Lush Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar, Cream review, photos | Father’s Day picks for you & dad

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lush smugglers soul multi purpose cream

The products: LUSH Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar & Multi-Purpose Cream

This year, Lush launches its largest-ever Father’s Day collection. One of the key lines featured in it is Smuggler’s Soul, a range of three products that are all scented with the brand’s sandalwoods-y, fresh-smelling perfume. (It also scents their permanent-collection eponymous solid perfume & the Lush Veerappan Moustache Wax.)

The key notes of Smuggler’s Soul include sandalwood, vetiver, and lemongrass. 

Availability: Lush’s Father’s Day 2016 collection is available online now & in stores as of June 13th. Limited edition.

Lush Smuggler's Soul shampoo bar review

Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar ($16.95 CAD)

I’ve always been very, very skeptical of Lush’s whole shampoo bar thing, but these things are actually pretty ingenious. The Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar ($16.95 CAD) is formulated to wash and condition in three quick swoops of the bar from root to tip, and it’s made with fair trade cocoa butter, fresh cucumber, and Lush’s Smuggler’s Soul perfume.

Lush shampoo bar review

I was surprised to find that this shampoo bar really did actually only need three swipes to cleanse my entire scalp, and that the entire process was really simple and not at all camping-y. However, Smuggler’s Soul is full of super-stripping SLSs (hence the thick foam), and it left my hair feeling squeaky-clean and a little dry.

My oily roots actually really love this stuff, but my dry ends… not so much. I know that many men have been conditioned to love squeaky-clean finishes, but I’d recommend going for for one of their more hydrating shampoo bars if you have the choice.

Lush shampoo bar review smugglers soul

Smuggler’s Soul Multi-Purpose Cream ($18.95 CAD)

Lush’s Smuggler’s Soul Multi-Purpose Cream ($18.95 CAD) is totally, unequivocally, 100% a dad productIt’s a nice but largely generic-smelling men’s product that’s extremely liquidy and lightweight, and it’s designed to be used for everything: hands, body, face, hair. 

Lush smugglers soul multi purpose cream review

It is also, sadly, priced very much in line with the beauty industry’s pinkwashing–that is to say, as a men’s product, it’s no worse than a women’s product but costs just a fraction of the price (a practice that I’m very disappointed to see Lush engaging in.)

At the price, though, Smuggler’s Soul is an awesome product. I’d recommend buying two: one for dad, and one for you! It makes a nice, light lotion for your hair/face/body while it’s hot and humid out, and if you have dry skin, it feels absolutely glorious with a couple drops of rosehip oil added in.

Lush mens lotion review

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Bio Beauté by Nuxe Toning Citron Body Oil, Deodorant review & photos

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bio beaute cedrat review body oil deodorant

The products: Bio Beauté by Nuxe Toning & Nourishing Satin-Touch Oil with Corsican Citron Extract and 24 HR Refreshing Deodorant

My love for Bio Beauté is far from a secret, so when I found out that they were launching two new lemon-scented products this summer, I was pretty excited.

I soon realized that they were, in fact, not launching two lemon-scented products this summer, and were actually launching two new body products featuring naturally “toning” citron (an ingredient you may recognize from my old L’Occitane review), plus their repackaged deodorant.

But! Confusion aside, I was still very, very happy to try out the new oil, and it didn’t disappoint.

Bio beaute nuxe deodorant roll on yellow review

The deodorant: Okay, first things first. This is NOT a lemon version of the Bio Beauté deodorant that I reviewed last year, a fact which I am super sad about. This the exact same deodorant, now in yellow packaging. It contains 10 essential oils and 5 floral waters to gently inhibit bacteria growth, starch powder to reduce moisture, and aloe vera for a little additional soothing – and yes, it still smells like candy. 

While I’m not crazy about smelling like I just got wrecked in a Wonka factory, this alcohol- and aluminum-free deodorant is actually very well-formulated (and 98% organic!) It works well on my man-smelly boyfriend, and leaves no stains on clothing.

Bio Beaute toning nourhishing body oil review

The oil: On the other hand, I loooove the Bio Beauté citron/toning body oil. It smells like lemon squares, sugared to perfection and waiting patiently for you on the kitchen counter (a scent that comes from a combination of citrus oils and vanilla), and the packaging is great: sleek but made of lightweight plastic, with a mister on top.

A spray-mister, unfortunately. Not a mister-mister. (Ugh, that bone structure. Those sad-sexy eyes. That really good hair.)

Bio Beauté notes that this oil is quick-absorbing (true!) but perfect for a massage, which… Boyfriend had better get on that; that’s all I’m saying. It’s not really much of a toning product, but as a body oil, it’s lovely.

