Dry skin must-haves & my April at-home spa essentials!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Silicone-free dry skin favourites

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should, because sometimes I meet puppies and take pictures of them), then you’ve probably missed these two product roundups. If you do, then a) thank you, and b) you’ll recognize the images. Don’t click away just yet, though, because there’s a lot more detail here!

Above, I have everything that I’m keeping sink-side right now.* For my dry, dehydrated skin, these have proven to be the best of the best so far. 

  • For super dry skin, I can’t speak highly enough about the DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster. The DHC is so creamy and hydrating, and the Paula’s Choice will get rid of any dry spots you have! I’m also really loving Le Sérum de Jacynthe (review soon), which I think is a bit pricy but is an excellent “green” option.
  • For sensitive skin, Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solution is just fantastic. It’s scented, but I was surprised to find that it’s also incredibly gentle — noticeably more gentle than the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Solution or the Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water.
  • For dehydrated skin, the Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser makes a huge difference for my skin. It doesn’t look very glamorous, but it’s creamy and luxurious, and leaves my skin feeling divine. My MIYU Beauty Essences are something that I can’t live without, too — I’ve now gone through four bottles, if you include the minis!

I’m also a big fan of the Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30, which is relatively heavy, but my skin really likes. It’s not breathtakingly creamy or smooth or anything in particular, but it is affordable, comfortable, and silicone-free, and I think those are three pretty important things.

(Plus, it feels way better than a physical sunscreen, so there’s that.)

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

I also posted about a little at-home spa day that I had on Sunday, which I wanted to update you guys on! It was my first time using a peel-off mask (so, so weird and cool) and the first time in a little while that I had taken the time to pamper myself with my Ahava goodies.

My skin has been so out of whack recently, and the half-hour it took me to mask and exfoliate before my shower really balanced things out. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask tightened up my t-zone, and the Kérastase hair mask/exfoliator left my hair feeling super soft. (I could have still used more scalp exfoliation, though.)

But what I loooooved using again was this Ahava trio. I received them for a post & giveaway last year, but they’ve become some of my carefully-rationed favourites. My legs haven’t been this smooth in years (thank you, Liquid Dead Sea Salt), skin feels so soft, and my sheets now smell amazing.

But yeah; that’s what I’ve been up to! I also petted a dozen dogs on Sunday (VERY IMPORTANT) and took the rest of the weekend to let my body rest, and it’s been great.

What’s been keeping you busy (or not so busy) recently?

*Note: I’ve drifted away from the Jurlique and Tatcha since taking this photo. They’re both still great, but I’m just really into the Paula’s Choice cleanser right now!

New This Week: Silicone-free colour-correcting & custom foundation palettes!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Custom color correcting foundation palette

It’s always interesting to see which trends are going to rear their heads each season, but I can’t remember the last time something hit quite as hard as colour-correcting. It’s a technique that has been around for decades, of course, but it used to be tough to get your hands on really good colour-correcting products.

Now, though? Now colour correctors seem like they’re a dime a dozen. You can pick up tinted primers (Make Up For Ever and Clinique do some really popular ones, and I hear the NYX dupes aren’t all that shabby); redness neutralizers (everyone still always says green, but I swear yellow is what you really want); even brightening powders (in violet or the classic banana yellow) to even out whatever tones your foundation isn’t quite covering. 

Despite the current trend, however, it is still next to impossible to find a good colour corrector that’s silicone-free. So, I thought I’d share with you guys what I’ve been doing for colour-correcting!

I really love using theatre foundations on skin that’s picky about silicones, because the older formulas (always make sure to check first) tend to be creamy, ‘cone-free, and cheap. The colour palette that I put together for myself features samples of products from Camera Ready Cosmetics to keep the costs even lower; the half-empty pans look a little dingy, but because I rarely actually finish products, it was a good choice for me.

(I’ve had this palette for about a year and I haven’t needed to replenish any of the correctors yet, so I guess I wasn’t wrong!)

Silicone free foundation palette

Silicone-free theatre foundation review palette

For anyone making their own colour correcting palette or bruise kit, this entire palette cost me about $20 USD, and works well for my NC15-ish skin. It includes:

Keep reading! »

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus serum, Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse reviews, photos

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jurlique Foaming Cleanser, Rose Moisture Plus Serum review

The products: Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse & Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum

I like to think that I can admit my mistakes gracefully. I have no idea if this is true or not, but if it is, then the Jurlique skincare range is a great example of it.

I thought that Jurlique was just another well-marketed beauty brand, but I was definitely off-base in my assumptions. The two Jurlique products that I’ve been testing came in recycled, sustainably sourced paper cartons, feature natural and organic ingredients, and are stamped with expiry dates — March 2017 for the mousse and August 2016 for the serum, instead of that vague “6 months” crap that most brands will feed you.

