Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium serum oil review, photos | How one skincare brand changed my view on oils for good

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium serum oil review

The product: Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Facial Serum Concentrate

I’m not a facial oil kind of girl. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried any before (I have; recently, L’Occitane and Marie Veronique come to mind), but… I’ve never loved one before, you know? They always just feel too thin, or too greasy, or they don’t to enough for my dryness. I’ve always loved the idea of them, but we’ve never gotten along.

Until now.

Odacite skincare review The Detox Market

About Odacité

That in mind, I didn’t have very high hopes for this range, but Odacité proved me wrong in every way possible. Unlike other brands, Odacité focuses on freshness and ingredients, and their range of 18 oils are all super-potent, super-targeted, and made to compliment your skincare regimen, not replace it.

Perhaps coolest of all, Odacité labels feature an easy-to-reference “table of pure elements that tells you about your product in detail.

Odacité Table of Pure Elements

Po + R has an origin number of #CVG12GSa, which translates into: cold pressed virgin first ingredient (pomegranate oil) grown in Europe, specifically Germany; and a second ingredient (rose geranium) that’s grown without chemicals in South Africa.

The brand is also vegan and cruelty-free, and you won’t find any silicones, parabens, or artificial fragrances in any of their products.

Odacite Po + R facial serum concentrate oil review

Po + R = HG

I don’t toss the H-word (holy grail) around lightly, but guys, this stuff is amazing. It’s a super-thick oil that mixes into your regular moisturizer like a dream, and it’s insanely effective.

» At $27 & up, Odacité oils are a fantastic way to increase the efficacy of your fancy moisturizer while also stretching out its life by half!

If you’ve ever tried to mix anything into a heavy creme like German Nivea, you’ll know that it’s virtually impossible — the water-repellent cream just kind of slicks away the second ingredient. But, because this serum isn’t diluted with anything, it mixes easily into any type of moisturizer. I find what works best is cutting my regular amount of moisturizer in half, then adding 1-2 drops of Po + R.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

The resulting cream is rich, emollient, and super luxurious. I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have serious dehydration (Odacité makes 17 other oils that’ll be better suited to your skin type!), but for those looking for dry skin relief, this is a must-have.

I saw results with this oil literally within 24 hours, and they stick around. After a few days of constant use, stubborn dry patches will disappear, and your foundation will start applying like a dream — this stuff is so smooth and hydrating that it almost seems to prime your skin at the same time.

Full disclosure: I am possibly developing an allergy to something in this oil, so I’m not using it right now. The super-hydrating effects lasted for around 7-10 days before diminishing, though, which is crazy impressive!

Odacite facial serum concentrate review

The verdict?

I didn’t think I’d ever be a facial oil kind of gal, and to be honest, I’m still not — but I am now a HUGE fan of Odacité serum concentrates.

If you have tight skin and dry patches that you can’t seem to shake, you need this oil in your life. Pomegranate + Rose Geranium pairs heavy comfort with great hydration better than any product I’ve ever tried before, and it’ll “beef up” whatever moisturizer you’re currently using, be it high-end or budget. (It pairs well with Odacité’s own moisturizers, too!)

Availability: Po+R is $43 USD/$49 CAD at Odacité, The Detox Market CA (you can get these in person in Toronto), or The Detox Market US. The Facial Serum Concentrate range starts at $27 USD.

Keep reading! »

TOP FOUR | My Clarins skincare (body) favourites

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Clarins Favourites b

I’ve loved a lot of Clarins over the years: their Mineral Eye Palettes, for one, or their lipsticks. (Or, right now, their One-Step Water Cleanser, which smells like peaches. I love the smell of peaches.) So, when they asked me if I wanted to pick out my four favourite body products from the line, I was like, YES PLEASE, I WILL DO THIS.

It’s always a little hard to find skincare favourites when you can’t use silicones, but here are my four top products from the line!

» Shop my favourites here with free shipping on all orders (use code RAE at checkout!)

