The multitaskers: Five skincare picks that do it all

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Multitasking products??? MULTITASKING PRODUCTS! I love multitasking products, dude — give me something that’ll preform more than one function for me and I am there.

(You have no idea how crushed I was to find out that there aren’t any 2-in-1 ‘cone-free shampoo-conditioners. There may have been tears.)

Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel HTML Map

The multitaskers

Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel ($1.99-$12.95 CAD) – a silicone, fragrance, paraben, and sulfate-free makeup remover and cleanser. This one is great for removing makeup (it even took off that new Hourglass 1.5mm liner I’ve been testing!), but I still definitely think Marcelle’s Cleansing Milk is better for extra-dry skin.

L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Eyecare & Mask Duo ($42 CAD) – also silicone-free, this one’s not your usual kind of 2-in-1: used sparingly, it’s an eye cream; slathered on more heavily, it functions as a 10-minute mask to moisturize, luminize, and de-puff. Also worth noting is that it has a metal tip similar to that of the Clinique Lid Smoothies (but larger and more round), so application is mess-free and very cooling.

Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector ($24.95 CAD) – this one’s not silicone-free, but it does do a whole bunch of things — and it’s brand spankin’ new. If you’ve had your eye on the Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum, this might be a good option instead if you’re on a budget!

Neutrogena Healthy Skin CC Fair Light swatch review

Neutrogena Healthy Skin CC Cream SPF 30 in Fair to Light swatches

Neutrogena Healthy Skin CC Cream SPF 30 ($16.99 CAD) - you guys, this CC cream breaks my freakin’ heart. It doesn’t just do everything well, it does everything perfectly – except for one big, glaring thing. Lightweight and insanely comfortable, it minimizes redness and smoothes over dry, flaky patches like a champ, but leaves the skin looking and feeling totally natural… until you walk into the sunlight.

See, the thing is, this CC Cream is actually packed with disco-ball levels of completely unnecessary microshimmer, which is a total deal-breaker for me (and probably some of you, too!) Skip it if you’re one of the shimmer-free camp, but definitely, definitely give it a go if you’re not adverse to shimmer. Lovers of Annabelle’s BB Pressed Powder, Guerlain Meteorites, etc., this means you! 

Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum ($59.50 USD/$69 CAD) – our last product today is the ultimate do-it-all: a serum that claims to target skin concerns based on the distress signals being sent out by your own skin. I don’t buy that for a second (despite the 37 patents backing this product), but I do believe in the six zillion actives crammed into this serum (including soothing caffeine, plumping hyaluronic acid, and brightening Vitamin C, to name just a few.)

Lush D’Fluff shaving soap, African Paradise body conditioner review, photos

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LUSH D'Fluff, African Paradise reviews

The products: LUSH D’Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap, African Paradise Body Conditioner

New this summer to the permanent LUSH range are D’Fluff and African Paradise, two cruelty-free, self-preserving products.

Read on to find out what I thought of them, and in the meantime, maybe you could try to find it within yourselves to forgive me for all the body products I’ve been writing about recently. I don’t know what’s up with that, dude.

LUSH D'Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap review

D’Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap ($9.95 CAD/70g)

Inspired by strawberry marshmallow fluff (is that a real thing?? can I eat it??), D’Fluff is just as pink and fluffy as you’d expect. It feels like some sort of foam; like space-food from the future or something, and is scented with strawberry and vanilla. I wasn’t crazy about the scent, but Ri loved it, so I guess it can really go either way!

LUSH D'Fluff review shaving cream

D’Fluff contains a ton of good stuff, from actual strawberries and egg whites to coconut oil and organic maple sugar. But, despite its cool texture and awesome ingredient list, I just couldn’t get on board with its formula, either. It’s pretty expensive at $9.95 CAD, and I found that I had to use a lot of product for each use — this pot would probably only last me a week, if I used it to shave my legs & underarms every day.

Cool as it is, I’d say skip D’Fluff, and opt for a good moisturizer instead. Followed up with African Paradise or pumpkin seed oil, I found that my skin felt just as soft shaving with good ‘ol bar soap as it does shaving with D’Fluff.

