Epic Blend Lip Balms Review & Giveaway

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epic blend lip balm review

I am a huge lip balm addict, but I will pretty much only use balms with natural ingredients that leave my mouth with a pleasant taste. Epic Blend lip balms are exactly my type of balm, they smell and taste greate, and come in a variety of flavours split into three different categories; hemp, vegan, and more moisture. They are made in Canada and launched in 2007 in Kelowna, BC.

Epic Balm says:
Smooth glide without the greasiness
Gluten free, petroleum-free, non-GMO, all natural
Not tested on animals
Nutrient-dense natural and organic ingredients

epic blend lip balm review

These balms are awesome and definitely pass the 'will I use you everyday?' test. Mainly because they smell and taste great! They glide smoothly onto the lips and don't feel heavy or sticky at all. There is no major shine added to my lips either. You do need a few swipes in order for the moisture to last longer.

I've been using Citrus Kick very frequently and noticed that I still have a ton of product left, so the product amount seems to last and be worth it for the very decent price of $3.49. They aren't the longest lasting natural lip balm I have came across, lasting maybe 1-3 hours depending on what you are doing with your mouth (like eating and talking, I mean! jeez), but with flavours like these, (my favourite being wild berry and cherry), I don't mind reapplying!

epic blend hemp coconut mint vanilla citrus kick lip balm review
Hemp Balms
Organic Hemp Seed Oil is a great anti-oxidant, super-nourishing and quickly absorbs deep into the skill cells. Key Ingredients: Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Beeswax, Non-Gmo Vitamin E
Flavours: Coconut, Mint, Vanilla, Citrus Kick

Mint, as you guessed, does tingle a bit and is probably ideal for summer months or for those who find it refreshing. Coconut and Vanilla are both light and smell similar, with Vanilla sort of resembling a hot chocolate or coffee flavoured lip balm I would have used in my past. Citrus Kick has a bit of a punch and is fun and tangy. 

epic blend vegan wild berry pineapple mint lip balm review
Vegan Balms
100% Plant-based and beeswax-free All-natural food-grade Candelila wax, which gives these balms an incredibly smooth texture. Key Ingredients: Food-grade candelila wax, organic coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, organic cocoa butter, non-gmo vitamin E
Flavours: Wild Berry, Pineapple-Mint

Wild Berry has to be my favourite scent of the lot. It is such a unique lip balm scent, is the perfect strength, and smells like a body mist I would love to spray all over myself. Pineapple-mint was a bit strange at first, the pineapple being a bit stronger than the mint but overall a very light scent.

epic blend more moisture lip balm cherry grape unflavoured green apple review
More Moisture Balms
Seven moisturizers, including Organic Shea Butter come together to provide an extra kick of moisture plus a boost of staying power. Key Ingredients: Organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, organic castor oil, organic beeswax, non-gmo vitamin E 
Flavours: Cherry, Grape, Unflavoured, Green Apple

I do notice the more moisture balms lasting slightly longer than any of the other balms, which would be why, if I had to choose, I would recommend these over the other 2 lines of balms. There is also an Unflavored version in this line, perfect for those who prefer no flavour or are sensitive to it. Cherry, Grape, and Green Apple are all perfectly scented and smelt just as expected.

epic blend garnet star tinted lip balm review
Garnet Star Tinted Balm
Sheer merlot colour and a subtle shimmer that maintains a natural look. Key Ingredients: Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Castor Seed Oil, Candelilla Wax, Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract

 The Garnet Star Tinted Balm comes in one flavour, Pomegranate. It is priced slightly higher than the regular balms, at $4.99. It has a slight scent, but mostly just smells like a standard lip balm, or like Burt's Bees tinted balm. The tint is slightly darker than most people's lip colours so it might do more for them. I have pigmented lips so this was essentially the same colour as my lips and just helped to even them out. However, I wouldn't use this everyday as I just didn't feel it was as moisturizing as the others.

epic blend lip balm comparison review
I thought it was interesting that the ingredients and flavour changed the light/darkness of the balm.

My favourite flavour is definitely wild berry, with cherry coming in at a close second. All of the fruity scents are amazing, with the non-fruity scents being much lighter in scent but still smelling delicious. There is not one balm in the pack that I would not use. 

Epic Blend lip balms are available at retailers across Canada, sold individually for MRSP of $3.49. You can purchase individuals or 4-packs for $12.99 directly from the Epic Blend website. The Garnet Star Tinted Balm is $4.99. Shipping is as low as $4 for Canada and the US and $15 internationally. A full list of locations can be found here when you enter your postal code. In Canada you will likely find them in a local health food shops, Boathouse's, and other organic shops. I do not believe they can be found in stores outside of Canada, they are only available for online order.

