Duckish Lotion Stick, Body Butter, Bath Salts review, photos | DIY Pedicure Kit

Monday, July 25, 2016

Duckish canadian pedicure kit review photos

The product: Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit (customized) – Duckish Mint Bath Salts, Pink Grapefruit Body Butter, and Lavender Lotion Stick

Okay, so I really wanted to feature Duckish as part of my Small Business Saturdays series, but things keep coming up on Friday nights and I really didn’t want to wait any longer. So we’ll call this one Small Business Mondays instead, I guess!

Duckish is an all-natural Canadian beauty brand with just the absolute cutest packaging. (I want to own basically everything they make.) Their products are all cruelty-free, handmade, and free of icky things like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and silicones.

Duckish mint bath salts review photos

Mint Bath Salts ($9.99 CAD)

I wanted to focus my review on Duckish’s body butter and lotion stick, because I’ve been dying to try them out for what feels like forever–but this kit includes bath salts and a pumice stone on a rock, too. The pumice stone is pretty standard fare, but the bath salts are more then just plain ‘ol rock salt.

They’re a blend of Dead Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and Epsom salts, with sweet almond oil and organic coconut oil to add a bit of hydration to your bath or foot soak. Each scent comes with a unique blend of essential oils, too; the Mint one is made with eucalyptus and peppermint (two of my all-time favourite oils.)

Duckish pink grapefruit body butter review

Pink Grapefruit Body Butter ($11.99 CAD)

Funnily enough, I was most excited for the Duckish Body Butter, but their lotion stick stole the show for me. The Body Butters, I think, are best for those with dry or weathered skin – not so much for Sahara-like dehydration.

The Duckish Body Butter formula is definitely a classic one, with a thick, creamy formula that’s heavy on the shea, and honestly… I didn’t like it. It’s surprisingly creamy for an indie body butter, but non-“mainstream” (The Body Shop, L’Occitane, Bliss, etc.) butters just don’t seem to be hydrating enough for me – this one just kinda sits on my skin, leaving hands feeling both vaguely greasy and so dry that they’re itchy.

Some people love these kinds of body butters, though, so just keep it in mind when ordering! Oh, and a warning for all my fellow crazy cat ladies: there’s just enough citrus oil in Pink Grapefruit to scare Tunakitten away from me when I’m using this, but not quite enough to make the olive oil in the formula palatable to my nose. :(

Duckish lavender lotion stick review

Lavender Mini Lotion Stick ($6.99 CAD)

Duckish’s description for their lotion sticks is:

“Lotion? In a stick? Is this real life? Yes, yes it is!”

And you know what? They couldn’t have been more accurate with that statement. These lotion sticks are crazily good – the mini one is perfect for mess-free application on the go, and the formula is spot-on.

I have really dehydrated skin, and the Duckish lotion stick definitely works better for me than their body butter. It melts immediately upon contact, basically turning into a light oil that absorbs immediately into the skin, and it feels so lovely – not greasy at all.
Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit review

The verdict?

I love buying Canadian when I can, and Duckish makes that really easy. You’re not sacrificing packaging or price, and my only two reservations about the line are small ones: I’d have liked to see a bit more fragrance in their EO and a wider online availability, but both of these are things that will be remediated naturally, as the brand grows.

If bought separately, the three Duckish products in this kit come out to $28.97, so buying the kit essentially gets you a free pumice stone. If I was re-ordering for myself, though, I’d take all $29.99 and put it toward a hoard of lotion sticks!!

Availability: $29.99 CAD. Duckish just recently began shipping to the US in addition to Canada, so use code DUCKISHUSA to get $5 off all US orders over $20 until the end of the month.

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CODE BLUE: The colour-coded skincare edit

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Colour coded skincare blue bright

Have you ever noticed that beauty brands, at some point in time, all seem to have collectively decided that certain colours mean certain things? It’s like some overfunded marketing department went, “hey, you know what sounds like fun? Bringing in an unqualified psychologist to tell us the true meaning of life and colours sounds like fun!” And everyone else followed suit.

It’s like that prison experiment: painting the walls pink made everyone calmer, but it wasn’t because pink is a gentle colour. (What was it said to be before the male to female changeover, again? Strong, bold, assertive?) The change just broke up the listless monotony of one identical day after the next, and even as a prisoner, it’s kinda nice when someone gives a crap about your environment. The same effects can be seen if you paint the walls red, yellow, fluorescent green…

Okay, maybe not fluorescent green, but that’s only because it’s impossible to maintain a pleasant disposition when the walls are literally (figuratively) screaming at you while you sleep.

