Skincare travel essentials | Currently in my bag (literally)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel essentials and must haves
So, for all of you who don’t follow me on social media (and why aren’t you? Twitter/Instagram), I’m currently in Toronto visiting friends, seeing family, and checking out what’s new and exciting for Fall 2015.

I’ve been living out of a suitcase for about a week and I have one more left to go, so my travel essentials right now are actually what I have with me — they’re not some theoretical “oh, I’d totally take this with me.” Here’s what I can’t go without… and what I totally should have done differently.

Aveeno fresh essentials moisturizer SPF 30 review

FACE

Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 15 ($19.99 CAD) – this is a recent acquisition, but so far, I’m liking it! It’s silicone-free but with a chemical sunscreen component, and while it’s a little heavy (not a problem for my dry skin) and smells quite sunscreen-y, it gets the job done without breaking me out or breaking the bank.

bioderma sensibio tolerance plus review

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance+ Skin Care ($26.95 CAD) – I reviewed this just this month, and I’m still using it every single day. It’s been doing a great job of minimizing my skin’s reactiveness, and provides the perfect “neutral” base for serums and foundations. Which brings us to…

Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in 02 – I haven’t really talked about this yet, but I’m a total SSE convert. This silicone-free foundation is a good match for my skintone, and I love how pigmented it is — I mix a little bit (just enough to cover my fingertip) into my Bioderma or Aveeno, add a drop of Odacité serum if I’m feeling dry, and apply to my full face for an even, sheer glow.

Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($43 USD/$49 CAD) – yup, still totally loving this one. I’ve actually almost finished my bottle — and will be buying a new one this week at The Detox Market! (Hopefully the King Street location, because I’m dying for a Greenhouse Juice. It’s been like a week since I last ate a vegetable.)

Odacite PoR, Kevin Aucoin SSE review

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion – Always a must-have, whether or not I’m travelling. This is the best thing for treating small spots, small about-to-be-spots, and big AHH! blemishes.

AWW, CRAP – CLEANSERS

Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water ($19.95 CAD) – I totally should have brought more of both of these, because I’m only at the halfway point of my work-cation and I’m almost all out. HALP.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Pads ($14.95 CAD) – same with these. I absolutely LOVE the Dragon’s Blood cleansing pads, and I find that they’re particularly strong performers while travelling — they make removing all of my eye and face makeup (including waterproof) a seconds-long process, and I love not having to use an additional cleanser afterwards. I find that I use these a lot when I’m worried that I’m about to break out, and they always get my face super-clean and ready for moisturizer in a snap.

Clarins tonic oil Mario badescu buffering lotion review

HAIR AND BODY

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – a mini size! Because oils are a wonderfully compact way to moisturize (no fillers), and this little guy travels like a champ. I’ve been using it every day for the past seven days and I’ve barely made it to the 1/3 point.

Schick Quattro razor – I’ve actually been using Quattro razors since I started shaving, but I bought this one recently for travel/staying over and I love it! Something about the design gives me a much closer shape than the older models (even though I have brand-new cartridges on both), and I think I might replace my at-home razor when I get back. My favourite thing about Schick razors? The fine bars that run perpendicular to the blades — I’ve never cut myself shaving, not even at the very beginning.

And, finally…

Schick Quattro razor Best review

Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Protective Leave-In Spray – I’ve almost used this one all the way up! It’s silicone-free, practically unscented, and does a great job both of protecting my hair from the heat of my flat iron and moisturizing it so I don’t get fly-aways or dry-looking ends. I probably should have brought the inch of product that I have left in smaller spray bottle, but once this is used up, I will definitely be re-buying it, too.

What are your travel essentials? Are they day-to-day products, or things you only take on trips?

Stila Waterproof Brow Colour review, swatches, & dupe (Marcelle Eyebrow Pen)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Best waterproof brow pens review

I’ve made a lot of big changes this year, but the most important of them all has been getting my brows in order. (Yes. Definitely.) For the longest time, I had to mix shades and layer powder and pencil products to get my brows just right, and for all of my efforts, the silicone content in the products would still leave me with awkward brow breakouts.

