Benefit Hoola Bronzer Review

hoola bronzer benefit review

The Hoola Bronzer by Benefit is probably one of the most talked about, and well known bronzers on the market. I purchased mine quite a while ago but was afraid of using it because I found it too pigmented. I recently started testing it out again and have come to love it! I found a super easy way to combat the strong pigments of this bronzer.

hoola bronzer benefit review

I think we can all agree that the packaging is cute (of course.. it's Benefit), however I find the box a little too bulky and the included brush is unnecessary. 

Hoola is matte with no shimmer. The bronzer is strongly pigmented so after dipping my brush in the little box, I'll pat a bit onto a tissue. This allows me to build the colour rather than dump a huge blot onto my cheek. I'd suggest doing this for pale to light skin, but darker skin tones may not have to worry about this and can just tap off the excess.

I typically use it with my Mac 109 Small Contour Brush to define the cheekbones, and then I blend it out with my Real Techniques Multitasking Brush. I also use this brush to add a bit more colour and create a softer look. It was quite easy to blend. 

hoola bronzer benefit review

It is easy to wear softly or for a stronger look. The colour is buildable and can definitely look natural or very defined. It gives a warm glow and you don't need much product at all to achieve this. It might be a bit too warm for light skin tones which is why I'd suggest to blot onto a tissue before applying. 

I used to be a Too Faced Chocolate Soleil girl, but after using this recently I think I've converted to the Benefit side! Benefit's Hoola is probably more suitable for all undertones, whereas I found Too Faced Chocolate Soleil to be better for pink undertones.

I was surprised to see the bronzer last all day without much fading, if any, (I didn't notice any the way I do with other bronzers). 

hoola bronzer benefit worn over estee lauder double wear 1w2 sand
hoola bronzer benefit worn over estee lauder double wear 1w2 sand
Hoola Bronzer by Benefit worn over Estee Lauder Double Wear FD in 1W2 Sand. No blush, no highlighter.

At $35 CAD (at Sephora) this bronzer is very expensive in my eyes and I don't even know how I could pay that much for it! I'm hoping it lasts a while until I can find a cheaper dupe because I don't want to be paying that much again. However, I doubt there is anything much cheaper that is so easy to blend and wears for so long, so I will likely be sucked in again (damnit Benefit!). 

Sigma Beauty: E25, E35, E70 Eye Brushes Review

sigma beauty e25 e35 e70 tapered blending medium angled shading brush review

Let's start the first review of the new year with a positive review of a few brushes I haven't been able to put down! These 3 Sigma Beauty brushes are actually the only Sigma brushes I own, but so far, they are some of my favourite eye brushes. I purchased my first Sigma brush through FTB Beauty (the E25), and the other 2 were sent to me from Obsessed Canada (an extension of NailPolishCanada). A review of these brushes seems to have slipped through but now I'm finally able to share my thoughts on them. 

sigma beauty e25 e35 e70 tapered blending medium angled shading brush review
sigma beauty e25 e35 e70 tapered blending medium angled shading brush review
E25, E35, E70

Two of the brushes pictured here are quite similar, can you guess which ones? (the bristles are both almost invisible in the picture above). I'm talking about the E25 and E35 if you haven't gotten the hint! I found these brushes to both work, and look quite similarly.

Both the E25 and E35 are blending brushes, to be specific, the E25 is just a Blending Brush while the E35 is called a Tapered Blending Brush. The difference? The E35 has longer bristles. They feel softer and easier to glide along the skin to blend out any harsh lines. Whereas the E25 allows for 'controlled blending' and targets a smaller spot because of the smaller brush size and slightly denser bristles.

If you are a daily eyeshadow user, you probably will feel inclined to get both the E25 and 35 no matter what I say.. so I say go for it! It is totally worth it because you will definitely end up using both. However, if you don't blend a lot, I'd say one or the other is fine. E25 may be best for smaller eyes and lids, whereas E35 is a bit of a larger brush and I find it to be less precise and better for all-around blending, and diffusing any harsh colours.

