LUSH Valentine’s Day 2016 reviews, photos: The Kiss, Prince Charming, Unicorn Horn

Monday, February 8, 2016

LUSH Valentine's Day 2016 review

The products: LUSH The Kiss Lip Gloss and Lip Scrub, Prince Charming Shower Cream, and Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar

Lush has six pretty-in-pink, limited edition launches out for Valentine’s Day this year, and like they did with their fruity holiday releases, they’ve subverted expectations juuust a little bit with pomegranate and mandarin scented products. (Don’t worry, there are a few rose-scented ones as well, for all of us traditionalists.)

I tried out three of them and photographed one more, but I have to admit: my heart’s just not in it this year.

LUSH The Kiss Lipgloss swatch review

The Kiss Lip Gloss ($8.95 CAD) and Lip Scrub ($9.95 CAD)

Lush’s product page for The Kiss Lip Gloss leads you to believe that it’ll leave your lips shiny and pink, but while I do actually like this balm, it’s just that: a balm. It’s relatively hydrating and completely transparent, with a sheer, frosty shimmer finish and a scent that reminds me (and the others that I’ve asked) more of bubblegum than citrus. It’s not shiny, and it’s not pigmented, much less glossy and opaque (as it’s swatched on the Lush site.)

LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub review

The Kiss comes in Lip Scrub format as well, and its twinkling pink sugar bits and edible red hearts had my hopes up high. But, like the last Lush scrub I tried, this one left my skin over-scrubbed and raw, and even though it’s described clearly as a “caster sugar scrub,” it’s half salt sea salt — so when you take Lush’s advice and lick up the excess, you end up with a very literal bitter, salty mouthful of disappointment. 

I have loved Lush’s lip products in the past, but these ones just aren’t working for me at all.

LUSH Prince Charming, The Kiss review swatches

The Kiss Lip Gloss swatch (yes, really), The Kiss Lip Scrub, and Prince Charming Shower Cream x2

LUSH Prince Charming Shower Cream review stain

Prince Charming Shower Cream ($9.95 CAD)

You’re killin’ me, Lush. You guys make some seriously awesome products (I’ve got, like, two measly uses of Gorgeous left and it makes me want to cry), and then there’s… this business.

For a company that prides itself on its natural, eco-friendly image, it’s weird to me that Lush keeps making all of these practically fluorescent Shower Creams. Like Lord of Misrule, Prince Charming can and will stain you and your shower, so watch out.

I get synthetic pomegranate & vanilla notes from this one, and while it does leave my skin feeling lovely and soft, that’s no excuse for staining. It performs more ore less okay under the spray of the shower, but if you apply this to dry skin, it WILL stain you pink with a vengeance.

So stop it, Lush. Seriously. No one else ever even has this problem.

LUSH Unicorn Horn Bath Bomb review photos

Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar ($7.95 CAD)

It turns out I still hate baths, so I can’t really tell you anything about the Lush Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar except LOOK, YOU GUYS. IT IS A RAINBOW UNICORN HORN AND IT IS COVERED IN GLITTER.

You need. Hell, I need, and I already have one. I wonder if I could tolerate a bath if I could convince boyfriend to sterilize the tub for me beforehand…

(Good for foaming up two baths, or for a single evening of super-plush lavender, ylang ylang, and neroli dreams.)

LUSH Unicorn Horn review photos

The verdict?

I loved that LUSH gave us something a little different this year, with pink products that don’t smell like roses, cocoa, or vanilla, but honestly… I’m a fan of the classics.

None of these products really “spoke” to me (well, aside from the unicorn horn, but who doesn’t that speak to), and love the idea of gifting your darling a bar of Roses All the Way Soap, or surprising them with a massage with of Lush’s classic massage bars. (I have Tender is the Night, which by some miracle still hasn’t gone bad, and I LOVE it.) I say skip the Lush Valentine’s Day launches this year, folks, and go with a tried-and-true from the brand instead.

Available: Limited edition at Lush stores and Lush.ca while supplies last!

Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil review & giveaway

Friday, February 5, 2016

Palmer's giveaway trio

The products: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil, Soothing Oil for Dry, Itchy Skin, and… like, maybe the Daily Skin Therapy?

Finding an afforadable body moisturizer that’s silicone-free can be a really hard task, so when Palmer’s offered to send me a few of their products to try, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t end up being able to use the spray-oil or lotion (both contain ‘cones), but it was nice to see such a cohesive line of products!

The oil for expectant mothers, which is made with cocoa butter, Vitamin E, Collagen, and Lecithin, is designed to soothe dry, itchy skin. It comes in a spray format, which I think is great — if you’re carrying around an entire little human being in your body, companies SHOULD be making easy-application products for you!

