Essence Beach Cruisers ombre blush giveaway | Summer beaches, summer blushes

Monday, July 21, 2014

Essence Beach Cruisers Summer Break ombre blush

So, I found this wonderfully bright ombré blush at the drugstore last week, and I couldn’t just let it sit there. And one thing led to another, and I was like oh man, I love ombre blushes, and, uh, I kind of bought it. Even though I hate peach and red tones against my complexion right now, and I’m already practically drowning in blush.

Anyhow, long story short, I’m giving away this blush. It’s nothing fancy, but I couldn’t just let it waste away, sad and unloved, and I like you guys.

Essence ombre blush giveaway

Win it

Up for grabs: one Essence Cosmetics multicolour blush in Summer Break, from their Beach Cruisers collection. The giveaway’ll run for a week, open worldwide (read the T&C for more details), and for those with allergies, the ingredients list talc and dimethicone, but no parabens.

I don’t have swatches for you, but Tracy (Beauty Reflections) swatched hers on her Instagram feed — see it here!

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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.

Seven out-of-the-box drugstore nail picks

Friday, June 13, 2014

I haven’t covered a lot of nail-related beauty recently, so here’s a bit of catch-up: seven drugstore nail picks that all fall beyond the regular scope of “nail polish”.

Skip below the graphic to read more about these unique-but-accessible finds!

June nail feature

Nail HQ Base Coat ($7.99 CAD)

Base coats are base coats, but this newly launched one by Nail HQ describes itself as a “unique rubberized base coat” with a “sticky cushioned finish” to prep the nail for polish. Does it work? I’ll be testing it out this summer to find out!

Nail HQ Ridge Filler ($9.99 CAD)

Like the brand’s base coat, this ridge filler is available at Pharmasave, select drugstores, and farleyco.ca. It’s designed for weak, damaged nails, and is made to cover up & conceal ridges while conditioning the nail. It’s not a nail strengthener or hardener, though — Nail HQ also makes those, but they’re separate treatments.

Sally Hansen Instagel Strips in Sss-Snakeyes ($15.95 CAD)

Sally Hansen, available at most drug and grocery stores across Canada, makes two different kind of nail strips: these, and the ones below. A little more expensive than the non-gel version, the Instagel Strips are UV-cured, last up to two weeks, and come with a gel coat in the box. (Mini LED lamp must be purchased separately.) Think of them as an at-home gel manicure for the unsteady-handed.

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Nail Polish

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Textured Nail Colour in Wool Lite, Fuzzy Fantasy, Tight Knit, and Peach Fuzz

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Textured Nail Colour in Wool Lite and Fuzzy Fantasy ($7.95 CAD)

Okay, I’ll fess up: I’m extra super not a fan of these Fuzzy Coat polishes. Like crackle-finish and “caviar” manicures, I think they look weird, and left exposed, they catch and pull on everything.

That said, they’re also pretty darn unique, and they’re formulated well — the small strips of “fuzz” haven’t curved or warped at all in the year that I’ve been sitting on these.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Whoopsy Daisy ($9.95 CAD)

If you don’t have a nail lamp at home (I don’t!), Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects polish strips will probably be a better buy for you. They launched last year in eight different prints (and have since added more shades), with a simple peel-and-stick application. no drying time, and no DBP, toluene, or formaldehyde.

Maybelline Polka Dots swatch review Clearly Spotted

Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer swatches: Drops of Jade, Clearly Spotted, Pretty In Polka, Blue Marks the Spot

Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer in Clearly Spotted ($3.99 CAD)

Launched alongside a set of metallic duochrome nail lacquers last year, the Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots range includes five “spotted’ shades in a translucent base. The brand describes it as “high-fashion meets high-art,” but I see it more as indie-meets-drugstore — a spinoff of the e-tailer trend of duochromes & textural overlays, made accessible to more than just nail fanatics and bloggers.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails in Night Fever and Vamp It Up ($10.99 CAD)

These are new to the market this month (find them at Walmart, London Drugs, and Pharmasave), and offer a peel-and-press false nail that lasts up to one week. I wasn’t a fan of most of the designs, but Vamp It Up is pretty cute — a far cry from the classic French manicure falsies, it’s a pop-art, comic-book design done in neons.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum

The product: The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum

I can’t review this one for you. I’ll be right upfront about it: I would love to, because I think it’s going to have a huge pull as part of a range of Asian skincare products brought over to the North American market, but I can’t — it’s full of silicones.