LUSH D’Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap ingredients: [EXPAND]

Water, Rapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Glycerine, Organic Rose Hip Oil, Cocoa Butter, Fresh Strawberries, Egg Whites, Fragrance, Maple Sugar, Vanilla Absolute, Sweet Wild Orange Oil, Rose Absolute, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Editronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Titanium Dioxide, Eugenol, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Red 27, Red 40. [/EXPAND]

LUSH African Paradise Body Conditioner review

African Paradise Body Conditioner ($39.50 CAD/250g)

Named for its African-sourced Fair Trade ingredients, this body conditioner (also called a “shower smoothie,” but thinking about drinking this really freaked me out) features shea buter & moringa oil from Ghana, plus aloe from Kenya. It’s the first in-shower moisturizer that I’ve tried, but I’m actually really liking it — which surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting it to do much for my super-dry skin!

LUSH African Paradise review in-shower moisturizer

Glycerine-sticky and heavily fragranced, Lush’s African Paradise Body Conditioner feels a little weird at first use. Once you rinse off (don’t scrub!) and towel dry, though, the formula suddenly makes sense — the perfect amount of product gets left behind, and you end up with soft, scented skin long into the night. It’s not as hydrating as an intensive moisturizer or body butter, but is super quick to apply and moisturizes about as well as your average drugstore lotion or body oil.

Worth noting too is that you actually need very little of this moisturizer for each use, so the 8.8 oz pot will go a long way. I’ve used this about twice as often as my little pot of D’Fluff, but while I’m halfway done the latter, I’ve barely made a dent in African Paradise.

LUSH African Paradise Body Conditioner ingredients:

Water, Glycerine, Almond Oil, Moringa Oil, Fresh Aloe Gel, Shea Butter, Stearic Acid, Marula Oil, Baobab Oil, Kalahari Melon Oil, Fragrance, Triethanolamine, Fresh Mango Juice, Cocoa Butter, Ylang Ylang Oil, Vanilla Absolute, Geranium Oil, Frangipani Absolute, Sicilian Lemon Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool.

What are your favourite in-shower moisturizers? And, more importantly: do food-like products freak you out a little?

I think the problem is that I don’t trust myself around them. Like, I’m scared that one day I’m going to let my guard down and accidentally maybe eat a little bit of them.

Three to try: Body oils from L’Occitane, Clarins, and Osmia Organics

Friday, August 1, 2014

Body oil reviews

For something that sprays: L’Occitane Amande Supple Skin Oil ($ /3.4 oz)

With a formula containing over 50% sweet almond oil (and following up with fractionated coconut oil), the makeup of L’Occitane’s Amande Supple Skin Oil is pretty great. It hydrates well despite its lightweight texture, and comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with a spray dispenser — and while I don’t think it’ll make well-hydrated skin any more firm or supple (as it claims), any good body oil will do that for chronically dry skin!

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil

However, despite the fact that I love the feel and presentation of this oil, I personally hate the scent. It opens with just a second of beautiful, nutty synthetic almond, but turns into something sharp and cloying once misted and rubbed in; something that sits in the back of my throat with painful honey-sweetness.

But, to each her own: I adore the idea of honey scents, but for some reason, I just can’t stand them in practice. If you love scents like Lise Watier’s Something Sweet or Marc Jacobs Dot (or anything with honey in it!), I bet the L’Occitane Amande body oil would work beautifully for you.

L’Occitane Supple Skin Oil ingredients:

Sweet Almond Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Oleyl Alcohol, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, Limonene, Coumarin, Linalool, Citral.

Clarins Shimmer Oil

For shine and shimmer: Clarins Shimmer Oil for Face & Body ($ /3.3 oz)

Of these three oils, Clarins’ is the only one I haven’t tested — and for good reason. This beautiful bi-phase oil (the shimmer separates out) has wonderful, chunky-chic packaging and a captivating amount of warm shimmer particles, but it’s actually a silicone-oil: the formula contains plenty of glittering minerals, but its liquid phase is based mainly on coconut oil fractions and cyclopentasiloxane.

For those of you who missed out last year, this is an exact copy of Clarins’ Splendours Body Oil, from the packaging to the ingredients; the packaging simply lost the “Splendours” label and picked up a “face & body” descriptor.

Clarins Shimmer Oil ingredients: 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Isononyl Isononate, Hazel Seed Oil, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bisabolol, Fragrance, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Tin Oxide, Sunflower Seed Oil, Coumarin, Linalool, Farnesol.

