Feels Like a Facelift Anti-Ageing Mud Masque, Purifying Cleanser reviews, photos

Monday, October 3, 2016


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The products: Feels Like a Facelift Purifying Cleanser and Anti-Aging Mud Masque

Ever wonder what would happen if you put a pharmacist, a Canadian business, and rooibos tea in a box and blended them all up? Well, assuming that the blending was metaphorical, you’d probably end up with something a little like Feels Like a Facelift.

(Please, please, please make sure that all country-person-plant blending is metaphorical.)


The Purifying Cleanser ($19.95 CAD)

I’ll be honest with you: initially, I wasn’t super psyched to try this line. I’m not crazy about the way that it’s marketed, or the way that it’s packaged.

It turns out, however, that the Feels Like A Facelift range contains some pretty killer ingredients, many of which the skincare industry knows and loves. Ingredients like shea butter and rooibos extract, as well as hyaluronic acid and CoQ10. They’re a small Canadian company, and they’re based out in beautiful BC.

Their cleanser is a foaming cleanser, enriched with chamomile, ginkgo, comfrey, and rooibos extract. It also tones and removes makeup, and would be best for someone with oily skin.


The Anti-Aging Mud Masque ($34.95 CAD)

Prepare yourselves for a tiny rave about this mask, because I LOVE the way it smells. It’s packed with so much rooibos extract and green tea that it literally smells like green tea perfume, even though it has no added fragrance. The whole thing is based in Canadian glacial clay, and it’s really easy to use: you apply a thin layer twice a week, let it dry for 12 minutes, and rinse off.

I will, admittedly, not be finishing my pot of this. Instead, it’s going to Boyfriend, because he’s a lucky duck and he’s pushing 30, so he needs it. The clay-based formula is much better suited to his breakout-prone ageing skin, and let’s be honest: boys love getting pampered, too.

(And okay, I’ll still win either way because we always mask as a couple, and I’m totally going to sniff his face while he’s applying this. It smells THAT good.)

Availability: Feels Like a Facelift can be found at all London Drugs locations, ordered by phone, or tracked down at select Pharmasave and Save-On Foods locations.


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Pür Minerals Strobe/Highlight Palette review, swatches | Sun-Kissed Glow, Moonlight Glow, & Glow Together

Thursday, September 29, 2016


The products: Pür Minerals Sun-Kissed Glow & Moonlight Glow; Glow Together Jumbo Matte-Shimmer Bronzer

It’s tough to find creme cheek products that aren’t full of ‘cones, so when I found not one, but SIX shades of cruelty-free shimmering creme highlighters this summer, I was pretty thrilled.

They’re by one of my favourite brands, of course: Pür Cosmetics. (Or Pür Minerals? I’m never sure what to call them anymore.)


The Pür Moonlight Glow Strobe & Highlight Palette ($34 USD/$ CAD) is the cooler variation of Pür’s summer strobing palettes, and it’s the one that I’ve gotten the most use out of. I’m pretty sure that it’s meant to be some sort of highlighter/colour/bronzer combination, but I use the yellow Twilight and peachy Lunar the most – the bronze Eclipse never sees any use.

(Why would I want my contour to shimmer??? Or my bronzer, for that matter?)

The Strobe & Highlight Palettes have a fairly dry creme texture with a powder finish, and I like the level of shimmer in them. I think I would have preferred a glossier base, just because I prefer my creme products to have an inherent sheen to them, but I can see why Pür chose to go in a different direction: powder finishes wear much, much better.


Pür Cosmetics Sun Kissed Glow (first 3), Moonlight Glow (last 3) Strobe/Highlight Palette swatches


Pür Minerals Sun-Kissed Glow

The warm-toned Sun-Kissed Glow Strobe & Highlight Palette ($34 USD/$ CADis equally as pretty, with Aurora, Solar, and Dusk from left to right, but I think it’s better suited to darker, warmer-toned complexions. All three shades are pretty bronzey, Moonlight Glow features more of an ivory, pink pearl, and cool copper palette, Sun-Kissed Glow is more golden, coral, and orange-bronze. 

