Hylamide Sensitive Fix, HA Booster review, photos, comparison

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Deciem Hylamide Booster review photos comparison

The products: DECIEM Hylamide Sensitive Fix & Low-Molecular HA Booster Serums

It’s no secret that I love Deciem’s SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum, so when I heard about the line’s “boosters,” my interest was immediately piqued. The boosters are designed to be used as an adjunct to your skincare routine, applied after your serum and before your moisturizer, letting you customize exactly what you want out of your regimen.

I was sent the Low-Molecular HA Booster by the lovely folks at Deciem, but I liked it enough to purchase the Sensitive Fix Booster on my own — and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

Deciem Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster review photos

Low-Molecular HA Booster

The HA Booster contains 5 different hyaluronic compounds that target everything from lightweight surface hydration (hyaluronic acid ferment) to encouraging your skin to produce more hyaluronic acid on its own (HA precursor), but for some reason, I find that I get lots of little closed comedones when I use this.

The formula of the HA booster is a little weird, too. Like Fountain’s Hyaluronic Molecule, it’s very thick — not sticky, but almost… goopy? It dries to a “nothing” finish, but the application is a little weird!

Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster review photos

Deciem Hylamide Sensitive Fix Booster review photos

Sensitive Fix Booster

Okay, so this? This is where it’s at. 

I was a little disheartened with my experience with Hylamide’s HA booster, so I went and purchased their Sensitive Fix during the brand’s 20% off Halloween sale. My order came out to a tiny $16.80 CAD including 2-day shipping, and it was marked as shipped literally twelve minutes after I made my order, so yeah, you could say that Mr. Sensitive Fix and I got off to a pretty good start.

Hylamide HA Booster review photos

Sensitive Fix is meant to decrease irritation and redness with twice daily use. I don’t have a lot of redness and it doesn’t do anything for the redness that I do have (though I suspect those with serious redness will have different results), but what it does do is calm down my surface irritation. 

I have super-sensitive skin that sometimes feels like it’s burning for no reason whatsoever, but Hylamide’s Sensitive Fix kills the irritation almost immediately. It works much like the Guerlain SOS Serum does, with a very mild “hot” feeling followed by a dramatic decrease in irritation, except it’s $20 CAD, not (have mercy) $104 USD.

Deciem Sensitive Fix Booster review photos

Now, this is a total over-share, but when I read that the Golden-Eye Grass Complex in this serum balances skin pH to reduce sensitivity in the immediate and short term, I, uh. Put it on not-my-face. And then I re-tested it on not-my-boyfriend’s-face.

That’s all I’m going to say about that, but trust me on this one: if you’re experiencing pain on pink skin due to dryness or irritation, this stuff will calm it down in literally seconds. 

But I mean, don’t try this one at home, kids.

Hylamide Sensitive Fix Booster review photos

The verdict?

You NEED the Hylamide Sensitive Fix Booster. I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first, but now that I’ve tried it, I really believe in its ability to calm down surface sensitivity in the short term. It was easily my best purchase of 2015, and I’ll likely be stocking up with a second bottle before the end of 2016!

As for the Low-Molecular HA Booster? My skin is really dry, so it doesn’t always slough off its layers correctly (hence the clogged pores), but I think those with oily, dehydrated skin will really like it. It does a great job of hydrating my partner’s face without feeling heavy or greasy, and unless it’s really dry outside, he can actually just use the HA Booster and nothing else!

Availability: $20 CAD each with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING!! (the caps lock is definitely necessary) at Deciem.com. Also available at the Hudson’s Bay Beauty Underground.

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Bio Beaute Flash Perfection review, swatches | A NYE-ready review!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Silicone-free Flash Perfection review

The product: Bio Beauté by Nuxe Flash Perfection Beautifying Serum

OH GOD IT’S THE LAST DAY OF 2015 I CAN’T HANDLE THIS HELP ME

Happy New Year’s Eve, readers! How are your holidays going?

I wasn’t really feeling a NYE makeup look this year, so I have a different New Year’s themed post for you instead: a review of this neat little Flash Perfection serum by Bio Beauté. It sounds pretty New Years Eve party-ish, right? Flawless and instant and, most importantly, luminous?

