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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


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.


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.



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!


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.

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Lashing up with the new Annabelle #ABMascaras range

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Annabelle Expandable mascara

Are you subscribed to the Annabelle newsletter yet? You should be… ;)

Annabelle (one of my favourite cruelty-free companies) dropped something BIG: an entire new lineup of mascaras. They released not one, not two, but FOUR totally new mascaras in addition to the three favourites in their old permanent collection.

And that new range? It’s nothing short of stellar.

Annabelle lash launcher, supernova review photos swatches

Why would anyone need seven mascaras?!

My first thought, of course, was “why.” Seven mascaras in a single range seems excessive, but strangely enough, once you try out all of them, it makes sense. Each one serves a very different purpose, and none of these mascaras look alike on the lashes. Even of my two favourites from the new Annabelle lash line (Expandable and Supernova), I wouldn’t dream of replacing one with the other.

There’s very much a mascara for every preference in this range, and I’m quite impressed with the way that Annabelle has curated the collection to have zero redundancies. 

Annabelle blast off, bigshow, outlash mascara review

ABmascaras review photos

Because the effects of a single mascara can differ so much from lash to lash–and even application to application–I didn’t take mascara swatch photos to share with you today.

Instead, I thought I’d go old school and simply describe the wear and application of each. I tested all of them again and again over the course of the month, and my notes on them definitely give a better depiction of the lash than my photos did (at least in my opinion!)

Unfortunately, I lost the photos that I took of Expandable and Supernova on my lashes in an incredibly frustrating computer blip, so I’ve borrowed my old swatch photos of Expandable and will be featuring Supernova in an eye makeup look soon.

Annabelle Expandable x theNotice

The mascaras

The new mascara range is divided into two halves: BigShow Mascaras, with lots of volume and drama, and Lash Launcher Mascaras, with lots of definition and length.

Best for VOLUME – BigShow

BigShow ($9.95 CAD) – BigShow gives a nice, sooty lash, but I find that it smudges on me within 8 hours. It’s a little clumpier and more “traditional” than the rest of Annabelle’s mascaras, so if you like a lot of volume, it’s a good choice.

BigShow Waterproof ($9.95 CAD) – BigShow Waterproof is very similar to the original. It holds a curl well and is super pretty, but I find that it smudges on me every few hours. If I had to choose, I’d recommend BigShow over BigShow waterproof; the latter still smudged on me, but was a pain in the butt to remove on top of that.

Expandable ($10.95 CAD) – Expandable has been my favourite mascara for years, and I still love it. I use it with the wand scrunched-up for more length than volume, and it produces a full, natural-looking lash.

Outlash ($9.95 CAD) – Outlash’s twisted brush does a great job of packing mascara onto the lashes while also giving great separation. It wears for a full 12 hours on my lashes (quite the feat!), but it’s too heavy for my stick-straight lashes – it really takes the curl right out of them.

Annabelle mascara wands - bigshow, expandable, outlash, lash launcher

Best for LENGTH: Lash Launcher

Lash Launcher ($9.95 CAD) – Lash Launcher is very much a length-based mascara, which isn’t really my cup of tea – I need more curl and volume. It offers a lot of length and separation, but I’d definitely recommend it most for those who have naturally voluminous lashes to begin with.

Supernova ($9.95 CAD) – Okay, this green tube is my new favourite thing ever. It gives serious false lash-like length, with good separation and volume as well. The falsie-like length is really natural-looking, too – more like a small set of extensions than a criss-crossed false lash strip. I get anywhere from 8-12 hours of smudge-free wear from this, and I would highly recommend it!

Blast Off ($9.95 CAD) – Blast Off is a little heavy for my tastes, and it brings my lash curl down quite a bit. The formula smudges wildly on me, but might work better for someone with very curly lashes to begin with.

Annabelle Expandable mascara review

Annabelle Expandable mascara review – old packaging (bottom) vs new (top). The brush is unchanged.

The verdict?

If you’re lucky enough to live in Canada and can pop over to your nearest drugstore for a mascara fix, consider yourself lucky. Annabelle has brought its entire game to their new mascara range, and if literally all other brands stopped making mascaras tomorrow, I think I’d feel just fine about it. 

I’ve loved Expandable for years and still adore it, but the new Supernova mascara may be even better. If you’re looking for something with mega volume that still wears well & looks natural, I’d definitely recommend those two to start with!

Availability: $9.95-$10.95 CAD each; permanent as of July 2016. Available at drugstores and mass market retailers througout Canada and online at (US & Can), where the entire #ABMascaras range is currently on sale.

