Osmia Organics Oh So Soap & Tea Bath review, photos | The boy reviews!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SONY DSC

The product: Osmia Organics Oh So Soap and Organic Tea Bath

Today on theNotice, I have a very special surprise for you, dear reader: a review by M. I really wanted to highlight a few products for eczema and psoriasis (Mathew has the latter) this winter, and as someone who hates baths–his words, not mine, though true–I thought you guys might enjoy someone else’s perspective on things for a change.

So, I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope you like the pretty pictures! (How good is that tea bath one??!)

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath review

The Osmia Organic Tea Bath ($45 USD)

The Organic Tea Bath comes pre-portioned in six satisfyingly large cloth tea bags with cotton drawstrings. The tea’s scent is subtle and bright; sharp spearmint notes are balanced by sweet chamomile while dry. Add hot water to reveal a strong citrus element, most likely from the orange peel. The combination is pleasing, if a touch mild. The Organic Tea Bath’s scent is without the usual synthetic sheen I have come to associate with bath products, and for this, I am grateful. [ R: Oops. That's probably because I keep giving him LUSH to try. ]

When “steeped”, the bags turn the water a surprisingly opaque chamomile yellow. (I recommend holding each tea bag under the faucet as you draw your bath for best results.) After bathing, I find that the tea leaves my skin feeling much softer and less dry than it generally would be, especially if I’m in the tub for a while — but though the tea bath is very soothing while I’m in the bath, the results don’t translate into the next day. That said, these are great for anyone who enjoys a cozy winter bath but might be too lazy to moisturize after, or anyone who takes ludicrously long baths like me but doesn’t want to dry out!

–their skin. Who doesn’t want to dry out their skin.

Osmia Organics Tea Bath review sachet photo

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath

Does it work? Though tea (especially herbal tea) is usually steeped at much higher temperatures than is appropriate for a bath, the organic ingredients used here–like rose, calendula, and bitter orange–are paired with tried-and-true remedies for dry skin, including epsom salt and rolled oats. Each bag is good for 1-2 soothing baths (3 is stretching it), but I found the process of drying out the large sachets to be rather difficult. Those worried about cleanliness can rest easy knowing that this tea bath left only a very fine film in the tub, which rinsed out easily after use.

Osmia Organics’ Oh So Soap ($12 USD)

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap review

Osmia’s Oh So Soap has been a wonderful surprise. The elegance of the bar’s woven top is reflected in its ingredient list, which contains only saponified organic oils and butters, African pearl salt, and buttermilk powder. This velvety soap would suit the most sensitive of the sensitive, yet it still leaves you feeling clean. It’s great both on the face and body, and is unlikely to offend anyone as it contains no fragrance or essential oils.

Overall, I found Oh So Soap to be far less drying than regular bar soap, and I really liked how gentle it was. It never left my skin feeling dry or squeaky-clean, but rather like it had been magically cleaned without any soap at all. Hands down, it is the best soap I have ever used.

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap gentle dry skin review

M’s verdict?

While neither of these products made a distinct improvement on my psoriasis, I can say that they were a pleasure to use, especially in the winter. On the whole, they were very gentle on sensitive skin, and far less stripping than other soaps and bath products I have used in the past — both in the bath and coming out of it.

The Oh So Soap in particular was especially luscious, and delightfully simple — I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have very delicate or dry skin. (It is also, as Osmia Organics so succinctly puts it, “perfect for babies, even fresh ones.”)

Availability: $12 USD-$45 USD at Osmia Organics.

L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil review, photos | The kind of oil that… isn’t

Thursday, November 20, 2014

L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil review photos

The product: L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil (from the Immortelle range)

L’Occitane’s Divine Youth Oil reminds me a lot of the Argentum Apothicary moisturizer that I reviewed last month — but with a few important differences. First, the similarities: it’s a high-end anti-ageing moisturizer that smells amazing, with plenty of natural ingredients and a beautiful, velvety finish.

But now, the differences: at less than half the price, L’Occitane’s oil is twice as moisturizing, far more comfortable to use, and may smell even better.

L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil

Don’t cut my content

My biggest pet peeve with high-end oils and serums is when companies dilute their product with fillers to cut down on production costs — things like mineral oil, ‘cones, and plain old water. When you buy an oil (and this one’s $100/30 ml), there’s an unspoken agreement that what you’re getting is more concentrated, and that you’re paying for a product that hasn’t been stretched out already.

