Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing Toner & Foam Face Cleanser review, photos

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fresh Peony collection review

The product: Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Face Cleanser, Peony Brightening Moisturizing Facial Toner, and Peony Brightening Moisture Face Cream

Fresh recently added three new products to their Peony Brightening range, and even though I’m not always into brightening products, I love these.

I don’t really believe in the brightening powers of peony (it’s only ever been “proven” to work in petri dishes), and I highly doubt that peony/mushroom/etc-based products truly brighten. That being said, a great brightening range will also make your skin seem brighter by leaving it clean, fresh, and well-hydrated–and the Fresh Peony Brightening range definitely delivers on that kind of brightening.

Fresh Brightening Peony collection review

The ingredients: The range is formulated with Chinese tree peony extract, Madonna lilly root extract, and vitamin C glucoside, and each product has an additional star ingredient: shea seedcake extract (an antioxidant) in the cleanser and moisturizer, and sodium hyaluronate (to act as an to help the skin retain moisture) in the toner and moisturizer.

Unfortunately, the Fresh Peony Brightening Moisture Face Cream ($72 USDcontains silicones, but the new cleanser and toner are ‘cone-free!

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisture face cream review

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisture Face Cream

Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Face Cleanser ($42 USD/$49 CAD)

I tried out the Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Face Cleanser ($42 USD/$49 CADexpecting to enjoy it, and it totally exceeded my expectations.

It’s a super-thick foam formula that’s honestly kind of hard to squeeze out of the tube, but it’s really luxurious — the packaging is gorgeous, and the foam applies kind of like a traditional shaving cream, or a face mask. (Or like fancy glue.) It feels like a ritual sort of product, and the sweet, soft, floral scent of the Peony Brightening range only compounds on this luxe kind of feeling.

Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Cleanser review

I don’t think I love this one enough that I’ll be rebuying it (my skin’s too dry to use something that foams on a daily basis), but I definitely love it enough that I’m not sharing. A’s gonna have to earn this level of pampering if he wants to touch my Peony cleanser!

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing Facial Toner ($60 USD/$70 CAD)

Conversely, I tried out the Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing Facial Toner ($60 USD/$70 CAD) expecting it to be a flop — but I actually like it even more than the cleanser.

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing toner review

The Fresh Peony toner is, in a word, phenomenal. It’s softly scented and absorbs quickly, and its glycerine-based formula leaves my skin feeling moisturized, velvety, and plush, but never sticky.

I know that this one is a huuuuge stretch for most budgets, but it’s honestly the best-performing toner/lotion-type product that I have ever tried for dry skin. It acts more like a really excellent beauty essence than a toner, and while I’m doubtful that it’ll be brightening in the long term, it’s just beyond lovely.

I can even skip my hydrating serum on days that I use this toner (which is something that I never do), so even though it’s priced at a luxury price point, it’s kind of like spending $70 on a serum, not a toner. Which… seems more reasonable, right?

Fresh skincare picks Peony

The verdict?

If you haven’t checked out the Fresh Peony Brightening range yet, I have two words for you: DO IT. 

I’m not sold on the range’s brightening abilities, but these three products are fantastic nonetheless. The moisturizer has a really lovely texture and scent; the cleanser feels literally like it belongs in a high-end spa; and the toner acts more like a liquid serum that’ll soften and balance your dry skin every morning and night.

There are actually quite a few products in the Fresh Peony range now, and if the rest are anything like these, they would make a fantastic Mother’s Day treat for this time of the year!

Availability: New permanent products as of April 2016. Find them online at Fresh and soon at Sephora.

Keep reading! »

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer review, photos

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer review

The product: The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer for Dull, Tired, Grumpy Skin

Five years ago, finding a silicone-free moisturizer was tough. And, while it’s certainly not impossible anymore (thanks to the natural beauty movement, there are a whole ton more options nowadays), I find that a lot of the newer ‘cone-free brands are a little out of my budget.

Widely-available natural companies like Odacité or Pai make some awesome products (aside: I have a review of some Pai coming up!), but not everyone has $50+ to drop on a single bottle of moisturizer — or have the inclination to do so. So, here’s a silicone-free moisturizer from The Body Shop that clocks in at a nice $25 CAD.

