Duckish Lotion Stick, Body Butter, Bath Salts review, photos | DIY Pedicure Kit

Monday, July 25, 2016

Duckish canadian pedicure kit review photos

The product: Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit (customized) – Duckish Mint Bath Salts, Pink Grapefruit Body Butter, and Lavender Lotion Stick

Okay, so I really wanted to feature Duckish as part of my Small Business Saturdays series, but things keep coming up on Friday nights and I really didn’t want to wait any longer. So we’ll call this one Small Business Mondays instead, I guess!

Duckish is an all-natural Canadian beauty brand with just the absolute cutest packaging. (I want to own basically everything they make.) Their products are all cruelty-free, handmade, and free of icky things like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and silicones.

Duckish mint bath salts review photos

Mint Bath Salts ($9.99 CAD)

I wanted to focus my review on Duckish’s body butter and lotion stick, because I’ve been dying to try them out for what feels like forever–but this kit includes bath salts and a pumice stone on a rock, too. The pumice stone is pretty standard fare, but the bath salts are more then just plain ‘ol rock salt.

They’re a blend of Dead Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and Epsom salts, with sweet almond oil and organic coconut oil to add a bit of hydration to your bath or foot soak. Each scent comes with a unique blend of essential oils, too; the Mint one is made with eucalyptus and peppermint (two of my all-time favourite oils.)

Duckish pink grapefruit body butter review

Pink Grapefruit Body Butter ($11.99 CAD)

Funnily enough, I was most excited for the Duckish Body Butter, but their lotion stick stole the show for me. The Body Butters, I think, are best for those with dry or weathered skin – not so much for Sahara-like dehydration.

The Duckish Body Butter formula is definitely a classic one, with a thick, creamy formula that’s heavy on the shea, and honestly… I didn’t like it. It’s surprisingly creamy for an indie body butter, but non-“mainstream” (The Body Shop, L’Occitane, Bliss, etc.) butters just don’t seem to be hydrating enough for me – this one just kinda sits on my skin, leaving hands feeling both vaguely greasy and so dry that they’re itchy.

Some people love these kinds of body butters, though, so just keep it in mind when ordering! Oh, and a warning for all my fellow crazy cat ladies: there’s just enough citrus oil in Pink Grapefruit to scare Tunakitten away from me when I’m using this, but not quite enough to make the olive oil in the formula palatable to my nose. :(

Duckish lavender lotion stick review

Lavender Mini Lotion Stick ($6.99 CAD)

Duckish’s description for their lotion sticks is:

“Lotion? In a stick? Is this real life? Yes, yes it is!”

And you know what? They couldn’t have been more accurate with that statement. These lotion sticks are crazily good – the mini one is perfect for mess-free application on the go, and the formula is spot-on.

I have really dehydrated skin, and the Duckish lotion stick definitely works better for me than their body butter. It melts immediately upon contact, basically turning into a light oil that absorbs immediately into the skin, and it feels so lovely – not greasy at all.
Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit review

The verdict?

I love buying Canadian when I can, and Duckish makes that really easy. You’re not sacrificing packaging or price, and my only two reservations about the line are small ones: I’d have liked to see a bit more fragrance in their EO and a wider online availability, but both of these are things that will be remediated naturally, as the brand grows.

If bought separately, the three Duckish products in this kit come out to $28.97, so buying the kit essentially gets you a free pumice stone. If I was re-ordering for myself, though, I’d take all $29.99 and put it toward a hoard of lotion sticks!!

Availability: $29.99 CAD. Duckish just recently began shipping to the US in addition to Canada, so use code DUCKISHUSA to get $5 off all US orders over $20 until the end of the month.

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CODE BLUE: The colour-coded skincare edit

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Colour coded skincare blue bright

Have you ever noticed that beauty brands, at some point in time, all seem to have collectively decided that certain colours mean certain things? It’s like some overfunded marketing department went, “hey, you know what sounds like fun? Bringing in an unqualified psychologist to tell us the true meaning of life and colours sounds like fun!” And everyone else followed suit.

It’s like that prison experiment: painting the walls pink made everyone calmer, but it wasn’t because pink is a gentle colour. (What was it said to be before the male to female changeover, again? Strong, bold, assertive?) The change just broke up the listless monotony of one identical day after the next, and even as a prisoner, it’s kinda nice when someone gives a crap about your environment. The same effects can be seen if you paint the walls red, yellow, fluorescent green…

Okay, maybe not fluorescent green, but that’s only because it’s impossible to maintain a pleasant disposition when the walls are literally (figuratively) screaming at you while you sleep.