4. Eau Ressourçante Gentle Fragranced Deodorant ($25 CAD)

Clarins spray on deodorant

Clarins Gentle Fragranced Deodorants

I can’t actually use Clarins’ spray-on deodorants (I swear the internet implied that they would be ‘cone-free somewhere, but apparently not so), but they’re just so unique.

I mean, a non-aerosolized deodorant that you spray on that’s scented with a proper fragrance, rather than a fruity $2 Unilever blend? You gotta give points for coolness. (And this packaging is totally too classy for my underarms — I feel like I’m about to grab lunch with Moira Queen or something.)

A runner up for my cool-cred favourite was Clarins’ Eau Dynamissante Treatment Fragrance, which is insanely huge. It’s bigger than a baby’s head, and when you pair the scent with the way that the bottle is styled, it gives off major ’80s mob boss’ wife vibes.

Clarins Eau Ressourcante deodorant review

Clarins Eau Ressourçant Deodorant

Clarins Relax Body Oil review

Clarins Relax Body Treatment Oil

3. Relax Body Oil ($57 CAD)

I like to keep my body oils as affordable as possible, but every now and then, a girl’s gotta splurge.

Clarins makes three: Relax, which smells very herby and spa-like (it’s similar this oil, but in way better packaging) with geranium, petit grain, camomile, and basil extracts; “Anti Eau,” which is meant to–and I quote–“prevent sponginess” by eliminating toxins; and Tonic, with a lot of citrus and rosemary to its scent.

Clarins Tonic Body Oil review

Lookit the tiny baby Tonic Body Treatment Oil! So tiny!

All three are preservative-free with a base of hazelnut oil, and they come in the most gorgeous glass bottles. Unlike the rest of the Clarins Body range, which I can find to be rather perilous (especially those damn shower gels!), the Body Oils are hefty and easy to use, and the smooth lids and heavy glass packaging seriously class up the product.

Clarins Body Oil review

Clarins Body Oil packaging

2. Eau des Jardins ($53 CAD)

I’m using the Eau des Jardins Uplifting Shower Gel ($37 CAD) right now, and while the box is gorgeous, the bottle itself is pretty (charmingly?) comical. I mean, it smells great, but it is constantly falling over in my shower with its wide, flat body and tiny, tiny base!

Clarins Eau des Jardins shower gel

Clarins Eau des Jardins Uplifting Shower Gel

That said, I do love a good citrus-based body product, and this one is no exception. It kind of reminds me of L’Occitane’s Frisson de Verveine (which I adore), with more garden and less unavailability. I like the shower gel a lot, but if you’re going to go for it, I say get the EdT instead!

1. Gentle Roll-On Deodorant ($21 CAD)

Clarins Gentle Roll On Deodorant review

Clarins Roll-On Deodorant/Anti-perspirant, AKA THE BEST EVER

Do you know how hard it is to find a silicone-free antiperspirant? I’m guessing “no,” but just in case you’re not clear on it: it’s really bloody hard. When I went searching, I think I found a whopping three. But, because this one’s labelled as a deodorant, I didn’t even realize it was a candidate until this month!

Despite the misnomer, Clarins’ Gentle Roll-On Deodorant is actually not a deodorant (read: scent masker) at all — it’s an antiperspirant, which minimizes sweatiness. And it is the best of the damn bunch. This roll-on keeps my underarms significantly drier than anything I have ever tried before, including the “clinical” stuff.

Clarins Gentle Roll On Antiperspirant review

Clarins’ spaceship-esque Roll-On Deodorant

This beauty takes few minutes to dry, but it’s leaps and bounds better than my last two ‘cone-free antiperspirants. It smells fresh and a little powdery, doesn’t sting at all, and despite the wait, it actually dries really quickly for a roll-on. (Literally five times faster than last one I tried.)

If you’re a sweaty-Betty looking for a fantastic antiperspirant for sensitive underarms, give this one a try! It does contain aluminum, but it doesn’t leave that super-gross aluminum-silicone film behind (ugh) and never leaves your underarms feeling itchy.

What body products have you been loving recently?