TBS Vitamin C Moisturizer review

The formula: The texture and scent of the Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer are honestly just divine. It smells as bright, cheery, and citrusy as it looks, and it has a bouncy gel texture. The formula absorbs very quickly, and it feels almost watery when it touches the skin.

Despite the fact that this moisturizer didn’t have quite enough “oomph” for my skin, I tested it with my Hydraforce Hydration Detector and got more than decent results. Ten minutes after applying, my skin had gone up from 31% hydrated to 50% hydrated, and it outperformed all of the other moisturizers that I’ve tested so far. (Including, ironically, the Hydraforce ones!)

The Body Shop silicone free moisturizer review

Best for: Where the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer really excels, I find (other than in reminding you to eat your daily dose of vitamin C), is in acting as a little transporter vessel. It’s nice on its own, but it pairs really well with serums, whether it’s layered overtop of them or mixed in before applying.

I think it would be best for normal, dull, or dehydrated skin, but it’s a little heavy, and it’s definitely better for dehydration than dryness.

TBS Glow Vitamin C moisturizer review

The verdict?

From the friendly-luxe packaging (you know; really nice and well-made but not breakable) to the citrusy scent, this “glow boosting” moisturizer is a total winner. It’s a great product for dehydrated skin, and really easy to find, too!

It doesn’t make me super glowy, but unlike my favourite DHC and Marcelle silicone-free moisturizers, the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer is available outside of Canada/online. It’s also full of antioxidants, nice to use, and affordable, so if you want a ‘cone-free moisturizer that isn’t a hassle or an “investment piece,” definitely give this one a look.

Availability: $30 USD/$25 CAD. Permanent as of Summer 2015.

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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.

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Marcelle Rouge Vitality reviews, swatches: Rose Classique, Angel’s Blush, Royal Berry

Monday, March 28, 2016

Marcelle Rouge Vitality lipstick review Spring 2016

The products: Marcelle Rouge Vitality Lipsticks in Rose Classique, Angel’s Blush, and Royal Berry

Happy Easter Monday, folks! I’ve been having the CRAZIEST Easter weekend this year, so my apologies for the lack of posts recently. It’s, uh, kind of graphic but I’m gonna share it, so skip down below the next image for the review. 

My partner cut the tip of his finger off at work (which I have many opinions about; he was working on four hours of sleep following three 13-hour days when he had his accident), so that–that was a bit of a rocky start. It wasn’t just a little sliver or anything, either; it was a big ‘ol horror movie chunk. Then, on our way to Easter dinner, we got rear-ended just off of Jasper Ave in heavy traffic.

Thankfully, we left with as many limbs as we started out with, although not with as many car parts. So drive safe out there, kiddos! And go tell your families that you love them and stuff.

Marcelle Rouge Vitality review swatches

Marcelle Rose Classique, Angel’s Blush, and Royal Berry Rouge Vitality lipsticks

The formula: Marcelle’s Rouge Vitality Lipsticks have been my saving grace all month long. Whenever I’m having a rough day, I whip one out and put it on to cheer myself up.

See, the Rouge Vitality Lipsticks and I share a special bond. They’re my favourite lipstick formula ever, thick and carnauba wax-y and unscented with medium to opaque pigmentation. Unlike most lipsticks, they never slide around on my lips or apply unevenly, and they’re never drying. In fact, the formula is enriched with castor seed oil, aloe, and vitamins A, C, and E to slow down damage caused by free radicals, so they’re actually good for your lips!

Sure, they’re not as buttery as a trendy Bite or Guerlain lipstick, but they’re a really awesome–and often overlooked–lipstick formula. I thought they were being slowly discontinued in favour of the Marcelle Rouge Xpression line, but these three brand-new shades give me hope!

Marcelle Angel's Blush Rouge Vitality review swatch

Marcelle Angel’s Blush Rouge Vitality Lipstick review

Marcelle Angel's Blush review swatch Rouge Vitality

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Angel’s Blush lipstick swatch, review

The shades: Including these three, the Rouge Vitality line now offers 12 matte and shimmering shades. I really like their mattes, but they’re more of a soft matte, if you ask me — they go on creamy and settle into the lips with a soft, comfortable matte finish. The matte formula is actually my favourite thing about these lipsticks, because it sinks into the lips slowly, meaning you have no awkward fading, feathering, or drying out of the lip area.