Both of these palettes feature a light, fruity scent which is kind of fun to use! I know it makes me kind of a monster, but I’m a fan of scented cheek products–when it’s done well.


Finally in Pür Minerals’ summer collection, the Glow Together Jumbo Matte-Shimmer Bronzer ($34 USD) is a warm striped bronzer with both matte (upper) and shimmer (lower) tones. A portion of the proceeds from all Glow Together purchases will be donated to Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization who aim to feed the many!


The verdict?

If you love creme highlighters but struggle (like I do) to find silicone-free ones, then keep an eye out for these palettes at your local Shopper’s. They deliver a subtle, glowy highlight that looks great both indoors and out, and their powder finish and fruity scent make for a lovely morning pick-me-up.

The one thing that I did notice about these palettes is that, while they wear well, they’re not particularly bold – if you want a really obvious, metallic highlight, you’re better off finding a buttery powder (like the NYX Strobe of Genius palette).

Availability: All $34 USD each at Pur Cosmetics & in-stores at select Shopper’s Drug Mart locations. Limited edition.

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Kitty Kitty Yum Yum | And now, for something a little different!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The product: Kitty Kitty Yum Yum Baba’s Best Meal

You know those weeks where you know exactly what you should be doing, but you just can’t focus? Yeah: I’m having one of those weeks.

I was going through my to-do list and trying to decide what to talk about today, and these adorable cat toys came to mind. I had picked them up last year for my then-girlfriend’s cats, and I snapped a few quick photos of them before wrapping them up.


Aren’t they cute?? They’re a locally handmade set of pierogi and sausages, filled to the brim with catnip. The first time I saw Vincent (one of their three cats) playing with a pierogi, I cried a little–the sight of his massive Maine Coon-cross paws clubbing the tiny, helpless >.< faced pierogi to death was too good for this world.

Or, as Kitty Kitty Yum Yum’s creator calls them, purrrrogies.

Availability: $20 CAD on Etsy. (I picked them up at the Royal Bison, for any Edmontonians out there!)

Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation review, swatches, photos | R210, Y215, Y225

Friday, September 23, 2016


The product: Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation in R210 Pink Alabaster, Y215 Yellow Alabaster, and Y225 Marble

I’ve reviewed quite a few silicone-free foundations that I’ve loved recently, but each and every one of those reviews has come with some small caveat or another.

Not today, Satan!


The promises: The new Make Up For Ever Water Blend foundation is an updated, silicone-free version of their classic Face & Body foundation. (Yes, the one with the fun gel texture that makeup artists are constantly raving about!) Water Blend Face & Body is formulated with 80% purified water, pro-vitamin B5, glycerine, and mango butter.

It promises a buildable application, a dewy glow, and a waterproof, transfer-proof finish, and it could not have delivered better. `


The application and wear: This stuff is the bomb dot com (except it’s not digital and it’s very safe. No explosions here, no siree.) It wears for a full 12 hours, applies flawlessly with very little effort, and really does give that “skin” finish!

Its finish is nice and dewy, but not too dewy – I look moisturized with only this on, but not greasy. I do set it with a translucent powder, however, because I typically go over my eyelids with my foundation and this stuff makes my eyeliner track like crazy. I find that it can can feel a little dry around my mouth area by the end of the day unless I really moisturize or prime before applying it, but it’s nothing that a single spritz of facial mist can’t fix.

Just, like, make sure it’s actually facial mist. Don’t accidentally get yourself in the eye with perfume (because that shit hurts.)


Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation swatches – R210, Y215, Y225


Make Up For Ever Water Blend swatches – R210, Y215, Y225 in indirect sunlight

Water Blend’s formula is more liquid and less gel-like than the original Face & Body, but I personally find that it performs better than its predecessor. It looks more like skin, catches on my dry skin less, and layers better – I can get anywhere from very sheer to medium coverage with this; nothing heavy enough to make my freckles or blemishes invisible, but enough coverage to really even out my complexion.

