BS Atelier Small G-Spot Ella & White Handcuffs review, photos | Small Business Saturdays (well, Sundays)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

BS Atelier leather wrist restraints review

The product: BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Blue (Small) & White Handcuffs

Today’s Small Business Saturdays feature showcases something other than a skincare brand! (Cue cheers, clapping, and a lone sobbing skincare fanatic.)

Uh, anyhow. Today’s feature brand is BS Atelier, a wonderful, sex-positive Spanish company with just the most beautiful, nostalgic, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic. They make both realistic toys as well as ones covered in stripes, rainbows, splatters, and even cow print, so there are lots of options on both sides of the spectrum!

BS Atelier review - packaging

Even the BS Atelier packaging is cooler than you.

BS is nice white leather handcuffs review

BS Atelier Handcuffs – White

BS Atelier Handcuffs (47.0 €)

BS Atelier focuses mostly on rope bondage, but I’ve loved their handcuffs for ages. Their leather cuffs are very simple and versatile, and no attention to detail is skimped on. They feature a loop-back closure for a custom fit, and the leather itself is pretty nice — it’s unfinished, so it pills a little at first, but it’s lightweight, flexible, and really comfortable. 

Mostly, though, I love that these cuffs don’t look like hard bondage gear. I love the hardcore BDSM aesthetic as much as the next queer girl, but personally, I just can’t pull it off! I thrive in a bedroom that can be giggled in, and I think it’s fantastic that the BS Atelier team is offering such a cheery alternative for those who are into bondage but not necessarily the whole hardcore vibe.

(And I mean, how gorgeous would these be as outerwear?? I love how they’re suggestive, but not so obvious that you’d be likely to make people uncomfortable.)

BS Atelier G-spot Ella small, leather handcuffs review

My one caveat: Before you buy, there’s one last thing to note: The double snap hook that attaches these cuffs together is absolutely terrible! It’s stiff and poorly-made, and I find that you have to pull down on the bar itself rather than on the sliding bit in order to get them open.

So, if you’re planning on clasping these together, plan accordingly. Otherwise, just make sure to care for these cuffs as you would any piece of leather (treat them kindly and keep them out of major wet works) and you should be good.

BS Atelier clasp

BS Atelier hardware – this is me pushing down on the clasp!!!

BS Atelier Ella Blue small review

BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Dildo in Blue – Small

BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Blue (70.0 €/on sale at SheVibe)

I was also lucky to be able to test the matching G-Spot Ella in Blue thanks to the lovely team at BS Atelier. (The small size is featured here; it’s available in S, M, and L at BS Atelier or just M through SheVibe). The striped Ella Blue print just as fun and uplifting as the white cuffs, and the two would make an absolutely charming gift together!

BS Atelier G-spot dildo review

BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Blue review

There are two tiny flaws in this dildo; a little circle next to the BS and a fine line in the red stripe. However, both are completely unnoticeable in use, and there is no seam anywhere on the product.

The Ella is hand-poured from 100% silicone and measures 5.5 inches (14 cm) tall. It’s 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide at the base and 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) wide at its narrowest. I know that some bloggers aren’t fans of the BS Atelier silicone, but I really like it — it’s soft but springy and has a slightly velvety finish, kind of like a bouncy ball.

The Small G-Spot Ella is too short for comfortable use in a strap-on, but it’s pleasantly squishy and holds its curve better than my Tantus or VixSkin toys. And, even though the curve is relatively unpronounced in the S, it feels absolutely mild-melting. I can only imagine how lovely it would be in the L.

» I would definitely recommend BS Atelier’s G-Spot Ella line, but I’d advise ordering the medium or large size instead!

BS Atelier handcuffs review white

The verdict?

The BS Atelier White Handcuffs are a touch pricy, but man, are they ever beautiful. They’re bright, lightweight, and comfortable, and would be a gorgeous accessory to pair with a summer dress… and take into the bedroom with you at the end of the day. That being said, I expected better quality hardware at $53 USD (ish), and I really hope to see these get even better in the future! (A vegan option, for instance, would be just amazing.)

The G-Spot Ella, on the other hand, is a total must-have. The soft, springy texture of BS Atelier’s silicone and the small head on the Ella work well to offer just blissful stimulation, and while the Ella doesn’t feel lifelike in the way that something like VixSkin does, I think BS Atelier might just do a g-spot curve even better!

