Beauty: Benefit The POREfessional Pore Minimizing Makeup Review

You've probably heard of Benefit's POREfessional primer by now? One of the very first of its kind, the transparent balm creates a smooth finish and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores when applied on bare skin before your makeup. 

Over the years, the POREfessional family has grown to include a mattifying gel, a setting powder, and coming to you this month, the latest pore-helper: pore minimizing makeup

Formulated with mushroom extract (if you've tried Korean beauty products before, you may know they use a lot of mushroom extract in their pore minimizing products and mattifying primers for its clarifying properties), this weightless, long-wear makeup can be applied to problem areas (where your pores are larger) to reduce their appearance, create a smooth finish and keep excess oil at bay for 8 hours.

I decided to use the whole line and give you a little before & after so you can judge for yourselves.  
The before picture is forgiving, because my pores are very apparent in real life, no matter what I do. It's genetics and there is nothing I can do, except hide them with good makeup! You can definitely tell they are larger in the area between my brows, on my nose and on the tops of my cheeks. 

I applied the mattifying gel, which has a very pleasant texture and absorbs very fast into the skin. I then applied a thin layer of the POREfessional balm primer, then moved on to the POREfessional Pore Minimizing Makeup

For the purposes of this review, I am not wearing anything else, however you can absolutely use your foundation and usual face products under this product, as it is meant to target problem areas.

The consistency is very runny, but dries out super fast: I suggest you work in small areas, or it will be hard to blend. The product reminded me of the Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother Serum: it has a liquid to powder consistency and creates an instant tightening and mattifying effect on the skin. A little goes a long way, so be careful. It looks like it sinks into the little sponge but when you press it against your skin, the product is there, and lots of it!

While it is a little hard to work with, it gets easier once you get the hang of it. I use the little sponge provided at the bottom of the bottle, as I have not found a better way to apply it yet. Brushes don't allow to sit as deep in the skin as it needs to, and sponges tend to just wipe it off and move it. 

I then applied a little Agent Zero Shine powder and voilà!

I noticed a difference right away on my skin. My skin still looks natural but my pores are not as apparent. I think this will be a wonderful product for the summer when I don't want to wear a full face of foundation but still want a targeted spot-treatment to camouflage my pores and control shine. 

However, be mindful that this would not work to even out your skin tone like a foundation, concealer or tinted moisturizer would: that is not its purpose and you will be disappointed if that's what you're looking for. 

Do you see a difference?

Disclaimer: These products were sent to me as free PR samples for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Quick Review: Clarins Sunkissed Summer 2017 Make-Up Collection

Clarins did it again and came out with a gorgeous warm-toned collection for the summer, from shimmering terracotta coloured eyeshadows to gorgeous, easy to blend metallic eye pencils and warm rose scented bronzer. 

The star of this collection is the bronzer ($42). It features a variety of shades for the perfectly customized shade for your skin tone. It smells of rose and is easy to blend. 

It is matte but the light-optimizing complex makes it everything but flat. It also features an shimmering orangey blush, which I like to swirl in together with my bronzer brush for an all-in-one glow. 

The eyeshadow quad ($45) is absolutely stunning. The shadows are pigmented and buttery. They are smooth, feel hydrating on the skin and the warm tones are perfect for the summer. 

That bright orange shade scared me a little at first but it is actually my favorite shade in the quad. It is gorgeous on all eye colors and really helps create a bronzed summer goddess look.

The Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector ($20, shown here in pink grapefruit) has quickly become my favorite lip product of the season. It goes with everything, plumps up my lips in seconds, gives them a healthy, juicy look without feeling goopy or sticky. The mango butter also makes it smell absolutely amazing - you'll want to try this one!

The Sunkissed collection is available right now in department stores, pharmacies and on

Father's Day: The Hip Dad Gift Guide

Father's Day is just around the corner and I have rounded up a selection of cool presents for the hip dads in your life. 

