Almay Liquid Lip Balm: Lilac Love Review

I used to use so many Almay products as a younger teen.. Now, I don't even think twice about them when I walk by their display at the drugstore. I guess it's just one of those things you use as a kid (the wrong way, not to mention)... then when you see it in stores, it just brings back all those old memories!
Is it just me? I shudder when reminded of how awfully I used to apply makeup as a kid.

When Almay recently had a promotion on Facebook for Canadian residents where they gave away 50 products a day, one of them being their new line of liquid lip balms, I knew I had to win one! And if I wasn't luck enough to win one, I knew I had to go buy one! Fortunately, I was able to get one (for those who couldn't, don't hate me!!) and I chose the colour in advanced so I wouldn't be hesitating at the last second. 50 products a day for 40,000 fans on facebook is the worst idea ever! There were hundreds of pissed off people, because the 50 balms were gone in less than a minute. It was crazy!

Almay claims... 194% more moisture when wearing this as opposed to bare lips.. also that it is non-sticky, gluten free, and hypoallergenic.

Colour: I chose the colour Lilac Love, because I thought it would show up best on my pigmented lips. It does come in 10 other shades, but only a few seem dark enough to actually show up on the lips. Lilac Love is a medium lilac with purple and blue shimmer. On my pigmented lips it looks like a dull pink with a hint of purple. The colour is sheer but shows up enough on my lips. I think it looks best with subtle eyes on me... but you can probably just throw it on with any kind of makeup! Below I paired it with reddish brown eyeshadow, but just for fun!

My Opinion: Despite not completely believing their claims, I did feel like this kept my lips moisturized, and I think it's a great alternative to a regular, colourless lip balm. It is a bit heavy on the lips, but after disliking the heaviness at first, I felt like it was a layer of protection after wearing it a few more times. At first I thought "what do they mean non-sticky, this feels pretty sticky!" and then I remembered.. the reason I stopped wearing lipgloss: my lips would literally stick together sometimes. This isn't very sticky but it still has a bit of stickiness to it, if that makes sense. But I kind of expect that in a gloss.
Scent, Texture, Staying Power: It has a bit of an oily texture to it, and smells like grape cotton candy! Yumm. I really like the scent of it. There is no taste to it, thank god. I noticed that this stayed on quite a while if I didn't eat or drink. It also did not dry out my lips like most coloured lip products do which I give it an A+ for!

Overall: I will definitely purchase more of these but in the darker shades, only. I do believe they show up much better than the lighter shades, which probably don't show up at all, because of how sheer these are. I do wish they were a little more pigmented. I think this is ideal for adding a little bit of colour when you don't want the hassle of having to worry about re-applying, or smudging, and you don't want to dry out your lips.

Lips: Almay Liquid Lip Balm in Lilac Love
On Eyes: CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in Red Hot Flame (#beautyunited sample), and Meet Matt(e) Nude Palette, Cailyn Gel Liner

Disclaimer: I won this product in a giveaway. All opinions stated are my own and not influenced by any affiliates!

Online & eBay Shopping Tips

Being an online shopping addict, I thought I'd share some of my tips I've learnt over the past few years. I have made many mistakes I hope to not make again, but it really helped me become a smart shopper! I hope these will help some of you, whether you are an experienced online shopper or a newbie! :) 

 Don't Shop Last Minute: 
If your looking for that perfect dress for your date tomorrow night, please do not online shop! Whatever you're buying will likely not show up that quickly. I have had a few instances where I've bought from Zara & Garage Clothing (online) and received the item in a day or two! But these were shipped from their warehouse in Montreal to me in Toronto. I have never had an online store from the USA or Europe show up faster than a week. Make sure you are ordering weeks ahead, and that you have a backup outfit, incase what you ordered does not fit!

 Avoid Impulse Buying: 
On 'deal' websites with time limits like Hautelook, Beyond the Rack, and Modnique, it is easy to impulse buy. You think you need it because the deal is so good. Make sure you thouroughly check measurements, fine print, model sizing, and even try googling the garment name. Sometimes you can find bloggers wearing the same item which can help you determine whether you really want it or not.

