Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré review | The BEST primer for dry skin

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre review moisturizer

The product: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré Nourishing Moisturizer

I don’t typically buy products due to hype, but when the Pixiwoo sisters say something is really good… I have a tendency to believe them & buy. (What? Anyone with that much makeup prowess and standards high enough to make my favourite brush range is to be trusted implicitly.)

Net a Porter Embryolisse review

The Lait-Crème magic 

I was pulled to the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré because it was one of the only cult-followed, silicone-free moisturizers that I had left to try, but the real magic (and the thing that pulls most people in) is how brilliantly it works as a primer.

This “milk-cream” formula is the silkiest skincare product I’ve ever tried, and creates a gorgeous, hydrating veil over my dry skin. It does a better job smoothing over my dry patches than even the popular Korres silicone-free primers (available at Beautylish), and multi-functions as a moisturizer and primer in one.

Embryolisse review lait creme concentre

Embryolisse says the Lait-Crème Concentré can be used on all skin types as a moisturizer, makeup remover, mask, after-shave cream, or baby-care product, but I think where it really shines is as a moisturizing primer. I use it on my “bad skin days” and whenever I feel like giving my skin a bit of a treat; with its French pharmacy packaging and subtly perfumed formula, it feels simultaneously utilitarian and luxurious. 

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre primer review

The verdict?

Embryolisse’s Lait-Crème Concentré is French pharmacy goodness at its best. I love the silky, glossy texture of this moisturizer, and it is both the best primer I have ever found for dry skin and the best silicone-free primer I’ve ever tried.

To top it all off, the Lait-Crème Concentré is delicately scented and extremely affordable, and currently ships free at both Look Fantastic and Birchbox (US)!

Availability: 30 ml for $16 USD at Net-A-Porter, $20 with free shipping at Look Fantastic (use code LFNEW for 10% off); $16 USD with free shipping at Birchbox; $16 at Beautylish.

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Make Up For Ever Ultra HD (shade Y225=117) foundation photos, launch party

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD liquid stick foundation range shades

While I was in Toronto this summer, I got to check out a pretty cool new product: the new Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($50 CAD), which launched this July in liquid format, and the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation ($50 CAD), which launches this month.

I wanted to share a really quick little recap of the event, because (a) blogger love!, and (b) the new foundations are pretty darn cool.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation review, stick foundation

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD liquid & stick/cream foundations

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD steph fun size beauty

I’ll just be over here, pretending to be one of the cool girls… | with Zubie, Steph, and Jenn

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Amy Bratty B

Amy (who just started Bratty B)! I can’t even put into words how much I love this girl.

Made for use with 4K camera technology, the new Ultra HD foundations are an update on Make Up For Ever’s original HD foundation, which has been the top selling foundation at North American Sephoras since it launched in 2008. (Unfortunately, like the original, both of these foundations contain silicones!)

The key makeup artist at the event demonstrated both of the new “invisible” foundations on his model Ashley, pairing them with the brand’s correcting primers — the translucent Skin Equalizer primer in the centre of the face to reflect and bounce light, plus the yellow primer to add brightness.

UltraHDGeneration launch party

The technology: the new Ultra HD foundations use hyaluronic spheres to make the foundation blend automatically, so the makeup artist at the event recommended a bit of a traditional application method: apply (2 pumps of the liquid is enough for full coverage), let bake, then blend. 

The foundations also include light-diffusing sericite, made to “act like an Instagram filter!” as well as amino acid coated pigments, which blur flaws as they cover. They pair well with the brand’s matte skin equalizer, too: just pat it on top (yes, on top!) of your foundation when you’re finishing up your makeup.