Availability: 47.0 € for the cuffs; 70.0 €/$63 USD for the Ella. (Note: all BS Atelier toys are currently 15% off at SheVibe until Sunday night!)

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Le Sérum de Jacynthe oil review, photos | Les Soins de Jacynthe serum & trio

Friday, April 15, 2016

Le Serum de Jacynthe Soins du Visage review

The product: Les Soins de Jacynthe Le Sérum de Jacynthe (“Jacynthe’s Serum”)

I have been trying a lot of skincare products recently. Like… a lot. Enough that it’s honestly kind of frightening to see it all on my bathroom countertop.

More than half of what I test doesn’t even go up on theNotice, so when you guys do see skincare on the blog, it’s because I’ve found the products to be either something that I think people will be interested in, or something that I personally am really enjoying. This one is the latter.

Les Soins de Jacynthe review facial oil serum

The serum: Le Sérum de Jacynthe is a facial oil from a Canadian skincare brand founded by French-Canadian actress Jacynthe René. It’s all-natural and silicone-free, and features evening primrose, borage, sea buckthorn, and rose hip oils, along with vitamin E and essential oils of sandalwood, rose, and rosemary.

The Les Soins de Jacynthe site lists this serum as good for all skintypes except acne-prone. I’m not so sure about that, but my super-dry skin absolutely loves this stuff. It smells beautiful and rich, and its dark orange tone speaks volumes about the quality of rose hip seed oil that’s going into this stuff — it’s immensely hydrating. (Less hydrating than my PO+R and Paula’s Choice Resist oils, but more hydrating than all of my other serums).

 

Les Soins de Jacynthe review

Le Soins de Jacynthe floral water, cleansing oil, and serum

The Les Soins de Jacynthe range: I was sent Jacynthe’s Trio to test, which also includes the brand’s floral water and cleansing oil.

As much as I love this serum (and I really, really do), I think this range is overpriced for what it is. The labels are plain sticky paper and get dirty very easily, and a $21 bottle of floral water… I mean, the mister is lovely, but the rosewater itself smells vinegar-sour at first spray. It settles into something I can stomach only after the first few minutes, and honestly, I prefer the $2 rose water that I pick up from the “ethnic” aisle at the grocery store.

The cleansing oil, I think, has the best packaging of these three products, but I never really got behind the whole “soap-free natural oil cleansing” thing. I know it’s good for my face, but AT WHAT COST. I’m just not a fan of the heavy, oily feeling!

Le Serum de Jacynthe review

Le Sérum de Jacynthe Soins du Visage review

The verdict?

First and foremost, I would love to see the Les Soins de Jacynthe range switch over to non-absorbent labels. Their products are full of natural oils, and my serum bottle barely made it two weeks before it started to look super grotty.

That being said, the serum itself is fantastic. I think Jacynthe’s Trio can be passed on (that sour rosewater!), but Le Sérum de Jacynthe is full of high-quality ingredients and is great for super dry skin!

Availability: $49.35 CAD for 15 ml (pictured); $80.85 for the full size.

Keep reading! »

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer review, swatches, photos

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer lipgloss review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Big Show Lacquer in Adore Simply, Caress Tenderly, Kiss Swiftly, Enchant Romantically, Love Fiercely, and Hypnotize Deeply

As I’m sure most of you know already, I am a huge fan of Annabelle Cosmetics. They’re Canadian, affordable, and cruelty-free, and all of their products pack an awesome punch of pigments–especially when you consider that most items are $10 or less.

One of the lines that I just haven’t been able to really get behind, however, is their Big Show range. I liked but didn’t love their Big Show Mascara (which is a HUGE fan favourite) and, later, their Big Show Lip Glosses. Similarly, it pains me to say that I liked these Big Show Lacquers, but… I didn’t love them.

Annabelle Big Show lacquer review

The formula: The Big Show Lacquer formula follows on a trend similar to that of the YSL Glossy Stains and Shu Uemura Laque Supremes: high-impact liquid lip colours that have the saturation of a lipstick, the finish of a lipgloss, and the lasting power of a lip stain. 

If I’m being honest, the Big Show Lacquers hit all three of these out of the park. They’re glossy and highly pigmented, and unlike the YSL and Shu Uemura gloss-stains, they’re opaque in just one swipe.

