Mar 31, 2014

VIB Rouge Event at Sephora

Hello friends!

On Sunday my bestie and I had the BEST time at the Sephora VIB Rouge exclusive event in London, Ontario!

This is the first event that Sephora have done of its kind - and I understand that many events were full to capacity.  Thankfully when I received the e-mail invitation a week prior I RSVP'ed right away so that our names were on the list!  The event was on Sunday, March 30, 9 - 11am.  It was a closed door event so you had to be on the list.  The rest of the mall was closed at the time.


When we arrived, we were greeted, checked off the list, and given the "lay of the land".  There were snacks (muffins, pastries), coffee, bottled water (cute labeled VIB Rouge mini bottles) all ready to go.  We were given a shopping basket as well as a beautiful Sephora tote bag to stash all our freebies.

The store had several "stations" organized where you could try some products and get some freebies!

This lovely lady was the rep for Dior and we spent quite a bit of time with her, being big Dior fans!  We both had makeup applications and tried out the BB Cream (LOVE!) as well as some eyeshadow and lipsticks and eyeshadow primer.

Makeup Application

Here I am having my eyeshadow done in a gorgeous colour called "Velvet" (it's next on my list!).  I really loved how she did my eyeshadow.

I also had my colour IQ done again since my skin colour has definitely darkened coming back from Mexico.  None of my foundations have been working out these past few weeks.  I know - first world problems, right?  Anyway - I got some samples of a few new foundations to try so that was fantastic.  Most excited about the Dior BB Cream which was gorgeous!  Also finally going to try some NARS radiant finish which I've been anxious to get my hands on.

I had a lovely hand massage and cuticle treatment done with the Dior apricot cuticle care.  I also got a demo of the Clarisonic Opal.  I have a Clarisonic Mia and love it - I've used it daily for 2 years.  This was the first time I'd seen the Opal.  It's interesting - a tool to help penetrate your eye creams and serums.  But $200?  Ouch!

I saw one of the girls trying out some concealer on Andrea, so of course I needed to investigate this!  Turns out it was the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.  It was fantastic coverage for spots and imperfections!  After I had it demo'ed on my face, I picked that up for sure!


So here is my full haul.  I felt like a kid in a candy store!  I went in with a sort-of-list in mind (really just a new Beauty Blender and solid cleanser - and the NARS Laguna bronzer).  I was pretty good, I think and stuck to my plan for the most part.  I was really thrilled to get some new foundation samples - and super pumped to get three packs of Ole Henriksen Wipes!

When we went to the cash to check out, we were given our 15% discount (which was awesome!) and then told to pick out some more goodies from a bowl on the counter.  SO exciting!

After checking out, we wound up spending some more time in store, talking to some more fabulous consultants and going back to pick up a few more things (a second shop!).


So here is my actual purchase:

  • Caudalie Favourites Kit  I wanted a new bottle of the Beauty Elixir - which is amazing!  I've used 2 bottles already.  Then I saw they had the favourites kit in stock and decided to go for this.  I have been really liking Caudalie skincare products for my super sensitive skin.
  • Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-4  This was the concealer that we tried out and had just amazing coverage.  I've had a lot of breakouts lately and always looking for new concealers.  Laura Mercier is such a great brand - I figured I couldn't go wrong here.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush  Amazingly, this is my first of their blushes!  Not sure why I've held out so long, but super excited to have one.  This was by far the best for my skin tone and I love the flush it gives me.
  • NARS bronzing powder in Laguna  This bronzer has been on my list for ages.  I've gotten more into sculpting lately and this colour comes so highly recommended.  When I swatched it, I loved the colour and it has just the right amount of shimmer.
  • Beauty Blender.  I think that my last sponge had something wrong with it.  It just didn't absorb properly.  So I'm going to give it another go.  My first sponge was life changing.  Hopefully this one will bring me back to that!
  • Beauty Blender Solid Sponge Cleanser.  This is my second.  Honestly - BEST makeup brush cleaner EVER.  I love this stuff.  Cleans my brushes right back to brand new.  Awesome.


And these are all the awesome goodies that were free samples!  I am SO pleased that I got up early on a Sunday (especially when I am not feeling well - it was tough) to go to this event!


