Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF 20 & 30 reviews, swatches, and shade comparisons (& Face Oil)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marie Veronique review

The products: Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage SPF 30Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20, and Face Oils

When it comes to all-natural sunscreens, the name Marie Veronique pops up a lot — and so it should. There aren’t a ton of silicone-free, chemical-free sunscreens out there (not ones without a heavy texture and a white cast, at least), and the Marie Veronique ones are some of the best of the bunch.

That said, it’s hard to pick out what sunscreen to try out of all of the varieties available – so think of this as your guide to Marie Veronique sunscreens, from which shade to pick to what the formulas play best with.

Note: the products photographed in this review are sample sizes! 

Marie Veronique Face Oil review

Marie Veronique Face Oil

Marie Veronique Face Oils

I didn’t get a chance to compare the brand’s Pacific Face Oil with their regular option (the Pacific version broke in transit), but this is what I can tell you: what I did get to try of the Pacific Face Oil ($110/1 oz) felt extremely comforting, and had an herbal scent that reminded me very strongly of shu uemura’s Premium A/O and Ultime8 oils.

The Face Oil ($80/1 oz) felt less intensive, but has a lighter scent to it — it still made my dry skin feel softer immediately, and it layered well with the brand’s sunscreens. The product itself is very orange (due to a high amount of rosehip oil in the formula), but doesn’t tint the skin once it’s worked in!

Both of these products are quite pricy, but it’s important to note that they’ve been carefully formulated by the brand’s chemists – unlike what I’ve seen from other brands (ahem: Josie Maran, Tarte, & co.), who simply offer marked-up pure oils in pretty jars.

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF20 review

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – Light, Medium Tints

Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 ($58/2 oz)

As the brand’s more expensive sunscreen (it’s formulated to be anti-ageing, like the rest of the Pacific range), I was expecting great things from their Everyday Sheer Coverage — but, weirdly enough, I was a little disappointed in it.

I applied this one overtop the brand’s Face Oil, as suggested, and it felt okay on its own – not too heavy or sticky. But here’s the catch: this one doesn’t play very well under makeup. The Light shade was tinted enough to darken and warm up my skintone just a hair, but it’s sort of “film forming” — the first time I tried to buff in a cream foundation overtop of it, the whole layer slid in the direction of my brush strokes.

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF20 swatches light medium

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – Light, Medium Tints swatched

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 swatches shade comparisons

Everyday Sheer Coverage swatched against: left - MAC NC15 (top), NW20 (bottom); right – NC30 (top) and NC25 (bottom)

When I used it after that, I applied a little less and layered it overtop a very thin layer of German Nivea. It went from thereon in, drying satin-matte as promised and staying in place with product overtop, but my makeup looked slightly more obvious than usual. All in all, I would recommend this for normal to oily skin types, or those who wear liquid (but not creme) foundation.

The Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer coverage SPF 20 is formulated with 16.6% non-nano zinc oxide. See the full ingredients list if you

Green & White Tea, 16.6% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Broccoli Seed Oil, Cherry Kernel Seed Oil, Emu Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Yangu Oil, Cosmocil CQ (paraben-free anti-microbial), Xanthan Gum, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Pearl Powder, Rosemary Oleoresin, Beta Glucan, Coffee Fruit Extract, Silk Powder, Rose Essential Oil, Neroli Essential Oil, Helichrysum Essential Oil, Cistus Essential Oil, Iron Oxides.

Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF30 moisturizer review

Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage SPF 30 – Extra Light, Light, and Medium Tints

Keep reading! »

Benefit Coralista Ultra Plush Lip Gloss review, swatches, photos | Benefit blush-inspired lipgloss

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Benefit review - Coralista Ultra Plush Lipgloss

The product: Benefit Cosmetics Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Coralista

The shade: Coralista imparts just a hint of colour to the lips; a very sheer “medium coral”. (Think orange and red, not fluro-pink and peach.) It acts more as a gloss than anything else, but there is a subtle difference in colour before an after I apply it — enough to make your lips look healthy and glowing, but not like you’re wearing any colour.

