Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing Toner & Foam Face Cleanser review, photos

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fresh Peony collection review

The product: Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Face Cleanser, Peony Brightening Moisturizing Facial Toner, and Peony Brightening Moisture Face Cream

Fresh recently added three new products to their Peony Brightening range, and even though I’m not always into brightening products, I love these.

I don’t really believe in the brightening powers of peony (it’s only ever been “proven” to work in petri dishes), and I highly doubt that peony/mushroom/etc-based products truly brighten. That being said, a great brightening range will also make your skin seem brighter by leaving it clean, fresh, and well-hydrated–and the Fresh Peony Brightening range definitely delivers on that kind of brightening.

Fresh Brightening Peony collection review

The ingredients: The range is formulated with Chinese tree peony extract, Madonna lilly root extract, and vitamin C glucoside, and each product has an additional star ingredient: shea seedcake extract (an antioxidant) in the cleanser and moisturizer, and sodium hyaluronate (to act as an to help the skin retain moisture) in the toner and moisturizer.

Unfortunately, the Fresh Peony Brightening Moisture Face Cream ($72 USDcontains silicones, but the new cleanser and toner are ‘cone-free!

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisture face cream review

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisture Face Cream

Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Face Cleanser ($42 USD/$49 CAD)

I tried out the Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Face Cleanser ($42 USD/$49 CADexpecting to enjoy it, and it totally exceeded my expectations.

It’s a super-thick foam formula that’s honestly kind of hard to squeeze out of the tube, but it’s really luxurious — the packaging is gorgeous, and the foam applies kind of like a traditional shaving cream, or a face mask. (Or like fancy glue.) It feels like a ritual sort of product, and the sweet, soft, floral scent of the Peony Brightening range only compounds on this luxe kind of feeling.

Fresh Peony Brightening Foam Cleanser review

I don’t think I love this one enough that I’ll be rebuying it (my skin’s too dry to use something that foams on a daily basis), but I definitely love it enough that I’m not sharing. A’s gonna have to earn this level of pampering if he wants to touch my Peony cleanser!

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing Facial Toner ($60 USD/$70 CAD)

Conversely, I tried out the Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing Facial Toner ($60 USD/$70 CAD) expecting it to be a flop — but I actually like it even more than the cleanser.

Fresh Peony Brightening Moisturizing toner review

The Fresh Peony toner is, in a word, phenomenal. It’s softly scented and absorbs quickly, and its glycerine-based formula leaves my skin feeling moisturized, velvety, and plush, but never sticky.

I know that this one is a huuuuge stretch for most budgets, but it’s honestly the best-performing toner/lotion-type product that I have ever tried for dry skin. It acts more like a really excellent beauty essence than a toner, and while I’m doubtful that it’ll be brightening in the long term, it’s just beyond lovely.

I can even skip my hydrating serum on days that I use this toner (which is something that I never do), so even though it’s priced at a luxury price point, it’s kind of like spending $70 on a serum, not a toner. Which… seems more reasonable, right?

Fresh skincare picks Peony

The verdict?

If you haven’t checked out the Fresh Peony Brightening range yet, I have two words for you: DO IT. 

I’m not sold on the range’s brightening abilities, but these three products are fantastic nonetheless. The moisturizer has a really lovely texture and scent; the cleanser feels literally like it belongs in a high-end spa; and the toner acts more like a liquid serum that’ll soften and balance your dry skin every morning and night.

There are actually quite a few products in the Fresh Peony range now, and if the rest are anything like these, they would make a fantastic Mother’s Day treat for this time of the year!

Availability: New permanent products as of April 2016. Find them online at Fresh and soon at Sephora.

Keep reading! »

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer review, photos

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer review

The product: The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer for Dull, Tired, Grumpy Skin

Five years ago, finding a silicone-free moisturizer was tough. And, while it’s certainly not impossible anymore (thanks to the natural beauty movement, there are a whole ton more options nowadays), I find that a lot of the newer ‘cone-free brands are a little out of my budget.

