Skincare travel essentials | Currently in my bag (literally)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel essentials and must haves
So, for all of you who don’t follow me on social media (and why aren’t you? Twitter/Instagram), I’m currently in Toronto visiting friends, seeing family, and checking out what’s new and exciting for Fall 2015.

I’ve been living out of a suitcase for about a week and I have one more left to go, so my travel essentials right now are actually what I have with me — they’re not some theoretical “oh, I’d totally take this with me.” Here’s what I can’t go without… and what I totally should have done differently.

Aveeno fresh essentials moisturizer SPF 30 review

FACE

Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 15 ($19.99 CAD) – this is a recent acquisition, but so far, I’m liking it! It’s silicone-free but with a chemical sunscreen component, and while it’s a little heavy (not a problem for my dry skin) and smells quite sunscreen-y, it gets the job done without breaking me out or breaking the bank.

bioderma sensibio tolerance plus review

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance+ Skin Care ($26.95 CAD) – I reviewed this just this month, and I’m still using it every single day. It’s been doing a great job of minimizing my skin’s reactiveness, and provides the perfect “neutral” base for serums and foundations. Which brings us to…

Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in 02 – I haven’t really talked about this yet, but I’m a total SSE convert. This silicone-free foundation is a good match for my skintone, and I love how pigmented it is — I mix a little bit (just enough to cover my fingertip) into my Bioderma or Aveeno, add a drop of Odacité serum if I’m feeling dry, and apply to my full face for an even, sheer glow.

Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($43 USD/$49 CAD) – yup, still totally loving this one. I’ve actually almost finished my bottle — and will be buying a new one this week at The Detox Market! (Hopefully the King Street location, because I’m dying for a Greenhouse Juice. It’s been like a week since I last ate a vegetable.)

Odacite PoR, Kevin Aucoin SSE review

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion – Always a must-have, whether or not I’m travelling. This is the best thing for treating small spots, small about-to-be-spots, and big AHH! blemishes.

AWW, CRAP – CLEANSERS

Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water ($19.95 CAD) – I totally should have brought more of both of these, because I’m only at the halfway point of my work-cation and I’m almost all out. HALP.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Pads ($14.95 CAD) – same with these. I absolutely LOVE the Dragon’s Blood cleansing pads, and I find that they’re particularly strong performers while travelling — they make removing all of my eye and face makeup (including waterproof) a seconds-long process, and I love not having to use an additional cleanser afterwards. I find that I use these a lot when I’m worried that I’m about to break out, and they always get my face super-clean and ready for moisturizer in a snap.

Clarins tonic oil Mario badescu buffering lotion review

HAIR AND BODY

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – a mini size! Because oils are a wonderfully compact way to moisturize (no fillers), and this little guy travels like a champ. I’ve been using it every day for the past seven days and I’ve barely made it to the 1/3 point.

Schick Quattro razor – I’ve actually been using Quattro razors since I started shaving, but I bought this one recently for travel/staying over and I love it! Something about the design gives me a much closer shape than the older models (even though I have brand-new cartridges on both), and I think I might replace my at-home razor when I get back. My favourite thing about Schick razors? The fine bars that run perpendicular to the blades — I’ve never cut myself shaving, not even at the very beginning.

And, finally…

Schick Quattro razor Best review

Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Protective Leave-In Spray – I’ve almost used this one all the way up! It’s silicone-free, practically unscented, and does a great job both of protecting my hair from the heat of my flat iron and moisturizing it so I don’t get fly-aways or dry-looking ends. I probably should have brought the inch of product that I have left in smaller spray bottle, but once this is used up, I will definitely be re-buying it, too.

What are your travel essentials? Are they day-to-day products, or things you only take on trips?

Bioderma Sensibio (Créaline) Tolerance+, Cleansing Milk review, photos | Skincare for intolerant skin

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bioderma Sensibio Crealine tolerance+, cleansing milk review

The products: Bioderma Sensibio (Créaline) Tolerance Plus+ Moisturizer, 3-in-1 One Step Cleansing Milk

Like many of you guys (I’m convinced that theNotice is becoming some sort of hub for the ill and the allergic) and a reported 62% of women, my skin can be extremely reactive. It freaks out in the presence of silicones, it hurts when I touch it too much, and certain sensitive-skin-approved products still make it burn or break out in a rash.

