Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder & Sensationnelle Dry Oil review, swatches, photos | Sun Destination

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lise Watier Sun Destination collection

The products: Lise Watier Sun Destination collection (part two)

This year’s Lise Watier Sun Destination collection (limited edition for Summer 2013) contains four gorgeous products, but I didn’t want to review them all at once — I’m terrible at the entire concept of succinct, as I’m sure you all know by now.

Here’s what I think of as “the pretty half of the collection”: the Sun Bronzing Powder & Sensationnelle Dry Oil. The Illuminating Bronzing Gel is possibly actually prettier once applied than both of these combined, but, well — it’s not not as eye-catching in its packaging as these two are!

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder review swatches

Sun Bronzing Powder, $39

Okay. You guys. You guys.

This is so pretty.

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder review

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder swatches

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder swatches — center, surround, mixed

On a slightly more coherent (and hopefully more eloquent) note, the Sun Bronzing Powder is an enormous bronzer with a really lovely, ethereal glow. It’s large enough to easily grab the two shades–a softly glowing bronze & a luminous gold–separately, as well as to use on your shoulders, chest, arms, and legs.

While you could grab these intricately-pressed shades separately, though, they really do work best paired together. The soft, buttery texture of this bronzer means that they blend beautifully (both with each other and the skin) and deliver a sheer, warm bronze with gold microshimmer.

(If you bought last year’s Havana All Over Baked Bronzer: this one’s more buttery, less orange-red, more sheer, and packaged with a much slimmer profile.)

Talc, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 15850 (Red 6, Red 7 Lake), CI 73360 (Red 30 Lake).

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder

Lise Watier Sun Bronzing Powder swatches — center, surround, mixed

Sensationnelle Dry Oil, $42

As a clear, scented oil, the teardrop-shaped Sensationnelle Dry Oil is perhaps the least exciting Sun Destination product to swatch — but it’s the most universal of the collection, too.

Scented with top notes of orange blossom extract, a heart of tangerine and fleurs solaires, and a base of vanilla and coconut (think big white florals paired with beachy base notes), the Sensationnelle oil is made for use on face, body, and hair. Multi-use and silicone-free, the formula is made in part from six different oils, from sweet almond to cottonseed.

Lise Watier Sensationnelle Dry Oil review

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Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase review, photos | A weightless summer skin saviour?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase

The product: Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase

The formula

Designed to nourish the skin at multiple levels, Clarins’ approach to the HydraQuench serum is one that encompasses the best of both worlds, relying on both plant extracts and synthetics to achieve the best results possible.

Clarins bi-phase hydraquench review serum

With a focus on hyaluronic acid and fair trade, ethically sourced Katafray bark extract from Madagascar, this bi-phase blue liquid works to lock in water at the surface & restore hydration deeper in the dermis. It’s made to be suitable for all skintypes, from dry to oily, and has a very lightweight lipid phase — honestly, with the matte finish and weightless texture, I wouldn’t have thought there were any oils in the formula at all. It can be a little tacky, but isn’t greasy in the least.

To top it all off, the HydraQuench Intensive Serum is fragranced with a fresh, summery scent: not ever a company to do fragrance by halves, Clarins lists a green apple top note, a rose heart, and a woody base.

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum review

My experience with the HydraQuench Serum 

In my own personal experience (the italics are totally necessary, because you have to remember that my skin is weird), I didn’t find the Clarins HydraQuench serum to be, well, intensive enough. However, I happen to have extremely dry skin that isn’t caused by systemic dehydration or over-stripping — it’s the kind of skin that takes well to night moisturizers being used during the day, and doesn’t even blink in the face of a Vaseline or Aquaphor “sealant” on dry winter days.

That said, though, I honestly believe I’m in the minority with this product. Wherever I go (on the internet; I don’t go places in real life), I hear nothing but raves for this serum. It’s a far cry from my personal experience (which is that I like this, and do use it, but it won’t make my dry patches disappear), but I think it’s much closer to the norm.

Clarins Hydra Quench review serum dual-phase

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase – separated

Where the HydraQuench serum really excels is on combination oily/dehydrated skin. From what I’ve read, the people who really love it (and I mean who really, fanatically, all-out love it) tend to be the ones who find most serums too heavy or greasy, but still really need that boost of hydration.

It makes sense, with the incredibly lightweight formula and non-greasy finish, at least in my head! If you’ve loved (or hated) this one, tell me about it in the comments — I’d love to hear more about your skin type and results.