Palmer's Soothing Body Oil pregnancy review

Palmer's cocoa butter lotion review

The thing about Palmer’s names: The lotion was the other product that I couldn’t use, but what really cracks me up about it is how HARD it is to figure out what this product actually is.

The packaging has ten million descriptors on it (24 hour moisture, for softening and smoothing, contains vitamin E…), but I tried my best to find a concrete product name on it, and I couldn’t find one for the life of me!

Palmer's Moisturizing Body Oil review

Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil: Finally, the product that I did get to fall in love with was the brand’s Moisturizing Body Oil. It’s scented of cocoa butter, but it’s the Palmer’s cocoa butter scent, so it’s a little bit powdery and very recognizable (in a gold way!)

This oil is great because it’s so lightweight and fast-absorbing. I need to alternate with something a little heavier in the winter, but it’s wonderfully easy to apply and doesn’t leave your hands or clothes greasy at all! And I mean, okay, so it’s not the only lightweight body oil out there — but it’s definitely the only super fast absorbing one under $20 that I’ve ever tried.

Which, well. ‘Cone-free stuff can be seriously expensive, you guys, and bodies are so big. You’ve gotta pinch pennies where you can!

Palmer's cocoa butter review giveaway

The giveaway

I absolutely love my bottle of Moisturizing Body Oil (it’s the most economical “finished” oil that I own, and definitely the least greasy), so I’m super excited to be giving away a Palmer’s trio to one lucky reader!

To enter, just click on the widget below. This giveaway is open to all Canadian residents (yes, even if you live in Quebec!) and will close on February 14th at 11:59 PM MST. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean cleanser review, photos

Monday, February 1, 2016

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Cleanser

The product: SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Pore-Refining Gel Cleanser

The thing about SkinCeuticals’ Simply Clean cleanser is that it shouldn’t work for me… but it does. It’s everything that my skin usually hates, from the texture (gel instead of milk) to the target audience (oily instead of dry and sensitive).

But despite all that stuff, Simply Clean works wonders on my skin. I’m not sure how, but if I had to guess, I’d say probably magic. Maybe a crossroads deal; maybe a regular, ritualistic sacrifice. There are probably goats involved or something.

SkinCuticals square

The formula: SkinCeuticals’ products are all formulated with the philosophy of “prevention, protection, and correction,” (AKA science! Science! Science!) and their cleansers are no exception. Simply Clean is formulated with a hydroxy acid blend to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, smoothing out rough texture and removing excess oils.

It’s made for people with oily/combination skin and great for those with acne, but it was recommended as part of my skincare regimen because some of my pores can get a little clogged. My skin specialist told me that it (unlike the brand’s Purifying Cleanser) would help gently lift the dead skin cells from my skin without requiring more treatment products or physical exfoliation, which my super-dry skin often needs help with.

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Cleanser review oily skin

The results: My skin burns in response to a good 70% of the non-milk cleansers that I try, but this one caused no reaction, even after weeks of testing. It still delivers a totally makeup-free, squeaky-clean result, and I’ve been really happy with it so far.

I feel like I’ve seen less surprise breakouts and milia since I started using Simply Clean every night, and even though it isn’t the line’s gentlest cleanser, it’s really non-reactive. It’s my only squeaky-clean cleanser that I can comfortably use, and that’s honestly such a novelty for me that I look forward to using this stuff every night!

(Yeah, the Friday nights around here are really wild.)

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Cleanser combination gel skin review

The verdict?

Simply Clean is a simple, no-nonsense cleanser that will gently exfoliate while cleansing and removing makeup. It’s best for oilier skin types, but it works well for anyone with clogged pores — yes, even us dry-skinned folk.

I’d skip it if you want conditioning agents in your cleanser, or if you have sensitive skin that isn’t clogged (in which case, the SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser would probably suit your skin better.) Overall, however, I am very, very impressed with this little dude! I know that cleansers are kind of boring, but this one performs so well that it’s my favourite product from the line — and the SkinCeuticals range is far from underwhelming.

(Reviews of SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, Emollience Moisturizer, and Serum 10 upcoming.)

Availability: $34 USD/$39.50 CAD though dermatologist’s offices (see the SkinCeuticals site to find the one closest to you). Available online at SkinCeuticals, DermStore, SkinStore, and SkinCareRX!

Keep reading! »

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm review, photos, comparison

Friday, January 29, 2016

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm review

The product: Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

In the world of high-end lip balms, there are few names that are muttered as frequently or as reverently as Rêve de Miel. This dense, potted lip balm has been an iconic product for more than twenty years, and despite the hundreds of lip balms that have launched since then, it remains the go-to lip balm recommendation for many.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

The formula: The Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm is scented with honey and grapefruit, and smells comforting without smelling sticky-sweet (as I find many honey-scented products do). But what makes it so special is its texture.