Bio Beaute Beautifying Serum review.jpg

What’s in it: This new Bio Beauté by Nuxe serum (well, not-so-new if you’re in France; I think it launched in the spring for all of you lucky ducks) is silicone-free and certified organic, and it’s lightly scented with a 100% natural rose, freesia, and raspberry fragrance. (I had to read the press release for that info — it honestly doesn’t really have much of a scent.)

What’s nifty about this serum, though, is that like products such as Deciem’s Photography Foundation and Neutrogena’s Instant Tone Corrector, it’s designed to blur out imperfections with “chameleon nacres” — basically, a light nude/peachy tint and delicate micro shimmer that instantly makes all skin tones look better.

Nuxe Flash Perfection serum swatch

But does it work? Sadly, on my skin… Not so much. It does make my skin look lovely and glowy, but it’s subtle. I was hoping Bio Beauté’s Flash Perfection would be a great pre-party product (perfect for things like New Years) because of, you know, the name, but it’s more of a lightly luminizing long term product for me. It’s still a nice serum, but didn’t really deliver on the flash!

On a dark or medium skin tone, I think you’d see more of an effect, but I don’t find myself reaching for this when I need a quick fix.

Bio Beaute By Nuxe Flash Perfection review.jpg

The verdict?

Sadly, Bio Beauté’s Flash Perfection Radiance Beautifying Serum wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It was a close thing, though — it does instantly make my skin look more luminous and smooth, but no more so than a great facial mist would have. 

However, I do think there’s a small group of people who would LOVE this product. If you really like the idea of those “instant complexion booster”-type products BUT you want something that’s (a) silicone-free or (b) truly invisible under a macro lens, this is going to be your jam. The trade-off will be that it won’t give you major results at a distance, though, so I think this one is best used daily for long-term luminosity instead! 

Availability: $37 CAD at select Shopper’s Drug Mart boutiques in Canada. (Should be available at the Beauty Boutique soon!)

Keep reading!

2015 favourites: My skincare must-haves for dry, sensitive skin!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best of 2015 skincare favourites

As some of you guys might remember, I skipped my 2014 favourites on account of the fact that they were like… 95% exactly the same as my 2013 favourites. My 2015 favourites, however, are a whole other can of fish!

I was lucky enough to not just try out a whole slew of awesome new products this year (mostly skincare), but to find a bunch of new favourites, too. So, I’ve been planning this updated favourites list since October (!), and the list you’ll see is as condensed as possible: these are only my very favourite products; not simply products that I think are the best in their class, but the ones that I use every day, will take with me on overnight stays, and have, in many cases, already re-purchased a couple of times. 

To put it simply, these favourites lists look at a product in relation to its price, packaging, and the other products in its class, unlike my reviews, which examine products on a standalone basis.

My must-have serums for super dry skin

Dry skin favourites

I’ve always really loved makeup, but starting at the end of 2014, I got super into skincare. Everything sort of shifted for me when I tried the Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($42 USD; review), and realized that, oh, my super-dry skin didn’t actually have to be painful and peeling at all times.

This year, however, I stopped purchasing my beloved Po+R. I still love it to bits, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just too expensive of a habit for me to keep up — my last bottle only lasted me about 8 weeks before the serum crystalized in the bottle (thank you, pomegranate seed oil), though I did manage to use up my previous bottle entirely.

I’m using a blend of pomegranate seed oil from Mountain Rose Herbs and pink grapefruit seed oil from Purple Citrus in my Po+R bottle right now (around a 9:1 ratio), and I’m really happy with the blend. I definitely notice a difference in the quality of the oils (the Mountain Rose Herbs pomegranate seed oil breaks me out unless I add a bit of pink grapefruit to clarify), but for the price difference (about $9/oz vs $247/oz), I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Odacité anytime soon.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

I’ve also been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($35 USD; review), which I really love. It’s not thick and comforting the way that pomegranate seed oil is, but it’s lovely. I use two drops of this mixed into my nighttime moisturizer and always wake up with just the most amazing skin–like, since I started using this stuff, I will actually just stop and stare at my skin in mirrors. It’s kind of awkward.