Keep reading! »

MUFE Graphic Liner, Marcelle Double Precision Liner reviews, swatches, photos | High vs. Low: Two pen-tipped liners you need to know

Marcelle Double Precision pen liner review MUFE Graphic Liner

When it comes to makeup, I sometimes find it helpful to think of things in context of “generations” — like, different generations of eye primers (pre-Urban Decay tone eveners vs post-Urban Decay longevity-improving creams), lip stains (thin liquids vs YSL-type gloss-stains), eyeliner pencils (hard kohls vs waxy gel-creams) and now, liquid eyeliner pens.

These, ladies and gents, are not your mother’s pen liners. They apply like liquid liners rather than markers, they dry down to wonderfully glossy finishes, and–most importantly–they wear absolutely flawlessly all. day. long. with no staining.

PS: Neither of these liners contain silicones, so they’re a great choice if you’re trying to go ‘cone-free but still want something with great opacity and wear time!

Marcelle Liquid Eyeliner Pen review swatches photos

Marcelle Double Precision Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Intense Black ($14.95 CAD)

This dual-ended liner was the very first pen-style liner that I ever fell in love with, and I fell hard. The two tips moderate product flow so that you never end up with tons of liner on your lashes (as you might with a liquid liner), but it wears without smudging or budging for a good 12+ hours — maybe more, but I’ve never needed to test it for any longer.

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches review

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches

I like this one for its wear, which I find to be better than the Make Up For Ever Liner, but I think that its dual-ended design has a pretty big pull, too. The felt tip is smaller than that on the Make Up For Ever, and is just firm enough to line the eyes with ease (yes, even for winged liner), while the brush tip is very fine and looks like a delicate paintbrush.

Of the two brush ends, I mainly use the felt end — the brush tip doesn’t dispense quite enough product to deliver a really solid-looking wing, though it is excellent at getting the very point at the end of your liner and fading it into nothingness. Occasionally, I need to make two passes with this liner (either end) to achieve full opacity.

» See it worn here!

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip liner review

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

MUFE Graphic Liner swatches review, Marcelle Double Precision

MUFE Graphic Liner (thin/thick), Marcelle Double Precision felt tip (thick/thin), Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner ($24 USD/29 CAD)

This liner has a significantly firmer felt tip than the Marcelle, which means that it delivers a much more consistent result: the line, no matter how fine, is always the same amount of pigmented and opaque.

On the flip side of that equation, however, is the fact that the Marcelle can achieve lines that are both thicker and thinner than those within the Graphic Liner’s range (even with just its felt end), so you have to choose which is more important to you: width or opacity. (There is no wrong answer!)

MUFE Graphic Liner vinyl pen review swatches

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner

I do think this liner is ever so slightly better than the Marcelle, but (and this is a big but) I have two problems with it. One, the cap doesn’t click on; it just slides into place, and I constantly worry that it’s drying out. And two: the formula smells really toxic. Which is dumb, right? Like, logically, I know that something smelling bad does NOT equal toxic, and vice-versa.

But it smells really bad, like a paint or a Sharpie or something, and I’m not gonna lie, it freaks me out a little.

EDIT 11/03/15: This liner has started to smudge pretty badly on me, folks! I think it’s an issue of mascara — if I’m wearing a tubing mascara to “lock in” any stray patches of liner, I’m good; but if I’m not wearing any mascara at all, the Graphic Liner smudges on the top AND bottom. Keep it in mind!

» See it worn here!

Marcelle vs MUFE liquid liner pen comparison review

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner vs Marcelle Double Precision felt tips

The verdict?

I really love both these liners, so I’m going to leave the final verdict up to you (and possibly where you happen to live), but I think beginners and casual makeup wearers will appreciate the brush tip on the Marcelle, while makeup pros will prefer the Instagram-perfect opacity of the Make Up For Ever.

Whichever one you buy, remember that BOTH are very good — you really can’t go wrong here! Instinctually, I think I like the Make Up For Ever more (for its opacity and firm tip), but the scent-free Marcelle liner freaks me out way less.

EDIT: Note that the Marcelle has better wear time for those with oily lids! It does sometimes fade, but doesn’t really smudge or crease; the MUFE will give me “panda eyes” if I’m not wearing mascara.