There are plenty of natural and sustainable brands nowadays, but Jurlique has been doing the eco-conscious thing since way before it was cool. The brand celebrates its 30th anniversary this year (Happy Birthday, Jurlique!)

Jurlique Foaming Cleanser dry skin review

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse review

Jurlique Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse ($34 USD)

The Jurlique Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse is described as a “lightly whipped foaming mousse,” and I have to agree! Jurlique’s mousse cleanser isn’t like any other that I’ve tried — it’s enriched with jojoba, grape seed, safflower, and rose hip oils, and it actually feels whipped and lush rather than just foamy.

It’s the most hydrating mousse/foaming cleanser that I’ve tried, but it’s not perfect. Even though I like the formula, it’s still more stripping than a cleansing milk, so it’ll work better for oily and normal skin types than dry or sensitive ones. I think it would be awesome in helping to balance out a combination complexion, though, or a dehydrated/oily skin type!

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum review

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum review

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum ($50 USD)

I’ve also been using the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum over the past few months, but while it helps maintain my skin’s moisture levels, it doesn’t get rid of my persistent dryness the way that a few of my other serums do.

I really like its silky texture and natural rose scent, but at $50, I just couldn’t recommend it to someone with chronically dry skin. If you have mild dry skin, then yes, this is a gorgeous silicone-free serum, but be warned: I found it to be only about as hydrating as Hylamide SubQ, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, and the super-popular Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum.

(Which, granted, a lot of people describe as super hydrating, so it really depends where you’re measuring from!)

Jurlique packaging review skincare

The verdict?

Jurlique products are definitely a splurge, but I think you get what you pay for with the line. The packaging, delivery, and formulas are exquisite, and I was actually surprised that these products didn’t cost more — $50 for a luxury serum is arguably pretty well-priced.

I didn’t find the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Serum hydrating enough for my skin type, but I loved the Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse. It’s gentler on the skin than most foaming cleansers, and though it gets used up pretty quickly, it feels whipped (not foamy), which is quite the treat!

Availability: Jurlique.com. Jurlique is actually running a really cool new promo right now, where they will give you a $15 USD credit toward ANY purchase before March 15th if you sign up for their newsletter!

Keep reading! »

Bioderma Atoderm reviews: Gentle Shower Gel, Moisturizing Stick, PP Baume

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bioderma Atoderm shower gel review

The products: Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel, Atoderm Moisturizing Stick, and Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm

The Bioderma Atoderm shower gel is the biggest shower gel that you are ever going to use. Period. It’s a massive 1 litre (or bloody 2 lbs and 6.86 oz) of paraben-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic gentleness, and it’s totally dry skin friendly.

Hell, you could use this everywhere from your kids to your face to your junk (that’s one way to prevent the Junkface bar soap conundrum), and you’d still have 990 ml left to soap up… I don’t know; maybe a whole herd of cows?

Bioderma Atoderm review vs Bliss Soapy Suds The Body Shop Virgin Mojito

This is what 1L of bodywash looks like in comparison. (CAD proce per litre: $61, $19.95, $40).

The Atoderm line: Bioderma focuses on making gentle, pharmacy-style products that are targeted to specific skin types, and the Atoderm range is aimed at very dry to atopic sensitive skin. (That’s me!) (Although to be fair, Sensibio and Hydrabio, for sensitive skin and dehydrated sensitive skin, respectively, are also arguably me.)

But my point is — Atoderm products are designed to be gentle, non-stripping, and hydrating, so they’re the Bioderma line to turn to if you have eczema, psoriasis, or just generally fragile skin. 

Bioderma Atoderm shower gel

Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel ($19.95 CAD)

The Atoderm line has four options for shower gels, all available in 500 ml or 1L bottles. This is actually their least gentle of all four (there’s also a gel-mousse, a cream, and an oil, which I really want to try) and it’s really nice.

A litre is a lot of shower gel to go through, but this stuff is awesome. It’s very lightly scented and is actually quite thin, which is something I’ve never encountered before but am very much enjoying 4111111111111111111111111111111 (Tuna says hi.)

You know how, when you walk into an Asian household, the soap is always a little thinner than it’s supposed to be? This is a like that, except minus the scolding grandma! The Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel is slick and easy to apply, and it’s easy to rinse off without having to scrub at your damaged skin.

Bioderma lip balm review Atoderm

Bioderma Atoderm Moisturizing Stick ($6.95 CAD)

There are two lip balms in the Bioderma Atoderm line, because Bioderma loves going overboard with their product ranges. (I joke, but I actually love this kind of precisely curated neuroses.)

