Lush Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar, Cream review, photos | Father’s Day picks for you & dad

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lush smugglers soul multi purpose cream

The products: LUSH Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar & Multi-Purpose Cream

This year, Lush launches its largest-ever Father’s Day collection. One of the key lines featured in it is Smuggler’s Soul, a range of three products that are all scented with the brand’s sandalwoods-y, fresh-smelling perfume. (It also scents their permanent-collection eponymous solid perfume & the Lush Veerappan Moustache Wax.)

The key notes of Smuggler’s Soul include sandalwood, vetiver, and lemongrass. 

Availability: Lush’s Father’s Day 2016 collection is available online now & in stores as of June 13th. Limited edition.

Lush Smuggler's Soul shampoo bar review

Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar ($16.95 CAD)

I’ve always been very, very skeptical of Lush’s whole shampoo bar thing, but these things are actually pretty ingenious. The Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar ($16.95 CAD) is formulated to wash and condition in three quick swoops of the bar from root to tip, and it’s made with fair trade cocoa butter, fresh cucumber, and Lush’s Smuggler’s Soul perfume.

Lush shampoo bar review

I was surprised to find that this shampoo bar really did actually only need three swipes to cleanse my entire scalp, and that the entire process was really simple and not at all camping-y. However, Smuggler’s Soul is full of super-stripping SLSs (hence the thick foam), and it left my hair feeling squeaky-clean and a little dry.

My oily roots actually really love this stuff, but my dry ends… not so much. I know that many men have been conditioned to love squeaky-clean finishes, but I’d recommend going for for one of their more hydrating shampoo bars if you have the choice.

Lush shampoo bar review smugglers soul

Smuggler’s Soul Multi-Purpose Cream ($18.95 CAD)

Lush’s Smuggler’s Soul Multi-Purpose Cream ($18.95 CAD) is totally, unequivocally, 100% a dad productIt’s a nice but largely generic-smelling men’s product that’s extremely liquidy and lightweight, and it’s designed to be used for everything: hands, body, face, hair. 

Lush smugglers soul multi purpose cream review

It is also, sadly, priced very much in line with the beauty industry’s pinkwashing–that is to say, as a men’s product, it’s no worse than a women’s product but costs just a fraction of the price (a practice that I’m very disappointed to see Lush engaging in.)

At the price, though, Smuggler’s Soul is an awesome product. I’d recommend buying two: one for dad, and one for you! It makes a nice, light lotion for your hair/face/body while it’s hot and humid out, and if you have dry skin, it feels absolutely glorious with a couple drops of rosehip oil added in.

Lush mens lotion review

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Smashbox Inspiration lipstick, Insta-Matte, & Mulholland Mauve review, swatches, photos

Monday, June 6, 2016

Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick Inspiration review

The products: Smashbox Cosmetics Be Legendary Cream Lipstick in Inspiration, Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer, and L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Mulholland Mauve

Smashbox Spring 2016 review

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick ($21 USD/$36 CAD)

The Be Legendary lipsticks are a staple of the current Smashbox lineup, and with Inspiration, it’s not hard to see why. This new shade is a super-flattering bright fuchsia pink with subtle shimmer (which I think makes it NOT a “true” cream!!) and it’s a total dreamboat.

Smashbox Inspiration review photos Be Legendary Creamm Lipstick

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration review

Smashbox Inspiration swatch Be Legendary Lipstick review

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration swatches in indirect sunlight. (Can you tell that I took these photos with my old Canon? Just not as good, man.)

The Smashbox Be Legendary Cream Lipstick formula is comforting, heavy, and smooth – I wouldn’t mind owning another couple (dozen) of these. They remind me of the Clinique Pop Lipsticks, actually, but with a lighter texture.

The Be Legendary “cream” finish (they’re also available in a matte finish) is luscious and looks almost glossy thanks to the shimmer, and Inspiration is well-pigmented with colour that goes exactly where it ought to, no lip brush necessary.

Smashbox Be Legendary Inspiration review photos swatches

(See the glitter?)