Mar 28, 2014

Clarins skincare

Hello friends,

If you are an avid beauty blog reader like I am, then you will know the name Caroline Hirons.  She is a guru in the world of skin care and works currently with the Body Shop.  She is something of an icon with fellow beauty bloggers and many of us follow her advice with regards to morning and nighttime skincare regimens.

SO - on the ongoing quest to clear up my skin and prevent future breakouts - I googled "exfoliating toners" and no surprise - Caroline's trusty blog popped up straight away.  This led me to Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner.  I read a few other reviews on this product (many had purchased based on Caroline's recommendation as well) and thought this would be a great addition to my nighttime routine.

I'm not quite brand new to Clarins skincare products.  I've been using them for a few months - and currently LOVING the Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch as my daily primer as well as the Instant Light Complexion Illuminating Base.  The combination of these two products just seems to "fix up" my skin before I apply any makeup.  They give me a nice smooth radiant surface and blur any sun damage or spots quite nicely so that I don't use as much foundation.  I reviewed them a few weeks ago.

My usual evening skincare routine includes a face wash, toner, serum, eye cream, and moisturizer.  I've used the Clarins Toning Lotion with Iris for a while and I do really like it.  It's very gentle and feels softening.  I can't stand strong astringent toners that feel like they are shrinking my skin and drying it out.  I've never been able to use Clinique toners despite loving their other products.

When I read Caroline's blog, she talked about using two toners in the evening, including an exfoliating one.  I think this would really help in healing my blemishes and turning over the skin cells a little faster (especially as I near the dreaded 4-0).  So I plan to insert this new toner into my routine.

I also read her comments on adding Hydraluron into the skincare routine to help your skin absorb moisturizer better and she also suggested the Clarins cleansing cream as a gentle morning cleanser.

I also had a coupon for $10 off at Shoppers Drug Mart today, so that helped!

So - I will give these products a run for their money and report back on my findings!


Mar 27, 2014

a little luxury from Chanel

Who doesn't love a little Designer Love once in a while?  I must have been in a luxury mood when I picked this little beauty up the other weekend at The Bay.  I think I was just in the mood for some new Spring colours and brightening up a little!

This is Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour in 54 le Baiser (the kiss) and it is a lovely pinky colour launched for Spring 2014.  It is $39 Cdn at

Here it is swatched on my arm and you can see that it has a nice finish, nice and dewey and feels very nourishing and moisturizing when applied.  This is my perfect kind of pink colour that works well with my skin tone and brunette hair.


Mar 26, 2014

Clinique cheek pops are a beautiful thing

I think that the Cheek Pops are one of the best things Clinique has released in ages!  They are a gorgeous, gorgeous blush.  I like the size, the package, the colours, the formula - just everything about them.

I love a small blush that doesn't take up my whole drawer as I don't have a ton of space.  I love that they don't waste space with a lousy brush I'll never use.  And I love that they are not the size of a brick!  Not to mention the very cute transparent package and the gorgeous floral imprint.

The formula is like a firm powder, if that makes sense.  There's no powder kick up when you apply, but you do need to firmly apply your brush to get some colour.  It them applies beautifully and wears very well.  It's my next favourite blush since Tarte Amazonian Clay!  And I have quite a few of those.

I reviewed the Plum Pop a few weeks ago (far right) - which you can see has been used quite a bit!

Since coming back from Mexico, my skin is much darker and I needed to change up my makeup colours.  What better excuse to buy some new blush, right?

Here you can see Peach pop and Berry pop - and they are every bit as nice as the Plum pop.

On my arm, I've swatched (in order) Plum Pop, Berry Pop, then Peach Pop.

These blushes are $24 Cdn at

Mar 25, 2014

Clarins is one of my new favourite brands

Hello friends!

Yesterday I was sharing some of my favourite makeup products this week, and which ones I wore the most while on vacation in Mexico for March break.

Two Clarins products were on my face every single night for dinner - the cream blush that I showed yesterday - and this delicious lipstick.

This is another one of Clarins' Spring 2014 line - Joli Rouge Brilliant in the shade 19 Tropical Pink.  It's $27 Cdn at

First of all - the packaging feels so luxurious.  It is sleek, not too heavy, and feels nice to apply.  The lipstick itself applies like a balm.  It feels moisturizing and lovely.  It has a really nice gentle smell (unlike cheaper drugstore brands) and applies an easy-to-wear sheer pinky colour that is perfect for my skin tone, especially with a tan right now.

