Osmia Organics Oh So Soap & Tea Bath review, photos | The boy reviews!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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The product: Osmia Organics Oh So Soap and Organic Tea Bath

Today on theNotice, I have a very special surprise for you, dear reader: a review by M. I really wanted to highlight a few products for eczema and psoriasis (Mathew has the latter) this winter, and as someone who hates baths–his words, not mine, though true–I thought you guys might enjoy someone else’s perspective on things for a change.

So, I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope you like the pretty pictures! (How good is that tea bath one??!)

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath review

The Osmia Organic Tea Bath ($45 USD)

The Organic Tea Bath comes pre-portioned in six satisfyingly large cloth tea bags with cotton drawstrings. The tea’s scent is subtle and bright; sharp spearmint notes are balanced by sweet chamomile while dry. Add hot water to reveal a strong citrus element, most likely from the orange peel. The combination is pleasing, if a touch mild. The Organic Tea Bath’s scent is without the usual synthetic sheen I have come to associate with bath products, and for this, I am grateful. [ R: Oops. That's probably because I keep giving him LUSH to try. ]

When “steeped”, the bags turn the water a surprisingly opaque chamomile yellow. (I recommend holding each tea bag under the faucet as you draw your bath for best results.) After bathing, I find that the tea leaves my skin feeling much softer and less dry than it generally would be, especially if I’m in the tub for a while — but though the tea bath is very soothing while I’m in the bath, the results don’t translate into the next day. That said, these are great for anyone who enjoys a cozy winter bath but might be too lazy to moisturize after, or anyone who takes ludicrously long baths like me but doesn’t want to dry out!

–their skin. Who doesn’t want to dry out their skin.

Osmia Organics Tea Bath review sachet photo

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath

Does it work? Though tea (especially herbal tea) is usually steeped at much higher temperatures than is appropriate for a bath, the organic ingredients used here–like rose, calendula, and bitter orange–are paired with tried-and-true remedies for dry skin, including epsom salt and rolled oats. Each bag is good for 1-2 soothing baths (3 is stretching it), but I found the process of drying out the large sachets to be rather difficult. Those worried about cleanliness can rest easy knowing that this tea bath left only a very fine film in the tub, which rinsed out easily after use.

Osmia Organics’ Oh So Soap ($12 USD)

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap review

Osmia’s Oh So Soap has been a wonderful surprise. The elegance of the bar’s woven top is reflected in its ingredient list, which contains only saponified organic oils and butters, African pearl salt, and buttermilk powder. This velvety soap would suit the most sensitive of the sensitive, yet it still leaves you feeling clean. It’s great both on the face and body, and is unlikely to offend anyone as it contains no fragrance or essential oils.

Overall, I found Oh So Soap to be far less drying than regular bar soap, and I really liked how gentle it was. It never left my skin feeling dry or squeaky-clean, but rather like it had been magically cleaned without any soap at all. Hands down, it is the best soap I have ever used.

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap gentle dry skin review

M’s verdict?

While neither of these products made a distinct improvement on my psoriasis, I can say that they were a pleasure to use, especially in the winter. On the whole, they were very gentle on sensitive skin, and far less stripping than other soaps and bath products I have used in the past — both in the bath and coming out of it.

The Oh So Soap in particular was especially luscious, and delightfully simple — I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have very delicate or dry skin. (It is also, as Osmia Organics so succinctly puts it, “perfect for babies, even fresh ones.”)

Availability: $12 USD-$45 USD at Osmia Organics.

L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil review, photos | The kind of oil that… isn’t

Thursday, November 20, 2014

L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil review photos

The product: L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil (from the Immortelle range)

L’Occitane’s Divine Youth Oil reminds me a lot of the Argentum Apothicary moisturizer that I reviewed last month — but with a few important differences. First, the similarities: it’s a high-end anti-ageing moisturizer that smells amazing, with plenty of natural ingredients and a beautiful, velvety finish.

But now, the differences: at less than half the price, L’Occitane’s oil is twice as moisturizing, far more comfortable to use, and may smell even better.