Availability: The Marcelle liner is available at drugstores & mass market retailers across Canada or online at marcelle.ca ($14.95 CAD); the Make Up For Ever liner is available at Sephora ($24 USD/$29 CAD) and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Keep reading! »

Vegan Cuts December 2014 Beauty Box | I came, I tried, I cried

Friday, January 30, 2015

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box review

The product: Vegan Cuts Beauty Box (December 2014)

*Disclaimer: No actual crying occurred in the making of this post.

THE STAGE IS SET: A girl stands under a single exposed bulb and tells you that she wants to try more all-natural beauty products this year. She then pulls out a Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, shows it to you, and breaks down weeping. “It could have been so good,” she says. “Why couldn’t I have liked it more?”

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box review unboxing December

December 2014 Vegan Cuts beauty box

On their site, Vegan Cuts states that “only the good stuff will do,” and their featured brands included brands that I love (Weleda and Pacifica) alongside ones that I hope to try soon (Meow Meow Tweet and Mun), and I mean, hey. $28 for 4-7 products from brands that you’re already invested in isn’t a lot of money.

However.

However.

When my box arrived–and I feel terrible saying this, because it was sent to me as a sample from Vegan Cuts–I was horribly disappointed to find in it five brands that I have literally never heard of, and one that I’ve tried before and really didn’t like. My box contained a plastic-wrapped sliver of soap, a “lip and cheek balm” that looked cute but smelled terrible, yet another nondescript black eyeliner (the gratuitous shimmer powder of the beauty box world), and a shampoo with no conditioner counterpart.

Restorh shampoo, reosemary mint soap

Evolvh Ultra Shine Shampoo & Shorganics soap

The All Natural Face eyeliner kohl black

The All Natural Face Black Kohl eyeliner & Devines Butter Me Up stick

The contents of my December Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, because nobody wants spoilers for a month they haven’t received yet:

  • EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo, trial size ($8 value) – Am I the only one who can’t use haircare without the other half of its pair?
  • Shorganics Rosemary Mint Bar Soap sample
  • Demes Butter Me Up in Tangerine Vanilla ($15 value) – Smells like an orange loaf with sugary glaze. I want to eat it. The lid keeps falling apart when I take it off.
  • The All Natural Face Diva Stix Black Kohl ($4.88 value) – A commendably short ingredients list of jojoba oil, candelilla wax, mica, oxides, and literally nothing else.
  • Mullein & Sparrow All Natural Tinted Lip & Cheek Balm ($22 value) – This guy is TINY for $22 Kim pointed out that this is probably a sample size (how big is an ounce???), so ignore that comment! The formula is soft and slippery with a very pretty sheer red tint when swatched, but the scent (all-natural, I believe) makes my stomach turn. This tint is invisible unless you really slather it on.
  • La Mav Antioxidant Rich Nightly Repair Nectar sample

At the end of the day, I am only left wanting to try more from Mullein & Sparrow, simply because their packaging is so charming. With, hilariously, the exception of the balm I received, every product in their line looks like it could have fallen straight from a bygone era, from the beautiful glass jar of their Pink Himalayan Bath Salts to their super-simple Facial Mask.

Mullein and Sparrow lip and cheek tint

Mullein & Sparrow Tinted Lip & Cheek Balm & La Mav Nectar

Mullein and Sparrow

More of Mullein & Sparrow’s charming packaging!

The verdict?

I loved the presentation of this beauty box, but the contents themselves just… didn’t grab me. I think it’s fantastic that Vegan Cuts takes the time to curate a cruelty-free box, but a “mostly natural” box with no guarantee of any full-sized products just isn’t enough to convince me that it’s worth subscribing to.

That said, where it excels is at introducing the subscriber to new brands. Everyone loves finding the next big thing before it gets huge; I just think that Vegan Cuts needs to take a little more time to select brands that have a presentable, market-ready feel to them. At $239-$419 USD/year, opening up the soap in your beauty box should make you feel pampered, not make you’re in the bathroom of a seedy motel!

My advice? Buy a Wantable box instead. It’s not vegan, but at least you’ll be able to select the “no black eyeliners or hair products, please” box.