Purple skin care for anti ageing hydration

The thing about these arbitrary industry colours, though, is that despite all the hogwash, they’re pretty helpful little guiding tools.

I like knowing that blue means cleansing, and that purple means anti-ageing, and that orange means that something is going to contain vitamin C and use the word “invigorating” or “energizing” at least twice on its packaging. It’s probably also going to smell like citrus, and I will surely try to taste it some point and no matter what, it’s going to be revolting.

I like that kind of reliability. I mean, I never learn from that kind of reliability, taste-wise, but I like knowing that it’s there all the same.

Funnily enough, this is a phenomenon that I think is strongest in mid-range and drugstore brands. Trendy high-end brands are too busy being coherent and classy, you know? Like, they are not going to break that aesthetic just so a consumer will immediately reach for their skintype’s “colour,” and they don’t need to – the sales associate is there to guide the consumer anyways.

But for drugstore brands? This colour-coded nonsense can actually be pretty helpful, especially in a barrage of twenty other near-identical products. I think it’s kinda handy, like a weird life boat that nobody wanted but everybody is going to use anyways, because this ship is going down.

So what about you? What’s your “colour” in the skincare aisle? 

Swan Squeeze Kiss rechargeable vibrator review, photos (BMS Factory “The Swan Kiss”)

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Swan Kiss vibrator review

The product: Swan (BMS Factory) Squeeze Control “The Swan Kiss” vibrator

A little while ago, I posted a review of an absolute powerhouse of a vibrator: the Swan Wand.

Today, I have another Swan toy to share with you, and I’m just as psyched about it–but for very different reasons. This little guy doesn’t have the girth, power, or battery life of the Swan Wand, and yet, I find myself reaching for it even more often.

The Swan Squeeze review Kiss

The features: The Swan Squeeze Kiss is a weird dude. It’s whale-shaped (well, if whales had segmented bodies) and squishy on the sides of its biggest segment, almost like a really firm balloon.

It has all the basics that you want in a good sex toy (waterproof, submersible, rechargeable, 100% silicone), and has a solid run/charge cycle of 3 hours each. It’s also very quiet, which is excellent!

The Swan Kiss vibrator review photos comparison

Instead of clicking a button to increase the speed of the Swan Kiss or change its pattern, everything is squeeze-based. The harder you squeeze, the stronger the toy will vibrate. To lock in a speed, you click the button while squeezing; to set a pattern, you turn on “Mimic Mode” and squeeze to your heart’s content.

In terms of strength of vibration, the Kiss is good, but it’s not great. It’s more powerful than my Leaf Life, but is less powerful than my We-Vibe Tango or Je Joue MiMi Soft (admittedly my two favourites). It sits in the middle ground for rumbliness as well; more rumbly than Lelo, but not quite rumbly enough for my tastes.

Swan Squeeze kiss review packaging

Swan Squeeze packaging – Teal (also available in a much less epic pink)

What makes it special: What I really love about the Swan Kiss, though, isn’t its squeeze control–in fact, I’d prefer a remote. What I love about it is its shape.

The Swan Kiss only has one motor in its middle segment, but the vibrations transmit well through silicone. It makes the little “whale tail” flicker as the vibrations gently touch a surface, stroking in a “come hither” motion if you arc from a low speed to a high one.

So, um. That’s cool. Cool is one word for that. (Another appropriate one may be “hrrrrngh.”)

The Swan Squeeze vibrator review - the swan kiss

But EVEN COOLER than that is that the Swan Kiss can be used hands-free and internally thanks to its “100% play area.” Try it with the tail pointing downwards and the rest of the toy wedged easily between your thighs, or by using the balloon portion internally, with the rest of the toy resting on your vulva and clitoris.

(Anatomically correct words! Know them. Love them. Embrace them.)

As an internal toy, the Swan Kiss isn’t designed to be used other objects, but it stays in place very well for me. If it had more rumble or more power, it might just be my perfect vibrator. (As it is, it’s lovely, but not an all ’rounder for me!)

Swan Squeeze Kiss rechargeable silicone vibrator review copy

eeeeeeeeee!

The verdict?

Whereas the Swan Wand is something that I think would do well in any sex toy arsenal, the Swan Squeeze Kiss is more of a niche product. You have to specifically like hands-free toys to really get the most out of it, but for those who do, it’s an excellent choice – the best I’ve ever come across.

It has a very respectable run time and is a great way to experience pleasure while your hands are doing other stuff. I’ll let your imaginations take it from there.

Availability: $99 USD. The Swan Kiss is still brand new, so availability is a little bit sparse. In Canada, you can find at Aren’t We Naughty and Sexy et Compagnie; worldwide, you can order it through swanvibes.com. Expect a broader launch August 2016!