Widely-available natural companies like Odacité or Pai make some awesome products (aside: I have a review of some Pai coming up!), but not everyone has $50+ to drop on a single bottle of moisturizer — or have the inclination to do so. So, here’s a silicone-free moisturizer from The Body Shop that clocks in at a nice $25 CAD.

TBS Vitamin C Moisturizer review

The formula: The texture and scent of the Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer are honestly just divine. It smells as bright, cheery, and citrusy as it looks, and it has a bouncy gel texture. The formula absorbs very quickly, and it feels almost watery when it touches the skin.

Despite the fact that this moisturizer didn’t have quite enough “oomph” for my skin, I tested it with my Hydraforce Hydration Detector and got more than decent results. Ten minutes after applying, my skin had gone up from 31% hydrated to 50% hydrated, and it outperformed all of the other moisturizers that I’ve tested so far. (Including, ironically, the Hydraforce ones!)

The Body Shop silicone free moisturizer review

Best for: Where the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer really excels, I find (other than in reminding you to eat your daily dose of vitamin C), is in acting as a little transporter vessel. It’s nice on its own, but it pairs really well with serums, whether it’s layered overtop of them or mixed in before applying.

I think it would be best for normal, dull, or dehydrated skin, but it’s a little heavy, and it’s definitely better for dehydration than dryness.

TBS Glow Vitamin C moisturizer review

The verdict?

From the friendly-luxe packaging (you know; really nice and well-made but not breakable) to the citrusy scent, this “glow boosting” moisturizer is a total winner. It’s a great product for dehydrated skin, and really easy to find, too!

It doesn’t make me super glowy, but unlike my favourite DHC and Marcelle silicone-free moisturizers, the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer is available outside of Canada/online. It’s also full of antioxidants, nice to use, and affordable, so if you want a ‘cone-free moisturizer that isn’t a hassle or an “investment piece,” definitely give this one a look.

Availability: $30 USD/$25 CAD. Permanent as of Summer 2015.

Keep reading! »

Le Sérum de Jacynthe oil review, photos | Les Soins de Jacynthe serum & trio

Friday, April 15, 2016

Le Serum de Jacynthe Soins du Visage review

The product: Les Soins de Jacynthe Le Sérum de Jacynthe (“Jacynthe’s Serum”)

I have been trying a lot of skincare products recently. Like… a lot. Enough that it’s honestly kind of frightening to see it all on my bathroom countertop.

More than half of what I test doesn’t even go up on theNotice, so when you guys do see skincare on the blog, it’s because I’ve found the products to be either something that I think people will be interested in, or something that I personally am really enjoying. This one is the latter.

Les Soins de Jacynthe review facial oil serum

The serum: Le Sérum de Jacynthe is a facial oil from a Canadian skincare brand founded by French-Canadian actress Jacynthe René. It’s all-natural and silicone-free, and features evening primrose, borage, sea buckthorn, and rose hip oils, along with vitamin E and essential oils of sandalwood, rose, and rosemary.

The Les Soins de Jacynthe site lists this serum as good for all skintypes except acne-prone. I’m not so sure about that, but my super-dry skin absolutely loves this stuff. It smells beautiful and rich, and its dark orange tone speaks volumes about the quality of rose hip seed oil that’s going into this stuff — it’s immensely hydrating. (Less hydrating than my PO+R and Paula’s Choice Resist oils, but more hydrating than all of my other serums).

 

Les Soins de Jacynthe review

Le Soins de Jacynthe floral water, cleansing oil, and serum

The Les Soins de Jacynthe range: I was sent Jacynthe’s Trio to test, which also includes the brand’s floral water and cleansing oil.

