Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence | Getting picture-perfect for the holidays

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

paulas-choice-brightening-essence-serum-review-photos

Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence review

The product: Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence

I like to start every brightening/whitening post the same way: with a reminder that I don’t think that whiter or brighter skin is “more beautiful” than darker skin, ethnic skin, or hyperpigmented skin. Brightening products are a great option to have for those who choose to use them, but I don’t think anyone should feel the need to.

(You’re beautiful just the way you are!) 

paulas-choice-resist-brightening-essence-review-photos

Why use a brightening product?: I have had countless sales associates tell me that I need to brighten my skin due to my ethnicity, but respectfully: fuck that noise.

I was really interested in this product because my skin holds a tan, and I don’t want my choice of holiday dress this year to be limited by my tan lines. But that’s not the only reason to use a brightening product: if you feel like your skin looks a little dull and you want a bit more glow, or if you have pigmentation that makes you uncomfortable and you’d like a slightly more even skintone, then brightening products could really help you outN. If you want extreme results, then opt for a peel or treatment instead.

paulas-choice-resist-serum-packaging

How it works: I like the Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence ($42 USD) in particular because it’s very gentle. It’s not sensitizing the way peels can be, so just make sure to layer under sunscreen during the daytime and use sparingly — the formula pills if you over-apply.

The formula uses licorice extract, arbutin, vitamin C, and niacinamide to brighten the complexion, plus a blend of sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid to add moisture to the epidermis. It’s free of silicones, parabens, and fragrances, and it hasn’t been tested on animals.

paulas-choice-brightening-essence-review

But does it work?: In short, yes. I used this “essence” twice a day on my chest tan (a rather unfortunate cross between a scoop neck and a v-neck) for two weeks straight, and I think my skin looked brighter and more even at the end of the test.

The only thing that confused me about this product is that it’s marketed as an essence, but it’s NOT a K-beauty essence. It’s applied like a serum and it acts like one, so why not just call it a serum? I mean, I know it’s just a thing that brands are doing nowadays, but… it’s confusing. Stop it, skincare industry. Stop it.

paulas-choice-resist-brightening-essence-serum-review

The verdict?

If you’re nervous about holiday photos and you want to get a leg up over the competition (everyone has that hot cousin who always looks better than you in photographs; goddammit, Kylie, why are you so pretty), then right now is exactly the right time to start a brightening regimen.

The Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence is effective and unobtrusive, and more or less feels like a “nothing” step in your skincare routine wherein you’re applying water and waking up two weeks later with results. (Huzzah for skincare products that are easily added to/removed from your routine!)

Availability: $42 USD at Paula’s Choice and Nordstrom.

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil | A holiday treat for yourself!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

loccitane-divine-youth-oil-review

The product: L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil

This season while I was planning out my editorial calendar, I asked myself one question: if I could treat myself to only one expensive makeup or skincare item this season, what would it be? 

I was surprised by my answer: the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil.

loccitane-immortelle-divine-youth-oil-review-photos

The L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil ($108 USD/$110 CADis a product that doesn’t quite work for me, which is why my selection of it is so odd. It’s a little too dry-finish and not quite hydrating enough, and yet… I love it.

It’s an all-natural, silicone-free oil that works well for an enormous range of skin types. Yes, it’s designed to be anti-ageing, but that’s not why I love it. (I’m far too young to be boasting about the effectiveness of anti-ageing products!) But this oil feels velvety, not oily, and it sinks right into both dry and oily skin alike.

loccitane-immortelle-divine-youth-oil-review-photos-splurge-gift-guide

On top of all of that, the Divine Youth Oil leaves the skin with a satin finish and is beautifully perfumed – perhaps the most beautifully perfumed skincare product I have ever owned. I’ve been using it sparingly simply to extend the lifetime of its scent, and every single person who I’ve let share my bottle has loved both the oil’s scent and finish.

