Saje Natural Perfume Collection + Goddess, Ananda | The Gift Guide

Monday, November 28, 2016

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The products: Saje Natural Perfume Collection; Goddess and Ananda Perfumes

You know how I shared my top holiday splurge recommendation on the blog last week? Well, Saje’s Natural Perfume Collection is my top budget pick. This review is all about the why (and I have plenty of reasons!)

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Saje Natural Perfumes

I LOVE everything Saje, and the Saje Natural Perfumes ($29.95 CAD) are no exception. They’re absolutely beautifully designed products, and they feature something that I have never seen on the market before: gemstone rollerballs.

Each fragrance is based in jojoba seed oil and has a different gemstone associated with it. While I don’t fully buy into mysticism, part of me loves it. (Yes, I still go to witches’ markets a few times a year.) I adore the idea of associating fragrance with a goal, and I love the mindfulness that each gemstone brings.

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Take, for instance, Ananda: a sweet, floral citrus with notes of grapefruit, juniper berry, and ylang ylang. It directs the wearer to “embrace your truth,” and features a tiger’s eye gemstone to guide the wearer into identifying their needs versus their desires. (Tiger’s eye is said to be extremely grounding, and enhances willpower.)

I love Ananda–it may be my favourite of all five–but it’s a very “bright” scent. For an earthier floral that’s still very popular, there’s always Goddess: a floral citrus with a vanilla base. It features strong notes of rose otto and jasmine, and its gemstone is rose quartz.

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The Saje Natural Perfume Collection 

There are a lot of similarities between all of Saje’s scents, which is why I love the concept of their Saje Natural Perfume Collection ($49.95 CAD). It’s just as delicately made as their full sizes, but it allows you (or a loved one) to try each scent on your own schedule. Each one will last for weeks of use, so don’t be wary of the smaller rollerballs!

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For instance, if you didn’t love Goddess and Ananda you’re insane and we can’t be friends, because Ananda is perfection, perhaps you might like Shanthi. Its rollerball is made from white marble to inspire mindfulness, and it smells like an herb garden – lots of lime, lemongrass, basil, and nutmeg. Smelling like an herb garden isn’t my thing, but I have to admit: it smells bloody tasty. 

For a very “incense-y” scent, there’s Yoga, which smells a bit like an alt clothing store or meditation studio. Its gemstone is an amethyst, and it smells mostly of michelia champaca oil.

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If you’re looking to get busy, there’s always Tantra, too.

Tantra is weird for me, because it does NOT smell like a sexy fragrance to me. I like it a lot, but… mostly it smells like incense and ginger ale: delicious, and also like diabetes. Its gemstone is a cheeky jade sphere (you know, because jade is lucky), and it’s a really complex scent. It has notes of champa, like Yoga, but it gets its “ginger ale” vibes from sweet palmarosa and spicy ginger.

Even if you’re not planning on buying, I’d suggest going into a Saje someday just to give Tantra a try. Olfactorily*, it’s a lot of fun!

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The verdict?

Saje’s natural perfumes are one of my top gift picks for so many reasons. I love the concept of gemstone rollerballs, but more than that, I love that they’re made from essential oils. Anyone who has worn a purely essential oil perfume before will know two things: they wear very close to the skin, and they fade quickly.

For that reason, they hit a middle ground between “perfume” and “self-care” that sits so well with me. They can most certainly be worn in conjunction with a favourite perfume, and they’re very inoffensive – whether you were to gift someone one or the entire set, there is something in each to appreciate.

Especially in Tantra.

Availability: Single perfumes are $29.95 CAD at Saje; the set is $49.95 CAD. (Get 20% off everything until the end of today!)

*Autocorrect and I are having an argument over this one, but I KNOW WORDS. If the OED says that I’m allowed to say it, I’m allowed to say it. 

Lise Watier Arabesque Holiday 2016 collection

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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Lise Watier Baiser Velours in Swan Kiss swatch & review (after 3 hours’ wear!)

The products: Lise Watier Arabesque collection (Holiday 2016)

Inspired by the ballet, the Lise Watier Arabesque collection is full of see-through foils and sultry burgundies. This review covers the collection’s highs and lows–and you might be surprised which is which.

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Lise Watier Arabesque review – Coppélia

What to save your pennies on 

Lise Watier’s holiday eye palettes are usually the strongest point of their holiday showing, but I found this year’s Lise Watier Arabesque 5-Colour Eyeshadows (limited edition, $42 CAD) to be lacking. I haven’t swatched them for this review, but for good reason: though they look pretty when swatched, their formula totally pulls one over on you. 