L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil

Don’t cut my content

My biggest pet peeve with high-end oils and serums is when companies dilute their product with fillers to cut down on production costs — things like mineral oil, ‘cones, and plain old water. When you buy an oil (and this one’s $100/30 ml), there’s an unspoken agreement that what you’re getting is more concentrated, and that you’re paying for a product that hasn’t been stretched out already.

But though this oil is very obviously cut with caprylic/capric triglyceride… I find it hard to care. Caprylic/capric triglycerides (which you may know as liquid coconut oil) are one of my favourite skincare ingredients out there, and in the case of this oil — I think they do wonders for the formula.

L'Occitane Immortelle oil review Divine Youth

What makes this one special

Unlike other oils that you may have tried, the triglyceride content of this one means that it both feels dry to the touch and sinks in instantly. A blend of seven oils–including borage, evening primrose, sea buckthorn, and rosehip–with Corsican immortelle essential oil and caprylic/capric triglycerides, this oil is incredibly lightweight and leaves my skin with the most gorgeous velvety finish, even when I mix it with my super-heavy, super-oily German Nivea.

It smells amazing; mouthwatering and fruity (a scent that I’m told is unique to the L’Occitane Divine Immortelle range), and a little goes a long way: for my terrifyingly-dry skin, I use 5-7 drops, but for normal to oily skin, a single drop will do.

L'Occitane Immortelle Oil review

The verdict?

While I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with dehydrated or extremely dry skin, for anyone else: you neeeeed this. This oil not only feels and smells amazing, but it leaves my skin looking velvety and clear (without any fancy primers or powders). It’s kind of like an oil that isn’t, which I think will appeal to both facial oil users and heathens everyone else.

Availability: $96 USD/$100 CAD at L’Occitane boutiques & online. Buy it!!

Keep reading! »

eos Sweet Mint, Summer Fruit, and Blueberry Acai lip balm reviews, photos | The best lip balm under $5

Thursday, November 6, 2014

eos-smooth-sphere-lip-balm-review

The product: eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Sweet Mint, Summer Fruit, and Blueberry Açai

I don’t typically re-review products, but in the case of eos’ Smooth Sphere Lip Balms, I think I have to change my tune.

When I reviewed these the first time around, I focused on Honeydew Melon — which, as it turns out, is kind of the runt of the litter, scent-wise. But I’ve been leaning on these since my Beautycounter review in June, and they’ve really stepped up to the plate: the 95% organic, 100% natural formula doesn’t make me feel so bad about how much lip balm I probably ingest, and they do their job when it comes to keeping my lips hydrated from day to day.

I have a whole friggin’ bunch of these, but here: these are my three favourites of the moment.

eos sweet mint smooth sphere review

eos smooth sphere lip balm in sweet mint

Sweet Mint

What really started off my current Smooth Sphere obsession is the line’s Sweet Mint variation. No less hydrating than its fruity counterparts, Sweet Mint is, well, both extremely minty and (like all eos lip balms!) sweetened with all-natural stevia. It’s thinner and more slippery than a Burt’s Bees lip balm, with a different peppermint scent — it’s sweeter, and smells less like peppermint patties.

The thing about Sweet Mint, however, is that it goes bad really fast. I’ve gone through two of these so far, and I find that they can only make it through one summer before starting to smell “off” — despite the fact that I’ve had other eos balms for twice as long (or longer). At this price, I’ll keep re-buying anyways, but it’s worth noting.

(Also available in stick form!)

eos Sweet Mint lip balm ingredients:

Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Peppermint Oil, Shea Butter, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Tocopherol, Limonene, Linalool.

eos summer fruit lip balm review

eos smooth sphere lip balm in summer fruit

Summer Fruit

As much as I love Sweet Mint, I have to admit: it’s not an ideal choice for irritated lips. So, on days when my lips are really raw, or when I’m just hankering for something sweet, I’ve been turning to Summer Fruit. Its scent is hard to describe (it’s a blend), but “summer fruit” is a pretty good way to put it.