No longer.

At the start of the year, I found the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium, AKA my Holy Grail of brows… and then I found the Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark, which does everything the Stila does, except faster and for half the price.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour review swatches Medium

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium ($21 USD/$27 CAD)

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium (which has since been re-packaged) is pretty much perfect. It’s fine-tipped, sheer, and cool-toned, and I can finish my brows in under a minute using this pen.

The formula wears all day long and can be used to either create fine, hair-like lines or a brow “shadow” (my preferred method), and the shade itself is really well-suited to those with dark hair who don’t want warm “Instagram brows” for their everyday life.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour review Medium

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour brush tip

My only problem with the Stila brow pen is that it’s pretty expensive at $27 CAD, and while I’m not out of product yet, most reviewers say that it only lasts 1-3 months with regular use. Enter: the Marcelle Eyebrow Pens.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour ingredients:

Water, Acrylates Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Honey Extract, Propylene Glycol, Matricaria Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder. +/- Yellow 5, Red 33, Blue 1.

Marcelle Universal Light, Dark, Stila Medium Brow Pen swatches review

Swatched L-R: Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Light, Universal Dark; Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen review swatches Universal Dark

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark ($13.95 CAD)

It’s been a little while since I’ve fallen hard for a Marcelle makeup product, but these brow pens have me swooning. They’re half the price of Stila’s version and double the size, and because I always go for a “shadow” brow rather than drawn-in hairs, I can apply and smudge this one faster and more easily than I can with the Stila.

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen review swatches

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark felt tip

Universal Dark isn’t quite as perfect as Stila’s Medium, but the cost difference more than makes up for it. With the Marcelle brow pens, you still get easy application, a silicone-free formula, and all-day waterproof wear, but you trade off a small degree of control for a quicker application.

I think the felt tip is a more versatile format (the broad side for quick application & the tip for drawing hairs), but it really does just come down to personal preference!

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark ingredients: 

Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. +/- Red 40, Green 5, Black 2, Yellow 5 Lake

Stila Waterproof Brow Colour dupe

The verdict?

If you like a natural brow, these are the only brow game in town anymore. They’re essentially North American versions of the Suqqu Liquid Brow Pen that Lisa Eldridge loves so much, and they are perfect for anyone who finds most brow products too warm for them.

When I run out (and can I just mention that I went to an actual store and bought the products pictured here), I will definitely be re-buying the Marcelle. Which isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with the Stila; it’s just a little pricey to be re-buying every 3 months! (Assuming 0.02 fl oz will last you 3 months, the Stila comes out to $108 CAD/year; the Marcelle, just $27.90 CAD.)

Availability: Stila (0.7 ml) – $21 USD/$27 CAD at Shopper’s Beauty Boutiques and Murale. Marcelle (1.4 ml) – $13.95 CAD at Marcelle.com (US & Can shipping) and drugstores across Canada.

What’s your favourite brow product right now?

AERIN Waterlily Sun EdP review, photos | Or, how to bottle happiness

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aerin perfume review - Waterlily Sun

The product: AERIN Waterlily Sun Eau de Parfum Spray

I first met Waterlily Sun on a hectic day in Toronto with Liz/Reductionista. (For that matter, that’s when I first met Liz, too. And yes, for the record, her hair is just as amazing in person.) We were at the Eaton Centre Sephora to sniff the Serge Lutens line, and upon finding out that almost all of their Lutens had to be sent back to the distributor due to water damage, we were wandering around…

And I came upon the AERIN range in person for the first time ever.

Aerin Waterlily Sun

The packaging: All of the AERIN perfumes look, like their namesake, like old money and flawlessly curated good taste. They come in thick, carefully cut glass bottles topped with gem-like stones (each in a soft, unique shade) and touched with gold accents, and are packaged in boxed with designs by Lee Jofa, a textiles/home decor company that has produced fabrics and carpets for everyone from Oscar de la Renta to Lilly Pulitzer.

