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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Marcelle Rouge Vitality reviews, swatches: Rose Classique, Angel’s Blush, Royal Berry

Monday, March 28, 2016

Marcelle Rouge Vitality lipstick review Spring 2016

The products: Marcelle Rouge Vitality Lipsticks in Rose Classique, Angel’s Blush, and Royal Berry

Happy Easter Monday, folks! I’ve been having the CRAZIEST Easter weekend this year, so my apologies for the lack of posts recently. It’s, uh, kind of graphic but I’m gonna share it, so skip down below the next image for the review. 

My partner cut the tip of his finger off at work (which I have many opinions about; he was working on four hours of sleep following three 13-hour days when he had his accident), so that–that was a bit of a rocky start. It wasn’t just a little sliver or anything, either; it was a big ‘ol horror movie chunk. Then, on our way to Easter dinner, we got rear-ended just off of Jasper Ave in heavy traffic.

Thankfully, we left with as many limbs as we started out with, although not with as many car parts. So drive safe out there, kiddos! And go tell your families that you love them and stuff.

Marcelle Rouge Vitality review swatches

Marcelle Rose Classique, Angel’s Blush, and Royal Berry Rouge Vitality lipsticks

The formula: Marcelle’s Rouge Vitality Lipsticks have been my saving grace all month long. Whenever I’m having a rough day, I whip one out and put it on to cheer myself up.

See, the Rouge Vitality Lipsticks and I share a special bond. They’re my favourite lipstick formula ever, thick and carnauba wax-y and unscented with medium to opaque pigmentation. Unlike most lipsticks, they never slide around on my lips or apply unevenly, and they’re never drying. In fact, the formula is enriched with castor seed oil, aloe, and vitamins A, C, and E to slow down damage caused by free radicals, so they’re actually good for your lips!

Sure, they’re not as buttery as a trendy Bite or Guerlain lipstick, but they’re a really awesome–and often overlooked–lipstick formula. I thought they were being slowly discontinued in favour of the Marcelle Rouge Xpression line, but these three brand-new shades give me hope!

Marcelle Angel's Blush Rouge Vitality review swatch

Marcelle Angel’s Blush Rouge Vitality Lipstick review

Marcelle Angel's Blush review swatch Rouge Vitality

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Angel’s Blush lipstick swatch, review

The shades: Including these three, the Rouge Vitality line now offers 12 matte and shimmering shades. I really like their mattes, but they’re more of a soft matte, if you ask me — they go on creamy and settle into the lips with a soft, comfortable matte finish. The matte formula is actually my favourite thing about these lipsticks, because it sinks into the lips slowly, meaning you have no awkward fading, feathering, or drying out of the lip area.

I love the shade of 480 Rose Classique (a really pretty, cool pink), but it has a finely-milled shimmer finish, which can sometimes catch on my lips if they’re really dry. So, instead, I’ve been wearing 330 Angel’s Blush a lot — it’s that cream/matte finish in a warm, medium-toned pinky-nude shade.

Finally, there’s 200 Royal Berry, which is the darkest shade of the three. It’s more of a brick red on me, but I betcha it would be the perfect berry shade on someone with a warmer skintone. If you find that most berry shades pull outright purple on you, then definitely give this one a try!

Marcelle Rose Classique Royal Berry swatches

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Rose Classique, Royal Berry swatches

Marcelle Rouge Vitality review Rose Classique

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Rose Classique Lipstick review

The verdict?

Marcelle’s Rouge Vitality lipstick formula isn’t for everyone, but I love it. It’s classic and stiff, with a soft matte finish that wears incredibly evenly and never dries out my lips.

I would looooove to see more cool-toned matte shades in the range, but hey — I thought that the Rouge Vitality line was going to disappear entirely, so I’ll take what I can get! Angel’s Blush hasn’t left my handbag in weeks, and I’m really enjoying the shimmery Rose Classique, too.

Are any of you guys Rouge Vitality lipstick fans?

Availability: $10.95 CAD at Marcelle.com (US/Canadian shipping) and in drugstores & mass-market retailers across Canada. Permanent.

Keep reading!

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus serum, Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse reviews, photos

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jurlique Foaming Cleanser, Rose Moisture Plus Serum review

The products: Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse & Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum

I like to think that I can admit my mistakes gracefully. I have no idea if this is true or not, but if it is, then the Jurlique skincare range is a great example of it.

I thought that Jurlique was just another well-marketed beauty brand, but I was definitely off-base in my assumptions. The two Jurlique products that I’ve been testing came in recycled, sustainably sourced paper cartons, feature natural and organic ingredients, and are stamped with expiry dates — March 2017 for the mousse and August 2016 for the serum, instead of that vague “6 months” crap that most brands will feed you.

There are plenty of natural and sustainable brands nowadays, but Jurlique has been doing the eco-conscious thing since way before it was cool. The brand celebrates its 30th anniversary this year (Happy Birthday, Jurlique!)

Jurlique Foaming Cleanser dry skin review

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse review

Jurlique Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse ($34 USD)

The Jurlique Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse is described as a “lightly whipped foaming mousse,” and I have to agree! Jurlique’s mousse cleanser isn’t like any other that I’ve tried — it’s enriched with jojoba, grape seed, safflower, and rose hip oils, and it actually feels whipped and lush rather than just foamy.