Mr. Burberry is an original new scent with notes of citrus (zesty), vetiver (earthy) and guaiacwood (smoky). I also really like the classic looking bottle with a twist. 

My husband has been dreaming of owning a real razor & shaving brush for years, and these Jack Black ones are stunning, available at Sephora, and cruelty-free!

If your man is into more natural, simpler products, this Saje Natural Wellness Men's Kit is perfect. My husband is a huge fan of their soaps and I also love the idea of sprays for an easy routine.

The Here Not There T-shirts are so cool, and you can customize them with your dad's hometown, or current city, or whatever city he holds near and dear to his heart, really! The quality is also absolutely  incredible.

No man would be unhappy with a cool new pair of shades. We've been getting our sunglasses (and regular glasses, for that matter) on for over 5 years now and it is the best thing ever. They have thousands of pairs to choose from, the best designers, uploading your prescription is the easiest thing and they ship super fast. 

Last but not least, the perfect shaving kit by Anthony includes really high quality shaving products which are always a good option for the dads in your life. Anthony skincare makes fantastic products - my husband's personal favorite is the shaving cream, which he won't stop raving about. Between the tingling feeling of the mint, the texture and the results, he swears he will never switch back to another shaving cream again. 

Which one would you pick?

Beauty: Spring 2017 favorites

Phew! I did my best to pull all of my favorite beauty products of the past few months and let me tell you, it was no small feat. I probably forgot a ton, since I have tried so many amazing new products recently, but these are the ones who made the list this time around. 

Tangle Teezer - I can't believe how long it took me to try one of these cockroach-shaped hairbrushes. The hype is real, peeps. It is amazing and the whole family loves it. 

Vichy Mineral 89 Booster - I have been using this for about a month on my whole face, including my eyelids and lips (yes, you can!) and it locks the moisture in without making the skin feel heavy or greasy, which is what we want in the summertime. 

Benefit Hoola Lite Bronzer - This warm toned, easy to blend, buttery bronzer for lighter skin tones is perfect for everyday. 

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Whipped Body Creme - This body moisturizer is deliciously scented (the iconic Bronze Goddess scent is my all-time favorite Summer scent) and so incredibly luxurious, I actually prefer it to the actual perfume. The scent lingers on for hours, leaves your skin soft and moisturized but never sticky. I will repurchase this forever!

St.Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Luminous Veil & St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Sculpt and Glow - These gradual self-tanners for the face and body are absolutely amazing. They are easy to apply, blend, leave a natural yet noticeable color and don't streak (but yes, they make me smell like a wet dog - all gradual self tanners do. Is it just me?). The body lotion also promises to tone and hydrate - what more could you want?

Sun Bum coconut lip balm with SPF30 - Lip balms with a UV protection are not easy to find, especially not ones that smell as good as this one! I am partial to the coconut scent, as well as the affordable price. 

Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Nail Polish in Peach of Cake - Creamy, opaque, easy to apply with a wide brush and the perfect peachy coral shade!

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara - I love drugstore mascaras but hadn't found a new one I loved in the past 2-3 years, until now! This one doesn't only feature a pretty chrome pink tube, it also has a fantastic brush that grabs every single lash. Just make sure you wiggle it really well at the bottom of your lash line the first few times you use it - it's the kind of formula that gets better with time haha!

Caudalie Beauty Elixir - This has been my one (fairly useless) beauty indulgence for years now, but I recently asked my best friend to bring me a new bottle back from Paris and it brought back so many memories (and yes, I know, it's available at Sephora).

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle extract - I picked this up randomly and guys - this is the best dry shampoo ever! I have used Batiste (meh), Herbal Essences (okay), Dove (the scent is too strong) , Tresemme (horrible) and even the oat version by Klorane, but this one is life-changing. It is a little bit pricier but it is so worth it! You only need a small amount, it actually does absorb oil and makes your hair look voluminous without leaving a residue. I'm in love! 

