Beautycounter Rose, Currant Lip Sheer swatches; Lustro Body Oil review

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beautycounter review Lustro, Lip Tint

The products: Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus and Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant

I’m not the kind of reviewer that looks at a luxury price tag, goes “well, you’re paying for exclusivity,” and then ignores it. I can see why some people are, and that’s totally cool with me, but, well: I’m not. If a brand is going to charge luxury prices, it better give me a darn good reason as to why someone should make the splurge – and if they’re going to talk about how ingredient-focused they are, they better earn the right.

Beautycounter Lustro body oil review

Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus ($68 USD/80 ml)

As a dry-skinned girl who can’t use most moisturizers due to their silicone content, I’m a big, big fan of body oils. Which is why this Beautycounter oil was such a big surprise for me — because I didn’t love it. Like, at all. 

While Rosemary + Citrus‘ jojoba-based formula feels great and hydrates well (without an ounce of oiliness left behind on your now baby-soft skin), the scent just didn’t do it for me – and the smooth glass bottle felt like it was slipping to its death every time I pressed the pump.

Beautycounter Body Oil review Lustro Rosemary Citrus

Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus

For $25/oz (Osmia’s gorgeous body oils are only $11/oz), a product shouldn’t be a struggle, you know? And it should smell awesome, not like a kitchen window basket full of roast-appropriate herbs. (My boyfriend described this one as “something you’d pick up at a Canadian Tire” — nice, but not expensive. Sort of like a citronella candle.)

If you love jasmine-scented products, they offer a jasmine-scented alternative; however, it has a jojoba/grapeseed/rosehip base, rather than jojoba/sweet almond/meadowfoam. As pretty and light-feeling as it is, I have to recommend that you pass on this one.

Lustro Rosemary + Citrus Body Oil ingredients

Golden Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil*, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Virgin Grapeseed Oil*, Rosehip Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Marula Oil*, Virgin Argan Nut Oil*, Rose Otto Oil, Apricot Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Rosemary Oil.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer review swatches Rose Currant

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant ($28 USD/each)

Like the Lustro Body Oil, the first Lip Sheer I tried put my nerves on edge, too. Despite being described as a creme finish, Rose has particles of hidden gold shimmer in it, and while the colour was really pretty, the shimmer is noticeable on my lips — not a deal-breaker, but I’m kind of bummed that the brand describes it as a creme finish.

Beautycounter Rose lip sheer

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant — see the shimmer that was hiding in there?

Currant, however, is shimmer-free… and it’s awesome. The Beautycounter Lip Sheer formula is really comfortable and hydrating, with a naturally-sourced vanilla scent and a good amount of pigment. If I had to pick one Beautycounter product to recommend, it would definitely be this one – they feel gorgeously heavy and balmy, and the packaging is divine. (According to brand rep Anna Vig, only Rose and Petal have shimmer, and it’s less noticeable in the latter!)

Also nice to note is that the line’s Lip Sheers rate an EWG Skin Deep rating of 1 (aka “super safe”), which is great when it comes to lip products — we end up ingesting a pretty gross amount of them, after all.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer ingredients

Diisotearyl Malate, Jojoba Esters, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Castor Seed Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Calcium Sodium Borosilcate, Candelilla Wax, Carnuba Wax, Tin Oxide. +/- Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 5 Lake, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Blue 1 Lake.

Beautycounter Currant Rose swatches

Beautycounter Lip Sheer swatches - Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Beautycounter Rose Currant Lip Sheer swatches

L-R: Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant, swatched

The verdict?

I love the idea of a brand that focuses on its ingredients, but Beautycounter seems to focus more on profit than product. Upon closer inspection, all of their pricy-but-beautiful face oils feature the same formula (differing only in fragrance), and their lazily-fragranced body oil runs at almost double the cost per ounce than beautifully scented oils by brands like L’Occitane, Caudalie, and Clarins. For an all-natural body oil, I would opt instead for one by Osmia Organics – their packaging is easier to use, and each scent is beautifully crafted.

That said, I did really like how hydrating, comfortable, and safe the Beautycounter Lip Sheers are. I found swatches of all six shades on Our Wanderlust (Petal, Twig, and Coral caught my eye!), and I think they’d make a wonderful “splurge” lip product — they’re gorgeously packaged, have a great formula, and come in a beautiful range of shades.

Availability: These items were sent in for review by superstar brand rep Anna Vig, who has been unbelievably helpful and friendly. If you’re going to indulge in a Lip Sheer, I would definitely encourage you to shop her storefront here!

Keep reading! »

MUFE Aqua Matic, The Body Shop White Musk, and more | New 14/06/14

Sunday, June 15, 2014

makeup highlights

skincare & fragrance

mac highlights


Forgot about Father’s Day?