Bioderma Sensibio tolerance plus review results moisturizer

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance + for neutralizing hypersensitivity ($26.95 CAD)

The science: According to Bioderma, there are two types of skin reactivity: sensitive skin and intolerant skin. Sensitive skin only really rears its head when the skin’s tolerance threshold is reduced, but intolerant skin reacts to stimuli nearly constantly. It’s caused by a hyper-excitability of the skin’s nerve fibres, a weakened barrier function, and inflammation (both keratinocytic and neurogenic).

The Sensibio line is aimed at intolerant or allergic skin, and Tolerance + uses a neutralizing hypersensitivity agent to reduce the hyper-excitability of the skin’s nerve fibres and diminish the skin’s inflammatory cascade reaction. It also helps fortify barrier function with Sodium PCA and comes in simple, functional packaging with a 100% airtight hermetic seal (so it’s preservative-free at no risk to your skin.)

Bioderma Crealine Tolerance + review results moisturizer

The formula: Tolerance +  is a simple, fragrance-free moisturizer with a very dermatological feel. It’s thin and smooth, but it leaves my skin feeling velvety and thoroughly protected — and it never makes my face burn or tingle, no matter how dry or irritated it is.

A couple of the products that I’m using right now to help lift some old scars make my skin sting a little, so I’ve been applying them mixed with Tolerance + or in alternating applications. It’s a hard to say quantitatively how much the Tolerance + has helped, but my skin feels less reactive to touch and cleansing throughout the day, and the moisturizer itself is pleasant to use even without the “neutralizing hypersensitivity” aspect.

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance + ingredients:

Aqua, Cocoglycerides, Glycerin, Silica, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Citrate, Capryloyl Glycine, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Sodium PCA, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Undecylenoyl Glycine, Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Hydroxide. 

Bioderma Sensibio 3-in-1 One Step Cleansing Milk ($18.95 CAD)

The Sensibio line now contains a cleansing milk too, which cleanses, tones, and removes eye makeup. (I think it replaced the old Sensibio Lait.) Like the Tolerance + moisturizer, this 3-in-1 milk is gentle and fragrance free, and contains Toléridine to soothe and decrease inflammation.

The packaging sort of reminds me of SACHAJUAN, for some reason, and the cleansing milk itself is made to be a rinse-free, surfactant-free formula. (I totally rinse it off anyways, though. No-rinse cleansers are way too weird for me.) It’s most similar to my Neutrogena Creamy Cleanser (similar), but the two are actually so different that the small price jump feels totally justified.

Bioderma Crealine Lait 3 in 1 cleansing milk review

Bioderma’s Sensibio cleansing milk is a white, milky gel, and it doesn’t have that “cushy” feeling going on that some gel cleansers do — but it washes away leaving my skin feeling more comfortable than almost anything else from the drugstore, and it’s not at all stripping.

Those with really oily skin will probably feel like this one leaves a bit of a film behind, but for my dry, sensitive skin, this is pretty much the dream. 

Bioderma Sensibio 3-in-1 One Step Cleansing Milk ingredients:

Aqua, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Mineral Oil, Polypropylene Terephthalate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium Edta, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hydroxide.

Bioderma skincare for sensitive skin reviews

The verdict?

If you like your skincare simple, the Bioderma Sensibio line is going to be right up your alley. More importantly, however, if your skin is sensitive or reactive, I think you’ll like these products a lot. They’re very affordable for treatment products, and even if you can’t commit to them for a whole month, my skin really loves both of these products when it’s feeling sensitive.

The Bioderma Sensibio cleansing milk and moisturizer are definitely worth having on hand for use when everything else just burns (filed under: things only those with reactive skin will understand), and I’d say I would be quite likely to re-buy them both once I run out!

Availability: Eyelash wishes & drugstores across Canada.