Smashbox Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer ($24 USD/$26 CAD)

Smashbox also introduced their Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer this spring, which I think is a pretty nifty product. It’s a silicone-y gel that’s similar to their Photo Finish primer, but thicker, and it’s designed to turn any cream (!!) lipstick into a matte.

 Smashbox Insta-Matte transformer review

I liked the idea behind the Insta-Matte, and it worked well to mattify Inspiration when I tried it on. However, it doesn’t do anything that a sprinkling of loose powder could do (a trick that makeup artists have been using for decades), and the effect is subtle.

Granted, it’s a lot more comfortable to wear than loose powder is, but it can’t be used overtop of glosses, lacquers, or balms, which I think kind of minimizes its appeal. Cream lipsticks are halfway to today’s mattes anyways, you know? Just pat with tissue and you’re 90% of the way there.

Smashbox Inspiration, Mulholland Mauve swatches, Insta-matte

Smashbox swatches L-R: Insta-Matte over Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration; Inspiration on its own; L.A. Lights in Mulholland Mauve lightly, then heavily. Swatched in artificial light. 

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color ($29 USD/$36 CAD)

I love a good stick/pencil product, but the Smashbox L.A. Lights formula just didn’t grab me. It’s workable, but it feels tacky and heavy to me. The formula drags on the skin as you blend it out, so while the finish looks lovely and dewy, I find that I rarely reach for these.

As a lip product, though, I found Mulholland Mauve to be extremely disappointing. A darker colour would fare better, but it looks pasty and thin on my lips–almost like a $2 bargain bin lipstick or an early-2000s party girl lipgloss.

Smashbox L.A. Lights cheek lip review

However, the L.A Lights sticks are one of the few silicone-free stick blushes that I’ve found, and Mulholland Mauve is a rather unique colour. It looks passable on my fair olive skin (the shade choice was my mistake!), but would be gorgeous on a warmer complexion.

As a note, the availability on the L.A. Lights is a little weird. If you’re looking for Mulholland Mauve or Fairfax Fuchsia in Canada, they’re only available at Shopper’s/Murale – you won’t be able to buy them at Sephora. Make sure you shop accordingly!

Smashbox Mulholland Mauve review swatches

The verdict?

Sadly, none of Smashbox’s spring launches were total must-haves for me–but I do really like their Be Legendary lipsticks, so it was nice to see that shade range expanded.

On the whole, I’d say that the Be Legendaries are a nice-to-have, the Insta-Matte is a cool-to-have, and the L.A. Lights are a skip. I’ve heard excellent things about the L.A. Lights from other bloggers, though, so if you love ’em, hit me up in the comments. I want to know what I’m missing here!

Availability: New permanent products (as of January 2016) at Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, Murale, Nordstrom, and Sephora.

 

Irresistible Me Royal Remy Hair Extensions review: Why you SHOULDN’T buy from Irresistible Me

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Irresistible Me Royal Remy extensions review

As a blogger, one of the toughest parts of my job is deciding how to interact with companies. That can be as simple as choosing to accept a product for review, or as complicated as deciding to discuss a company’s non-consumer interactions publicly.

It’s an unspoken rule of the beauty industry that you never shame a brand publicly for a bad PR interaction, which is (usually) fair. However, this is a prime example of how a company’s internal policies can lead them to treat regular Janes like a consumable resource, and as a consumer, I know I would want to hear about something like that.

I think you can tell a lot about a brand based on how they interact behind the scenes, so here’s a short story about the very-resistible Irresistible Me.

Positivity injection: Marcelle, The Detox Market, and Bella Aura are three brands that are all good to the core!

Irresistible Me hair extensions review

Irresistible Me Royal Remy extensions 20″/200g review – Platinum Blonde #613

The extensions

I was sent the Irresistible Me Royal Platinum Blonde #613 extensions in 20 inches/200 grams, which I chose so that I could colour them – dark roots with lilac ends (because reasons!!), with future plans for dark grey. The extensions themselves are soft and full, but I did find that the “platinum blonde” colour ran dark in sections and rather yellow overall.