Sorry E70! I left you out. The E70 is the Medium Angled Shading Brush. It is an angled brush that is used to softly blend shadow onto the lid. I find it works best for applying shadow to the lid, not so much blending it in. It is great for when you are trying to get quick, yet not too intense, colour on the lid. I usually use it to add some darker brown/blacks in the outer corners of my eyelids.

sigma beauty e25 e35 e70 tapered blending medium angled shading brush review
sigma beauty e25 e35 e70 tapered blending medium angled shading brush review
Closeups of the bristles

The E70 is probably the most dense, with the E25 then E35 coming in last of the 3. I didn't mention this before because I figure everyone knows this (sorry those who don't <3) but Sigma is known for their soft brushes, and these brushes are soft! This and the gorgeous white shade of the blending brushes are why I cannot restrain myself from using them and I do recommend them (although, I wish we had US pricing..) These brushes are roughly $14-16 USD on Sigma's website however they are priced slightly higher in Canada (what isn't?) and the prices might vary.

All 3 of these brushes actually come in a gold and copper version for a slightly higher price (can be seen on the Sigma website), although I doubt they're available in Canada (we never have Canadians can order from Sigma's website directly although there are shipping charges + potential duties so I'd play it safe and order from a Canadian website.

You can find a pretty decent, if not full, collection of the Sigma brushes on that are offered in sets or individually. This is probably your best bet with the best selection of Sigma in Canada, with free shipping over $25 (I'm sure you won't have a problem spending more than that).

2/3 of these products were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates. 

New Year & Favourite Posts of 2014


Hii! I apologize for my lack of posts since Christmas but I think I had a bit of Christmas post overload and had to take a bit of a break. I'm back for the new year to show you my 4 favourite posts of 2014, not based on views or anything but just the posts that stood out to me the most while going through my archives :) I also talk a bit about what to expect for 2015, and what I've been feeling lately so please read on! :)

4 Favourite Posts of 2014:
•  Dyeing my Hair with L'Oreal HiColor in Magenta
•  Festival Beauty: Turn It Up with Covergirl, Olay & Herbal Essences
•  Beach Day Essentials
•  Jet Set Into Fall With Revlon to: Stockholm

My all-time favourite decision was to finally decide to post about dying my hair with L'Oreal's Magenta. I actually get a ton of hits through this post, and I'm glad my trial and error has helped others use the hair dye effectively. Some of my favourite posts were through campaigns through PR of companies such as P&G and Revlon. These posts were so fun to put together and some of my best looks were photographed in these posts!

Getting Caught Up
I do still have many reviews to catch up on. I am planning to get those done as soon as possible. I have just been enjoying the long winter break from school. I also get stressed very easily, and the new laptop thing has been bothersome for me lately, as well as a few other issues such as having to get my wisdom teeth out, creating my school schedule (University is like Hunger Games compared to College...), and other personal issues.

I also haven't been wearing a ton of makeup throughout the break, so it has been hard for me to photograph any face shots for my reviews.

Tech Update
The laptop I mentioned in my last post, I actually ended up returning -twice. It was such a gorgeous colour, it actually looked like rose gold in certain lighting, it had all the right specs but unfortunately I noticed weird noises coming from the CPU area.. and I have reason to believe there might be a defect with the models that were most recently produced for Canada.

I ended up buying a new Sold State Drive - a replacement for my Macbook's hard drive, which made it a ton faster and made it usable for now (yay). I am hoping to do a few tech posts in the near future, because I have literally done so much research on laptops in the past few weeks it isn't funny.

Future Reviews
I always try to base my reviews on what I would want to read, and make them as informative as I can. I even do research prior to writing the review to get a bit more information on the product. I do love writing and providing everyone with honest reviews, but I find that they are often really time consuming. Also, seeing a lot more activity on Youtube gets discouraging, because you know that most people prefer to watch videos over reading.

Basically, I know I always say this, but I want to try and get my reviews shorter and straight to the point so they are more readable. (Ugh, I know this isn't going to happen.. I have a tendency to try and include as much ramble as I can..)

What Else to Expect
•  I want to begin to write about other things I like... not just beauty. I would like to start an occasional series (not sure what to call it yet!) on hauls, clothes and their fit, experience with the store/online shop, etc. Not so much fashion/styling posts (seriously, I'm a lazy person and I'd prefer to not dress like a supermodel everyday) but just basic clothing fit reviews. This is going to be hard for me because I don't have nice backgrounds to take larger photos in front of but I will have to think of something.