I love the shade of 480 Rose Classique (a really pretty, cool pink), but it has a finely-milled shimmer finish, which can sometimes catch on my lips if they’re really dry. So, instead, I’ve been wearing 330 Angel’s Blush a lot — it’s that cream/matte finish in a warm, medium-toned pinky-nude shade.

Finally, there’s 200 Royal Berry, which is the darkest shade of the three. It’s more of a brick red on me, but I betcha it would be the perfect berry shade on someone with a warmer skintone. If you find that most berry shades pull outright purple on you, then definitely give this one a try!

Marcelle Rose Classique Royal Berry swatches

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Rose Classique, Royal Berry swatches

Marcelle Rouge Vitality review Rose Classique

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Rose Classique Lipstick review

The verdict?

Marcelle’s Rouge Vitality lipstick formula isn’t for everyone, but I love it. It’s classic and stiff, with a soft matte finish that wears incredibly evenly and never dries out my lips.

I would looooove to see more cool-toned matte shades in the range, but hey — I thought that the Rouge Vitality line was going to disappear entirely, so I’ll take what I can get! Angel’s Blush hasn’t left my handbag in weeks, and I’m really enjoying the shimmery Rose Classique, too.

Are any of you guys Rouge Vitality lipstick fans?

Availability: $10.95 CAD at Marcelle.com (US/Canadian shipping) and in drugstores & mass-market retailers across Canada. Permanent.

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Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus serum, Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse reviews, photos

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jurlique Foaming Cleanser, Rose Moisture Plus Serum review

The products: Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse & Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum

I like to think that I can admit my mistakes gracefully. I have no idea if this is true or not, but if it is, then the Jurlique skincare range is a great example of it.

I thought that Jurlique was just another well-marketed beauty brand, but I was definitely off-base in my assumptions. The two Jurlique products that I’ve been testing came in recycled, sustainably sourced paper cartons, feature natural and organic ingredients, and are stamped with expiry dates — March 2017 for the mousse and August 2016 for the serum, instead of that vague “6 months” crap that most brands will feed you.

There are plenty of natural and sustainable brands nowadays, but Jurlique has been doing the eco-conscious thing since way before it was cool. The brand celebrates its 30th anniversary this year (Happy Birthday, Jurlique!)

Jurlique Foaming Cleanser dry skin review

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse review

Jurlique Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse ($34 USD)

The Jurlique Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse is described as a “lightly whipped foaming mousse,” and I have to agree! Jurlique’s mousse cleanser isn’t like any other that I’ve tried — it’s enriched with jojoba, grape seed, safflower, and rose hip oils, and it actually feels whipped and lush rather than just foamy.

It’s the most hydrating mousse/foaming cleanser that I’ve tried, but it’s not perfect. Even though I like the formula, it’s still more stripping than a cleansing milk, so it’ll work better for oily and normal skin types than dry or sensitive ones. I think it would be awesome in helping to balance out a combination complexion, though, or a dehydrated/oily skin type!

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum review

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum review

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum ($50 USD)

I’ve also been using the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum over the past few months, but while it helps maintain my skin’s moisture levels, it doesn’t get rid of my persistent dryness the way that a few of my other serums do.

I really like its silky texture and natural rose scent, but at $50, I just couldn’t recommend it to someone with chronically dry skin. If you have mild dry skin, then yes, this is a gorgeous silicone-free serum, but be warned: I found it to be only about as hydrating as Hylamide SubQ, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, and the super-popular Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum.

(Which, granted, a lot of people describe as super hydrating, so it really depends where you’re measuring from!)

Jurlique packaging review skincare

The verdict?

Jurlique products are definitely a splurge, but I think you get what you pay for with the line. The packaging, delivery, and formulas are exquisite, and I was actually surprised that these products didn’t cost more — $50 for a luxury serum is arguably pretty well-priced.

I didn’t find the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum hydrating enough for my skin type, but I loved the Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse. It’s gentler on the skin than most foaming cleansers, and though it gets used up pretty quickly, it feels whipped (not foamy), which is quite the treat!