I would definitely purchase more Epic Blend balms once I finish up the ones I have. I have already given away a few to some friends and family and they are all loving them! One friend actually called me the next day to tell me the lip balm is 'the bomb' and feels like butter on her lips (this seriously happened!)

epic blend lip balm giveaway
Giveaway!

Epic Blend actually sent me two lip lovin' superpacks and mentioned that the extra was for some friends or a giveaway. Well.. I've already given a few of my balms to some close friends to see what they thought, so the final lip lovin' superpack + a garnet star balm is available for you to win! The superpack contains 1 of each of their hemp, vegan, and more moisture balms. Enter via Rafflecopter below and the winner will be randomly chosen! Open to US and Canada residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This product was received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.
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Jet Set into Fall with Revlon to: Stockholm

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revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look
revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look

I haven't wanted to admit it, but fall is really here. I guess the good thing about it is that you can finally wear all those dark colours, cute blanket scarves, and those winter boots you bought on clearance at the end of last winter. Revlon wants us to chase away those fall blues and sent a few Canadian bloggers some products to participate in the Colorstay Challenge and create a fashion-forward city inspired look!

revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look

I was assigned 'Stockholm', which, with a little google search, I discovered is actually the capital of Sweden and the most popular city in Scandinavia, founded way back in 1252! Sometimes we are so accustomed to hearing these popular city names that we don't think to learn any history about them.

revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look
revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look

The Strike a Pose in Stockholm look is very simple and accentuates burnt red lips with a strong dark eye. I created most of the look with Revlon products, but I did use a few additional products that I will list at the bottom of the post.

Face
To create the look, I began with my usual routine; moisturized and primed my face, and applied foundation, under-eye concealer, did some slight contouring on the nose and cheekbones, and applied my bronzer. I filled in my brows and applied a bit of blush.

Eyes
For the eyes, I used a dense brush to apply Revlon Colorstay ShadowLinks in Onyx along the lash line, blending upwards. I used another ShadowLinks (Charcoal) to assist with the blending and kept applying Onyx to darken around the eyelid. I used Revlon Colorstay ShadowLinks in Bone to highlight the brow bone and inner corners of my eyes. I lined my eyes very carefully with Revlon Colorstay Skinny Liquid Liner in Blackout. I have straight lashes that need to be curled, so the Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara didn't quite do the job for me, I had to go in with another mascara as well to hold the curl (but this typically only applies to those of us with asian descent!).

Lips
I applied two thin coats of Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic to the lips.

revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look
Colorstay Gel Envy Ace of Spades, with Double Down (gold) as accents

Nails
For the nails I used products from the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy line. I applied Double Down to the ring finger as an accent nail, which I was very surprised only took 1 coat. I applied 2 coats of Ace of Spades to the rest of my fingers and then went over the edges with Double Down for a french manicure look. I thought the polishes dry time was decent, not speedy but not the longest I've seen, with the Double Down being a bit quicker than Ace of Spades. I was impressed with how opaque Double Down was. I only need 1 coat for my accent nail! I did have to go over with a second coat of Ace of Spades for the rest of my nails. I went over it all with the Diamond Top Coat to give it a ton of shine and gloss. I felt as if the top coat made my nail thicker and felt less vulnerable to breaking (I'm an occasional nail polish wearer btw).

revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look

Revlon Products Used:
ColorStay Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic
Bold Lacquer Length and Volume Mascara in Blackest Black
ColorStay Skinny Liquid Liner in Blackout
ColorStay Shadow Links in Onyx & Bone
ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Enamels in Ace of Spades & Double Down
ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat

revlon colorstay challenge jet set into fall stockholm look

Insta Giveaway (OVER)

Revlon wants you to create a Stockholm inspired look too! Like my look on Instagram for a chance to win the Revlon products I used to create this look. Canadians over 18 only, sorry, I didn't make the rules! Ends October 17th but winner must be able to provide info within 36 hours! Enter to win and see rest of the rules and regulations on my Instagram post here. :)

Congratulations to the winner of my giveaway @ellsrunner21! 