Because my skin is so dry, I use this oil in one of two ways: the first, mixed in with a moisturizer; the second, mixed in a 1:2 ratio with rosehip seed oil. Both methods mean that I get the moisture of the second product, plus the scent and satin finish of the Divine Youth Oil. It helps me extend the life of this oil while still getting all of its benefits, which makes the $110 price tag a little easier to swallow.

loccitane-immortelle-divine-youth-oil-review

The verdict?

The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil comes with a hefty price tag, but if you’d like to treat yourself (or someone else), I think it’s worth it. No other oil that I’ve ever tried has smelled so beautiful and luxurious, and no other oil has been quite so soft and velvety.

Currently at L’Occitane, if you buy the Divine Youth Oil in a duo with their Immortelle Cleansing Oil, you essentially get the cleansing oil for $5 with free shipping!

Availability: $108 USD/$110 CAD at Sephora, L’Occitane CA, and Nordstrom.

Keep reading! »

Burberry Nude Beige Kisses, Chestnut Brown Liquid Eyeliner, Silver Glitter Nail Polish, & Cat Lashes Mascara | Fall/Winter 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

burberry-lip-kisses-nude-beige-review-swatches

The products: Burberry Beauty Kisses Lipstick in No. 01 Nude Beige, Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in No. 02 Chestnut Brown, Cat Lashes Mascara in No. 1 Jet Black, and Nail Polish in No. 453 Silver Glitter

Much like their holiday collection, Burberry’s Fall/Winter 2016 makeup look is full of easy-to-wear basics paired with chunky glitter. As someone who routinely does the same as an easy way to make things festive, I am, to say the least, a fan.

burberry-beauty-fall-winter-2016-review

Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Nude Beige ($33 USD/$36 CAD)

I’ve always been fond of Burberry’s makeup collection (how could you not be, with that packaging,) but the Burberry Kisses Lipstick in No. 01 Nude Beige ($33 USD/$36 CAD) is the first product of theirs that has worked its way into my everyday makeup stash.

With a lightweight satin formula and a paraben-free, fragrance-free formula, it’s easier to wear than an A-line dress in the summer (and that’s saying a lot, for me).

burberry-kisses-nude-beige-review

Burberry Kisses Lipstick in 01 Nude Beige review

burberry-kisses-nude-beige-lipstick-swatches-review

Burberry Kisses Lipstick swatch in 01 Nude Beige (bare lips/1 layer)

The Burberry Kisses lipstick formula is one that I have to reapply often despite its six-hour wear claims, and yet I still find myself reaching for it. The Kisses line is built on this weird principle of “multiple, satin finishes with one shade,” depending on how many layers you apply, and I… kind of think it works.

They function just like any other lipstick, of course, but I like that Burberry has taken into consideration the fact that, well, when you apply only one coat of a sheer lipstick, your lip colour bleeds through. For Nude Beige, this means that one coat sinks into your lips and simply neutralizes your lips’ redness slightly, and that three coats sits on your lips for a thicker, more “classically nude” look. I like toning down my lips with a “nothing” lipstick when paired with a dark eye, and Nude Beige is absolutely perfect for that.

burberry-liquid-eyeliner-chestnut-brown-swatches-review-nude-beige

Burberry Kisses Lipstick in 01 Nude Beige, Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown swatches

burberry-effortless-liquid-eyeliner-chestnut-brown-review

Burberry Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown review

Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown ($34 USD/$37 CAD)

Like Nude BeigeBurberry’s Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in No. 02 Chestnut Brown ($34 USD/$37 CAD) is a natural-look makeup item from their standard range. It defines the eyes well in a very subtle way, and despite its sharp lines, the dark chestnut brown has a softer overall look than an inky black eyeliner.

burberry-cat-eye-mascara-liquid-eyeliner-chestnut-brown-swatches-review-eotd

Wearing Burberry Effortless Liquid Liner in Chestnut Brown and Cat Lashes Mascara in Jet Black

If you caught my Lise Watier Féline Liquid Eyeliner review, this Burberry liner is a lot like that one – stiff and long. (Are we still doing phrasing, guys?) It’s immensely easy to work with, but I find the formula to be a bit thin.