Bio Beaute deodorant review

The verdict?

It’s a bit confusing that Bio Beauté has quietly relaunched their 24HR Refreshing Deodorant in yellow (but otherwise identical) packaging, presumably to differentiate it from the “Bio Beauté Body” anti-perspirant, but that’s honestly my only complaint about these launches. Stop gaslighting me, Bio Beauté! I’ve only ever shown you love!

The new Toning & Nourishing Satin-Touch Oil is a lemon-scented dream, and I love that it features lots of organic ingredients & fair trade oils. It smells delicious, too, and as we all know… the way to any twenty-something’s heart is through their stomach.

Availability: $13 CAD (deodorant) to $26 CAD (body oil). New as of June 2016 & available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Micellar water reviews: Garnier, Bioderma Hydrabio & Sensibio, Marcelle 3 in 1

Friday, May 27, 2016

Micellar water review comparison bioderma garnier marcelle bubble

For those of you who don’t already know, micellar waters are water-like makeup removing solutions. They use hydrophilic/hydrophobic “micelles” to break down makeup with the power of an oil while still having the texture of water, and they’re… kind of fantastic.

Ever since trying the Marcelle 3 in 1 (formerly the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water), I’ve been smitten with micellar waters. They’re an awesome way to gently remove makeup with no silicones and no oily residue, and while they break down makeup as well as many bi-phase makeup removers, they don’t set tubing mascaras the way an oil will.

Nowadays, there are a ton of micellar waters on the market – so here’s a comparison of four of the best.

Bioderma Sensibio micellar water review

4. Bioderma Sensibio Make-up Removing Micelle Solution ($26.95 CAD/500ml) 

Sensibio is the mother of all micellar solutions. Invented in 1995, Sensibio/Créaline just celebrated its 20th anniversary – and one bottle is still sold every 3 seconds worldwide.

The Sensibio range is fragrance-free and designed for sensitive skin, and the micellar solution replaces your make-up remover and toner. But, as much as I love Sensibio, I think that 20 years of competition and new technologies can make a better product.

The packaging: Bioderma’s packaging is a classic, but the lids are very fragile and snap off if you open the circular top from the wrong angle. Bioderma is available in the widest range of sizes (100 ml to 1L, depending on your country.)

The product: While gentle and fragrance-free, I find that Sensibio is a little drying, especially in the eye area. Sensibio is the least effective makeup remover of these 4.

The price: $26 CAD per 500 ml

Marcelle 3 in 1 micellar water review

3. Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD/300 ml) 

The Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution was my first cleansing oil, so it has a special place in my heart. It’s Canadian, it’s fragrance-free, and it comes in awesome packaging. 

The packaging: The best of the bunch! The 3 in 1 comes in a sturdy flip-top push dispenser. However, it only comes in the one size, and there is no open-cap version available for q-tip dipping.

The product: More effective than Sensibio, but slightly more astringent.

The price: $33.25 CAD/500 ml

Garnier Micellar Water SkinActive review

2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water ($8.97/400 ml)

Garnier’s SkinActive micellar waters (also available in blue/waterproof) are the newest micellar waters on the block, and I’ve gotta give it to ’em: they’re really not bad!

The packaging: Sturdy lid & slim bottle. However, the SkinActive line is a blatant ripoff of Bioderma, which is a big turn-off for me.

The product: The SkinActive Micellar Water is more effective than Bioderma Sensibio and less drying than Marcelle’s. It feels slightly more “soapy” than either of the two.

The price: $11.21 CAD/500 ml

Bioderma Hydrabio micellar water review

1. Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturizing Micelle Solution ($24.90/500 ml)

Hydrabio is Bioderma’s newest micellar water, and it is by far my favourite of the line. It’s optimized for dehydrated/dry, sensitive skin, and for my fragile, dry skin, it is the most gentle of the bunch. 

It’s very fragranced, however (it smells kind of moisturize-y floral), so it’s best for sensitive-fragile skin, not sensitive-“allergies galore!” skin.

The packaging: Fragile lid & wide volume range (see above).

The product: The most gentle AND the most effective of these four. It’s a little more “slippery” feeling, but it completely melts away even my waterproof gel eyeliners. (This is the #1 micellar water in Canada!)

The price: $24.90/500 ml

Bioderma sensibio vs hydrabio sensitive skin review comparison

The verdict?

While I would prefer it without the fragrance, I find Bioderma’s Hydrabio micellar water to be both the most gentle and the most effective micellar water in drugstores right now. However, all four of them are honestly very good – good enough that you should never have to return to non-micellar makeup removers ever again!

