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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WeVibe 4 Tango review

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

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

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

We Vibe 4 Tango couple's  vibrator review

The “Bedroom Essential”

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


We Vibe tango bullet review

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

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

We Vibe Tango review

We-Vibe Tango (Waterproof) in Blue

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

We Vibe Tango charger

The “Nice in Theory”

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

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

We Vibe 4 dual vibrator review

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

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

We Vibe 4 couple's vibe review

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

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

We Vibe 4 review base charger

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

The verdict?

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

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

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

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

Keep reading! »

Three to try: Heat protectant sprays from Giovanni and Kevin Murphy

Monday, June 30, 2014

Giovanni Argan Keratin mist review - flat iron styling mist

Good: Giovanni 2chic Ultra Sleek Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Flat Iron Styling Mist

This Giovanni mist smells, to me, like a softly-scented, old-timey salon; vanilla with a hint of nuttiness and a whisper of hairspray. It’s part of the same range as this oil-serum that M and I love, but has a different, much more subtle scent. It’s made from 100% vegetarian ingredients, and the brand doesn’t test on animals, which is nice to note!

Giovanni says this mist is good for all hair types, but it contains denatured alcohol high up in the ingredients list, and amodimethicone later on — so I’d say skip it if you have really dry hair, are concerned about using body-safe products, or have a silicone sensitivity.

The Giovanni Keratin & Argan Oil Flat Iron Styling Mist ingredients:

Water, Glycerin, SD Alcohol-40B, Argan Kernel Oil, Brazilian Cocoa Keratin Extract [Phyto-Keratin], *Rooibos Tea Extract, Coconut Oil, *Macadamia Seed Extract, *Shea Butter Extract, Sorbitol, Amodimethicone, Panthenol, (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Natural Fragrance.

Giovanni Ultra-moise avocado oilive oil review - leave-in spray

Better: Giovanni 2chic Ultra-Moist Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Dual Action Protective Leave-In Spray

Even better than Giovanni’s Keratin & Argan styling mist, though, is their Avocado & Olive Oil leave-in spray. Silicone-free and formulated for dry, damaged hair, it’s designed to be both a leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant – all bundled up with a low scent profile and an easy-to-use mist pump.

Unlike its nutty, vanilla counterpart, this leave-in spray smells bright and rather synthetic, like a light, fruity hairspray — but while the formula leaves your hair feeling soft and smooth all day long, the scent fades quickly. It’s full of hydrating and soothing ingredients like aloe, avocado oil, olive oil, and shea butter, and is definitely my top pick for a silicone-free mass-market heat protectant spray. 

The Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Leave-In Spray ingredients: 

Water, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Glycerin, Vitamin E, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Avocado Oil, *Lychee Chinensis Fruit Extract, *Olive Fruit Oil, *Chenopodium Quinoa Flower/Leaf Extract, *Shea Butter, *Sunflower Seed Oil. 

Kevin Murphy Damage Manager

Best: Kevin Murphy Damage.Manager Instant Heat Shielding Spray

Despite what your salon may tell you (I’ve had not one, but two separate stylists in different salons lie to me about this), the Kevin Murphy line is not 100% silicone-free. Rather, the line uses “functional silicones” that rinse out easily (this is coming from the brand itself), which I interpret as meaning that they use water-soluble silicones whenever possible – ones that are lighter and less hydrophobic than traditionally heavy, slick silicones like dimethicone.

That said, Kevin Murphy does a ton of products that are silicone-free, and Damage.Manager is one of them. (Their Angel.Wash and Angel.Rinse are, too!) Damage.Manager protects your hair without weighing it down or leaving it even the slightest bit sticky, and it smells amazing – both complex and unisex, like the perfect whirlwind of vetiver and woods, with a tenacity that lasts right through your next shampoo.

I can’t for the life of me find an ingredients list for this online, but I promise that it’s paraben- and silicone-free. The formula features arnica root extract and allantoin alongside the KEVIN.MURPHY X-HP Complex, and it protects the hair up to a whopping 220ºC (428ºF).

Beautycounter Rose, Currant Lip Sheer swatches; Lustro Body Oil review

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beautycounter review Lustro, Lip Tint

The products: Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus and Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant

I’m not the kind of reviewer that looks at a luxury price tag, goes “well, you’re paying for exclusivity,” and then ignores it. I can see why some people are, and that’s totally cool with me, but, well: I’m not. If a brand is going to charge luxury prices, it better give me a darn good reason as to why someone should make the splurge – and if they’re going to talk about how ingredient-focused they are, they better earn the right.

Beautycounter Lustro body oil review

Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus ($68 USD/80 ml)

As a dry-skinned girl who can’t use most moisturizers due to their silicone content, I’m a big, big fan of body oils. Which is why this Beautycounter oil was such a big surprise for me — because I didn’t love it. Like, at all. 

While Rosemary + Citrus‘ jojoba-based formula feels great and hydrates well (without an ounce of oiliness left behind on your now baby-soft skin), the scent just didn’t do it for me – and the smooth glass bottle felt like it was slipping to its death every time I pressed the pump.