As much as I love this serum (and I really, really do), I think this range is overpriced for what it is. The labels are plain sticky paper and get dirty very easily, and a $21 bottle of floral water… I mean, the mister is lovely, but the rosewater itself smells vinegar-sour at first spray. It settles into something I can stomach only after the first few minutes, and honestly, I prefer the $2 rose water that I pick up from the “ethnic” aisle at the grocery store.

The cleansing oil, I think, has the best packaging of these three products, but I never really got behind the whole “soap-free natural oil cleansing” thing. I know it’s good for my face, but AT WHAT COST. I’m just not a fan of the heavy, oily feeling!

Le Serum de Jacynthe review

Le Sérum de Jacynthe Soins du Visage review

The verdict?

First and foremost, I would love to see the Les Soins de Jacynthe range switch over to non-absorbent labels. Their products are full of natural oils, and my serum bottle barely made it two weeks before it started to look super grotty.

That being said, the serum itself is fantastic. I think Jacynthe’s Trio can be passed on (that sour rosewater!), but Le Sérum de Jacynthe is full of high-quality ingredients and is great for super dry skin!

Availability: $49.35 CAD for 15 ml (pictured); $80.85 for the full size.

Keep reading! »

Dry skin must-haves & my April at-home spa essentials!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Silicone-free dry skin favourites

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should, because sometimes I meet puppies and take pictures of them), then you’ve probably missed these two product roundups. If you do, then a) thank you, and b) you’ll recognize the images. Don’t click away just yet, though, because there’s a lot more detail here!

Above, I have everything that I’m keeping sink-side right now.* For my dry, dehydrated skin, these have proven to be the best of the best so far. 

  • For super dry skin, I can’t speak highly enough about the DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster. The DHC is so creamy and hydrating, and the Paula’s Choice will get rid of any dry spots you have! I’m also really loving Le Sérum de Jacynthe (review soon), which I think is a bit pricy but is an excellent “green” option.
  • For sensitive skin, Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solution is just fantastic. It’s scented, but I was surprised to find that it’s also incredibly gentle — noticeably more gentle than the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Solution or the Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water.
  • For dehydrated skin, the Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser makes a huge difference for my skin. It doesn’t look very glamorous, but it’s creamy and luxurious, and leaves my skin feeling divine. My MIYU Beauty Essences are something that I can’t live without, too — I’ve now gone through four bottles, if you include the minis!

I’m also a big fan of the Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30, which is relatively heavy, but my skin really likes. It’s not breathtakingly creamy or smooth or anything in particular, but it is affordable, comfortable, and silicone-free, and I think those are three pretty important things.

(Plus, it feels way better than a physical sunscreen, so there’s that.)

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

I also posted about a little at-home spa day that I had on Sunday, which I wanted to update you guys on! It was my first time using a peel-off mask (so, so weird and cool) and the first time in a little while that I had taken the time to pamper myself with my Ahava goodies.

My skin has been so out of whack recently, and the half-hour it took me to mask and exfoliate before my shower really balanced things out. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask tightened up my t-zone, and the Kérastase hair mask/exfoliator left my hair feeling super soft. (I could have still used more scalp exfoliation, though.)

But what I loooooved using again was this Ahava trio. I received them for a post & giveaway last year, but they’ve become some of my carefully-rationed favourites. My legs haven’t been this smooth in years (thank you, Liquid Dead Sea Salt), skin feels so soft, and my sheets now smell amazing.

But yeah; that’s what I’ve been up to! I also petted a dozen dogs on Sunday (VERY IMPORTANT) and took the rest of the weekend to let my body rest, and it’s been great.

What’s been keeping you busy (or not so busy) recently?

*Note: I’ve drifted away from the Jurlique and Tatcha since taking this photo. They’re both still great, but I’m just really into the Paula’s Choice cleanser right now!

New This Week: Silicone-free colour-correcting & custom foundation palettes!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Custom color correcting foundation palette

It’s always interesting to see which trends are going to rear their heads each season, but I can’t remember the last time something hit quite as hard as colour-correcting. It’s a technique that has been around for decades, of course, but it used to be tough to get your hands on really good colour-correcting products.