Other Products Used in my Stockholm look: Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade Chocolate, Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation 120, Illamasqua Cream Pigment Hollow, Maybelline Rocket Volum Mascara, NYC Sunny Bronzer, Revlon ColorStay Shadow Links in Charcoal, Revlon Powder Blush in Mauvelous, Smashbox Bb Cream Eyes Light

Some products in this post were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates. This post is not sponsored.
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La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Review

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la roche posay effaclar mat daily moisturizer oily skin review

La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat is a daily moisturizer targeted specifically for those with oily skin. I wouldn't say I have terribly oily skin, I find it to be more combination of oily + dry, but I love a good moisturizer that will control my oiliness during hot weather. The Effaclar Mat claims to be suitable for sensitive skin and is proven to have a long lasting mattifying effect while neutralizing shine, and tightening the look of pores. It is paraben-free and non-comedogenic.

I received this over the summer when I attended the La Roche Posay Acne Beauty School event, an introduction of the new La Roche Posay Duo (+). I was actually recommended to try this by Maggie of Beauty PhD during the event because we were discussing oily skin just moments before (you know you're a blogger when..).

la roche posay effaclar mat daily moisturizer oily skin review

Effaclar Mat features LHA, a micro-exfoliant, said to reveal smoother, healthier looking skin. However, it also contains an ingredient called Sebulyse which is beneficial to target excess sebum to mattify and refine pores.

It comes in a 40ml tube, which is compact but a little on the small side and can be used up quickly if you are not cautious when applying. I have been using it quite often for over 2 months and there seems to be 1/3 or less of product left. Effaclar Mat glides on the face easily, the texture is very gel-like, it feels cooling and absorbs instantly. A little goes a long way and you only need slightly more than a pea sized amount. It works great as a makeup base and it does help keep my skin matte longer throughout the day. It is definitely not recommended for someone who has dry skin, and I probably wouldn't use it throughout the winter as it might not be moisturizing enough.

My skin stays matte throughout the day (I typically use Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous FD) however your foundation will also play a part in this. I will typically have to touch up my t-zone but there is no escaping that, this is definitely one of the most mattifying moisturizer's I have tried.


PROS
Absorbs instantly.
Compact.
Little goes a long way.
Keeps my skin matte throughout the majority of the day.
Great for hotter months. Great as a makeup base.

CONS 
Probably not suitable for cold weather.
Small tube for price.
Says for daytime use but has no SPF.

If you have the La Roche Posay Duo (+) and are wondering what the difference is.. this is targeted as more of a moisturizer for oily skin to reduce shine, whereas the Duo (+) is targeted to all skin types, especially sensitive skin, with acne. Effaclar Mat works great under makeup and I think it's a great investment for those struggling with oily skin to try out. 

Effaclar Mat is available for $30 at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada. I would likely repurchase again when winter is over, or use it only on special occasions due to the high price and small amount of product. 

Have you tried La Roche Posay's Effaclar Mat, or any other products from the brand? What is your favourite, what would you like to try?

This product was received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.
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La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Review

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la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) is an acne treatment that has been recommended by skincare experts and bloggers for years, but has recently re-launched and slightly re-formulated as Effaclar Duo (+) and replaced Effaclar Duo. It comes in the same size 40ml tube and the gel-cream claims to provide a 24hr hydration, absorbs quickly, and has a non-oily finish.

Effaclar Duo (+) is also non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, has no parabens, and developed for those sensitive to products containing nickel. It is most beneficial to those with acne-prone skin, clogged pores, and/or excess sebum.

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

Key Ingredients:
Procerad: A patented ceramide helps protect against the appearance of red or brown marks.
Niacinamide: The reference anti-inflammatory active ingredient for intensive soothing.
Piroctone  Olamine: To combat bacterial proliferation.
LHA & Salicylic Acid: For their complementary keratolytic actions.
Targeted Linoleic Acid: To regulate keratinocytes, plus target the follicle.

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

After attending La Roche Posay's Acne Beauty School and getting educated on the most common causes and effects of acne, I took home to test out the Effaclar Duo (+) and have been using it nightly for months now. I was sceptical at first because acne products don't typically get along with my skin and usually just end up drying out my pimple. The formula of the Effaclar Duo (+) is light and similar to the original 'Duo' having the same scent, but the consistency is more creamy. The major difference is that the Duo (+) is intended for full face use along with spot treatment, as it has additional hydration and skin improving properties. It dries quickly and feels absorbed into the skin. It is wearable under makeup however I prefer to use the Effaclar Mat in the daytime just because it's a bit lighter and cooling on the face.

My skin thankfully did not react badly to the salicylic acid and it probably took longer than a week to notice any improvement in my skin's condition. When I started using this it was actually during the beginning stages of what seemed to be a bit of a breakout. It cleared up my skin, the bumps felt minimized and I noticed that pimples that were rapidly appearing before were now beginning to disappear. I have been using the Effaclar Duo (+) everyday and while it doesn't prevent the odd huge pimple from popping up, it prevented many emerging pimples from getting worse or scarring. Even with the odd pimple, the redness during, and scarring afterwards is minimal.

