#StopJunkface with Neutrogena

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I can’t tell if this is a joke or not (it has to be a joke, right??), but this is definitely the weirdest infographic that has ever landed in my inbox.

Stop Junkface

Neutrogena is officially losing it, you guys. This is an ad campaign so far from Dove’s Men + Care that it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that they’re even part of the same market; one that’s so unlike an Axe commercial that I can’t see how on earth they could appeal to the same customer.

But I cannot tell you enough how happy I am to see an ad campaign that focuses on being ridiculous rather than relying on sex appeal. And this is really, really ridiculous — but, well, it certainly got my attention.

Video under the cut.

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Beautycounter Rose, Currant Lip Sheer swatches; Lustro Body Oil review

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beautycounter review Lustro, Lip Tint

The products: Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus and Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant

I’m not the kind of reviewer that looks at a luxury price tag, goes “well, you’re paying for exclusivity,” and then ignores it. I can see why some people are, and that’s totally cool with me, but, well: I’m not. If a brand is going to charge luxury prices, it better give me a darn good reason as to why someone should make the splurge – and if they’re going to talk about how ingredient-focused they are, they better earn the right.

Beautycounter Lustro body oil review

Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus ($68 USD/80 ml)

As a dry-skinned girl who can’t use most moisturizers due to their silicone content, I’m a big, big fan of body oils. Which is why this Beautycounter oil was such a big surprise for me — because I didn’t love it. Like, at all. 

While Rosemary + Citrus‘ jojoba-based formula feels great and hydrates well (without an ounce of oiliness left behind on your now baby-soft skin), the scent just didn’t do it for me – and the smooth glass bottle felt like it was slipping to its death every time I pressed the pump.

Beautycounter Body Oil review Lustro Rosemary Citrus

Beautycounter Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary + Citrus

For $25/oz (Osmia’s gorgeous body oils are only $11/oz), a product shouldn’t be a struggle, you know? And it should smell awesome, not like a kitchen window basket full of roast-appropriate herbs. (My boyfriend described this one as “something you’d pick up at a Canadian Tire” — nice, but not expensive. Sort of like a citronella candle.)

If you love jasmine-scented products, they offer a jasmine-scented alternative; however, it has a jojoba/grapeseed/rosehip base, rather than jojoba/sweet almond/meadowfoam. As pretty and light-feeling as it is, I have to recommend that you pass on this one.

Lustro Rosemary + Citrus Body Oil ingredients

Golden Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil*, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Virgin Grapeseed Oil*, Rosehip Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Marula Oil*, Virgin Argan Nut Oil*, Rose Otto Oil, Apricot Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Rosemary Oil.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer review swatches Rose Currant

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant ($28 USD/each)

Like the Lustro Body Oil, the first Lip Sheer I tried put my nerves on edge, too. Despite being described as a creme finish, Rose has particles of hidden gold shimmer in it, and while the colour was really pretty, the shimmer is noticeable on my lips — not a deal-breaker, but I’m kind of bummed that the brand describes it as a creme finish.

Beautycounter Rose lip sheer

Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant — see the shimmer that was hiding in there?

Currant, however, is shimmer-free… and it’s awesome. The Beautycounter Lip Sheer formula is really comfortable and hydrating, with a naturally-sourced vanilla scent and a good amount of pigment. If I had to pick one Beautycounter product to recommend, it would definitely be this one – they feel gorgeously heavy and balmy, and the packaging is divine. (According to brand rep Anna Vig, only Rose and Petal have shimmer, and it’s less noticeable in the latter!)

Also nice to note is that the line’s Lip Sheers rate an EWG Skin Deep rating of 1 (aka “super safe”), which is great when it comes to lip products — we end up ingesting a pretty gross amount of them, after all.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer ingredients

Diisotearyl Malate, Jojoba Esters, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Castor Seed Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Calcium Sodium Borosilcate, Candelilla Wax, Carnuba Wax, Tin Oxide. +/- Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 5 Lake, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Blue 1 Lake.

Beautycounter Currant Rose swatches

Beautycounter Lip Sheer swatches - Rose (L) and Currant (R)

Beautycounter Rose Currant Lip Sheer swatches

L-R: Beautycounter Lip Sheers in Rose and Currant, swatched

The verdict?

I love the idea of a brand that focuses on its ingredients, but Beautycounter seems to focus more on profit than product. Upon closer inspection, all of their pricy-but-beautiful face oils feature the same formula (differing only in fragrance), and their lazily-fragranced body oil runs at almost double the cost per ounce than beautifully scented oils by brands like L’Occitane, Caudalie, and Clarins. For an all-natural body oil, I would opt instead for one by Osmia Organics – their packaging is easier to use, and each scent is beautifully crafted.

