Duckish Lotion Stick, Body Butter, Bath Salts review, photos | DIY Pedicure Kit

Monday, July 25, 2016

Duckish canadian pedicure kit review photos

The product: Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit (customized) – Duckish Mint Bath Salts, Pink Grapefruit Body Butter, and Lavender Lotion Stick

Okay, so I really wanted to feature Duckish as part of my Small Business Saturdays series, but things keep coming up on Friday nights and I really didn’t want to wait any longer. So we’ll call this one Small Business Mondays instead, I guess!

Duckish is an all-natural Canadian beauty brand with just the absolute cutest packaging. (I want to own basically everything they make.) Their products are all cruelty-free, handmade, and free of icky things like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and silicones.

Duckish mint bath salts review photos

Mint Bath Salts ($9.99 CAD)

I wanted to focus my review on Duckish’s body butter and lotion stick, because I’ve been dying to try them out for what feels like forever–but this kit includes bath salts and a pumice stone on a rock, too. The pumice stone is pretty standard fare, but the bath salts are more then just plain ‘ol rock salt.

They’re a blend of Dead Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and Epsom salts, with sweet almond oil and organic coconut oil to add a bit of hydration to your bath or foot soak. Each scent comes with a unique blend of essential oils, too; the Mint one is made with eucalyptus and peppermint (two of my all-time favourite oils.)

Duckish pink grapefruit body butter review

Pink Grapefruit Body Butter ($11.99 CAD)

Funnily enough, I was most excited for the Duckish Body Butter, but their lotion stick stole the show for me. The Body Butters, I think, are best for those with dry or weathered skin – not so much for Sahara-like dehydration.

The Duckish Body Butter formula is definitely a classic one, with a thick, creamy formula that’s heavy on the shea, and honestly… I didn’t like it. It’s surprisingly creamy for an indie body butter, but non-“mainstream” (The Body Shop, L’Occitane, Bliss, etc.) butters just don’t seem to be hydrating enough for me – this one just kinda sits on my skin, leaving hands feeling both vaguely greasy and so dry that they’re itchy.

Some people love these kinds of body butters, though, so just keep it in mind when ordering! Oh, and a warning for all my fellow crazy cat ladies: there’s just enough citrus oil in Pink Grapefruit to scare Tunakitten away from me when I’m using this, but not quite enough to make the olive oil in the formula palatable to my nose. :(

Duckish lavender lotion stick review

Lavender Mini Lotion Stick ($6.99 CAD)

Duckish’s description for their lotion sticks is:

“Lotion? In a stick? Is this real life? Yes, yes it is!”

And you know what? They couldn’t have been more accurate with that statement. These lotion sticks are crazily good – the mini one is perfect for mess-free application on the go, and the formula is spot-on.

I have really dehydrated skin, and the Duckish lotion stick definitely works better for me than their body butter. It melts immediately upon contact, basically turning into a light oil that absorbs immediately into the skin, and it feels so lovely – not greasy at all.
Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit review

The verdict?

I love buying Canadian when I can, and Duckish makes that really easy. You’re not sacrificing packaging or price, and my only two reservations about the line are small ones: I’d have liked to see a bit more fragrance in their EO and a wider online availability, but both of these are things that will be remediated naturally, as the brand grows.

If bought separately, the three Duckish products in this kit come out to $28.97, so buying the kit essentially gets you a free pumice stone. If I was re-ordering for myself, though, I’d take all $29.99 and put it toward a hoard of lotion sticks!!

Availability: $29.99 CAD. Duckish just recently began shipping to the US in addition to Canada, so use code DUCKISHUSA to get $5 off all US orders over $20 until the end of the month.

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CODE BLUE: The colour-coded skincare edit

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Colour coded skincare blue bright

Have you ever noticed that beauty brands, at some point in time, all seem to have collectively decided that certain colours mean certain things? It’s like some overfunded marketing department went, “hey, you know what sounds like fun? Bringing in an unqualified psychologist to tell us the true meaning of life and colours sounds like fun!” And everyone else followed suit.