Beautycounter Body Oil review Lustro Rosemary Citrus

Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus

For $25/oz (Osmia’s gorgeous body oils are only $11/oz), a product shouldn’t be a struggle, you know? And it should smell awesome, not like a kitchen window basket full of roast-appropriate herbs. (My boyfriend described this one as “something you’d pick up at a Canadian Tire” — nice, but not expensive. Sort of like a citronella candle.)

If you love jasmine-scented products, they offer a jasmine-scented alternative; however, it has a jojoba/grapeseed/rosehip base, rather than jojoba/sweet almond/meadowfoam. As pretty and light-feeling as it is, I have to recommend that you pass on this one.

Lustro Rosemary + Citrus Body Oil ingredients

Golden Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil*, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Virgin Grapeseed Oil*, Rosehip Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Marula Oil*, Virgin Argan Nut Oil*, Rose Otto Oil, Apricot Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Rosemary Oil.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer review swatches Rose Currant

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant ($28 USD/each)

Like the Lustro Body Oil, the first Lip Sheer I tried put my nerves on edge, too. Despite being described as a creme finish, Rose has particles of hidden gold shimmer in it, and while the colour was really pretty, the shimmer is noticeable on my lips — not a deal-breaker, but I’m kind of bummed that the brand describes it as a creme finish.

Beautycounter Rose lip sheer

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant — see the shimmer that was hiding in there?

Currant, however, is shimmer-free… and it’s awesome. The Beautycounter Lip Sheer formula is really comfortable and hydrating, with a naturally-sourced vanilla scent and a good amount of pigment. If I had to pick one Beautycounter product to recommend, it would definitely be this one – they feel gorgeously heavy and balmy, and the packaging is divine. (According to brand rep Anna Vig, only Rose and Petal have shimmer, and it’s less noticeable in the latter!)

Also nice to note is that the line’s Lip Sheers rate an EWG Skin Deep rating of 1 (aka “super safe”), which is great when it comes to lip products — we end up ingesting a pretty gross amount of them, after all.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer ingredients

Diisotearyl Malate, Jojoba Esters, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Castor Seed Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Calcium Sodium Borosilcate, Candelilla Wax, Carnuba Wax, Tin Oxide. +/- Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 5 Lake, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Blue 1 Lake.

Beautycounter Currant Rose swatches

Beautycounter Lip Sheer swatches - Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Beautycounter Rose Currant Lip Sheer swatches

L-R: Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant, swatched

The verdict?

I love the idea of a brand that focuses on its ingredients, but Beautycounter seems to focus more on profit than product. Upon closer inspection, all of their pricy-but-beautiful face oils feature the same formula (differing only in fragrance), and their lazily-fragranced body oil runs at almost double the cost per ounce than beautifully scented oils by brands like L’Occitane, Caudalie, and Clarins. For an all-natural body oil, I would opt instead for one by Osmia Organics – their packaging is easier to use, and each scent is beautifully crafted.

That said, I did really like how hydrating, comfortable, and safe the Beautycounter Lip Sheers are. I found swatches of all six shades on Our Wanderlust (Petal, Twig, and Coral caught my eye!), and I think they’d make a wonderful “splurge” lip product — they’re gorgeously packaged, have a great formula, and come in a beautiful range of shades.

Availability: These items were sent in for review by superstar brand rep Anna Vig, who has been unbelievably helpful and friendly. If you’re going to indulge in a Lip Sheer, I would definitely encourage you to shop her storefront here!

Keep reading! »

Neutrogena summer sunscreen roundup & mini reviews

Monday, June 23, 2014

Neutrogena sunscreen roundup 2014

Let’s talk sunscreen. It’s not something I do often, but it is something that’s really important to pay attention to – especially in this day and age.

I have a couple silicone-free sunscreen reviews coming up this summer, but for now, here are a few drugstore sunscreen options from Neutrogena. Drugstore sunscreens aren’t always the most elegant option, but I’ve always favoured them over high-end ones: with their low price tag, it’s easier to use the full amount needed with each application. (That’s about a quarter-sized dollop for the face, and a shot-glass-sized portion for the body!)

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer ($12.99 CAD & up)

The Ultra Sheer line was, I kid you not, the very first sunscreen range I fell in love with. Their sweat-proof, matte-finish Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen feels noticeable but matte on the skin — not shiny and greasy, the way the sunscreens of our youth were. You can now get the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen in SPF 45, 30, 60, and 110, or the Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen in SPF 30, 45, and 60 ($16.99 CAD).

Neutrogena sunscreen

Neutrogena Clear Face ($12.49 CAD & up)

Available in SPF 30 and 60, Clear Face is designed not to cause breakouts. It’s oil-free and fragrance-free, and while it’s heavy on the ‘cones, it happens to be formulated without parabens. I had M test this out for me for a couple of days (it has ‘cones in the formula), and he thought it was considerably better than the Dry Touch formula — in comparison, he said, the Ultra Sheer Dry Touch felt greasy!

