Bio Beauté (by Nuxe) review: Detox Mask, Deodorant, Eye Cream, & Lip Balm | French luxury (and natural ingredients) on a budget

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bio Beaute by Nuxe review

The products: Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Vitamin Rich Detox Mask, 24hr Refreshing Deodorant, Eye Contour Care, and Tinted Replenishing Lip Balm

Have you heard of Bio-Beauté? Because until this package arrived on my desk, I hadn’t. But this affordable, Écocert-approved range (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) has some products–one in particular–that are really worth a look.

⇒ All Bio-Beauté products are free of parabens & mineral oil and are comprised of at least 95% ingredients of natural origin — so they’re non 100% from the earth, but they’re pretty natural. All four products featured here are also silicone-free!

Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Orange Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask

The showstopper: a mask, in gel form

Ladies and gents, it is difficult for me to tell you how much I LOVE this mask. (A lot. I love it a lot.) It is the first and only mask that I have ever loved, and boy: do I ever love it.

To start off, Bio-Beauté’s Vitamin Rich Detox Mask with orange water ($27 CAD/50 ml) feels nothing like you would expect it to in the jar —  in fact, it is so weightless that I thought perhaps my jar was empty. But, upon opening, it presents as a stiff, translucent gel; perfectly wobbly and smelling divinely of juicy mandarin oranges.

(And yes, okay, sometimes I open it just to smell it. But only sometimes. Not like, every time I pass by it or anything like that.) (Twice a day, at most.)

Bio Beaute Detox Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (AKA ORANGE JELLY GOODNESS)

99% natural, Bio-Beauté’s Detox Mask is a treat to use: once a week, you simply slather on a fingerful (1/2 tsp is plenty for your whole face, so one jar will last a very long time), wait five minutes, massage it in (it’ll turn to an oil), and then rinse off with warm water. I don’t need a lot of detoxifying or clarifying, but I definitely found that this left my face feeling smoother right after I used it — just make sure not to wash it off with soap.

This mask is meant to be used once or twice per week on any skin type, but I like to use it just whenever I feel like my skin could use some extra smoothness. It’s perfect for facial massage, a morning mask, or “small event prep”: that is, before a meeting or date night or even just lunch with your friends. It’ll give you that extra boost, but it’s affordable enough that you don’t need to ration it out!

Bio Beaute Tinted Lip Balm Raspberry review

Bio-Beauté Tinted Repairing Lip Balm – Raspberry

Everything else: eyes, lips, and underarms

I wasn’t super enamoured with any of these, so I’ll go over them really quickly.

First, there’s the Tinted Repairing Lip Balm with raspberry pulp ($14 CAD/15 ml; 100% natural), which I hated. It smells kind of gross (not like vanilla, peach, pear, and raspberry, as promised) and separates quite badly in the tube.

Bio Beaute Aluminum Free Deodorant review

Bio-Beauté Aluminum and Alcohol-Free Deodorant

Then there’s the Energizing, Anti-Puffiness, Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care with clementine cells ($25 CAD/15 ml; yes, that really is its whole name), which is 98.7% natural. It seemed quite basic to me; scent-free and fast-absorbing, but with no major de-puffing effects.

Finally, there’s the 24 hr Refreshing Deodorant alcohol-free, no aluminum salts ($12 CAD/50 ml), which is 98.9% natural and does seem to keep odour at bay. However, it smells really weird – exactly like those mall candies with the bananas. (Edited to add: Wonka Runts). Which isn’t necessarily bad, I guess? But it’s… not what you’d expect from the brand that does Huile Prodigieuse.

Maybe M will want it. He’s weirdly fixated on candy — like a very tall, very handsome, very-not-orange Oompa Loompa.

Bio Beaute Anti-Ageing Eye Care cream review

Bio-Beauté Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care

The verdict?

I didn’t love the Bio-Beauté lip balm, but aside from that, I was pretty impressed with the line — especially at its price point. I’d say it’s comparable to The Body Shop, but more natural and aimed at a slightly older or more reserved clientele.

The line’s eye cream is rather basic and utilitarian, but their orange water mask is absolutely divine. It’s the one beauty product that I’m absolutely crazy about right now, and I would literally recommend it to anyone who likes citrus or just very cool beauty products — men and women alike! (But especially men: it’s cool enough that they’ll want to use it, and quick enough that they’ll keep doing so.)

Availability: The Bio-Beauté range is available at most Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada starting at $12 CAD.