But though this oil is very obviously cut with caprylic/capric triglyceride… I find it hard to care. Caprylic/capric triglycerides (which you may know as liquid coconut oil) are one of my favourite skincare ingredients out there, and in the case of this oil — I think they do wonders for the formula.

L'Occitane Immortelle oil review Divine Youth

What makes this one special

Unlike other oils that you may have tried, the triglyceride content of this one means that it both feels dry to the touch and sinks in instantly. A blend of seven oils–including borage, evening primrose, sea buckthorn, and rosehip–with Corsican immortelle essential oil and caprylic/capric triglycerides, this oil is incredibly lightweight and leaves my skin with the most gorgeous velvety finish, even when I mix it with my super-heavy, super-oily German Nivea.

It smells amazing; mouthwatering and fruity (a scent that I’m told is unique to the L’Occitane Divine Immortelle range), and a little goes a long way: for my terrifyingly-dry skin, I use 5-7 drops, but for normal to oily skin, a single drop will do.

L'Occitane Immortelle Oil review

The verdict?

While I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with dehydrated or extremely dry skin, for anyone else: you neeeeed this. This oil not only feels and smells amazing, but it leaves my skin looking velvety and clear (without any fancy primers or powders). It’s kind of like an oil that isn’t, which I think will appeal to both facial oil users and heathens everyone else.

Availability: $96 USD/$100 CAD at L’Occitane boutiques & online. Buy it!!

Keep reading! »

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish, Melting Cleansing Gel review + giveaway! | New & noteworthy at the drugstore

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hot Cloth Polish cleans exfoliate review budget

The products: NSPA Hot Cloth Polish & Melting Cleansing Gel

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL this week, dear readers! But I plan on making it up to you today with a double-review of two rather unique new products and a giveaway, so… please don’t be mad.

» I already know I want these. Cut to the chase; take me to the giveaway! «

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ($15.97 CAD/150 ml)

NPSA Hot Cloth Polish reiew

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish

This Hot Cloth Polish was the thing that made NSPA, a cruelty-free British brand that’s new to Canada, stand out to me. I’ve wanted to try one of these since the Liz Earle hype blew up, and I gotta say: NSPA makes it worth the wait. 

Past the perfect scent (this is exactly what my brain thinks the archetypal cold cream would smell like), it’s a really interesting experience: a finely-woven muslin cloth (included), a very thick, white cleansing butter, and an exfoliation experience that removes your makeup without totally stripping your skin. 

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish review photos comparison

I wasn’t expecting the product to be as hard as it was (think very frozen ice cream, not summer soft serve), but it did spread nicely, and the thickness helps turn the Hot Cloth Polish into a spa-like, luxurious experience. The muslin cloth feels a little cheap, but the cloth-polish duo is $15 and full of good stuff like cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil – I think I can handle a flimsy seam for all of that.

Compared to the iconic Liz Earle at $36.75/100 ml, which I will admittedly likely now never try, NSPA’s Hot Cloth Polish is a steal at $15.75/100 ml. And hey, you won’t even need to pay import fees on it.

The NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ingredients: 

Aqua, Cocoa Seed Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Esters, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Beeswax, Sweet Almond Oil, Parfum, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Neroli Oil, Vitamin E, Pro-Vitamin B5, Sodium Benzoate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Linalool, Limonene.

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel ($15.97 CAD/125 ml)

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel review photos

I also tried out NSPA’s Melting Cleansing Gel, because I’d never used a melting gel before and I like new stuff. (What? Who doesn’t like new textures and technologies?) And, to my surprise… I liked this one even more than the Hot Cloth Polish.

Keep reading! »

Bio Beauté (by Nuxe) review: Detox Mask, Deodorant, Eye Cream, & Lip Balm | French luxury (and natural ingredients) on a budget

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bio Beaute by Nuxe review

The products: Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Vitamin Rich Detox Mask, 24hr Refreshing Deodorant, Eye Contour Care, and Tinted Replenishing Lip Balm

Have you heard of Bio-Beauté? Because until this package arrived on my desk, I hadn’t. But this affordable, Écocert-approved range (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) has some products–one in particular–that are really worth a look.