Neutrogena Beach Defence ($13.49 CAD & up)

Available in SPF 30 and SPF 60 (go for the 60!), Beach Defence is made to be water and sweat-resistant, with a “light, summery fragrance.” (It kind of reminds me of L’Oreal Kids’ shampoo — you know, no more tears?)

The Beach Defence line is available in both lotion and ‘cone-free spray form (make sure to spray a lot if you go with the spray — I find you always need more than you think  you do!), but note that the adult & child versions are the exact same product, just with a different label.

Neutrogena Water Light, Beach Defence

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water-Light ($16.99 CAD)

New this season, the SPF 60 Water-Light sunscreen is designed to be a lightweight liquid lotion for the face. Depending on where you are (and what’s already sold out), you might see a few similar-but-different sunscreens from Neutrogena on shelves as well: the mineral Pure & Free Liquid SPF 50 sunscreen (Eye Heart It has a great mini-review of this), Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70, or Ultra Sheer Waterlight tinted sunscreens (Asia-only).

I also had M test this one out for us, and this was his favourite of the three he tried. He described it as being really comfortable and lightweight for a sunscreen (though it couldn’t pass for a moisturizer), but noted its strong, “hospitally” scent and extremely liquid texture — drippier and easier to spill than the Clear Face formula, but also easier to spread out.

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches, review: Hazelnut, Blush, Tomato, Orange, & more!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Clinique Chubby Stick review swatches

The product: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

   ↳ in 09 Heaping Hazelnut, 10 Bountiful Blush, 11 Two Ton Tomato, 12 Oversized Orange, 13 Mighty Mimosa, 14 Curvy Candy, 15 Pudgy Peony, and 16 Voluptuous Violet

I love Clinique’s Chubby Stick range. I talk about them all the time; I carry them around in my bag like they’re the keys to my house, I own all of the lip shades except maybe three or four of them.

I haven’t, however, had the chance to post swatches of many of them yet. So: here are eight more Clinique Chubby Sticks. I hope you enjoy.

Clinique Chubby Stick review

A recap of the formula: The classic Clinique Chubby Stick formula is comfortable and sheer, and wears for about 2-3 hours on my lips. The twist-up pencil packaging and no-mirror opacity makes them easy to throw into your handbag and apply on the go, and the large shade range literally has something for everybody.

All of the Chubby Sticks are taste- and scent-free, and get a lot of flack for being really sheer — but it’s important to remember that they’re marketed as a lip balm, not a lipstick. The Chubby Stick Intense formula offers full opacity, while the original formula varies from almost completely-sheer to medium-opaque depending on the shade.

Clinique Chubby Stick sheer lipsticks

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches Hazelnut Blush Tomato Orange

Swatched L-R: 09 Heaping Hazelnut, 10 Bountiful Blush, 11 Two Ton Tomato, 12 Oversized Orange, 13 Mighty Mimosa, 14 Curvy Candy, 15 Pudgy Peony, and 16 Voluptuous Violet

The shades: Heaping Hazelnut is a sheer, warm nude with a hint of shimmer. Bountiful Blush is a pinky-brown with medium opacity and a subtly frosty finish (I bet it would make a gorgeous nude on a darker skintone). Two Ton Tomato is a sheer, bright strawberry-orange. Oversized Orange is a super-sheer orange with a hint of gold shimmer (pinker, less shimmery, and way more sheer than Mega Melon).

Mighty Mimosa is a sheer soft pink with very subtle shimmer. Curvy Candy is also sheer with subtle shimmer, but is a cooler-toned pink. Both are a little more pigmented than Whoppin’ Watermelon, which is shimmer-free. Pudgy Peony is a bright blue-pink; it’s also sheer, but appears more pigmented due to how vivid the shade is. Voluptuous Violet is a super-sheer subdued violet — it is the sheerest shade in the entire range, but adds a really pretty, wearable violet veil to the lips.

Clinique Chubby Stick Swatch mimosa candy peony violet

Clinique Chubby Stick swatches, L-R: Heaping Hazelnut, Bountiful Blush, Two Ton Tomato, Oversized Orange, Mighty Mimosa, Curvy Candy, Pudgy Peony, ad Voluptuous Violet

Clinique tinted lip balm lipstick review Chubby Stick

The verdict?

As someone who loves low-maintenance products, I love the comfortable Chubby Stick formula and super-cute packaging. These Chubby Sticks (released initially in 2012) tend to be a little more pigmented than the original eight shades, and more of these shades contain a small amount of natural-looking shimmer.

My must-have Chubby Stick shades are Whoppin’ Watermelon (for everyday), Mega Melon (for the summer), Super Strawberry (for more pigment), and Voluptuous Violet (for a really sheer wash of cool-toned pigment). For those looking for a bright, sheer lip, I would also recommend Pudgy Peony.

Availability: $17 USD/$19 CAD at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Clinique counters.

More Chubby Sticks & individual product shots »

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