Argentum La Potion Infinie Anti-Age Cream review, photos, results | What makes a $225 moisturizer?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Argentum La Potion Infinie review

The product: Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age (face and eye) Cream

What makes as $200 moisturizer? 

I didn’t know the answer to this question (unicorn pee?) three months ago, but when Argentum asked me if I wanted to give their Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP anti-ageing moisturizer a try, I decided that it was time to find out. And now, months later, here is my answer.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie

The science behind Argentum: As you may have guessed from the name, Argentum Apothecary’s thing is silver hydrosol, which they use to promote cell regeneration. It’s paired with hydrating DNA HP (petri dish science?) as well as a few more-recognizable ingredients, like shea butter, sweet almond oil, and caffeine.

This cruelty-free cream comes from 99.5% natural origins, and Argentum says that it targets wrinkles, blemishes, and oxidative stress, with an emphasis on firming and tightening. For the hefty price of $225, they also promise long-lasting hydration with no greasy residue, and (pay attention to this one) plumped skin “without any uncomfortable ‘tightness’.” 

Argentum Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP moisturizer review

The scent: La Potion Infinie is highly fragranced, with a scent that smelled offensively masculine to my nose… at first. After wearing it around for the first day or two, something rather magical happened: I’m not sure what changed, but I am obsessed with this scent now. Formulated by Delphine Thierry, it’s spicy, masculine, and woody, and it smells just as delicious on my boyfriend as it does on me.

The packaging: Packaged in a rather stately glass jar, La Potion is understated but luxe. I was surprised to read that the jar’s base is made from a very dark violet glass (I thought it was black) that helps to prolong the life of the ingredients, but all in all, it’s a pleasure to hold.

[ It kind of makes me feel like a potions master. ]

Argentum La Potion Infinie review, results

Potions Master Rae Chen, reporting for duty

So… how did La Potion Infinie perform?

In short: both very poorly and exceptionally well.

La Potion Infinie is very liquidy and emollient, and it applies comfortably with a soft, velvety finish. For something without silicones, it does an amazing job of feeling luxurious and not at all greasy, and you need only very little for each application – adding more doesn’t seem to make a difference except to leave you massaging it in for longer.

Argentum Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age Cream review

The issue I have with this moisturizer (sorry, “hydrating restorative anti-age cream”) is that it leaves my skin feeling extremely tight and uncomfortable, which it promises not to do — and at this price, I think a moisturizer had better perform to spec. Because I have extremely dry skin to begin with, this left my face feeling so dehydrated that it was actually painful – I couldn’t last more than a few hours before adding another moisturizer on top.

That said, if you have normal skin or oilier, and especially if you live in a country where it’s more humid, I think that this texture would actually be quite lovely.

Argentum anti-ageing cream review

On the anti-ageing front, however… that’s where things do a drastic 180. While I can’t evaluate this for its effect on wrinkles or fine lines, I can tell you that it’s the only anti-ageing product I have ever tried, in seven years of beauty blogging, that has had a noticeable effect on my skin. 

My skin doesn’t look significantly better following application, because quite frankly I’m still practically a baby as far as skin goes, but it is immediately tightened and plumped – literally within 15 minutes. When I gently prod at my face with my fingertips (ever so scientifically), there is more resistance when I use La Potion Infinie, and my face feels fuller to my fingers; more firm and elastic than it’s been in years.

I don’t have noticeable wrinkles in the eye area yet, but La Potion is safe to use there, and it never stings or burns my eyes. Of the handful of eye creams and gels that I already own, this one is my favourite of the bunch, and I plan to continue using it in my eye area until it’s finished.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie review

The verdict?

As with any skincare product this expensive, I don’t want to tell you to run out and buy it immediately, because whether or not it’s worth it is such an individual thing. But if you do have the budget for high-end skincare, I would absolutely recommend this one over anything else I’ve tried so far.

My favourite thing about this cream is the beautiful, high-sillage scent, but the thin, velvety texture is a dream as well. I’d hesitate to recommend it to anyone with dry skin, but I’m using mine like a serum (with another moisturizer layered on top), and its impressive firming and tightening effects don’t seem to be lessened.