It’s like that prison experiment: painting the walls pink made everyone calmer, but it wasn’t because pink is a gentle colour. (What was it said to be before the male to female changeover, again? Strong, bold, assertive?) The change just broke up the listless monotony of one identical day after the next, and even as a prisoner, it’s kinda nice when someone gives a crap about your environment. The same effects can be seen if you paint the walls red, yellow, fluorescent green…

Okay, maybe not fluorescent green, but that’s only because it’s impossible to maintain a pleasant disposition when the walls are literally (figuratively) screaming at you while you sleep.

Purple skin care for anti ageing hydration

The thing about these arbitrary industry colours, though, is that despite all the hogwash, they’re pretty helpful little guiding tools.

I like knowing that blue means cleansing, and that purple means anti-ageing, and that orange means that something is going to contain vitamin C and use the word “invigorating” or “energizing” at least twice on its packaging. It’s probably also going to smell like citrus, and I will surely try to taste it some point and no matter what, it’s going to be revolting.

I like that kind of reliability. I mean, I never learn from that kind of reliability, taste-wise, but I like knowing that it’s there all the same.

Funnily enough, this is a phenomenon that I think is strongest in mid-range and drugstore brands. Trendy high-end brands are too busy being coherent and classy, you know? Like, they are not going to break that aesthetic just so a consumer will immediately reach for their skintype’s “colour,” and they don’t need to – the sales associate is there to guide the consumer anyways.

But for drugstore brands? This colour-coded nonsense can actually be pretty helpful, especially in a barrage of twenty other near-identical products. I think it’s kinda handy, like a weird life boat that nobody wanted but everybody is going to use anyways, because this ship is going down.

So what about you? What’s your “colour” in the skincare aisle? 

Scarlet & Julia review: Living Proof PhD Night Cap, Lavanila Passion Fruit Deodorant

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Scarlet Julia free sample

The products: Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Healthy Deodorant, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in Medium

It can be really tough to pick what to review when you haven’t done it in a while (okay, like, a week), but today, I was hit by a little bout of inspiration as I was getting out of the shower: why not review my Scarlet & Julia haul from last year?

(I know. I’m the worst.)

Scarlet and Julia review

Scarlet & Julia is an awesome Canadian online shop that carries brands like St. Tropez, Stila, and Lise Watier, with a bonus members-only “Beauty Outlet” section. (Think HauteLook, but without the insane Canadian shipping and processing fees.) They sent me a gift card last year to check out the store, and I put it towards part of my order.

Personally, I really like it when stores send out gift cards instead of product samples, because you get to experience the actual store with no extra bells and whistles. And my experience was great: the site’s easy to navigate, the sale section is really good (that Stila brow colour was actually purchased as a backup because it was so cheap at S&J), and my order came with a free sample of Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner and a $10 off promo code.

Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant review

Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Healthy Deodorant ($17 CAD)

I really liked both of the new products that I ordered, too. The Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant was way more expensive than my usual deodorant choices (typically just a stick of men’s Axe or Degree), but it smells amazing and works really well. I liked that the stick felt like a “regular” deo, too – most silicone-free choices are all either gel-based or really pasty, but this was neither.

Lavanila’s passion fruit scent is surprisingly tart, which was a nice surprise. It’s light on the vanilla and heavy on the guava, too – think of it as more of an unsweetened fruit smoothie than a hearty dose of diabetes.

Living Proof PhD Night Cap overnight protector review

Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector ($34 CAD)

The biggest hit from my order, though, was the Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector. This stuff is MAGIC. I have no idea how it works its magic, but you put a little bit into damp hair from roots to ends, sleep on it, and wake up with model hair. 

It gives just the right amount of conditioning and shape, holding in some slept-on shape while still feeling totally product-free and touchable. Plus, it’s so non-greasy that you can even work it into your roots and wake up with grease-free hair.

It’s silicone-free and smells a lot like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea (one of my guiltiest pleasures), so really: zero faults here.

Scarlet and Julia haul

The verdict?