There are still a handful of micellar waters that I have yet to try, though, and I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Hit me up in the comments to rave about your favourite micellar water!! 

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Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash, Lotion review, photos

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aveeno Gentle Scent body wash lotion review

The products: Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash and Lotion in Chamomile and Coconut

This spring marked a pretty monumental step in Aveeno history, which is to say: Aveeno launched their very first line of scented lotions and washes for sensitive skin this March.

Designed specifically for sensitive skin, these two scents have been formulated to be just as gentle on sensitive skin as fragrance-free products. Having used them myself, I’d have to agree.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent body wash coconut review

The scents: I’m a big fan of the whole “luxurious shower experience” thing, so scents are a must for my body products whenever possible.

Coconut smells like a subtle, standard coconut scent; maybe a little more earthy than some. It’s not really my thing, but I think it’ll be a hit. On the other hand, Chamomile smells like crack cocaine and nostalgia, and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. It smells exactly like something I used to use when I was a kid, and it’s so good that I want to eat it.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent chamomile review

The products: Even though I’m allergic to the silicones in them now, my family was always an Aveeno lotion family growing up. We’ve always had a lot of allergies and sensitivities, and from ages 6-16, they were the only brand that all of us could enjoy.

But, while I’m sad that I can’t use these new lotions, I’ve been using nothing but the new Gentle Scent Body Washes. They’re soap-free, dye-free, and allergy-tested, and I can confirm that they are just as gentle as even my Aveeno Eczema Care body wash.

I really notice a difference when I switch to a “bad” body wash (Lush in particular makes me itch my legs like a stray with fleas), but these are as hydrating as foaming washes get. They actually leave my skin feeling more moisturized than using no soap at all – sort of like a light in-shower moisturizer. 

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent review photos

The verdict?

I kinda thought Aveeno was already making fragranced body products in all of their departments (I’ve been a dummy and thought the soft, oatmeal-y scent of the line was added), so I’m pretty thrilled that Aveeno is actually making scented products for sensitive skin now.

Whether or not you have dry skin, you need a bottle of Chamomile lotion or body wash like, yesterday. The scent is totally my jam, and the body wash leaves my skin feeling softer and more hydrated than any other shower gel out there!

Availability: $7.99 USD/$9.99 CAD for the body washes (354 mL); $8.99 USD/$13.99 CAD for the lotions at drugstores and mass market retailers!

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Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil review, photos | A great, affordable cleansing oil find!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil review

The product: Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil

I’m a pretty lazy beauty blogger, so it’s not surprising that I review a fair number of cleansing oils. What can I say; they’re fast, they’re easy, and they usually smell great.

My latest find is the brand new Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, and ugh, it’s so good. I received it in early May, and it’s been sitting on my countertop next to my Bella Aura and Fresh ever since.

Neutrogena Ultra Light cleansing oil for all skin types

The formula: From the sleek packaging to the subtle “fresh” scent, I honestly have nothing bad to say about Neutrogena’s new cleansing oil. It removes all of my makeup without any tugging or pulling, doesn’t require a separate eye makeup remover, and rinses off easily to a skin-neutral finish (both in hydration and in pH).

As this formula is water-soluble, I don’t find that it clogs my pores at all, even though it sweeps the makeup off my face in one fell swoop. (That sounded way less violent in my head.)

Neutrogena cleansing oil review

The elephant in the room: While I really like this cleansing oil, I should mention that it’s made primarily from mineral oil. Like other petroleum byproducts, mineral oil gets a bad rap; personally, I think that’s largely due to the “anti-chemical” stance of natural beauty brands.

I totally support not wanting to use a certain ingredient for ANY reason, but the “mineral oil will break you out” thing is a total myth. All oils have the potential to break you out; it just depends what your skin likes! If yours hates mineral oil, skip this one, but if it likes it, why not use it.

Mineral oil is scent-free, won’t go bad as quickly as plant oils (meaning chemists can add smaller amounts of preservatives), and it seals in moisture really well. But that brings me to my last point…

Drugstore cleansing oil review

The verdict?

The Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil has quickly become my new favourite cleansing oil with price, scent, and formula all taken into consideration.

That being said, Tatcha’s cleansing oil is a great option without synthetic fragrances, and DHC’s cleansing oil is definitely more lush. (L’Occitane and Shu’s offerings aren’t nearly as good.) But the Tatcha is expensive and the DHC smells like olive oil, so if I was to run out, this is definitely the cleansing oil that I would spend my money on – and I’d do it happily.

This stuff is effective, gentle, and smells great, and let’s be honest: the packaging is pretty sexy for a drugstore product!

