theBalm timeBalm review, swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium | My staple silicone-free concealer

Thursday, June 5, 2014

theBalm timeBalm anti-ageing concealer review

The product: theBalm timeBalm Anti-Wrinkle Concealer in Lighter Than Light, Light, and Light/Medium

You see timeBalm all the time on theNotice. Every tutorial, every makeup look, every shade comparison — they all (or almost all) have one secret ingredient in common: timeBalm. It’s my old standby; the only silicone-free concealer I’ve tried so far that runs light enough for my skin.

A couple weeks ago, I finished off an entire pot of this concealer, right down to the last smudge. It took me five and a half years (during which time my timeBalm somehow managed not to go off at all), but as someone who has literally never finished off a makeup product before — it was a pretty big deal for me.

theBalm timeBalm concealers

theBalm timeBalm shade comparisons

L-R: theBalm timeBalm concealer in Lighter Than Light, Light, and Light/Medium

The formula: The beeswax-based timeBalm concealer is free of silicones, parabens, and fragrances, and enriched with Vitamins A, E, and C to help combat the signs of ageing. theBalm says it’s so good for your skin that you can wear it to sleep, and while I absolutely would not recommend  this, I have admittedly done it once or twice (by accident!) with no harm done.

theBalm timeBalm Anti-Ageing Concealer Ingredients: 

Tridecyl Trimellitate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Talc, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Isoeicosane, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Octyldodecanol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, C18-36 Acid Glycol Ester, Panthenol, Tribehenin, Ceresin, Lauroyl Lysine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Linoleic Acid, Soybean Sterols, Phospholipids, Silica, Propyl Gallate, Soybean Oil.

+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77007.

theBalm timeBalm Lighter Than Light swatch shade comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Lighter Than Light

theBalm timeBalm light medium swatch comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Light

theBalm timeBalm Light swatch comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Light/Medium

The texture & wear (aka “what makes timeBalm so great”): I really love the timeBalm formula because, for a consumer product, it resembles theatre makeup quite closely. It’s a wonderfully creamy, high-coverage product, and works well for both concealing acne and covering dark circles (though it does struggle a bit with extremely dry patches and pronounced wrinkles). Because the formula blends out so beautifully, I use my timeBalm as both a foundation and a spot concealer, similarly to how something like the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer ($48 USD) would be used — but at a fraction of the cost.

I have extremely dry skin, and though timeBalm does catch on my really rough patches (I’ve yet to find anything that doesn’t), I get all day wear out of it as long as I follow up with powder. This includes morning-to-evening coverage of blemishes–I layer timeBalm with a mineral powder to cover up scars and acne–which is quite the feat!

theBalm timeBalm lighter than, light, medium swatches

theBalm timeBalm concealer comparison swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium

The shades: Lighter Than Light is yellower than MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NW15. It’s similar to NC20, but pinker, and its warm undertones run more peach than orange, unlike NC20. Light is similar to MAC NW20 but just a hair darker, and runs a touch more yellow-orange than pink-peach. If you match NW20, timeBalm in Light will definitely work for you. If you match MAC NW25, Light will by way too fair for you.

I can’t for the life of me find my pot of Light/Medium (and I literally searched for three hours yesterday), but if memory serves me right, it’s darker than Light and NW20 but not as dark or orange as NW25 — the NW20-NW25 shade jump seems particularly large to my eye for some reason. I’m pretty sure Light/Medium is a little more olive and more orange/saturated (but with less peach and pink) than Lighter Than Light and Light, too.

theBalm timeBalm concealer review

The verdict?

I really, really love timeBalm. It’s the only makeup product I’ve ever used up & re-purchased, and though I’m always on the lookout for something better (something that magically hides dry patches, perhaps), I’ve yet to find anything else that meets my criteria.

I use theBalm’s timeBalm concealer as both a concealer and a foundation, and it pulls off everything from spot concealing to sheer coverage without breaking a sweat. It’s also scent-free and silicone-free, and comes in seven shades.

Availability: $18 USD at Nordstrom; in Canada, you can find theBalm at many Rexall locations. timeBalm is also available in cream foundation and liquid forms, though I haven’t had the chance to try either!

Keep reading! »

Mika for Shu: Cleansing Oils in POREfinist, Whitefficient, and Anti/Oxi reviews, photos | Summer 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

mika for shu skin purifier cleansing oil collection

The products: mika for shu shu uemura skin purifier cleansing oils (450 ml/14.2 fl. oz.)