So, instead, let me tell you a little bit about this one.

The Body Shop Moisture White serum

The Body Shop’s Moisture White Shiso range contains six products (including this brightening serum), all of which contain hand-harvested Community Fair Trade aloe vera gel from Guatemala. The serum is made to be invisible and non-sticky, suitable for all skin types, and features the skin-brightening shiso plant (perilla leaf extract), liquorice, and vitamin C to add radiance to the skin.

I’m not a fan of whitening products, and I’m a little saddened by the fact that The Body Shop is perpetuating the whiter-is-better stereotype. However, I also recognize that it’s something that’s becoming more & more common in today’s market, and I would rather see theNotice’s readers turned toward a gentle, community-oriented, FDA-approved serum than order something from Asia that they may not be able to read the packaging for — something I’m personally very wary of, myself!

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso range

I’m not a fan of whitening itself, but whitening serums can be a great way to safely manage hyperpigmentation, too — so this could be a good option for you even if you aren’t looking to lighten your skintone. And, of course, it’s great to see the North American market extend past western ideals of beauty, even if I still hope for the day when everyone can be happy with their own skintone!

The Moisture White range was formulated in Japan, which I think is very cool — and I hear the Moisture White BB Serum Inside ($25 CAD, not available in the US) BB cream is very pale, which speaks to my inner (okay, outer) pale girl.

Availability: $36 USD/$36 CAN online & in-store at The Body Shop. The Moisture White range is available starting at $15 CAD.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso review overview

Ingredients & more »

Lancôme Rose Étincelle Highlighter, Hypnôse Velours appliques – Christmas 2013 | Over the break

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lancome Rose Etincelle and Hypnose eyeliner patches

As some of you may already know, I took a “partial hiatus” starting last November, and ending May of this year. Over the break, I wasn’t accepting new product samples, and focused on slowly (very slowly) reviewing what I already had on hand. Here’s some of what you missed while I was away.

The product: Lancôme Hypnôse Velours Multi-Wear Eyeliner Patches ($28 CAD)

I have yet to try these, but they’re very, very cool — I couldn’t not share them with you!

Lancome Hypnôse Velours Multi-Wear Eyeliner Patches

Lancôme Hypnose Velours Multi-Wear Eyeliner Patches

This trio of eyeliner patches (think of them as eyeliner appliqués; press-on eyeliner for those wary of their liner skills) contains 3 different styles of eyeliner patches, each of which can be re-used up to 3 times – sort of like false lashes.

Each set comes with patches for both the upper and lower lashes, and presses on for a wide-eyed liner effect.

Lancome Rose Etincelle Blush Highlighter review

Lancôme Rose Étincelle Blush Highlighter Illuminating Powder

The product: Lancôme Blush Highlighter Illuminating Powder in Rose Étincelle ($52 CAD)

The Lancôme rose is featured in this collection as a beautiful pink highlighter for the face and décolleté. I was very wary of the overspray on this one, and I was right to be — when I removed it, I had puffs of silver glitter on everything from my pants to the top of my head!

Beneath the glittery overspray, though, is a beautiful, soft pink frost. It blends out easily to create a delicate glow with plenty of sparkle, and holds on better to the cheek than it did in my swatch. It’s too shimmery for me–I like all sheen, no sparkle–but I think many would adore this one.

Lancome Rose Etincelle review swatches

Lancome Rose Étincelle swatches – overspray, heavy swatch, blended swatch

Lancome Rose Etincelle Blush Highlighter

Keep reading! »

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