LUSH Valentine’s 2014 reviews: Tender is the Night, Neon Love, Love Locket

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lush Neon Love alt

The products: LUSH Tender is the Night massage bar, Love Locket bath bomb, & Neon Love soap

Tender is the Night massage bar ($11.95)

A returning limited edition product coming to the permanent line, Tender is the Night is a solid massage bar. It’s very sturdy in its solid state (perfect for travel), and melts immediately upon contact with skin. The oil it melts into is smooth and intensely moisturizing, and I really appreciate that the body of the bar isn’t coloured — it saves me from worrying about it getting on my white sheets.

Lush Tender is the Night review

Scented with Simon Constantine’s Vanilla Orchid fragrance, this bar smells a little sour to my nose. That said, I’m crazy picky about my vanillas — past the initial sharpness, Tender is the Night is kind of delicious and a little bit sexy. Scented with notes of vanilla, jasmine, and ylang ylang, it’s sweet without being nauseating, and I think many will adore its fragrance.

As long as you don’t live in a hot climate, I think this would be a lovely bedside or bathroom addition. If you really love vanilla, it would be a really nice treat for yourself, too, even just for travel or for moisturizing with after a bath!

Tender of the Night is photographed here in LUSH’s Massage Bar Tin ($3.95), which is great for both storage and travel. 

Murumuru Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Fragrance, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Cornflour, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Lilial, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, FD&C Red No. 4, D&C Red No. 27

Lush massage bar review - Tender is the Night

Love Locket ballistic bath bombs ($10.95)

Love Locket is priced a little higher than Lush’s other bath bombs, but for good reason: this thing is MASSIVE. Like, three-baths massive: the heart “unlocks,” breaking into two halves with an additional heart in the centre. It’s heavy, dense, and honestly, the idea behind it is kind of fantastic.

A little macabre (“break your heart”), but fantastic.

LUSH Love Locket Bath Bomb

Lush Love Locket open

Fragranced with vanilla, jasmine, and neroli essential oils, I’m not crazy about the scent — but unlike some of LUSH’s other bath bombs, it’s not a deal-breaker. The outside layer hides paper hearts that will float out to the surface of the water, while the centre heart has shiny red hearts made from agar. Unlike plastic wrap or microbeads, both will dissolve entirely, making them 100% ocean-safe.

Note: my Love Locket “unlocked” in the mail (though all of the pieces are intact), so if you’re going to buy one of these, I definitely recommend purchasing it in person.

Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Jasmine Absolute, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Neroli Oil, Gardenia Extract, Eugenol, Geraniol, Methyl Ionone, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, D&C Red No. 27, Pink Heart Confetti

Red Edible Hearts (Hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose, Glycerine, Gum Arabic, Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, FD&C Red 40)

LUSH bath bomb review - love locket

Neon Love soap ($6.95)

The first thing that came to mind when I saw Lush’s Neon Love soap was Cut Copy’s 2004 Bright Like Neon Love. I still haven’t gotten around to listening to anything post In Ghost Colours, but you guys — they’re pretty great. Not, like, “I love this so much I never want to listen to anything else ever again” levels of great, but there’s something about their light, electro-pop sound that’s sort of smooth, like little fizzy bursts of soft light in a dark room. 

LUSH Valentine's 2014 review - Neon Love soap

Much like Cut Copy, Neon Love is heartbreakingly bright. It’s sunny and cheery without being too sweet — Lush lists notes of passion fruit, bergamot, rosewood, and cinnamon, and let me tell you: it does not disappoint. The cinnamon leaf oil gives incredible balance to the scent, a spicy base to tether the fizzy passionfruit, and it’s so perfectly mouthwatering that I’m presently using it to scent my office.

(Neon Love is named after 12 Months of Neon Love, a public art project.)

Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Fresh Passion Fruit, Cornflour, Sodium Stearate, Fresh Figs, Fragrance, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Rosewood Oil, Bergamot Oil, Titanium Dioxide,Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Editronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citral, Coumarin,Eugenol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, FD&C Yellow No. 8, D&C Green No. 8, D&C Red No. 27

Lush Neon Love review

The verdict?