Because Coralista is so sheer, it’s very easy to wear no matter your skintone – I personally have a cool-toned complexion with green undertones, which makes wearing most corals difficult, but this one reads mainly pink due to my natural lip colour.

Benefit Coralista review, swatcehs

The formula: Though it doesn’t stick around for very long, Benefit’s Ultra Plush Lip Gloss formula is actually quite a treat to wear. It’s very light and slippery, with zero stickiness and a light, fruity scent. (It’s the scent that really sells me on this line, honestly.) The Ultra Plush glosses smell like the line’s old Ultra Shine formula, actually, but with a less sticky formula and a fuss-free application.

Benefit Coralista lip gloss swatch

Benefit Coralista Ultra Plush Lip Gloss swatch

Benefit Always a Bridesmaid Creaseless swatch - Cream Eyeshadow

L-r: Benefit Always a Bridesmaid, Coralista, Girl Meets Pearl swatches

The packaging: Like with Benefit’s Always a Bridesmaid Creaseless Cream Shadow, I wanted to wait for just the right season for this gloss — and the perfect season just so happens to be the middle of summer.

Coralista’s bright scent and sheer colour pair perfectly with its packaging, which is fun and carefree (like the brand’s boxed blushes). Rather than a finicky doe-foot or pot, these glosses are packaged in a handy squeeze-tube with the cutest applicator — it’s a slanted tip, but it’s a slanted tip with a rounded-off edge.

I don’t know. Something about that is just so on the nose, like it’s reminding you one last time that the Ultra Plush glosses are here to be your friend! Befriend us! 

Benefit Ultra Plush Lipgloss review, swatches

Rounded slant-tip applicator

The verdict?

Up in Canada, these glosses are a little pricy at $19, so I don’t think they’re a must-have — but Coralista is certainly a nice-to-have! The Ultra Plush formula is comfortable, 100% non-sticky, and very sheer, with a fruity fragrance that never comes off as too sweet or sticky (even in 30 degree heat), making it a great “handbag lipgloss” for while you’re out and about.

This formula is also available in Hoola, Sugarbomb, Dandelion, and Rockateur tints ($16 USD/$19 CAD at Sephora), as well as in a few non-blush-inspired shades at Ulta ($16 USD) with super-cute Art Deco packaging.

Availability: $16 USD/$19 CAD at Ulta, Sephora, Murale, and Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques.

Keep reading! »

Essence Beach Cruisers ombre blush giveaway | Summer beaches, summer blushes

Monday, July 21, 2014

Essence Beach Cruisers Summer Break ombre blush

So, I found this wonderfully bright ombré blush at the drugstore last week, and I couldn’t just let it sit there. And one thing led to another, and I was like oh man, I love ombre blushes, and, uh, I kind of bought it. Even though I hate peach and red tones against my complexion right now, and I’m already practically drowning in blush.

Anyhow, long story short, I’m giving away this blush. It’s nothing fancy, but I couldn’t just let it waste away, sad and unloved, and I like you guys.

Essence ombre blush giveaway

Win it

Up for grabs: one Essence Cosmetics multicolour blush in Summer Break, from their Beach Cruisers collection. The giveaway’ll run for a week, open worldwide (read the T&C for more details), and for those with allergies, the ingredients list talc and dimethicone, but no parabens.

I don’t have swatches for you, but Tracy (Beauty Reflections) swatched hers on her Instagram feed — see it here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We-Vibe 4 and Tango reviews, photos | Bedroom Essentials (and not-so-essentials)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WeVibe 4 Tango review

The products: We-Vibe 4 Wearable Remote Control Vibrator and Tango Waterproof Discreet Vibrator

After how well-received February’s Je Joue MiMi Soft review was (thank you so much, you guys!), I had to follow up with another sex toy review — or two.