•  As mentioned, I also want to have a few tech posts. I'd like to think that I am decently knowledgable when it comes to the basics of computers/electronics, so I'd like to share tips and my experiences with others :)

•  In general, I just want to expand on what I write about and incorporate other reviews and topics that I was afraid to include on my blog before because I thought my readers might not like it. But I've decided to do it, and if it isn't interesting to someone I hope that they just won't click it rather than unfollowing :)

Seriously, I think I'm just conflicted between my girly side and my tomboy side.. growing up with a father who loves and works on cars, I've developed some of those traits.. but another side of me is like "noo! you love clothes and beauty products!". I do love posting reviews, but lately haven't been as creative as I'd like to be to think of creative beauty posts. Actually, a lot of my creative posts were thanks to campaigns through P&G and Beauty United and I'm really happy to be apart of that.

I do still have my 2014 favourites, an empties post, and a ton of other beauty posts planned, be excite!
If you see me go missing for a bit, I will be back! It's normal for me. I just don't like routine ;)

Christmas, Boxing Day & Words of 2014


Hey Lovelies! I have been a bit MIA this past week because I didn't have any posts scheduled (not that I ever do, #procrastinator). It has been a super busy 2 weeks for me, with Christmas and Boxing day, and I'm sure you all can say the same!

I do have a Favourites of 2014 post planned, but it isn't ready so I thought I'd share what I got for Christmas, a bit about 2014, some late birthday gifts, and my Boxing Day haul for now.

Starting off with the Christmas gifts! I got quite a few small things from my Nana, an electric toothbrush from my dad and stepmom (I needed this!), and a bit of chocolate. Actually, my grandparents ended up giving my boyfriend the chocolate so I didn't really get any chocolate -_- But my favourite and most usable gifts were some cash and gift cards! I got the Cadillac Fairview card from my aunt's close friends, and the Timmies card from herself. I am very close with my aunt and currently live with her and my grandparents. The Cineplex is from my boyfriend's mom! I don't see her often so I thought it was very nice that she thought of me.

My aunt also got me some soft and fuzzy pj pants! It's like she knew I was browsing Forever 21 for them the other day...

Ok now for my boxing day haul!...

target towel

One, lonesome towel from Target :D it wasn't even on sale.. Ooh it is actually a performance towel! I have the same one and have been looking everywhere for another. It was $7.99 I believe.

Yes that is all I got on boxing day (is that sad?). I planned to online shop but didn't see anything I liked online. Yorkdale was literally backed up the highway for kms so I wasn't about to go there either! I was in Burlington and saw a Target so decided to pick up something before it closed (it was literally empty).

I didn't really get much else so I thought I'd show some of my recent purchases below..

michael kors jet set travel tote dark dune

This Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote actually was a gift for my birthday from the bf, but it came a little before Christmas. It is in the colour Dark Dune which is like impossible to find in Canada. I was so happy to receive it although there were a few dents on the leather. I am in love with the colour!

v moda crossfade lp headphones

I picked up these V-Moda headphones from Amazon for $70 on Black Friday! It was a super discount, down from $150-200, and the sound and bass is awesome! They do get uncomfortable after an hour or so.. so I was thinking of upgrading the ear pads to a larger size.

asus zenbook ux303la

And my newest girlfriend.. the Asus Zenbook! I picked this up on sale as well, but it was still quite a pricey machine. I've gotten sick of Apple and the way they stopped support for my operating system months after I bought the laptop, and overall I didn't like the limited ability to do things on a Mac. My laptop was also, probably defective (it had many internal and physical problems) and I received pretty bad service from Apple (I assume because I didn't buy the extended warranty). So after almost 4 years, it's back to Windows I go! But don't get me wrong, my Macbook Pro was such a sturdy, strong laptop with a great screen and it was great for the first year of having it (the lack of viruses thing was great too).

Looking back on 2014

Looking back on 2014, it was a year that definitely had its ups and downs. There were losses and gains but in the end I am glad to have support from the people that I love. I went through a lot of school, issues with trying to transfer to University from College, but in the end it all worked out!