But, while other bloggers seem to just adore these, I’m on the fence about them. There aren’t any MLBB/”no makeup” shades in the range, and I find that once these start to wear away (within 1-2 hours), they become quite tacky and drying. And then there’s the smell: chemically fruity. They’re not any more drying than a Glossy Stain, but I’ve definitely noticed how actual-lacquer-y these can feel.

Annabelle Big Show lipgloss review photos swatches

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer applicator

Annabelle Adore Simply Caress Tenderly Kiss Sweetly swatches review

Annabelle Big Show Lacquers swatched L-R: Adore Simply, Caress Tenderly, Kiss Swiftly, Enchant Romantically, Love Fiercely, and Hypnotize Deeply

The shades: As I mentioned above, there aren’t any natural-looking shades in the Big Show Lacquer range. (I really want to try the Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers for this very reason; they look to have the exact same formula as these, but they’re unscented and come in only pink/peach/nude shades.)

That being said, if you love colour, then this is a great range to check out. The Big Show Lacquers currently come in six super-shimmery shades, including the particularly-shimmery nude Adore Simply, the orange Caress Tenderly, and two pinks. Kiss Swiftly is more of a milky fuchsia, while Enchant Romantically is a darker, warmer pink with blue reflects.

I’d love to see a purple in this range (it’s the perfect formula for it!) but for now, lovers of darker lip colours can opt for Love Fiercely, a metallic, warm brick red, and Hypnotize Deeply, a purplish berry.

Annabelle cosmetics Big Show Lacquer lipgloss review

The verdict?

The Big Show Lacquers are huge in the blogosphere right now, but I’m just… not a fan. The synthetic fruity scent gives me a headache, and ALL of these shades are punchy and shimmery, which just isn’t my thing.

I also noted a distinct “lacquer” feeling when I wore these (almost like there was a film over my lips), but I have to admit: they definitely make good on their promises of gloss, pigment, and endurance, and they apply with glorious opacity and evenness. When my lips are in better condition, I might pick up a Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer to see if I’ll like the formula any more without the shimmer and scent, but I think this is about it for the Big Show Lacquers and I!

Availability: $9.95 CAD at Annabelle.com (US & Canadian shipping) and in-store at drugstores and mass retailers across Canada. Permanent as of January 2016.

Keep reading! »

Dry skin must-haves & my April at-home spa essentials!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Silicone-free dry skin favourites

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should, because sometimes I meet puppies and take pictures of them), then you’ve probably missed these two product roundups. If you do, then a) thank you, and b) you’ll recognize the images. Don’t click away just yet, though, because there’s a lot more detail here!

Above, I have everything that I’m keeping sink-side right now.* For my dry, dehydrated skin, these have proven to be the best of the best so far. 

  • For super dry skin, I can’t speak highly enough about the DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster. The DHC is so creamy and hydrating, and the Paula’s Choice will get rid of any dry spots you have! I’m also really loving Le Sérum de Jacynthe (review soon), which I think is a bit pricy but is an excellent “green” option.
  • For sensitive skin, Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solution is just fantastic. It’s scented, but I was surprised to find that it’s also incredibly gentle — noticeably more gentle than the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Solution or the Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water.
  • For dehydrated skin, the Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser makes a huge difference for my skin. It doesn’t look very glamorous, but it’s creamy and luxurious, and leaves my skin feeling divine. My MIYU Beauty Essences are something that I can’t live without, too — I’ve now gone through four bottles, if you include the minis!

I’m also a big fan of the Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30, which is relatively heavy, but my skin really likes. It’s not breathtakingly creamy or smooth or anything in particular, but it is affordable, comfortable, and silicone-free, and I think those are three pretty important things.

(Plus, it feels way better than a physical sunscreen, so there’s that.)

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

I also posted about a little at-home spa day that I had on Sunday, which I wanted to update you guys on! It was my first time using a peel-off mask (so, so weird and cool) and the first time in a little while that I had taken the time to pamper myself with my Ahava goodies.

My skin has been so out of whack recently, and the half-hour it took me to mask and exfoliate before my shower really balanced things out. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask tightened up my t-zone, and the Kérastase hair mask/exfoliator left my hair feeling super soft. (I could have still used more scalp exfoliation, though.)

But what I loooooved using again was this Ahava trio. I received them for a post & giveaway last year, but they’ve become some of my carefully-rationed favourites. My legs haven’t been this smooth in years (thank you, Liquid Dead Sea Salt), skin feels so soft, and my sheets now smell amazing.