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KYE for Shu Uemura collection review, swatches, photos

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Kye for shu collection review, photos

The products: KYE for Shu Uemura Summer 2016 collection

The KYE for Shu collection is this summer’s Shu Uemura capsule collection, designed by fashion designer Kathleen Kye. It’s inspired by the “new era fashion culture and hype beauty,” and is chock full of trendy products and things that could basically just be summed as “edgy but also fresh.”

I’m not always taken by celeb-designed makeup collections, not even Shu Uemura’s, but the KYE collection really gets me. It feels very authentic, and I love that it celebrates a youthful energy and gender fluidity. 

Kye for shu uemura eyebrow palette cappuccino, dark rose review photos

kye for shu “cappuccino/dark rose” brow:palette review

The brow products

The KYE for shu brow products are all about graphic, edgy eyebrows – and in this case, that means colour. 

I tried out the Shu Uemura Eyebrow Manicure in Dark Violet ($26 CAD) and brow:palette in cappuccino/dark rose ($55 CAD), and you know what? I really liked both of them. Shu does brows well, and these tinted versions of their regular products really hit the spot for me – although I wouldn’t give you $55 for the brow powder.

shu uemura violet brows swatches review photos

kye for shu swatches – ME pink 12 and M white 91 on eyes, eyebrow manicure in dark violet (left) and brow:palette in cappuccino/dark rose (right)

The Eyebrow Manicure is really where it’s at. The formula is easy to apply and doesn’t leave too much product on your skin, giving you definition and shape without really adding visual weight. And Dark Violet? It’s gorgeous. It brushes up gently against the skin, leaving a muted lilac brow that glistens in its wake... it’s a really lovely way to do colourful eyebrows while still looking totally daytime-appropriate.

(Yes, really!)

KYE for shu uemura eyebrow manicure dark violet review photos swatches

kye for shu “dark violet” eyebrow manicure review

Kye for Shu xxxxx

kye for shu “glow in pink” sheer colour balm review

The cheek & lip products

Okay, so full disclosure: these two product formats happen to be ones that I’m predisposed towards, so I’m maybe being a little lenient here.

I love alternative blush formats, so the KYE for Shu Fresh Cushion Blush ($39 CAD) caught my eye immediately. Hibiscus Orange is full of silicones and the sold-out Hisibscus Pink one would almost certainly look better on me, but the formula is just so cool watery, sheer, shimmer-free, and dewy. It’s a very Korean-inspired blush, right down to the names, but I hope we see more cushion blushes from Shu in the future.

For the lips, I also really liked the Shu Uemura Sheer Colour Lip Balm in Glow in Pink ($36 CAD), but I think they’re overpriced. The KYE Sheer Colour Balms are all translucent, pH-adjusting neons, and they’re really comfortable… but at the price, they’re not a must.

Shu Uemura kye collection swatches review

kye for shu swatches in indirect sunlight: hibiscus orange cushion blush, glow in pink sheer colour balm, cappuccino/dark rose brow:palette, dark violet eyebrow manicure, M white 91 drawing pencil, ME pink 12 drawing pencil.

Kye for shu hibiscus orange blush review swatches

kye for shu hibiscus orange fresh cushion blush review

The eye products

I tried out two of the KYE Drawing Pencils ($28 CAD each), which are eyeliners from Shu’s regular collection done up in adorable KYE packaging.

I’ve never been a fan of the Shu Drawing Pencil formula, and these are consistent with my past experiences. The matte M white 91 is a gorgeously opaque white eyeliner, but it snapped off on me the second I tried to swatch it. (And then again, and again, and again.)

The intense, metallic ME pink 12 fared better, but it too is very soft – the metallics are so buttery that you have to re-shape them as you line your eyes. However, they’re also a total pain in the butt to smudge or remove, so if you have any upcoming end-of-summer pool parties planned, ME pink 12 is pretty much mandatory. It’s like glittery indelible ink for your eyes!

Kye for shu eyeliners M white 91, ME pink 12 swatches review

kye for shu drawing pencils in M white 91, ME pink 12

kye for shu collection swatches

kye for shu swatches: hibiscus orange blush, glow in pink lip balm, cappuccino/dark rose brow:palette, dark violet eyebrow manicure, M white 91, and ME pink 12 eyeliners

Everything else

The KYE for Shu collection also includes a few cleansing oils and conditioners, but as they’re just re-packaged classics, I won’t be reviewing them here. I will note, however, that the pink Porefinist Fresh Cleansing Oil ($38-82 CAD) is my favorite Shu cleansing oil, though, and that the KYE packaging is even cuter in person!

Kye for shu uemura absolute conditioners review

kye for shu art of hair conditioners

The verdict?