Skincare plays a big role in this one, and I find that on days when I use a really heavy moisturizer, the Burberry Effortless Liquid Eyeliner is harder to apply and smudges throughout the day. I have to go over my line a few times to get it nice and inky. But, on days when I’m wearing a lighter moisturizer, everything goes off without a hitch. Like Burberry’s Lip Kisses and mascaras, their eyeliner is also paraben- and fragrance-free.

I moisturize like a fiend (like, night cream plus a serum plus an oil during the day), so you likely won’t need to worry about running into any issues. With your eyeliner, at least. I can’t make any promises otherwise.

burberry-cat-lashes-mascara-in-jet-black-review

Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara in Jet Black review

Cat Lashes Mascara in Jet Black ($29 USD/$32 CAD)

When a mascara is re-promoted in a collection, I don’t always test it out. I know I should, but honestly–so many of them come out each season, and I’m tired of constantly running around with raccoon eyes.

The Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara in No. 1 Jet Black ($29 USD/$32 CADhas one weird-ass brush, though, so I had to do it. It’s an elastomer hourglass with spiky bristles, and it’s bendy. Not just “soft enough to bend intentionally,” but almost floppy.

burberry-cat-lashes-mascara-review

Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara bendy brush

The Cat Lashes Mascara gets its name from the curved end of the brush, which lets you “stretch out” the lashes in your outer corners (using it vertically) for a cat-eyed effect. It works so well that I did this intuitively, and only found out that it was designed for this purpose after the fact.

The formula gives great separation and length, and it wears for a solid nine hours with minimal smudging.

burberry-beauty-silver-glitter-nail-review
Burberry Nail Polish in 453 Silver Glitter review

Nail Polish in Silver Glitter ($22 USD/$23 CAD)

Finally, the piece in this collection that I’m convinced the folks at Burberry must love the most. (What is it with them and holiday glitter?) The Burberry Nail Polish in No. 453 Silver Glitter ($22 USD/$23 CADis a basic glitter polish in, as always, an excellent clear base.

burberry-silver-glitter-nail-swatches-review

Burberry Nail Polish in 453 Silver Glitter swatches (1 coat on bare nails on the ring finger, one coat over polish on the pinkie finger.)

It applies with dense silver glitter and dries quickly. Burberry says their polishes dries in 2 minutes and hardens completely in 6 1/2, which is oddly specific, but I’m into it. I would urge you to try one of their standard nail polishes at that price, however, because they’re stellar–not YSL good, but a big step up from the likes of Essie and OPI. Glitters are easy, but Burberry does a great job of deep shades like Elderberry, and of obscure ones like Sage Green.

I tried my best to run around with Silver Glitter on my nails for a weekend, but I just couldn’t do it. Finger nail polish, no matter how gorgeous, drives me nuts! It did make me feel very festive, though… or maybe that was all the rum and eggnog.

What are you loving from the Fall/Winter 2016 Burberry makeup collection?

Keep reading! »

Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo & Conditioner review, photos

Monday, October 31, 2016

biolage-raw-hair-smoothie-review

The products: Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo & Conditioner

Disclaimer: these are not food products. No matter how good they look, or how tasty they smell, you should not put them in your mouth. 

Uh… just trust me on that one, okay?

matrix-biolage-raw-review-recover-shampoo-conditioner

The Recover Shampoo and Conditioner duo is part of the new Real, Authentic, and Wholesome (R.A.W.) line from Matrix Biolage, who are jumping on the natural train in the best way possible. The line features “natural-origin products” (more details on the Matrix site), recyclable bottles made from 100% post-consumer plastics, and plant-based surfactants. So far, it includes shampoos, conditioners, and–this part is cool–clay hair masks. 

matrix-biolage-r-a-w-recover-shampoo-conditioner-review

I’ve been testing the line’s Yucca & Goji Berry Recover Shampoo ($25 CAD) and Coriander Oil & Kaolin Clay Recover Conditioner ($25 CAD), and I kind of adore them both.