I find that Water Blend applies best when I “dot” it onto a dense buffing brush, speckle it all over my face, and then buff it in.


Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation before (left) and after (right) – click to enlarge. My shade is Y215 and my skin is otherwise unaltered; I am not wearing primer or powder in either of these photos.


The shade range: As usual, Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face & Body shade range covers a large range of shades – 20, to be exact. It was remarkably easy to find my shade in this foundation, as it only goes up to a medium coverage. Maybe it’s because I’ve got a bit of a tan right now, but look! A foundation that matches my face!! My poor, sad little ghost face!

R210 Pink Alabaster isn’t too much pinker than Y215 Yellow Alabaster, and both are fairly neutral. Y225 Marble is considerably darker than Y215 Yellow Alabaster, and it has a strong yellow undertone.


The verdict?

My verdict on Make Up For Ever’s new Water Blend Face & Body foundation is a resounding YES. It’s an extremely pleasant formula to work with, it layers well, and it feels lighter even than some of my moisturizers, much less other waterproof foundations. The shade range is excellent (and stretches slightly further than the brand’s Ultra HD foundation, at least on the lighter end), and I honestly like the way that it smells – lightly powdery, sweet, and almost a little bit fruity.

If you’re looking for a new light to medium coverage lightweight foundation, this one is excellent.

Availability: $43 USD/$54 CAD at Sephora.

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TL Cares Box review, photos | A new twist on subscription beauty boxes

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


The product: T•LANGHANS•CARES Subscription Box (quarterly)

I’ve talked about subscription beauty boxes in the past (Wantable, Vegan Cuts, and Birchbox come to mind), but I was recently introduced to a company that does subscription boxes an entirely different way.

The T•LANGHANS•CARES Subscription Box is an eco-friendly Canadian beauty box that was developed by Tova Langhans. It’s designed to provide you with six full-sized essentials rather than introduce you to new products, and 9% of the proceeds from the boxes goes to charity. It’s delivered seasonally and runs at a cost of $148 CAD per box.


Sink-side products 

The TLC Subscription box comes with three sink-side products: Liquid Castile Soap, Castile Bars, and a Hand & Body Cream.

I absolutely adored the T Langhans Hand & Body Cream, so we’ll start there. The formula is rich and creamy, and the House Blend scent smells fantastic. It contains lots of skin-friendly ingredients like olive oil and avocado oil, and a light layer keeps my dry skin moisturized all day long. It’s just as good on the hands as it is on the body–which is a very rare find–and the cream has a lemony, spa-like scent.


I was less taken with the box’s Liquid Castile Soap and Castile Bars. The liquid soap leaked out of its pump every time I used it, and both the liquid and bar soaps left my skin feeling dry and itchy. 

Sold separately, the T Langhans bar soap is $12.38 per 100 grams, compared to Rocky Mountain Soap’s $5.25 or Osmia Organic’s $9.62 for the same amount. For double the industry’s average price, I think a bar of soap be twice as good, not twice as stripping!

EDIT 23/09/16: Tova emailed me to inform me that the price of her soap is higher than average because her Castile formulas feature only virgin olive oil, rather than a blend of olive oil along with cheaper oils. She also noted that they contain 15% un-saponified olive oil and sugar beet extract for extra moisture, so you may not have the same reaction to these soaps that I did!


Shower products 

My friend Tracy LOVES Tova’s Cleansing Conditioner, but neither of these shower products worked well for me. I have a dry, flakey scalp (thanks, Alberta), and I just couldn’t wash out all of my flakes with this cleansing conditioner. It sounds like it’s excellent for fine or coloured hair, but it was a no-go for my dry scalp!

The Liquid Castile Shower Gel is just just a larger version of the Liquid Castile Soap, so it might work well for you if you have reactive skin. Tova’s soaps are all simple and are scented only with essential oils, so they’re perfect for allergies or reactivity, but they’re not so great for dry skin or eczema.


