L’Occitane Vervine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo, Body Milk review, photos

Monday, June 15, 2015

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo review

The product: L’Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo & Fresh Body Milk

I’m not a huge fan of L’Occitane’s original Verbena scent, but for some reason, I always really love their summer limited edition flankers.

This year, the line is doing Verveine Agrumes (Citrus Verbena), and they’re introducing a few unexpected products to the range — deodorant, shampoo, an conditioner.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo Body Milk review

The Vervine Agrumes scent

Verveine Agrumes smells good. Like, really good. It smells like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits being squeezed for their juice — there’s that almost bitter undertone to the oils in the rind that no one ever seems to get quite right, but with Verveine Agrumes, L’Occitane gets it just right. 

There’s something immediately very real about this scent (unlike so many synthetic lemon-cleaner and lemon-sugar fragrances), and it’s paired with a cedar base for a very “fill in the blank” kind of effect. I really like the way these products smell, but they’re not overpowering — they’re definitely unisex-friendly, and they pair well with most summer perfumes and colognes, too.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo review photos

L’Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo ($23 CAD)

Okay, but like — was anyone else even aware that L’Occitane did shampoos up until now? Because let me tell you, I was very much not aware of this. But apparently they do a bunch: a Roses et Reines shampoo, a Shea Ultra Rich shampoo, a whole bunch of Aromachologie shampoos… apparently I’ve just been very (very) behind the times.

The Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo pairs with a Daily Use Conditioner ($23 CAD) that I didn’t have a chance to test, but I really like the shampoo on its own. It’s tingly and minty and just a little acidic (I’m guessing; I don’t have any pH testing strips right now), leaving my hair feeling clean and weightless without stripping it too badly.

To note, however, this one gets very sudsy. It plays well with my dry scalp, but I wouldn’t recommend it for really overprocessed or heat-damaged hair.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Body Milk review

(I couldn’t test the Verveine Agrumes Fresh Body Milk ($32 CAD) due to its silicone content, but it smells just as good!)

The verdict?

I don’t love Verveine Agrumes as much as last year’s Frisson de Verveine (which I bloody adored; I still regret not buying the EdT), but I do really like it. The shampoo is pretty good, especially from a brand that isn’t really known for its haircare range, and it’s worth a try fo a little dose of summer in your shampoo.

For anyone who loves the scent of citrus fruits being peeled, though (and really, who doesn’t?), definitely give the Verveine Agrumes EdT a look — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Availability: Available online and at L’Occitane boutiques beginning this July. Limited edition.

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Annabelle Zebra Biggy Bronzer review, swatches: Haute, Matte, & Dark Gold

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Annabelle Biggy Zebra Bronzing powders review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Biggy Zebra Bronzing Powder in Haute Gold, Dark Gold, and Matte Gold

I’m entering week 7 of Rae’s Epic Tonsillitis Fest of 2015, so today, I’ve chosen a really easy product to review: Annabelle’s Biggy Bronzers. They’re just updated versions of the brand’s original Zebra bronzer (which, as a few of you might even remember, was my first bronzer love back in the day), and darn it, their big, silly, striped design makes me happy.

Annabelle Cosmetics Matte Gold Biggy Bronzer review

Annabelle “Matte Gold” Biggy Zebra Bronzing Powder review

Annabelle Cosmetics Dark Gold Biggy Bronzer review

Annabelle “Dark Gold” Biggy Zebra Bronzing Powder review

The product: Each Biggy powder bronzer is zebra-patterned with light and dark bronze stripes in either a subtle shimmer (Haute Gold, Dark Gold) or matte (Matte Gold) finish. Each shade blends seamlessly to give you a perfectly gold-hued bronze, and the yellow/red undertones never look ruddy or fake the way many orange-brown bronzers can.

Annabelle Haute Gold, Dark Gold, Matte Gold Bronzer swatches review

Annabelle Biggy Bronzer swatches: Dark Gold, Haute Gold, Matte Gold

The shades: I still adore the subtle shimmer of Haute Gold (there’s a reason why it won the 2014 ELLE Canada Beauty Grand Prix for Best Bronzer Under $30, you know), but the new shades are pretty great, too!

Dark Gold is an intense, metallic yellow-bronze. Haute Gold is ever so slightly redder, and has more of a shimmer finish. Matte Gold is the most sheer of the three, and is impressively close in tone to the others — it’s slightly more red and desaturated, but if you loved the original Zebra bronzer (Haute Gold), it’ll definitely still work for your skin tone.

Annabelle Biggy Zebra Bronzer swatches review

Annabelle Zebra Biggy Bronzer swatches: Dark Gold, Haute Gold, Matte Gold

BEST USED: Apply Haute Gold (for everyday wear) or Dark Gold (for a more metallic finish) to the cheekbones, collarbones, and décolletage to give a golden glow without looking like you’ve had an accident with the fake tanner.