But yeah; that’s what I’ve been up to! I also petted a dozen dogs on Sunday (VERY IMPORTANT) and took the rest of the weekend to let my body rest, and it’s been great.

What’s been keeping you busy (or not so busy) recently?

*Note: I’ve drifted away from the Jurlique and Tatcha since taking this photo. They’re both still great, but I’m just really into the Paula’s Choice cleanser right now!

New This Week: Silicone-free colour-correcting & custom foundation palettes!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Custom color correcting foundation palette

It’s always interesting to see which trends are going to rear their heads each season, but I can’t remember the last time something hit quite as hard as colour-correcting. It’s a technique that has been around for decades, of course, but it used to be tough to get your hands on really good colour-correcting products.

Now, though? Now colour correctors seem like they’re a dime a dozen. You can pick up tinted primers (Make Up For Ever and Clinique do some really popular ones, and I hear the NYX dupes aren’t all that shabby); redness neutralizers (everyone still always says green, but I swear yellow is what you really want); even brightening powders (in violet or the classic banana yellow) to even out whatever tones your foundation isn’t quite covering. 

Despite the current trend, however, it is still next to impossible to find a good colour corrector that’s silicone-free. So, I thought I’d share with you guys what I’ve been doing for colour-correcting!

I really love using theatre foundations on skin that’s picky about silicones, because the older formulas (always make sure to check first) tend to be creamy, ‘cone-free, and cheap. The colour palette that I put together for myself features samples of products from Camera Ready Cosmetics to keep the costs even lower; the half-empty pans look a little dingy, but because I rarely actually finish products, it was a good choice for me.

(I’ve had this palette for about a year and I haven’t needed to replenish any of the correctors yet, so I guess I wasn’t wrong!)

Silicone free foundation palette

Silicone-free theatre foundation review palette

For anyone making their own colour correcting palette or bruise kit, this entire palette cost me about $20 USD, and works well for my NC15-ish skin. It includes:

Keep reading! »

SkinCeuticals Emollience moisturizer review, photos

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SkinCeuticals Emollience review

The product: SkinCeuticals Emollience Rich, Restorative Moisturizer

I’ve been slowly testing a few SkinCeuticals products since November, and I’ve found a few that I love… and a few that I’m not so crazy about.

The last SkinCeuticals product that I posted about was their Simply Clean cleanser, which I was really fond of. So, I felt that it was only fair to post a review of their Emollience Moisturizer today, especially considering how many requests I’ve gotten recently for more ‘cone-free moisturizer reviews.

Spoiler alert: it made me feel like a sad, dry, completely unloved sponge.

SkinCeuticals moisturizer review dry skin

What I liked about Emollience: I feel like starting with the good stuff today, and there’s definitely good stuff to be found here! For starters, the SkinCeuticals-educated staff at Rao Dermatology were super understanding about my sensitivity to silicones (which many brands are NOT cool about), and they made it easy for me to find products in the range that I could use.

Plus, Emollience is pumped up with sea algae, grape seed oil, and rose hip seed oil to hydrate skin in cold or dry climates, which sounds great. In theory.

SkinCeuticals dry skin review Emollience

What I didn’t like about Emollience: While all of that sounds great in practice, the mostly-water-and-sorbitol Emollience formula just didn’t work for me. It feels awesome going on and absorbs really quickly, but I found that it absorbed into my skin TOO quickly — it was basically gone within seconds.

Within 5 minutes of applying this, my skin feels absolutely parched. The effect is bearable if I mix in a really hydrating oil or serum, but even with extended use, my skin’s hydration levels didn’t normalize. I even tested Emollience with my nifty new Hydration Detector to see if maybe it was just a perceived feeling, but nope: my skin only went up 1% in hydration right after applying Emollience, which isn’t even outside of a good margin of error.

SkinCeuticals skincare regimen group

The verdict?

As much as I love SkinCeuticals as a brand, I cannot recommend Emollience to anyone else with dry skin. From the other reviews I’ve read, it sounds like it’s both not hydrating enough for dry skin & too pore-clogging for oily skin, and from my own experiences, I’d have to agree.

Even on the SkinCeuticals site, the people who love Emollience seem to be those with combination skin–not the targeted audience of “normal to dry skin.” Skip this one & save your pennies for the brand’s treatment products!

Availability: $60 USD though dermatologist’s offices & online at SkinCeuticals, depending on where you live. (See the SkinCeuticals site to find in-person locations!)

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