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)

Additional photos & ingredients »

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

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Or, & Shower Oil review, swatches, photos

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nuxe Huille Prodigieuse range review photos swatches

The products: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil, Huile Prodigieuse OR Dry Oil, and Prodigieux Shower Oil

Along with their Rêve de Miel, Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse is the brand’s golden (sometimes literally) star. So, today, I have not one, not two, but three Huile Prodigieuse reviews to share with you–and strangely enough, I have vastly different opinions about all three.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse review paris edition

The original Huile Prodigieuse ($45 CAD): Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it. While I have a lot of love for the Nuxe and Bio Beauté by Nuxe labels on the whole… I just don’t like the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the classic packaging (that alone is worth half the cult following) and I love that it comes out in limited edition prints each year. I love that its formula is 97.8% natural and contains six botanical oils as its base–macadamia, hazelnut, borage, sweet almond, camellia, and St. John’s Wort.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or review. Look at all of that beautiful, cloud-like shimmer!

I love that it’s enriched with vitamin E and is silicone- and preservative-free, and I love the heady, addictive Huile Prodigieuse fragrance: it smells like summer to me, with its big floral notes and coconut & vanilla base. And, of course, I love that it’s marketed as a multi-use oil; light enough to add shine to your hair, moisturizing enough for the body, and delicate enough to be mixed into your facial moisturizer.

My ex used her Huile Prodigieuse for everything, and it worked amazingly well for her. She always smelled delicious and soft, and her hair (also done up with this oil, of course) was always super gorgeous. But on my skin and hair, it just feels like such a dry dry oil, as if I’ll never feel hydrated and non-staticky ever again.

(Nuxe’s offshoot brand, Bio Beauté, makes a body oil that I much prefer to this one.)

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR review swatches photos

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or “swatch” (artificial lighting)

The Huile Prodigieuse Or ($45 CAD): While the original does nothing for me, I have formed a certain fondness for the golden shimmer version of this Nuxe cult classic. It’s extremely glittery and glamorous, and while Nuxe is full of lies when they say that it can be used on your face, but on the body, it’s a lot of fun.

There aren’t a lot of shimmering body products that you can use if you’re silicone-free, so this one is a treat to find. It’s no more expensive than the original, but it can be used more easily as an adjunct product: I can moisturize normally, then apply this sparingly as a bronze shimmer and summer fragrance. 

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse golden shower oil review

The Prodigieux Shower Oil ($16 CAD): The Huile Prodigieuse line is an expensive one (body oils frequently are, as they’re completely undiluted with water or fillers), so I was very happy to see the brand introduce a full-sized product at a lower price point. The brand new Prodigieux huile de douche is gorgeous to use and feels every bit as luxurious as the original oil, if not more.

A rich, thick shower gel, this shower “oil” is woven through with golden pearl and features a brighter version of the summery Prodigieux fragrance. It’s nicely hydrating (though not as moisturizing as those new Aveeno shower gels), and while I was hoping it would act more like an in-shower moisturizer, it’s a great way to add a dose of gold to your shower routine without being scented or shimmery all day long.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse shower oil gel review swatches

The verdict?

As someone with dry skin, none of these products are must-haves for me. However, they make lovely gifts, and the shower gel and gold oil have secured themselves a permanent place in my summer cabinet!

Availability: $45 CAD for the oil (limited edition 2016) and Huile Prodigieuse Or; $16 CAD for the Prodigieux Shower Oil. Available at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Murale, and Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow, Instant Light Lip Protector reviews, swatches, photos | Summer 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Clarins summer 2016

The products: Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow in Golden Sand & Golden Peach, Instant Light Lip Protector in Pink Shimmer

With my finicky eyelids, I spend a loooot of time waiting for brands to release really great, long-wearing eyeshadows that a) won’t need a primer to not crease and b) aren’t too shimmery. For some reason, they seem to be few and far between, and more often than not they’re limited edition releases (like these two, which I adored and miss every time I put on eyeshadow.)

Clarins’ new summer collection includes one such eyeshadow formula, and I’m absolutely smitten with both it and the collection’s LE-packaged Instant Light lipgloss–which, yes, okay, I hadn’t tried until now.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow Shimmering Cream Colour ($24 CAD)

The limited edition Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadows come in little tubes (my favourite kind of eyeshadow packaging; it’s hygienic and makes me feel far more artsy than I actually am) and are available in four shades. The formula contains orange blossom wax to help create a protective waterproof film, and it’s so good.

While I know that cream eyeshadow formulas can be a little finicky, this formula is really worth the effort. These eyeshadows wear literally all day on my oily lids with zero creasing, and I don’t need a primer underneath. My longest wear test was a whopping 10 hours long and saw no creasing and only a tiny bit of fading, and I bet I could have made it to a full 15 had I not then needed to go to bed and actually get some sleep for once.

Clarins golden peach golden sand swatches review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

I tested out Golden Sand and Golden Peach, which are both sheer, warm, summery shades. They’re shimmery without being gaudy (something that Clarins excels at), and while I found them to be a little too warm for my skintone, they still looked beautiful on their own.

The formula does dry down fairly quickly, but it blends well both with a fingertip or with a brush. And, once dry, it’s totally set: there’s no stickiness or smudging, and you’ll need to take a makeup remover to your eyelid to get it off.

As a result, I find that these shadows perform best on their own, but they’ll serve as an oil-absorbing base if you’re willing to foil any subsequent powder eyeshadows. The dry finish doesn’t lend itself to acting as a primer, though, so opt for a cream eyeshadow base instead if you’re willing to exchange flawless wear for a sticky base.

Clarins waterproof eyeshadow cream review swatches photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector ($25 USD/$20 CAD)

Clarins’ Instant Light glosses are one of their most popular products, so I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t tried them until just now! (I was busy being distracted by their other lip products.)

The summer Sunkissed Summer 2016 collection showcases three brand new Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector shades (Pink Shimmer, Orange Shimmer, and Red Shimmer), each with a sheer tint and “soft gel texture” (hella accurate.) The 3D shimmer that’s mentioned all over their product page is negligible; Pink Shimmer is a beautiful, milky coral pink with shimmer that’s literally invisible unless you hold a swatch right up to your eye in direct lighting.

These glosses are vanilla scented and taste sweet, and the summer shades come packaged in a beautiful white & floral box with and white petals adoring the simple coloured tubes.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector review

I really like this kind of applicator (think the celebrated child borne from an illicit affair between a doe foot applicator and a squeeze tube), and the plush texture of the gloss formula is really nice. It’s not as moisturizing as I had expected, though–everyone always refers to these as a lip gloss crossed with a balm, but my lips just weren’t feeling it.

They contain shea butter, wild mango, and vitamins A & E to repair and soften the lips, but with continued use, my lips were left feeling a little dry. For a lipgloss, they’re pretty moisturizing; if you need a lip balm throughout the day, though, these aren’t a two birds/one stone kind of deal.

Clarins xx Instant Light lip swatches review

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector swatch in Pink Shimmer (artificial lighting)

The verdict?

I really liked the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Pink Shimmer as an easy, tasty summer gloss, but I looooved the new Waterproof Eyeshadows. They’re perfect for beach days and afternoons at the pool, and will deliver a flawless shimmery eyelid that won’t smudge or crease no matter how hard you run and play and sweat.

The formula of the new eyeshadows is really waterproof, too, which is awesome to see. My swatches didn’t budge at all with water or hand soap and furious rubbing, but they came off easily with just a touch of cleansing oil, and when worn, they last all day and still look great at the end of it.

Availability: Available at department stores, pharmacies, and online at Clarins.com. Both formulas are silicone-free!

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