All in all, yes, I do think this is substantially better than a $50 or even your average $100 anti-ageing moisturizer, but it’s definitely not as effective as a cosmetic treatment. (As a price comparison, Restylane treatments tend to be about $1000). I’m personally happy with my skin, so this price tag is far more than I’d be willing to pay, but I did find it to be surprisingly effective – if uncomfortable.

Availability: $225 USD/£147 from Net-A-Porter, Cult Beauty, or Argentum Apothecary (UK).

Keep reading! »

Science for bleeders: completing the Stayfree Challenge

Monday, October 6, 2014

It’s been a while since our last Ladystuff instalment, so when I was contacted by Stayfree about their new Stayfree Challenge, I snapped up the opportunity in an instant. Fake-science that has to do with making periods less awful? Count me in.

Stayfree Ultra Thin pads

This nine-step challenge requires bloggers to begin by laying out three pads: Stayfree’s new Ultra Thin pads (about $7 USD/32 pads) plus two unmarked competitors. Funnily enough, the two competitors are the exact two pads I was using before, so I recognized them pretty easily! (The yellow is Always and the white is Kotex’s Natural Balance Ultra Thin Regular with Wings.)

Once lined up, the challenge itself is pretty simple: you pour 5 ml of blue saline onto the centre of each pad, wait 30 seconds, then top each with a blotting sheet and 5 lb weight. (The package all of this arrived in was so heavy, you guys.) Then, five seconds later, all you have to do is remove each weight and blotting sheet.

Stayfree Challenge
When I completed the challenge, I found that the Stayfree blotter was almost completely clean, with the Kotex blotter coming in second. What was really alarming, though, was that the Always pads I’ve been loyal to since forever (I still remember freaking out about how thin their most recent launches were and how well they absorbed) did terribly — the blotting sheet was so soaked that it stuck to the weight!

What you can’t see in the pictures is the texture of each pad, so I wanted to touch on that briefly, too. I found Competitor #1 (Always) to be the stiffest, and Competitor #2 (Kotex) pad the spongiest; sort of like many layers of netting rather than a compressed stack of fibers. The Stayfree pad fell somewhere in-between — they were a little clunky but very soft, and I found them to be the most comfortable to wear out of the three.

Stayfree Ultra Thin pad review

In conclusion…

I don’t do a “verdict” section for sponsored posts, but I did want to wrap things up with a summary. Despite the fact that I did this challenge for fun, I actually got something out of the results — I found out that there’s something better out there than Always Infinity pads, and that something is Stayfree Ultra Thin. The Stayfree pads don’t just absorb better, but they also feel less like a manilla folder that’s been unfortunately positioned between your legs, so that’s a plus.

Will I be making the transition to Stayfree in the future? You bet your buttons I will. Or – I would (I definitely, definitely would), but I found out a week after receiving this challenge in the mail that I don’t really, uh, have a period anymore?

But that’s an IUD tale for another day…

Stayfree Ultra Thin packaging

Stayfree Ultra Thin padsStayfree Ultra Thin absorption

Stayfree Ultra Thin pad + 5 ml blue saline

Disclaimer: this challenge was sponsored by Stayfree, but my opinions (good or bad) cannot be bought. My priority at all times is our readers, and that’s not going to change! 

To clarify, all I was required to do for this post was film or photograph the fake-science part. The rambling review? That was all me, folks. You’re welcome. 

Annabelle Muddy, Glitzy Black Smudge Paint Gel Eyeliner swatches, review | The best gel liners in the drugstore

Monday, September 29, 2014

Annabelle Glitzy Black review

The product: Annabelle SmudgePaint Creamy Gel Shadow + Liner in Glitzy Black and Muddy

I’ve been falling pretty behind on theNotice these past few weeks, so let me make it up to you. Here’s a gel liner that I’ve had for years, but has only stuck a chord with me recently — Annabelle’s SmudgePaint liners.