Vichy Idéal Soleil Sport Ultra-Light Refreshing Lotion SPF60 - I try to be good about sunscreen, but I have to admit I hate the pasty, sticky white feeling of the residue it leaves on my hands and body (or on my son, for that matter!). But this one doesn't have it! It is light, fresh, a little runny which makes it easy to apply on a wiggly toddler, and has SPF60 which makes it even better. 

Have you tried any new products recently? 

Beauty: Easy and affordable at home teeth whitening

A lot of my friends are surprised to learn that my crooked smile is my biggest insecurity. They all say "it's not noticeable", "your teeth are fine", but all I see is the overbite and the teeth that stick out because of it. I had braces as a kid, but my orthodontist at the time didn't follow up like he should have, and as a result, I ended up with a smile I'm embarrassed about. 

Yes, I could get it fixed, but it would be a purely cosmetic procedure, take years and cost about $12,000, which I would frankly rather spend traveling the world. 

All that to say that I am insecure about my teeth, and have spent many years trying to accept my smile as it is. For that reason, I have tried many at home whitening kits, strips and other miraculous toothpastes, only to be disappointed by barely-noticeable results. 

So when Smile Brilliant offered me a kit to try, I jumped at the opportunity. My dear friend Emily had just completed her treatment and I was wowed by her results, so I decided to give it a go.

I have extremely sensitive teeth. We're talking, pain for 48 hours after I use whitening strips -sensitivity. So I went with the sensitive teeth kit. It came with: 
I was a bit stressed out about the process when I first received the kit, but the steps are very easy:

- You make your impressions at home with the play-dough like material provided in the kit, send  them in and get your custom fitted trays back in the mail
- Once you have your trays, you apply a thin line of whitening gel in them, and wear the trays for 45min to 3 hours depending on your sensitivity
- After you are done with the whitening part, you rinse it off and repeat the process with the desensitizing gel for about 20 minutes. 

Everything is explained in details in the kit, so you can't mess up.

Because it is a little time-consuming, I did my whitening at night before bed and it worked well for me - I just made sure to have my tea & coffee with a straw the next morning (yes, I drink both, hence the need for whitening!).

- The results are pretty incredible, and I started seeing them right away. Now the teeth do appear brighter at first, and fade back to a more normal looking shade after a few hours into the next day, but over time, the results really are definitely noticeable. 

- The whole branding and customer service at Smile Brilliant is fantastic. I had a million questions and they answered every single one of them, offered suggestions and solutions. I also love the fact that they don't make fake promises: they explain the process in depth and how teeth will only whiten up to a certain point. Fluorescent white teeth are not natural and this is not what you will get, and Smile Brilliant is clear about that. The whole idea is to remove stains, and get your teeth as white as naturally possible. They are transparent. Same idea as above, but they really explain their process without outright bashing the competition. Check out this article about why custom-fitted whitening trays are more efficient than other systems like LED activated whitening kits or whitening strips. 

Obviously the lighting is a bit different, however I took these pictures at the same hour on a sunny day each time (and I obviously got some sun since I started the process!)

- The process isn't exactly pleasant, but that's to be expected. You want an affordable, easy at-home teeth whitening solution, you have to accept the steps it takes to get there. The day-after was always the worst for me, since that's when the pain usually developed. The good folks at Smile Brilliant suggested I use desensitizing gel more frequently and let it sit longer, which did help. However, the whitening gel is potent, and will cause some discomfort to sensitive teeth and gums. I found that rubbing coconut oil on my gums right before whitening really helped. 

- It is time-consuming. Understandably so. An effective at-home teeth whitening process can't happen in one hour, no matter what other brands will claim. But I found that between life and sensitivity, I wasn't able to do it as fast as I would have wanted to. I needed at least 3 days in between each session, which altered the results a little. 

And finally, I have partnered with Smile Brilliant to GIVEAWAY a $139 credit to a lucky reader. Click here to ENTER
If you can't wait to try it, use code orane for a 10% discount on the Smile Brilliant website

I received this product for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are my own. 

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