Back to basics: 8 mass-market beauty finds to try this November

Monday, November 2, 2015


They say that everything worth having is worth working for, but by the looks of 2015’s beauty trends, the industry is still trying its darndest to prove that particular old adage wrong.

This year has seen a lot of really cool “instant fix”-type products (like this one from Deciem), and the brightening Neutrogena Healthy Skin Instant Tone Corrector SPF 15 ($19.97 CAD) and vivid orange The Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer ($20 CAD) are two more examples of this quick-fix trend–which, can I just say, I am loving.


The Clinique Dramatically Different and Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit ranges are two of the beauty world’s most popular ranges for people (especially teens!) with acne-prone skin. And this year, I am happy to say, BOTH ranges are getting a long-awaited update. 

Clinique is adding a Dramatically Different Cream ($14.50 USD) for those with dry skin, and Neutrogena has created an Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer ($8.78 USD/$12.99 CAD) with 0.5% salicylic acid. Starting at under $15 each, they’re great picks for the teen or tween just getting into skincare — and just as good for those still struggling with acne in their college years.

Keep reading! »

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 and The Body Shop stores. Limited edition.

Keep reading! »

The purple pout: A Body Shop Universal Lip Pencil vs. Clinique Voluptuous Violet comparison

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Purple lipstick comparison swatches review

I recently got a question on Instagram asking me to compare The Body Shop’s Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Velvet Pencil ($15 USD/CAD) with Clinique’s Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick ($17 USD/$19 CAD), so I thought I’d follow up with a super short blog post on the topic.

If all you’re looking for is a sheer, comfortable violet lip pencil, then either one of these will fit the bill. But here’s where the differ: Chubby Sticks are glossy and emollient while The Body Shop’s Velvet Pencils are satin-matte and, well, velvety. (Neither are particularly drying or hydrating on me!) Voluptuous Violet reads as more of a pinky-red, while the pH-adjusting Body Shop pencil is an ashier purple, though it stains pink.

For wearability, definitely opt for the Clinique. But for coolness (both tonally and metaphorically), go for the Body Shop pencil.

Clinique Voluptuous Violet vs TBS Universal Shade

The Body Shop Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Pencil, Clinique Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick swatches (layered to maximum intensity)

Do you own any purple lipsticks, pencils, balms, or glosses?

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick swatches, review, photos (& a little Smoky Poppy preview)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Body Shop Lip Cheek Velvet Stick reviews swatches

The products: The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks in Universal Shade and 40 Red

↳ Photographed with the limited-edition Smoky Poppy Body Butter ($20), which smells amazing but contains silicones, so I can’t touch it! (But seriously: amazing. It’s super sultry for a Body Shop fragrance.)

My love affair with jumbo lip pencils is a long and almost frighteningly well-documented one, but when I tried these for the first time, I actually stopped and went, “oh, cool,” for a moment.

TBS lip velvet jumbo pencil review swatches

The texture: Unlike your standard jumbo lip pencil (sheer-glossy or opaque-matte), these Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks are exactly that: velvety. They apply with an incredibly natural finish, softly matte but not at all drying.

Unlike most mattes, though, they’re sheer — or, rather, they’ll sheer out if you blend them. Red (and I’m assuming the rest of the regular line) applies with a very medium opacity, but blends out to create the most seamless, perfect flush; the Universal Shade applies more sheerly, but in a way that’s suited well to the shade.

The Body Shop black universal Lip Cheek Stick review

The Body Shop Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick

The Body Shop Lip Cheek Stick swatches review universal, red

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks, swatched – Universal Shade (heavily/blended) and 40 Red (heavily/blended)

The shades: Red is a bright strawberry red, but the pH-adapting Universal Shade is the Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick that really steals the show. Purple-black in the tube, it applies as a very sheer dark purple. It’s less glossy and more plummy than Clinique’s Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick (the closest dupe that I’ve seen), and you NEED it.

When sheered out, the Universal shade reads as a muted flush of colour, and on the lips, it’s nothing short of perfect. My natural lip colour leans a bit orange (bleh), which makes most medium/dark lip colours look punchy and ostentatious as they wear off, but this weird, pH-adjusting pencil is perfect. It darkens my natural lip colour considerably without making my lips look bright!, which–believe me–is a pretty substantial feat.

Bare lips - Korres Cherry Picked reference

Bare lips

The Body Shop Universal Lip & Cheek Stick swatches review

The Body Shop Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick lip swatch

The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Body Butter review

The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Body Butter

The verdict?

These sheer-matte Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks are great both for the lips and cheeks, but it’s the black Universal Shade pencil that you really need to own. If you’ve ever been intrigued by a sheer purple lipstick, or if you’ve ever been tempted to try Clinique’s classic Black Honey, get this one instead — you won’t be disappointed. 

Availability: $15 USD/CAD at The Body Shop. Permanent.

Keep reading! »

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 »

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