This one’s the stick, and I LOVE it. It’s my absolute favourite lip balm right now, and I keep making everyone try it — it’s so good. The formula smells lightly of raspberry candy and is perfectly stiff, but it applies smoothly and keeps my lips nicely hydrated for a good couple of hours. It really is the ideal texture for a daytime lip balm!

Bioderma Atoderm moisturizing stick review

I’d say that this is more hydrating than Nuxe Reve de Miel, eos balms, and Burt’s Bees lip balms, but less hydrating than my potted Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 (yes, that post is SEVEN YEARS OLD now) or the Osmia Organics Lip Balm that I love.

It’s about as hydrating as a Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, but it’s way cheaper and much easier to work with… and it won’t slide onto the floor in the summer.

Bioderma PP Ultra-nourishing balm review ish

Bioderma Atoderm PP Ultra-Nourishing Balm ($29.95 CAD)

The Bioderma PP Baume contains silicones, so I couldn’t test it myself. However, it’s an extra-nourishing formula that joins a whole bunch of other Atoderm products, like the protective PO Zinc and everyday Creme (which comes in unscented & scented versions — so cool!)

If you’ve tried the PP Baume, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Here’s what other bloggers thought of it, though:

  • Natalie Loves Beauty notes that it absorbs almost instantly,
  • Writing Whimsy loves how hydrating its formula is, unlike the scented Atoderm PP Creme formula,
  • Lipstick and Lullabies tried it with her husband and found that it’s great for dryness, redness, and facial skin, and
  • Ruqaiya Kahn finds the formula a bit sticky BUT notes that it totally got rid of her itchy, dry leg skin.

Shu Uemura x Maison Kitsuné collection reviews, swatches, photos

Friday, March 4, 2016

Maison Kitsune for Shu Uemura Beauty Remix Smokey Eye and Cheek Palette review Indigo Plum

The collection: Shu Uemura x Maison Kitsuné (Holiday 2015) including the Beauty Remix Smokey Eye & Cheek Palettes in Indigo and Plum, and the Laque Sparklers in Fleur Shine, Persimmon Glow, and Plum Shimmer

Today’s review is a bit of a phone-in, because there are so many gorgeous products that I want to share with you guys, but I don’t want this post to get too long. It has a lot of gold and a lot of glitz, though, so I hope you enjoy!

shu uemura x maison kitsune collection review photos

To begin, I found some swatches of the Shu Uemura x Maison Kitsuné Beauty Remix Smokey Eye & Cheek Palettes ($85 CAD) on my camera that I had totally forgotten about, and I just had to clean them up and post them. I wore both the Indigo Beauty Remix Palette and Plum Beauty Remix Palette in this makeup look, but honestly… I don’t think these ones are worth the $85.

shu maison kitxune beauty remix palette indigo swatches review

Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura Indigo Beauty Remix Palette swatches

shu kitsune remix palette plum swatches review

Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura Plum Beauty Remix Palette swatches

I really appreciate that the cost of these palettes hasn’t gone up in the past few years, but at $85, I just don’t think these two are worth the price. Both of them are still really well-formulated (Shu Uemura never disappoints), but there are four iridescent/glitter shades per palette, and they’re all pretty much interchangeable. They look different swatched, but when applied, the effect is very much the same.

All Shu Uemura palettes are priced as luxury items, but most of the time, you know what you’re getting. The neutral shu:palette, for instance, is $105 CAD, but it’s worth every penny. It has a great range of beautifully pigmented colours, and there’s only one glitter shade, so you’re paying for 16 eyeshadows and actually getting all 16.

shu maison kitsune taupe plum remix review swatches

I’m obsessed with this purple from the Plum palette, though. What a beauty!

shu maison kitsune laque sparkler review fleur shine

While I was testing the Shu’s holiday collection, I surprised myself by falling in love with Fleur Shine, a limited edition  Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura Laque Sparkler ($35 CAD) shade.

The Sparklers wore more evenly on me than their shimmer-free counterparts, and Shu actually managed to achieve a wet look with this shimmer — which is a difficult feat! Fleur Shine is hydrating and easy to wear, and it like the rest of the Laque Sparklers, it’s softly floral-scented and lasts for about three hours before I feel like I need to reapply.

