The purple pout: A Body Shop Universal Lip Pencil vs. Clinique Voluptuous Violet comparison

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Purple lipstick comparison swatches review

I recently got a question on Instagram asking me to compare The Body Shop’s Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Velvet Pencil ($15 USD/CAD) with Clinique’s Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick ($17 USD/$19 CAD), so I thought I’d follow up with a super short blog post on the topic.

If all you’re looking for is a sheer, comfortable violet lip pencil, then either one of these will fit the bill. But here’s where the differ: Chubby Sticks are glossy and emollient while The Body Shop’s Velvet Pencils are satin-matte and, well, velvety. (Neither are particularly drying or hydrating on me!) Voluptuous Violet reads as more of a pinky-red, while the pH-adjusting Body Shop pencil is an ashier purple, though it stains pink.

For wearability, definitely opt for the Clinique. But for coolness (both tonally and metaphorically), go for the Body Shop pencil.

Clinique Voluptuous Violet vs TBS Universal Shade

The Body Shop Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Pencil, Clinique Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick swatches (layered to maximum intensity)

Do you own any purple lipsticks, pencils, balms, or glosses?

Shu Uemura Satin Radiant Sticks in Pink, Orange Coral: swatches, review, photos

Monday, March 23, 2015

shu uemura brave beauty blush sticks review

The product: shu uemura Satin Radiant Sticks in Pink and Orange Coral

I’ve been all about stick makeup this month, so today I thought I’d share photos of one of my first cheek-stick loves: the Shu Uemura Brave Beauty Satin Radiant Sticks.

They’re not something that I was planning on reviewing, because they contain way more shimmer than I prefer, but… I mean, I’ve been wearing the pink one so often that it would basically just be wrong NOT to post about it.

So, consider this my not-rave product rave.

shu uemura pink satin radient stick blush review brave beauty

The shades: This stick is available (right now, at least; it’s limited edition from the fall) in four shades: two blushes, pictured here, and two highlighters. Orange Coral is a bright, super glowy orange with yellow/gold shimmer, silver microshimmer (for a super dewy finish), and literally no coral undertones. Pink is a gorgeous purpley pink with a cool pink sheen and silver microshimmer.

If you’re cool-toned and you’re looking for the perfect stick blush, the Pink Satin Radiant Stick is totally where it’s at. 

shu uemura pink, coral radiant stick blush swatches review

shu uemura radiant blush stick swatches – pink (blended/unblended), orange coral (unblended/blended)

shu uemura satin radient stick blush review

Heartbreak! Suspense!: So, if I’m so obsessed with these sticks, why the hesitation?

Well… for one, I’m big on totally invisible makeup, and silver shimmer doesn’t quite fit the bill. But more than that, my Pink stick doesn’t twist back down, so I have to twist it up, swipe twice, and then push it back in with my fingers. Which… is kind of icky, for travel purposes.

shu uemura pink, coral brave beauty stick blush swatches review

shu uemura brave beauty radiant blush stick swatches — pink; orange coral

The verdict?

The pros definitely outweigh the cons with these blush sticks, but for a whopping $55 CAD apiece, I expect a blush to be flawless if I’m going to recommend it to you guys. And these, with their silver shimmer and slightly flawed packaging, just aren’t flawless.

Are they pretty? Absolutely. Would I have been heartbroken if I hadn’t gotten something in that gorgeous Brave Beauty packaging? Definitely. But are these two products worth $110? Well… maybe not. I say get Pink if you’re an absolute blush fiend, but in general, I think that the Brave Beauty eyeshadow palettes are a better buy!

Availability: $55 CAD at shuuemura.ca and in select Holt Renfrew locations.

Additional photos & more »

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads review, photos | A semi-DIY cleanser/exfoliator/mask

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads cleanser review

The product: Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads Daily Powdered Face Cleanser

How it works: DIY meets green beauty, baby! Instead of releasing a ready-made exfoliator, Kaia offers a cleansing kit comprised of an exfoliating powder, a mini vial of moringa oil, and instructions.

Now, I’m all about customizing products, and this kit is perfect for it. All you do is tap out some of the powder into your hand, then blend with a liquid to make a cleanser/mask/exfoliator that’s customized to meet your needs exactly.