I’m not sure if I’ll re-buy the Paula’s Choice (it’s $52/oz, which I know is still really cheap, but my oil blend is $9/oz) once I run out, but I do really love it. It makes a big difference for my already youthful skin, and if I was five or ten years older, I would definitely re-purchase!

My must-have moisturizers

I’ve got, like, four giant tubs of German Nivea sitting in my basement, and I don’t know what on earth I’m going to do with them because dudes, I have finally moved on.

DHC Extra Nighttime Moistsure review

Right now, I’m switching between two awesome mid-range moisturizers: DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36 USD; reviewin the evenings and Reversa Anti-Redness Soothing Care ($34 CAD; review) in the daytime. Both are excellent delivery mechanisms for other products: they’re scent- and silicone-free and very hydrating, but mix well with whatever serum I’m using or testing that day.

My current mix for Heavenly, Blemish-Free Morning Face™ is a tiny dollop of DHC with two drops of the Paula’s Choice serum I mentioned above — if you have really dry, dehydrated skin, you MUST try these two products!! And, for the daytime, the Reversa stuff is awesome. It doesn’t have SPF (its only failing), but the slight green tint just makes my skin look that little bit better.

My cleansing, acne, and haircare favourites

I’m still loving my Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD; review), which removes my eye makeup without any stinging or hassle, and my Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion ($19 USD at Nordstrom, Ulta, or UO; outside the US, I think Beauty Bay is the cheapest way to get it — that’s where I buy mine). I think I’m on, like, my fourth bottle of each, or something equally ridiculous–the Marcelle is super gentle, effective, and affordable, and the Mario Badescu is just magic for acne. 

-Skin and haircare favourites

I’m also still all over the Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Leave-In Spray (review), which I re-bought this year. It’s a great little drugstore find that makes your hair feel silky and super-smooth, but also makes it seem like you have nothing in your hair at all — it’s not greasy or sticky, and the smell evaporates almost immediately.

Finally, I’ve been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser ($18 USD; reviewevery single day since I tried it for the first time! It’s a rich, “plain” cleansing milk that’s (also) super gentle and effective, and even though it’s harder to get my hands on than a bottle of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, it’s stolen my go-to cleanser spot.

The skincare secrets that I learned this year

SkinCeuticals skincare regimen group

Okay, this is the stuff that you guys really want to tune in for, regardless of your skin type. I learned two big things in 2015: one, that I am way more likely to use a serum if I mix it into my moisturizer, and two, that you should never leave product in your eye dropper.

I know they always tell you to apply serum first, but I almost never do. It’s kind of a hassle, and I hate the way that a lot of them feel — dry and thin and oily all at the same time. If I apply my serum at the same time as my moisturizer, though, I find that I get all of the benefits with none of the icky parts!

As for the other skincare secret? A lot of my favourite serums are stored in eyedropper-type bottles, and I learned this year that you are NEVER supposed to leave product in the actual dropper part! The air in the squeeze-y balloon will oxidize the product while it sits in there, so any actives (ferulic acid, for instance) will degrade before they even make it to your face. (A big, big thank you to SkinCeuticals’ awesome PR rep for this tip!)

LUSH Winter Garden set review: Gorgeous, Snowcake, Rose Jam, Dream Cream, Rub Rub Rub

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

LUSH winter garden review gift set

The product: LUSH Winter Garden Wrapped Gift

↳ Snowcake bar soap, Rose Jam shower gel, Gorgeous moisturizer, Dream Cream hand and body lotion, and the brand new Rub Rub Rub body scrub bar

For all of you out there who are still still, three days before Christmas, struggling to finish your Christmas shopping… here’s a set from Lush that you might find handy! The Winter Garden Wrapped Gift comes in a ready-to-go little ball and includes five popular Lush products for a really affordable $37.95 CAD (including one of my all-time faves!)

LUSH Snowcake soap review

Snowcake Soap ($7.95 CAD)

Snowcake is one of my yearly holiday favourites, so I figured we’d start off here! It’s a lovely, almond-y confection covered (this year) with a plentiful heaping of golden dust.