This lip balm smells bright and fruity, in a delicious way that never strays from juicy into saccharine-synthetic. And, uh, have I mentioned that it smells super, super tasty?

eos Summer Fruit lip balm ingredients:

Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Natural Flavor, Shea Butter, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Tocopherol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Strawberry Fruit Extract, Peach Fruit Extract, Linalool. 

eos blueberry acai smooth sphere review lip balm

eos smooth sphere lip balm in blueberry açai

Blueberry Açai 

Blueberry Açai isn’t the fruitiest Smooth Sphere, but to me, it’s the most believable. Unlike Honeysuckle Honeydew or Summer Fruit, it’s identifiably blueberryish and sweet-smelling, like a blueberry pie or compote. For those who love berries but not that zing! pop! of most fruity scents (which, admittedly, I totally adore), this one is one to own.

eos Blueberry Acai lip balm ingredients:

Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Natural Flavor, Shea Butter, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Acai Fruit Extract, Limonene, Linalool. 

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The verdict?

While I still think these fall short of a superhero lip balm, I’m loving them a lot more than I used to. With regular, generous application, they’re doing a pretty good job of keeping my lips in shape, and the domed shape make them easy to use.

At the same price as a crappy Chapstick, these are the best affordable, all-natural lip balm out there — and they’re a great buy even if all-natural isn’t important to you. They’re not going to fix super-chapped lips, but for day-to-day maintenance care, these are hands-down my top lip balm recommendation.

Availability: $3.99 at most drugstores in Canada & the US or online at drugstore.com and Beauty Bridge.

In other news, I have got to get my hands on the SPF 15 Lemon Drop version of this lip balm! Lemon, you guys. Sun protection and also lemon.

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish, Melting Cleansing Gel review + giveaway! | New & noteworthy at the drugstore

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hot Cloth Polish cleans exfoliate review budget

The products: NSPA Hot Cloth Polish & Melting Cleansing Gel

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL this week, dear readers! But I plan on making it up to you today with a double-review of two rather unique new products and a giveaway, so… please don’t be mad.

» I already know I want these. Cut to the chase; take me to the giveaway! «

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ($15.97 CAD/150 ml)

NPSA Hot Cloth Polish reiew

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish

This Hot Cloth Polish was the thing that made NSPA, a cruelty-free British brand that’s new to Canada, stand out to me. I’ve wanted to try one of these since the Liz Earle hype blew up, and I gotta say: NSPA makes it worth the wait. 

Past the perfect scent (this is exactly what my brain thinks the archetypal cold cream would smell like), it’s a really interesting experience: a finely-woven muslin cloth (included), a very thick, white cleansing butter, and an exfoliation experience that removes your makeup without totally stripping your skin. 

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish review photos comparison

I wasn’t expecting the product to be as hard as it was (think very frozen ice cream, not summer soft serve), but it did spread nicely, and the thickness helps turn the Hot Cloth Polish into a spa-like, luxurious experience. The muslin cloth feels a little cheap, but the cloth-polish duo is $15 and full of good stuff like cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil – I think I can handle a flimsy seam for all of that.

Compared to the iconic Liz Earle at $36.75/100 ml, which I will admittedly likely now never try, NSPA’s Hot Cloth Polish is a steal at $15.75/100 ml. And hey, you won’t even need to pay import fees on it.

The NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ingredients: 

Aqua, Cocoa Seed Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Esters, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Beeswax, Sweet Almond Oil, Parfum, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Neroli Oil, Vitamin E, Pro-Vitamin B5, Sodium Benzoate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Linalool, Limonene.

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel ($15.97 CAD/125 ml)

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel review photos

I also tried out NSPA’s Melting Cleansing Gel, because I’d never used a melting gel before and I like new stuff. (What? Who doesn’t like new textures and technologies?) And, to my surprise… I liked this one even more than the Hot Cloth Polish.

Keep reading! »

Bio Beauté (by Nuxe) review: Detox Mask, Deodorant, Eye Cream, & Lip Balm | French luxury (and natural ingredients) on a budget

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bio Beaute by Nuxe review

The products: Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Vitamin Rich Detox Mask, 24hr Refreshing Deodorant, Eye Contour Care, and Tinted Replenishing Lip Balm

Have you heard of Bio-Beauté? Because until this package arrived on my desk, I hadn’t. But this affordable, Écocert-approved range (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) has some products–one in particular–that are really worth a look.

