Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara review, swatches, photos | For a pretty, pool-ready lash

Monday, July 7, 2014

Clarins waterproof mascara review-

The product: Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara in 01 Intense Black

The formula: Clarins’ Truly Waterproof Mascara is formulated with bitter orange tree wax and olive squalane, and promises 12 hour waterproof wear from not just chlorinated water, but from salt water, too. (Which is great, considering how many mascaras do okay with pure water, but run when you cry!)

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara review

The packaging: Can I just take a moment to say that love this packaging? It’s super sleek, with the little “C” emblem in a handy dip – which I always thought was aesthetic, but it actually makes opening the tube a lot easier.

The brush on this one has a relatively slim profile with traditional bristles (that is, not silicone), and the bottom of the tube has a thin piece of translucent red plastic on the bottom, which is a nice, subtle touch.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara brush review

Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara & brush

The application: I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed applying mascara before, but this one surprised me. It goes on really easily, no lash comb needed, and delivers a natural-looking lash in just one stroke. It gives really good separation with very little clumping, and it holds a curl beautifully — all while leaving your lashes feeling soft and flexible. 

One last thing to note about this formula is that it smells really nice (for a mascara). Like, weirdly nice. I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of, but this formula has a very distinctive, pretty, Clarins-y fragrance to it.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara swatches review

Bare lashes / one coat of Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara in 01 Intense Black

The wear: SO GOOD — but not infallible. While this formula is extremely waterproof (I was able to submerge my lashes in water and rub at them multiple times before I even begun to lose a curl), the oils on my face do make it smudge through the day.

That said, this mascara doesn’t drop my curl or flake, and it removes easily with a good cleansing oil – those who use micellar waters may struggle, however. (This is the only product I’ve ever tried that my beloved Marcelle cleansing water couldn’t get off!) But, for those in a really humid country, or a day at the beach, this one’ll hold up like a champ.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara eyelash swatch

Bare lashes / Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

The verdict?

It’s not quite holy grail material, but Clarins’ Truly Waterproof Mascara is definitely one that I’d recommend. Between easy application, super classy packaging, and a really pretty fragrance, it does a wonderful job of delivering a soft, flexible waterproof lash — and it does it all while holding a curl.

Give it a pass if most mascaras smudge on you, but if not, put this one at the top of your list of waterproof mascaras to try!

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Three to try: Heat protectant sprays from Giovanni and Kevin Murphy

Monday, June 30, 2014

Giovanni Argan Keratin mist review - flat iron styling mist

Good: Giovanni 2chic Ultra Sleek Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Flat Iron Styling Mist

This Giovanni mist smells, to me, like a softly-scented, old-timey salon; vanilla with a hint of nuttiness and a whisper of hairspray. It’s part of the same range as this oil-serum that M and I love, but has a different, much more subtle scent. It’s made from 100% vegetarian ingredients, and the brand doesn’t test on animals, which is nice to note!

Giovanni says this mist is good for all hair types, but it contains denatured alcohol high up in the ingredients list, and amodimethicone later on — so I’d say skip it if you have really dry hair, are concerned about using body-safe products, or have a silicone sensitivity.

The Giovanni Keratin & Argan Oil Flat Iron Styling Mist ingredients:

Water, Glycerin, SD Alcohol-40B, Argan Kernel Oil, Brazilian Cocoa Keratin Extract [Phyto-Keratin], *Rooibos Tea Extract, Coconut Oil, *Macadamia Seed Extract, *Shea Butter Extract, Sorbitol, Amodimethicone, Panthenol, (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Natural Fragrance.

Giovanni Ultra-moise avocado oilive oil review - leave-in spray

Better: Giovanni 2chic Ultra-Moist Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Dual Action Protective Leave-In Spray

Even better than Giovanni’s Keratin & Argan styling mist, though, is their Avocado & Olive Oil leave-in spray. Silicone-free and formulated for dry, damaged hair, it’s designed to be both a leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant – all bundled up with a low scent profile and an easy-to-use mist pump.

Unlike its nutty, vanilla counterpart, this leave-in spray smells bright and rather synthetic, like a light, fruity hairspray — but while the formula leaves your hair feeling soft and smooth all day long, the scent fades quickly. It’s full of hydrating and soothing ingredients like aloe, avocado oil, olive oil, and shea butter, and is definitely my top pick for a silicone-free mass-market heat protectant spray. 

The Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Leave-In Spray ingredients: 

Water, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Glycerin, Vitamin E, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Avocado Oil, *Lychee Chinensis Fruit Extract, *Olive Fruit Oil, *Chenopodium Quinoa Flower/Leaf Extract, *Shea Butter, *Sunflower Seed Oil. 

Kevin Murphy Damage Manager

Best: Kevin Murphy Damage.Manager Instant Heat Shielding Spray

Despite what your salon may tell you (I’ve had not one, but two separate stylists in different salons lie to me about this), the Kevin Murphy line is not 100% silicone-free. Rather, the line uses “functional silicones” that rinse out easily (this is coming from the brand itself), which I interpret as meaning that they use water-soluble silicones whenever possible – ones that are lighter and less hydrophobic than traditionally heavy, slick silicones like dimethicone.

That said, Kevin Murphy does a ton of products that are silicone-free, and Damage.Manager is one of them. (Their Angel.Wash and Angel.Rinse are, too!) Damage.Manager protects your hair without weighing it down or leaving it even the slightest bit sticky, and it smells amazing – both complex and unisex, like the perfect whirlwind of vetiver and woods, with a tenacity that lasts right through your next shampoo.

I can’t for the life of me find an ingredients list for this online, but I promise that it’s paraben- and silicone-free. The formula features arnica root extract and allantoin alongside the KEVIN.MURPHY X-HP Complex, and it protects the hair up to a whopping 220ºC (428ºF).

theBalm timeBalm review, swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium | My staple silicone-free concealer

Thursday, June 5, 2014

theBalm timeBalm anti-ageing concealer review

The product: theBalm timeBalm Anti-Wrinkle Concealer in Lighter Than Light, Light, and Light/Medium

You see timeBalm all the time on theNotice. Every tutorial, every makeup look, every shade comparison — they all (or almost all) have one secret ingredient in common: timeBalm. It’s my old standby; the only silicone-free concealer I’ve tried so far that runs light enough for my skin.

A couple weeks ago, I finished off an entire pot of this concealer, right down to the last smudge. It took me five and a half years (during which time my timeBalm somehow managed not to go off at all), but as someone who has literally never finished off a makeup product before — it was a pretty big deal for me.

theBalm timeBalm concealers

theBalm timeBalm shade comparisons

L-R: theBalm timeBalm concealer in Lighter Than Light, Light, and Light/Medium

The formula: The beeswax-based timeBalm concealer is free of silicones, parabens, and fragrances, and enriched with Vitamins A, E, and C to help combat the signs of ageing. theBalm says it’s so good for your skin that you can wear it to sleep, and while I absolutely would not recommend  this, I have admittedly done it once or twice (by accident!) with no harm done.

theBalm timeBalm Anti-Ageing Concealer Ingredients: 

Tridecyl Trimellitate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Talc, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Isoeicosane, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Octyldodecanol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, C18-36 Acid Glycol Ester, Panthenol, Tribehenin, Ceresin, Lauroyl Lysine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Linoleic Acid, Soybean Sterols, Phospholipids, Silica, Propyl Gallate, Soybean Oil.

+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77007.

theBalm timeBalm Lighter Than Light swatch shade comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Lighter Than Light

theBalm timeBalm light medium swatch comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Light

theBalm timeBalm Light swatch comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Light/Medium

The texture & wear (aka “what makes timeBalm so great”): I really love the timeBalm formula because, for a consumer product, it resembles theatre makeup quite closely. It’s a wonderfully creamy, high-coverage product, and works well for both concealing acne and covering dark circles (though it does struggle a bit with extremely dry patches and pronounced wrinkles). Because the formula blends out so beautifully, I use my timeBalm as both a foundation and a spot concealer, similarly to how something like the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer ($48 USD) would be used — but at a fraction of the cost.

I have extremely dry skin, and though timeBalm does catch on my really rough patches (I’ve yet to find anything that doesn’t), I get all day wear out of it as long as I follow up with powder. This includes morning-to-evening coverage of blemishes–I layer timeBalm with a mineral powder to cover up scars and acne–which is quite the feat!

theBalm timeBalm lighter than, light, medium swatches

theBalm timeBalm concealer comparison swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium

The shades: Lighter Than Light is yellower than MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NW15. It’s similar to NC20, but pinker, and its warm undertones run more peach than orange, unlike NC20. Light is similar to MAC NW20 but just a hair darker, and runs a touch more yellow-orange than pink-peach. If you match NW20, timeBalm in Light will definitely work for you. If you match MAC NW25, Light will by way too fair for you.