I handpicked this duo for two reasons: (1) the brand’s reputation for making high-quality, durable toys, and (2) the We-Vibe 4 and Tango’s rather singular designs. Whether you added the MiMi to your bedroom repertoire or you’re still looking to start your collection, I think these will serve a purpose unique to themselves!

We Vibe 4 Tango couple's  vibrator review

The “Bedroom Essential”

The rechargeable We-Vibe Tango recently got a waterproof update, and now comes in fuchsia and this lovely, slightly-desaturated blue. It’s now a little bit longer and just a hair wider than it used to be (source), but should still be able to replace any sad, weak bullet vibe — which takes it from “great starter toy” to “bedroom essential” status.


We Vibe tango bullet review

Powerful and quiet, the Tango is a great option for a small, discreet clitoral vibe. It runs for up to 2 hours (I find it lasts for less than that) and features 8 vibration modes (4 speeds/4 patterns), with a low battery warning that flashes through its base. But, while it’s not as rumbly and cushy as the Je Joue MiMi, it can also be used in place of your standard bullet.

And the thing is — the Tango is strong. At $80, it’s relatively affordable for a luxury sex toy, but it’s more like two toys in one: your basic clitoral vibrator, and something that’ll super-power anything with a bullet cavity (cock rings, vibrating dildos, harnesses, the base of a strap-on, most things Tantus, etc.)

We Vibe Tango review

We-Vibe Tango (Waterproof) in Blue

The Tango is made out of body-safe ABS thermoplastic, and its plastic finish means that it doesn’t pick up too much fuzz or create too much friction when being inserted into another toy. (Add a bit of water-based lube to ease a tight fit). It has the same motor as the line’s discontinued, cult-followed Salsa, but features a slightly different tip.

We Vibe Tango charger

The “Nice in Theory”

Despite testing this one for (literally) months, I just couldn’t get it to work well for me. That said, however, it is a really unique kind of sex toy.

Made for solo or partnered play, the We-Vibe 4 features the brand’s first “echo” vibe — that is, there are two separate vibrators in this device (one for the clitoris and one for the g-spot) that vibrate in alternate patterns at three different speeds & three additional patterns. It’s waterproof and relatively flexible with a soft, safe silicone finish, and comes with both an on-vibe control and a battery-operated remote.

We Vibe 4 dual vibrator review

But, even though I like everything We-Vibe has included in this toy (especially its 3 hour battery life and space-agey stand-slash-charging-station), it just doesn’t fit my anatomy – which is a risk that you always run with any dual-stimulation vibrator, no matter the style.

So, here are my recommendations. If you really want to try a couple’s vibrator, choose this one. LELO launched the Ida to compete with the We-Vibe last year, but based on the reviews I’ve seen, it’s a sloppy, painful imitation of a couple’s vibe. If you really want to try a wearable vibrator, choose this one. Like all wearable vibes, it’s not perfect (too loud for a library, and the remote has a garage-door range), but it packs way more of a punch than your typical vibrating panty or remote-controlled bullet.

We Vibe 4 couple's vibe review

But here’s the thing: if your ladyparts are on the small side, skip this one. It turns out that I have a fairly short vagina with an extremely retroverted uterus (which, by the way, makes getting an IUD excruciating), so the We-Vibe 4 can be pretty painful when I use it. Plus, I mean, the clitoral arm goes way past my clitoris.

Honestly, though, I don’t think most people will have this problem. The We-Vibe 4 probably won’t be perfect for everybody, but I think it’ll be a pretty good fit for most — just give it a pass if you’re really petite down there. (Note that having a small frame does not necessarily translate into having a small vagina or a close-set clitoris! Vaginas are kind of like penises in that way: you get what you get, height be damned.)

We Vibe 4 review base charger

The We-Vibe 4 in its charging base/case (lid at left) and remote (at right)

The verdict?

If you have to have a remote-control vibrator or couple’s vibrator, I say get the We-Vibe 4 – it’s probably your best bet. BUT that said, I don’t think it’s worth the price, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who didn’t have their heart set on this type of toy already. The clitoral vibrator is just placed too far forward, and at $160, I would have liked to see far less visible, uneven seams.