   ↳ POREfinist (anti-shine/pink), whitefficient (brightening/blue), and Anti/Oxi (anti-dullness/green)

Available this spring from Shu Uemura is the Mika for Shu collection, which features artwork by photographer and director Mika Ninagawa. It’s her third collection with Shu Uemura (the other two launched in 2008 and 2011), and this time, she highlights the line’s iconic false eyelashes and lipsticks, telling a tale with images of butterflies and the idea of a “wonderland fairy tale adventure.”

In addition to these three, the Shu Uemura ultime8 cleansing oil (reviewed here) is also available in limited edition Mika for Shu packaging ($98 CAD).

mika for shu uemura summer 2014 reviews - cleansing oils

POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil ($82 CAD/regular packaging)

I’ve always referred to Shu’s cleansing oils by their colours rather than their names – the latter tend to be quite lengthy, and can be rather confusing. The pink POREfinist/Fresh cleansing oil is made to be the most lightweight of the Shu Uemura Skin Purifiers, and as such, it’s ideal for normal to oily and acne-prone skin. 

mika for shu uemura POREfinist fresh cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura POREfinist skin purifier cleansing oil

This pink cleansing oil is formulated with cinnamon bark extract to regulate oil production and remove blackheads, and features a bright, floral scent wrapped in Mika’s “Melting Sweet Dream” artwork. Of all of the Shu Uemura cleansing oils, this is definitely one of my favourite fragrances.

The shu uemura Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil ingredients (copied from the back of the box — for some reason, the ingredients on the site don’t line up.)

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicrapate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tocopherol, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinesis Oil, Methoxypropanediol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil, Caprylol Salicylic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Prunus Cerasus Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylancium Extract, Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu fresh cleansing oil skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “melting sweet dream” artwork

whitefficient clear brightening gentle cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

Detailed with Mika Ninagawa’s “Curiosity” print, which was created around the idea of an enchanted carnival, the blue Whitefficient cleansing oil smells quite fresh — it reminds me of a clean-smelling men’s cologne, actually, and is my second-favourite cleansing oil in terms of scent (behind the pink POREfinist, above).

mika for shu uemura whitefficient brightening gentle cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura Whitefficient skin purifier cleansing oil

While I’m not a fan of whitening products (as I’m sure you all know), the specifications of this one actually focus on brightening, not whitening. Again, the Whitefficient formula is made to feel lightweight, and removes dead skin cells to remedy a dull complexion.

However, this formula also features whitening ceramides, white algae, vitamin C, and prune extract to prevent melanin accumulation in the dermis — which is great for brightening and evening out the complexion, but hopefully won’t perpetuate the “whiter is better!” idea too strongly.

The shu uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil ingredients:

Paraffinum Liquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Isohexadecane, Peg-20 Glyceryl, Triisostearate, Aqua, Tocopheryl, Acetate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Isopropyl Myristate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Benzyl Salicylate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Sodium Ydroxide, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Vaccinum Myrtillus Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract, Acer Saccharnum Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu whitefficient brightening skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “curiosity” artwork

anti/oxi skin refining anti-dullness cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

The last cleansing oil I have to share with you today is Shu’s Anti/Oxi formulation, in Mika’s “Singing Forest” imagery. I already have a full review of the Anti/Oxi cleansing oil up here, but in short: tinted green and made to combat pollution, it smells the earthiest of all of Shu’s oils.

mika for shu uemura anti-oxi skin refining cleansing oil

Keep reading! »

Lise Watier Eden Tropical reviews, swatches: Hydra Kiss Colour Balm, Blush Crème Satin, Ombre Soufflé | Summer 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lise Watier Rose Eden Satin Creme Blush

The products: Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden, Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Sortilège, and Blush Crème Satin in Rose Eden

I’m trying to prioritize a little now that I’m back from hiatus, so today, I’ve hand-picked three items from Lise Watier’s Eden Tropical collection to review first. These three items are my favourites from the range; the best of the best, the absolute crème de la crème. 

I hope you love them as much as I do.

Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm Rose Eden review

Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden ($22 CAD)

The Lise Watier team lists the Hydra Kiss Colour Balm as their favourite product from this collection, and I have to say — I can see why. The Hydra Kiss Colour Balm has the most beautiful texture; sheer and wonderfully smooth. It’s slick without being too slick, and feels hydrating with just the right amount of shine.

Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Rose Eden review

Rose Eden is a beauty all on its own, though — this balm is also available in Coral Paradise, but I’m telling you now, snap up Rose Eden before it’s gone. It’s that wonderful, soft-but-bright sort of lip colour that is so hard to find; a flattering medium-pink with a lovely milkiness to the shade. The balm does have a faint, off-putting fruity scent, but it fades quickly enough.

Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm ingredients:

Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Diisostearyl Malate, Polybutene, Octyldodecanol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polyethylene, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Candelilla Wax, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Cera Microcristallina Microcrystalline Wax, Ozokerite, Tocopheryl Acetate, Flavor, Parfum.