Spa products

The final T Langhans products I got to try out in this box were the brand’s Sugar Polish and Cuticle Oil. I didn’t get a lot of use out of the cuticle oil, but I LOVED the Sugar Polish. 

It’s formulated with sugar, coconut oil, olive oil, and honey (full ingredients on their site), and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s so moisturizing that it can double as an in-shower moisturizer, and the sugar granules and oils work to lock in moisture and exfoliate the skin without irritating it in the slightest bit. There’s even a bit of glycolic acid in this polish, which provides a very mild chemical peel to pair alongside your gentle manual exfoliation!


The verdict?

I like the concept of the TLC Subscription Box, and I think that Tova seems like a really wonderful, genuine human being. But the cost of the box ($24.60 per product, or $592 per year) is too steep for me to recommend it right now.

Tova’s House Blend Hand and Body Cream ($30 CAD) and Sugar Polish ($30 CADare absolutely beautiful products, and I would wholeheartedly recommend both. But for $148 CAD, I was disappointed to see the “Hotel Collection” soap slices instead of full-sized bars of soap, and I was turned off by just how stripping the cleansing products were. My hands got so dry that they bled when I started testing for this post, and I still have the scabs to prove it.

My final critique is that if a consumer is paying luxury prices, I think they deserve to have luxury packaging and branding, too – even if that means that the company has to spend a little more on packaging. The TLC Subscription Box is off to a great start, but it still has a lot of room to grow!

Availability: Get the products here and the box here. The box ships for free within Canada!

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Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate review, before & after photos

Saturday, September 17, 2016


The product: Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate

When I met with Deciem’s PR genius (and total #ladyboss) last summer, she mentioned offhandedly that she was using NIOD (Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science)’s Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate. She has one of the best pouts that I’ve seen in the biz, so I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on a bottle!


The science behind the NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate: Deciem’s NIOD line is all about innovative technologies in skincare, and this lip plumper is no exception. It’s a very concentrated dry oil that is designed to “the looks of lip colour, volume, texture, softness and contour,” and it hits the mark on every point.

Just some of the ingredients used in NIOD’s Lip Bio-Lipid include an isolated sugarcane hemisqualane and sea buckthorn oil base, Lipid Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 Complex to mimic dermal elastin and increase firmness, and Nicotinic Acid Methyl Ester, a traditional muscle relief ointment that’s used here to redden the lips.

Deciem recommends that you use just a drop of this oil before bed and in the morning, but I’ve been using about a half-drop only in the mornings. It’s more than enough to plump my lips up, but doesn’t require any extra forethought!


Niod Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate before / after


Niod Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate before / after

But does it work? Like most lip plumpers, Lip Bio-Lipid burns – a lot. With that cinnamon-y feeling, however, comes a dramatic increase in both lip redness and lip volume. 

I don’t have the most defined lip line, so I find that the area around my lips becomes reddened for a few minutes as well. After the 5-minute initial discomfort, however, the redness around my lips returns to normal, while my lips themselves stay plump and pinked.

I haven’t used this consistently enough to garner long-term results, but I definitely see a difference immediately after using the Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate. My lips look fuller, redder, and smoother for the day, and they even look noticeably bigger with lipstick overtop. (This oil is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride-based, so it doesn’t make your lipstick slide off the way something like castor seed oil would!)


The verdict?

I’ve never put a lot of faith into lip plumpers, but this stuff is seriously like a lip augmentation in a bottle. It’s spicy and effective, and you get a LOT for what you pay for. Per ounce, it’s less than half the price of the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme or comparable products, and it’s paraben- and silicone-free to boot.

NIOD’s Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate own’t give you quite as Instagrammable a pout as Mira’s, but it’ll push enough temporary volume into your lips that it’ll look like a light lip job. Check it out!

Availability: $60 CAD at Deciem online or in-store!

Keep reading! »

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