The Body Shop White Musk for Men

It’s okay, The Body Shop has you covered. Shop their pre-boxed and pre-bagged men’s sets here – I hear the men’s White Musk range smells amazing! (PLUS: up to 70% off in their sale section, and 40% off most non-sale items. That means $2 lip balms, $5 gift sets, and $10 jumbo sizes!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic

MUFE Aqua Matic

The answer to the question everyone’s been asking is in, and the answer is: the new Aqua Matic pencils will be replacing the line’s old Aqua Shadow pencils, so stock up soon on any favourites you may have! (Their Aqua Cream eyeshadow pots will be unaffected).

The new pencils ($21 USD/$25 CAD) will be available in Canada at Sephora and Make Up For Ever Boutiques this July, and feature an automatic pencil that doesn’t require sharpening. For the initial launch, MUFE will be releasing ten shades in iridescent, diamond, satin, and metallic finishes.

Seven out-of-the-box drugstore nail picks

Friday, June 13, 2014

I haven’t covered a lot of nail-related beauty recently, so here’s a bit of catch-up: seven drugstore nail picks that all fall beyond the regular scope of “nail polish”.

Skip below the graphic to read more about these unique-but-accessible finds!

June nail feature

Nail HQ Base Coat ($7.99 CAD)

Base coats are base coats, but this newly launched one by Nail HQ describes itself as a “unique rubberized base coat” with a “sticky cushioned finish” to prep the nail for polish. Does it work? I’ll be testing it out this summer to find out!

Nail HQ Ridge Filler ($9.99 CAD)

Like the brand’s base coat, this ridge filler is available at Pharmasave, select drugstores, and farleyco.ca. It’s designed for weak, damaged nails, and is made to cover up & conceal ridges while conditioning the nail. It’s not a nail strengthener or hardener, though — Nail HQ also makes those, but they’re separate treatments.

Sally Hansen Instagel Strips in Sss-Snakeyes ($15.95 CAD)

Sally Hansen, available at most drug and grocery stores across Canada, makes two different kind of nail strips: these, and the ones below. A little more expensive than the non-gel version, the Instagel Strips are UV-cured, last up to two weeks, and come with a gel coat in the box. (Mini LED lamp must be purchased separately.) Think of them as an at-home gel manicure for the unsteady-handed.

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Nail Polish

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Textured Nail Colour in Wool Lite, Fuzzy Fantasy, Tight Knit, and Peach Fuzz

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Textured Nail Colour in Wool Lite and Fuzzy Fantasy ($7.95 CAD)

Okay, I’ll fess up: I’m extra super not a fan of these Fuzzy Coat polishes. Like crackle-finish and “caviar” manicures, I think they look weird, and left exposed, they catch and pull on everything.

That said, they’re also pretty darn unique, and they’re formulated well — the small strips of “fuzz” haven’t curved or warped at all in the year that I’ve been sitting on these.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Whoopsy Daisy ($9.95 CAD)

If you don’t have a nail lamp at home (I don’t!), Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects polish strips will probably be a better buy for you. They launched last year in eight different prints (and have since added more shades), with a simple peel-and-stick application. no drying time, and no DBP, toluene, or formaldehyde.

Maybelline Polka Dots swatch review Clearly Spotted

Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer swatches: Drops of Jade, Clearly Spotted, Pretty In Polka, Blue Marks the Spot

Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer in Clearly Spotted ($3.99 CAD)

Launched alongside a set of metallic duochrome nail lacquers last year, the Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots range includes five “spotted’ shades in a translucent base. The brand describes it as “high-fashion meets high-art,” but I see it more as indie-meets-drugstore — a spinoff of the e-tailer trend of duochromes & textural overlays, made accessible to more than just nail fanatics and bloggers.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails in Night Fever and Vamp It Up ($10.99 CAD)

These are new to the market this month (find them at Walmart, London Drugs, and Pharmasave), and offer a peel-and-press false nail that lasts up to one week. I wasn’t a fan of most of the designs, but Vamp It Up is pretty cute — a far cry from the classic French manicure falsies, it’s a pop-art, comic-book design done in neons.

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches, review: Hazelnut, Blush, Tomato, Orange, & more!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Clinique Chubby Stick review swatches

The product: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

   ↳ in 09 Heaping Hazelnut, 10 Bountiful Blush, 11 Two Ton Tomato, 12 Oversized Orange, 13 Mighty Mimosa, 14 Curvy Candy, 15 Pudgy Peony, and 16 Voluptuous Violet

I love Clinique’s Chubby Stick range. I talk about them all the time; I carry them around in my bag like they’re the keys to my house, I own all of the lip shades except maybe three or four of them.

I haven’t, however, had the chance to post swatches of many of them yet. So: here are eight more Clinique Chubby Sticks. I hope you enjoy.

Clinique Chubby Stick review

A recap of the formula: The classic Clinique Chubby Stick formula is comfortable and sheer, and wears for about 2-3 hours on my lips. The twist-up pencil packaging and no-mirror opacity makes them easy to throw into your handbag and apply on the go, and the large shade range literally has something for everybody.