The same thing can happen with websites like Groupon, WagJag, and TeamBuy. Only buy what you know you will use, or what has already been on your want list. I spent $70+ on 2 vouchers for a Makeup Course and Styling Course on Groupon from TrendiMi, and it was the biggest waste of $70 ever! I learnt nothing from the repetitive, basic jot notes and cartoon face examples of how to apply makeup! I definitely should have done my research first, or only bought 1 course, rather than both courses.

PS. Use my invite links if you haven't signed up for any of those websites! :) (Just remember, don't impulse buy!)
Hautelook, Beyond the Rack, ModniqueGroupon, WagJag, TeamBuy

 Use a Credit Card or PayPal: 
I wouldn't recommend using a prepaid credit card, especially with small shop or boutique purchases. If you don't end up receiving the item, or it's not as described, it can be easier to go through your credit card company sometimes, for a chargeback. I have never done it, but I have seen many people do it over items not as described.

 Don't Send Your Money to a Boutique In an Envelope: 
There are a lot of Facebook boutiques out there, and I wouldn't recommend sending them money in an envelope like I have seen many people do. Even if they are reputable, you are putting your money in the hands of the postage company, and I have seen many instances where money has been stolen out of an envelope, or the envelope was never delivered. Instead, ask them if they accept PayPal. Many shops will.

Know Exactly What You're Buying....
 Be Careful Buying from Sellers with Low Ratings & Check Feedback: 
Please check the feedback of the seller before you make a purchase. And I'd recommend not buying multiple items until you have experience purchasing from that seller first, so you are familiar with the quality and accuracy of the item. For online shops, you can google "____ Shop Reviews" and you will often find enough information on them to make your decision.

 Be Wary of Sellers with Stock Photos: 
Buying clothes on websites that use other websites photos, or stock photos, always worries me. I'd prefer not to do it. I feel much more comfortable seeing a photo taken by the seller/website. Sometimes sellers that use stock photos, send you something that looks similar, but is not the exact same. The colour, material, and design could be slightly different!

 Go Over the Listing Multiple Times: 
If you are shopping on websites with sellers such as eBay, Etsy, Kijiji, make sure you go over the listing more than once. Sometimes you can miss small details, fine print, or in some cases the seller could potentially edit the listing before your chance to purchase.

 Check Measurements: 
No matter what you are buying; whether it be clothes, electronics, household items, decoratives, etc, make sure you are checking the measurements of the item! I have had tons of mishaps where I have bought something that looked huge, but in reality was very tiny, or vice versa. My boyfriend actually bought turn signals for his bike the other day, only to get them in a tiny package, that were 1/3 of the size they should be/looked on eBay because he didn't check the measurements.

 Don't Go Overboard: 
Just because the money isn't physically in your hand, do not overspend! You can spend hundreds of dollars without realizing it online. Record what you have bought, and make sure you budget yourself, and don't go over your credit limit!

 Prepare Yourself for Disappointment: 
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but if you don't shop smart, or even if you do, prepare yourself for disappointment! Great sellers and stores can even disappoint by sending defective items. The item colour could be slightly different, not fit you properly, or look terrible on you. There is always that risk you are taking when buying something without physically seeing it in your hand or trying it on.

I know this list is pretty long but the headings pretty much explain everything (if you just skimmed through it :p). What are your tips and tricks for online shopping?

Sweet Leaf Bath Co. Adzuki Bean & Rice Bran Face Polish Review

Until about a year and a half ago, I was one of those girls who NEVER exfoliated. I mean never. I didn't exfoliate, wear masks, moisturize, deep clean my brushes.. the list can go on! I thought I didn't need it. I have grown a lot in the past few years and have learnt that exfoliating and reviving your skin with masks are essential to a skin care routine. I probably would not have realized this if I didn't start to see so much flaking on my face from my lack of exfoliation heh.

I was introduced to this small company called Sweet Leaf Bath Co. (Canadian, btw, for all you proud Canadians out here!) at the Blush Pretty Beauty Board Event I attended in May. Their lip balm packaging fascinated me, and when contacted to try their Adzuki Bean & Rice Bran Face Polish I was ecstatic! I am all for trying natural products.