⇒ All Bio-Beauté products are free of parabens & mineral oil and are comprised of at least 95% ingredients of natural origin — so they’re non 100% from the earth, but they’re pretty natural. All four products featured here are also silicone-free!

Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Orange Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask

The showstopper: a mask, in gel form

Ladies and gents, it is difficult for me to tell you how much I LOVE this mask. (A lot. I love it a lot.) It is the first and only mask that I have ever loved, and boy: do I ever love it.

To start off, Bio-Beauté’s Vitamin Rich Detox Mask with orange water ($27 CAD/50 ml) feels nothing like you would expect it to in the jar —  in fact, it is so weightless that I thought perhaps my jar was empty. But, upon opening, it presents as a stiff, translucent gel; perfectly wobbly and smelling divinely of juicy mandarin oranges.

(And yes, okay, sometimes I open it just to smell it. But only sometimes. Not like, every time I pass by it or anything like that.) (Twice a day, at most.)

Bio Beaute Detox Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (AKA ORANGE JELLY GOODNESS)

99% natural, Bio-Beauté’s Detox Mask is a treat to use: once a week, you simply slather on a fingerful (1/2 tsp is plenty for your whole face, so one jar will last a very long time), wait five minutes, massage it in (it’ll turn to an oil), and then rinse off with warm water. I don’t need a lot of detoxifying or clarifying, but I definitely found that this left my face feeling smoother right after I used it — just make sure not to wash it off with soap.

This mask is meant to be used once or twice per week on any skin type, but I like to use it just whenever I feel like my skin could use some extra smoothness. It’s perfect for facial massage, a morning mask, or “small event prep”: that is, before a meeting or date night or even just lunch with your friends. It’ll give you that extra boost, but it’s affordable enough that you don’t need to ration it out!

Bio Beaute Tinted Lip Balm Raspberry review

Bio-Beauté Tinted Repairing Lip Balm – Raspberry

Everything else: eyes, lips, and underarms

I wasn’t super enamoured with any of these, so I’ll go over them really quickly.

First, there’s the Tinted Repairing Lip Balm with raspberry pulp ($14 CAD/15 ml; 100% natural), which I hated. It smells kind of gross (not like vanilla, peach, pear, and raspberry, as promised) and separates quite badly in the tube.

Bio Beaute Aluminum Free Deodorant review

Bio-Beauté Aluminum and Alcohol-Free Deodorant

Then there’s the Energizing, Anti-Puffiness, Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care with clementine cells ($25 CAD/15 ml; yes, that really is its whole name), which is 98.7% natural. It seemed quite basic to me; scent-free and fast-absorbing, but with no major de-puffing effects.

Finally, there’s the 24 hr Refreshing Deodorant alcohol-free, no aluminum salts ($12 CAD/50 ml), which is 98.9% natural and does seem to keep odour at bay. However, it smells really weird – exactly like those mall candies with the bananas. (Edited to add: Wonka Runts). Which isn’t necessarily bad, I guess? But it’s… not what you’d expect from the brand that does Huile Prodigieuse.

Maybe M will want it. He’s weirdly fixated on candy — like a very tall, very handsome, very-not-orange Oompa Loompa.

Bio Beaute Anti-Ageing Eye Care cream review

Bio-Beauté Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care

The verdict?

I didn’t love the Bio-Beauté lip balm, but aside from that, I was pretty impressed with the line — especially at its price point. I’d say it’s comparable to The Body Shop, but more natural and aimed at a slightly older or more reserved clientele.

The line’s eye cream is rather basic and utilitarian, but their orange water mask is absolutely divine. It’s the one beauty product that I’m absolutely crazy about right now, and I would literally recommend it to anyone who likes citrus or just very cool beauty products — men and women alike! (But especially men: it’s cool enough that they’ll want to use it, and quick enough that they’ll keep doing so.)

Availability: The Bio-Beauté range is available at most Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada starting at $12 CAD.

(more…)

Argentum La Potion Infinie Anti-Age Cream review, photos, results | What makes a $225 moisturizer?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Argentum La Potion Infinie review

The product: Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age (face and eye) Cream

What makes as $200 moisturizer? 