Clarins Hydra Quench serum mixed

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase – shaken/mixed

Don’t believe me? Believe Lisa Eldridge. 

Like a lot of the makeup world, I take Lisa Eldridge’s word as gospel. With over two decades of experience, Lisa’s career is something out of a [makeup artistry] fairy tale: not only has she done countless celebrities, covers, and fashion shows, but she’s currently working as the Creative Director of No. 7, creates makeup tutorials for Chanel’s Make-Up Confidential, and writes ELLE UK’s monthly The Beauty Guru column.

When someone with that much experience calls a serum “the best product for hydrating the skin I’ve used in a long time,” well. You kind of have to give it its dues, you know?

(Sources: 1 / 2 / 3)

Clarins HydraQuench Serum dry skin review

The verdict?

I’m very hesitant to give a “verdict” for this one, but in the spirit of review-based beauty blogging: you’ll just have to take it with a grain of salt.

If you have normal to oily skin with dehydrated patches, I honestly think that this will work quite well for you. For extremely dry skin, however, it may not be enough! With its light, non-greasy finish and functional-luxurious packaging, I think the Clarins HydraQuench serum is a pretty darn good bet for anyone who needs an extra boost of weightless moisture in the hot summer months — but not if your skin is stubbornly dry.

Availability: $58 USD/$58 CAD for 1 oz; $70 USD for 1.6 oz.

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The facial spray-slash-toner that you NEED this spring | L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Mist review

Friday, April 19, 2013

L'Occitanne facial spray water review

The product: L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Mist

So, I wrote a fifteen page paper earlier this week on prefrontal cortical damage and its intersection with tactical communications, mostly between the hours of eleven at night on Tuesday and two in the afternoon on Wednesday.

I’m still kind of dazed.

Despite the lack of sleep I’ve been getting this term, though, I think I’ve been presenting a pretty glowy base… but maybe my perpetually-dry skin just has me biased. Either way, L’Occitane’s limited edition facial spray has been high, high up on the list of things I’ve been loving!

Best makeup setting spray - L'Occitane

What it is: Part of L’Occitane’s Immortelle Brightening range, the Brightening Mist is an alcohol-free toner & make-up setting spray. It’s enriched–of course–with floral water from the Immortelle flower, an anti-ageing “golden sun” (Helichrysum arenarium) sourced by L’Occitane from the island of Corsica.

Also formulated with Bellis Perennis (a common European species of daisy), the range is made to increase collagen production, protect against free radicals, and reduce the appearance of pigmentation marks.

Bright blue eyeliner look

A quick snap from this bright blue eyeliner tutorial — glowing skin courtesy of the Immortelle mist!

What makes it great is not the marketing or fancy-schmancy ingredients, however. Nope, it’s something much more simple than that: the packaging. Solidly housed in the Immortelle range’s white, yellow, and blue uniform, this mist is easy to aim, spray, and diffuse – no awkward spluttering in sight.

Decent facial sprays are actually pretty easy to find, but functional, utilitarian packaging – that’s a little harder to come by, if you ask me.

L'Occitanne Immortelle face mist

The verdict?

I hate recommending limited edition skincare, but I have to say — I’m pretty darn pleased with this one. I think the fragrance (floral; a natural and synthetic blend) could be a little lighter, but my dry skin absolutely loves this water-and-glycerine formula!

All in all, I’m not too broken up about the fact that this isn’t in the permanent range. I like it, of course, and I think it does a great job of setting makeup and leaving skin glowing… but I think what I really love about it is the dense, even mist (and pretty-but-simple packaging).

Availability: $20 USD/$22 CAD for 100ml, limited edition.

Additional photos & more »

L’Occitane Magical Leaves Body Milk | A post-holiday review (& thoughts on uncooperative packaging)

Monday, January 14, 2013

L'Occitane Feuilles Magiques, Holiday 2012

The product: L’Occitane Magical Leaves Body Milk

Last month, L’Occitane released two scents inspired by the enchanted forests of Provence to capture the magic of the season. Available in a number of formats, from eau de toilettes to shimmering dry oils, Marvellous Flowers and Magical Leaves were/are limited edition — my apologies for having gotten this review up so late.

While not readily available online, I did see these in-store earlier this month.

L'Occitane Body Milk - Magical Leaves

I’m actually quite fond of the Magical Leaves scent, but the packaging was such a turn-off. In a sentence: it quite literally took this body milk from the top of my “post immediately!” list to — well, to the middle of January. 