This year’s Snowcake smells a touch less spicy than my last bar (2013), but it’s definitely still something that I’d buy again! I know a lot of people are fans of L’Occitane’s almond line, but I like Snowcake more. It’s sweeter and Christmasy-er, and doesn’t have that hard, headache-inducing edge that Amande does! 

LUSH Rose Jam shower gel review

Rose Jam Shower Gel ($9.95 CAD)

I was really pleased to find Rose Jam in this set, too. It’s another cult-followed limited edition Lush product, and one that I had never tried before now!

Unfortunately, I think Rose Jam is too sweet for me (it’s quite jammy), but I can definitely see why this delicious fragrance has such a following. It smells distinctly like rose and vanilla, and the sweetness lingers on the skin long after you rinse off.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Gorgeous Facial Moisturizer ($87.95 CAD)

The Winter Garden set also includes a tiny sample of Lush’s Gorgeous moisturizer, which… I mean, am I the only one who thinks Lush charges insane prices for Gorgeous? As a brand that mostly subsists on $8 bath bombs and $25 facial moisturizers, it’s weird that consumers have to pay THAT MUCH more for organic and cold pressed ingredients.

To be fair, though, Gorgeous is pretty gorgeous. It’s light-textured and creamy, and absorbs into the skin with almost startling speed. My skin loves the formulation and velvety finish, but it just doesn’t feel like a $90 moisturizer.

I have to apply two layers of Gorgeous to compensate for Alberta’s dry air, and though the formula really is excellent, Gorgeous still contains parabens and synthetic fragrance ingredients. Neither of those are things that bug my skin, but for almost $90, I feel like consumers deserve a moisturizer that really is all-natural if it’s marketed as such. 

All in all, I really do like Gorgeous. It’s a great moisturizer. But it’s not the only great moisturizer, and to say that it outclasses all of my $30 and $40 moisturizers would be a lie!

LUSH Dream Cream hand lotion review

Dream Cream Hand and Body Lotion ($27.95 CAD)

On the other hand, there’s Dream Cream — my unexpected love hit of the Winter Garden set.

Dream Cream is sort of the body version (texture-wise) of Gorgeous, and its formula is equally great. It lists oat milk, rose water, organic extra virgin olive oil, and organic cocoa butter as its first four ingredients, and is also enriched with soothing and hydrating ingredients like benzoin (which I just ordered a vial of out of curiosity; it’s a very sticky, sweet-smelling essential oil!), rose absolute, and lavender.

$27 is a little pricey for a body lotion compared to the drugstore stuff, but the ingredients in this one are great. In this case, I think $27 for a 240g jar is worth the price!

LUSH Rub Rub Rub scrub review

Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub ($9.95 CAD)

The last treat in this gift set is Lush’s Rub Rub Rub body scrub, the solid version of Lush’s Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub. I was really excited to give it a try (this season is the first time that Lush has done salt cubes like this one), but it was a big miss for me–the only one in the set.

To put it simply, the Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub is way too freaking scratchy. No matter how lightly I drag this along my skin, or whether I do it before my shower or during, it hurts to use. The salt chunks are big and sharp, and this Body Scrub leaves me with big red friction welts on my arms instead of soft, exfoliated skin. (I wasn’t brave enough to use this on my legs, which are currently dealing with a little bout of eczema.)

LUSH Winter Garden Christmas packaging review

The verdict?

If you need a quick Christmas gift fix (or you need to decompress after all of your holiday planning), the Lush Winter Garden wrapped gift is a great place to start looking.

Lush’s Home for Christmas gift set ($27.95 CAD) is an even better choice, though, if you ask me — it’s a pared-down version of this one, and by skipping out on a tiny sample of Gorgeous and that awful Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub, you save yourself $10 to use elsewhere!

Availability: $37.95 CAD at LUSH stores; sold out online.

