Silicone-free L’Occitane hand cream review | Currently obsessed with…

Friday, June 26, 2015

L'Occitane hand cream favourites

L’Occitane hand creams are a pretty big Thing (capitalization totally necessary) both in and outside of the beauty blogging world, but because so many of them contain silicones, they’ve never been a thing that I’ve really gotten into.

Until now.

» Availability: $12 USD/$12 CAD for 30ml (which usually equals 1 oz) at Hudson’s Bay, Sephora, and L’Occitane.

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora hand cream review silicone-free

L’Occitane Pivoine Flora Hand Cream review

Over the past few months, I have been absolutely in love with my silicone-free L’Occitane hand creams. (They come in quite a few different formulas, so while most of them–including the original shea butter formula and the recent Collection de Grasse additions–do contain silicones, there are a few that don’t.)

I’ve been using them at my desk, throwing them in my handbag, taking them to school… I very, very rarely leave the house anymore without a little tube of L’Occitane with me.

L'Occitane 20 shea hand cream review - rose petals

L’Occitane 20% Shea butter Hand Cream review (Rose Petals)

The three that I’ve particularly fixated on are photographed here. First, there’s the Pivoine Flora Hand Cream ($12 USD/$12 CAD), which is a light, liquidy lotion with a strong but sophisticated peony fragrance. (It smells a little sharp in the tube, but the top notes fade quickly.)

Next, there’s the L’Occitane Rose Petals Hand Cream from a charity collection a few years back; it’s more of a true creme formula, like the other 20% shea butter hand creams. It’s more hydrating than the Pivoine Flora, and I love the very feminine rose scent.

L'Occitane 25 shea whipped hand cream review

L’Occitane 25% Shea Butter Whipped Hand Cream review

Finally, there’s my favourite of the bunch: the 25% Shea Butter Whipped Hand Cream ($12 USD/$12 CAD). This one smells like the rest of L’Occitane’s shea line (comforting, like one of my favourite moisturizers!) and it absorbs really well, leaving my dry hands feeling smooth and hydrated for hours.

More importantly, though… the Shea Whipped Hand Cream comes out of the tube like FROSTING. Which, if you ask me, totally makes up for the fact that (because it’s whipped) it contains only 59% as much product as a regular tube of L’Occitane, making this hand cream a particular treat to use.

Because frosting.

Lise Watier Rivages review, swatches, photos | Summer 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lise Watier Rivages Summer 2015 review photos

The product: Lise Watier Rivages, LE Summer 2015

» & don’t forget about the super-pretty Palette Rivages!

I like getting super in-depth when I’m reviewing products, but every now and then, a collection comes along and you’re just like, BUT I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF IT. Lise Watier has a tendency to churn those out, so here are some quick (but no less detailed!) reviews of their summer Rivages collection (available mid-April to July 2015).

For those too lazy to stick around and read the whole thing, here’s what you really need to know: the eye products in this collection (palette included) are absolutely killer. And, yeah, you kind of need all of them!

Lise Watier Rivages  Bronzing Powder review

What to buy

Smokey Kohl Velours in Nude Velours ($21 CAD)

I’ve wished for a great nude eyeliner from the drugstore for years, and finally (just weeks after I caved and bought one in a moment of weakness) one exists!

Lise Watier Nude Velours Smokey Kohl review

Described as the “ultimate eye brightener,” Lise Watier’s new Nude Velours Smokey Kohl eyeliner can be used to brighten the waterlines, lashlines, and inner corners of your eyes. It’s creamy, pigmented, and easy to work with, and the matte Nude Velours shade works perfectly against my complexion to brighten up my eyes without looking stark on my waterlines.

» How does it stack up? Nude Velours is cooler, lighter, and more smudge-resistant than Rimmel’s 005 Nude ScandalEyes Kohl.