MUFE Ultra HD launch party

The utterly gorgeous Chelle, from Makeup Your Mind

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Jenn a beautiful zen

Jenn, as in “A Beautiful Zen Jenn”! (The beauty blogging world has more Jenns than we know what to do with.) I’m so sad that this girl isn’t gonna be there the next time I go to TO :(

MUFE Ultra HD Zubie

Zubie is pretty much the coolest cool girl. She basically always (ALWAYS) looks like she’s just fallen out of a photoshoot.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation 117 y225 review photos

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid Foundation in Y225 (117 shade match)

The formulas: Make Up For Ever recommends their Ultra HD Liquid Foundation for a natural finish in a lightweight, oil-free formula, and their Ultra HD Stick Foundation for medium-full coverage, touch-ups, and contouring.

The liquid, which is lighter than the original HD liquid, is supposed to be better for normal to oily skin, while the super-smooth stick formula is targeted toward normal to dry skin.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD stick foundation 117 225 review photos

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Stick Foundation in Y225 (117 shade match)

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD launch party shades

The shades: The new foundations have a wider shade range than the original, and a new shade numbering system to go with it. I was matched to Y225 Marble (the old 117) in my summer tan, which was the brand’s lightest yellow-based shade… until now.

Y225 is still the lightest shade in the stick foundation, but for the super-pale guys and gals out there, Make Up For Ever now also offers Y215 Yellow Alabaster and Y205 Alabaster in liquid format! (The pink-based equivalents are R210 Pink Alabaster and R220 Pink Porcelain.) The stick foundation will be available in 15 shades, and the Ultra HD liquid is available in a whopping 40 shades

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Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencil lipstick review, swatches, photos

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Maybelline ColorBlur I Like to Mauve It review swatches photos

The product: Maybelline ColorBlur by LipStudio Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger

↳ in 10 Fast & Fuchsia, 25 Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, 35 Plum Please, 40 My-My Magenta, and 50 I Like to Mauve It

This summer, Maybelline launched a new take on the matte lip that caught my eye immediately: their ColorBlur pencils, which, while perhaps not singular in formula, are entirely unique in execution. 

Maybelline Color Blur Lip Color review swatches

The concept & packaging: The ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencils are twist-up matte lip pencils packaged in thin, matte packaging (which feels surprisingly chic for the drugstore).

On one end is a tapered lip pencil; on the other, a dual-sided, asymmetrical silicone smudger that does a delivers a softly or sharply defined lip without getting a single fingertip dirty. The smudger comfortably creates a “softly blurred look” by blending the pencil from the centre of the lip outwards, and is not anything like the sad little smudging ends you sometimes see on eyeliners — you know the ones.

Maybelline Color Blur photos swatches review

Maybelline ColorBlur silicone smudger

Maybelline Color Blur I Like to Mauve It review swatches

Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencils (L-R) in I Like to Mauve It, My-My Magenta, Plum Please, Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, and Fast & Fuchsia

The shades: There are ten ColorBlur shades currently available, and I got to try five of them. First, two gorgeous pinks: 10 Fast & Fuchsia, a vivid coral pink, and 40 My-My Magenta, an intense, blue-based pink. Next, 50 I Like to Mauve Ita pretty MLBB lip colour that I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of — it’s been living in my purse for weeks.

Finally, there’s the orange-red 25 Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, and 35 Plum Please, a dark plum/red… but more about that in a minute.

Maybelline Color Blur My My Magenta review swatches photos

 Maybelline ColorBlur Matte Lip Pencil swatches in 10 Fast & Fuchsia, 25 Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, 35 Plum Please, 40 My-My Magenta, and 50 I Like to Mauve It

The formula: The ColorBlur formula is vivid, super-smooth, and easy to work with, but after an hour or two (like with all mattes, and many non-matte lipsticks), I do find it to be too drying for me.

However, the formula applies very evenly, without catching on lines or migrating when I press my lips together. The exception to this rule is no. 35 Plum Please, which catches on everything — you can even see it in the swatch. But don’t fret! There’s a fix to this problem.

Maybelline Color Blur Cherry Cherry Bang Bang review swatches

 Maybelline ColorBlur swatches in Fast & Fuchsia, Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, Plum Please, My-My Magenta, and I Like to Mauve It Maybelline Fast and Fuchsia ColorBlur review  swatches

 Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Lip Pencils, from top to bottom: Fast & Fuchsia, Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, Plum Please, My-My Magenta, and I Like to Mauve It

The ColorBlur secret: For some reason, the ColorBlur pencils play very, very nicely with petroleum-based moisturizers. It makes them comfortable, softly glossy, and in the case of Plum Please, both even and absolutely gorgeous. 