Of these, Neon Love is really the only one that I’d call a must-have – but what a must-have it is. Honestly, I don’t even think I’d be upset if it was the only soap I was allowed to use all spring and summer: it’s that good.

The fragrances of Love Locket and Tender is the Night didn’t really hook me, but the delivery of both is stellar. I love that Love Locket breaks open and reveals yet another heart (what a wonderful, romantic-or-platonic Valentine’s Day gift it would be for a bath addict!), and Tender is the Night would make a great bedside addition if you want to subtly hint that you’d like a massage.

And Lush? If you’re listening… please, please, please bring Neon Love into your permanent collection. I think it’d be a hit!

Additional photos & more »

Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair review, photos | The one winter lip balm you absolutely need to own

Monday, January 20, 2014

Osmia Organics Lip Repair review comparison Honey-Myrrh

The product: Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair

Have you met Osmia Organics yet? Until very late last year, I hadn’t — and I wasn’t all that interested in the line. Sure, their packaging was pretty, and everyone else seemed to love them, but niche organic lines seem to be a dime a dozen these days. What’s one from the next one, right?

Wrong. Their range is relatively small, but everything is such a joy to use: naturally-fragranced, packaged in the most beautiful, basic glassware, and run by a small business owner in a mind-blowingly idyllic, dreamy, snowy Colorado nook. I’m a convert, you guys — and this lip balm is a big reason why.

Editor’s note: Win this (and a few of my other Osmia favourites) here!

All natural lip balm review Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics lip balm review natural

Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair review – unbroken surface

The formula: Osmia makes sure to note that this “Lip Repair” isn’t quite the same as your standard lip balm. Formulated with organic manuka honey, myrrh extract, and lanolin, it’s designed to heal dry and cracked lips in a matter of days.

The surface of your new balm needs to be “broken” with the tip of your finger or the back of your fingernail before use (it forms a stiff layer after being poured and cooled, but no product needs to be removed or wasted), which I think is just the coolest thing — as a lip balm addict, anything new and different is always interesting to try. Once broken, the balm is much softer and more emollient, working easily into the lips and forming a comforting layer.

Osmia Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair Review

Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair review – broken/cracked surface

The wear: The Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair isn’t lipgloss-sticky, but it sticks around. While drugstore lip balms like Maybelline Baby Lips & Labello/Nivea have me reaching to re-apply every hour (minimally), Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair lasts from meal to meal, and wears well overnight. Yes, you can really feel it on your lips (it’s a lot tackier than a a tube of Chapstick), but honestly?

For lads & ladies with dry lips, you want your lip balm to stick — that’s what makes it great.

The (impressively short and natural) ingredients list:

Castor Bean Oil, Beeswax, Cupuacu Butter, Lanolin, Manuka Honey, Tamanu Oil, Gmo-Free Vitamine E Oil, Wild Myrrh Co2, and Bergamot FCF Essential Oil.

Osmia Organics review - Honey Myrrh Lip Repair balm

But does it work?: In one, short, succinct word, yes.

While not quite as effective for my lips as Bobbi Brown’s Lip Balm SPF 15 (my go-to overnight lip hydrator and healer), Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair comes a very close second. It wears just a fraction shorter and doesn’t prime lips in the same way, but I think a lot of people will be more comfortable with Osmia’s version. It’s a little less sticky and much more natural, carrying a strong herby/natural scent rather than a strong synthetic one. I love my Bobbi Brown lip balm, but it feels like slapping a chemical salve on my lips — not exactly pleasant.

Of all of the lip balms I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot), this is my second favourite, falling very close behind the first. It is hands-down the best natural option, and works wonders on very dry, cracked lips! 

Osmia Organics review - Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair

The verdict?

If you’re on the market for a new lip balm, please give Osmia’s a try. It’s a little pricy at $22 USD, but it hydrates and nourishes the lips quickly and beautifully, touting an ingredients list so clean that it’s well worth the cost.

Don’t get me wrong: I wear a ton of non-organic, non-natural products on my lips, but it just feels kind of weird to be doing it overnight. Like, where do nighttime lip balms go? You’re not wiping them off before dinner, but they’re almost always gone by the morning — are they all over your pillowcases? Did they seep into your skin while you slept? Did you eat them by accident while dreaming about cake?

Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair won’t disappear in the dead of night like some sketchy one-night stand, and the most frightening thing in it comes from sheep. I wish it was less strongly scented, but aside from that? Colour me impressed.

Availability: $22 USD/0.28 oz at Osmia Organics. International shipping available!

Keep reading for nitty-gritty photos! »

Three gorgeous, out-of-the-box finds for the holiday season | The Gift Guide

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In a month that epitomizes opulence and indulgence, it isn’t hard to find lust-worthy items to gift for the holidays. Finding something just outside of the mainstream, however, is a different challenge entirely.

Here are three finds that any beauty lover would be pleasantly surprised to receive (but would never see coming).

For the skincare lover: STEAMCREAM ($20 USD)

STEAMCREAM original

STEAMCREAM first landed on my radar two years ago, when Lisa Eldridge declared it a “Lisa Loves” product. The brand is designed around what I find to be a really interesting concept: the cream itself never changes, but the tins are all limited edition (excluding Original and, in the UK, Freedom & Discipline). Steamcream is made to be both a skincare staple and a collector’s item — something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Made with ingredients that are as fresh as possible, Steamcream uses a unique, steam-based process to fuse its ingredients together in a loose emulsion. The idea behind this is that, when applied, the product will sink deep into your skin almost immediately, making it lightweight enough for oily skintypes but hydrating enough for dry ones. (I haven’t yet figured out if this is true, but I’ll keep you updated!)

STEAMCREAM Light from Space - Nelly Makeeva

STEAMCREAM Light from Space & Silent Night

Steamcream can be used on the face, body, hands, and hair, and is handmade in the UK and Japan. It’s both vegan and cruelty-free, and if you see a tin that you love, or that someone you know might love — well, you might want to snap it up now, because there likely won’t ever be a second run. I’m smitten with the Light from Space and Silent Night tins, the latter of which has just the most charming design on its side!

Keep reading! »

Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil Review, Photos

Sunday, September 1, 2013

shu uemura anti:oxi vs a:o, ultime8 review

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The product: shu uemura anti/oxi skin refining anti-dullness cleansing oil

[  Get 10% off your shuuemura.ca order with the code NOTICESHU  ]

The formula: Shu Uemura has lot of different cleansing oils, so I thought I’d take a moment to first go over the new Anti/Oxi formula. This one–lighter in texture than the Ultim8 or A/O, but heavier than the fresh pore clarifying–is designed to cleanse environmental pollutants from the skin’s surface, preventing damage to cellular functions lower in the dermis.

Shu Uemura Anti:Oxi review

shu uemura cleansing oil review anti:oxi

Shu Uemura Anti:Oxi cleansing oil

Now, all cleansers cleanse, but the science behind this one is pretty cool. The Anti/Oxi formula uses moringa seed extract to bond to negatively-charged pollutants, detoxifying the skin — think of it like dragging a magnet through a pile of lead shavings.

(Moringa seeds are commonly used to as a water purifier in areas where it is grown, which, if you ask me, is pretty cool.)

shu uemura whitefficient in anti:oxi review

The other oils featured here are the fresh (pink/pore cleansing), high performance (light yellow/balancing), ultime8 (brown/full review here), and whitefficient (blue/brightening). There’s also the cleansing A/I (dark yellow/sensitive skin), which isn’t featured here but does exist!

shu uemura cleansing oils with anti:oxi

How cleansing oils work: Shu Uemura recommends you use 3-4 pumps of cleansing oil, worked into dry skin and then emulsified and rinsed off with water. I actually find one pump to be more than enough, but then again, I don’t tend to wear much makeup unless I’m product testing.

(Confession: I’ve always found cleansing oils to be a lot of fun. It’s pretty cool that such a thick oil turns into a comforting soap with just a bit of water!)

shu uemura skin refining review anti:oxi

Keep reading! »

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Light: Review, Swatches, Photos | A creamy, silicone-free concealer you (and your under eyes) will love

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye review swatches

The product: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Waterproof Concealer in Light

Two months ago, IT Cosmetics was just another “QVC brand” to me — over-marketed, under-formulated, and probably not worth paying attention to.