Lise Watier Nude Velours swatches Smokey Kohl review

Lise Watier Sexy Glam, Chic Glam swatches review photos

Lise Watier 24hrs Glam Eyeshadow swatches in Sexy Glam, Chic Glam; Lise Watier Nude Velours Smokey Eye Kohl swatch

24hrs Glam Eyeshadow in Sexy Glam and Chic Glam ($23 CAD)

The last must-have from this collection is yet another eye product: the 24hrs Glam Eyeshadows. I tested these in Sexy Glam and Chic Glam, both from Lise Watier’s permanent line, and I really liked them — they set within seconds, but it’s pretty easy to buff out their edges and they wear very well.

» Sexy Glam is a glittery light pink; Chic Glam is a smooth, shimmering cool taupe.

Lise Watier 24 hrs glam eyeshadow review Sexy, Chic Glam

Lise Watier Nude Velours eyeliner swatches review

Lise Watier swatches, L-R: Sexy Glam, Chic Glam, Nude Velours

Like a lot of automatic cream eyeshadow/base/liner pencils, the 24hrs Glam shadows are waterproof and have a sort of chunky-glittery finish. I like them best layered underneath powder eyeshadows (may I suggest the Lise Watier Palette Rivages?), where they add an interesting sparkle to satin and matte finishes. Worn with primer, I can get a solid 10 hours out of these without creasing or fading, which on my lids is really good.

Lise Watier 24 hrs glam Sexy Glam, Chic Glam swatches review

Lise Watier Sexy Glam (L), Chic Glam (R) 24hrs Glam Eyeshadow

What to try

Blush Fondant Suprême in Shell ($30 CAD

Lise Watier Blush Fondant Shell review swatches photos

Shell is a skip for me, but I can think of a few fellow bloggers and beauty addicts who it would be an absolute must-have for! (I’d kill to see this on Natalie and Divya — it would look bloody amazing on both of them.)

The Blush Fondant Suprême formula is layerable, velvety, and silicone-y, with Concentrated Labrador Tea Extract and a satin-matte cream-to-powder finish. I like it applied best (sparingly!) with fingertips, but I think it’s rather overpriced at $30. It really is a gorgeous, unique colour, though, so pick it up if you’ve been dying to get your hands on a shade like this! (Swatches if you scroll down.)

Magic Lip Colour Enhancer ($24 CAD)

Lise Watier Magic Lip Colour Enhancer review

The Lise Watier Magic Lip Colour Enhancer is apparently part of the brand’s permanent line now, and it’s a pH-adjusting lipgloss with a shimmer-free formula. I like it, but I like all pH adjusting lipglosses — it’s kind of a weakness of mine.

I think the packaging on this one is particularly sleek, but honestly, I prefer my Physician’s Formula pH-adjusting lipgloss. It’s just a touch more muted and can be picked up for a mere $8 when it’s on sale at Shopper’s.

Lise Watier Magic Lip Colour Enhancer review swatches pH adjusting

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Vervine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo, Body Milk review, photos

Monday, June 15, 2015

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo review

The product: L’Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo & Fresh Body Milk

I’m not a huge fan of L’Occitane’s original Verbena scent, but for some reason, I always really love their summer limited edition flankers.

This year, the line is doing Verveine Agrumes (Citrus Verbena), and they’re introducing a few unexpected products to the range — deodorant, shampoo, an conditioner.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo Body Milk review

The Vervine Agrumes scent

Verveine Agrumes smells good. Like, really good. It smells like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits being squeezed for their juice — there’s that almost bitter undertone to the oils in the rind that no one ever seems to get quite right, but with Verveine Agrumes, L’Occitane gets it just right. 

There’s something immediately very real about this scent (unlike so many synthetic lemon-cleaner and lemon-sugar fragrances), and it’s paired with a cedar base for a very “fill in the blank” kind of effect. I really like the way these products smell, but they’re not overpowering — they’re definitely unisex-friendly, and they pair well with most summer perfumes and colognes, too.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo review photos

L’Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo ($23 CAD)

Okay, but like — was anyone else even aware that L’Occitane did shampoos up until now? Because let me tell you, I was very much not aware of this. But apparently they do a bunch: a Roses et Reines shampoo, a Shea Ultra Rich shampoo, a whole bunch of Aromachologie shampoos… apparently I’ve just been very (very) behind the times.

The Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo pairs with a Daily Use Conditioner ($23 CAD) that I didn’t have a chance to test, but I really like the shampoo on its own. It’s tingly and minty and just a little acidic (I’m guessing; I don’t have any pH testing strips right now), leaving my hair feeling clean and weightless without stripping it too badly.

To note, however, this one gets very sudsy. It plays well with my dry scalp, but I wouldn’t recommend it for really overprocessed or heat-damaged hair.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Body Milk review

(I couldn’t test the Verveine Agrumes Fresh Body Milk ($32 CAD) due to its silicone content, but it smells just as good!)

The verdict?

I don’t love Verveine Agrumes as much as last year’s Frisson de Verveine (which I bloody adored; I still regret not buying the EdT), but I do really like it. The shampoo is pretty good, especially from a brand that isn’t really known for its haircare range, and it’s worth a try fo a little dose of summer in your shampoo.

For anyone who loves the scent of citrus fruits being peeled, though (and really, who doesn’t?), definitely give the Verveine Agrumes EdT a look — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Availability: Available online and at L’Occitane boutiques beginning this July. Limited edition.

Keep reading! »

Annabelle Zebra Biggy Bronzer review, swatches: Haute, Matte, & Dark Gold

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Annabelle Biggy Zebra Bronzing powders review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Biggy Zebra Bronzing Powder in Haute Gold, Dark Gold, and Matte Gold

I’m entering week 7 of Rae’s Epic Tonsillitis Fest of 2015, so today, I’ve chosen a really easy product to review: Annabelle’s Biggy Bronzers. They’re just updated versions of the brand’s original Zebra bronzer (which, as a few of you might even remember, was my first bronzer love back in the day), and darn it, their big, silly, striped design makes me happy.

Annabelle Cosmetics Matte Gold Biggy Bronzer review

Annabelle “Matte Gold” Biggy Zebra Bronzing Powder review

Annabelle Cosmetics Dark Gold Biggy Bronzer review

Annabelle “Dark Gold” Biggy Zebra Bronzing Powder review

The product: Each Biggy powder bronzer is zebra-patterned with light and dark bronze stripes in either a subtle shimmer (Haute Gold, Dark Gold) or matte (Matte Gold) finish. Each shade blends seamlessly to give you a perfectly gold-hued bronze, and the yellow/red undertones never look ruddy or fake the way many orange-brown bronzers can.

Annabelle Haute Gold, Dark Gold, Matte Gold Bronzer swatches review

Annabelle Biggy Bronzer swatches: Dark Gold, Haute Gold, Matte Gold

The shades: I still adore the subtle shimmer of Haute Gold (there’s a reason why it won the 2014 ELLE Canada Beauty Grand Prix for Best Bronzer Under $30, you know), but the new shades are pretty great, too!

Dark Gold is an intense, metallic yellow-bronze. Haute Gold is ever so slightly redder, and has more of a shimmer finish. Matte Gold is the most sheer of the three, and is impressively close in tone to the others — it’s slightly more red and desaturated, but if you loved the original Zebra bronzer (Haute Gold), it’ll definitely still work for your skin tone.

Annabelle Biggy Zebra Bronzer swatches review

Annabelle Zebra Biggy Bronzer swatches: Dark Gold, Haute Gold, Matte Gold

BEST USED: Apply Haute Gold (for everyday wear) or Dark Gold (for a more metallic finish) to the cheekbones, collarbones, and décolletage to give a golden glow without looking like you’ve had an accident with the fake tanner.

Apply Matte Gold to subtly sculpt and bronze the face — lord knows it’s better for contouring than most of this season’s contouring launches.

Annabelle Cosmetics Haute Gold Biggy Bronzer review comparison

Annabelle Zebra Bronzers in Dark Gold, Haute Gold, and Matte Gold

The verdict?

At just over $10 apiece, these bronzers are some of my favourites — and not just from the drugstore. They’re one of those products that does all the work for you, blending out easily and imparting a really healthy-looking glow with almost no effort at all.