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Lise Watier Arabesque review – Isadora

I’m used to seeing really vivid, buttery shades from Lise Watier’s holiday collection, and these palettes just didn’t have it. Even when applied over primer, they blended away quickly to nothingness, leaving not even a hint of colour behind.

I adore flakey shimmers, so I was psyched when I swatched the middle shades of each palette, but I felt like I had been tricked when I tried to use them. I literally could not make these shadows show up on my lids. Zilch, nada, nothing. I’d apply, and then the second I would go to blend, they would just disappear into nothingness, like last season’s booty call.

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Index finger: Lise Watier Arabesque Nail Varnish swatch (2 coats) / Middle finger: Lise Watier Cerise Noir swatch (2 coats) / See this post for that gorgeous glitter!

Similarly, I was really let down by the Arabesque Nail Varnish (both limited edition, $9 CAD). Unlike Cerise Noir, which applied with breathtaking ease and opacity (it almost reminded me of a YSL nail varnish – not quite, but almost), Arabesque is too sheer for its own good.

As a topcoat, it’s passable, but on its own, it straight up just makes my nails look dirty around the edges. I did my toes in Arabesque last week, and I spent an entire morning this past weekend trying to confusedly scrub the dirt off of my feet. Eventually, I realized that my feet weren’t inexplicably dirty – that’s just what the polish looks like.

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I could go either way on the Lise Watier Twist and Sharp Eyeliner in Platine (new permanent, $23 CAD) and the Lise Watier Haute Lumiere Lipgloss in Gold Glory (limited edition, $24 CAD)Platine is a platinum eyeliner with metallic flakes of colour (it would be beautiful on darker skintones), but Gold Glory just boring. C’mon, guys; we’ve seen gold shimmer in clear gloss a million times!

I think that Lise Watier can do better, and they did–within this very collection, as a matter of fact.

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Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Lipstick in Cerise Noir review (left), Cerise Noir with Gold Glory Haute Lumiere Lipgloss on top (swatched at right)

What to buy immediately (in duplicate, even)

Where this collection really shines is in its matte and creme shades. I first swatched the Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Lipstick in Cerise Noir (new permanent, $25 CAD), which is a beautiful, glossy black cherry shade. Dark lipsticks tend to be a bit too high-maintenance for me, though, so I moved on from this fruity-scented lipstick pretty quickly.

The next product I tried–and the one that I fell completely in love with–was the Lise Watier Baiser Velours Liquid Lipstick in Swan Kiss (limited edition, $28 CAD). I reviewed the Baiser Velours formula originally in February, and I wasn’t impressed. But this time around, with a different shade, I could not have been more floored.

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Lise Watier Baiser Velours in Swan Kiss review, swatches

Swan Kiss is a flattering, sexy, brown-based lip shade. It makes my lips look enormous, and its matte formula was very comfortable to wear. I tested it out for four hours and ate an entire ice cream bar while wearing it, and it barely showed a single sign of wear.

There’s a major Kylie Jenner vibe to Swan Kiss, and it holds up better to kissing than you’d expect. I’m not usually a fan of the Kardashian/Jenner crowd, but if the trends they created are going to make my lips look this good, I’ll take it!

Keep reading! »

Burberry Nude Beige Kisses, Chestnut Brown Liquid Eyeliner, Silver Glitter Nail Polish, & Cat Lashes Mascara | Fall/Winter 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

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The products: Burberry Beauty Kisses Lipstick in No. 01 Nude Beige, Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in No. 02 Chestnut Brown, Cat Lashes Mascara in No. 1 Jet Black, and Nail Polish in No. 453 Silver Glitter

Much like their holiday collection, Burberry’s Fall/Winter 2016 makeup look is full of easy-to-wear basics paired with chunky glitter. As someone who routinely does the same as an easy way to make things festive, I am, to say the least, a fan.

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Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Nude Beige ($33 USD/$36 CAD)

I’ve always been fond of Burberry’s makeup collection (how could you not be, with that packaging,) but the Burberry Kisses Lipstick in No. 01 Nude Beige ($33 USD/$36 CAD) is the first product of theirs that has worked its way into my everyday makeup stash.

With a lightweight satin formula and a paraben-free, fragrance-free formula, it’s easier to wear than an A-line dress in the summer (and that’s saying a lot, for me).