All of the Chubby Sticks are taste- and scent-free, and get a lot of flack for being really sheer — but it’s important to remember that they’re marketed as a lip balm, not a lipstick. The Chubby Stick Intense formula offers full opacity, while the original formula varies from almost completely-sheer to medium-opaque depending on the shade.

Clinique Chubby Stick sheer lipsticks

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches Hazelnut Blush Tomato Orange

Swatched L-R: 09 Heaping Hazelnut, 10 Bountiful Blush, 11 Two Ton Tomato, 12 Oversized Orange, 13 Mighty Mimosa, 14 Curvy Candy, 15 Pudgy Peony, and 16 Voluptuous Violet

The shades: Heaping Hazelnut is a sheer, warm nude with a hint of shimmer. Bountiful Blush is a pinky-brown with medium opacity and a subtly frosty finish (I bet it would make a gorgeous nude on a darker skintone). Two Ton Tomato is a sheer, bright strawberry-orange. Oversized Orange is a super-sheer orange with a hint of gold shimmer (pinker, less shimmery, and way more sheer than Mega Melon).

Mighty Mimosa is a sheer soft pink with very subtle shimmer. Curvy Candy is also sheer with subtle shimmer, but is a cooler-toned pink. Both are a little more pigmented than Whoppin’ Watermelon, which is shimmer-free. Pudgy Peony is a bright blue-pink; it’s also sheer, but appears more pigmented due to how vivid the shade is. Voluptuous Violet is a super-sheer subdued violet — it is the sheerest shade in the entire range, but adds a really pretty, wearable violet veil to the lips.

Clinique Chubby Stick Swatch mimosa candy peony violet

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches, L-R: Heaping Hazelnut, Bountiful Blush, Two Ton Tomato, Oversized Orange, Mighty Mimosa, Curvy Candy, Pudgy Peony, ad Voluptuous Violet

Clinique tinted lip balm lipstick review Chubby Stick

The verdict?

As someone who loves low-maintenance products, I love the comfortable Chubby Stick formula and super-cute packaging. These Chubby Sticks (released initially in 2012) tend to be a little more pigmented than the original eight shades, and more of these shades contain a small amount of natural-looking shimmer.

My must-have Chubby Stick shades are Whoppin’ Watermelon (for everyday), Mega Melon (for the summer), Super Strawberry (for more pigment), and Voluptuous Violet (for a really sheer wash of cool-toned pigment). For those looking for a bright, sheer lip, I would also recommend Pudgy Peony.

Availability: $17 USD/$19 CAD at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Clinique counters.

More Chubby Sticks & individual product shots »

Burt’s Bees Hydrating Lip Balm with Coconut and Pear review, photos

Monday, June 9, 2014

Burt's Bees Coconut & Pear lip balm review

The product: Burt’s Bees Hydrating Lip Balm with Coconut and Pear

Coming this month to Burt’s Bees is a new beeswax-based lip balm. During June–aka Pollinator Month–100% of the proceeds of this all-natural lip balm will go to Burt’s Bees’ WILD FOR BEES campaign, which celebrates its third year this month.

In partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, this money will go toward expanding the WILD FOR BEES bee hotel initiative across Canada. The initiative hopes to have 100 bee hotels open across Canada by 2015, designed with bees in mind by SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building. These “bee hotels” will help provide the dwindling bee population with a safe space to rest in the summer (and hide in the winter).

Burt's Bees WILD FOR BEES bee hotels

The formula: The Burt’s Bees Hydrating Lip Balm with Coconut and Pear formula feels light and slippery, and feels more hydrating than Burts’ other spinoff formulas right off the bat.

That said — for my super-dry lips, this formula just doesn’t cut it. It hydrates while it lasts, but I need to re-apply within 1-2 hours or my lips feel parched; however, if other drugstore or scented Burt’s Bees balms work for you, this one definitely will as well. (You’ll probably find it a little more hydrating than the others, even!)

Burt's Bees Hydrating lip balm review

The scent: Flavour-free, the coconut really predominates in this blend. If you take a close sniff, though, you can smell a bit of pear-y fruitiness in the undertones, which becomes much more apparent as the coconut scent fades. It’s a really lovely scent blend, especially for the summer!

The ingredients: (Which, might I add, I’m really impressed with.)

Sunflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Natural Flavor, Castor Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Lanolin, Pear Fruit Extract, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Soybean Oil, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Canola Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Geraniol.

Burt's Bees Hydrating Lip Balm Coconut & Pear review

The verdict?

Burt’s Bees may make tons of other products nowadays (their iconic cuticle butter and excellent peppermint foot cream come to mind), but I will always think they do lips best. This new Coconut & Pear lip balm is comfortable and hydrating, and though the hydration doesn’t last for me, I think it’ll be a big hit for most — especially with those who  like the tropical smell of coconut.

Availability: $3.59 USD/$4.89 CAD at burtsbees.ca, pollinatorpartnership.ca, and in stores at The Fairmont Store at the Fairmont Royal York this June. Launching July 2014 nationwide.

Keep reading! »

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