The Recover duo is made to replenish and restore shine to stressed hair, and while my hair doesn’t exactly have to deal with bills or midterms, it still feels particularly awesome after I use these products. They’re a lot less stripping than my normal haircare products (Live Clean), and even my partner gets weirdly possessive and jealous over who gets to use them and when.

(The proper answer should be: I do, because they’re mine and hi, do you really want to be single again.)

biolage-raw-smoothie-conditioner-shampoo-review

There are a lot of things that make the R.A.W. Recover line great, including the fact that they contain no artificial colourants, silicones, or parabens. They’re also 99% biodegradable, and they smell really unique – a bit like goji berries and coriander, respectively. In other words, I think they smell nice for most of the month, but they make me want to throw up when I’m on my period.

The biggest pull for this duo, though, is the shampoo: it’s weird. It flows out of the bottle really quickly, like an oil, but it feels almost sticky when you touch it. Once you lather it up, it acts just like a regular shampoo, but it’s nothing that I’ve ever seen before, at home or in the salon. It’s a pretty cool textural experience.

biolage-r-a-w-recover-shampoo-conditioner-review

The verdict?

I don’t usually cover shampoos and conditioners on theNotice, but for this duo, I had to make an exception. They’re nice to use and look adorably like smoothies, and while they don’t make my hair look CRAZY INSANE AMAZING, their price tags aren’t crazy insane expensive, either.

For me, the coolest thing about this duo is the texture of the shampoo. It’s a little detail, but it’s one that I find enjoyable every morning!

Availability: $25 each at select salons; both permanent products.

Keep reading! »

Neal’s Yard Orange Flower Facial Oil, Wild Rose Beauty Balm review, photos

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

neals-yard-remedies-wild-rose-beauty-balm-review-photos

The products: Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm & Orange Flower Facial Oil

In the beauty industry right now, one of the toughest things to figure out is whether or not the “natural” brand you’re working with is truly natural or not. Sometimes their ingredients lists can be deceptive; sometimes their practices don’t quite line up with the natural beauty ethos.

Neal’s Yard Remedies, however, is the real deal. It’s a massive beauty brand that has maintained all-natural, cruelty-free, organic-when-possible ingredients since their inception in 1981, and they’re family-run by different families in each country that they exist in.

neals-yard-wild-rose-balm-review-photos

Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm ($72 CAD)

This beauty balm did none of the things that I wanted it to. It wasn’t hydrating enough to use as a moisturizer on my super-dehydrated skin, and (I think because of the hemp seed oil,) it had a tendency to make me break out if I tried to make it work anyways.

But: it was so humbly amazing at so many other things that it has become one of my favourite “luxury” products anyways.

neals-yard-remedies-review-canada

The Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm is just that: luxurious. Unlike most beauty balms, it melts upon contact and is smooth and silky, so it doesn’t tug at your skin. Its first ingredient is organic wild rose seed oil (hence the price tag). It smells even more amazing than you’d expect, and every time I pick up the heavy glass bottle, I can’t help but feel a little bit spoiled.

My two favourite ways to use it are as a cleansing-exfoliating balm with a muslin cloth (included) and for facial massages. I gave Boyfriend his first-ever facial using this stuff, and he was GLOWING when I was done!

neals-yard-remedies-orange-flower-oil-review-photos

Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Facial Oil ($55 CAD)

I was also sent the Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Facial Oil, because the Wild Rose Beauty Balm wasn’t quite hydrating enough for me. The Orange Flower Facial Oil is definitely more hydrating, but the two together don’t quite do the trick for me – I’m VERY dehydrated in addition to being dry, so while the two are really lovely together, I still need a little bit more.

