Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Shopping Enabler Strikes Again

The only thing better than picking out cosmetics is helping someone else do it (seriously, I'm that weird lady at the drugstore who tries to help you even though I don't work there). So imagine my delight when my pal Alyssa asked me to go makeup shopping with her! She was ready for a new look and needed some help. As a gal who hasn’t worn a lot of makeup in the past, she was facing the usual challenges:
  • A makeup bag with a few old and unsuitable products
  • Unsure what colours or formulas worked best for her skin
  • Option-paralysis caused by insane amount of makeup out there. 

I asked her a few key questions to help plan our trip. These are good starting points for anyone who’s ready to embark on a makeup overhaul.
  •      What’s your budget?
  •      How much time do you want to spend putting on your “face”?
  •     Are you aiming for a day-to-day look, or something fancier?
  •     What are your favourite things about your face? What are you slightly less in love with, or feel is an area you’d like to downplay?
  •      Any other concerns/issues? (e.g., allergies, animal testing, etc)

The answers to these questions will immediately help to narrow your focus and make shopping easier. Under the “other concerns” category, because Alyssa is an environmentally conscious gal (with a sweet baby who likes to nibble on his mama’s face), she wanted to choose products that were as natural and toxin-free as possible.

Armed with our plan, we met up after work to hit the Sephora and the Shoppers Drug Mart.
Let's DO this thing!

Here’s what we came away with:

Now that's how we fill a bag.

For those of you who are scared of Sephora, I want to tell you—don’t be! We rounded up the products we wanted to try, then sat down with a Sephora Colour Expert (aka, nice guy who works there and wears a toolbelt filled with brushes). He tried all the products on Alyssa, making sure the colours were the right ones for her, and showing her how to apply everything. This way, she got to try a couple things she wasn’t sure about and see the makeup “in action” before buying. The staff are there to help, so don’t be shy! (I think I’ll do a post soon about how to be brave at the makeup counter...)

These people have been sent from the future to help you.

Then we popped over to the drugstore (because there’s no reason to spend thirty bucks on mascara, truly!) and purchased:
  •  Maybelline Define-a-Lash Mascara in Brownish Black (A good basic mascara that gives definition and length while still keeping the look natural. Another good choice is L’Oreal’s original Voluminous mascara.)
  •  Maybelline Define-a-Brow brow pencil in Dark Blonde (My favourite brow pencil EVER at any price—soft enough to blend, but firm enough to stay where you put it.)

What it all adds up to is a ten-minute routine that brings out all of Alyssa’s natural beauty, but still lets her look like herself. And a couple of weeks later, she reports that everything is going well—she’s using and loving her new makeup, and is getting lots of compliments. She also says she might be ready to try adding another eyeshadow colour…so my evil plan to turn everyone into a makeup monster is working! Mwah-ha-ha!


  1. Jenn is the BEST person to go makeup shopping with. She exudes knowledge and didn't blink an eye when I told her it had to be a ten-minute routine. I'm loving the new look! I even went out and got a sassy new haircut to go with it.

    1. Oooh, a haircut! Can't wait to see.

    2. Okay, I promise I'll stop stalking your blog after I leave this comment :) Just thought I'd let you know about a natural makeup company I discovered through a daily-deal site: They have 51 shades of natural mineral foundation and 109 shades of eyeshadow! They seem extra picky about what they put in their products and the prices are really good compared to what I've seen for comparable products. Plus really low shipping rates to Canada! I'm going to order some goodies from them soon so I'll let ya know how I like them!

  2. Let me know how you end up liking it, Karen! I've always been a bit wary of the mineral makeup--a lot of it is so darn SHINY. But I'd be delighted to discover something that isn't.