Osmia Organics body oil review

For a sexy scent: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil ($30 USD/2 oz)

I seriously need to try out some new Osmia oils, because Sunset still has me smitten – months after the first time I tried it. Their oils are all-natural and beautifully scented, with a luxurious fractionated coconut oil & jojoba base that delivers wonderful, completely lightweight moisture.

I’ve tested quite a few body oils since falling in love with this one, but Sunset is still my favourite by far. The delicate, feminine scent lasts all day long (it’s a super-sexy rendition of vanilla; slightly spicy and just barely floral), and though the price tag is a little high, it’s an easy compromise to make – it may be sold as a body oil, but it can definitely double as your perfume.

Osmia Organics Body Oil ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Jojoba Oil, Kukui Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa Hemp Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sea Buckthorn Berry Co2 Extract, Rosemary Co2 Extract, And A Proprietary Blend Of Organic And Wild-Harvested Essential Oils And Co2 Extracts.

Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF 20 & 30 reviews, swatches, and shade comparisons (& Face Oil)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marie Veronique review

The products: Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage SPF 30 and Face Oil; True Nature Botanicals Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20

When it comes to all-natural sunscreens, the name Marie Veronique pops up a lot — and so it should. There aren’t a ton of silicone-free, chemical-free sunscreens out there (not ones without a heavy texture and a white cast, at least), and the Marie Veronique ones are some of the best of the bunch.

That said, it’s hard to pick out what sunscreen to try out of all of the varieties available – so think of this as your guide to Marie Veronique sunscreens, from which shade to pick to what the formulas play best with.

Note: the products photographed in this review are sample sizes! 

Marie Veronique Face Oil review

Marie Veronique Face Oil

Marie Veronique Face Oils

I didn’t get a chance to compare the brand’s Pacific Face Oil with their regular option (the Pacific version broke in transit), but this is what I can tell you: what I did get to try of the Pacific Face Oil ($110/1 oz) felt extremely comforting, and had an herbal scent that reminded me very strongly of shu uemura’s Premium A/O and Ultime8 oils.

The Face Oil ($80/1 oz) felt less intensive, but has a lighter scent to it — it still made my dry skin feel softer immediately, and it layered well with the brand’s sunscreens. The product itself is very orange (due to a high amount of rosehip oil in the formula), but doesn’t tint the skin once it’s worked in!

Both of these products are quite pricy, but it’s important to note that they’ve been carefully formulated by the brand’s chemists – unlike what I’ve seen from other brands (ahem: Josie Maran, Tarte, & co.), who simply offer marked-up pure oils in pretty jars.

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF20 review

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – Light, Medium Tints

Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 ($58/2 oz)

As the brand’s more expensive sunscreen (it’s formulated to be anti-ageing, like the rest of the Pacific range), I was expecting great things from their Everyday Sheer Coverage — but, weirdly enough, I was a little disappointed in it.

I applied this one overtop the brand’s Face Oil, as suggested, and it felt okay on its own – not too heavy or sticky. But here’s the catch: this one doesn’t play very well under makeup. The Light shade was tinted enough to darken and warm up my skintone just a hair, but it’s sort of “film forming” — the first time I tried to buff in a cream foundation overtop of it, the whole layer slid in the direction of my brush strokes.

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF20 swatches light medium

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 – Light, Medium Tints swatched

Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 swatches shade comparisons

Everyday Sheer Coverage swatched against: left - MAC NC15 (top), NW20 (bottom); right – NC30 (top) and NC25 (bottom)

When I used it after that, I applied a little less and layered it overtop a very thin layer of German Nivea. It went from thereon in, drying satin-matte as promised and staying in place with product overtop, but my makeup looked slightly more obvious than usual. All in all, I would recommend this for normal to oily skin types, or those who wear liquid (but not creme) foundation.

The Marie Veronique Everyday Sheer coverage SPF 20 is formulated with 16.6% non-nano zinc oxide. See the full ingredients list if you

Green & White Tea, 16.6% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Broccoli Seed Oil, Cherry Kernel Seed Oil, Emu Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Yangu Oil, Cosmocil CQ (paraben-free anti-microbial), Xanthan Gum, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Pearl Powder, Rosemary Oleoresin, Beta Glucan, Coffee Fruit Extract, Silk Powder, Rose Essential Oil, Neroli Essential Oil, Helichrysum Essential Oil, Cistus Essential Oil, Iron Oxides.

Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF30 moisturizer review

Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage SPF 30 – Extra Light, Light, and Medium Tints

Keep reading! »

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!

Keep reading! »

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