MIYU Soirée Essentials review, photos | The (Canadian!) Gift Guide

Thursday, December 17, 2015

MIYU Beauty Soiree Essentials kit review

The product: MIYU Beauty Soirée Essentials kit

Every Christmas, I like to pick out a couple “quick fix” gift ideas. Kits for under $100 that are luxurious, easy to wrap, easy to buy, and (most importantly of all) sure to please many. They’re a step above your standard hostess gift, but juuuust generic enough that you probably have 3 or 4 people in your life (if not more) that would absolutely love them.

MIYU Beauty Soiree Essentials kit

MIYU Beauty mirror

MIYU Soiree Essentials love juliet earrings

The MIYU Soirée Essentials kit ($69 CAD) contains a full-sized Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence and Hydrate Mi Tea, along with a Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence Mini to throw into your clutch or leave on your nightstand. But what I really love about this kit is that it isn’t only beauty products — it’s a complete, well-rounded gift, ready to wrap with a compact mirror and a set of sparkling pearl & crystal 14K gold plated drop earrings by Love Juliet.

I’ve reviewed the MIYU Beauty Essences before, so I won’t go too much into detail about Hydrate Mi, but I’m happy to say that I’m still using (and loving!) both my Hydrate Mi and De-Stress Mi Beauty Essences religiously.

I find that I actually my essences more now than I did when I wrote my review — they’re perfect for adding a veil of moisture to my super-dry skin right before bed or just as I wake up, and unlike all other beauty essences, they can be spritzed on to freshen up winter-dry foundation.

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence, Tea review

I thought it was silly at first that MIYU put two Hydrate Mi essences in to this kit, but then it hit me: one is totally not enough. I keep a De-Stress Mi in my bathroom, and bottles of Hydrate Mi at my desk, in the bathroom cabinet at my partner’s place, and on my side of the bed. (I like to think of it as my portable humidifier, because it does about the same thing for my skin.)

If you’re searching for an awesome last-minute gift, or if you want to treat yourself for the holidays, the MIYU Beauty Soirée Essentials Kit ($69 CAD) is a great way to do it!

» Why gift MIYU? I love the MIYU brand because it’s a small Canadian business built around two absolutely inspiring ladies. CEO Connie Tai grew up here in Edmonton and has an extensive background in cosmetic chemistry and product development, so she actually gets it — she’s not just a pretty celebrity face behind a thrown-together brand.

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Cedrat Shower Gel & After-Shave review, photos | The Gift Guide

Thursday, December 3, 2015

L'Occitane Cedrat After-Shave gel lotion review

The product: L’Occitane Cédrat Shower Gel and After-Shave Cream Gel for him

The one thing that strikes me every Decem-burr (yay!) is that I never do enough of a “gift guide for him.” Dudes deserve product too, so if you have a Mr. in your life who needs a little spoiling this season, this post is for you!

(And him.)

L'Occitane Cedrat After-Shave review

My partner and I couldn’t test out the Cedrat After-Shave Cream Gel ($36 CAD) because it contains silicones, but I had to include it in this post–it’s just so gorgeously packaged! Formulated with Corsican cédrat (citron), it’s meant to hydrate, mattify, and energize the skin, reducing irritation after shaving with a lightweight “melting texture.”

Hilariously, L’Occitane describes the cedrat as an “eminently masculine fruit” with its “thick and rough bark,” which is so unbelievably, comically unnecessary. Men’s marketing, you guys. It gets me every time.

L'Occitane cedrat shower gel review citron

I did give the Cedrat Shower Gel ($22 CAD) a go, though, and I was happily impressed. It’s a 2-in-1 cleanser for the body and hair, and it does a great job of both. It’s lightly scented with a faint herby-citrus fragrance and a hint (not a hit) of woods in the base, and it is great as a shampoo — richly lathering, yet completely non-stripping. 

(I’m serious, you guys. I went from Kérastase to this, and I liked this one more.)

L'Occitane Cedrat review men's skincare

The verdict?

The L’Occitane Cédrat line has a very unexpected, earthy-citrus fragrance to it, but I was really impressed with what I saw from the range. I think it’ll be a big hit for fans of vetiver and other earthy, subtle scents — just make sure not to get it confused with the brand’s Cèdre range, like I foolishly did!

Availability: $8.50 CAD & up at L’Occitane stores and online.

Keep reading! »

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