+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Red 6, Red 7 Lake, Iron Oxide, Yellow 6 Lake, Anise Alcohol.

Lise Watier Rose Eden Tropical swatches

Swatched L-R: Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden, Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Sortilège, and Blush Crème Satin in Rose Eden

Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Sortilège ($24 CAD)

Lise Watier Ombre Souffle Supreme review

Like all of those other wonderful, not-powder-not-creme eyeshadows, the Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême range touts a moist, loose formula. It’s a powder, but it’s held together with springy, cloud-like moisture – and not only do all of the shades in the range feel wet, but the high amount of shimmer in the formula almost makes them look wet, too.

Lise Watier Sortilege Ombre Souffle Supreme eyeshadow review

Sortilège is a beautifully complex brown, a little darker than most mid-toned shades. Its shimmer is riveting, capturing everything from pink to lime green and, of course, gold – the neutral/cool brown paired with the gold highlights should make it wearable on most. Honestly, Sortilège (French for spell, as in: magic!) is a little like looking into the universe itself… if the universe was made of equal parts “chocolate” and “pretty”. 

Sorgilège is a new permanent addition to the Ombre Soufflé Suprême line, alongside Prune Astral (a darkened plum), Tinker Bell (a soft, mossy green), and Wonderland (a bright yellow gold).

Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême ingredients:

Isododecane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysilicone-11, Petrolatum, Butyl Acrylate/Hydroxypropyldimethicone Acrylate Copolymer, Talc, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Ledum Groenlandicum Extract.

+/- Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Alumium Hydroxide, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Iron Oxides, Carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Aluminium Powder.

Lise Watier Blush Creme Satin Rose Eden swatch review

Swatched L-R: Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden, Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Sortilège, and Blush Crème Satin in Rose Eden

Lise Watier Blush Crème Satin in Rose Eden ($24 CAD)

Lise Watier Rose Eden creme blush review

Finally, to complete this trio of seriously beautiful products, a bit of cheek love. The Lise Watier Blush Crème Satin formula is new to the line, packaged in very solid-feeling glass and plastic — none of that flimsy business. Larger than the line’s cream eyeshadows, the blush is silicone-based, which both makes me wary of it and makes me want to touch it all the time.

Lise Watier Blush Creme Satin review Rose Eden

In the Blush Crème Satin formula, Rose Eden is blindingly bright — the kind of bright that never captures quite right on camera, and almost makes you want to put sunglasses on in real life. And, you guys, it’s beautiful, blending out to the softest, prettiest pink with no more than a flick of the wrist. It’s unbelievably easy to work with, blending like velvet to a powdery, second-skin finish and layering just as easily. 

The Blush Crème Satin is also available in Coral Paradise, a much more subdued shade — a sort of coral-nude, warmer and more natural than Rose Eden.

Lise Watier Blush Crème Satin ingredients:

Propanediol Dicaprylate, Dimethicone/Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Beeswax, Silica, Carnauba Wax, Candelilla Wax, Hydroxystearic/Linolenic/Oleic Polyglycerides, Polyglyceryl-6-Polyricinoleate, Tocopherol.

+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Iron Oxides, Red 6, Red 7, Red 28 Lake, Red 40 Lake.

Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Rose Eden swatch review

Swatched L-R: Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden, Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Sortilège, and Blush Crème Satin in Rose Eden

The verdict?

BUY ALL THE THINGS. 

I have literally never said that in a post before, but you guys – these are my highlights from Lise Watier’s summer launches. These are only the best of the very best, and I love them all (rather a lot). The jumbo lip pencil is beautifully fresh while still being elegant, the blush formula is literally the easiest one to work with that I have ever tried, and the eyeshadow — that’s just pretty. Really, really pretty.

Availability: the Hydra Kiss Colour Balms ($22 CAD) and Blush Crème Satin blushes ($24 CAD) are both limited edition until July, and I would absolutely recommend them both in Rose Eden if you can pull off pinks. The Sortilège Ombre Soufflé is permanent ($24 CAD), so you could wait for a sale (if you have that kind of restraint), and it would definitely suit warmer skintones better than the other two.

Keep reading! »

Marcelle Lux Gloss & Lux Gloss Sheer swatches, and a sort-of review | Canadian beauty

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Marcelle Lux Gloss swatches review

The product: Marcelle Lux Gloss & Lux Gloss Sheer (the entire range of each!)

It really, really bugs me that it’s so hard to find swatches of Canadian products online.