Waterlily Sun looks exquisite in front of all of my La Collection de Grasse perfumes, but I can only imagine how perfect two or three of these would look together on a hammered-metal gold tray…

Aerin Waterlily Sun perfume review photos

Aerin jade Waterlily Sun review photos

The scent: I fell immediately in love with both Waterlily Sun and Lilac Path ($110 USD/$125 CAD by Richard Herpin, which smells just like passing by a lush lilac bush in a garden), but Waterlily Sun was the one that I had to go back for.

For a lack of a better descriptor, Waterlily Sun ($110 USD/$125 CAD by Annie Buzantian, Master Perfumer) smells like sunshine. It’s crisp and very light, and doesn’t smell like any one thing or flower or perfume in particular — its scent is, honestly, encapsulated perfectly in its name and packaging.

The story – Waterlily Sun is inspired by Aerin Lauder’s trip to Monet’s garden in Giverny, France as a young girl. It “inspires serenity and calmness with a floral watery scent that leads the senses to a warm and peaceful place. Like sunlight reflecting on water.”

Listed notes – Sicilian Bergamot and Lush Dewy Greens / Waterlily and Jasmine Sambac / Musk

Aerin Waterlily Sun review Eau de Parfum

The bergamot in this makes Waterlily Sun’s opening very lemony, like the perfect cold lemonade on a hot summer day in the garden. It’s balanced out very nicely with some crisp green notes (I usually find “green” to be too mulch-y, but I love it here) and a base of musky florals.

Like all light, citrusy fragrances, Waterlily Sun fades long before dinner, but I love it nonetheless. It’s reminiscent of something like Fresh Citron de Vigne ($88 USD/CAD), but with its bergamot opening and jasmine sambac heart, it smells far, far less generic.

Aerin Waterlily Sun EdP review

The verdict?

Waterlily Sun smells the way a bright summer day makes you feel; it smells like nothing in particular other than happiness. It has just the right amount of sillage and tenacity for warm weather, and it’s the kind of scent that makes you spritz, sniff, and sigh.

As far as light, citrusy scents go, Waterlily Sun is in a class of its own. It manages to be transparent and pleasant without ever becoming boring (even after months), and it smells, somehow, both effortless and complex at once.

Give this one a sniff — you won’t regret it. And hey, while you’re there, check out Lilac Path, too.

Availability: $110 USD/$125 CAD for 1.7 oz at select Nordstrom, Sephora, and Holt Renfrew locations.

Keep reading for more photos! »

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution review, photos | A makeup remover to love (even more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution paraben-free makeup remover

The product: Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution

My love for the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water is long and well-documented one, and today, I am happy to share with you that this fan favourite has been re-packaged and re-named in the best way possible. 

I am a little late with this news (the changeover occurred during the fall), but cleansing water addicts across Canada can now easily get their hands on this awesome piece of innovation!

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution flip-top packaging

New Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution flip-top cap

As I mentioned in my original review, the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water (now called the Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution, but I promise that it’s the same stuff) is gentle and super-effective, removing makeup easily without drying out your skin or leaving an oily residue behind. It uses little micelles–an actually legit science thing–which “trap” makeup in little micro-capsules of makeup remover.

I know, the whole thing sounds like a total hoax, but micellar solutions are a real, big thing in the skincare industry right now — and they work really, really well. I find that this one isn’t quite as effective as scrubbing down your whole face with cleansing oil, but it works better for me than any other oil-free makeup remover that I’ve tried.

(It’s more effective than a lot of the bi-phase ones that I’ve used over the years, too. Plus: no mess, and no stinging.)

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution review makeup remover

The verdict?

You need this. I mean, you needed it before, but the new Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution is actually cheaper per ounce than the original and features a very awesome blue flip-top cap, which makes it super easy to soak a cotton pad one-handed.