I know this is one I will wear till it's empty!  And I'll definitely check out their other colours.  The formula is gorgeous.  And for the price - I far prefer this formula to some other more expensive YSL & Chanel lipsticks I've tried.  This is just easier to wear I think.


Mar 24, 2014

this week's favourite things

Hello friends!

I'm just back from a week in Mexico.  We had a wonderful family vacation and re-charged the batteries!  I read three books, indulged in lots of cocktails, and just enjoyed family time on the beach and by the pool.  It was fabulous!

While away, I kept my makeup to a minimum - mostly just sunscreen and a little lipgloss.  We did dress for dinner each night, so I added the minimum of foundation with some blush and mascara.  I find that in the heat, my makeup just melts off me anyway and makes me feel "ick".

The two Clarins products here - I wore EVERY single day in Mexico though!  This is one of the new cream blushes launched in the Spring 2014 line in the shade "Candy".  I love it!  It applies beautifully and stays put.  Really, really nice.  And it suited my tan perfectly because it's a peachy pink.  It's $30 Cdn at

I really like the sleek gold packaging and the fact that it isn't the size of a brick.  I just use my fingers to rub some on my cheek bones and blend in gently.  It applies very easily.  I love blush that comes in a nice package.  I really hate the ones that are huge with space for a silly brush that no one ever uses anyway - or so much product that it will go out of style before you can ever finish it.

I've really been getting to like Clarins lately and this Spring line has been a good one!


Mar 17, 2014

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Galaxy Rose

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Galaxy Rose ($23 Cdn from
I believe that this is a limited edition shade as it is part of the Spring 2014 Fantasy of Flowers collection.

As a rule I'm not a big lover of lipgloss.  I find them sticky and gummy and I want to wash them off my lips within minutes.  I hate when my hair sticks to my lips when I go outside as well.

This is one gloss finish that I do buy from time to time if there is a colour I particularly like.  MAC cremesheen glass is less sticky than typical lip glosses and feels more creamy.  It is also more opaque than a typical lipgloss.

I saw this colour and just fell in love with it - it is my perfect peachy pinky type of colour.

Mar 14, 2014

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter ($9.59 Cdn from
Shades Peach Parfait and Wild Watermelon

These lip butters are my favourite kind of lipstick!  In other words lipstick that doesn't feel like lipstick.  I like no-fuss, no-muss lip colour.  I like to just swipe it on and go.  I don't want something that feels thick or sticky or goopy or makes a mess if I wipe my lips.

These are perfect for summer - when you just want a nice hint of sheer colour that feels moisturizing and not sticky.  Don't you have when your hair sticks to your lips in the wind?  ICK!

Mar 13, 2014

Chubby lipsticks

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Elusive ($9.99 Cdn from
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick ($9.99 Cdn from
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Long Lasting Intense Colour Balm in Viva Violet

I have loved chubby lipsticks for a long time!  I think Clinique were the first to market and I remember picking several up in duty free.  They were fun and felt nice to apply.  They weren't as sticky as lipgloss or as thick as lipstick.

The same is true of these!  I have a bowl full of chubby sticks in various brands (Tarte, Clinique, Rimmel, Revlon, etc) but these are the ones I've been wearing lately.

The Revlon matte balm is the first matte one I've tried.  I read several blogs raving about the formula and this colour in particular.  I do quite like it and although I don't normally like a matte finish, this one isn't too matte.  I think the colour is really nice and very flattering.

Mar 12, 2014

Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector

Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector in the shade light to medium ($44 from

This is a product I picked up at Sephora recently after reading about it on several beauty blogs.  I'm not very familiar with Origins and this is my first purchase from the brand.

I was looking for a light moisturizing base with high SPF that I could wear on holiday in Mexico to have a little bit of coverage while protecting my skin.  I hate wearing pure sunscreen on my face - it feels so heavy and sticky and I imagine it clogging my pores.  I also don't like the white mask it gives me.

I've tried this on a few weekends since I purchased it and wasn't wowed.  I find it leans a little orange for me and gives little to no coverage at all.  It feels quite nice and has a lovely orange scent though.  My BFF bought it as well and suggested two layers - which did help somewhat.