It’s the most hydrating mousse/foaming cleanser that I’ve tried, but it’s not perfect. Even though I like the formula, it’s still more stripping than a cleansing milk, so it’ll work better for oily and normal skin types than dry or sensitive ones. I think it would be awesome in helping to balance out a combination complexion, though, or a dehydrated/oily skin type!

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum review

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum review

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum ($50 USD)

I’ve also been using the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum over the past few months, but while it helps maintain my skin’s moisture levels, it doesn’t get rid of my persistent dryness the way that a few of my other serums do.

I really like its silky texture and natural rose scent, but at $50, I just couldn’t recommend it to someone with chronically dry skin. If you have mild dry skin, then yes, this is a gorgeous silicone-free serum, but be warned: I found it to be only about as hydrating as Hylamide SubQ, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, and the super-popular Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum.

(Which, granted, a lot of people describe as super hydrating, so it really depends where you’re measuring from!)

Jurlique packaging review skincare

The verdict?

Jurlique products are definitely a splurge, but I think you get what you pay for with the line. The packaging, delivery, and formulas are exquisite, and I was actually surprised that these products didn’t cost more — $50 for a luxury serum is arguably pretty well-priced.

I didn’t find the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum hydrating enough for my skin type, but I loved the Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse. It’s gentler on the skin than most foaming cleansers, and though it gets used up pretty quickly, it feels whipped (not foamy), which is quite the treat!

Availability: Jurlique.com. Jurlique is actually running a really cool new promo right now, where they will give you a $15 USD credit toward ANY purchase before March 15th if you sign up for their newsletter!

Keep reading! »

Bioderma Atoderm reviews: Gentle Shower Gel, Moisturizing Stick, PP Baume

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bioderma Atoderm shower gel review

The products: Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel, Atoderm Moisturizing Stick, and Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm

The Bioderma Atoderm shower gel is the biggest shower gel that you are ever going to use. Period. It’s a massive 1 litre (or bloody 2 lbs and 6.86 oz) of paraben-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic gentleness, and it’s totally dry skin friendly.

Hell, you could use this everywhere from your kids to your face to your junk (that’s one way to prevent the Junkface bar soap conundrum), and you’d still have 990 ml left to soap up… I don’t know; maybe a whole herd of cows?

Bioderma Atoderm review vs Bliss Soapy Suds The Body Shop Virgin Mojito

This is what 1L of bodywash looks like in comparison. (CAD proce per litre: $61, $19.95, $40).

The Atoderm line: Bioderma focuses on making gentle, pharmacy-style products that are targeted to specific skin types, and the Atoderm range is aimed at very dry to atopic sensitive skin. (That’s me!) (Although to be fair, Sensibio and Hydrabio, for sensitive skin and dehydrated sensitive skin, respectively, are also arguably me.)

But my point is — Atoderm products are designed to be gentle, non-stripping, and hydrating, so they’re the Bioderma line to turn to if you have eczema, psoriasis, or just generally fragile skin. 

Bioderma Atoderm shower gel

Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel ($19.95 CAD)

The Atoderm line has four options for shower gels, all available in 500 ml or 1L bottles. This is actually their least gentle of all four (there’s also a gel-mousse, a cream, and an oil, which I really want to try) and it’s really nice.

A litre is a lot of shower gel to go through, but this stuff is awesome. It’s very lightly scented and is actually quite thin, which is something I’ve never encountered before but am very much enjoying 4111111111111111111111111111111 (Tuna says hi.)

You know how, when you walk into an Asian household, the soap is always a little thinner than it’s supposed to be? This is a like that, except minus the scolding grandma! The Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel is slick and easy to apply, and it’s easy to rinse off without having to scrub at your damaged skin.

Bioderma lip balm review Atoderm

Bioderma Atoderm Moisturizing Stick ($6.95 CAD)

There are two lip balms in the Bioderma Atoderm line, because Bioderma loves going overboard with their product ranges. (I joke, but I actually love this kind of precisely curated neuroses.)

This one’s the stick, and I LOVE it. It’s my absolute favourite lip balm right now, and I keep making everyone try it — it’s so good. The formula smells lightly of raspberry candy and is perfectly stiff, but it applies smoothly and keeps my lips nicely hydrated for a good couple of hours. It really is the ideal texture for a daytime lip balm!

Bioderma Atoderm moisturizing stick review

I’d say that this is more hydrating than Nuxe Reve de Miel, eos balms, and Burt’s Bees lip balms, but less hydrating than my potted Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 (yes, that post is SEVEN YEARS OLD now) or the Osmia Organics Lip Balm that I love.

It’s about as hydrating as a Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, but it’s way cheaper and much easier to work with… and it won’t slide onto the floor in the summer.

Bioderma PP Ultra-nourishing balm review ish

Bioderma Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm ($29.95 CAD)

The Bioderma PP Baume contains silicones, so I couldn’t test it myself. However, it’s an extra-nourishing formula that joins a whole bunch of other Atoderm products, like the protective PO Zinc and everyday Creme (which comes in unscented & scented versions — so cool!)

If you’ve tried the PP Baume, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Here’s what other bloggers thought of it, though:

  • Natalie Loves Beauty notes that it absorbs almost instantly,
  • Writing Whimsy loves how hydrating its formula is, unlike the scented Atoderm PP Creme formula,
  • Lipstick and Lullabies tried it with her husband and found that it’s great for dryness, redness, and facial skin, and
  • Ruqaiya Kahn finds the formula a bit sticky BUT notes that it totally got rid of her itchy, dry leg skin.
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