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Shu Uemura Brave Beauty Pink, Green, & Orange Palette Swatches, Reviews, Photos | Perfectly curated eyeshadows for Turkey Day and beyond

Monday, October 13, 2014

shu uemura green brave beauty palette

The products: shu uemura Brave Beauty PinkGreen, and Orange Pressed Eyeshadow Palettes

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and what better a time than turkey day to talk about shades of orange? (And, you know, also green and purple.)

I may not be crazy about yellows and oranges on a day-to-day basis, but even I was pulled toward the Orange Brave Beauty palette, and that’s where we start off today. My favourite thing about the Brave Beauty collection is that the eye palettes are so perfectly composed; coherent, but not at all dupeable, and the Orange palette is no exception to this rule.

Fall colours, all grown up

shu uemura brave beauty orange eyeshadow palette review

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette review

All of the eyeshadows in the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Orange ($90 CAD) are cohesively warm and a little bit red, but I found that the formulas were quite varied. While the matte orange is beautifully smooth, layerable, and intense, not all of the shimmery shades are formulated as well – and at $90, you really shouldn’t have any letdowns. (The darker beige is chunky and a little dry, and the salmon pink applies very sheerly).

The rest of the shimmery shades, however, have a smooth texture with intense colour payoff, and each has a slightly different frost finish — the light beige is particularly metallic. I found that the dark brown applies a shade more bronze than you’d expect, and the purple-red appears as a cranberry-red with almost no purple tones on the skin.

shu uemura orange eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette swatches

Forest-free greens and golds

For those looking for a unique palette that isn’t quite so bold, Shu’s Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green ($90 CAD) is the one you want to be looking toward. Described as “a tribe of forest inspired hues,” this is anything but your typical forest palette.

For starters, there’s only one brown eyeshadow in here, and it’s more of a deep yellow gold, not a… tree-moss brown. But beyond that, there’s a pearly light gold with subtle green undertones, a glowing pale green, and an unexpected lime-chartreuse that’s so unique that even I can’t help but stare. The final dark green shadow in the palette looks like a less-glowy MAC Humid, but does its job of adding depth despite its more boring characteristics.

shu uemura green eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – green palette swatches

What really takes the Green palette to the next level, however, is that amazing matte green. I don’t even know how to describe it — it’s too saturated and bright to just be called “teal,” but it’s not really blue and not really green, either.

Check out the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green in this { green-and-gold makeup look } !

imaginary shu palette

I think a proper forest palette would look a little bit like… this. (This is not a real palette.)

Keep reading! »

5 scents under $50 | Product closet excavation

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Five scents under $50

Let’s start this review off with a truth: I’m not a fan of celebrity fragrances. I’m like, really, really not. So, a lot of the time, I’ll receive one to review and it’ll just waste away in my product closet, waiting for its moment…

Today, that moment has finally come for these scents. Will I love them? Will I hate them? Only time (or simply skimming this review) will tell.

ck one shock for her him review

The couple’s duo: Calvin Klein CK One Shock EdT

Calvin Klein’s CK One Shock for Her is described as a “sensual floriental,” with notes like passion flower and poppy giving way to chocolate, blackberry, jasmine, and musk. It comes bottled in the iconic CK One flacon — but with an opaque white coating & the word “SHOCK” scribbled on in bright pink. (It’s meant to look like lipstick, which I think is silly — the guys get dripping spray paint!)

This design is echoed in the “bold oriental” for him version as well, which lists notes including clementine, cucumber, osmanthus, black pepper, tobacco, and patchouli. Both scents were created by Ann Gottleib and IFF, and retail for $45 CAD/50ml (100 ml bottles pictured here) at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix locations across Canada.

These come with both caps and atomizers, which I love — I always get too much perfume with a single spritz, and caps store better, too. CK One Shock for Her is sweeter than I had expected, and kind of makes me think of a clothing store – soft, powdery kind of sweet. But CK One Shock for Him is the one to watch: it’s peppery and masculine with modern-oriental undertones, and gives an interesting “suggestion” of fruitiness despite not containing any fruity notes (probably due to the osmanthus).

Vera Wang Lovestruck review EdP

The big, big box: Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush

My bottle of Floral Rush contains a mere 50 ml, but you’d never know it from the size of the box it came in. Lovestruck Floral Rush has a large plastic “bouquet” lid, and its box could easily contain four boxes of Heidi Klum Shine within its depths.

Created by Pascal Gaurin, Lovestruck Floral Rush is comprised of notes like champagne, apricot blossom, white freesia, and cashmere wood. It comes wrapped with a floral-print bow, which, well — it’s not a purple and green camouflage bandana, as I had originally thought.