So I suppose it might work for my vacation in the sun when I'll be by the pool the whole time - but I probably won't use it for anything else.


Mar 11, 2014

Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick

Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick ($11.99 Cdn from
This is the shade Just-pinched pink that I picked up from Walmart while grabbing groceries one night.  By the way - Walmart have fantastic prices on drugstore brand cosmetics!  I paid $10 for this and it is over $12 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  That makes a big difference over time!  Although I do like to get my Optimum points from Shoppers, so I go back and forth.  They often have really good sales too.

During the week when I wear a full-coverage liquid foundation set with powder, I tend to use a powder blush (I am in LOVE with the Clinique flower pop in plum pop at the moment).  But on the weekends I like to give my skin a break and I wear a lighter coverage product and then I use a cream/ liquid/ or gel blush colour.  It just gives me a lighter more dewey finish that looks less made-up.

Over the years I've used many different brands and Tarte cheek stains were my favourite for a long time.  Although I find that the sticks get REALLY messy with use and you have to be very fast to blend.

I also love the Benefit cheek tints especially the new Lollitint which is such a perfect cool pink for my skin tone.  But you have to be SUPER fast to blend that stuff in - or it stains your skin as applied.  I still use the Benefit Fine-One-One cheek stain that came out a couple of years ago - although it got terrible reviews from the beauty bloggers.

I always feel that if I use a very liquidy cheek colour - I'm going to wash off my makeup base as well.  So I like that this is much creamier.  It still blends in just as nicely - but it doesn't feel like a wet layer on your skin.  I like that you just swipe it on and blend with your fingers.  So easy.

It's also a nice portable little size and closes firmly - so I'm not worried about making a mess in my makeup bag or purse.  It makes for a nice mid-day touchup.

Here is the shade Coral Sheen which I just bought yesterday at Wal-Mart (it was the last one - and I believe these are limited edition).  BONUS - I just read on a blog yesterday that this is a dupe for a Chanel blush!  Gotta love that!

Here are some swatches on my arm.  Just-pinched pink is on the left and Coral Sheen is on the right.

Mar 10, 2014

My favourite liquid foundations

Lancome Teint Miracle in the shade Ivoire 2C ($42.50 Cdn from
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H in the shade 110 Ivoire C ($45.50 from

I first used Lancome foundations when I was in my early 20's.  I loved them for many years.  Back in the day of the ultra-matte face, they were the first with an ultra-matte finish and I loved it!  Also, they just match my skin tone perfectly.

I've used SO many foundations since then bouncing from Make Up Forever, Clinique, NARS, Benefit, etc but last year I came back to Lancome when the Sephora Color IQ matched me to the Teint Idole Ultra 24H in 110 Ivoire C.  I realized that this was a much better match then I'd been using and gave it a try.  I've used it ever since and absolutely adore it.  It feels like air.  There's nothing I hate more than feeling like I have a heavy layer of makeup on my face.  I imagine it clogging my pores and creating pimples and I have to wash it off.  I find that I get this if I try any drugstore foundations.  This is one area that I have always splurged because I have such sensitive and fickle skin.  I easily break out if I use junk on my skin.

I apply the Teint Idole with my MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush ($50.50 from which I use in a stippling motion.  I use between one and two pumps that I put on the back of my hand as a palette.  It's a nice medium to full coverage, goes on beautifully, blends in perfectly, and never cakes.  I do use a primer underneath (currently using Clarins) and then I finish with some NARS concealer under my eyes and on any blemishes.  I set all of it with the NARS finishing powder or the Make Up Forever finishing powder.

I added the Teint Miracle to my collection last week as I was looking for a lighter coverage option to wear on the weekends.  I really like this foundation as well.  It applies just as easily and blends just as well.  It has a finish that's just a little more "dewey" and "radiant" whereas the Teint Idole is more matte.

Here are some swatches on my arm.  Teint Miracle is on the left and Teint Idole is on the right.

Mar 7, 2014

NARS the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette

NARS the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette ($79 Cdn from
This is definitely a case of "the bloggers MADE me do it"!  Without a doubt.  I bought this in an impulsive late-night online shopping binge and felt so guilty after buying it.  I fully planned to return it since how many neutral eyeshadow palettes do I really need?  After all, I only have two eyes to wear them and I work in an office every day - so it's not like I can start wearing smoky eyes all day every day!

