Giovanni 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Super Potion serum review, in three takes

Monday, March 3, 2014

Giovanni Ultra Sleek Super Potion serum review

The product: Giovanni 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Hair & Body Super Potion

This serum landed on my desk over a year ago, and after writing three variations of this review, I think I’m finally ready to publish a post about it.

I had tried Giovanni’s Keratin & Argan Oil Serum initially as a serum on my long, straight hair, and quite frankly, it was kind of gross. A year after that, I decided it was time to transition this guy’s routine into a silicone-free one (what? He was breaking me out!), and out came this serum for its triumphant, great-for-curly-hair return. And now, upon my third attempt at testing this, I can finally say it’s great for one more thing: soothing a chronically dry scalp. 

Giovanni 2chic keratin argan serum review

The “this makes curly hair so attractive I get light-headed” approach 

You think I’m joking, but seriously, I’m not joking. Giovanni’s Ultra-Sleek serum did nothing for my dry, straight hair except make it feel kind of gross and heavy, but on curly hair, it works wonders. 

M was blessed with the kind of hair all girls want (full, curly, and naturally dark blonde with highlights), but it needs a little prep work, sometimes. It gets fussy if he blow dries it, and poofs a little if there’s nothing in it, but all in all — pretty standout hair.

So I’ve always adored M’s hair, but good lord, the things this serum does to it. He works a tiny amount of the Ultra-Sleek serum into his hair–you really have to work it in there–and suddenly, it’s all curls! definition! glossiness!, like he’s rolled out of bed and onto the gently-tousled centre spread of a naughty glossy magazine. It takes all the guesswork and skill out of styling curly hair, which is something I think we could all use, you know?

(Don’t lie, you totally do. Rolling out of bed with model hair is every girl–and probably guy’s–dream.)

Giovanni berazilian keratin argan oil review - serum potion

Giovanni Argan and Keratin Super Potion serum review

But it’s great on the scalp, too

he Brazillian Keratin & Argan Oil 2chic serum is enriched with all sorts of good-for-your hair ingredients, and it makes for a smooth, hydrating finished product — it’s a rich, thin, nutty-smelling oil. You have to be careful not to use too much, but if worked in well, this is a product that doesn’t need to be re-activated or re-styled day after day.

I have one of those finicky scalps that gets super tight after I shower, no matter how hydrating my shampoo and conditioner are, but gets oily through the day — and, if left unattended, flakes like crazy along the hairline. I thought I had dandruff for years before realizing that the flakes weren’t characteristic of dandruff at all, and that they only appeared around my face… where, coincidentally, my skin also flakes and peels if left un-moisturized.

Long story short: used sparingly while your hair is wet, a little bit of Giovanni Ultra-Sleek massaged into the scalp really helps comfort and hydrate dry patches without adding too much weight to the hair. It’s not a permanent fix, but it’s certainly more hair-friendly than facial moisturizers!

Giovanni ultra-sleek super potion review

The verdict?

It took me sixteen months to review this product, but I couldn’t be happier that I waited. Had I reviewed it promptly, you would have gotten an entirely inaccurate view of the product: I would have told you that, for a serum, it seemed kind of dry-heavy… and kind of gross.

But patience has its rewards, and I can paint you a very different picture of Giovanni’s 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Serum today. It’s amazing for curly hair (especially short curly hair), great for moisturizing the scalp, and touts a nutty scent alongside top-notch packaging. I actually did a double-take when I saw how much this was — I had expected something close to $20, not $8!

While NOT suited for fine hair, this serum has really knocked my socks off. It’s an amazing buy for the price, and despite being formulated entirely from natural and organic ingredients, it outperforms any silicone-based haircare products I’ve tried for dry scalps and thick, curly hair.

Availability: $7.99 USD/$8.99 CAD/£8.99. See the full list of retailers here — it’s very long, so you have absolutely no excuse not to give this a try!

Additional photos & ingredients »

NARS Matte Multiples, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes, Bobbi, and bees | New 20/02/14

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I’ve been doing New This Week features for a good few years, now, and I honestly think that this is the very first time I’ve posted one and not had to include any MAC.

MAC, guys, you really dropped the ball this week. We thank you for it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes

The two biggest launches of the past few months are, arguably, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes ($41 CAD/$35 USD) and NARS Matte Multiples ($46 CAD/$39 USD). I wasn’t super excited for either–cheeks aren’t really doing it for me right now–but, if it was a different month, I could totally see myself going head over heels for both.

They’re opposites in almost every way possible: the Ambient blushes are glowing, pressed products; the NARS Matte Multiples are matte creme sticks. The Ambient blushes are packaged in shiny gold; the Multiples, rubbery black. The Ambient blushes are made for dry use only; the new NARS Multiples sheer out if applied wet. 