Price comparison

Irresistible Me 200g/20″ extensions: $299 USD note: do not sign up for an Irresistible Me account (required to access their site) unless you really wanna be automatically signed up for emails with no “unsubscribe” link. 

Bellami Hair 160g/20″ extensions: $159.99 USD (closest comparable style)

Luxy Hair 200g/20″ extensions: $209 USD

Irresistible Me blonde extensions in black hair

I photographed these before colouring them. They look somewhat less obvious with dark roots. 

(Makeup look: Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura)

However, even after colouring them, I found that the Royal Remy extensions were very visible when installed. Instead of adding volume to my slightly thin hair, they add weight – my ends look fuller, but the bands are so thick that you can see them no matter what. Maybe that’s just the nature of extensions, but I’d recommend going with a lighter weight if you’re unsure.

Manic Panic, Biolage - dying hair extensions

Waiting to be tinted with a bit of Manic Panic Ultra Violet & Biolage RepairInside conditioner!

Irresistible Me review clips

The base of the thickest Royal Remy weft

The company 

To this date, I have exchanged 31 emails with Irresistible Me. (“Normal” for a new brand relationship is 6 emails, tops.) theNotice’s disclaimer clearly states that all press samples are accepted for consideration only, but despite this, I hear from Irresistible Me twice a month, every month.

I stopped replying to their emails in early April after letting them know that I would include a mention for them in an editorial out of courtesy, but would not be reviewing them due to the product’s visibility issues. Since then, they’ve sent me four emails and have even started leaving comments here asking for a reply–which were (hilariously) marked as spam by IntenseDebate.

Irresistible Me hair extensions review - demarcations

Platinum Blonde extensions + Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura makeup

Irresistible Me hair extensions review - base

Irresistible Me Royal Remy 200g extensions (back view)

Irresistible Me royal remy platinum blonde 20 in review

Irresistible Me Platinum Blonde extensions review, photos

To be fair, my contact has been really lovely and polite in every email. But I’ve talked to over a dozen other Canadian beauty bloggers (yay, CBBers!), and all of them have experienced the same treatment or a more aggressive version thereof: constant emails, “check-ins,” comments; you name it. It’s clearly a company-wide policy to harass bloggers until they review in order to build a false hype about the product, and that’s super not cool with me.

A bad point of contact with a single blogger is an anomaly, but the ongoing harassment of an entire group of bloggers is a pattern. It’s unprofessional and unfair of a brand to demand a review from a blogger who is creating content with them for free, and you know what? I don’t want to support that kind of crap.

I wouldn’t tell you guys to befriend an ex who was following me around everywhere, and the same thing applies here. The Irresistible Me extensions are a good product, but they’re NOT a great deal – and they’re not worth okaying bad behaviour for.

Keep reading! »

Bio Beauté by Nuxe Toning Citron Body Oil, Deodorant review & photos

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bio beaute cedrat review body oil deodorant

The products: Bio Beauté by Nuxe Toning & Nourishing Satin-Touch Oil with Corsican Citron Extract and 24 HR Refreshing Deodorant

My love for Bio Beauté is far from a secret, so when I found out that they were launching two new lemon-scented products this summer, I was pretty excited.

I soon realized that they were, in fact, not launching two lemon-scented products this summer, and were actually launching two new body products featuring naturally “toning” citron (an ingredient you may recognize from my old L’Occitane review), plus their repackaged deodorant.

But! Confusion aside, I was still very, very happy to try out the new oil, and it didn’t disappoint.

Bio beaute nuxe deodorant roll on yellow review

The deodorant: Okay, first things first. This is NOT a lemon version of the Bio Beauté deodorant that I reviewed last year, a fact which I am super sad about. This the exact same deodorant, now in yellow packaging. It contains 10 essential oils and 5 floral waters to gently inhibit bacteria growth, starch powder to reduce moisture, and aloe vera for a little additional soothing – and yes, it still smells like candy. 