But then this little beauty arrived.  And it was true love.  I have long been a fan of NARS.  They were one of my first higher-end makeup loves after I started working in my 20's and I keep coming back to them for quality.

What I like so much about this palette (considering I already have all the Urban Decay Nakeds as well as many Laura Merciers and others) is the range of all-over shades.  I like to focus on one really nice, shimmery all-over eyeshadow shade - with a mid-brown for the crease - and a dark shadow for the liner.  A lot of palettes jump very quickly to glitter and to dark shades.  Or their all-over shades are too matte - or too glittery.  Here I have more than half of the palette devoted to neutral, shimmery all-over shades.  With a nice couple of highlight colours, and some nice liner colours, and a great mid-tone brown for the crease.

Overall a beautifully thought-out palette.  Gorgeous packaging.  Not huge like a brick (hello, Naked 3?).  Nice and sleek - and perfect for travel (which I do frequently).  It's not liable to fall open or crush any shadows.  AND there is no wasted space with silly brushes that I absolutely never use.

Great job NARS.

Now I did look at the NARSissist cheek kit at the same time ($49 Cdn from but I am really glad that I waited to swatch it in person before deciding.  The colours just are NOT for me.  They are all super glittery.  And since I usually wear a neutral shimmer on my eye, I prefer a matte blush and bronzer for my contouring.  So although it is a very pretty kit and the brush seems quite nice - and I LOVE the concept - the colours just don't work for me.

Mar 6, 2014

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($35 Cdn from

I've been using this as my foundation setting powder for a couple of months now since picking it up at Sephora.  I use a primer, liquid foundation, and liquid concealer and I like to "set" them all in place before moving on to blush and eyes.

I do like to use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders as well - but I tend to use those as a final step.  I don't find the powder fine enough to set my foundation without clogging pores.

I have used Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder for many years as a setting powder - and I do still love it (especially in the new spill-proof packaging).  I just thought I would try something new, and a little more portable.  And I've been so happy with my NARS concealers lately - that I thought this would be a good option.

First of all, this is a very, very firm powder.  I was quite surprised at first by it.  I apply it with my 134 MAC Large Powder Brush and I have to use quite a bit of pressure to pick the powder up.  But once I do, I pat it onto my skin and it applies really, really nicely.  I keep thinking I need to try different brushes with it - but old habits die hard.

The powder is incredibly fine and soft.  It doesn't kick up a lot of dust like other powders, so you can get very precise application which is great - especially under the eyes to set your under eye concealer.

The finish is what makes this powder extra special.  It has a lovely sheen or radiance to it.  Definitely not glittery - just a nice, healthy glow.  It doesn't mask your foundation at all - or add any additional colour.  Just a perfect setting powder.

I do occasionally use setting powders that have some colour.  I've used the Rimmel Stay Matte powder quite a bit lately - and it is very nice.  I don't find that it clogs my pores at all.  But it does have a hint of colour to it and it is very matte.  So I don't use it every day.  It works well over a tinted moisturizer.

The powders I've never been able to use are MAC.  As much as I adore MAC for so many of their products, their finishing powders just clog my pores and I can't wear them.

So - if you're looking for a setting powder - give NARS a try!

Mar 5, 2014

my current fragrance rotation

I have always loved perfume.  I've worn perfume as long as I can remember.  When I was young, my Dad would bring it back for me & my mom from Duty Free when he would travel.  My parents often buy me fragrance as gifts - and I usually have half a dozen or more on rotation.  Sometimes I have a signature scent that I'll wear every day for months - and sometimes I switch it up daily.  I started as a pre-teen with the standard Love's Baby Soft and Exclamation and moved into Clinque from there.

At the moment I am wearing mostly these scents.  And I have to say that since roller balls started coming out more and more - I keep a larger rotation of perfumes on hand.  They are usually around $20, they take no space at all, and I can carry them in my purse or carry on bag when I travel.  They are also a great way to try out a scent on a smaller scale before you commit to the full bottle.  Not that I don't repurchase roller balls:  this is my 3rd bottle of Stella by Stella McCartney.