Designed to be used both as an intense cream eyeshadow & gel liner, these guys were some of the first on the market to feature this all-in-one packaging. More importantly, though, they’re still creamy and soft, even after three years of sitting in my drawer. If that doesn’t sell you on a drugstore gel liner, I don’t know what will.

Annabelle Muddy Gel Liner shadow review

The formula: Light, soft, and easy to blend, I think the SmudgePaint formula is absolutely perfect for its intended use. It takes a while to dry down, so it’s not a great pick if you’re in a hurry, but that makes the formula really easy to smudge and blend — but it’s moussey rather than slippery, so it does pinpoint precision just as well as a smokey haze.

What I like most about this formula, however, is that it really lasts. Aside from Annabelle Black Spark and Lancome’s Artliners, there isn’t a single other eyeliner in my collection that lasts as well on me as Glitzy Black does — with a bit of silica powder through the lid, I get zero smudging and very minimal creasing over 10 hours.

Annabelle SmudgePaint gel eyeliner review

Annabelle SmudgePaint in Glitzy Black

Annabelle Muddy SmudgePaint Gel Eyeliner, shadow

Annabelle SmudgePaint in Muddy

The shades: I’m not a brown eyeliner fan, but I think Muddy has its appeal as a soft, natural liner or a heavier all-over base. (See it in a makeup look here!) It’s a pretty bronze-brown, with plenty of gold shimmer and no red undertones. (I think red-browns are far more interesting than yellow-browns, but I do admit that they’re harder to pull off.)

While I think Muddy is a little boring, however, I adore the admittedly-dupeable Glitzy Black. It’s quite an intense black, like most gel liners, and it has just enough silver shimmer to give my eyes a bit of a – but the stray glitter particles never irritate my sensitive eyes, and any travelling they do is done completely separate from the base shade. I think it was limited edition, but if they still do a similar shade, be sure to snap it up!

Annabelle Glitzy Black swatch SmudgePaint gel liner

Annabelle Glitzy Black swatched in indirect sunlightAnnabelle Glitzy Black gel liner review

The verdict?

I wish the opening of these pots was a little wider, but honestly… that’s the only complaint I have for them. With a good eye base, a smudgy wing of Glitzy Black lasts well into the evening on me, which is more than I can say of any other gel liner I’ve tried so far – and it’s very well pigmented, to boot.

The handy packaging and great price are just the cherry on top when it comes to these liners, so if you can find them — buy them.

Availability: $10.95 CAD at drugstores across Canada. Maybe. I don’t know. I could have sworn I just saw these in-store, but now I can’t find them on the Annabelle site and I’m kind of panicking.

Swatches, pot shots (heh) & more »

Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eye Liner review, swatches, photos | Liners for pen geeks

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hourglass liner review extra thin

The product: Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner in Obsidian 

[Ed. note #1: Dear reader, I am so sorry to have disappeared again last week. I spent it resting, like a princess from an 18th century fairy tale, decaying as I waited for a prince who will never come.] [Ed. note #2: Sleeping Beauty metaphors work excellently for fibromyalgia.]

Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner review

Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner in Obsidian

The concept: In a unique fit of precision, Hourglass has recently released a pencil liner with a small, specific liner width — something I’ve never seen before, outside of niche writing implements. Released only in black, in singles or sets of three, each pencil contains enough click-up gel liner for about 20 applications (2 clicks per eye), according to the brand.

I’ve read a lot of unhappy comments about the price of the liner, but honestly, it doesn’t really bug me. Hourglass has never been a budget line, and 2 clicks of liner per eye provides you with plenty of product. The brand’s honesty about the contents of each liner is quite refreshing – a lot of brands skimp on product with optic illusions and thick-walled glass or products halved and re-packaged, but only Hourglass has been upfront about how many uses their product actually contains.