Neutrogena Naturals vs Bioderma Sensibio H2O Make-up Wipes review, comparison | The Make-Up Removing Wipe Showdown

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bioderma vs Neutrogena makeup removing wipes review

The products: Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Make-Up Removing Wipes vs Bioderma Sensibio H2O (Créaline H2O) Dermatological Wipes

I’m not a makeup remover wipe kind of girl. But I will admit that they do have their appeal, and when these two packages of wipes landed on my desk at around the same time… I mean, I’d have to be a monster to not want to see how they measure up!

(Here’s how.)

!Neutrogena Naturals makeup wipes review

Neutrogena Naturals ($9.99 CAD/25 wipes)

Today’s first contender is a flashy new package of makeup wipes from Neutrogena. These are the brand’s first silicone-free wipes (finally!!!) and launched nationwide this March/April.

!Neutrogena makeup wipes review

They come generously soaked in green-apple-scented makeup remover, aren’t tested on animals, and are both bio-degradable and are made from fibres from sustainably-managed forests. They’re designed as a no-rinse way to remove face and eye makeup, and are formulated with Peruvian Tara Seed bionutrient to gently cleanse without any residue.

I have no idea what Peruvian Tara Seed is, but it sounds cool and I approve of anything that smells this crisp and uplifting.

Bioderma vs Neutrogena Naturals makeup remover wipes review comparison

Bioderma (left) vs Neutrogena Naturals (right) — wipes rubbed 5x over three different eyeliner formulas.

(Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil, Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense, and Annabelle Retractable Eyeliner)

!Neutrogena Naturals vs Bioderma makeup remover wipes review comparison

Bioderma (L) vs Neutrogena (R), scrubbed over the liners until nothing else would come off

The fast facts: 

  • $0.40/wipe
  • Paraben- and silicone-free
  • Smell AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS
  • 97% naturally derived
  • Double-sided smooth/bumpy texture

How they compare to the Bioderma wipes:

  • Not as soft and velvety
  • Remove makeup more quickly and effectively (I was really surprised about this, and actually ran three different tests to double check. The Neutrogena wipes won every single time!)

Bioderma Sensibio H20 makeup wipes review

Bioderma Sensibio ($14.95 CAD/25 wipes)

Today’s second contender launched last fall from Bioderma (yes, that Bioderma). The Sensibio H2O wipes–which go by Créaline H2O overseas–are soaked in Bioderma micellar water and are made to cleanse and remove makeup on both the eyes and face.

(Note that these aren’t just saturated with the bottled Bioderma Sensibio water, though; this is a micellar water formulated specifically for these wipes.)

Bioderma Crealine H20 makeup wipes review

These are very gently fragranced (I think they smell kind of clinical and plasticky, honestly) and are very thick and soft.

Weirdly, my very favourite thing about these wipes is that they come in a really luxe, matte cherry package. It’s thicker and smoother than most wipes’ packaging, and it doesn’t crinkle as badly over time — so even 10 wipes in, the package still looks respectable and seals tightly.

The fast facts:

  • $0.59/wipe
  • Silicone-free
  • Great packaging
  • Thick, soft, velvety sheet texture

How they compare to the Neutrogena Naturals wipes:

  • Much more gentle (especially noticeable in the eye area, though both were a little prickly)
  • Leave skin feeling softer

!Neutrogena Naturals makeup removing wipes review texture

Neutrogena vs. Biodrma texture

The verdict?

I’m not a fan of using makeup removing/cleansing wipes everyday, but sometimes, the situation calls for them.

Both of these are great options, but honestly, I’d re-buy the Neutrogena wipes first. They’re a little bit rougher, but they do a better job of removing stubborn makeup… and they smell insanely (INSANELY) good!

Availability: The Neutrogena wipes are $7.49 USD/$9.99 CAD at drugstores across North America; the Bioderma wipes can be found at Murale and select drugstores across Canada for $14.95.

Keep reading! »

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Pads review, photos | One for the adventurers…

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rodial Dragon's Blood review - cleansing pads

The product: Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Cleansing Pads

DRAGON’S BLOOD, YOU GUYS. Dragon’s blood.

Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood skincare review photos

How it works: Rodial and their budget line, Nip + Fab, currently do these really cool “dragon’s blood” products featuring the bright red resin of the Sangre de Grado (Croton lechleri) tree — which literally translates to the dragon’s blood tree. The latex sap of the Sangre de Grado is used by locals as a liquid bandage, and it has strong antioxidant properties.

These pads contain “dragon’s blood” (to plump, sculpt, and protect the skin), witch hazel (to repair broken skin and reduce swelling), salicylic acid (to open blocked pores and gently exfoliate), and hyaluronic acid (to deliver intense hydration). I mean, they basically have it all.

Rodial Nip Fab Dragon's Blood peel cleansing pads

Nip + Fab Rodial Dragon's Blood Fix Cleansing Pads review photos

How they perform: For a measly $15, you get 60 of these thin, soft, strong cleansing pads. They’re nicely saturated with product, and they remove makeup like a dream.

I’ve never been crazy about makeup wipes (though I’m testing some out right now), but these? These, I love. One thin cotton pad is more than enough to remove the makeup from your entire face, so there’s very little waste involved, and they’re both really effective and super gentle. 

I can get all of my eye and face makeup off with one of these wipes, and they leave my skin feeling super clean and exfoliated. They also (surprisingly enough) don’t sting my eye area, and I can use the bumpy side for a little extra exfoliation or the smooth side if my skin’s feeling a little sensitive.

Nip + Fab Ddragon's Blood Cleansing Pads review

The only caveat(s): I really had to stretch to find these, but the Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Pads don’t smell super great. A little astringent, like a peel.

Nip + Fab Hyaluronic Acid pad review

The verdict?

To this day, I still have no idea if you’re supposed to rinse after using these (I do), but I like them. Kind of a lot, honestly.

The Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Pads are a fantastic way to up the dragon content of your life, and they perform really, really well. For a gentle exfoliation that won’t leave your skin peeling (or a gentle makeup remover that’ll really clean out your pores while getting everything off super quickly), definitely give these a try.

Availability: $12.99 USD/$14.95 CAD (for 60 pads) at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Ulta, or ASOS.

Keep reading! »

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads review, photos | A semi-DIY cleanser/exfoliator/mask

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads cleanser review

The product: Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads Daily Powdered Face Cleanser

How it works: DIY meets green beauty, baby! Instead of releasing a ready-made exfoliator, Kaia offers a cleansing kit comprised of an exfoliating powder, a mini vial of moringa oil, and instructions.

Now, I’m all about customizing products, and this kit is perfect for it. All you do is tap out some of the powder into your hand, then blend with a liquid to make a cleanser/mask/exfoliator that’s customized to meet your needs exactly.

Exfoliating powder review - Kaia

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads kit

What to blend it with: Kaia recommends moringa oil, a makeup-removing dry oil that’s rich in vitamin C, but the sample they provided goes cloudy and thick in my (cold, cold, cold) bathroom. They also suggest water, yogurt (for a mask), other oils, and green tea.

I liked it best paired with my go-to cleanser, though — a dollop of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, a tap of powder, and you’re off to the races.

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads review

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads

Kaia Naturals review

The caveat: While I like the idea of this cleansing powder a lot, I still prefer an enzyme powder cleanser (like Tatcha’s) over a gritty one like this. But, as a physical exfoliator, this powder definitely isn’t too harsh for my sensitive skin, and is far less abrasive than all of the regular-line Clarisonic heads!

Kaia powdered face cleanser review

The verdict?

At $38, this cleansing powder is a little pricy — but it leaves my face feeling super soft. I love that Kaia has taken the usual approach to cleansing and broken it down into its component parts, allowing the consumer to decide how to use the product without needing to buy three separate versions of it.

If you’re really picky about things being just-so (or if you need an exfoliator/cleanser for your carry-on luggage), then definitely give this one a look. My recommendation? Go with the refill, not the kit — you’ll save $8 and all you miss out on is a spoon and a tiny-baby vial of oil.

Availability: $38 USD/CAD at Kaia Naturals and select Holt Renfrew locations.

Keep reading! »

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