I can’t for the life of me find my pot of Light/Medium (and I literally searched for three hours yesterday), but if memory serves me right, it’s darker than Light and NW20 but not as dark or orange as NW25 — the NW20-NW25 shade jump seems particularly large to my eye for some reason. I’m pretty sure Light/Medium is a little more olive and more orange/saturated (but with less peach and pink) than Lighter Than Light and Light, too.

theBalm timeBalm concealer review

The verdict?

I really, really love timeBalm. It’s the only makeup product I’ve ever used up & re-purchased, and though I’m always on the lookout for something better (something that magically hides dry patches, perhaps), I’ve yet to find anything else that meets my criteria.

I use theBalm’s timeBalm concealer as both a concealer and a foundation, and it pulls off everything from spot concealing to sheer coverage without breaking a sweat. It’s also scent-free and silicone-free, and comes in seven shades.

Availability: $18 USD at Nordstrom; in Canada, you can find theBalm at many Rexall locations. timeBalm is also available in cream foundation and liquid forms, though I haven’t had the chance to try either!

Keep reading! »

Mika for Shu: Cleansing Oils in POREfinist, Whitefficient, and Anti/Oxi reviews, photos | Summer 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

mika for shu skin purifier cleansing oil collection

The products: mika for shu shu uemura skin purifier cleansing oils (450 ml/14.2 fl. oz.)

   ↳ POREfinist (anti-shine/pink), whitefficient (brightening/blue), and Anti/Oxi (anti-dullness/green)

Available this spring from Shu Uemura is the Mika for Shu collection, which features artwork by photographer and director Mika Ninagawa. It’s her third collection with Shu Uemura (the other two launched in 2008 and 2011), and this time, she highlights the line’s iconic false eyelashes and lipsticks, telling a tale with images of butterflies and the idea of a “wonderland fairy tale adventure.”

In addition to these three, the Shu Uemura ultime8 cleansing oil (reviewed here) is also available in limited edition Mika for Shu packaging ($98 CAD).

mika for shu uemura summer 2014 reviews - cleansing oils

POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil ($82 CAD/regular packaging)

I’ve always referred to Shu’s cleansing oils by their colours rather than their names – the latter tend to be quite lengthy, and can be rather confusing. The pink POREfinist/Fresh cleansing oil is made to be the most lightweight of the Shu Uemura Skin Purifiers, and as such, it’s ideal for normal to oily and acne-prone skin. 

mika for shu uemura POREfinist fresh cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura POREfinist skin purifier cleansing oil

This pink cleansing oil is formulated with cinnamon bark extract to regulate oil production and remove blackheads, and features a bright, floral scent wrapped in Mika’s “Melting Sweet Dream” artwork. Of all of the Shu Uemura cleansing oils, this is definitely one of my favourite fragrances.

The shu uemura Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil ingredients (copied from the back of the box — for some reason, the ingredients on the site don’t line up.)

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicrapate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tocopherol, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinesis Oil, Methoxypropanediol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil, Caprylol Salicylic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Prunus Cerasus Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylancium Extract, Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu fresh cleansing oil skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “melting sweet dream” artwork

whitefficient clear brightening gentle cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

Detailed with Mika Ninagawa’s “Curiosity” print, which was created around the idea of an enchanted carnival, the blue Whitefficient cleansing oil smells quite fresh — it reminds me of a clean-smelling men’s cologne, actually, and is my second-favourite cleansing oil in terms of scent (behind the pink POREfinist, above).

mika for shu uemura whitefficient brightening gentle cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura Whitefficient skin purifier cleansing oil

While I’m not a fan of whitening products (as I’m sure you all know), the specifications of this one actually focus on brightening, not whitening. Again, the Whitefficient formula is made to feel lightweight, and removes dead skin cells to remedy a dull complexion.

However, this formula also features whitening ceramides, white algae, vitamin C, and prune extract to prevent melanin accumulation in the dermis — which is great for brightening and evening out the complexion, but hopefully won’t perpetuate the “whiter is better!” idea too strongly.