I expected this lip balm to be waxy and hard, like my other favourite potted lip balms, but I couldn’t have been farther off the mark. Instead, it’s soft but dense, almost like a bowl of frosting that contains too much icing sugar — it’s mouldable and not at all sticky.

Nuxe Reve de Miel review photos

Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm texture

The wear: This stuff is lovely. It lingers throughout the night, forming a thick, protective layer over your lips and doing a great job of keeping moisture in.

It’s also soft enough that you can use it to treat other dry areas of skin (Nuxe actually recommends it), but I haven’t given this a go — the formula is full of silicones, and I think it may be breaking me out as it is. (Since I started testing it, I’ve been getting a recurrent blemish juuuust along my hairline in the very spot that my lip balm finger touches my face when I brush my hair back. Nowhere else!)

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm review texture comparison scent

The verdict?

It took me far too long to try this lip balm, but my opinion of it is clear: I’m a fan.

I am a fan, however, with reservations. If you’re sensitive to silicones, then I wouldn’t recommend this one for you; likewise, if you’re on a budget, I would try a different potted lip balm. This one preforms on par with or just slightly under the Osmia Organics and Bobbi Brown lip balms that I love, but due to its super-soft texture, a $17 pot won’t last you nearly as long.

However: that soft texture, created undoubtedly by waxes and oils suspended in silicones, is exactly why I would recommend this one as my #1 lip balm for dryness in combination with ageing skin. Its formula has virtually no drag, unlike the others that I have listed above, and will be far more gentle on your lips and lip contour area — a definite plus for many!

Availability: $19 USD/$17 CAD (!) at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Scarlet & Julia, Target (US), and Birchbox (US/Canada).

Keep reading! »

Fountain The Super Green, Hyaluronic Molecule review & photos

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fountain The Hyaluronic Molecule beauty supplement review

The products: Deciem Fountain 02 The Hyaluronic Molecule, 03 The Super Green Molecule

One of my resolutions for 2016 was to cover more indie brands & weird beauty finds, so today, I thought I’d talk about Deciem’s super-cool liquid supplements.

Beauty drinks aren’t a big thing here in North America, but they’re all over the place in Asia. You can take everything from collagen to sheep placenta (yes, really) in capsule, liquid, or even jelly form, and they’re all designed to make you prettier/plumper/smoother/etc. from the inside out.

Deciem’s Fountain range contains everything from Vitamin B12 to resveratrol, and all of the supplements are sweetened with xylitol, so you don’t have to worry about adding sugary syrups to your morning juice or water! (I push Xyla candy like they’re drugs. Cheap drugs. Drugs that are good for your teeth).

Fountain The Hyaluronic Molecule review

The Hyaluronic Molecule ($38 CAD)

The first “molecule” that I tried was the brand’s Hyaluronic Molecule, and honestly, it was a weird experience. It’s really thick and viscous, like slime or phlegm or (according to my cousin) semen, which is a texture that you don’t want to see in a product ever.

Texture aside (once diluted with a full glass of water or juice, you honestly don’t notice it at all), this stuff is pretty darn cool. It contains the only water-soluble, bioavailable hyaluronic acid supplement on the market, and it contains a lot of it: 130mg per serving, which is actually why it’s so goopy.

Deciem Fountain The Hyaluronic Molecule review

“With tequila” is probably not how the Fountain supplements were designed to be taken.

The Hyaluronic Molecule is also vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, and it’s said to make your skin softer and smoother, keep your joints mobile, and (again: yes, really) keep your eyes lubricated. Like any other supplement, though, I can’t say for sure if it’s really working, but I do like it. I know that it should be working, and I like the subtle ginger flavour, and that’s enough for me.

(If ginger isn’t your thing, Deciem also make a Fountain 10X Hyaluronic Molecule ($60 CAD), which is Jasmine Silver Tea flavoured!)

Deciem Fountain The Super Green Molecule review

The Super Green Molecule ($28 CAD)

I’m currently taking The Super Green Molecule on days that I don’t eat my veggies (which, for the record, is totally not recommended by Deciem/Fountain), and I am loving this one.

The Super Green Molecule is very liquidy, very green, and kiwi flavoured. The deep green colour of this stuff makes me feel so healthy when I take it, and I know it’s no substitute for actual vegetables, but it’s better than nothing, okay? I mean, a single teaspoon of this stuff contains as much chlorophyll as SIX bowls of dark, organic leafy greens.

This Fountain of Youth supplement is also enriched with vitamins and minerals from sea kelp, and all of that colour comes from alfalfa-derived sodium copper chlorophyllin, which is a readily bioavailable form of chlorophyll that green gurus love for its ability to control body odour, help your body process out toxins, fight off yeast infections, and promote healthy iron levels.