In regards to blogging, I've finally got a set of lights so I am able to take photos at night now. This was a huge problem for me for the past year because I could never find the time to take photos in the perfect daylight. I've also had a lot more experience testing products, beauty products in general, and come to the conclusion that not every product is perfect. Everything has it's flaws and it is okay to mention them. I have always been all about 'honest' blogging but in the past I avoided writing reviews about quite a few products I really didn't have a good experience with.. especially if they were from PR. In the future, I would like to get some of these posts up, and continue sharing my experience with products, even if I hated them. I want to be completely honest with my readers and by not posting some of those reviews in the past I feel like I wasn't.

I want to say a special thanks to Kriselle of Livin and Lovin! She recently wrote a Best of 2014 post and included me as one of her favourite beauty bloggers! I can't express how great it felt to see this and what she wrote about me was very sweet. Please share the love, visit her blog and read the post here.

My Fresh Sweet Nudes Review was also included as one of Coco's favourite blog posts of the week which I was also ecstatic to see because she is one of my favourite beauty bloggers (and gorgeous too)! So thank you Coco of The Beauty Milk :)

Did any of you crazy people go out for boxing day? :p What did you pick up, or get for Christmas? Share any posts with me too, I love to read them! New Years Eve is tonight! What are/were your plans? Cheers to 2015!

Formula X: Paint Party Press Pods Review

formula x paint party press pods review
formula x paint party press pods review
formula x paint party press pods review

Formula X Press Pods are a new and interesting way of using nail polish. They are tiny portable, one time use pods. You twist to reveal the brush and squeeze, and the nail polish dispenses out of the brush. Pictured here is the Formula X Paint Party; it is a limited edition canister filled with 24 press pods of Formula X's best creams and pearls. It also comes with 3 delete-to-go nail polish remover pads, and all the polishes are 3-free!

Polish Shades: 24 x 0.03 oz Press Pods in Ignite (smoking red), Pyrtotechnic (dynamite red), Push the Limits (tomato pink), A+ (raspberry), Frenetic (deep fuchsia), Intensity (powder pink), Potent (carnation pink), Enigma (lagoon blue), Prism (mermaid green pearl), Unmistakable (pastel jade), Omni (beach ball blue), Orbit (dark sky blue), Centigrade (arctic blue), Provocative (pastel sky), Indelible (rich violet), Outrageous (lavender mist), Invincible (warm vanilla), Thrilling (cloud gray), Impeccable (cocoa bisque), Perfection (smoky violet), Gray Matter (charcoal gray), Extraordinary (iceberg gray), Dark Matter (patent leather black), White Matter (paper white)

formula x paint party press pods review
formula x paint party press pods review

So I initially didn't have any idea about how these worked. Before opening the cap, I thought the brush was the other way around and you were able to dip the brush in the tiny pod. But it turns out the name is as it says; press pods! Which means when you press them (or squeeze), the nail polish will ooze out of the brush. Kind of like those click-pen concealers..ish.

formula x paint party press pods review

First Attempt:
Ok so.. for my first try I used the colour 'Ignite' which is one of the dark reds. The brush was a bit curved and I had a hard time getting the polish out. The nail polish seemed to be oozing out of all different sides and not directly in the middle. It was quite hard to control and after doing the first coat on one hand, I needed to take a break and also wait a few minutes for the polish to dry to continue the second coat. I did need a second coat because the application was streaky and a bit uneven. By the time I was ready to do the second coat, the polish was barely squeezing out of the pod and I just gave up.

Second Attempt:
For my second try, I tried another colour called 'Prism' on the other hand and I had the same issue with this colour in terms of application. It was streaky and again uneven, definitely needed 2 or 3 coats which was just out of the question at this point because my thumb and index finger were sore from pressing so hard.

To do a second coat, you might be able to get away with using a needle to poke the opening a bit.. but I didn't try it. Just seemed too inconvenient.

formula x paint party press pods review

I really didn't have any luck with these press pods. For one, there is no ball, meaning no ability to mix up the polish inside if it has separated. It will be difficult for your non-dominant hand to squeeze and apply at the same time. What I really didn't like, is that I used about 1/5 of the pod and now I have to wait a few minutes to be able to do a second coat. But once the first coat is moderately dry, the brush has already dried out.

The brush didn't seem of high quality and was a bit small. I didn't like that you can't control how much polish you want on the brush before placing it on the nail; you kind of need to press it on the nail while squeezing it out.