Apply Matte Gold to subtly sculpt and bronze the face — lord knows it’s better for contouring than most of this season’s contouring launches.

Annabelle Cosmetics Haute Gold Biggy Bronzer review comparison

Annabelle Zebra Bronzers in Dark Gold, Haute Gold, and Matte Gold

The verdict?

At just over $10 apiece, these bronzers are some of my favourites — and not just from the drugstore. They’re one of those products that does all the work for you, blending out easily and imparting a really healthy-looking glow with almost no effort at all.

I love that Annabelle has expanded the Biggy Bronzing Powder shade range, but Haute Gold is still my favourite of the three. I recommend applying lightly all summer long with a large powder brush!

Availability: $11.95 CAD at Annabelle.ca and at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

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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.

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Besame Boudoir brushes, Formula X Infinite Ombré, and more | New 01/06/15

Monday, June 1, 2015

Can you believe that it’s already June?! Because dude, I cannot. It is way too soon for this, and I am not ready.

In other news, though, here’s what’s new this month at Nordstrom and Sephora! Sephora has actually done a great job of picking up niche beauty brands again this year, which is really exciting — I feel like they were definitely moving away from that for a long while, but with weird new products like that Eborian Pâte au Ginseng mask, those Besamé Boudoir brushes, and the Make Up Eraser (I’m dying to know if that works), they’re definitely branching out into niche finds again.

I also have my eye on the Formula X Infinite Ombré Nail Design Set, which makes me think of the new OPI Color Paints. It doesn’t look like much at first glance, but some of the looks Sephora has up on their Beauty Board make it look really cool.

Formula X Infinite Ombre kit

What’s your favourite unexpected beauty find?

Odacité Camelina Chamomile Facial Serum Concentrate review, photos | The perfect summer serum

Friday, May 22, 2015

Odacite Ca+C Camelina Chamomile serum booster oil review photos

The product: Odacité Ca+C Camelina Chamomile Facial Serum Concentrate

Today was the unofficial start of summer in Edmonton, with the mercury rising to just past 20 degrees. 21 is, admittedly, not a lot for most places, but with the bright sunlight and a big bay window, our kitchen was verging on sweltering by dinner time.

With the summer heat comes changes to my skincare routine, and this serum/oil is the one thing that I’m crazy about at the moment.

Odacite Sensitive Skin booster serum oil review - Camelina Chamomile

The texture: When I first tried this oil back in February, I actually… hated it. I wanted to use my beloved Pomegranate + Rose Geranium oil instead! I didn’t want this thin serum that smelled, for lack of a better term, like a regular facial oil. I wanted that lush, syrupy-thick Po+R Serum Concentrate, with its intense scent and comforting weight.

But as the months got warmer, and warmer, and, eventually, hotter, I thought, hey, why not give Ca+C another go.

And am I ever glad I did. This oil is thin, yes, but it’s smooth and delicate. Two small drops will turn even the thickest of moisturizers into silky fluids, and impart their pasty bases with a good dose of hydration.

Odacite Ca+C Camelina Chamomile Facial Serum Concentrate review photos

The ingredients: Unlike the Pomegranate/Rose Geranium oil that I’m so in love with, Ca+C contains a lot more than three ingredients. It’s mostly camelina seed oil, which is anti-inflammatory and helpful in treating eczema, but it also features a blend of essential oils: ingredients like calendula and German chamomile, which help heal the skin, and Blue Tansy, which for some reason Into the Gloss has decided will be the next big trend. (I have my doubts.)

It’s still a very short ingredient list (silicone- and paraben-free), and like the rest of the Odacité booster serums, Ca+C is made fresh from high-quality ingredients and packaged in thick-walled violet glass.

Odacite Ca+C Facial Serum Concentrate review photos

Best as: A basic, simple serum-oil to use with a moisturizer or tinted moisturizer. This one is perfect for sensitive skin, so it’s a great place to start exploring the Odacité line if your skin tends to react to new products!

Best for: Blending into your moisturizer (and thinning out thick ones, like many of those with physical SPF!)

Odacite Camelina Chamomile Serum Concentrate review photos

The verdict?

Camelina Chamomile isn’t as uniquely singular as Odacité’s Po+R serum, but it’s still a really lovely, simple oil to add to your skincare regimen this summer. It’s very thin and blends well with most moisturizers (especially those that are a little too thick), and is a great “starter oil” for anyone with normal, dry, or sensitive skin.

Availability: $39 USD/$46 CAD at The Detox Market.

Keep reading! »

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