.
And what's a good sale haul without some trendy lip products? I've picked three different formulas that I stand behind 100%. First are the Sephora Collection Rouge Lacquers ($16 CAD). You know that sheer, juicy, high-shine, comfortable lip that's so hot right now? Yeah, this is it, perfected, under 20 bucks, and available in any shade you could want. These look gorgeous and wear comfortably, feel like a balm, and wear away in a flattering manner (no butthole lip or smeary Joker-mouth here). My favourite shades are Visionary (basically Bite's French Press Gloss in Dirty Chai, but in sheer lipstick form) and Slay (a cute-as-can-be coral).
|Wearing Benefit Cheekleaders palette, Jouer Essential High Coverage Liquid Concealer, and Sephora Collection Rouge Lacquer in Rise Up|
If you're loving the sheer, juicy lip but want more shine and staying power, look no further than the Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lipstick ($34 CAD). I don't know how, but this is the perfect medium-pigment gloss formula. It has just enough translucency to not sink into lip lines while still being true-to-tube in colour on the lips, has a gorgeous, juicy, lacquer-like finish, and the staying power of a cream lipstick. They are comfortable- not too thick, but with enough tack to feel like they've got that longevity of wear. I've received so many compliments while wearing these that I definitely qualify them as a must-try for gloss lovers.
On the flip side, I have a comfortable matte formula to recommend as well- the Bite Beauty Multisticks ($28 CAD) actually have 75% powder pigment infused into the formula, making them suitable for the eyes, cheeks and lips. I've been loving cream cheek and eye products lately, and a monochromatic cream look is so trendy right now. Not all multi-use products are created equal- some are too creamy and greasy for the eyes, too pigmented for the cheeks, or too dry for the lips. Bite's formula performs amazingly on all three and, in my opinion, they've gone and chosen shades that anyone could rock on all features. The Multisticks are an unsung hero in their lineup!
Lastly for makeup, you're going to need a setting spray to lock all your hard work in and keep it looking great all day. The best natural-finish setting spray I've ever laid my hands on is the Glamglow Glowsetter Setting Spray ($40 CAD). I've gotten multiple coworkers hooked on this stuff- it's perfect for many skin types, doesn't dry out your skin, and keeps everything on your face looking dimensional and fresh all day long.
Lastly, if anyone's still here, I have a few miscellaneous recommendations to round this post off!
First- I know, I know, the Sephora Collection Skin Perfecting Brush Set ($68 CAD) feels gimmicky. If you ignore the fact that they are supposed to be collagen-infused and just regard it as a really fucking good brush set, you're fine. I've used these brushes multiple times on so many clients and they're always sold. These brushes are damn near perfect, especially for someone who prefers to apply concealer with brushes as I do. There's a small brush perfect for placing concealer and colour corrector, the most GORGEOUS concealer buffing brush of life- seriously, this is the closest a brush has gotten to being akin to an actual finger in terms of application- and three more soft brushes for cheek products that diffuse product effortlessly on the skin. I'm normally pretty cheap with my brushes because I can be pretty rough on them, but this set takes my breath away.
|Flawless base applied on Ashley using the Sephora Collection Skin Perfecting Brush Set|
If you've got brushes, you're gonna need brush cleaner, it's a fact of life. No, dish soap and olive oil once a month doesn't cut it for me- I wear vibrant colour so often that I need to spot clean my brushes almost every time I use them. For this reason, the Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner (various pricing per fl. oz) is indispensable to me. It's simply the best brush cleaner that exists. It takes all the pigment and bacteria out of my brushes in one spritz, dries in seconds, and doesn't leave the brush with a single stitch of residue. This stuff is flawless and a must-try for those who wear a lot of different colours, or use brushes to apply liquid products.
Lastly, I have two fruity fragrances that I've been loving and want to recommend to you. I know fragrance is a very personal thing- once you find one that's to your taste, there's a good chance that it might not work with your body chemistry, or it might give you a headache, or your boss might hate it and demand that you never wear it again. For that reason, I only implore you to go in-store and smell these, if you can.
Pacific Lime by Atelier Cologne (various pricing per fl. oz) is the perfect summer fragrance in my book. Citrusy-sweet like margaritas with a little subtle hit of creamy coconut at the end. Flawless, and the longest-lasting on the skin of any Atelier fragrance I've tried.
Mystical Misfit from Pinrose (various pricing per fl. oz) is like a peachy berry sangria. Not a lot of higher-end fragrances include notes of peach, which is a shame, because this one smells amazing and just fun. It's an instant pick-me-up.
Well, that's it for me! Do any of these products pique your interest? Let me know which ones in the comments below!