That said, I did really like how hydrating, comfortable, and safe the Beautycounter Lip Sheers are. I found swatches of all six shades on Our Wanderlust (Petal, Twig, and Coral caught my eye!), and I think they’d make a wonderful “splurge” lip product — they’re gorgeously packaged, have a great formula, and come in a beautiful range of shades.

Availability: These items were sent in for review by superstar brand rep Anna Vig, who has been unbelievably helpful and friendly. If you’re going to indulge in a Lip Sheer, I would definitely encourage you to shop her storefront here!

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Neutrogena summer sunscreen roundup & mini reviews

Monday, June 23, 2014

Neutrogena sunscreen roundup 2014

Let’s talk sunscreen. It’s not something I do often, but it is something that’s really important to pay attention to – especially in this day and age.

I have a couple silicone-free sunscreen reviews coming up this summer, but for now, here are a few drugstore sunscreen options from Neutrogena. Drugstore sunscreens aren’t always the most elegant option, but I’ve always favoured them over high-end ones: with their low price tag, it’s easier to use the full amount needed with each application. (That’s about a quarter-sized dollop for the face, and a shot-glass-sized portion for the body!)

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer ($12.99 CAD & up)

The Ultra Sheer line was, I kid you not, the very first sunscreen range I fell in love with. Their sweat-proof, matte-finish Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen feels noticeable but matte on the skin — not shiny and greasy, the way the sunscreens of our youth were. You can now get the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen in SPF 45, 30, 60, and 110, or the Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen in SPF 30, 45, and 60 ($16.99 CAD).

Neutrogena sunscreen

Neutrogena Clear Face ($12.49 CAD & up)

Available in SPF 30 and 60, Clear Face is designed not to cause breakouts. It’s oil-free and fragrance-free, and while it’s heavy on the ‘cones, it happens to be formulated without parabens. I had M test this out for me for a couple of days (it has ‘cones in the formula), and he thought it was considerably better than the Dry Touch formula — in comparison, he said, the Ultra Sheer Dry Touch felt greasy!

Neutrogena Beach Defence ($13.49 CAD & up)

Available in SPF 30 and SPF 60 (go for the 60!), Beach Defence is made to be water and sweat-resistant, with a “light, summery fragrance.” (It kind of reminds me of L’Oreal Kids’ shampoo — you know, no more tears?)

The Beach Defence line is available in both lotion and ‘cone-free spray form (make sure to spray a lot if you go with the spray — I find you always need more than you think  you do!), but note that the adult & child versions are the exact same product, just with a different label.

Neutrogena Water Light, Beach Defence

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water-Light ($16.99 CAD)

New this season, the SPF 60 Water-Light sunscreen is designed to be a lightweight liquid lotion for the face. Depending on where you are (and what’s already sold out), you might see a few similar-but-different sunscreens from Neutrogena on shelves as well: the mineral Pure & Free Liquid SPF 50 sunscreen (Eye Heart It has a great mini-review of this), Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70, or Ultra Sheer Waterlight tinted sunscreens (Asia-only).

I also had M test this one out for us, and this was his favourite of the three he tried. He described it as being really comfortable and lightweight for a sunscreen (though it couldn’t pass for a moisturizer), but noted its strong, “hospitally” scent and extremely liquid texture — drippier and easier to spill than the Clear Face formula, but also easier to spread out.

Clarisonic x theNotice: Taking the Mia 2 for a test drive

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clarisonic Mia 2 review

The Clarisonic Mia 2 in Ipanema

When beauty bloggers talk skin care products, the one skin care gadget you’re guaranteed to hear about is the Clarisonic. I’ve been reading rave reviews about the skin care line since its launch in 2004, but to be honest, I never really thought it was for me.

With my sensitive skin and barely-there skin care routine, I’m not exactly who you’d think of as a prime candidate for a tool like this one. But when Clarisonic asked me if I was willing to try out a Mia 2 for seven days and report back, I had to accept the challenge – in the name of science, of course.

Clarisonic sensitive brush head review

The Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head (I’d recommend buying the Delicate one for sensitive skin!)

As it turns out, the Clarisonic isn’t really what I thought it would be: it’s better. The Mia 2 fits comfortably into my hands, and like the rest of the Clarisonic line, it works on sonic technology rather than rotating brush heads – which, given the name, I really should have guessed. According to the brand, their unique sonic cleansing technology produces over 300 movements a second and uses the flexing action created between the outer and inner brushes to remove impurities from deep within the pores for clear, glowing skin.