Exfoliating powder review - Kaia

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads kit

What to blend it with: Kaia recommends moringa oil, a makeup-removing dry oil that’s rich in vitamin C, but the sample they provided goes cloudy and thick in my (cold, cold, cold) bathroom. They also suggest water, yogurt (for a mask), other oils, and green tea.

I liked it best paired with my go-to cleanser, though — a dollop of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, a tap of powder, and you’re off to the races.

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads review

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads

Kaia Naturals review

The caveat: While I like the idea of this cleansing powder a lot, I still prefer an enzyme powder cleanser (like Tatcha’s) over a gritty one like this. But, as a physical exfoliator, this powder definitely isn’t too harsh for my sensitive skin, and is far less abrasive than all of the regular-line Clarisonic heads!

Kaia powdered face cleanser review

The verdict?

At $38, this cleansing powder is a little pricy — but it leaves my face feeling super soft. I love that Kaia has taken the usual approach to cleansing and broken it down into its component parts, allowing the consumer to decide how to use the product without needing to buy three separate versions of it.

If you’re really picky about things being just-so (or if you need an exfoliator/cleanser for your carry-on luggage), then definitely give this one a look. My recommendation? Go with the refill, not the kit — you’ll save $8 and all you miss out on is a spoon and a tiny-baby vial of oil.

Availability: $38 USD/CAD at Kaia Naturals and select Holt Renfrew locations.

Keep reading! »

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer & Organic Repair Lotion reviews, photos

Monday, March 9, 2015

Odylique Timeless Rose Repair Lotion moisturizer review

The products: Odylique by Essential Care Timeless Rose Moisturizer, Organic Repair Lotion, and Ultra Rich Balm

I have got to stop forming love-hate relationships with products.

Today, we’re covering a few products that I tried recently from a brand called Odylique, a relative unknown in the beauty blogging world. An all-natural and largely organic brand, Odylique is vegan-friendly and was created by its founder to help alleviate her own sensitive, eczema-prone skin.

» Odylique recommends that those with eczema moisturize sparingly but often, which is definitely life advice to take to heart!

Odylique natural skincare review

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer ($21 USD/0.51 fl oz)

Based around aloe, rose, coconut, and jojoba and enriched with rosehip and sea buckthorn extracts, the Odylique Timeless Rose moisturizer is quite thin but packs a serious moisturizing punch. I need to apply a lot for my dry skin and re-apply often (the avocado-based moisturizer would be better for dry skin), but once it’s on, it does a great job of making my dry patches disappear.

Best for slightly dry to combination-dehydrated skin types, I would recommend this cream as an affordable, all-natural alternative to those who are used to using fluid moisturizers — anything from the Olay or Neutrogena lines, for instance.

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer review

However (and this is a BIG however), this moisturizer started getting pretty funky after 2-3 weeks of use. My contact at Odylique said the batch should still be okay, though, so perhaps it has to do with contamination (air, bacteria, etc.) or the product freezing on its way over here, but I’m not sure. I plan on trying a different bottle of this soon, though, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer ingredients:

Aqua, Rose Flower Water, Jojoba Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Raw Fairtrade Shea Butter, Cold-Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil, Glycerin (non-plant palm origins), Cetearyl Alcohol, Seabuckthorn Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Briar Rose Fruit Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Rose Geranium Oil, Lactic Acid, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Geraniol, Eugenol (naturally occurring) (94% organic)

Odylique Repair Lotion review

Odylique Organic Repair Lotion ($23 USD/60 ml) and Ultra Rich Balm

The Odylique Organic Repair Lotion held up better than the Timeless Rose, but still separated quite badly — and it oxidizes around the opening, which (while not harmful) can look icky! I find that it doesn’t sink in quite as well as the Rose, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s still very good for the price.

I also tried the brand’s Superfruit Concentrate, which I wasn’t crazy about (I don’t like oils, remember?), and their Ultra Rich Balm, which really surprised me — it looks like it’s going to be really hard and waxy, but it actually melts quickly at skin temperature and turns into a thick, balmy oil. (This one would make a fantastic, all-natural cuticle balm!)