Now, though? Now colour correctors seem like they’re a dime a dozen. You can pick up tinted primers (Make Up For Ever and Clinique do some really popular ones, and I hear the NYX dupes aren’t all that shabby); redness neutralizers (everyone still always says green, but I swear yellow is what you really want); even brightening powders (in violet or the classic banana yellow) to even out whatever tones your foundation isn’t quite covering. 

Despite the current trend, however, it is still next to impossible to find a good colour corrector that’s silicone-free. So, I thought I’d share with you guys what I’ve been doing for colour-correcting!

I really love using theatre foundations on skin that’s picky about silicones, because the older formulas (always make sure to check first) tend to be creamy, ‘cone-free, and cheap. The colour palette that I put together for myself features samples of products from Camera Ready Cosmetics to keep the costs even lower; the half-empty pans look a little dingy, but because I rarely actually finish products, it was a good choice for me.

(I’ve had this palette for about a year and I haven’t needed to replenish any of the correctors yet, so I guess I wasn’t wrong!)

Silicone free foundation palette

Silicone-free theatre foundation review palette

For anyone making their own colour correcting palette or bruise kit, this entire palette cost me about $20 USD, and works well for my NC15-ish skin. It includes:

Keep reading! »

SkinCeuticals Emollience moisturizer review, photos

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SkinCeuticals Emollience review

The product: SkinCeuticals Emollience Rich, Restorative Moisturizer

I’ve been slowly testing a few SkinCeuticals products since November, and I’ve found a few that I love… and a few that I’m not so crazy about.

The last SkinCeuticals product that I posted about was their Simply Clean cleanser, which I was really fond of. So, I felt that it was only fair to post a review of their Emollience Moisturizer today, especially considering how many requests I’ve gotten recently for more ‘cone-free moisturizer reviews.

Spoiler alert: it made me feel like a sad, dry, completely unloved sponge.

SkinCeuticals moisturizer review dry skin

What I liked about Emollience: I feel like starting with the good stuff today, and there’s definitely good stuff to be found here! For starters, the SkinCeuticals-educated staff at Rao Dermatology were super understanding about my sensitivity to silicones (which many brands are NOT cool about), and they made it easy for me to find products in the range that I could use.

Plus, Emollience is pumped up with sea algae, grape seed oil, and rose hip seed oil to hydrate skin in cold or dry climates, which sounds great. In theory.

SkinCeuticals dry skin review Emollience

What I didn’t like about Emollience: While all of that sounds great in practice, the mostly-water-and-sorbitol Emollience formula just didn’t work for me. It feels awesome going on and absorbs really quickly, but I found that it absorbed into my skin TOO quickly — it was basically gone within seconds.

Within 5 minutes of applying this, my skin feels absolutely parched. The effect is bearable if I mix in a really hydrating oil or serum, but even with extended use, my skin’s hydration levels didn’t normalize. I even tested Emollience with my nifty new Hydration Detector to see if maybe it was just a perceived feeling, but nope: my skin only went up 1% in hydration right after applying Emollience, which isn’t even outside of a good margin of error.

SkinCeuticals skincare regimen group

The verdict?

As much as I love SkinCeuticals as a brand, I cannot recommend Emollience to anyone else with dry skin. From the other reviews I’ve read, it sounds like it’s both not hydrating enough for dry skin & too pore-clogging for oily skin, and from my own experiences, I’d have to agree.

Even on the SkinCeuticals site, the people who love Emollience seem to be those with combination skin–not the targeted audience of “normal to dry skin.” Skip this one & save your pennies for the brand’s treatment products!

Availability: $60 USD though dermatologist’s offices & online at SkinCeuticals, depending on where you live. (See the SkinCeuticals site to find in-person locations!)

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