I didn’t know the answer to this question (unicorn pee?) three months ago, but when Argentum asked me if I wanted to give their Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP anti-ageing moisturizer a try, I decided that it was time to find out. And now, months later, here is my answer.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie

The science behind Argentum: As you may have guessed from the name, Argentum Apothecary’s thing is silver hydrosol, which they use to promote cell regeneration. It’s paired with hydrating DNA HP (petri dish science?) as well as a few more-recognizable ingredients, like shea butter, sweet almond oil, and caffeine.

This cruelty-free cream comes from 99.5% natural origins, and Argentum says that it targets wrinkles, blemishes, and oxidative stress, with an emphasis on firming and tightening. For the hefty price of $225, they also promise long-lasting hydration with no greasy residue, and (pay attention to this one) plumped skin “without any uncomfortable ‘tightness’.” 

Argentum Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP moisturizer review

The scent: La Potion Infinie is highly fragranced, with a scent that smelled offensively masculine to my nose… at first. After wearing it around for the first day or two, something rather magical happened: I’m not sure what changed, but I am obsessed with this scent now. Formulated by Delphine Thierry, it’s spicy, masculine, and woody, and it smells just as delicious on my boyfriend as it does on me.

The packaging: Packaged in a rather stately glass jar, La Potion is understated but luxe. I was surprised to read that the jar’s base is made from a very dark violet glass (I thought it was black) that helps to prolong the life of the ingredients, but all in all, it’s a pleasure to hold.

[ It kind of makes me feel like a potions master. ]

Argentum La Potion Infinie review, results

Potions Master Rae Chen, reporting for duty

So… how did La Potion Infinie perform?

In short: both very poorly and exceptionally well.

La Potion Infinie is very liquidy and emollient, and it applies comfortably with a soft, velvety finish. For something without silicones, it does an amazing job of feeling luxurious and not at all greasy, and you need only very little for each application – adding more doesn’t seem to make a difference except to leave you massaging it in for longer.

Argentum Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age Cream review

The issue I have with this moisturizer (sorry, “hydrating restorative anti-age cream”) is that it leaves my skin feeling extremely tight and uncomfortable, which it promises not to do — and at this price, I think a moisturizer had better perform to spec. Because I have extremely dry skin to begin with, this left my face feeling so dehydrated that it was actually painful – I couldn’t last more than a few hours before adding another moisturizer on top.

That said, if you have normal skin or oilier, and especially if you live in a country where it’s more humid, I think that this texture would actually be quite lovely.

Argentum anti-ageing cream review

On the anti-ageing front, however… that’s where things do a drastic 180. While I can’t evaluate this for its effect on wrinkles or fine lines, I can tell you that it’s the only anti-ageing product I have ever tried, in seven years of beauty blogging, that has had a noticeable effect on my skin. 

My skin doesn’t look significantly better following application, because quite frankly I’m still practically a baby as far as skin goes, but it is immediately tightened and plumped – literally within 15 minutes. When I gently prod at my face with my fingertips (ever so scientifically), there is more resistance when I use La Potion Infinie, and my face feels fuller to my fingers; more firm and elastic than it’s been in years.

I don’t have noticeable wrinkles in the eye area yet, but La Potion is safe to use there, and it never stings or burns my eyes. Of the handful of eye creams and gels that I already own, this one is my favourite of the bunch, and I plan to continue using it in my eye area until it’s finished.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie review

The verdict?

As with any skincare product this expensive, I don’t want to tell you to run out and buy it immediately, because whether or not it’s worth it is such an individual thing. But if you do have the budget for high-end skincare, I would absolutely recommend this one over anything else I’ve tried so far.

My favourite thing about this cream is the beautiful, high-sillage scent, but the thin, velvety texture is a dream as well. I’d hesitate to recommend it to anyone with dry skin, but I’m using mine like a serum (with another moisturizer layered on top), and its impressive firming and tightening effects don’t seem to be lessened.

All in all, yes, I do think this is substantially better than a $50 or even your average $100 anti-ageing moisturizer, but it’s definitely not as effective as a cosmetic treatment. (As a price comparison, Restylane treatments tend to be about $1000). I’m personally happy with my skin, so this price tag is far more than I’d be willing to pay, but I did find it to be surprisingly effective – if uncomfortable.

Availability: $225 USD/£147 from Net-A-Porter, Cult Beauty, or Argentum Apothecary (UK).

Keep reading! »

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