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.

Keep reading! »

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 »

Thursday Plantation essential oils review, DIY ideas, & giveaway

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thursday Plantation essential oils review

The products: Thursday Plantation 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Lavender Oil

I like to go the natural route whenever I can, so I’ve been playing around a lot with essential oils this year. In a rather fortuitous turn of events, I was sent this lovely kit from Thursday Plantation just weeks after I fell in love with tea tree oil, and I’ve been using it non-stop in all sorts of ways ever since!

Thursday Plantation is an Australian company that sells essential oils (these three key oils, plus smaller aromatherapy oils like rosewood and patchouli), ready-made products (mostly things with tea tree and aloe), and facial oils. I’m just focusing on these three for the moment, but I’m excited to branch out someday… maybe when I’m braver.

Lavener oil diy beauty

The one thing that always kills me about essential oils is how expensive they can be, so it was awesome to see how affordable and high-quality these oils are. They’re 100% pure and packaged in amber glass, and they come in a range of sizes. The eucalyptus oil, which is great for sanitizing things around the house, comes in 100 and 200ml versions as well; the tea tree comes in smaller sizes (perfect if you’re just going to be using it as an acne treatment); and the lavender oil comes in a 50 ml for those of you who want to get really soothed.

(Not me. I’m not here for the soothing at allll.)

Thursday Plantation essential oils review sizing

Overall, the Thursday Plantation range is more affordable than something like Aura Cacia and more expensive than NOW Solutions, but I prefer it over both: Aura Cacia sells some excellent organic oils, but I find they have trouble with quality control, and NOW Solutions sells really affordable carrier oils, but their more delicate oils can be questionable–their rosehip oil, for instance, is utter crap. Again, I haven’t tried the full Thursday Plantation lineup so my opinion may change someday, but I was very happy with the quality of these!

Thursday Plantation has a 100 Uses for TP campaign going on that’s pretty cool–as you might have guessed, it’s a list of 100 things that you can use these three oils for (sadly not a list of 100 uses for toilet paper), but here are some of my favourites.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil review

Tea tree oil ($23.99 CAD/50 ml) 

Tea tree oil is Thursday Plantation’s big thing, and they do it very well. It’s 100% pure and contains at least 30% more terpinen-4-ol (the part of tea tree oil that makes it germicidal) than is required by international standards, so even a single drop is a very effective antiseptic.

According to Thursday Plantation, tea tree oil “inhibits a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi […] and does not inhibit normal cell growth,” so it’s safe to use on small cuts and stuff to clean the area without a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

  • Great for treating pimples and bug bites
  • Treating infections like athlete’s foot or boils
  • Used as a household cleaner
  • When diluted (I used 3 drops in 1 cup of filtered water), tea tree makes a very effective alcohol- and mint-free mouthwash. Beware, however: it’s very bitter and not for internal use, so swish and spit!
  • Helps deodorize things like shoes and surfaces when mixed with a few tablespoons of baking soda
  • Natural analgesic (like a mild clove oil)
  • And, finally… I’m NOT a doctor, but I get recurrent yeast infections and the antifungals my doctor was giving me were messing up my gut flora without helping my yeast infections one bit. I’ve been using tea tree oil (1 drop diluted in 1 ml virgin coconut oil to make 3 small suppositories) to treat my yeast infections, and it literally cleared up my season-long yeast infection overnight. If you’re having trouble too, do a little research–for me, using a natural antifungal was a far better option than pharmaceuticals, but I’m just one example!

Thursday Platnation eucalyptus oil review

Eucalyptus oil ($9.99 CAD/50 ml)

I love the scent of eucalyptus oil, so when I found out that it kills 99.9% of household germs and helps relieve cold symptoms, I was pretty thrilled.

  • Making use of those 99.9% germ killer properties & cleaning countertops, spills, floors, and sinks in lieu of chemical cleaners with artificial fragrances!
  • A couple drops in a bottle of distilled water as a tasty mouth rinse
  • Used diluted as an oil rub for muscle aches or colds
  • Used in a diffuser or humidifier for a cold
  • I haven’t tried these yet, but I’ve heard that eucalyptus oil can remove grease and tar stains, and is great added to the wash to freshen up your clothes!

Thursday Plantation lavender oil review

Lavender oil ($19.99 CAD/25 ml)

Thursday Plantation lavender oil is distilled only from Lavandula angustifolia flowering herb tops, and it smells lovely.

  • Used diluted or in a bath to help treat eczema or psoriasis
  • Dabbed onto insect bites to help soothe them
  • A few drops on a felt dryer ball to freshen laundry!

The verdict + a giveaway!!

