Rodial Instaglam Contouring Powder 03, South Beach Blusher swatches, review, photos

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rodial makeup review 2016 new launches

The products: Rodial Instaglam Contouring Powder in 03 and Blusher in South Beach

I’ve been using a ton of Rodial in my everyday makeup recently (mostly the new Rodial Airbrush Make-Up and Airbrush Concealer, which I LOVE), so I have one more little review for you guys! And, of course, a makeup look with a nice, bright lip – it’ll be up on Friday.

Actual Friday, not “oops sorry today is Tuesday.” Seriously. I already have it drafted and everything.

Rodial instaglam contouring powder 03 review swatches photos

Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Contouring Powder ($57 USD)

I began my testing, of course, with the much-lauded Rodial Contouring Powder ($57 USD). The shade is great for light skintones (very balanced, and definitely not too warm), and Rodial released a new contouring shade this year to fit a wider range of faces.

However: Rodial’s Contouring Powder Dark is a solid medium at best, and saying that it “works well for dark skin tones” feels like an act of exclusion to me. The formula of Rodial powders is very sheer and the line’s contour shades are very light, and they are simply not designed with ethnic skin in mind.

» If you’re a POC or you want to support a brand who designs makeup for ALL makeup wearers, check out the contour powders offered by NYX, Anastasia, Black Up, or Kat Von D instead.

Rodial packaging contouring face sculptor and definer swatches review photos

Rodial Deluxe Contouring Powder review, swatches

Rodial contour, south beach, instaglam highlighter swatches review photos

Rodial 03 Contouring Powder (lightly/heavily), South Beach Blusher, 01 Illuminating Powder swatches – lightly primed skin, indirect sunlight

Rodial blush south beach review photos swatches

Rodial South Beach Blusher review, swatches

Rodial South Beach Blusher ($35 USD)

I didn’t personally have problems with the opacity of the fresh, springy South Beach Blusher ($35 USD), but again, I didn’t love the formula. Like the contour powder, this blush is very sheer. Both of these pressed powders contain a lot of talc and a fair amount of silica (as well as cornstarch in the contour powder), so they kick up some dust and have that slippery-smooth silica feel.

In other words, they blend well, but you can’t build them up. Which means that they’ll never have the ability to make you look awful (even if applied in the dark!), but it doesn’t give them any versatility at all. Even with my fair skin I have to apply two layers of this blush whenever I wear it, and I’ve never been able to get my Rodial contour as dark or sharp as I like it – it just blends itself away.


Rodial makeup new items

The verdict?

I enjoy using these powder products from Rodial, but if I’m being honest… they’re just not as good as the brand’s Airbrush base products. I’d recommend them only in a strictly luxury capacity, and not at all if you have medium to dark skin.

For the price, I am disappointed in the quality of these products. The packaging and luxury “feel” are spot on, but they’re very sheer, and (in my opinion) their ingredients and formula just don’t justify the price tags.

Availability: Rodial, select Shopper’s Drug Mart Boutiques, and Murale.

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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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NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Lip Cream swatches, review, photos

Friday, July 22, 2016

NYX Transylvania review swatch photos

The product: NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in 21 Transylvania 

Man, it has been a LONG time since I reviewed any makeup! I feel like I just haven’t had the time or energy to wear any recently – my everyday face consists of tinted moisturizer (Rodial foundation and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm), a light brow (Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner, of course), and like, nothing else.

Lather, rinse, repeat; day in and day out. So, a couple weeks ago, I decided to change things up a little.

NYX TRansylvania soft matte lip cream review

NYX Transylvania review photos swatches

The formula: Alright, so I’m just gonna stick my head out there and say it: I don’t like the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream formula. I can see why other people like it, but I just don’t.

It feels light and airy without too much transfer, which I like. And it smells like cupcake batter, which I also like because I’m not a monster. And it’s way more comfortable than a retro matte, so that’s nice too.

But my lips are DRY, you see. They’re not just dry; they’re Alberta-dry. They have dry patches galore, all of which this lipstick catches on, and after half an hour, my lips get uncomfortable. So I fidget and press them together to compensate, and this lipstick (which never truly sets) heads for my lipline faster than an ex who can’t get away from you fast enough.

NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Lip Cream swatch

NYX Soft Lip Cream in Transylvania swatches – after 15 min

The colour: In the tube, Transylvania is gorgeous. It’s this beautiful “matte deep violet” (description right from the NYX site), and it looks like it’s going to turn you into an instant Bad Grrl, with capitalization totally necessary.