I couldn’t get quite the same results with lip balm as I could using German Nivea Creme, which seemed to disturb the formula just enough to make it forgiving and hydrating while leaving the colour vivid and opaque. (For a still-matte finish, I bet they would work brilliantly with a silicone-based mattifying moisturizer, too!)

Maybelline Color Blur Plum Please swatches

Maybelline ColorBlur in Plum, Please swatched (L) and swatched with Nivea overtop (R)

I snapped a quick shot of Plum Please before and after the Nivea (above), as well as a full-face shot of how gloriously it pairs with Nivea. My apologies for the graininess; in my excitement, I took these photos late at night!

Also wearing: Annabelle EyeInk2 MistakeProof Eyeliner in Black ($10.95 CAD), Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara in 04 Massive Midnight ($17 USD/$25 CAD — I am obsessed with this mascara right now!!), Lise Watier Ombre Velours Suprême in Pêche Velours and Rose Thé Velours ($25 CAD); Senna Matte Eye Color in Sphinx and Intrigue to contour ($18 USD), applied with the Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush Brush ($40 USD/$46 CAD — I swear, this brush gives the most killer cheekbones).

Maybelline Color Blur Plum Please FOTD swatches makeup look review

Wearing Maybelline ColorBlur in Plum, Please with Nivea overtop — I was surprised by how much I loved this lip!

The verdict?

From the one-of-a-kind smudger to the super-smooth formula, I’ve really enjoyed using the Maybelline ColorBlur lip pencils. They’re not flawless (I wish they were more hydrating), but all matte pencils are at least a little bit drying, and Maybelline totally nailed the colour range with these.

My opinion? Unless you have really dry lips, the ColorBlur lip pencils are definitely worth checking out — if not for the forgiving formula and great colour range, then for the fact that they’re so unique.

Availability: $11.99 CAD at drugstores and mass market retailers. Available online (US) at Ulta & Amazon.

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Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (dark hair) | Two in, one… still in

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Klorane dry shampoo HG stocking up

This summer has been a major month for re-buying, and I’ve carefully taken the time to snap & document each time it happens. In my soon-to-be eight years as a beauty blogger (I think theNotice started on the 23rd of September? I’ll have to look it up later), I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve re-purchased an item — so when it happens, the product has to be pretty darn good.

I’ve been lucky enough this year to find not one, not two, but four products worth re-purchasing this summer alone. The first, of course, was Odacité’s Pomegranate & Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate; the second is this one!

Klorane Dry Shampoo for Dark brown hair review rebuy

Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk for Brown to Dark Hair is a product that I really like, but unlike my other re-buys, I probably wouldn’t sell my soul for a bottle. My firstborn, maybe, but probably not my soul. I reviewed the spray originally this May, and when my bottle began to run out, I began to wait patiently for a Klorane sale.

Shopper’s had them on for about $11/each in July, which is fantastic (compare to $17.29 CAD at well.ca), so I picked up two: one to replace my bottle, and one to leave at my partner’s place.

Klorane Dry Shampoo Oat Milk review holy grail rebuy

As I said in my original review, Klorane is, by far, the best dry shampoo I’ve found so far. (Unless you care more about white casts than scents, in which case, Colab all the way.) It works well to absorb oil and smells subtle and clean, but it can get a little chalky-looking if you over-spray, and the regular $15-20 USD price tag is way too high. (Sephora really marks up; I think they’re regular $14.95 CAD at Shopper’s!)

But, well. I can make it to day three hair with my trusty bottle of Klorane, and even though their Oat Milk formula isn’t perfect… I own three bottles. I think that tells you all you need to know. At $15 a pop, I would hesitate, but at $10 or $11, they are definitely worth the re-buy!