I haven’t tried the more delicate oils from the Thursday Plantation range yet, but I was very happy with these three. The quality is great and the brand’s pricing is on par with something like Desert Essence, and I love that Thursday Plantation uses amber glass to keep their oils safe & sound.

In fact, I’ve been getting such great use out of these oils that I wanted to share the love with YOU, so I reached out to Thursday Plantation’s PR firm here in Canada to ask if they had an extra Essentials kit to share with a lucky reader. And guess what? They did!

So, if you want to get your inner DIY maven on, enter using the widget below. This giveaway will be open to Canadian residents over the age of majority (or with parental consent) for two weeks and close at 11:59 PM MST on July 3rd. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Irresistible Me Royal Remy Hair Extensions review: Why you SHOULDN’T buy from Irresistible Me

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Irresistible Me Royal Remy extensions review

As a blogger, one of the toughest parts of my job is deciding how to interact with companies. That can be as simple as choosing to accept a product for review, or as complicated as deciding to discuss a company’s non-consumer interactions publicly.

It’s an unspoken rule of the beauty industry that you never shame a brand publicly for a bad PR interaction, which is (usually) fair. However, this is a prime example of how a company’s internal policies can lead them to treat regular Janes like a consumable resource, and as a consumer, I know I would want to hear about something like that.

I think you can tell a lot about a brand based on how they interact behind the scenes, so here’s a short story about the very-resistible Irresistible Me.

Positivity injection: Marcelle, The Detox Market, and Bella Aura are three brands that are all good to the core!

Irresistible Me hair extensions review

Irresistible Me Royal Remy extensions 20″/200g review – Platinum Blonde #613

The extensions

I was sent the Irresistible Me Royal Platinum Blonde #613 extensions in 20 inches/200 grams, which I chose so that I could colour them – dark roots with lilac ends (because reasons!!), with future plans for dark grey. The extensions themselves are soft and full, but I did find that the “platinum blonde” colour ran dark in sections and rather yellow overall.

Price comparison

Irresistible Me 200g/20″ extensions: $299 USD note: do not sign up for an Irresistible Me account (required to access their site) unless you really wanna be automatically signed up for emails with no “unsubscribe” link. 

Bellami Hair 160g/20″ extensions: $159.99 USD (closest comparable style)

Luxy Hair 200g/20″ extensions: $209 USD

Irresistible Me blonde extensions in black hair

I photographed these before colouring them. They look somewhat less obvious with dark roots. 

(Makeup look: Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura)

However, even after colouring them, I found that the Royal Remy extensions were very visible when installed. Instead of adding volume to my slightly thin hair, they add weight – my ends look fuller, but the bands are so thick that you can see them no matter what. Maybe that’s just the nature of extensions, but I’d recommend going with a lighter weight if you’re unsure.

Manic Panic, Biolage - dying hair extensions

Waiting to be tinted with a bit of Manic Panic Ultra Violet & Biolage RepairInside conditioner!

Irresistible Me review clips

The base of the thickest Royal Remy weft

The company 

To this date, I have exchanged 31 emails with Irresistible Me. (“Normal” for a new brand relationship is 6 emails, tops.) theNotice’s disclaimer clearly states that all press samples are accepted for consideration only, but despite this, I hear from Irresistible Me twice a month, every month.

I stopped replying to their emails in early April after letting them know that I would include a mention for them in an editorial out of courtesy, but would not be reviewing them due to the product’s visibility issues. Since then, they’ve sent me four emails and have even started leaving comments here asking for a reply–which were (hilariously) marked as spam by IntenseDebate.

Irresistible Me hair extensions review - demarcations

Platinum Blonde extensions + Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura makeup

Irresistible Me hair extensions review - base

Irresistible Me Royal Remy 200g extensions (back view)

Irresistible Me royal remy platinum blonde 20 in review

Irresistible Me Platinum Blonde extensions review, photos

To be fair, my contact has been really lovely and polite in every email. But I’ve talked to over a dozen other Canadian beauty bloggers (yay, CBBers!), and all of them have experienced the same treatment or a more aggressive version thereof: constant emails, “check-ins,” comments; you name it. It’s clearly a company-wide policy to harass bloggers until they review in order to build a false hype about the product, and that’s super not cool with me.

A bad point of contact with a single blogger is an anomaly, but the ongoing harassment of an entire group of bloggers is a pattern. It’s unprofessional and unfair of a brand to demand a review from a blogger who is creating content with them for free, and you know what? I don’t want to support that kind of crap.

I wouldn’t tell you guys to befriend an ex who was following me around everywhere, and the same thing applies here. The Irresistible Me extensions are a good product, but they’re NOT a great deal – and they’re not worth okaying bad behaviour for.