But enough of that — let’s talk about that liner, then.

iHourglass Obsidian eyeliner review set of 3

The size & shade: I still definitely prefer thin brushes and potted gel liners for a super-fine line, but for a retractable pencil, this one is extremely precise. It’s considerably finer–and blacker–than all of the other mechanical eyeliners I own, but the intense colour is marginally softer and more satisfying than Milani Liquid Eye (not a twist-up) – Obsidian is a very neutral black, and as such won’t look as unnatural as cooler liners of comparable intensity.

Hourglass 1.5mm gel eye liner review swatch obsidian

Hourglass 1.5MM gel (pencil) liner swatches

Hourglass 1.5mm liner comparison review

“Lead” comparison: Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense | Hourglass 1.5MM Liner | Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Liner | Marcelle 2 in 1 Retractable Eyeliner (swatches at bottom of post)

The wear: Unfortunately, I wasn’t enamoured with the wear time of this one. It applies easily and precisely, smudging well, but does give me little raccoon eyes by the evening — I wouldn’t trust it for more than four hours without obsessive mirror-checks.

At almost a dollar per application (waterline, through the lashes, above the lashes, and a small wing on both eyes), I wish that this product wore betterThat said, I’ve heard very positive things about the wear from bloggers without monolids, so your mileage may vary!

Hourglass Mechancal Gel Eyeliner review obsidian

The verdict?

As much as I love the concept of a very thin pencil, and as much as I respect Hourglass for being honest about how tiny lines mean tiny cartridges, I would give these a pass if liner tends to smudge on you. Your money would be better spent on their calligraphy-brush liner or a new Ambient powder, honestly.

If liners do tend to last on you, though (because these certainly don’t preform below average), then these could be a great addition to your stash — especially on the go. I’d recommend buying the set of three, because they will run out pretty quickly, and there’s no anxiety like “oh god what if my liner runs out and I only have one eye done” anxiety.

Availability: $16 USD/$19 CAD each ($45 USD for three) at Sephora, Space NK, and Hourglass.

Comparison swatches & ingredients »

Shu Uemura Petal Lash Mascara review, swatches, photos | For a flower-scented fringe of lashes

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

shu uemura petal lash mascara review

The product: shu uemura petal lash mascara in intense black

I’ve been trying a lot of mascaras recently, but this one may just be my new favourite. Like all mascaras, it promises great things… but unlike the others… it actually delivers.

What sets the Petal Lash mascara apart is its unique “pink blossom applicator”, which features a curved square-and-round design made especially to fit Asian eyes. The 2mm round tip is perfect for catching tiny inner lashes (and great for point-lifting the lashes at the outer corner of the eye), while the square 3.5mm base coats the longer lashes perfectly.

Reader, I want all mascaras to come with a wand like this one. Applying mascara–especially to my short, sparse Asian lashes–has literally never been this easy before.

shu uemura petal lash mascara eotd swatch

bare lashes / 1 uncombed coat of shu uemura petal lash mascara

The formula: Flexible and just-dry-enough, the Petal Lash Mascara formula delivers soft, pliable lashes and still manages to maintain a curl. It adds natural-looking amounts of lift and length to the lash (but not a lot of volume), with zero clumping or flaking throughout the day – when I tested this in on a dry 28 degree day, I saw gorgeous separation and fullness with no smudging until the evening (8-10 hours later).

Plus–and I’m not gonna lie; this was a big pull for me–this formula is softly scented with an uplifting sakura fragrance, making application one of the best parts of my morning.

shu uemura petal lash scented mascara

Shu Uemura Petal Lash tube. Even the lettering is pretty! 

The verdict?

At the end of the day, mascaras always come down to personal preferences. I like this one because I like my mascaras to hold a curl, apply easily, and last well into the evening; you might not, especially if you like your mascaras to give you a heavy, dramatic lash or sooty lower lashline. But if you have thin, straight lashes and want a clean, natural lash look, take it from me: this one is a dreamboat.

(Oh. And did I mention that it also feels light as air, smells amazing, and is crazy easy to apply flawlessly?)

Availability: $29 CAD at shuuemura.ca, Holt Renfrew, and select Sephora stores across Canada.

Keep reading! »

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