Sweet Leaf Bath Co. handcrafts their products using 'pure, organic, and fair trade certified ingredients'. Their aim is to create 'something not only good for your skin, but for the planet as well'.

The Adzuki Bean & Rice Bran Face Polish is a fine powder with exfoliating grains which comes in a generously sized tub. It is a gentle exfoliator for polishing off dead skin cells and contains very minimal (5 to be exact), and natural ingredients. 

While trying to find out more about their ingredients, I came across Sweet Leaf's justification as to why they had only included these 5 ingredients in their face polish:

Phaseolus Angularis (Organic Adzuki Bean) Powder: Gently exfoliating, leaving the skin with a radiant glow.
Oryza Sativa (Organic Rice) Bran: Prevents wrinkles, heals blemishes, attracts oil and dirt leaving a healthier, balanced tone.
Cucumber Sativa (Cucumber Seed Extract): Hydrating, nourishing, rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants, aids in skin regeneration.
Pumila Mill (Apple) Fruit Extract: Helps the skin maintain elasticity, anti-aging properties, moisturizing.
Ginkgo Biloba: Anti-aging and skin firming properties, revitalizing.
(Taken from here)

Instructions: Splash face with water and rub 1/4 tsp of powder in your hands. Apply in gentle circular motion avoiding eyes. Rinse with warm water. Repeat 3-4 times a week.

The powder is super fine and feels like sand. Some people seem to be bothered by the scent but to me it just smells like herbs or chinese herbal medicine, and it doesn't bother me at all. I'd prefer it to have an odd or natural scent.. it assures me there are no fragrance/chemicals being used!
You need to use water with this product. It won't work using it dry, and if you don't add enough water it tends to ball up (like in the 2nd picture above) until you add the right amount of water (3rd picture). However, you can add more water to spread out the product, giving yourself a gentler exfoliation. I don't find this to be too messy...maybe just a little, it's quite runny if you add too much water! It does get little grains on the sink that look like sand which you just rinse off after exfoliating.

The thing I love most about this exfoliator is that you can control how much product you want to use. You are in control of how much product/water to add, how gentle or hard you want to scrub.. which makes it ideal for both sensitive and normal skin. I have been testing this exfoliator for quite a while, and although it did not break me out, I don't think it helped my breakouts (which I don't expect it to, because it is not a miracle acne curer!), but my skin feels smoother, clean, and less oily after using it.

What I love the least about this exfoliator is that it is not shower friendly!!! I really dislike the tub it's in, and even using it over the sink is a bit of a struggle. It's definitely not a good idea to stick your fingers in it and try to pinch out some powder to use... Instead use a spoon or a cap. I use a small cap (ex. body spray cap) to scoop it out and then sprinkle it in the palm of my hand. Keep a little extra in the cap, incase you need to add more product for a stronger exfoliation, or if you add too much water! Sometimes, immediately after using this my skin felt a little tight and looked a little dry on my forehead and temples, I don't know if it's because I rarely moisturize those places, or if I am sensitive to a particular ingredient (I am actually allergic to fresh apples, I hope that isn't why!) but otherwise, it doesn't bother or irritate my skin.

Overall, I do think this face polish is great. It would be ideal for those with skin sensitive to chemicals and harsh ingredients. Or someone who just wants something with minimal ingredients, and wants to be able to control the amount of exfoliation they want. I will definitely continue using it, and it will probably last me forever! I wish it came in a different kind of dispenser, but you can always use one of those thin mini travel containers from the dollar store to keep the product in. This stuff is so gentle and versatile, you can use it multiple times a week, add it to other scrubs to enhance the strength of exfoliation, or you can create a honey mask with it, as done by fellow blogger Trisha, here.

You can find this scrub on Sweet Leaf Bath Co's official website for $16.95 here, or you can find it for even less on here! The list of their other Canadian retail locations can be found on their website here!

Disclaimer: I received this product for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.