Roller balls started out as gifts-with-purchase and were promoted as a way to carry your scent with you for touch ups.  They really got popular in recent years (probably for the reasons I've mentioned) and Sephora took off with the concept.  Many of the ones I have are exclusive to Sephora.  They even have a "roller ball" subcategory under their fragrance section.  They recently had a 3x the points event for fragrance so I added some of the ones below at that time.

I think Chloe is my absolute favourite at the moment.  I am also in love with Nirvana White.  I had quite a few samples of Nirvana White & Black before Christmas and I got to love those scents.  White is my favourite.  My BFF loves Black - so it worked out well - we just split the packs!

Burberry Brit is one that my parents picked out for me - I have the matching creams and the full size perfume as well.  I just love it - I've worn it for well over a year.  I think it really suits me.

Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf ($30 Cdn at
Stella by Stella McCartney ($23 Cdn at
Florabotanica by Balenciaga ($30 Cdn at
Chloe eau de parfum ($30 Cdn at
Elizabeth and James Nirvana White ($26 Cdn at
Burberry Brit (gift with purchase)

Mar 4, 2014

my current face base - Clarins

I am always on the hunt for new skincare/ makeup prep/ base products.  It has become somewhat of an obsession lately.  I have combination skin with some dry spots and a T-zone that gets oily late in the day.  If I don't use a primer, or if I use products with oil, my makeup will slide right off me by mid-afternoon.  That isn't a pretty look for the office!  Now add this awful winter to the mix and my poor skin is very confused.  I have a face that is dehydrated, breaking out, oily in patches, and dry in patches.  What a disaster!

So I need a nice moisturizing base that isn't oily or greasy, that will help keep oil production at bay, and not cling to dry patches.  I want a smooth priming base to help my foundation last all day so that I can cover all my red spots and blemishes.  That is one tall order!

I had never used Clarins before.  Ever.  I have no idea why.  I just hadn't noticed the stand in stores.  My friends didn't use it and I just didn't think of the brand when I thought of makeup.  I think it seemed like an "old" brand to me or an "old lady" brand.  But as I started reading more beauty blogs I saw how much everyone raved about Clarins.  And in particular, the girls with the beautiful, glowing skin were raving about Clarins.  Those girls with the perfect complexion who could leave the house without a stitch of makeup.  So that had to be a good thing!

After trial and error, I've come up with this recipe and it's working out pretty well - this week anyway.  With our crazy harsh Canadian winter, who knows what the climate will do to my skin next week!

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm ($50 Cdn from
I use this product first, after cleansing, toning, and a light moisturizer.  The instructions say to pat not rub.  I gently rub it into my skin, I find that the warmth of my hands helps it to melt into my skin.  It has quite a strong rose smell to it - so it might put some people off.  But I find the smell reminds me of the spa - and it doesn't last long.  It is a nice rich, cream-like product that melts beautifully into the skin and leaves just a healthy glow behind.  The instructions say to apply makeup immediately after application so then I move to my next product.

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch ($35 Cdn from
This is the newest addition to my base routine after I read countless glowing reviews online from fellow beauty bloggers.  It seems that the British girls in particular rave about Clarins.  Maybe because they're closer to France?  Or maybe they do more PR in Europe?  Who knows.  Anyway - this is a lovely primer that doesn't feel greasy or slimy.  It has a texture similar to Benefit Pore-fessional or Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector (a very nice primer as well actually) but a little more creamy and less slippery.  It is quite thick and rich so you only need a little.  It fills in any areas of texture or lines to create a smooth base perfect for your foundation to adhere to.  You're not left feeling sticky or slimy - you can't feel it on your skin at all - which is wonderful - unlike many other primers I've tried (Smashbox, It Cosmetics, Revlon, Rimmel).

Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base ($37 from
This product was part of the new Spring 2014 launch from Clarins and isn't widely available.  I found mine at one of the larger Shoppers Drug Mart's.  They don't seem to have it at Sephora - or online anyway.  I'm not sure how widely Clarins cosmetics are available in general for that matter?  Anyway, this is a lovely highlighting product, that comes in three shades:  Champagne, Peach, and Rose.  I have the Champagne shade which seemed to suit my skin tone the best.  This shade is promoted as "correcting redness" and is supposed to be a highlighting base.  I like to put it on with a very light touch all over - mostly on my cheeks.  It just gives my skin a little extra glow and healthy look underneath my foundation.

So there you have it - my current skin prep routine.  For now anyway!