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

It did not dry out my skin at all, but I'd suggest only using it as a spot treatment if you don't need it for the full face. I use it with a moisturizer at night but I've used it alone as well. I do like to quickly massage it into my skin to have it better absorbed. Hopefully, it won't dry out the skin during the colder months, but I will have to report back on that. This is the first La Roche Posay product I have tried and it has left me with a very good impression. I would definitely pick this up again as it has really reduced the amount of acne and scarring that I have been getting. I also appreciate the affordable pricing for a higher-end product.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, and select Pharma Plus's in Canada for $26, it can also be found at Ulta in the US (has benzyl peroxide rather than salicylic acid), or online at Feel Unique internationally.

This product was received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.
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Smashbox Camera Ready Bb Cream Eyes Review

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smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review concealer

Smashbox Camera Ready Bb Cream Eyes is "a 5-in-1 beauty balm that: hydrates, protects, perfects, corrects, and illuminates the under-eye area while instantly reducing the appearance of dark circles instantly and over time." This all sounds perfect, right!? It sounded very ideal to me, and after seeing a few positive reviews on it I decided to pick one up for a pricey $29 cad for 3.5 ml.

It comes in 5 shades; fair, light, light/medium, medium, and dark. I chose the shade 'light' although it still seemed slightly too dark for my fair skin tone, however, 'fair' was too light and the pink undertones seemed too strong. The bb eye cream also claims to "reduce the appearance of puffiness, visibly smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and improve firmness."

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review concealer

Now, the BB Eyes is actually listed as a primer on the Smashbox website, although it is pigmented enough to use it as a daily concealer for those who want a natural look, or don't have terrible dark circles. I personally haven't really had luck in the past with under-eye specific concealers. Sure, they all do the job but typically are either too cakey, not the right shade, or dry too fast.

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review swatched example
Click photo to enlarge, (photos are unedited)

But.. I do like the Smashbox Bb Eyes even though it has its flaws. It is thick enough to conceal dark circles, but doesn't dry super instantly so you have time to blend it in without feeling like you are damaging the eye area. It works well with or without primer, doesn't look cakey, and easily hides my imperfections and pores along the sides of my nose as well. But it CAN be cakey if you have a very dry under-eye area. I have to rephrase that, it is not cakey at all, but it does sometimes accentuate my fine lines once dried. I did notice a slight reduction in puffiness but it is not effective enough to significantly reduce puffiness, only to hide it. I didn't notice any hydration, but I do typically use an eye cream/primer underneath so I wasn't worried about that. It also has an SPF of 15, which is great for those of you who forget to wear facial sunscreen (myself included). The lack of shades might be a problem for those in between colours, but although 'light' was a bit too dark for me when swatched, after applying it it blended nicely with my skin tone and reduced dark circles and redness as well. I love how well it neutralizes my redness and any dark circles. It also helps to make my nose appear smaller when I extend the application towards my nose.  

It can easily be applied with a finger, brush, or sponge applicator. My favourite way is to use a sponge applicator just because it is clean and fast. I also use a buffing brush if I don't need too much coverage. Sometimes going in with a finger afterwards is helpful however. It blends well with all of the foundations I have tried with it, and I've even used it to concealer redness on my nose and forehead.

However a huge dislike I have is the click-pen applicator. It isn't anything new in the cosmetic world but I have never been a fan. It is prone to breakage (at least when I use them :p) and I never know how much product I have left and it is hard to control how much product you are dispensing out. Ok, I don't hate it that much, but everytime it clicks, I can't help but think "oh god, more product wasted"! Also in regards to fine lines and wrinkles, I found that it did accentuate them once dried (but this only happened sometimes.. I don't know why). I compensated for this by just blending out the product whenever I noticed it creasing there once dried. It wasn't a noticeable problem for me in comparison to some other concealers I have tried, however, it might not be ideal for those with a very dry under-eye area.

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review concealer swatched example
Smashbox BB Eyes with finished face

Overall, despite a few flaws mentioned above, I have been enjoying the Smashbox Bb Eyes and may think about repurchasing if I have not yet found a cheaper drugstore dupe. I love how well it neutralizes redness with it's yellow undertones. Most people are much of a fan of the click-pen, so hopefully they will think about changing that in the future.

What do you think about the Smashbox Bb Cream Eyes, would you try it? Do you dislike click-pens as much as I do?
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Amie Skincare Review

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amie skincare moisturizer daily wash and mask review

Amie Skincare is a natural British skincare brand that has recently stepped foot into Canada, available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart locations.  I was kindly sent four products of theirs to incorporate into my skincare routine and provide a few thoughts on the line.