I love that Annabelle has expanded the Biggy Bronzing Powder shade range, but Haute Gold is still my favourite of the three. I recommend applying lightly all summer long with a large powder brush!

Availability: $11.95 CAD at Annabelle.ca and at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

Keep reading! »

shu:palette review, swatches, photos | A shu uemura eyeshadow palette made just for Asian eyes

Saturday, June 6, 2015

shu uemura shu-palette review photos - 16 neutral eyeshadows

The product: shu:palette pressed eyeshadow palette

The palette: What makes the shu:palette special is that, unlike almost everything else available here, all 16 eyeshadows included in it have been specifically selected to work well on Asian skintones, which is — I mean, pretty darn exciting. (Plus, all of the application suggestions are designed to accent monolids, not disguise them!)

shu palette eyeshadow review

Included double-sided synthetic brush

The eyeshadows: I was very, very happy with the formulas here, as always. Yes, shu products are rather pricey, but you always get what you pay for — which is more than I can say for some other brands (ahem, MAC).

That said, I wish there were more light/medium shades in here. For some reason, it contains six highlighters, which seems a little excessive to me? Like, they’re all great, but… that’s a lot of highlighters in one palette.

Top row

shu palette swatches review shu uemura neutrals

shu:palette top row swatches – indirect sunlight; over primer

G beige 821 – A sparkling, transparent yellow gold glitter. (I do love the way shu uemura does their glitter eyeshadows — they’re wonderfully flaky and sparkly.)

M soft beige 814 – A sheer yellow nude; great for neutralizing any lid redness.

ME light beige 825 – A beautiful, peachy metallic shade.

ME medium brown 856 – Taupe lovers, unite! This is a gorgeously buttery taupe with a warm red base and a cool silver sheen. The more of this you apply, the cooler it will look (and vice-versa).

shu uemera palette swatches review

shu:palette top row swatches – indirect sunlight; over primer

M soft brown 851 – Matte camel brown. (The texture of this one is just fantastic.) Not too warm, not to cool.

ME medium brown 862 – Metallic copper. Simple, but lovely!

IR light beige 811 – Medium-pigmented butter yellow frost.

IR dark blue 690 – Functionally, this one reads as a cold, satin-matte black — not a dark teal, as it appears in the pan.

shu uemura neutral eyeshadow palette review photos

Synthetic double sided brush (included). This is the point/liner end.

Bottom row

M light beige 813 – Matte bone shade with sparse microshimmer for depth (reads as a medium-sheer matte white.)

P soft beige 823 – A very pretty, sheer shimmer with a very fine particle size. Can lean either pink or yellow, depending on the light. I’m quite fond of this one!

S light beige 815 – Creamy, satin-finish light beige.

P light beige 822 – Peachy and medium-sheer with very fine, uniform shimmer.

shu palette swatches for asian eyes

shu:palette bottom row swatches – indirect sunlight; over primer

P medium brown 875 – Warm (orange, not red) brown with distinct gold shimmer and an absolutely gorgeous texture. (You can really see the gold shimmer in the swatches below).

M dark brown 895 – Dry matte brown with very good pigmentation. This one is actually very neutral/cool, and doesn’t warm up as it sheers out (which is a rare find!)

ME medium olive 471 – Cool grey with a strong metallic finish and green (!) undertones.

M black 990 – A very, very neutral, dry black. Good pigmentation, but not the blackest black to ever black.

shu palette swatches review 16 neutrals

shu:palette bottom row swatches – indirect sunlight; over primer

shu eyeshadow palette for asian eyes review

The verdict?

It took me a horrifyingly long time to test each and every one of these shades to finish my review, but if you can still get your hands on this palette, do. Each and every one of these eyeshadows is up to snuff, and with 16 full-sized pans, you’re only paying $6.56 per eyeshadow — which is less than a lot of drugstore eyeshadows out there, and far less than shu’s usual $19 CAD price tag.

The only thing that I’d change? I’d love to see a version 2.0 with more light-medium shades!

Availability: $105 CAD at shu uemura counters in Holt Renfrew.

Keep reading! »

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