⇒ All Bio-Beauté products are free of parabens & mineral oil and are comprised of at least 95% ingredients of natural origin — so they’re non 100% from the earth, but they’re pretty natural. All four products featured here are also silicone-free!

Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Orange Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask

The showstopper: a mask, in gel form

Ladies and gents, it is difficult for me to tell you how much I LOVE this mask. (A lot. I love it a lot.) It is the first and only mask that I have ever loved, and boy: do I ever love it.

To start off, Bio-Beauté’s Vitamin Rich Detox Mask with orange water ($27 CAD/50 ml) feels nothing like you would expect it to in the jar —  in fact, it is so weightless that I thought perhaps my jar was empty. But, upon opening, it presents as a stiff, translucent gel; perfectly wobbly and smelling divinely of juicy mandarin oranges.

(And yes, okay, sometimes I open it just to smell it. But only sometimes. Not like, every time I pass by it or anything like that.) (Twice a day, at most.)

Bio Beaute Detox Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (AKA ORANGE JELLY GOODNESS)

99% natural, Bio-Beauté’s Detox Mask is a treat to use: once a week, you simply slather on a fingerful (1/2 tsp is plenty for your whole face, so one jar will last a very long time), wait five minutes, massage it in (it’ll turn to an oil), and then rinse off with warm water. I don’t need a lot of detoxifying or clarifying, but I definitely found that this left my face feeling smoother right after I used it — just make sure not to wash it off with soap.

This mask is meant to be used once or twice per week on any skin type, but I like to use it just whenever I feel like my skin could use some extra smoothness. It’s perfect for facial massage, a morning mask, or “small event prep”: that is, before a meeting or date night or even just lunch with your friends. It’ll give you that extra boost, but it’s affordable enough that you don’t need to ration it out!

Bio Beaute Tinted Lip Balm Raspberry review

Bio-Beauté Tinted Repairing Lip Balm – Raspberry

Everything else: eyes, lips, and underarms

I wasn’t super enamoured with any of these, so I’ll go over them really quickly.

First, there’s the Tinted Repairing Lip Balm with raspberry pulp ($14 CAD/15 ml; 100% natural), which I hated. It smells kind of gross (not like vanilla, peach, pear, and raspberry, as promised) and separates quite badly in the tube.

Bio Beaute Aluminum Free Deodorant review

Bio-Beauté Aluminum and Alcohol-Free Deodorant

Then there’s the Energizing, Anti-Puffiness, Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care with clementine cells ($25 CAD/15 ml; yes, that really is its whole name), which is 98.7% natural. It seemed quite basic to me; scent-free and fast-absorbing, but with no major de-puffing effects.

Finally, there’s the 24 hr Refreshing Deodorant alcohol-free, no aluminum salts ($12 CAD/50 ml), which is 98.9% natural and does seem to keep odour at bay. However, it smells really weird – exactly like those mall candies with the bananas. (Edited to add: Wonka Runts). Which isn’t necessarily bad, I guess? But it’s… not what you’d expect from the brand that does Huile Prodigieuse.

Maybe M will want it. He’s weirdly fixated on candy — like a very tall, very handsome, very-not-orange Oompa Loompa.

Bio Beaute Anti-Ageing Eye Care cream review

Bio-Beauté Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care

The verdict?

I didn’t love the Bio-Beauté lip balm, but aside from that, I was pretty impressed with the line — especially at its price point. I’d say it’s comparable to The Body Shop, but more natural and aimed at a slightly older or more reserved clientele.

The line’s eye cream is rather basic and utilitarian, but their orange water mask is absolutely divine. It’s the one beauty product that I’m absolutely crazy about right now, and I would literally recommend it to anyone who likes citrus or just very cool beauty products — men and women alike! (But especially men: it’s cool enough that they’ll want to use it, and quick enough that they’ll keep doing so.)

Availability: The Bio-Beauté range is available at most Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada starting at $12 CAD.

(more…)

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