I really liked ordering from Scarlet & Julia, and you know what? I’d do it again. I like that they’re Canadian, I love the way they package their orders, and they were probably the only online shop that I could have made this particular order at.

The Living Proof Night Cap is also available at Sephora, but had I ordered from there, I wouldn’t have gotten 40% off of my Stila Brow Color. I wouldn’t have been able to get that Lavanila Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Passion Fruit, either; for some reason, no one else seems to carry it here in Canada!

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Pai Skincare Instant Calm, Rosehip Oil, Sensitive Skin Cloth reviews, photos

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pai skincare review photos natural silicone free

The products: Pai Skincare Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream, Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and Cloth, and Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil

I’ve gone years resisting the pull of the Pai Rosehip Oil (and the super pretty rest of the line), but it’s been long enough. Eventually, you just have to cave in, locate the high-quality thing, and luxuriate in its beauty.

(Similar but different: I had my first cup of coffee at Credo a while back, and it was literally so good that I moaned a little. I think I scared my date a little.)

Pai hydrating cleanser review

Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50 USD/$56 CAD)

My favourite product from this trio is the Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, which comes with one of the brand’s dual-textured sensitive skin cotton cloths. It smells gently of lemon balm, and the cleanser and cloth make for a really lovely hot cloth polish experience!

The Camellia & Rose cleanser has a thin cold cream texture and is great for sensitive skin. For those of you unfamiliar with cold cream or hot cloth type cleansers, they’re a very ritualistic experience – you apply a thick layer of cleanser to dry skin (eye area included), gently wipe away all of your makeup and impurities with a muslin soaked in hot water, and finish with a splash of cold water to rinse.

My dry skin really likes this cleanser, but I do have one complaint: my skin is crazy sensitive, and I really wish that Pai offered an even softer cloth for ultra sensitive skin types!

Pai chamomile day cream review photos

Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream ($60 USD/$66 CAD)

Pai’s Chamomile & Rosehip Day Cream has a really “clean” ingredient list rich in matricin, azulene, and omega fatty acids, it’s designed to soothe the skin and minimize the appearance (!) of reactive redness.

It was far from hydrating enough for my skin, though (which is dry but not super dry right now), and it didn’t do much for my sensitivity. Ironically, because it left my skin feeling a little tight and dry, it actually made my skin feel more uncomfortable than usual, not better!

For redness and sensitivity, I still think that this Deciem serum is a better option. However, it’s nice that there’s a natural option out there from Pai, and I have no real issues with the Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream (aside from the fact that it smells like rosehip oil, which I am weirdly and seemingly uniquely adverse to). It just wasn’t the right product for me, you know?

Pai rosehip regenerative oil review photos

Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil ($40 USD/$40 CAD)

And finally: the crown and glory of the Pai Skincare line!

Pai’s biggest, most cult-followed product is their Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super psyched to try it. I’m split on my thoughts about it, though: on one hand, it turns out that I hate the smell of rosehip oil, and when it’s good quality (like this one is), it actually tints my skin orange.

On the other, the quality of Pai’s rosehip oil is beyond compare. It blends rosehip seed oil with rosehip fruit oil to really pack in the carotenoid-rich antioxidants and sterols, and it’s noticeably more effective as a result. It doesn’t just condition the skin, it helps heal it, which is pretty cool. (I got two accidental scratches from Tunakitten last month, and the one that I was using Pai oil on definitely scarred less.)

Rosehip oil review pai skincare vegan cruelty free

This is my third rosehip oil, and it’s by far my favourite. Now Organic’s Rosehip Seed Oil was thin and clear, and Le Serum de Jacynthe’s rosehip oil blend was very good, but it was literally twice the price of this one and no more effective.

In short, I think that the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil is well worth the price. It’s one of the highest-quality oils that I own, and it hits scrapes and scars with +150% crit damage. Blending it with another oil will help neutralize the scent (try adding a drop of essential oil into some decanted rosehip oil), and 1-2 drops of rosehip oil with your regular moisturizer will make a fantastic overnight treatment.

Pai hot cloth polish review photos

The verdict?