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Burberry Kisses Lipstick in 01 Nude Beige review

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Burberry Kisses Lipstick swatch in 01 Nude Beige (bare lips/1 layer)

The Burberry Kisses lipstick formula is one that I have to reapply often despite its six-hour wear claims, and yet I still find myself reaching for it. The Kisses line is built on this weird principle of “multiple, satin finishes with one shade,” depending on how many layers you apply, and I… kind of think it works.

They function just like any other lipstick, of course, but I like that Burberry has taken into consideration the fact that, well, when you apply only one coat of a sheer lipstick, your lip colour bleeds through. For Nude Beige, this means that one coat sinks into your lips and simply neutralizes your lips’ redness slightly, and that three coats sits on your lips for a thicker, more “classically nude” look. I like toning down my lips with a “nothing” lipstick when paired with a dark eye, and Nude Beige is absolutely perfect for that.

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Burberry Kisses Lipstick in 01 Nude Beige, Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown swatches

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Burberry Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown review

Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in Chestnut Brown ($34 USD/$37 CAD)

Like Nude BeigeBurberry’s Effortless Liquid Eyeliner in No. 02 Chestnut Brown ($34 USD/$37 CAD) is a natural-look makeup item from their standard range. It defines the eyes well in a very subtle way, and despite its sharp lines, the dark chestnut brown has a softer overall look than an inky black eyeliner.

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Wearing Burberry Effortless Liquid Liner in Chestnut Brown and Cat Lashes Mascara in Jet Black

If you caught my Lise Watier Féline Liquid Eyeliner review, this Burberry liner is a lot like that one – stiff and long. (Are we still doing phrasing, guys?) It’s immensely easy to work with, but I find the formula to be a bit thin.

Skincare plays a big role in this one, and I find that on days when I use a really heavy moisturizer, the Burberry Effortless Liquid Eyeliner is harder to apply and smudges throughout the day. I have to go over my line a few times to get it nice and inky. But, on days when I’m wearing a lighter moisturizer, everything goes off without a hitch. Like Burberry’s Lip Kisses and mascaras, their eyeliner is also paraben- and fragrance-free.

I moisturize like a fiend (like, night cream plus a serum plus an oil during the day), so you likely won’t need to worry about running into any issues. With your eyeliner, at least. I can’t make any promises otherwise.

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Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara in Jet Black review

Cat Lashes Mascara in Jet Black ($29 USD/$32 CAD)

When a mascara is re-promoted in a collection, I don’t always test it out. I know I should, but honestly–so many of them come out each season, and I’m tired of constantly running around with raccoon eyes.

The Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara in No. 1 Jet Black ($29 USD/$32 CADhas one weird-ass brush, though, so I had to do it. It’s an elastomer hourglass with spiky bristles, and it’s bendy. Not just “soft enough to bend intentionally,” but almost floppy.

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Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara bendy brush

The Cat Lashes Mascara gets its name from the curved end of the brush, which lets you “stretch out” the lashes in your outer corners (using it vertically) for a cat-eyed effect. It works so well that I did this intuitively, and only found out that it was designed for this purpose after the fact.

The formula gives great separation and length, and it wears for a solid nine hours with minimal smudging.

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Burberry Nail Polish in 453 Silver Glitter review

Nail Polish in Silver Glitter ($22 USD/$23 CAD)

Finally, the piece in this collection that I’m convinced the folks at Burberry must love the most. (What is it with them and holiday glitter?) The Burberry Nail Polish in No. 453 Silver Glitter ($22 USD/$23 CADis a basic glitter polish in, as always, an excellent clear base.

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Burberry Nail Polish in 453 Silver Glitter swatches (1 coat on bare nails on the ring finger, one coat over polish on the pinkie finger.)

It applies with dense silver glitter and dries quickly. Burberry says their polishes dries in 2 minutes and hardens completely in 6 1/2, which is oddly specific, but I’m into it. I would urge you to try one of their standard nail polishes at that price, however, because they’re stellar–not YSL good, but a big step up from the likes of Essie and OPI. Glitters are easy, but Burberry does a great job of deep shades like Elderberry, and of obscure ones like Sage Green.

I tried my best to run around with Silver Glitter on my nails for a weekend, but I just couldn’t do it. Finger nail polish, no matter how gorgeous, drives me nuts! It did make me feel very festive, though… or maybe that was all the rum and eggnog.

What are you loving from the Fall/Winter 2016 Burberry makeup collection?

Keep reading! »

Neal’s Yard Orange Flower Facial Oil, Wild Rose Beauty Balm review, photos

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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The products: Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm & Orange Flower Facial Oil

In the beauty industry right now, one of the toughest things to figure out is whether or not the “natural” brand you’re working with is truly natural or not. Sometimes their ingredients lists can be deceptive; sometimes their practices don’t quite line up with the natural beauty ethos.