While I’m not crazy about smelling like I just got wrecked in a Wonka factory, this alcohol- and aluminum-free deodorant is actually very well-formulated (and 98% organic!) It works well on my man-smelly boyfriend, and leaves no stains on clothing.

Bio Beaute toning nourhishing body oil review

The oil: On the other hand, I loooove the Bio Beauté citron/toning body oil. It smells like lemon squares, sugared to perfection and waiting patiently for you on the kitchen counter (a scent that comes from a combination of citrus oils and vanilla), and the packaging is great: sleek but made of lightweight plastic, with a mister on top.

A spray-mister, unfortunately. Not a mister-mister. (Ugh, that bone structure. Those sad-sexy eyes. That really good hair.)

Bio Beauté notes that this oil is quick-absorbing (true!) but perfect for a massage, which… Boyfriend had better get on that; that’s all I’m saying. It’s not really much of a toning product, but as a body oil, it’s lovely.

Bio Beaute deodorant review

The verdict?

It’s a bit confusing that Bio Beauté has quietly relaunched their 24HR Refreshing Deodorant in yellow (but otherwise identical) packaging, presumably to differentiate it from the “Bio Beauté Body” anti-perspirant, but that’s honestly my only complaint about these launches. Stop gaslighting me, Bio Beauté! I’ve only ever shown you love!

The new Toning & Nourishing Satin-Touch Oil is a lemon-scented dream, and I love that it features lots of organic ingredients & fair trade oils. It smells delicious, too, and as we all know… the way to any twenty-something’s heart is through their stomach.

Availability: $13 CAD (deodorant) to $26 CAD (body oil). New as of June 2016 & available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Micellar water reviews: Garnier, Bioderma Hydrabio & Sensibio, Marcelle 3 in 1

Friday, May 27, 2016

Micellar water review comparison bioderma garnier marcelle bubble

For those of you who don’t already know, micellar waters are water-like makeup removing solutions. They use hydrophilic/hydrophobic “micelles” to break down makeup with the power of an oil while still having the texture of water, and they’re… kind of fantastic.

Ever since trying the Marcelle 3 in 1 (formerly the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water), I’ve been smitten with micellar waters. They’re an awesome way to gently remove makeup with no silicones and no oily residue, and while they break down makeup as well as many bi-phase makeup removers, they don’t set tubing mascaras the way an oil will.

Nowadays, there are a ton of micellar waters on the market – so here’s a comparison of four of the best.

Bioderma Sensibio micellar water review

4. Bioderma Sensibio Make-up Removing Micelle Solution ($26.95 CAD/500ml) 

Sensibio is the mother of all micellar solutions. Invented in 1995, Sensibio/Créaline just celebrated its 20th anniversary – and one bottle is still sold every 3 seconds worldwide.

The Sensibio range is fragrance-free and designed for sensitive skin, and the micellar solution replaces your make-up remover and toner. But, as much as I love Sensibio, I think that 20 years of competition and new technologies can make a better product.

The packaging: Bioderma’s packaging is a classic, but the lids are very fragile and snap off if you open the circular top from the wrong angle. Bioderma is available in the widest range of sizes (100 ml to 1L, depending on your country.)

The product: While gentle and fragrance-free, I find that Sensibio is a little drying, especially in the eye area. Sensibio is the least effective makeup remover of these 4.

The price: $26 CAD per 500 ml

Marcelle 3 in 1 micellar water review

3. Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD/300 ml) 

The Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution was my first cleansing oil, so it has a special place in my heart. It’s Canadian, it’s fragrance-free, and it comes in awesome packaging. 

The packaging: The best of the bunch! The 3 in 1 comes in a sturdy flip-top push dispenser. However, it only comes in the one size, and there is no open-cap version available for q-tip dipping.

The product: More effective than Sensibio, but slightly more astringent.