Availability: $19.95 USD/month, plus $8 shipping to Canada or $15 internationally.

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Shea review & free samples: Cleansing Oil, Light Comforting Cream (aka magic cream), and Gentle Toner

Monday, January 5, 2015

L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil review

The products: L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream, Shea Cleansing Oil, and Shea Gentle Toner

New year, new beginnings… new super-exciting giveaway that’ll put December to shame. (Keep reading or click here for the giving bit of this post.)

L’Occitane is one of my favourite brands to work with, and their French-made Shea Butter range plays a big part in that — each L’Occitane Shea product bought helps women in Burkina Faso achieve economic emancipation through sustainable, fair trade practices. So, today, I’m talking about three really affordable new silicone-free products in the range, and sharing one with you!

The L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil ($26 CAD) and Gentle Toner

L'Occitane Shea Gentle Toner review photos

The Cleansing Oil and Light Comforting Cream join L’Occitane’s Shea Gentle Toner in their permanent Shea Butter range this January, and I couldn’t be happier. Both carry the same scent as the moisturizer (though in much smaller amounts), and are just as gentle on my skin — even the toner.

I find the Shea Cleansing Oil to be quite a heavy oil, but it washes off with no residue and removes my makeup really easily. I like it a lot more than Shu Uemura’s Cleansing Oils, surprisingly enough, and it’s actually super-cheap — only $13/100 ml! (Tatcha’s Camellia Cleansing Oil is still better, but it’s a whopping $40/100 ml.)

L'Occitane Gentle Toner review

L’Occitane Gentle Toner

The L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream AKA MAGIC FAIRY-DUST CREAM* ($30 CAD)

This is L’Occitane’s big launch of the new year — a face cream that pairs shea butter (5%) with a creamy, lightweight texture. And, somehow, L’Occitane manages to pull it off beautifully.

I do find that the Light Comforting Cream leaves my skin feeling tight after I apply it (it’s targeted for normal/combination skin, but they also offer a 25% Shea Ultra Rich Face Cream; not silicone-free), but it seems to nourish my skin over time — unlike things like German Nivea or Weleda Skin Food. Rather than providing a thick, comforting layer off the bat, it sinks in quickly and works to hydrate over time and eliminate surface dehydration completely over the course of a few days, which is… kind of crazy-impressive, if we’re being honest.

L'Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream review

L’Occitane promises that their Ultra Rich Cream will sink into the skin with “an almost disconcerting ease,” which is freaking wonderful copy and totally applies here, too. My one complaint for this line is that it’s way more fragranced than it needs to be — the Light Comforting Cream smells good, and quite cozy, but the scent hangs around for so long that I can still smell it when I splash my face with water 12 hours later.

» Best for: silicone-free skincare regimens & regulating dehydrated skin! My skin has been crazy smooth and breakout-free since I started using this.

L'Occitane Shea Light Moisturizer review photos

L’Occitane Light Comforting Cream (5% shea)

Get your sample

And now, for the exciting part! I’m lucky enough to get to test out a lot of L’Occitane for theNotice, but this time, you guys get to be the testers. Just walk into any L’Occitane store in Canada and mention theNotice for a free 8 ml sample of the Light Comforting Cream (or use the code SHEAFACE online).

The promo expires at the end of January and only covers samples for 50 followers of the blog, so try to get to a L’Occitane boutique soon — and tell your friends! Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply outside of Canada, but think of it this way: it’s probably all you freezing, dry-skinned Canadians who really need it.

L'Occitane Cleansing Oil review budget buy shea butter

L’Occitane Cleansing Oil (5% shea)

The verdict?

L’Occitane has never really blown me away with their face care until this very moment, but blow me away they did. The Shea Butter range is incredibly well-priced and (now) comes with a bunch of great silicone-free options, so it definitely has my stamp of approval.

If you have dehydrated skin, check out the Shea Light Comforting Cream ASAP. The Gentle Toner is fine and the Cleansing Oil is quite good, but it’s this new moisturizer that really shines.

Availability: All three products are permanent products as of January 2015, and will be available online soon!

Ingredients »

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