Neal’s Yard Remedies, however, is the real deal. It’s a massive beauty brand that has maintained all-natural, cruelty-free, organic-when-possible ingredients since their inception in 1981, and they’re family-run by different families in each country that they exist in.

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Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm ($72 CAD)

This beauty balm did none of the things that I wanted it to. It wasn’t hydrating enough to use as a moisturizer on my super-dehydrated skin, and (I think because of the hemp seed oil,) it had a tendency to make me break out if I tried to make it work anyways.

But: it was so humbly amazing at so many other things that it has become one of my favourite “luxury” products anyways.

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The Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm is just that: luxurious. Unlike most beauty balms, it melts upon contact and is smooth and silky, so it doesn’t tug at your skin. Its first ingredient is organic wild rose seed oil (hence the price tag). It smells even more amazing than you’d expect, and every time I pick up the heavy glass bottle, I can’t help but feel a little bit spoiled.

My two favourite ways to use it are as a cleansing-exfoliating balm with a muslin cloth (included) and for facial massages. I gave Boyfriend his first-ever facial using this stuff, and he was GLOWING when I was done!

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Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Facial Oil ($55 CAD)

I was also sent the Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Facial Oil, because the Wild Rose Beauty Balm wasn’t quite hydrating enough for me. The Orange Flower Facial Oil is definitely more hydrating, but the two together don’t quite do the trick for me – I’m VERY dehydrated in addition to being dry, so while the two are really lovely together, I still need a little bit more.

I noticed that Neal’s Yard doesn’t make very many products that specifically target extremely dry skin, so the range is perhaps beset for those with normal, oily, or lightly dry skin types – just something to keep in mind.

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With its $72 CAD price tag and perfectly-toned artwork, I thought that the Wild Rose Beauty Balm was Neal’s Yard’s one big product… Until I tried this oil. It’s just as gorgeous as the balm, if not more so, and it isn’t just an overpriced bottle of orange flower oil, either.

Instead, it’s a carefully thought-out blend of organic macadamia seed, jojoba, hemp, and pomegranate seed oil (I bloody LOVE pomegranate seed oil), amongst others, and it’s scented with neroli, ylang ylang, and mandarin peel oil.

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The verdict?

I really loved both of these products, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them – as indulgences. (Hmm… perhaps for a special someone in your life this Christmas?) They’re not hydrating enough for someone with extremely dry skin to use as part of a daily regimen, but they are nothing short of a joy to use. 

If you do a lot of at-home facials or spa days, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm is a must, and if you love neroli, then the Orange Flower Facial Oil definitely is, too.

Availability: Available at Neal’s Yard Remedies worldwide. Both permanent products.

Keep reading! »

LUSH Halloween 2016 review, photos, swatches | The majesty of Goth Fairy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

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The products: LUSH Halloween 2016 Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar, Boo Luxury Bath Melt, Fireside Soap, and Pumpkin Bath Bomb

I’m not really a Halloween-y person, but for some reason, I’ve gotten kind of into it this year. I’m right in the middle of planning a Halloween dinner party (you can watch Mean Girls on Halloween, right? That’s totally situationally-appropriate?), and I’m thinking about making some Halloween-themed cutouts to decorate the apartment with.

Really, I’m just psyched for Halloween candy bars, but these Lush products are up there on the list, too.

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Bath time treats

I checked out two bath products this time around, and while I’m honestly tempted to break my no-bath rule to try the creamy, citrusy Boo Luxury Bath Melt ($5.95 CAD), I had to box up the Pumpkin Bath Bomb ($6.95 CAD) immediately. It’s super crumbly and sticky-sweet, which is so not my jam.

Boo smells nice, though! It’s nice and citrusy, with a plant-like ginger base. It’s also full of cocoa butter and essential oils, so there are no synthetic preservatives in it–the formula simply doesn’t need them.

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Bars of mystery

I also tried out Fireside, Goth Fairy, and one other Lush product (more on that soon), to much better results. I find Lush soap to be too stripping for my skin, but Lush’s Fireside Soap Bar ($8.95 CAD) is a lovely “guest soap” bar – it’s cute, with its cartoon fire design, and it smells like really good tea. Clove oil gives it a spicy kick, and all in all, it’s a mouthwatering fall soap!