The Sparkler formula is the same as the original (save for the added shimmer), so expect a little bit of staining from them. It has a thick, comfortable gloss finish that keeps your lip colour & glitter in place.

shu uemura laque sparkler plum shimmer swatch review

Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura Laque Sparkler in Fleur Shine swatched

shu uemura plum glitz nail review maison kitsune

Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura Nail Laquers in Plum Glitz and Indigo Glitz

If you’re a fan of Maison Kitsuné, I think the Shu x Maison Kitsuné Party Mixer Glitz Nail Enamels ($25 CAD) are worth checking out, too. I have both Plum Glitz and Indigo Glitz, and they are beautiful — dimensional and really eye-catching, with the most adorable fox decals on the packaging!

shu uemura nail enamel indigo glitz review maison kitsune

Additional photos & more »

Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil & Cleansing Oil review, photos | Tsubaki oil for normal/oily skin types

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tatcha cleansing oil review

The products: Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil & Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

Happy Tuesday, folks! I’ve got a couple Tatcha camellia oil products to share with you today, because the line has finally been picked up by Canadian Sephora stores & can be easily acquired, no firstborn/evil witch promises needed.

The Tatcha line features a lot of Camellia japonica flower oil, which is sometimes called Japanese tea oil or tsubaki oil. It’s an ingredient that’s used frequently in skincare thanks to its oleic acid triglyceride content (85%, just like human sebum), and it contains lots of skin-friendly antioxidants!

Tatcha One step Camellia Cleansing Oil review

Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 USD/$58 CAD)

I started testing with the brand’s One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, which is a dual-purpose makeup remover & cleanser from Tatcha’s Pure product range. It’s one of the brand’s bestselling products, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a naturally fragranced, mineral oil-free cleansing oil that washes away with no residue.

I’ve actually tried Tatcha’s cleansing oil a couple of times, and I wasn’t a big fan of it in the past. I found out why this time around, though: I wasn’t using enough of it with my trial size, and I kept testing it out at my boyfriend’s apartment (which is dry like a high-tech science experiment and totally confounds my product testing results.)

Tatcha pure one step cameilla cleansing oil review

Now that I’m actually using enough Tatcha cleansing oil, I really like it. One pump removes all of my makeup, including eyeliner, and it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean.

I like a little more hydration from my daily cleanser, but this oil is super gentle, non-stripping, and non-greasy. It’s better for sensitive or dry skin than Shu Uemura or L’Occitane cleansing oils, and it smells way better than DHC’s Cleansing Oil (which I would otherwise slightly prefer.)

Overall, Tatcha’s cleansing oil is an awesome all-rounder. It’s a little pricey for a cleansing oil at $9.41 USD/oz, but it’s a formula that will work well for oily and dry skin, and it’s a great option for those with sensitive complexions.

Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ingredients:

Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Rice Bran Oil, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquicaprylate, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Water, Algae Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Natural Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol.

Tatcha cameillia beauty oil review

Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil ($95 USD/$114 CAD)

I’ve also been carrying around the Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil, which is scented with natural bamboo and green tea fragrances. (It smells quite a bit like a Shu Uemura cleansing oil, actually!) It’s a light, dry oil for the face, hair, and body, but I reserve it for face use only — my body has done nothing to deserve a $114 oil.

Like Tatcha’s Cleansing Oil, this serum/moisturizer is formulated around camellia oil and is appropriate for all skin types. I like a serum that’s a little thicker than this, but this oil blend is just moisturizing enough for my dry skin while still being lightweight enough for my boyfriend’s slightly oily skin, which is pretty cool. (Boyfriend actually says it’s the best-feeling oil he’s ever tried, so score one for Tatcha!)

Tatcha gold review Cameillia beauty oil serum

The Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil is also formulated with olive-derived squalane, licorice root extract, and 24-karat gold flakes, making it great for regulating sebum production, calming down inflammation, and generally being super luxe. It’s also available in a 10 ml travel size, but the travel size is $33 — I’d say go for the full size and just enjoy how stately and luxurious the packaging is!

Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Squalane (Olive Origin), Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Natural Fragrance, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentaisostearate, Dimer Dilinoleyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Macadamia, Rice Germ Oil, Water, Tocopherol, Licorice Extract, Rice Bran Oil Extract, Rice Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Alcohol, Glycerin, Algae Extract, Gold, Phenoxyethanol.

Tatcha skincare review silicone free recommendations

The verdict?

I really liked both of these products (they’re definitely going into my regular skincare rotation), but at the price… they’re not must-haves for me. My dehydrated skin was left wanting, which I think it slightly inappropriate for products that are this expensive.

If I had to pick a word to describe Tatcha’s brand identity and product ethos, though, I would go with “exquisite.”  These products are beautiful right from the boxes to the ingredients, and I personally think that they outperform most department store brands at a similar price point.

I have yet to find anything in the line for super dry skin, but if you want to spoil your normal to oily skin, then give these two a try!

Availability: Tatcha.com and Sephora (US and Canada). Each full-sized Tatcha product purchased funds one day of school for a girl through the brand’s Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Futures partnership with Room to Read.

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