Availability: Jurlique.com. Jurlique is actually running a really cool new promo right now, where they will give you a $15 USD credit toward ANY purchase before March 15th if you sign up for their newsletter!

Keep reading! »

Bioderma Atoderm reviews: Gentle Shower Gel, Moisturizing Stick, PP Baume

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bioderma Atoderm shower gel review

The products: Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel, Atoderm Moisturizing Stick, and Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm

The Bioderma Atoderm shower gel is the biggest shower gel that you are ever going to use. Period. It’s a massive 1 litre (or bloody 2 lbs and 6.86 oz) of paraben-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic gentleness, and it’s totally dry skin friendly.

Hell, you could use this everywhere from your kids to your face to your junk (that’s one way to prevent the Junkface bar soap conundrum), and you’d still have 990 ml left to soap up… I don’t know; maybe a whole herd of cows?

Bioderma Atoderm review vs Bliss Soapy Suds The Body Shop Virgin Mojito

This is what 1L of bodywash looks like in comparison. (CAD proce per litre: $61, $19.95, $40).

The Atoderm line: Bioderma focuses on making gentle, pharmacy-style products that are targeted to specific skin types, and the Atoderm range is aimed at very dry to atopic sensitive skin. (That’s me!) (Although to be fair, Sensibio and Hydrabio, for sensitive skin and dehydrated sensitive skin, respectively, are also arguably me.)

But my point is — Atoderm products are designed to be gentle, non-stripping, and hydrating, so they’re the Bioderma line to turn to if you have eczema, psoriasis, or just generally fragile skin. 

Bioderma Atoderm shower gel

Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel ($19.95 CAD)

The Atoderm line has four options for shower gels, all available in 500 ml or 1L bottles. This is actually their least gentle of all four (there’s also a gel-mousse, a cream, and an oil, which I really want to try) and it’s really nice.

A litre is a lot of shower gel to go through, but this stuff is awesome. It’s very lightly scented and is actually quite thin, which is something I’ve never encountered before but am very much enjoying 4111111111111111111111111111111 (Tuna says hi.)

You know how, when you walk into an Asian household, the soap is always a little thinner than it’s supposed to be? This is a like that, except minus the scolding grandma! The Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel is slick and easy to apply, and it’s easy to rinse off without having to scrub at your damaged skin.

Bioderma lip balm review Atoderm

Bioderma Atoderm Moisturizing Stick ($6.95 CAD)

There are two lip balms in the Bioderma Atoderm line, because Bioderma loves going overboard with their product ranges. (I joke, but I actually love this kind of precisely curated neuroses.)

This one’s the stick, and I LOVE it. It’s my absolute favourite lip balm right now, and I keep making everyone try it — it’s so good. The formula smells lightly of raspberry candy and is perfectly stiff, but it applies smoothly and keeps my lips nicely hydrated for a good couple of hours. It really is the ideal texture for a daytime lip balm!

Bioderma Atoderm moisturizing stick review

I’d say that this is more hydrating than Nuxe Reve de Miel, eos balms, and Burt’s Bees lip balms, but less hydrating than my potted Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 (yes, that post is SEVEN YEARS OLD now) or the Osmia Organics Lip Balm that I love.

It’s about as hydrating as a Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, but it’s way cheaper and much easier to work with… and it won’t slide onto the floor in the summer.

Bioderma PP Ultra-nourishing balm review ish

Bioderma Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm ($29.95 CAD)

The Bioderma PP Baume contains silicones, so I couldn’t test it myself. However, it’s an extra-nourishing formula that joins a whole bunch of other Atoderm products, like the protective PO Zinc and everyday Creme (which comes in unscented & scented versions — so cool!)

If you’ve tried the PP Baume, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Here’s what other bloggers thought of it, though:

  • Natalie Loves Beauty notes that it absorbs almost instantly,
  • Writing Whimsy loves how hydrating its formula is, unlike the scented Atoderm PP Creme formula,
  • Lipstick and Lullabies tried it with her husband and found that it’s great for dryness, redness, and facial skin, and
  • Ruqaiya Kahn finds the formula a bit sticky BUT notes that it totally got rid of her itchy, dry leg skin.
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