Also, the new packaging is super pretty, and we all know that that’s the real game, here.

Availability: $19.95 CAD/10 fl oz at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada (or online at Marcelle.com with shipping to the US & Canada).

Keep reading! »

Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium serum oil review, photos | How one skincare brand changed my view on oils for good

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium serum oil review

The product: Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Facial Serum Concentrate

I’m not a facial oil kind of girl. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried any before (I have; recently, L’Occitane and Marie Veronique come to mind), but… I’ve never loved one before, you know? They always just feel too thin, or too greasy, or they don’t to enough for my dryness. I’ve always loved the idea of them, but we’ve never gotten along.

Until now.

Odacite skincare review The Detox Market

About Odacité

That in mind, I didn’t have very high hopes for this range, but Odacité proved me wrong in every way possible. Unlike other brands, Odacité focuses on freshness and ingredients, and their range of 18 oils are all super-potent, super-targeted, and made to compliment your skincare regimen, not replace it.

Perhaps coolest of all, Odacité labels feature an easy-to-reference “table of pure elements that tells you about your product in detail.

Odacité Table of Pure Elements

Po + R has an origin number of #CVG12GSa, which translates into: cold pressed virgin first ingredient (pomegranate oil) grown in Europe, specifically Germany; and a second ingredient (rose geranium) that’s grown without chemicals in South Africa.

The brand is also vegan and cruelty-free, and you won’t find any silicones, parabens, or artificial fragrances in any of their products.

Odacite Po + R facial serum concentrate oil review

Po + R = HG

I don’t toss the H-word (holy grail) around lightly, but guys, this stuff is amazing. It’s a super-thick oil that mixes into your regular moisturizer like a dream, and it’s insanely effective.

» At $27 & up, Odacité oils are a fantastic way to increase the efficacy of your fancy moisturizer while also stretching out its life by half!

If you’ve ever tried to mix anything into a heavy creme like German Nivea, you’ll know that it’s virtually impossible — the water-repellent cream just kind of slicks away the second ingredient. But, because this serum isn’t diluted with anything, it mixes easily into any type of moisturizer. I find what works best is cutting my regular amount of moisturizer in half, then adding 1-2 drops of Po + R.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

The resulting cream is rich, emollient, and super luxurious. I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have serious dehydration (Odacité makes 17 other oils that’ll be better suited to your skin type!), but for those looking for dry skin relief, this is a must-have.

I saw results with this oil literally within 24 hours, and they stick around. After a few days of constant use, stubborn dry patches will disappear, and your foundation will start applying like a dream — this stuff is so smooth and hydrating that it almost seems to prime your skin at the same time.

Full disclosure: I am possibly developing an allergy to something in this oil, so I’m not using it right now. The super-hydrating effects lasted for around 7-10 days before diminishing, though, which is crazy impressive!

Odacite facial serum concentrate review

The verdict?

I didn’t think I’d ever be a facial oil kind of gal, and to be honest, I’m still not — but I am now a HUGE fan of Odacité serum concentrates.

If you have tight skin and dry patches that you can’t seem to shake, you need this oil in your life. Pomegranate + Rose Geranium pairs heavy comfort with great hydration better than any product I’ve ever tried before, and it’ll “beef up” whatever moisturizer you’re currently using, be it high-end or budget. (It pairs well with Odacité’s own moisturizers, too!)

Availability: Po+R is $43 USD/$49 CAD at Odacité, The Detox Market CA (you can get these in person in Toronto), or The Detox Market US. The Facial Serum Concentrate range starts at $27 USD.

Keep reading! »

Vixen Creations VixSkin Mustang in Fluor-a-Pink: review, photos | Give yourself the best Valentine’s Day gift ever. (EVER.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vixen VixSkin Mustang review art

The product: Vixen Creations VixSkin Mustang in Fluor-a-Pink

You know something is good–like, really, really good–when you can’t shut up about it when talking to your friends.

VixSkin is no exception.

Keep reading! (Warning: NSFW) »

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