I also do not feel environmentally friendly throwing out unused nail polish in the garbage.. *hides*

formula x paint party press pods review

Ok now for some good things! These are definitely a great idea for travel (tbh I still don't think I'd use them). But It is a fun idea! And Formula X was definitely on to something with these, but I do think they need major major tweaking. I think it would be better having to dip into the pod rather than having to squeeze it.

The can is so cute, the packaging is cute, but the pods just aren't ideal, not consistent, and annoying to use. It just feels like such a waste of good product because the colours are actually very pretty. If you are still interested in trying it out, they are on sale at Sephora for $24 CAD, or you can find the smaller, $9 set of 7 here. But you are probably much better off purchasing Formula X's single nail polishes or mini polish sets like Paint The Town (on sale for $48 CAD).

This product was received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates. 

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Cream Review


Doesn't this look familiar? Possibly.. maybe because.. I already reviewed it back in February this year. (You can see the post here.) In the summertime, Vichy revamped and repackaged their popular Aqualia Thermal Cream. The cream still comes in both 'Light' and 'Rich', and although the ingredients list is quite similar, I can definitely tell a difference on my skin.

The new Aqualia Thermal creams now are 2X more concentrated in Hyaluronic Acid (which increases your skin's ability to absorb water). 

The new formula also contains..

•  Vichy's Thermal Spa Water: has the ability to open intercellular canals to facilitate the passage of water between cells by stimulating the expression of aquaporin genes 3 and 9. 
•  Aquabioryl: a sugar obtained through a biotechnological process from plant-based substrates. It is able to create a highly-moisturizing protective film on the surface of the skin to reinforce the protection of the cutaneous barrier against dehydration. 
•  Carraghenanes: extracted from the cell walls of red algae, similar to the glycosaminoglycans found in the skin. Work to restore the barrier function, which can maintain moisture and smooth the surface of the skin.

Changes I have noticed in this cream is that it sinks into the skin quicker, and doesn't feel like it is sitting on top. The cream feels lighter, and I can wear the 'Light' version under my makeup without it feeling too heavy. The 'Rich' is a bit too rich for daytime use, I'd seriously only recommend it for those dealing with dry skin on a daily basis. If you only suffer from dry skin occasionally, or after exfoliating/using a mask, I'd say the Light is sufficient enough for you. 

I noticed my skin looked a bit too dry the other day after testing a new face wash and moisturizer, so I went back to using this and my skin has been back to normal since.

I stated in my previous review that I didn't like that the old version contains Alcohol Denat., however, after speaking with a representative from Vichy, I was told that the alcohol is used as a replacement for parabens; and read that it is also used as an anti-microbial agent to prevent bacteria or growth. I still do not like that this updated version contains dimethicone, but I can deal with it since it has not caused my skin any breakouts. 

I actually prefer the older packaging, but the newer glass jars come with a mirrored lid (although a bit distorted.. so I don't use it), and a stronger blue tint. 

Click to enlarge!

Above is a photo of the Light cream on the left, and Rich on the right. You can't really tell a difference at all in the photo but the cream in Rich looks a lot thicker. I also swatched them to the left but can't remember which one was which...

Ingredients: "Aqua, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Alcohol Denat., Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Stearyl Dimethicone, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide, Propylene Glycol, Synthetic Wax, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Isostearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Poloxamer 338, Disodium Edta, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Parfum"

I do approve of the Aqualia Thermal's new formula because of it's better absorption into my skin, and I might end up purchasing the 'Light' version of this cream if I run out. 'Rich' is just too heavy for my skin. I do find it best suitable for colder months, so I'll likely only use it during the spring, fall, and winter. I do prefer Vichy's ProEven Daily Dark Spot Corrector as a day face cream however. The Aqualia Thermal cream should be available in drugstores for at 50ml sizes for $38.50 CAD. 

Gift set available at drugstores in Canada (I've only seen them at Shoppers Drug Mart), $38.50

They currently have a holiday gift set available! For the price of one cream, you can also get a full sized Night Spa + a Travel Sized Serum. What do you think of the revamped Vichy Aqualia Thermal? Did you get a chance to try the older version?

These products were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates. The post is not sponsored and I posted about the gift set because I wanted to and think it's a great deal if you are already going to purchase the cream; not because I had to!
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