The Ambient blushes got a boring new logo; the NARS blushes did not. :<

NARS Matte Multiples

On the collections front, we have two from Bobbi Brown, actually: Nectar & Nude and Uber Pinks. My picks from the two would be the Nectar & Nude Pot Rouges ($26 USD), I think, and the Uber Pinks Illuminating Bronzing (really??) Powders ($38 USD)– I love their BE BOLD and BE PRETTY imprints.

If your makeup’s going to give you commands, they’d better be awesome, caps-locked, confidence-inspiring ones.

Bobbi Brown Uber Pink collection

Keep reading! »

Je Joue MiMi Soft Silicone Vibrator review, photos | A Valentine’s Day review, from me to you

Friday, February 14, 2014

Je Joue MiMi Soft box

The product: Je Joue MiMi Soft Waterproof Rechargeable Silicone Vibrator in Fuchsia

My dearest, darlingest readers: over 180 of you requested this review in a gift guide last December, and because I was so incredibly overwhelmed by the gesture, consider this my Valentine’s Day gift to all of you. 

Try as I might, I can’t really do anything with theNotice without your support, so thank you. I have a super embarrassing brain crush on all of you beautiful creatures right now, and I really hope that some of you will love the MiMi Soft as much as I do.

Je Joue MiMi Soft

The execution

Packaged in the sturdiest, most luxurious box I’ve ever received anything in, the MiMi Soft is luxury inside and out. With a very cool magnetic charging mechanism and a soft, plush silicone finish, it appeals to both my lady-parts and my inner geek.

Like the original MiMi ($88.99 USD), the MiMi Soft is entirely waterproof, with five vibration levels and five vibration patterns (controlled separately), and comes in four colours: black, lilac, fuchsia (featured here), and Je Joue’s classic purple. Both deliver two hours of use on a two hour charge, and feature metal intensity buttons on their back end that double as points of charge. The buttons are very hard to push, one of the MiMi’s only faults (the only other is its slight noisiness), but I personally think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff — yes, even with my arthritic fingers.

Je Joue MiMi Soft details

Je Joue MiMi Soft review controls hard

Je Joue MiMi Soft intensity buttons/charging ports, & pattern switch (between)

Je Joue MiMi Soft magnetic charger

Je Joue MiMi Soft, with its magnetic charging “port”

The experience

The silicone finish: Unlike the original MiMi, or any other toy I’ve owned before, the Soft version features a thick layer of silicone overtop the ABS plastic. It’s squishy without being too squishy, holding its shape but delivering a very unique, incredibly comfortable experience. Silicone is the safest material to use in any type of sex toy, but it usually feels like a thin, fixed layer of protection overtop a harder material. With the MiMi Soft, however, the silicone layer feels plush and somehow realistic (without being creepy-realistic), and lifts slightly off the inner body of the toy if squished just right. For me, it’s like the difference between bare hands and latex on a stick: which is to say, a huge one.

Somehow, though, the soft finish of this vibrator isn’t even its main selling point. Instead, may I please introduce you to the Je Joue MiMi motor: a little rattly, a little loud, and yet exponentially better than anything else I’ve ever tried. 

Je Joue MiMi review

Keep reading to find out what makes the MiMi a must-have »

LUSH Valentine’s 2014 reviews: Tender is the Night, Neon Love, Love Locket

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lush Neon Love alt

The products: LUSH Tender is the Night massage bar, Love Locket bath bomb, & Neon Love soap

Tender is the Night massage bar ($11.95)

A returning limited edition product coming to the permanent line, Tender is the Night is a solid massage bar. It’s very sturdy in its solid state (perfect for travel), and melts immediately upon contact with skin. The oil it melts into is smooth and intensely moisturizing, and I really appreciate that the body of the bar isn’t coloured — it saves me from worrying about it getting on my white sheets.

Lush Tender is the Night review

Scented with Simon Constantine’s Vanilla Orchid fragrance, this bar smells a little sour to my nose. That said, I’m crazy picky about my vanillas — past the initial sharpness, Tender is the Night is kind of delicious and a little bit sexy. Scented with notes of vanilla, jasmine, and ylang ylang, it’s sweet without being nauseating, and I think many will adore its fragrance.

As long as you don’t live in a hot climate, I think this would be a lovely bedside or bathroom addition. If you really love vanilla, it would be a really nice treat for yourself, too, even just for travel or for moisturizing with after a bath!

Tender of the Night is photographed here in LUSH’s Massage Bar Tin ($3.95), which is great for both storage and travel. 

Murumuru Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Fragrance, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Cornflour, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Lilial, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, FD&C Red No. 4, D&C Red No. 27

Lush massage bar review - Tender is the Night

Love Locket ballistic bath bombs ($10.95)

Love Locket is priced a little higher than Lush’s other bath bombs, but for good reason: this thing is MASSIVE. Like, three-baths massive: the heart “unlocks,” breaking into two halves with an additional heart in the centre. It’s heavy, dense, and honestly, the idea behind it is kind of fantastic.