Availability: From $8.99 USD/$9.97 CAD at drugstores and mass market retailers & online at Ulta and Drugstore.com. Available in most major markets (it’s a bestseller in Asia!)

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The Swan Wand (BMS Factory) vibrator review, photos

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Swan Wand rechargeable vibrator review, photos

The product: Swan The Swan Wand Rechargeable Waterproof Silicone Vibrator

The Swan Wand features: The Swan Wand is Swan/BMS Factory’s most powerful toy, and it’s not hard to see why. This thing is like a walking, talking gold standard, except it neither walks nor talks.

It’s fully waterproof with a 100% silicone finish, features two independently controlled motors, and cycles through 7 functions independent of speed. The Swan Wand has a travel lock mode, charges via USB, and runs for up to 8.5 hours on a 4 hour charge — like, for real. I usually need to charge toys after every use, if not more (cough We-Vibe cough), but holy magical snickerdoodles, I’m on like my tenth orgasm with this thing and it’s still holding strong.

BMS Factory The Swan Wand review

How it performs: This dual-ended toy is, without a doubt, stronger than anything else I own. It’s relatively quiet for its intensity, but turned up, yeah, it’s gonna make some noise. It does send vibrations up the “handle” (aka the end that’s not in use), but it’s plenty strong enough to actually massage sore muscles. Think of it like a rechargeable Hitachi, but designed for internal use and less buzzy. (And cheaper!)

Like the Leaf Life I reviewed recently, the Swan Wand contains a PowerBullet motor, so it feels similar. However, this PowerBullet motor is stronger and rumblier on low than the Leaf Life is at its highest, and it’s a little more “thuddy” overall. Worth noting, though, is that the larger end of the Swan Wand is pretty big – it’s about 2 inches wide with zero give, and I am nowhere near brave or flexible enough to attempt to use it internally. It makes a great handle, though, and it’s definitely one for the size queens!

BMS Swan Wand review, size comparison

The Swan Wand dimensions

Swan Wand BMS Factory review

The Swan Wand Rechargeable Vibrator review

How it feels: The Swan Wand is extremely powerful and moderately rumbly. It has nearly invisible seams and a velvety silicone finish, so you’ll need to use it with a good water-based lubricant. (Sliquid Oceanics is my current favourite!)

As an external vibe, it’s not my favourite toy. It’s good, but I prefer spot vibrations to broad ones. That being said, this is one of the few internal vibrators that doesn’t bore me to death if used externally (the other is the Rosa Rouge), but it’s almost too powerful — like, I can get off, but it kinda hurts.

As an internal vibe, it is excellent. Its powerful motor gets put to good use and really resonates through your body, and the gentle curve to the Swan Wand’s smaller end hits the spot just right for me. It’s actually far stronger than I would ever need; I like it best at levels 1-3, and only crank it up to max to massage my muscles during non-sexy-times or get off super quickly.

Swan Wand vibrating dildo review functions

The Swan Wand controls. How sleek are those? (They’re super satisfying to click, too — like the tops of fountain drink lids.)

What sets it apart from the crowd: Achieving orgasm with a partner has always been really difficult for me, and it’s always been a big source of anxiety and self-consciousness in the bedroom. On a bad day, it can easily take me 45 minutes to achieve orgasm with a partner present, but if I pair a clit vibe with the Swan Wand, I can get that down to 15 minutes. (With a clit vibe and a great dildo on said bad day, I’m probably looking at 20-30 minutes.)

For me, 15 minutes is a pretty big deal — it makes me feel like less of a “burden” in a relationship, and as a result, it makes it easier for me to get off the rest of the time, too.

Swan Wand vibrator size comparison

The verdict?

If you don’t yet own an internal vibe that you love, BUY THIS. BUY IT RIGHT NOW.

I don’t like saying that toys “will work for everyone,” because that’s a load of crap, but this one works for me. It’s insanely strong, has a battery life that puts even my MacBook to shame, and gets me off faster than anything else that I own, as long as I pair it with a clit vibe. (And I mean, why wouldn’t I? If you’re gonna go for the good feels, you may as well go all the way.)

I know that my list of must-have sex toys is ever-changing, but this one gets classed right up in there in the legends with my VixSkin and MiMi Soft. 10/10 would recommend to a friend; 10/10 would also buy for a friend if I loved them enough.

Availability: $119.99 USD at SheVibe, who provided this item for review! (SRP is $149.99 USD through Swan, and it’s $154.99 at Lovehoney.) In Canada, you can find the Swan Wand at The Travelling Tickle Trunk for $152 CAD, which matches the current exchange rate with SheVibe’s price.)

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