Odylique Organic Repair Lotion ingredients: 

Aqua, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chickweed Extract, Raw Fairtrade Shea Butter, Chamomile Flower Extract, Calendula Flower Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol (naturally occurring), Rosemary Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, St. John’s Wort Flower Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum (95% organic)

Odylique Ultra Rich Balm review

(Just a tiny-baby Ultra Rich Balm sample — this definitely isn’t the size you purchase!w)

The verdict?

While I did really love Odylique’s Timeless Rose Moisturizer (and I definitely want to try more from the brand), I’m not confident in the stability of Odylique’s fluid products. I like the idea of all-natural, but I’d rather use something I know is safe than use something all-natural that might be growing bacteria.

My recommendation? If you want a great fluid moisturizer but the L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream is too scented for you, try the Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer in the full-size form – it comes in a much more hygienic (and cost-effective) pump-style bottle.

Pass on anything by Odylique that comes in a squeeze-tube, and sample the Ultra Rich Balm if you love balms — this one is good (it’s way more hydrating than the Burt’s Bees one that everyone loves), but it definitely smells like a “natural” product!

Availability: $21-$48 USD at Odylique.com

Here’s what I mean by flecks and separation »

Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm, Cleansing Oil review & giveaway

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Avene Xeracalm review

The products: Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm, and Eau Thermale/Thermal Spring Water

The technology behind Xeracalm

Avène (a.k.a. Eau thermale Avène, or “the itchy horse brand”!) has been making products for intolerant skin for years, but this month, they’re launching something just for those with dry skin. The Xeracalm A.D range, which is suitable for infants and adults with moderate to intensely dry skin (my entire life can be summed up in that statement, by the way) was created around “I-modulia®,” a new technology that took a whopping twelve years of research to create.

Avene Xeracalm A.D Cleansing Oil review

The Xeracalm A.D range, which is formulated with Avène’s classic thermal water as a key component, aims to reduce itching while soothing irritations and redness, offering both comfort and softening to the skin — something that those with very dry skin will recognize as a pretty rare find.

The Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil

Unlike other cleansing oils, the Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil is thick and almost “sticky,” and I was surprised to find out that it is NOT made to be a makeup removing oil (though it does that, too). Rather, it’s generously-sized and is designed to be used on wet skin at the sink, in the shower, or as a bath oil.

Avene Xeracalm Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil review

It feels most like a shower/bath gel, with a gentle lather and squeaky-clean (but not too stripping) finish. It cleanses well, but I found that this one really excelled as a bath/baby product. Think of it as a lipid-replenishing bath gel, not a cleansing oil, and definitely give it a try if you have generalized eczema, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis.

The Lipid-Replenishing Balm

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm is thin and non-sticky, for a balm! It’s manufactured in a completely sterile environment and is packaged in patent-protected packaging with a perfect hermetic seal, meaning that there are ZERO preservatives (not even trace amounts) in this product.

Avene Xeracalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm review

The Xeracalm Balm reminds me of a zinc cream, but with a texture more like body lotion: it’s very plain, very soothing, and perfect for skin prone to atopic dermatitis. This one is hard to squeeze out of the tube (so avoid it if you have arthritis in your hands or wrists) and not optimal for dehydration, but it will be perfect for you if you have reactive skin.

Or if you’re a baby. The literal kind — this is very well-suited to itchy babies’ skin.

Avene Xeracalm A.D review balm

The classic: Eau Thermale

I also had a chance to try the cult-favourite Avène Thermal Spring Water (proper name “Eau Thermale Avène Eau Thermale,” which I find to be endlessly hilarious) for this review, and I have to say: I really liked it! The full-sized bottle is enormous, and it dispenses a dense, light mist of calming spring water.

I don’t have an itchy-skinned horse to test this product on, but I do find it to be very soothing on my skin when it’s feeling particularly parched. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go — you might just find (like I did) that this one really does live up to the hype.

Avene Thermal Spring Water review

The giveaway

And now, the best part! One lucky Canadian reader of theNotice will win the ENTIRE Xeracalm A.d range by Avène – just enter using the givewaway widget below. Good luck (and good skin) to all of you!!

Keep reading! »

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