The We-Vibe Tango, on the other hand, is definitely a toy I’d recommend. It would be my top pick for a bullet vibe, and my fondness for it sits about on-par with my love for the Je Joue Mimi Soft (which delivers more satisfying vibrations, in my opinion, but is larger, more expensive, and a little bit louder.)

Availability: $79.99 USD (Tango)/$159.99 (We-Vibe 4) at the awesome SheVibe.com, who sent these products in for review. Both of these toys can also be found at PinkCherry (Canada) and LoveHoney (UK).

Tip: These both charge via USB, so consider buying one of those $0.99 USB power adapters on eBay while you’re at it! (I have this one – no sense paying $10 for a brand-name copy, you know?)

Keep reading! »

Clinique All About Shadow swatches, review, photos: Jenna’s Essentials

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Clinique Jenna's Essentials All About Shadow review

The product: Clinique All About Shadow quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials

I had some of Clinique’s old eyeshadows. I loved some of Clinique’s old eyeshadows. But, no matter how good the Colour Surge line was, it was nothing like this.

The new-ish (as of September 2013) All About Shadow formula promises intense colour and long wear — and dude, from what I’ve seen, their pigmentation and texture are so good.

Clinique Jenna's Essentials review

Clinique All About Shadow Quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials

The shades: Jenna’s Essentials contains four neutral shades handpicked by Jenna Menard, Clinique’s Global Colour Artist — and dude, they’re divine. Medium-opaque and easy to both blend out evenly and layer for intensity, they’re kind of a neutral palette’s dream.

To start off on the left, shade 1 is a frosty, shimmering white that’s perfect for adding light to an eye look. It’s followed by a light, satin-matte brown that both sheers out well and layers easily — it’s a yellow-brown, so it reads pretty neutral.

Clinique Jenna's Essentials swatches

Clinique All About Shadow Quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials (indirect sunlight)

Next, shade 3 is a shimmering beige with gold sparkle (again, quite neutral, with a hint of pink to give it life), and finally, la pièce de résistance: a gorgeous charcoal-black with a matte base and sparse green-blue microshimmer, like magical stars in the sky.

But, like, who puts bright teal sparkles in a black(ish) shade? Clinique does, apparently — and I kid you not, they transform a boring, standard shade into the most enchanting black eyeshadow you’ll ever own.

Clinique All About Shadow swatches Jenna's Essentials

Clinique All About Shadow Quad in 02 Jenna’s Essentials (direct sunlight)

The packaging: As a minimalist who believes wholeheartedly in function, I appreciate Clinique’s packaging so hard. It’s super-slick, with no weird lumps or bumps (MAC) making it hard to store, and the bottom is–get this–clear. Yeah. You can tell exactly what shades are in this quad from the bottom.

I freakin’ love this packaging, you guys. Let’s let the logical-chic packaging (what are you talking about; that’s totally a thing) movement begin.

Clinique All About Shadow quad packagingClinique All About Shadow packaging — makes so much sense!

The verdict?

If you were to tell me right now that all of my eyeshadows had just been magically converted into Clinique — I would be pretty okay with it. I might not even flinch. Because, you guys, this quad is so good: the textures are beautiful, the pigmentation is great, and the All About Shadow shade range looks to be both gorgeous and gorgeously vast. (I count 57 products and a whopping 100 unique shades in total!)

The singles are a little pricy ($19 CAD), but the duos and quads are pretty reasonable – $25 CAD and $35 CAD respectively. If the rest of the range is even a little bit as sneakily complex and well-formulated as these four, I’m willing to list them as a tentative new favourite.

Availability: $28 USD/$35 CAD at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Clinique counters everywhere. See also: Clinique’s All About Shadow singles ($15 USD/$19 CAD) and duos ($20 USD/$25 CAD).

Keep reading! »

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