So, while I’m not in love with these glosses (they’re a little dated, no?), here are swatches of the Marcelle Lux Gloss & Lux Gloss Sheer ranges! Hopefully they’ll help some poor soul out there, and in exchange, I get to take a little break from the photograph-test-review-new-stuff routine. (I may be burning out a little, oops.)

Marcelle Lux Gloss Sheer review

Marcelle Lux Gloss Sheer in 51 Chic Bronze, 62 Sorbet, 63 Passion, and 80 Nectar

(I am so sorry; these photos were taken years ago under an overcast sky. At sundown. Not my brightest moment.)

Marcelle Lux gloss review

Marcelle Lux Gloss in 10 Whisper, 20 Starlet, and 21 Muse

Marcelle says that their Lux Gloss formula is plumping and long-lasting, with a metallic finish, and that their Lux Gloss Sheer formula is sheer and shimmery, with a wet-look finish. I’ve never found their glosses to be plumping, but the description is otherwise quite accurate.

On the whole, I find the Lux Gloss range to be a little too sticky, and a little boring. They’re not bad by any means, but… they’re just not exciting, you know? I’d love to see Marcelle update their gloss range past their new black lids; maybe focus more on the creme finishes, or try a less-sticky formula. (The now-discontinued Vita-Lip Plumping Glosses were a favourite of mine – I just pulled Rio Rose out again for the spring!)

Marcelle Lux Gloss swatches, sans creme

Swatched L-R: Marcelle Lux Gloss in Magic (Sheer), Whisper, Chic Bronze (S), Starlet, Sorbet (S), Passion (S), Serenade (S), Mousseline (S), Nectar (S), and Muse

Marcelle Lux Gloss Sheer swatches

Marcelle Lux Gloss in Magic (Sheer), Whisper, Chic Bronze (S), Starlet, Sorbet (S), Passion (S), Serenade (S), Mousseline (S), Nectar (S), and Muse, swatched L-R. 

Availability & recommendations

Along with a shimmer-free Lux Gloss Creme finish, the Marcelle Lux Gloss and Lux Gloss Sheer ranges can be found on the Marcelle website (US & Canada shipping), and at drugstores throughout Canada. They retail for $10.95 CAD and are fragrance-free.

My top picks from this range are Sorbet and Nectar, with honourable mentions going out to Chic Bronze and Mousseline. The shimmer in Magic is also quite lovely in person, if you haven’t a shimmery topcoat in your collection yet!

Numbered swatches & ingredients »

L’Occitane Vanille & Narcisse, Neroli & Orchidee, and Fleur d’Or & Acacia reviews, photos | La Collection de Grasse

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

L'Occitane Collection de Grasse

The products: L’Occitane en Provence La Collection de Grasse Eau de Toilettes in Vanille & Narcisse, Néroli & Orchidée, and Fleur d’Or & Acacia

Launched last May with just four scents, the L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse has since expanded to encompass eight beautiful scents for him & her. Packaged in the most exquisite glass flacons, each fragrance blends an ingredient from Grasse (a Mediterranean city in Provence) with one from afar.

L'Occitane La Collection de Grasse review

The nose of this collection is none other than parfumer Karine Dubreuil, who was born and raised in Grasse. I absolutely adore her work as the in-house perfumer at L’Occitane, as well as her approach to perfumery — she often describes her upbringing in Provence; a childhood surrounded by a garden of beautiful scents, her first spritz of cologne, and the memories that she now puts into olfactive form.

Fleur d’Or & Acacia Eau de Toilette ($75 CAD)

Perfume review - L'Occitane Fleur d'Or et Acacia

Described as “a sensual blend of floral notes,” Fleur d’Or et Acacia is my top pick for a spring scent this year. It’s bright, alluring, and sunny, drying down to a powdery finish without a hint of gourmand sweetness or floor-cleaner citrus in between.

I wish that this particular scent had better longevity and sillage, but it’s been my one big, unexpected love of the season. With top notes of lemon and bergamot, heart notes of mimosa and genet (a sweet-smelling shrub in the broom family), and base notes of white woods and musk, it encapsulates the feeling of spring without ever erring too mainstream or too obscure.

L'Occitane Fleur d'Or Acacia review

Fleur d’Or & Acacia takes La Collection de Grasse’s idea of “precious ingredients from France and afar” quite literally, with mimosa absolute from Grasse supported by Mediterranean acacia.

Though this scent was named (Fleur d’Or) for the yellow flowers of the broom and acacia plants, I also find it to be representative of the “yellow floral” scent family it belongs to — bright, springy perfumes; sometimes described as “sunshine in a bottle.” Fleur d’Or & Acacia is the only yellow floral I’ve ever owned and liked, but wow — do I ever like it a lot.

Vanille & Narcisse and Neroli & Orchidee »

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