On my lips, though… Transylvania is yet another dark, moody red. And don’t get me wrong; it’s still totally gorgeous! But in everyone else’s swatches, it looks like it’s going to be this mind-blowing eggplant shade, and I just couldn’t get it there without plum or black liner underneath (which is totally cheating.) Even with three layers, it was just red, red, red on me.

A sexy red that’s totally ’90s (Faith would have worn the hell out of this shade), but still. With my naturally red lips, this wasn’t purple on me at all. 

NYX Transylvaia with lipliner

NYX Transylvania overtop of nude lipliner (left) and eggplant liner (right)

NYX dark violet matte lipstick review

The verdict?

I think that Transylvania looks killer on most humans, but my lips aren’t having any of it. The formula seems to only have medium opacity, so unfortunately, the colour of my reddish lips bled right through it.

Would I buy a different Soft Matte Lip Cream, though? Well… Probably not. (Make Up For Ever does a way more comfortable soft matte). But I’d definitely try a shade like this one again; maybe in the NYX Full Throttle or Liquid Suede formula instead!

Availability: $6 USD/$9 CAD at Nyx Cosmetics, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Rexall, and London Drugs.

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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? 

Swan Squeeze Kiss rechargeable vibrator review, photos (BMS Factory “The Swan Kiss”)

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Swan Kiss vibrator review

The product: Swan (BMS Factory) Squeeze Control “The Swan Kiss” vibrator

A little while ago, I posted a review of an absolute powerhouse of a vibrator: the Swan Wand.

Today, I have another Swan toy to share with you, and I’m just as psyched about it–but for very different reasons. This little guy doesn’t have the girth, power, or battery life of the Swan Wand, and yet, I find myself reaching for it even more often.

The Swan Squeeze review Kiss

The features: The Swan Squeeze Kiss is a weird dude. It’s whale-shaped (well, if whales had segmented bodies) and squishy on the sides of its biggest segment, almost like a really firm balloon.

It has all the basics that you want in a good sex toy (waterproof, submersible, rechargeable, 100% silicone), and has a solid run/charge cycle of 3 hours each. It’s also very quiet, which is excellent!

The Swan Kiss vibrator review photos comparison

Instead of clicking a button to increase the speed of the Swan Kiss or change its pattern, everything is squeeze-based. The harder you squeeze, the stronger the toy will vibrate. To lock in a speed, you click the button while squeezing; to set a pattern, you turn on “Mimic Mode” and squeeze to your heart’s content.

In terms of strength of vibration, the Kiss is good, but it’s not great. It’s more powerful than my Leaf Life, but is less powerful than my We-Vibe Tango or Je Joue MiMi Soft (admittedly my two favourites). It sits in the middle ground for rumbliness as well; more rumbly than Lelo, but not quite rumbly enough for my tastes.

Swan Squeeze kiss review packaging

Swan Squeeze packaging – Teal (also available in a much less epic pink)

What makes it special: What I really love about the Swan Kiss, though, isn’t its squeeze control–in fact, I’d prefer a remote. What I love about it is its shape.

The Swan Kiss only has one motor in its middle segment, but the vibrations transmit well through silicone. It makes the little “whale tail” flicker as the vibrations gently touch a surface, stroking in a “come hither” motion if you arc from a low speed to a high one.

So, um. That’s cool. Cool is one word for that. (Another appropriate one may be “hrrrrngh.”)

The Swan Squeeze vibrator review - the swan kiss

But EVEN COOLER than that is that the Swan Kiss can be used hands-free and internally thanks to its “100% play area.” Try it with the tail pointing downwards and the rest of the toy wedged easily between your thighs, or by using the balloon portion internally, with the rest of the toy resting on your vulva and clitoris.

(Anatomically correct words! Know them. Love them. Embrace them.)

As an internal toy, the Swan Kiss isn’t designed to be used other objects, but it stays in place very well for me. If it had more rumble or more power, it might just be my perfect vibrator. (As it is, it’s lovely, but not an all ’rounder for me!)

Swan Squeeze Kiss rechargeable silicone vibrator review copy

eeeeeeeeee!

The verdict?

Whereas the Swan Wand is something that I think would do well in any sex toy arsenal, the Swan Squeeze Kiss is more of a niche product. You have to specifically like hands-free toys to really get the most out of it, but for those who do, it’s an excellent choice – the best I’ve ever come across.

It has a very respectable run time and is a great way to experience pleasure while your hands are doing other stuff. I’ll let your imaginations take it from there.

Availability: $99 USD. The Swan Kiss is still brand new, so availability is a little bit sparse. In Canada, you can find at Aren’t We Naughty and Sexy et Compagnie; worldwide, you can order it through swanvibes.com. Expect a broader launch August 2016!

Additional photos & more »

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!

Additional photos & more »

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