Purple skin care for anti ageing hydration

The thing about these arbitrary industry colours, though, is that despite all the hogwash, they’re pretty helpful little guiding tools.

I like knowing that blue means cleansing, and that purple means anti-ageing, and that orange means that something is going to contain vitamin C and use the word “invigorating” or “energizing” at least twice on its packaging. It’s probably also going to smell like citrus, and I will surely try to taste it some point and no matter what, it’s going to be revolting.

I like that kind of reliability. I mean, I never learn from that kind of reliability, taste-wise, but I like knowing that it’s there all the same.

Funnily enough, this is a phenomenon that I think is strongest in mid-range and drugstore brands. Trendy high-end brands are too busy being coherent and classy, you know? Like, they are not going to break that aesthetic just so a consumer will immediately reach for their skintype’s “colour,” and they don’t need to – the sales associate is there to guide the consumer anyways.

But for drugstore brands? This colour-coded nonsense can actually be pretty helpful, especially in a barrage of twenty other near-identical products. I think it’s kinda handy, like a weird life boat that nobody wanted but everybody is going to use anyways, because this ship is going down.

So what about you? What’s your “colour” in the skincare aisle? 

Pai Skincare Instant Calm, Rosehip Oil, Sensitive Skin Cloth reviews, photos

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pai skincare review photos natural silicone free

The products: Pai Skincare Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream, Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and Cloth, and Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil

I’ve gone years resisting the pull of the Pai Rosehip Oil (and the super pretty rest of the line), but it’s been long enough. Eventually, you just have to cave in, locate the high-quality thing, and luxuriate in its beauty.

(Similar but different: I had my first cup of coffee at Credo a while back, and it was literally so good that I moaned a little. I think I scared my date a little.)

Pai hydrating cleanser review

Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50 USD/$56 CAD)

My favourite product from this trio is the Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, which comes with one of the brand’s dual-textured sensitive skin cotton cloths. It smells gently of lemon balm, and the cleanser and cloth make for a really lovely hot cloth polish experience!

The Camellia & Rose cleanser has a thin cold cream texture and is great for sensitive skin. For those of you unfamiliar with cold cream or hot cloth type cleansers, they’re a very ritualistic experience – you apply a thick layer of cleanser to dry skin (eye area included), gently wipe away all of your makeup and impurities with a muslin soaked in hot water, and finish with a splash of cold water to rinse.

My dry skin really likes this cleanser, but I do have one complaint: my skin is crazy sensitive, and I really wish that Pai offered an even softer cloth for ultra sensitive skin types!

Pai chamomile day cream review photos

Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream ($60 USD/$66 CAD)

Pai’s Chamomile & Rosehip Day Cream has a really “clean” ingredient list rich in matricin, azulene, and omega fatty acids, it’s designed to soothe the skin and minimize the appearance (!) of reactive redness.

It was far from hydrating enough for my skin, though (which is dry but not super dry right now), and it didn’t do much for my sensitivity. Ironically, because it left my skin feeling a little tight and dry, it actually made my skin feel more uncomfortable than usual, not better!

For redness and sensitivity, I still think that this Deciem serum is a better option. However, it’s nice that there’s a natural option out there from Pai, and I have no real issues with the Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream (aside from the fact that it smells like rosehip oil, which I am weirdly and seemingly uniquely adverse to). It just wasn’t the right product for me, you know?

Pai rosehip regenerative oil review photos

Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil ($40 USD/$40 CAD)

And finally: the crown and glory of the Pai Skincare line!

Pai’s biggest, most cult-followed product is their Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super psyched to try it. I’m split on my thoughts about it, though: on one hand, it turns out that I hate the smell of rosehip oil, and when it’s good quality (like this one is), it actually tints my skin orange.

On the other, the quality of Pai’s rosehip oil is beyond compare. It blends rosehip seed oil with rosehip fruit oil to really pack in the carotenoid-rich antioxidants and sterols, and it’s noticeably more effective as a result. It doesn’t just condition the skin, it helps heal it, which is pretty cool. (I got two accidental scratches from Tunakitten last month, and the one that I was using Pai oil on definitely scarred less.)

Rosehip oil review pai skincare vegan cruelty free

This is my third rosehip oil, and it’s by far my favourite. Now Organic’s Rosehip Seed Oil was thin and clear, and Le Serum de Jacynthe’s rosehip oil blend was very good, but it was literally twice the price of this one and no more effective.