Overall, I really enjoyed using these products from Pai, and I use the Camellia & Rose Cleanser and Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil on a regular basis. I like that they’re pretty, vegan, and cruelty-free, and I love that their rosehip oil is such a powerhouse.

$40 CAD/oz is a steal for a serum that’s this high-quality, and while it’s not my favourite oil ever, it’s unquestionably fantastic for the price.

Availability: Pai Skincare (US) & The Detox Market (US & Canada)

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Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Or, & Shower Oil review, swatches, photos

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nuxe Huille Prodigieuse range review photos swatches

The products: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil, Huile Prodigieuse OR Dry Oil, and Prodigieux Shower Oil

Along with their Rêve de Miel, Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse is the brand’s golden (sometimes literally) star. So, today, I have not one, not two, but three Huile Prodigieuse reviews to share with you–and strangely enough, I have vastly different opinions about all three.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse review paris edition

The original Huile Prodigieuse ($45 CAD): Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it. While I have a lot of love for the Nuxe and Bio Beauté by Nuxe labels on the whole… I just don’t like the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the classic packaging (that alone is worth half the cult following) and I love that it comes out in limited edition prints each year. I love that its formula is 97.8% natural and contains six botanical oils as its base–macadamia, hazelnut, borage, sweet almond, camellia, and St. John’s Wort.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or review. Look at all of that beautiful, cloud-like shimmer!

I love that it’s enriched with vitamin E and is silicone- and preservative-free, and I love the heady, addictive Huile Prodigieuse fragrance: it smells like summer to me, with its big floral notes and coconut & vanilla base. And, of course, I love that it’s marketed as a multi-use oil; light enough to add shine to your hair, moisturizing enough for the body, and delicate enough to be mixed into your facial moisturizer.

My ex used her Huile Prodigieuse for everything, and it worked amazingly well for her. She always smelled delicious and soft, and her hair (also done up with this oil, of course) was always super gorgeous. But on my skin and hair, it just feels like such a dry dry oil, as if I’ll never feel hydrated and non-staticky ever again.

(Nuxe’s offshoot brand, Bio Beauté, makes a body oil that I much prefer to this one.)

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR review swatches photos

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or “swatch” (artificial lighting)

The Huile Prodigieuse Or ($45 CAD): While the original does nothing for me, I have formed a certain fondness for the golden shimmer version of this Nuxe cult classic. It’s extremely glittery and glamorous, and while Nuxe is full of lies when they say that it can be used on your face, but on the body, it’s a lot of fun.

There aren’t a lot of shimmering body products that you can use if you’re silicone-free, so this one is a treat to find. It’s no more expensive than the original, but it can be used more easily as an adjunct product: I can moisturize normally, then apply this sparingly as a bronze shimmer and summer fragrance. 

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse golden shower oil review

The Prodigieux Shower Oil ($16 CAD): The Huile Prodigieuse line is an expensive one (body oils frequently are, as they’re completely undiluted with water or fillers), so I was very happy to see the brand introduce a full-sized product at a lower price point. The brand new Prodigieux huile de douche is gorgeous to use and feels every bit as luxurious as the original oil, if not more.

A rich, thick shower gel, this shower “oil” is woven through with golden pearl and features a brighter version of the summery Prodigieux fragrance. It’s nicely hydrating (though not as moisturizing as those new Aveeno shower gels), and while I was hoping it would act more like an in-shower moisturizer, it’s a great way to add a dose of gold to your shower routine without being scented or shimmery all day long.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse shower oil gel review swatches

The verdict?

As someone with dry skin, none of these products are must-haves for me. However, they make lovely gifts, and the shower gel and gold oil have secured themselves a permanent place in my summer cabinet!

Availability: $45 CAD for the oil (limited edition 2016) and Huile Prodigieuse Or; $16 CAD for the Prodigieux Shower Oil. Available at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Murale, and Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow, Instant Light Lip Protector reviews, swatches, photos | Summer 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Clarins summer 2016

The products: Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow in Golden Sand & Golden Peach, Instant Light Lip Protector in Pink Shimmer

With my finicky eyelids, I spend a loooot of time waiting for brands to release really great, long-wearing eyeshadows that a) won’t need a primer to not crease and b) aren’t too shimmery. For some reason, they seem to be few and far between, and more often than not they’re limited edition releases (like these two, which I adored and miss every time I put on eyeshadow.)