Shu Uemura releases a lot of really big makeup collections, but the KYE collection is my favourite Shu release in recent history. There isn’t a single product that disappoints (well, the eyeliners are a pain, but they wear like a champ as long as you pretend they’re gel pots), and the prices are very reasonable for Shu.

My top recommendations are the Dark Violet Eyebrow Manicure and Fresh Cushion Blush, but you really can’t go wrong with anything here!

Availability: Limited edition summer 2016 at,, and in-stores at select Holt Renfrew & Sephora locations.

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Marcelle Pink Lace, Berry Blossom, Show of Pink review, swatches, photos & more | Fall 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Marcelle fall 2016 collecdtion review

The products: Marcelle Fall 2016 collection – Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 840 Pink Lace, 875 Berry Blossom, and 960 Show of Pink; Ultimate Easy Lash and Ultimate Fringe Effect Mascaras; and Face Powder in Translucent Medium

Have you ever looked at a makeup collection and thought, “Okay, this is me. They made this collection for me? Because that’s exactly how I feel about Marcelle’s fall collection this year.

The collection contains a new Flawless foundation and concealer that, unfortunately, I won’t be able to cover because they contain silicones, but I am all about this collection aside from that. It features three really wearable lipsticks, a couple of mascaras, and my favourite face powder ever, so I knew the second I saw it that I was going to be a fan.

Marcelle rouge xpression 2016 review photos swatches

The Rouge Xpression lipsticks

Three new Rouge Xpression Lipsticks ($11.95 CAD each) are being launched this August from Marcelle, and though the Rouge Xpressions aren’t my favourite Marcelle lipstick formula (give me Rouge Vitality or give me death!!!!), I still quite like them.

The Rouge Xpression lipsticks are creamier and more slick than the Rouge Vitality lipsticks, and they feature a fragrance-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free formula with omega 6 fatty acid-rich avocado oil.

I’ve been getting the most wear out of Pink Lace, a really wearable pink-nude that’s just a shade lighter than my natural lip colour, but the cool pink Berry Blossom and coral-pink Show of Pink are lovely options for bolder shades. I don’t know – I’ve been feeling the muted lip pretty hard recently. Maybe it’s all the 15 degree days we’ve been having this August.

Marcelle Rouge Xpression pink lace, berry blossom, show of pink swatches review photos

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick swatches: 840 Pink Lace, 875 Berry Blossom, and 960 Show of Pink

Marcelle Pink Lace nude lipstick review swatches photos

Marcelle Pink Lace – a really easy, wearable nude lip

The mascaras

I’m too busy trying out all of the new Annabelle mascaras to test these right now (more on that soon), but I love that they released two separate Ultimate mascaras. Mascara is one of those products that’s really subjective, so it’s cool that they’re recognizing right out of the gate that some people are going to prefer an easy everyday lash while others will want that full-on fringe.

Marcelle Ultimate Fringe Effect mascara review

Marcelle Ultimate Easy Lash mascara review

A good eyeliner is a good eyeliner across the board, but what constitutes the perfect mascara could be either a really natural looking lash, like in the Marcelle Ultimate Easy Lash ($9.95 CAD), or something with as much volume and length as humanly possible, like in the Marcelle Ultimate Fringe Effect ($12.95 CAD).

The ingredients listed online are the same for both, so I’m guessing that these two mascaras feature the same formula with a different brush (à la Eyeko). The Easy Lash mascara has a traditional bristled brush with short bristles on one side and long bristles on the other, while the Ultimate Fringe mascara has a springy, flexible silicone brush with short bristles all around.

Marcelle translucent medium face powder review

The face powder

Marcelle’s loose face powder got a black-and-clear makeover a couple years back (the original featured a white lid), and seeing it being re-promoted to bloggers makes me happy beyond words. I LOVE Marcelle’s Face Powder ($14.95 CAD), and I can’t even begin to tell you how many other makeup lovers I’ve converted over the years.

It’s just so good, you know? It looks totally natural and has a transparent “skin” finish, but it instantly makes your skin look better than normal. Whether you’re trying to make your base product look more like skin or you’re just trying to make your own skin look totally flawless, this stuff just magically makes it happen.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Tunakitten may not know what pants are, but he still knows what’s cool. 

It lasts forever, too – I’ve had my jar of Translucent for half a decade and have spilled huge amounts of it twice, but it’s still half full. For $14.95, it’s a crazy good deal.

(My only complaint? The new packaging is really squeaky, and it makes the experience of using it way less luxurious. I wish you would go back to your old factory, Marcelle!)

Collection availability: Marcelle is available online (US/Can) and in drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

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