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Scarlet & Julia review: Living Proof PhD Night Cap, Lavanila Passion Fruit Deodorant

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Scarlet Julia free sample

The products: Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Healthy Deodorant, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in Medium

It can be really tough to pick what to review when you haven’t done it in a while (okay, like, a week), but today, I was hit by a little bout of inspiration as I was getting out of the shower: why not review my Scarlet & Julia haul from last year?

(I know. I’m the worst.)

Scarlet and Julia review

Scarlet & Julia is an awesome Canadian online shop that carries brands like St. Tropez, Stila, and Lise Watier, with a bonus members-only “Beauty Outlet” section. (Think HauteLook, but without the insane Canadian shipping and processing fees.) They sent me a gift card last year to check out the store, and I put it towards part of my order.

Personally, I really like it when stores send out gift cards instead of product samples, because you get to experience the actual store with no extra bells and whistles. And my experience was great: the site’s easy to navigate, the sale section is really good (that Stila brow colour was actually purchased as a backup because it was so cheap at S&J), and my order came with a free sample of Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner and a $10 off promo code.

Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant review

Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Healthy Deodorant ($17 CAD)

I really liked both of the new products that I ordered, too. The Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant was way more expensive than my usual deodorant choices (typically just a stick of men’s Axe or Degree), but it smells amazing and works really well. I liked that the stick felt like a “regular” deo, too – most silicone-free choices are all either gel-based or really pasty, but this was neither.

Lavanila’s passion fruit scent is surprisingly tart, which was a nice surprise. It’s light on the vanilla and heavy on the guava, too – think of it as more of an unsweetened fruit smoothie than a hearty dose of diabetes.

Living Proof PhD Night Cap overnight protector review

Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector ($34 CAD)

The biggest hit from my order, though, was the Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector. This stuff is MAGIC. I have no idea how it works its magic, but you put a little bit into damp hair from roots to ends, sleep on it, and wake up with model hair. 

It gives just the right amount of conditioning and shape, holding in some slept-on shape while still feeling totally product-free and touchable. Plus, it’s so non-greasy that you can even work it into your roots and wake up with grease-free hair.

It’s silicone-free and smells a lot like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea (one of my guiltiest pleasures), so really: zero faults here.

Scarlet and Julia haul

The verdict?

I really liked ordering from Scarlet & Julia, and you know what? I’d do it again. I like that they’re Canadian, I love the way they package their orders, and they were probably the only online shop that I could have made this particular order at.

The Living Proof Night Cap is also available at Sephora, but had I ordered from there, I wouldn’t have gotten 40% off of my Stila Brow Color. I wouldn’t have been able to get that Lavanila Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Passion Fruit, either; for some reason, no one else seems to carry it here in Canada!

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Pai Skincare Instant Calm, Rosehip Oil, Sensitive Skin Cloth reviews, photos

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pai skincare review photos natural silicone free

The products: Pai Skincare Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream, Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and Cloth, and Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil

I’ve gone years resisting the pull of the Pai Rosehip Oil (and the super pretty rest of the line), but it’s been long enough. Eventually, you just have to cave in, locate the high-quality thing, and luxuriate in its beauty.

(Similar but different: I had my first cup of coffee at Credo a while back, and it was literally so good that I moaned a little. I think I scared my date a little.)

Pai hydrating cleanser review

Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50 USD/$56 CAD)

My favourite product from this trio is the Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, which comes with one of the brand’s dual-textured sensitive skin cotton cloths. It smells gently of lemon balm, and the cleanser and cloth make for a really lovely hot cloth polish experience!

The Camellia & Rose cleanser has a thin cold cream texture and is great for sensitive skin. For those of you unfamiliar with cold cream or hot cloth type cleansers, they’re a very ritualistic experience – you apply a thick layer of cleanser to dry skin (eye area included), gently wipe away all of your makeup and impurities with a muslin soaked in hot water, and finish with a splash of cold water to rinse.

My dry skin really likes this cleanser, but I do have one complaint: my skin is crazy sensitive, and I really wish that Pai offered an even softer cloth for ultra sensitive skin types!

Pai chamomile day cream review photos

Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream ($60 USD/$66 CAD)

Pai’s Chamomile & Rosehip Day Cream has a really “clean” ingredient list rich in matricin, azulene, and omega fatty acids, it’s designed to soothe the skin and minimize the appearance (!) of reactive redness.

It was far from hydrating enough for my skin, though (which is dry but not super dry right now), and it didn’t do much for my sensitivity. Ironically, because it left my skin feeling a little tight and dry, it actually made my skin feel more uncomfortable than usual, not better!