The shu uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil ingredients:

Paraffinum Liquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Isohexadecane, Peg-20 Glyceryl, Triisostearate, Aqua, Tocopheryl, Acetate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Isopropyl Myristate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Benzyl Salicylate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Sodium Ydroxide, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Vaccinum Myrtillus Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract, Acer Saccharnum Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu whitefficient brightening skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “curiosity” artwork

anti/oxi skin refining anti-dullness cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

The last cleansing oil I have to share with you today is Shu’s Anti/Oxi formulation, in Mika’s “Singing Forest” imagery. I already have a full review of the Anti/Oxi cleansing oil up here, but in short: tinted green and made to combat pollution, it smells the earthiest of all of Shu’s oils.

mika for shu uemura anti-oxi skin refining cleansing oil

Keep reading! »

Giovanni 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Super Potion serum review, in three takes

Monday, March 3, 2014

Giovanni Ultra Sleek Super Potion serum review

The product: Giovanni 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Hair & Body Super Potion

This serum landed on my desk over a year ago, and after writing three variations of this review, I think I’m finally ready to publish a post about it.

I had tried Giovanni’s Keratin & Argan Oil Serum initially as a serum on my long, straight hair, and quite frankly, it was kind of gross. A year after that, I decided it was time to transition this guy’s routine into a silicone-free one (what? He was breaking me out!), and out came this serum for its triumphant, great-for-curly-hair return. And now, upon my third attempt at testing this, I can finally say it’s great for one more thing: soothing a chronically dry scalp. 

Giovanni 2chic keratin argan serum review

The “this makes curly hair so attractive I get light-headed” approach 

You think I’m joking, but seriously, I’m not joking. Giovanni’s Ultra-Sleek serum did nothing for my dry, straight hair except make it feel kind of gross and heavy, but on curly hair, it works wonders. 

M was blessed with the kind of hair all girls want (full, curly, and naturally dark blonde with highlights), but it needs a little prep work, sometimes. It gets fussy if he blow dries it, and poofs a little if there’s nothing in it, but all in all — pretty standout hair.

So I’ve always adored M’s hair, but good lord, the things this serum does to it. He works a tiny amount of the Ultra-Sleek serum into his hair–you really have to work it in there–and suddenly, it’s all curls! definition! glossiness!, like he’s rolled out of bed and onto the gently-tousled centre spread of a naughty glossy magazine. It takes all the guesswork and skill out of styling curly hair, which is something I think we could all use, you know?

(Don’t lie, you totally do. Rolling out of bed with model hair is every girl–and probably guy’s–dream.)

Giovanni berazilian keratin argan oil review - serum potion

Giovanni Argan and Keratin Super Potion serum review

But it’s great on the scalp, too

he Brazillian Keratin & Argan Oil 2chic serum is enriched with all sorts of good-for-your hair ingredients, and it makes for a smooth, hydrating finished product — it’s a rich, thin, nutty-smelling oil. You have to be careful not to use too much, but if worked in well, this is a product that doesn’t need to be re-activated or re-styled day after day.

I have one of those finicky scalps that gets super tight after I shower, no matter how hydrating my shampoo and conditioner are, but gets oily through the day — and, if left unattended, flakes like crazy along the hairline. I thought I had dandruff for years before realizing that the flakes weren’t characteristic of dandruff at all, and that they only appeared around my face… where, coincidentally, my skin also flakes and peels if left un-moisturized.

Long story short: used sparingly while your hair is wet, a little bit of Giovanni Ultra-Sleek massaged into the scalp really helps comfort and hydrate dry patches without adding too much weight to the hair. It’s not a permanent fix, but it’s certainly more hair-friendly than facial moisturizers!

Giovanni ultra-sleek super potion review

The verdict?

It took me sixteen months to review this product, but I couldn’t be happier that I waited. Had I reviewed it promptly, you would have gotten an entirely inaccurate view of the product: I would have told you that, for a serum, it seemed kind of dry-heavy… and kind of gross.

But patience has its rewards, and I can paint you a very different picture of Giovanni’s 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Serum today. It’s amazing for curly hair (especially short curly hair), great for moisturizing the scalp, and touts a nutty scent alongside top-notch packaging. I actually did a double-take when I saw how much this was — I had expected something close to $20, not $8!

While NOT suited for fine hair, this serum has really knocked my socks off. It’s an amazing buy for the price, and despite being formulated entirely from natural and organic ingredients, it outperforms any silicone-based haircare products I’ve tried for dry scalps and thick, curly hair.

Availability: $7.99 USD/$8.99 CAD/£8.99. See the full list of retailers here — it’s very long, so you have absolutely no excuse not to give this a try!

Additional photos & ingredients »

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