A little macabre (“break your heart”), but fantastic.

LUSH Love Locket Bath Bomb

Lush Love Locket open

Fragranced with vanilla, jasmine, and neroli essential oils, I’m not crazy about the scent — but unlike some of LUSH’s other bath bombs, it’s not a deal-breaker. The outside layer hides paper hearts that will float out to the surface of the water, while the centre heart has shiny red hearts made from agar. Unlike plastic wrap or microbeads, both will dissolve entirely, making them 100% ocean-safe.

Note: my Love Locket “unlocked” in the mail (though all of the pieces are intact), so if you’re going to buy one of these, I definitely recommend purchasing it in person.

Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Jasmine Absolute, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Neroli Oil, Gardenia Extract, Eugenol, Geraniol, Methyl Ionone, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, D&C Red No. 27, Pink Heart Confetti

Red Edible Hearts (Hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose, Glycerine, Gum Arabic, Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, FD&C Red 40)

LUSH bath bomb review - love locket

Neon Love soap ($6.95)

The first thing that came to mind when I saw Lush’s Neon Love soap was Cut Copy’s 2004 Bright Like Neon Love. I still haven’t gotten around to listening to anything post In Ghost Colours, but you guys — they’re pretty great. Not, like, “I love this so much I never want to listen to anything else ever again” levels of great, but there’s something about their light, electro-pop sound that’s sort of smooth, like little fizzy bursts of soft light in a dark room. 

LUSH Valentine's 2014 review - Neon Love soap

Much like Cut Copy, Neon Love is heartbreakingly bright. It’s sunny and cheery without being too sweet — Lush lists notes of passion fruit, bergamot, rosewood, and cinnamon, and let me tell you: it does not disappoint. The cinnamon leaf oil gives incredible balance to the scent, a spicy base to tether the fizzy passionfruit, and it’s so perfectly mouthwatering that I’m presently using it to scent my office.

(Neon Love is named after 12 Months of Neon Love, a public art project.)

Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Fresh Passion Fruit, Cornflour, Sodium Stearate, Fresh Figs, Fragrance, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Rosewood Oil, Bergamot Oil, Titanium Dioxide,Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Editronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citral, Coumarin,Eugenol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, FD&C Yellow No. 8, D&C Green No. 8, D&C Red No. 27

Lush Neon Love review

The verdict?

Of these, Neon Love is really the only one that I’d call a must-have – but what a must-have it is. Honestly, I don’t even think I’d be upset if it was the only soap I was allowed to use all spring and summer: it’s that good.

The fragrances of Love Locket and Tender is the Night didn’t really hook me, but the delivery of both is stellar. I love that Love Locket breaks open and reveals yet another heart (what a wonderful, romantic-or-platonic Valentine’s Day gift it would be for a bath addict!), and Tender is the Night would make a great bedside addition if you want to subtly hint that you’d like a massage.

And Lush? If you’re listening… please, please, please bring Neon Love into your permanent collection. I think it’d be a hit!

Additional photos & more »

The first signs of spring | New 27/01/14 from NARS, YSL, Laura Mercier, and more

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wrapped in gold: YSL Spring & the launch of Tory Burch

The new YSL Gloss Volupté lipglosses are rumoured to be underwhelming — but is that going to stop any of you, dear readers?

New from NARS

Everything before (and including) the pink Adelaide Illuminator is from the NARS Final Cut collection–exclusive to Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew, I believe–and I’m super excited about it.

Everything after the NARSissist Cheek Palette is the NARS Spring 2014 colour collection, which didn’t really grab me — was I the only one? I liked the look of the gold/violet Kauai Eyeshadow Duo, but it just felt really uncoordinated. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, because I’d love to hear them!

P.S. The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette wasn’t available through this widget, but can be found here.

Spring hues with Laura Mercier and bareMinerals

Rose golds and soft hues. I never really threw myself on the rose gold train with everyone else (though pretty, they’re not the best hue for my skintone), but I’m really excited about the soft, almost desaturated shades we’re seeing for spring. I feel like we’re seeing a mix of soft pinks and peaches juxtaposed against cool-toned fluorescents, which is something I can totally get behind.

I love me a pastel, but give me bridal-appropriate neutrals and tiny pops of intensity any day.

Everything else

MiraCurl/Curl Secret knockoffs, beautiful hues from Lancôme (that Rouge in Love!), and a new finish from those wonderful Sephora singles. Oh! And a skin oils kit from Sephora, plus the relaunch of Calyx under the Clinique name.

The new Guerlain Meteorites are silicone-free, by the way. Just in case you weren’t tempted enough.

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