I noticed that Neal’s Yard doesn’t make very many products that specifically target extremely dry skin, so the range is perhaps beset for those with normal, oily, or lightly dry skin types – just something to keep in mind.

neals-yard-orange-flower-facial-oil-review-photos

With its $72 CAD price tag and perfectly-toned artwork, I thought that the Wild Rose Beauty Balm was Neal’s Yard’s one big product… Until I tried this oil. It’s just as gorgeous as the balm, if not more so, and it isn’t just an overpriced bottle of orange flower oil, either.

Instead, it’s a carefully thought-out blend of organic macadamia seed, jojoba, hemp, and pomegranate seed oil (I bloody LOVE pomegranate seed oil), amongst others, and it’s scented with neroli, ylang ylang, and mandarin peel oil.

neals-yard-remedies-orange-flower-oil-review

The verdict?

I really loved both of these products, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them – as indulgences. (Hmm… perhaps for a special someone in your life this Christmas?) They’re not hydrating enough for someone with extremely dry skin to use as part of a daily regimen, but they are nothing short of a joy to use. 

If you do a lot of at-home facials or spa days, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm is a must, and if you love neroli, then the Orange Flower Facial Oil definitely is, too.

Availability: Available at Neal’s Yard Remedies worldwide. Both permanent products.

Keep reading! »

Charlotte Tilbury The Queen Matte Revolution Lipstick swatches, review, photos

Thursday, October 20, 2016

charlotte-tilbury-the-queen-lipstick-review-swatches

The product: Charlotte Tilbury The Queen Matte Revolution Lipstick

The formula: The Matte Revolution formula (which I’ll describe the wear of shortly) is a “luminous modern matte” that promises long-lasting, hydrating, buildable colour with lipstick tree and orchid flower extract. It’s available in 10 shades, and it definitely holds up to its claims: it’s easy to build, and it wears very well for a matte lipstick.

These lipsticks also feature a square tip to mimic the shape of a lip brush, which I thought was really cool. (And hey, it works well, too!)

charlotte-tilbury-the-queen-matte-revolution-review

charlotte-tilbury-the-queen-swatches

The shade: The Queen, inspired by Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, is a “rich and rosy crown-jewel pink.” It’s a deep fuchsia pink with blue undertones that practically glows, and it’s obscenely beautiful in a matte finish.

Of course, my favourite thing about Charlotte Tilbury is that they simulate their swatches on a wide variety of different skintones–none of that “three skintones covers everyone” business. These are shown on ten models of different skintones, ages, and ethnicities, and the result (which I’ve collaged above) is both helpful and gorgeous!

charlotte-tilbury-fotd-the-queen-lipstick

Wearing The Queen (and otherwise looking a mess)

charlotte-tilbury-the-queen-swatch-matte-revolution-review

Charlotte Tilbury The Queen Matte Revolution Lipstick swatched in indirect sunlight

charlotte-tilbury-the-queen-lipstick-swatches-review

Charlotte Tilbury The Queen Matte Revolution Lipstick swatched in indirect sunlight

The wear: The Matte Revolution lipsticks are very pigmented, and they have an even, forgiving matte finish. Though they look like soft mattes, they feel as hydrating as an opaque cream lipstick. I get 3-6 hours of wear with these lipsticks, depending on how much eating I do; today, The Queen held up through an entire coconut milk smoothie with only very minimal fading and was still going strong by dinner.

Optimally, I’d recommend reapplying every 3-4 hours with this formula for comfort, but if you leave it on undisturbed, the vivid colour will hold up for longer.

charlotte-tilbury-the-queen-matte-revolution-lipstick-review

The verdict?

I really like the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution formula, which is as hydrating and comfortable to wear as a great creme-finish lipstick. I was also totally smitten with The Queen, which is a flattering, eye-catching opaque fuchsia pink.

If you’re looking for a comfortable holiday lipstick, this range is definitely one to check out!

Availability: $32 USD/$38 CAD exclusive to Charlotte Tilbury online.

Keep reading! »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...