Keep reading! »

5 top products to try from DHC | More than just cleansing oil

Thursday, October 22, 2015

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1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($28 USD)

When I first started beauty blogging, everyone who was anyone was obsessed with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. It was the only cleansing oil worth noting for those “in the know,” and for a little while there, it felt like all of my beauty friends & fellow bloggers were all ordering it online and raving about its magical, makeup-removing properties.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil review

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil review

I finally tried the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil this month, and let me just say: even though years have gone by and it seems like every single brand out there has released a cleansing oil since then, this is still, somehow, one of the best cleansing oils I have ever tried. Its rich, cushy olive oil and rosemary formula (no cheap mineral oil here!) takes off everything, even waterproof eyeliner, and rinses off with perfect skin neutrality (you know; no greasy film or stripped finish), making it perfect for oily and super-dry skin types alike.

DHC Sweetpea moisture care lipstick review

DHC Moisture Care Lipstick in Sweetpea

2. & 3. DHC Moisture Care Lipstick ($14.50 USD/each)

I’m not big on lipsticks with shimmer, but the DHC Moisture Care Lipsticks are totally the cutest lipsticks to be had at under $15 each! They’re shiny and slick, and detailed in flowers and butterflies — what could be cuter?

Pictured here are PK04 Sweetpea (the peachy nude) and WN12 Sugarplum (the plum). Both come with a heaping dose of silver shimmer and a glossy frost finish, so purchase only if you’re a glitter lover!

DHC Sugarplum moisture care lipstick review

DHC Moisture Care Lipstick in Sugarplum

4. DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36 USD)

The DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture moisturizer is the perfect plain moisturizer. It’s full of olive oil, squalane, collagen, and radish root ferment filtrate, and is free of stuff like silicones, fragrances, and parabens.

I wouldn’t recommend this one as a day moisturizer (it definitely leaves you looking greasy), but it’s great for dry or reactive skin that just needs something really rich, soothing, and nourishing.

DHC Extra Nighttime Moistsure review

DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture review

5. DHC Face Wash Powder ($12.50 USD)

Ladies and gents, I have saved the best for last. The DHC Face Wash Powder looks unassuming–fine, white powder; basic, dated packaging–but it is an absolute treat to use.

When mixed with a couple drops of water, this boring-looking powder foams up to create a lovely, dense lather that removes all of my day-to-day makeup without any scrubbing or smearing. It’s gentle, simple, and completely non-gritty and non-stripping.

I love this one for daily use, but it would be fantastic for travel, too!

DHC Face Wash Powder review cleanser

DHC Face Wash Powder review

What are your favourite products from DHC?

This is a sponsored post. However, all of the opinions included in it are my own — I got to pick out each product & share my honest thoughts on all of them! 

Guerlain Boutique & Institute Toronto photos, Complete Facial review | BEAUTY DESTINATIONS

Monday, August 10, 2015

Guerlain Yorkville Toronto Boutique and Institute review

The most unexpected adventure I’ve taken so far this year was a trek into the gorgeous, glossy depths into Toronto’s Guerlain Boutique & Institute at 110 Bloor Street West.

I wandered in one fine Tuesday, expecting to just take a quick sniff of Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille–could it really be as gorgeous as I remembered? (Spoiler: it is, and then some.)–and walked out with some seriously sharp bronzer and a facial appointment for that Friday.

Guerlain Boutique Toronto tour review

The Boutique 

As a fragrance junkie, the only thing you need to know about Guerlain boutiques is this: there is only one in Canada, and it contains all of the brand’s current fragrances…

Les Exclusifs and all.

Guerlain les exclusifs perfumes

From bee bottles to tailor-made fragrances (you know, if you have a year, time for a trip to Paris, and a spare $75 000 lying around), this is the place to be. The staff here know everything there is to know about Guerlain’s recent launches as well as their classics, and can tell you about everything from Guerlinade to Theirry Wasser (Guerlain’s in-house perfumer).

Scents you must try while you’re there:

Guerlain Boutique Toronto Yorkville review

Guerlain exclusifs perfumes boutique

The Institute

Tucked discreetly in the back of the boutique is a small treatment room and all the necessarily amenities — a gorgeous glass shower, a mirrored change room, and the boutique’s secret weapon: a petite esthetician named Sakien Teymouri who, I swear, has magic hands.

Guerlain Institute Spa facial review Toronto Bloor

Guerlain facial review Toronto Yorkville

I was lucky enough to experience a complimentary Complete Facial ($170 CAD), which is a 1h30 treatment that can be customized to match your skin’s needs.

As someone with extremely touchy skin, facials aren’t usually something I can indulge in, but the boutique’s manager took the time to double-check ingredients lists and customize a gentle, silicone-free regimen just for me. (Thank you so much, Jamielee — your kindness and attention to detail really made my day!)

Continue the adventure!! »

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