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Lush Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar swatch

The Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar ($7.95 CAD) is even cooler. It’s lightly moisturizing, with illipe and cupuacu butter in the formula, and smells juicy and fruity. The best part of all, though, is HOW MUCH shimmer Lush has managed to pack into this bar–it’s honestly astounding. A single swipe across my chest spread all the way to my shoulders, across my décolletage, and up my neck.

This shimmer bar is a little small, but it’s so dense with shimmer that it’ll get you to Glitter Level: Stripper Boobs in a heartbeat. In other words, it’s #lifegoals, and I love it.

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The verdict?

As always, I feel the need to mention that Lush is not a natural company, despite its advertising. Their products contain an assortment of SLS, parabens, and synthetic fragrances and dyes. 

With that in mind, however, they offer wonderful themed products for pretty much every holiday, and a number of them are huge hits. I know countless bath lovers who swear by Lush, and I’m definitely going to be keeping that Goth Fairy Shimmer Bar close at hand! It’s pretty unique and very fun, and no one really does fun like Lush.

Availability: Limited edition right now at LUSH!

Deciem The Ordinary reviews: Rose Hip Seed Oil, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Thursday, October 6, 2016

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The products: DECIEM The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed OilNiacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

If you haven’t been introduced to The Ordinary yet, well, prepare to be floored. The Ordinary is Deciem’s brand new range of “clinical formulations with integrity,” and they’re anything but ordinary.

The line features incredibly affordable clinical products in order to bring communication and pricing integrity back to the skincare industry. Like any other Deciem product, they are Canadian, cruelty-free, and celebrate innovation and honesty.

» YES, REALLY: The Ordinary is priced at $4.90 CAD-$14.80 CAD for full-sized products. They ship for free, clearly display their ingredients and technologies online, and don’t skimp on the quality.

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The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil ($9.90 CAD)

This is my fourth rose hip seed oil of the year, and it is the only one that I’ll be repurchasing. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that this rose hip seed oil is $5.80/oz (Pai’s blend is $39.43/oz), but I’m beginning to be able to wrap my head around it.

Rosehip seed oil is a rather fragile oil, but it’s a marvel for the skin: it’s full of fatty acids, antioxidants, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and vitamins C and A. As a result, Deciem have sourced only cold-pressed rosehip oil for this product, and packaged it in UV-resistant amber glass.

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Depending on the source, crop, and processing, rosehip seed oil can vary greatly. The Ordinary’s rosehip seed oil has a rich, buttery yellow hue and an almost fish oil-like scent. It sinks right into my dry skin and is very hydrating without clogging my pores.

In short, it’s beautiful–and a total steal. I’ve been very disappointed in the other budget-friendly rosehip seed oils that I’ve tried, but my skin loves this one! I’ve been using it solo at night and blended with L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil during the day for the ultimate makeup base/nighttime glow combination.

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The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90 CAD)

My skin typically also adores niacinamide, so I knew I had to try this out as soon as I first read about it. I wanted to really put it through its paces for this review, though, so I had Boyfriend test it out.

He has oily skin that’s been hella breaking out recently, so I’ve been making him use this in place of his serum and moisturizer for the past two weeks. (For anyone with normal or dry skin, please make sure to layer this with a separate moisturizer!) Niacinamide and zinc PCA are not treatments for acne, as Deciem points out, but they reduce the look of blemishes and help balance sebaceous activity.

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Inflammation and redness play a big role in acne, which is why niacinamide works so well for many people. This 10% solution was no exception: within two weeks, I watched A’s hairline breakout go from an angry red patch to something almost invisible.

The skin around his beard looks less red than usual and now has ZERO visible blemishes, and while the rosehip oil was enough to stop my breakout in its tracks (I was breaking out due to dryness), I’m looking forward to using this on my skin in the future, too.

Also: how good is the note in Deciem’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% description? I totally cracked up when I read it. I can totally see some crotchety young scientist furiously typing it out in the dark, and then passive-aggressively editing it the next morning! (You show ’em, Deciem.)

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The verdict?

I literally can’t believe that Deciem can buy glassware at these prices, much less full-on formulations… but they did, and they have. It’s frightening to see how much other companies mark up their skincare products, and I love Deciem all the more for making a statement with this range.

Even more than that, however, I love how accessible this makes good skincare. These are less than drugstore prices, but the products and development are of department-store quality. I would recommend both of these products in a heartbeat, and I will be purchasing additional products soon.

Availability: $4.90 CAD & up at Deciem. Shipping is free to Canada, the US, and the UK, with more locations coming this month.

Keep reading! »

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