For redness and sensitivity, I still think that this Deciem serum is a better option. However, it’s nice that there’s a natural option out there from Pai, and I have no real issues with the Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream (aside from the fact that it smells like rosehip oil, which I am weirdly and seemingly uniquely adverse to). It just wasn’t the right product for me, you know?

Pai rosehip regenerative oil review photos

Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil ($40 USD/$40 CAD)

And finally: the crown and glory of the Pai Skincare line!

Pai’s biggest, most cult-followed product is their Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super psyched to try it. I’m split on my thoughts about it, though: on one hand, it turns out that I hate the smell of rosehip oil, and when it’s good quality (like this one is), it actually tints my skin orange.

On the other, the quality of Pai’s rosehip oil is beyond compare. It blends rosehip seed oil with rosehip fruit oil to really pack in the carotenoid-rich antioxidants and sterols, and it’s noticeably more effective as a result. It doesn’t just condition the skin, it helps heal it, which is pretty cool. (I got two accidental scratches from Tunakitten last month, and the one that I was using Pai oil on definitely scarred less.)

Rosehip oil review pai skincare vegan cruelty free

This is my third rosehip oil, and it’s by far my favourite. Now Organic’s Rosehip Seed Oil was thin and clear, and Le Serum de Jacynthe’s rosehip oil blend was very good, but it was literally twice the price of this one and no more effective.

In short, I think that the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil is well worth the price. It’s one of the highest-quality oils that I own, and it hits scrapes and scars with +150% crit damage. Blending it with another oil will help neutralize the scent (try adding a drop of essential oil into some decanted rosehip oil), and 1-2 drops of rosehip oil with your regular moisturizer will make a fantastic overnight treatment.

Pai hot cloth polish review photos

The verdict?

Overall, I really enjoyed using these products from Pai, and I use the Camellia & Rose Cleanser and Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil on a regular basis. I like that they’re pretty, vegan, and cruelty-free, and I love that their rosehip oil is such a powerhouse.

$40 CAD/oz is a steal for a serum that’s this high-quality, and while it’s not my favourite oil ever, it’s unquestionably fantastic for the price.

Availability: Pai Skincare (US) & The Detox Market (US & Canada)

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Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner, Brow Liner review & giveaway! | Canadian beauty at its best

Monday, July 4, 2016

Amaterasu brunette liquid brow liner review swatches photos

The products: Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner in Espresso, Liquid Brow Liner in Brunette 

I love covering Canadian beauty products here on theNotice, and I loooove giving my favourite products a little extra screen time. Today, I get to do both!

Amaterasu liquid eyeliner giveaway canadian beauty

I’ve teamed up with the lovely folks at Amaterasu to bring you a pretty awesome giveaway: one lucky reader will win an Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner in Brunette and an Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner in a shade that’s picked out just for them.

I’m a big fan of the Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner ($29 CAD), and the great tone and sheer finish of the formula still wow me every time. The pen itself is pretty small, but it hasn’t dried up on me yet (which is a pretty tough feat to accomplish!)

Amaterasu liquid eyeliner espresso swatch review photos

The Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner ($30 CAD) is new to me, and it’s definitely unlike all other liquid liners that I’ve tried before. The formula seems very similar to a liquid brow liner – it’s surprisingly sheer and sinks right into the skin instead of looking inky or painted on.

The liquid liner stays on incredibly well (no smudging or bleeding on my lids, even all day long!), but it rinses off easily and doesn’t stain the skin. If you like a really opaque line, I don’t think it’ll be for you, but for a natural look, it can’t be beat. There are very few liquid eyeliners that can pull of a tint, but this one does!

Amaterasu liquid brow, eyeliner swatches espesso, espresso

Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner in Brunette (the sheer one) & Liquid Eyeliner in Espresso (the chocolately one) swatches

What I think makes the Amaterasu liquid liner super special is its brush tip. Sure, a lot of other brands do a fibrous pen tip too, but this one just works. Because the formula is so liquidy, you can make full use of the brush from root to tip, getting a thick line that tapers into just a hair’s breadth in just one movement.

The giveaway

Amaterasu giveaway

If you’re excited about these two products now (and you should be), you can enter below for your chance to win a set! The prize ($59 CAD value) will include both an eyeliner in Espresso and a brow liner in a shade that’s handpicked just for you – the folks at Amaterasu will email the winner directly to figure out which of the shades will work best for them.

I’m super psyched about this giveaway, which is open to all US & Canadian residents of legal age and closes in two weeks, at 11:59 PM MST on July 17th. Happy entering!!

sheer anda Rafflecopter giveaway

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