Clarins’ new summer collection includes one such eyeshadow formula, and I’m absolutely smitten with both it and the collection’s LE-packaged Instant Light lipgloss–which, yes, okay, I hadn’t tried until now.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow Shimmering Cream Colour ($24 CAD)

The limited edition Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadows come in little tubes (my favourite kind of eyeshadow packaging; it’s hygienic and makes me feel far more artsy than I actually am) and are available in four shades. The formula contains orange blossom wax to help create a protective waterproof film, and it’s so good.

While I know that cream eyeshadow formulas can be a little finicky, this formula is really worth the effort. These eyeshadows wear literally all day on my oily lids with zero creasing, and I don’t need a primer underneath. My longest wear test was a whopping 10 hours long and saw no creasing and only a tiny bit of fading, and I bet I could have made it to a full 15 had I not then needed to go to bed and actually get some sleep for once.

Clarins golden peach golden sand swatches review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

I tested out Golden Sand and Golden Peach, which are both sheer, warm, summery shades. They’re shimmery without being gaudy (something that Clarins excels at), and while I found them to be a little too warm for my skintone, they still looked beautiful on their own.

The formula does dry down fairly quickly, but it blends well both with a fingertip or with a brush. And, once dry, it’s totally set: there’s no stickiness or smudging, and you’ll need to take a makeup remover to your eyelid to get it off.

As a result, I find that these shadows perform best on their own, but they’ll serve as an oil-absorbing base if you’re willing to foil any subsequent powder eyeshadows. The dry finish doesn’t lend itself to acting as a primer, though, so opt for a cream eyeshadow base instead if you’re willing to exchange flawless wear for a sticky base.

Clarins waterproof eyeshadow cream review swatches photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector ($25 USD/$20 CAD)

Clarins’ Instant Light glosses are one of their most popular products, so I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t tried them until just now! (I was busy being distracted by their other lip products.)

The summer Sunkissed Summer 2016 collection showcases three brand new Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector shades (Pink Shimmer, Orange Shimmer, and Red Shimmer), each with a sheer tint and “soft gel texture” (hella accurate.) The 3D shimmer that’s mentioned all over their product page is negligible; Pink Shimmer is a beautiful, milky coral pink with shimmer that’s literally invisible unless you hold a swatch right up to your eye in direct lighting.

These glosses are vanilla scented and taste sweet, and the summer shades come packaged in a beautiful white & floral box with and white petals adoring the simple coloured tubes.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector review

I really like this kind of applicator (think the celebrated child borne from an illicit affair between a doe foot applicator and a squeeze tube), and the plush texture of the gloss formula is really nice. It’s not as moisturizing as I had expected, though–everyone always refers to these as a lip gloss crossed with a balm, but my lips just weren’t feeling it.

They contain shea butter, wild mango, and vitamins A & E to repair and soften the lips, but with continued use, my lips were left feeling a little dry. For a lipgloss, they’re pretty moisturizing; if you need a lip balm throughout the day, though, these aren’t a two birds/one stone kind of deal.

Clarins xx Instant Light lip swatches review

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector swatch in Pink Shimmer (artificial lighting)

The verdict?

I really liked the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Pink Shimmer as an easy, tasty summer gloss, but I looooved the new Waterproof Eyeshadows. They’re perfect for beach days and afternoons at the pool, and will deliver a flawless shimmery eyelid that won’t smudge or crease no matter how hard you run and play and sweat.

The formula of the new eyeshadows is really waterproof, too, which is awesome to see. My swatches didn’t budge at all with water or hand soap and furious rubbing, but they came off easily with just a touch of cleansing oil, and when worn, they last all day and still look great at the end of it.

Availability: Available at department stores, pharmacies, and online at Clarins.com. Both formulas are silicone-free!

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