Amie Skincare was founded by Fiona Parkhouse (not by an Amie or Amy, despite what you may have assumed!) to provide us all with skincare products containing natural plant and botanical extracts, ideal for all skin types for especially for sensitive skin. The entire line is said to be completely free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, or animal extracts. Amie is actually french for 'friend', for those of you, like me, who barely passed french class.

First impressions of the line was obviously that the packaging is too cute. If I were to spot this in a store, I would definitely pick it up and examine. Definitely the pastel colours, and matte finish tubes that do it for me.. it is all just very girly! I would assume it would attract more of a younger crowd, but the line is suitable for women of all ages. I understand that natural products don't always mean 'breakout free', but I am happy to report that none of the products I tried here broke me out or negatively affected my skin, yay.

amie skincare radiant dawn exfoliating daily wash review

Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash ($10):
This daily wash claims to deep cleanse pores and exfoliate for clear and radiant skin. It is 'pH balanced and has a gentle foam with natural blueberry seeds to help unblock pores, lift away dead skin cells, dirt and oil, and green apple & lemon extracts to refine and tone skin keeping oiliness at bay.' 
The cleanser has a light, earthy scent, and the exfoliating beads are light and minimal. I had no idea they were natural blueberry seeds and thought that was pretty cool. My skin was left feeling clean but not stripped or dry. Due to the exfoliating properties, I prefer to use this a few times a week rather than every day, or if it is to be used everyday I would only use it during the mornings. It was gentle and pleasant to use but not strong enough to remove much makeup or residue after a long day.

amie skincare morning light hydrating daily moisturizer review

Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturizer ($12):
The hydrating daily moisturizer is 'rich in rose extract, rose hip oil, and mallow to help keep the skin soft and hydrated.' 
I know it says daily moisturizer, but I prefer to use this at night, at least for now during this September weather. I need something very light during the daytime that will dry quickly, and I found this took a bit longer than the matte-finish moisturizer (below). It would likely be great during the winter-time for daily use. I found that a little bit went a long way and it was easy to apply and spread throughout my face.

amie skincare morning dew matte finish moisturizer review

Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturizer ($12):
This light moisturizer 'contains natural plant sugars to hydrate the skin while rosehip and bilberry nourish and soften. Excess oil and shine are controlled.'  
I love a good moisturizer that claims to control oil and shine. I have issues with that in my t-zone and I also hate daily moisturizers that take excessively long to dry. This moisturizer absorbed quickly into my skin in just a matter of a few minutes. Much quicker than the hydrating daily moisturizer so I prefer to use this during the daytime. It made for a good canvas for applying makeup afterwards, but I would suggest a light primer over top of this as well. It is light and feels cooling on the skin with a bit of an earthy scent. I'm not sure how well this would hydrate during the cold winter months but it has been great for the past few warm weeks.

amie skincare spring clean deep cleansing mask review

Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask ($12):  
The deep cleansing mask works 'pore-deep to draw out dirt and impurities, soak up excess oil, and prevent blemishes. Peppermint and lime extracts, purifies, and cools.'
I was a little afraid when applying this at first because it felt very tingly like it was burning my skin. The mask was a bit too strong for my sensitive eyes so they watered a bit, and it had quite a strong scent. I left it on for 15 minutes (instructions say 10). It didn't dry very hard or tight like most of my clay masks do. The mask is a bit thick so I'd suggest applying a thinner layer so you will have an easier time washing it off. I applied a bit too thick of a layer and it took longer than expected when rinsing. After washing it off I realized it did not burn or cause any redness to my skin which is good. I kind of like when I can feel a mask on my skin, it makes me think it's doing its job and working at those pores. My skin felt smooth and cleansed afterwards but I didn't see any noticeable difference otherwise. I will likely have to do a bit more testing to come to a more detailed conclusion!

Swatches Top to Bottom: Exfoliating Daily Wash, Deep Cleansing Mask, Hydrating Daily Moisturizer, Matte-Finish Moisturizer

There are also a few more products in the line that might be of interest, such as Amie's cleansing wipes and toner. I find the sizing of the products to be very decent and suitable for drugstore. I would definitely recommend Amie Skincare to those who want natural skincare that isn't harsh on the skin, affordable and readily available. Out of the products I tried, my favourite is probably the matte-finish moisturizer, and I would be most likely to repurchase this one in the future! Amie Skincare is available at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada. You can read more about the brand Amie, why it was created, and where to buy online and internationally here

These products were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.
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