A bright and shimmery “fizzy floral” (my words, not theirs), Floral Rush is a little sharp, but I think it’s more interesting than a lot of celebrity fragrances out there. It smells a bit too clean, which is really too bad, but I think it’s a good scent for its target demographic — there’s nothing aggressively sexy about this perfume, in its notes or in its advertising.

Vera Wang Lovestruck perfume review

The model moment: Heidi Klum Shine

Lauded by bloggers and perfume fanatics as one of the best budget scents at the drugstore, Shine lists fruity top notes of pear, mandarin, and pink peppercorn set against a floral heart and a sweet dry down. This is easily the one I was the most excited about, and it’s not bad — it’s not terribly unique, but it’s clean and very fruity, and I think it’s well-done for the small price tag.

Shine was created by Aurelien Guichard, Jean Guichard and Olivier Pescheux (Pescheux is the nose behind many of Diptyque’s scents, and Guichard is the man behind Issey Miyake’s Pleats fragrances and the Robert Piguet line), and is available for $35 CAD/30 ml.

Heidi Klum Shine perfume review

The Beyoncé effect: Beyoncé Pulse

I’m not a big Beyoncé fan, but I do love the way she’s created her image – while she’s far from perfect, you could do so much worse than telling young girls (and young minority girls in particular) that they can be both popular and powerful.

Her fragrances, though, are one area where I think she could do better. Pulse is described as a “citrus, floral gourmand” (which is cause for alarm on its own), with make-believe notes such as pear blossom, blue curaco, bluebird orchid, and midnight blooming jasmine. Created by Loc Dong, it’s available at Shopper’s and Sears for a rather alarming $59 CAD/50ml. (You didn’t hear it from me, but you can snap this one up easily for under $20 online.)

I think this is one of the better Beyoncé scents out there, but it’s still much too sweet for me. I’d recommend spritzing in-store if you’re a big fan of Queen B, and waiting to smell the drydown before buying — while I can definitely see why someone could fall in love with this, I think many will find it to be too pushy!

Beyonce Pulse review

Do you wear celebrity fragrances? And if so, what are your favourites? (Inquiring minds need to know!) 

Annabelle Muddy, Glitzy Black Smudge Paint Gel Eyeliner swatches, review | The best gel liners in the drugstore

Monday, September 29, 2014

Annabelle Glitzy Black review

The product: Annabelle SmudgePaint Creamy Gel Shadow + Liner in Glitzy Black and Muddy

I’ve been falling pretty behind on theNotice these past few weeks, so let me make it up to you. Here’s a gel liner that I’ve had for years, but has only stuck a chord with me recently — Annabelle’s SmudgePaint liners.

Designed to be used both as an intense cream eyeshadow & gel liner, these guys were some of the first on the market to feature this all-in-one packaging. More importantly, though, they’re still creamy and soft, even after three years of sitting in my drawer. If that doesn’t sell you on a drugstore gel liner, I don’t know what will.

Annabelle Muddy Gel Liner shadow review

The formula: Light, soft, and easy to blend, I think the SmudgePaint formula is absolutely perfect for its intended use. It takes a while to dry down, so it’s not a great pick if you’re in a hurry, but that makes the formula really easy to smudge and blend — but it’s moussey rather than slippery, so it does pinpoint precision just as well as a smokey haze.

What I like most about this formula, however, is that it really lasts. Aside from Annabelle Black Spark and Lancome’s Artliners, there isn’t a single other eyeliner in my collection that lasts as well on me as Glitzy Black does — with a bit of silica powder through the lid, I get zero smudging and very minimal creasing over 10 hours.

Annabelle SmudgePaint gel eyeliner review

Annabelle SmudgePaint in Glitzy Black

Annabelle Muddy SmudgePaint Gel Eyeliner, shadow

Annabelle SmudgePaint in Muddy

The shades: I’m not a brown eyeliner fan, but I think Muddy has its appeal as a soft, natural liner or a heavier all-over base. (See it in a makeup look here!) It’s a pretty bronze-brown, with plenty of gold shimmer and no red undertones. (I think red-browns are far more interesting than yellow-browns, but I do admit that they’re harder to pull off.)

While I think Muddy is a little boring, however, I adore the admittedly-dupeable Glitzy Black. It’s quite an intense black, like most gel liners, and it has just enough silver shimmer to give my eyes a bit of a – but the stray glitter particles never irritate my sensitive eyes, and any travelling they do is done completely separate from the base shade. I think it was limited edition, but if they still do a similar shade, be sure to snap it up!