The price: $33.25 CAD/500 ml

Garnier Micellar Water SkinActive review

2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water ($8.97/400 ml)

Garnier’s SkinActive micellar waters (also available in blue/waterproof) are the newest micellar waters on the block, and I’ve gotta give it to ’em: they’re really not bad!

The packaging: Sturdy lid & slim bottle. However, the SkinActive line is a blatant ripoff of Bioderma, which is a big turn-off for me.

The product: The SkinActive Micellar Water is more effective than Bioderma Sensibio and less drying than Marcelle’s. It feels slightly more “soapy” than either of the two.

The price: $11.21 CAD/500 ml

Bioderma Hydrabio micellar water review

1. Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturizing Micelle Solution ($24.90/500 ml)

Hydrabio is Bioderma’s newest micellar water, and it is by far my favourite of the line. It’s optimized for dehydrated/dry, sensitive skin, and for my fragile, dry skin, it is the most gentle of the bunch. 

It’s very fragranced, however (it smells kind of moisturize-y floral), so it’s best for sensitive-fragile skin, not sensitive-“allergies galore!” skin.

The packaging: Fragile lid & wide volume range (see above).

The product: The most gentle AND the most effective of these four. It’s a little more “slippery” feeling, but it completely melts away even my waterproof gel eyeliners. (This is the #1 micellar water in Canada!)

The price: $24.90/500 ml

Bioderma sensibio vs hydrabio sensitive skin review comparison

The verdict?

While I would prefer it without the fragrance, I find Bioderma’s Hydrabio micellar water to be both the most gentle and the most effective micellar water in drugstores right now. However, all four of them are honestly very good – good enough that you should never have to return to non-micellar makeup removers ever again!

There are still a handful of micellar waters that I have yet to try, though, and I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Hit me up in the comments to rave about your favourite micellar water!! 

Additional photos & more »

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash, Lotion review, photos

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aveeno Gentle Scent body wash lotion review

The products: Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash and Lotion in Chamomile and Coconut

This spring marked a pretty monumental step in Aveeno history, which is to say: Aveeno launched their very first line of scented lotions and washes for sensitive skin this March.

Designed specifically for sensitive skin, these two scents have been formulated to be just as gentle on sensitive skin as fragrance-free products. Having used them myself, I’d have to agree.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent body wash coconut review

The scents: I’m a big fan of the whole “luxurious shower experience” thing, so scents are a must for my body products whenever possible.

Coconut smells like a subtle, standard coconut scent; maybe a little more earthy than some. It’s not really my thing, but I think it’ll be a hit. On the other hand, Chamomile smells like crack cocaine and nostalgia, and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. It smells exactly like something I used to use when I was a kid, and it’s so good that I want to eat it.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent chamomile review

The products: Even though I’m allergic to the silicones in them now, my family was always an Aveeno lotion family growing up. We’ve always had a lot of allergies and sensitivities, and from ages 6-16, they were the only brand that all of us could enjoy.

But, while I’m sad that I can’t use these new lotions, I’ve been using nothing but the new Gentle Scent Body Washes. They’re soap-free, dye-free, and allergy-tested, and I can confirm that they are just as gentle as even my Aveeno Eczema Care body wash.

I really notice a difference when I switch to a “bad” body wash (Lush in particular makes me itch my legs like a stray with fleas), but these are as hydrating as foaming washes get. They actually leave my skin feeling more moisturized than using no soap at all – sort of like a light in-shower moisturizer. 

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent review photos

The verdict?

I kinda thought Aveeno was already making fragranced body products in all of their departments (I’ve been a dummy and thought the soft, oatmeal-y scent of the line was added), so I’m pretty thrilled that Aveeno is actually making scented products for sensitive skin now.

Whether or not you have dry skin, you need a bottle of Chamomile lotion or body wash like, yesterday. The scent is totally my jam, and the body wash leaves my skin feeling softer and more hydrated than any other shower gel out there!

Availability: $7.99 USD/$9.99 CAD for the body washes (354 mL); $8.99 USD/$13.99 CAD for the lotions at drugstores and mass market retailers!

Keep reading! »

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