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito collection review, photos

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito collection review

The products: The Body Shop Virgin Mojito collection ($9 CAD-$22 CAD)

When I was fifteen, surgery was a cakewalk. Sleep it off in the hospital, grab a burger on the way home, ready for a road trip by Friday. But at 23, and when you find out after the operation that you might not be able to eat normally for up to six weeks? I’m going nuts over here. Telling a Chen she can’t eat is like telling a dog it can’t pee on things. Eating is where I get all of my joy. 

So, I mean, I’ve been hitting the mojitos pretty hard to help cope. Virgin skincare mojitos, that is. (I don’t want to find out what happens when you mix rum with open wounds and morphine.)

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Shower Gel review photos

The scent: I was told that you either love or hate The Body Shop’s new Virgin Mojito scent, but I mean… I love it; my boyfriend loves it; Julie from Swatch and Review and her boyfriend love it; Zoë from Writing Whimsy and Steph from Fun Size Beauty both totally love it.

It’s summery and fresh, and smells like taking a sip of a delicious wall of lime with just a hint of mint and that tart bite of citrus peel. (It’s totally 100% deserving of the cheeky little “NOT FOOD!” labelling.)

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Scrub review photos

In the shower

The Body Shop has offered up two ways for you to get your mojito on in the shower this summer: the Virgin Mojito Shower Gel ($9 CAD) and the Virgin Mojito Body Scrub ($22 CAD).

I’m still trying to figure out if the beads in the mojito body scrub are regular beads or micro beads (the latter of which end up in lakes and rivers, basically just hangin’ out and killin’ fishes), but I have to admit defeat, here: I’m not eco-knowledgeable enough to tell the difference, and I need some help to figure out if I can indulge or if I need to pitch this! 

I’m hoping for the former–didn’t The Body Shop swear off micro beads a few years ago?–because that jelly-like texture looks like waaaay too much fun not to use. 

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Shower Gel review

On the other hand, I’ve been guiltlessly indulging in the Virgin Mojito Shower Gel pretty heavily. The Body Shop’s Shower Gels are possibly my favourite product from the brand — they just always smell so good, and at $9 CAD (or less; a bunch of them are on for $5 right now), they’re so cheap.

I love being able to get a Body Shop scent fix at a price tag that I don’t have to think about (I mean, it’s not exactly Byredo, but is far from drugstore stuff). This tall glass of deliciousness is no exception!

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Butter review photos

After the shower

Coming out of the shower, you have three options: The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Butter ($20 CAD), a classic that has too many ‘cones for me to touch (I used to adore these), the Virgin Mojito Body Splash ($20 CAD), which is delightfully splishy-splashy but honestly kind of a pain to apply (splashes, man. We should have left them behind in the ’90s), and the Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet ($15 CAD).

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Splash review photos

The Body Sorbets are a product that I’m split on. On one hand, they’re $15 (sometimes even less!), and they all, without a doubt, smell awesome. But on the other, they’re just not hydrating — like, even when I get other people to use them, they don’t find them to do a thing. And they pill up like a bad primer if you try to make them hydrate more by applying extra.

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito review

Buuut (and there’s always a but) they’re $15. And silicone-free. And I guarantee you, they are the only tasty-smelling ‘cone-free body lotions that you’re going to be able to find for that price — believe me, I’ve looked.

So, you know. I hate them… and also, I own three. (This was, for interest’s sake, the only one of the three that was a press sample. I bought the other two with my own money and darn it, I was happy to.)

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet review photos

The verdict?

Out of all of the limited edition collections that The Body Shop has come out with recently, the Virgin Mojito one has been, by far, my favourite. I love the delicious, limey fragrance (it’s so summery!) and I’m quite happy with the product offerings.

My recommendation? Get the shower gel for sure. Then, if you can use silicones, buy the Body Butter. But for those who can’t… get the Body Sorbet instead. You’ll probably hate me for it, but at the same time, you’re totally not going to regret it in the least.

Availability: $9 CAD & up at thebodyshop.ca and The Body Shop stores. Limited edition.

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