Following an email from the brand, however, I found out that both their bestselling concealer & their new foundation are silicone-free, and I decided to give them a try: after all, ‘cone-free base products are no small feat, especially from a company that doesn’t even bill itself as “natural” or “organic.”

Since then, IT Cosmetics has been leaving me gobsmacked at every turn, so I thought — well, why not kick things off with a review of their most popular product?

IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Bye Under Eye Concealer

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye (R) with their Celebration Foundation in Fair (L)

The texture & general feel: Created to offer highly-pigmented coverage without creasing or cracking, the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye concealer is good for so much more than the under eye area.

It comes out of the tube thick, creamy, and very emollient, its heavy texture making it feel almost sticky before it sets. The formula blends easily, though, heavy but spreading out well over larger areas, like around the nose, jawline, or (yes) the under eye.

IT Cosmetics Fair Light concealer foundation swatches

Swatched L-R: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Light (heavy/blended), IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation in Fair (heavy/blended)

It’s best used as: A concealer for hiding discolouration over a large area, like under eye circles, darkness around the hairline/mouth, or patches of redness. It’s high-coverage enough for blemishes, but the texture really isn’t suited for it — while the Bye Bye Under Eye concealer can certainly hide away scars, veins, and small spots, it’s not ideal for something like point-concealing cystic acne.

IT Cosmetics says that you can use this as a foundation, too, something that I do with all my concealers anyways. (What? I’m lazy.) I think it’s best suited as a concealer, but it makes an okay foundation. It struggles a little over dry patches, but it’ll certainly do in a pinch.

IT Cosmetics Light Bye Under Eye Concealer review

IT Cosmetics Bye Under Eye Light review

The way it wears (in lines, etc): In one word? Fabulously. I haven’t been testing this on my under eye area (it’s too dark for me, especially there), but that’s not actually where I have the most problems with concealer creasing on me.

Instead, formulas tend to settle into my fine lines of dehydration on my forehead & between my brows, and catch on my dry patches on my nose & right cheek. This has done absolutely none of the former, and very little of the latter — it’s not perfect for dry patches, but I have yet to see it settle obviously into any of my various fine lines throughout the day.

IT Cosmetics Bye Under Eye vs MAC shades swatches

Swatched L-R: 1) MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC15, 2) MAC NW15, 3) IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye in Light, 4) IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation in Fair, 5) MAC NC15 (again), 6) MAC NC20

The shade (Light): According to IT Cosmetics (this is interesting, and probably based off sales figures), 70% of skin tones fit Neutral Medium in their Bye Bye Under Eye concealer.

Unfortunately, even their lightest shade (Light, which is actually closer to their Fair foundation than it is to the Light shade) is just a hair too dark on me. I’ve been using this instead along my jawline and hairline, where I get redness and darkness respectively — and it blends into both areas fabulously, delivering completely invisible coverage, even for my stubborn little patch of jawline redness.

IT Cosmetics Light concealer review

The verdict?

If it hasn’t become clear in the last six hundred words, I think this is a fantastic product. I love that it’s free of silicones and fragrances, and that IT Cosmetics doesn’t test on animals… but I particularly love that it blends in flawlessly and easily, delivering great coverage without ever settling into lines or looking greasy and obvious.

I think it speaks volumes that this concealer has found a place in my daily makeup routine, even though it doesn’t match for most of my face. If you’re on the market for a new concealer, check this one out — if you can find a match for your complexion, it’s definitely up there in the ranks with cult-classics like timeBalm and Make Up For Ever Full Cover.

Availability: $24 USD/0.28 fl oz through Ulta, QVC, & IT Cosmetics. $29 CAD in Canada through The Shopping Channel.

Please note that the Bye Bye Under Eye concealer featured here is NOT the regular size; it’s a super-sized 1 fl oz tube from QVC/The Shopping Channel’s Your Most Beautiful sets ($65.96 USD/$79.95 CAD).

Keep reading! »

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