The Body Milk has a good texture, sinking in quickly with light hydration and softly scented without too much throw. L’Occitane describes the fragrance as a (unisex) “zesty, mouthwatering composition,” with notes of verbena, hazel, citrus fruits, and vanilla – my nose doesn’t pick out any of the specifics, but it’s just… tasty.

It’s very fresh; unexpected for a holiday release but absolutely appreciated. A faint woodiness/sweetness keeps the citrus blend from coming off too sharply, but it does smell a little “standard.” I quite enjoy the fragrance, but won’t be stocking up on it.

L'Occitane Feuilles Magiques Lait Corps review

As for its downfall? The wonderfully whimsical Feuilles Magiques packaging (which makes me think of storybook woodland fairies or something) is actually a pain to use — the plastic is hard to squeeze, and while thin, the formula isn’t so runny that it just comes pouring out of the bottle.

I can see this shape working much better for the shower gel, shimmering oil, and eau de toilette (all in the Marvellous Flowers fragrance), but for a body milk… I mean, I liked the scent, but it would’ve had to have been something pretty darn special to justify this much hassle.

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The Best of Burt’s Bees review & photos | A Boxing Week skin saviour

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, Almond Milk hand cream

The product: Burt’s Bees Best of Burt’s Bees set (Holiday 2012)

This year’s Best of Burt’s Bees set ($24.99 CAD) contains three full-size Burt’s bestsellers, and is basically a hit of major hydration in a box. With targeted treatments for dry hands, feet, and cuticles, I like to think of it as my little “prairie saviour” box — perfect for soothing your holiday-shopping-tired feet and wind-chapped hands. 

(And by wind-chapped, I totally mean shopping-mall-chapped.)

The Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream review

A Burt’s Bees classic, the Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream is waxy and unyielding, and takes a moment to apply . That said, though, it does its job well — that same waxy texture also means that it’s highly portable (in any climate), and stays on your cuticles like nobody’s business.

I haven’t tested this out long enough to give it a ringing endorsement, but from what I’ve seen of it so far, it definitely does a great job of locking in moisture without getting your fingertips or hands greasy. You don’t have to use a lot of it each time, and what you do put on withstands a respectable amount of wear & washing, to boot.

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme with Vitamin E

The Coconut Foot Cream

Rather unexpectedly (for someone who rarely-if-ever uses foot creams), this was my favourite of the bunch! Despite living on the prairies and having chronically dry skin, my feet don’t actually tend to get terribly dry — less so than the rest of my body, even.

The Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream is strangely gelatinous, while still being petroleum-free and 99% natural. Like their Peppermint Foot Lotion, Burts’ coconut cream feels luxurious and has a bit of a minty tingle — but that’s where the comparisons end.

Burt's Bees Foot Cream - Coconut

Where the peppermint lotion is thin, white, and sinks in quickly, this one reminds me of a thick honey butter, flavoured with a slightly-spicy coconut and a little sticky. It’s made to sink in overnight (follow up with cotton socks, of course), and delivers deep hydration while having what I’d actually describe as quite a pleasing scent!

The Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream

Burt's Bees Hand Cream - Almond & Milk

Like the coconut foot cream, Burts’ Beeswax Hand Cream has a lovely, interesting texture — in this case, the texture of a waxy butter, solid in the jar but which melts easily as it’s worked into the skin.

While rich and moisturizing in terms of formula, my complaint with this product lies in its portability and fragrance. The latter is overdone (a problem I have with a surprising number of Burt’s Bees products), and has a sharp, synthetic edge that may be headache-inducing for some. And, while the 2 ounce jar is a great sink-side or desk-drawer addition, it’s far from portable — just something to consider, with the way hand creams need re-application in climates like the prairies!

Burt's Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream

The verdict?

At $25, this set is a good deal… but only if you already love all three of the included products. With the way I (don’t) go through products, I tend to prefer sets like the Burt’s Bees Tips n Toes Kit  — that is, ones that let you try out a lot of different products, rather than those that get you stocked up with old standbys.

So, while I liked this set, I’d actually recommend that you give the other one a go, instead! (Or, hey, any one of these.) Something like the Tips ‘n Toes Kit is just $19 CAD for the same awesome formulas plus three others, but minus the commitment of full-sized containers.

Or, y’know, skip the hand care entirely and just go for the Coconut Foot Cream. I’m having a lot of fun with the texture! And, okay, the giant hit of moisture and tasty fragrance are pretty nice too, I guess.

Keep reading! »

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