Annabelle Glitzy Black swatch SmudgePaint gel liner

Annabelle Glitzy Black swatched in indirect sunlightAnnabelle Glitzy Black gel liner review

The verdict?

I wish the opening of these pots was a little wider, but honestly… that’s the only complaint I have for them. With a good eye base, a smudgy wing of Glitzy Black lasts well into the evening on me, which is more than I can say of any other gel liner I’ve tried so far – and it’s very well pigmented, to boot.

The handy packaging and great price are just the cherry on top when it comes to these liners, so if you can find them — buy them.

Availability: $10.95 CAD at drugstores across Canada. Maybe. I don’t know. I could have sworn I just saw these in-store, but now I can’t find them on the Annabelle site and I’m kind of panicking.

Swatches, pot shots (heh) & more »

Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush, 174 Concealer, 304 Lip Brush reviews, photos

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make-Up-For-Ever-Brush-review-Artisan-Collection

The products: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brush Collection – 150 Precision Blush Brush (Wavy), 174 Concealer Brush – Small (Straight), 304 Lip Brush with Cap (Straight)

I’ve been testing Make Up For Ever’s Artisan brushes for the better part of a year, now, but it was just a few weeks ago that I finally fell in love with one of them. I’m fond of the collection on the whole, from the gorgeous design to the fact that all of the brushes are synthetic, but it just — I don’t know. It took me a little while.

Dany Sanz and the MUFE team worked on these brushes for five years, and the finished product is a line of 76 brushes with beech wood handles and straight (for heavier, more precise application) or wavy (lighter, more splayed) bristles. Each brush features a beveled end to help with applying false lashes or retrieving product on set, and the range is broken up into four categories: complexion (100s), eyes (200s), lips (300s), and artistry brushes (400s).

MUFE-brush-review-150-304-174

Make Up For Ever “Artisan” Brushes (detail)

150 Precision Blush Brush ($40 USD/$46 CAD)

I thoroughly believe in starting with your best foot forward (or, at least, I do this week), so here’s the brush that I’m loving right now: the wavy-bristled Precision Blush Brush. Its angled bristles are smooth but firm, and don’t feature the “oily” feeling that some of the Artistry brushes are said to — instead, it’s just kind of narrow and fluffy. 

Make-Up-For-Ever-150-precision-blush-brush-review

Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush Brush

Make Up For Ever recommends this brush for loose or pressed powders including blush, contour, and highlighters, but I actually think it excels at applying and blending cream blushes and stains – a tip I got from my sister. I find it to be a little too stiff for everyday powder contour or blush, but does a beautiful job of really working cream products into the skin. (It would also be a wonderful brush to work with for that severe, “Kardashian/Instagram” sculpting!)

MUFE-150-cheek-brush-reviewMUFE 150 Precision Blush Brush

174 Small Concealer Brush ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

The straight-bristled Small Concealer Brush is pretty standard, as far as concealer brushes go, but it serves its basic function well. This one is great for applying and blending concealer on a large blemish or around the nose, but I don’t find that I reach for brushes like this anymore – I prefer sheer, all-over coverage paired with precision spot concealing, so this style of brush just too wide for me.

That said, if you’re looking for a brush of this size to work with cream or liquid concealer, you could do far worse than the 174. It’s well-priced and easy on the eyes, and the bristles have just enough give to deposit product without irritating a blemish.

Make-Up-For-Ever-174-small-concealer-brush-review

MUFE-174-brush-review

Make Up For Ever 174 Small Concealer Brush

304 Lip Brush ($25 USD/$29 CAD)

The last brush I have to share with you today is the 304, a collapsable lip brush. Now, I don’t usually use a lip brush when applying lipstick or gloss, but I love brushes like this all the same — they’re perfect for applying concealer on the go. 

Make-Up-For-Ever-304-lip-brush-reviewMUFE-304-straight-lip-brush-reviewMake Up For Ever 304 Lip Brush (cap used as handle)

You know those days when you have a really bad blemish, but you’re going to be out from 9 ’til 9, too? Brushes like this one are the perfect thing to throw into your handbag, because they have a small enough tip to cover your blemish just right, and the brush handle will then pop off to cover the tip of your brush. Super clean, super compact, and awesome especially if you’re working with a creamy concealer.

The Make Up For Ever Artisan brushes are my favourite brush range, aesthetically, at the moment — what’s yours?

Keep reading! »

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