Clarisonic Mia in use 2

I have seen the cleansing light

It’s this sonic action that not only gets the pores really, really clean (which is why so many people with acne-prone or oily skin swear by their Clarisonic), but also preps the skin, making face serums, anti aging creams and tinted moisturizers more effective. This is what I’ll mainly be testing: up close, my skin has flaky patches and can be paper-rough, so I’m hoping my results will include softer, more glowing skin.

Clarisonic pLink charger

The pLink charger, attached

The Mia 2 comes in a number of colours – this one is Ipanema – and charges with a cute, magnetic “pLink” charger. It’s waterproof and has two speed settings for normal and sensitive skin. The Mia 2 can be used morning and night on a wet face with any type of cleanser, foaming or milk, and holds a charge for 20 to 30 uses.

This post was sponsored by Clarisonic in association with Elle Canada. All of the opinions in this post are my own — I can now be found happily cleansing my face most nights, chirruping “pLink!” like an excited squirrel whenever the urge takes me. 

Mika for Shu: Cleansing Oils in POREfinist, Whitefficient, and Anti/Oxi reviews, photos | Summer 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

mika for shu skin purifier cleansing oil collection

The products: mika for shu shu uemura skin purifier cleansing oils (450 ml/14.2 fl. oz.)

   ↳ POREfinist (anti-shine/pink), whitefficient (brightening/blue), and Anti/Oxi (anti-dullness/green)

Available this spring from Shu Uemura is the Mika for Shu collection, which features artwork by photographer and director Mika Ninagawa. It’s her third collection with Shu Uemura (the other two launched in 2008 and 2011), and this time, she highlights the line’s iconic false eyelashes and lipsticks, telling a tale with images of butterflies and the idea of a “wonderland fairy tale adventure.”

In addition to these three, the Shu Uemura ultime8 cleansing oil (reviewed here) is also available in limited edition Mika for Shu packaging ($98 CAD).

mika for shu uemura summer 2014 reviews - cleansing oils

POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil ($82 CAD/regular packaging)

I’ve always referred to Shu’s cleansing oils by their colours rather than their names – the latter tend to be quite lengthy, and can be rather confusing. The pink POREfinist/Fresh cleansing oil is made to be the most lightweight of the Shu Uemura Skin Purifiers, and as such, it’s ideal for normal to oily and acne-prone skin. 

mika for shu uemura POREfinist fresh cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura POREfinist skin purifier cleansing oil

This pink cleansing oil is formulated with cinnamon bark extract to regulate oil production and remove blackheads, and features a bright, floral scent wrapped in Mika’s “Melting Sweet Dream” artwork. Of all of the Shu Uemura cleansing oils, this is definitely one of my favourite fragrances.

The shu uemura Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil ingredients (copied from the back of the box — for some reason, the ingredients on the site don’t line up.)

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicrapate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tocopherol, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinesis Oil, Methoxypropanediol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil, Caprylol Salicylic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Prunus Cerasus Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylancium Extract, Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu fresh cleansing oil skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “melting sweet dream” artwork

whitefficient clear brightening gentle cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

Detailed with Mika Ninagawa’s “Curiosity” print, which was created around the idea of an enchanted carnival, the blue Whitefficient cleansing oil smells quite fresh — it reminds me of a clean-smelling men’s cologne, actually, and is my second-favourite cleansing oil in terms of scent (behind the pink POREfinist, above).

mika for shu uemura whitefficient brightening gentle cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura Whitefficient skin purifier cleansing oil

While I’m not a fan of whitening products (as I’m sure you all know), the specifications of this one actually focus on brightening, not whitening. Again, the Whitefficient formula is made to feel lightweight, and removes dead skin cells to remedy a dull complexion.

However, this formula also features whitening ceramides, white algae, vitamin C, and prune extract to prevent melanin accumulation in the dermis — which is great for brightening and evening out the complexion, but hopefully won’t perpetuate the “whiter is better!” idea too strongly.

The shu uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil ingredients:

Paraffinum Liquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Isohexadecane, Peg-20 Glyceryl, Triisostearate, Aqua, Tocopheryl, Acetate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Isopropyl Myristate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Benzyl Salicylate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Sodium Ydroxide, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Vaccinum Myrtillus Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract, Acer Saccharnum Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu whitefficient brightening skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “curiosity” artwork

anti/oxi skin refining anti-dullness cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

The last cleansing oil I have to share with you today is Shu’s Anti/Oxi formulation, in Mika’s “Singing Forest” imagery. I already have a full review of the Anti/Oxi cleansing oil up here, but in short: tinted green and made to combat pollution, it smells the earthiest of all of Shu’s oils.

mika for shu uemura anti-oxi skin refining cleansing oil

Keep reading! »

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