Plus, I mean, The Super Green is super tasty.

Fountain The Super Green Molecule review

The verdict?

You can never be sure what you’re actually getting when it comes to holistic products, but if I had to pick a cosmetic company that I trusted not to trick me into eating ants, it would be Deciem. They didn’t cut corners on these guys one bit, and it really shows: The Hyaluronic Molecule is literally full of so much bioavailable hyaluronic acid that it’s noticeably thick, and The Super Green Molecule is full of so much chlorophyllin that it’ll stain your tongue if you don’t dilute it first.

I’m not recommending these as a food or drug, but as a cosmetic adjunct to your routine, they’re quite nice. I say start with The Super Green Molecule and go from there!

Availability: $28 CAD & up at Fountain.co, which uses Deciem’s universal shopping cart (so you can buy your Hylamide at the same time!) and ships for FREE worldwide.

Keep reading! »

Salcura DermaSpray, Hand Therapy, Shampoo/Conditioner reviews & GIVEAWAY!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Salcura Bioskin DermaSpray review

The products: Salcura Bioskin DermaSpray, Autumn Skin Awakening Hand Therapy, Winter Skin Warming Hand Therapy, and Sensitive & Dry Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner

Do you ever feel like Europe gets all of the best eczema/dry skin/pharmacy brands? I always have — I mean, just look at things like E45, Embryolisse, and Oilatum.

I have another brand for you guys to add to that list today: Salcura. They’re a (mostly, like 98%) natural brand that uses no SLS, parabens, silicones, mineral oil, etc., and they focus on providing gentle, hydrating care for people with dry skin conditions.

Salcura shampoo conditioner review photos

Salcura Sensitive & Dry Scalp Conditioner & Shampoo (£8.99 each)

What I thought was really cool about the Salcura line is that not only do they aim to treat dry skin on the body, but they have a couple products for people with dermatitis of the scalp, too. Their Sensitive & Dry Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner duo is rich in omega oils and super gentle on the hair, and my dry scalp has been loving them.

With regular use of this duo, I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in how peel-y and dry my scalp is — so much so that if I use a different shampoo (even a different one made for dry hair) for a day, I’ll notice more dry flakes and flyaway hair immediately.

I find that I have to use a little more product than usual with this shampoo, but I can good a good foam going if I do. Both products smell a little oily (think grapeseed, not canola), but they leave my hair and scalp looking and feeling super hydrated.

Salcura DermaSpray review photos

Salcura Bioskin DermaSpray (£16.99)

Another super cool product from Salcura is their DermaSpray, which is made for daily use on itchy skin. Made with labender, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils, this spray is milky and watery — it provides instant soothing with no oiliness (I can even spray it onto my scalp and my hair looks fine).

I didn’t see strong results with this one on my problem areas, but this spray would be awesome for someone with normal skin who wants totally weightless, easy moisture OR for someone with dry skin (like me!) who is planning on layering it with another moisturizer.

Salcura Winter Skin therapy review hand cream

Salcura Autumn & Winter Hand Therapy Creams (£12.99 each)

Even more exciting than Salcura’s spray and haircare range, though, are their hand creams. I tried the Winter Skin Warming Hand Therapy, which doesn’t actually warm your hands and smells very strongly of ginger oil (one of my least favourite smell so, I’ve since discovered), and the Autumn Skin Awakening Hand a Therapy, which on the other hand was the BEST thing that I’ve ever smelled. 

Salcura says that their autumn scent comes from freesia and pear, and while I can’t pull any distinct notes from it, I can tell you that it smells great. It’s floral, juicy, and fruity, with a scent that lingers and gives me serious heart-eyes all throughout the day.

The formula of Autumn Skin is awesome, too — it’s almost airy, but it’s very creamy, too. It’s quite hydrating (more hydrating than L’Occitane, Neutrogena, or Lush), with a silky, non-greasy finish. 

Salcura Autumn Skin therapy review hand cream

I told the kind folks at Salcura about how much I loved the Autumn Skin Awakening Hand Therapy, and they offered to send one reader not just the Autumn hand cream, but all four seasons! So: please use the giveaway widget below to enter to win FOUR awesome hand creams that are silicone, phthalate, and paraben-free. ;)

The giveaway will be open until Sunday, January 31st at 11:59 PM MST. Good luck, you guys — you’re going to LOVE these!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The verdict?

If you have eczema on your scalp, you need to give Salcura a try. I saw the best results when I used all three of their hair-appropriate products together, but if you love your current shampoo and conditioner, even just adding their DermaSpray to your morning routine will help a ton.

I also think their Autumn Skin hand cream is a must, although I’d take a pass on Winter if you’re making an order!

Availability: You can find Salcura at Boots, Whole Foods, and salcuraskincare.com.

Keep reading! »

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