MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi, De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence & Tea reviews | Canadian beauty at its best

Thursday, September 11, 2014

miyu beauty essence tea review

The products: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence and De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence

A lot of blogs work on deadlines; SEO; what’s-new-now. But on theNotice, as you may have (heh) noticed, I work on a different metric: the product itself.

When I received these Beauty Essences (and their tea pairings), just hammering out a review on them didn’t feel right. So, even though I had waited long months for their launch, I kept waiting: an entire year past their initial release. But, finally, I feel like I know exactly what I want to say about these delicate, one-of-a-kind serum mists, and I’m beyond excited to finally be able to share my thoughts with all of you!

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea

MIYU Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea

What exactly is a beauty essence? The long and short of it is simple: beauty essences are a cross between a facial mist and a serum. They were formulated by Connie Tai, cosmetic chemist and founder of MIYU Beauty, who has both the extensive industry background and approachable-but-no-nonsense chicness that make you want to trust her products… and buy everything she tells you to.

I had a chance to meet with Connie while she was still developing these beauty essences, and even in rudimentary sample packaging, these mists and teas still made me go, “oh.”

A misting tip from Connie: if you’re going to do it, do it. The packaging she chose for the MIYU Essences works beautifully, delivering an unusually full, diffuse mist — but only if it’s sprayed with conviction. Half-depressing a mister won’t just deliver half the product, it’ll make the spray weak and uneven!

MIYU Beauty essence reviews - spray serum

The beauty essence formula

As someone who loves only the idea of facial mists, I was surprised to find that these beauty essences didn’t ever irritate my skin or break me out, even with repeated use. Instead, they have consistently helped to add hydration both under my moisturizer and overtop my makeup, and they do so with packaging that’s both luxurious and lightweight.

The magic, I think, lies in the formula: these alcohol, paraben, and silicone-free mists are comprised not only of water and glycerine, but also include large amounts of pentylene glycol (a humectant with anti-microbial properties) and sodium hyaluronate (think of this one as a more effective hyaluronic acid). As a result, the formula of MIYU’s mists is just as hydrating as other facial mists–if not more hydrating,–but leaves behind a smooth, silky finish with no stickiness at all.

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence review spray serum

Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence & Tea ($42 CAD/$42 USD for both)

I reach for Hydrate Mi most often, which uses extracts of wild pansy, goji berries, and mangosteen to boost water transport and retention in the epidermis. It smells sweetly floral, like a rosewater facial mist, and is optimized for dehydrated skin, frequent travellers, and dry climates.

I wasn’t crazy about the Hydrate Mi tea, but then again, I don’t like sweet teas! It’s definitely one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen, however, and contains green rooibos, goji berries, white pear essence, and candied pearls. (My mom keeps trying to get me to eat goji berries; we have some in our garden. I hate them.)

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence ingredients:

Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Pearl Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Lycium Chinese Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Peel Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Proline, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin.

MIYU Beauty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence review serum mist

De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence & Tea ($42 CAD/$45 USD pairing)

I reach for the minty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence less often, but I do still really enjoy using it — the peppermint extract can be quite refreshing, especially in the summer.

De-Stress Mi is packed full of good stuff (even more so than the Hydrate Mi essence), including peppermint leaf, licorice, ginger, honeysuckle, and dandelion root extracts, as well as skin-conditioning aloe vera and a number of newfangled yeast/iron ferments that are said to have antioxidant properties. All in all, De-Stress Mi targets strained skin and targets inflammation, and would be great if you’re worried about pollutants in the air.

Like the Hydrate Mi tea, the De-Stress Mi blend is a little bit sweet, too — so skip it if you’re a peppermint-spearmint purist like myself. It contains organic peppermint, licorice root, chamomile blossoms, and candied pearls.

MIYU Beauty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence ingredients:

Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Pearl Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Peppermint Leaf Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Ginger Root Extract, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Dandelion Rhizome/Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Proline, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin.

MIYU Beauty De-Strees Mi Beauty Tea

MIYU De-Stress Mi Beauty Tea

The verdict?

I waited an entire year until I could tell you this with utmost confidence in what I was saying, but at long last: if you’re looking for gentle, effective hydration, the MIYU Beauty Essences are my No. 1 recommendation for a facial mist or serum. They’re beautifully formulated, wonderfully packaged, and a great way to buy Canadian.

I am usually loathe to recommend a facial mist for more than $20 (after all, they’re usually sticky messes of glycerine and water), but at $34 CAD, I think you’ll find these to be worth each and every penny.

Availability: The MIYU Beauty Essences are available for $34 CAD; the teas are $16 CAD. Get them at MIYU Beauty, Birchbox, Gloss48, and Anthropologie.

Keep reading! »

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! »

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