In short, I think that the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil is well worth the price. It’s one of the highest-quality oils that I own, and it hits scrapes and scars with +150% crit damage. Blending it with another oil will help neutralize the scent (try adding a drop of essential oil into some decanted rosehip oil), and 1-2 drops of rosehip oil with your regular moisturizer will make a fantastic overnight treatment.

Pai hot cloth polish review photos

The verdict?

Overall, I really enjoyed using these products from Pai, and I use the Camellia & Rose Cleanser and Rosehip BioRegenerative Oil on a regular basis. I like that they’re pretty, vegan, and cruelty-free, and I love that their rosehip oil is such a powerhouse.

$40 CAD/oz is a steal for a serum that’s this high-quality, and while it’s not my favourite oil ever, it’s unquestionably fantastic for the price.

Availability: Pai Skincare (US) & The Detox Market (US & Canada)

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Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Or, & Shower Oil review, swatches, photos

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nuxe Huille Prodigieuse range review photos swatches

The products: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil, Huile Prodigieuse OR Dry Oil, and Prodigieux Shower Oil

Along with their Rêve de Miel, Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse is the brand’s golden (sometimes literally) star. So, today, I have not one, not two, but three Huile Prodigieuse reviews to share with you–and strangely enough, I have vastly different opinions about all three.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse review paris edition

The original Huile Prodigieuse ($45 CAD): Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it. While I have a lot of love for the Nuxe and Bio Beauté by Nuxe labels on the whole… I just don’t like the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the classic packaging (that alone is worth half the cult following) and I love that it comes out in limited edition prints each year. I love that its formula is 97.8% natural and contains six botanical oils as its base–macadamia, hazelnut, borage, sweet almond, camellia, and St. John’s Wort.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or review. Look at all of that beautiful, cloud-like shimmer!

I love that it’s enriched with vitamin E and is silicone- and preservative-free, and I love the heady, addictive Huile Prodigieuse fragrance: it smells like summer to me, with its big floral notes and coconut & vanilla base. And, of course, I love that it’s marketed as a multi-use oil; light enough to add shine to your hair, moisturizing enough for the body, and delicate enough to be mixed into your facial moisturizer.

My ex used her Huile Prodigieuse for everything, and it worked amazingly well for her. She always smelled delicious and soft, and her hair (also done up with this oil, of course) was always super gorgeous. But on my skin and hair, it just feels like such a dry dry oil, as if I’ll never feel hydrated and non-staticky ever again.

(Nuxe’s offshoot brand, Bio Beauté, makes a body oil that I much prefer to this one.)

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR review swatches photos

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or “swatch” (artificial lighting)

The Huile Prodigieuse Or ($45 CAD): While the original does nothing for me, I have formed a certain fondness for the golden shimmer version of this Nuxe cult classic. It’s extremely glittery and glamorous, and while Nuxe is full of lies when they say that it can be used on your face, but on the body, it’s a lot of fun.

There aren’t a lot of shimmering body products that you can use if you’re silicone-free, so this one is a treat to find. It’s no more expensive than the original, but it can be used more easily as an adjunct product: I can moisturize normally, then apply this sparingly as a bronze shimmer and summer fragrance. 

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse golden shower oil review

The Prodigieux Shower Oil ($16 CAD): The Huile Prodigieuse line is an expensive one (body oils frequently are, as they’re completely undiluted with water or fillers), so I was very happy to see the brand introduce a full-sized product at a lower price point. The brand new Prodigieux huile de douche is gorgeous to use and feels every bit as luxurious as the original oil, if not more.

A rich, thick shower gel, this shower “oil” is woven through with golden pearl and features a brighter version of the summery Prodigieux fragrance. It’s nicely hydrating (though not as moisturizing as those new Aveeno shower gels), and while I was hoping it would act more like an in-shower moisturizer, it’s a great way to add a dose of gold to your shower routine without being scented or shimmery all day long.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse shower oil gel review swatches

The verdict?

As someone with dry skin, none of these products are must-haves for me. However, they make lovely gifts, and the shower gel and gold oil have secured themselves a permanent place in my summer cabinet!

Availability: $45 CAD for the oil (limited edition 2016) and Huile Prodigieuse Or; $16 CAD for the Prodigieux Shower Oil. Available at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Murale, and Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

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.

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