Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil review & giveaway

Friday, February 5, 2016

Palmer's giveaway trio

The products: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil, Soothing Oil for Dry, Itchy Skin, and… like, maybe the Daily Skin Therapy?

Finding an afforadable body moisturizer that’s silicone-free can be a really hard task, so when Palmer’s offered to send me a few of their products to try, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t end up being able to use the spray-oil or lotion (both contain ‘cones), but it was nice to see such a cohesive line of products!

The oil for expectant mothers, which is made with cocoa butter, Vitamin E, Collagen, and Lecithin, is designed to soothe dry, itchy skin. It comes in a spray format, which I think is great — if you’re carrying around an entire little human being in your body, companies SHOULD be making easy-application products for you!

Palmer's Soothing Body Oil pregnancy review

Palmer's cocoa butter lotion review

The thing about Palmer’s names: The lotion was the other product that I couldn’t use, but what really cracks me up about it is how HARD it is to figure out what this product actually is.

The packaging has ten million descriptors on it (24 hour moisture, for softening and smoothing, contains vitamin E…), but I tried my best to find a concrete product name on it, and I couldn’t find one for the life of me!

Palmer's Moisturizing Body Oil review

Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil: Finally, the product that I did get to fall in love with was the brand’s Moisturizing Body Oil. It’s scented of cocoa butter, but it’s the Palmer’s cocoa butter scent, so it’s a little bit powdery and very recognizable (in a gold way!)

This oil is great because it’s so lightweight and fast-absorbing. I need to alternate with something a little heavier in the winter, but it’s wonderfully easy to apply and doesn’t leave your hands or clothes greasy at all! And I mean, okay, so it’s not the only lightweight body oil out there — but it’s definitely the only super fast absorbing one under $20 that I’ve ever tried.

Which, well. ‘Cone-free stuff can be seriously expensive, you guys, and bodies are so big. You’ve gotta pinch pennies where you can!

Palmer's cocoa butter review giveaway

The giveaway

I absolutely love my bottle of Moisturizing Body Oil (it’s the most economical “finished” oil that I own, and definitely the least greasy), so I’m super excited to be giving away a Palmer’s trio to one lucky reader!

To enter, just click on the widget below. This giveaway is open to all Canadian residents (yes, even if you live in Quebec!) and will close on February 14th at 11:59 PM MST. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm review, photos, comparison

Friday, January 29, 2016

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm review

The product: Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

In the world of high-end lip balms, there are few names that are muttered as frequently or as reverently as Rêve de Miel. This dense, potted lip balm has been an iconic product for more than twenty years, and despite the hundreds of lip balms that have launched since then, it remains the go-to lip balm recommendation for many.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

The formula: The Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm is scented with honey and grapefruit, and smells comforting without smelling sticky-sweet (as I find many honey-scented products do). But what makes it so special is its texture.

I expected this lip balm to be waxy and hard, like my other favourite potted lip balms, but I couldn’t have been farther off the mark. Instead, it’s soft but dense, almost like a bowl of frosting that contains too much icing sugar — it’s mouldable and not at all sticky.

Nuxe Reve de Miel review photos

Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm texture

The wear: This stuff is lovely. It lingers throughout the night, forming a thick, protective layer over your lips and doing a great job of keeping moisture in.

It’s also soft enough that you can use it to treat other dry areas of skin (Nuxe actually recommends it), but I haven’t given this a go — the formula is full of silicones, and I think it may be breaking me out as it is. (Since I started testing it, I’ve been getting a recurrent blemish juuuust along my hairline in the very spot that my lip balm finger touches my face when I brush my hair back. Nowhere else!)

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm review texture comparison scent

The verdict?

It took me far too long to try this lip balm, but my opinion of it is clear: I’m a fan.

I am a fan, however, with reservations. If you’re sensitive to silicones, then I wouldn’t recommend this one for you; likewise, if you’re on a budget, I would try a different potted lip balm. This one preforms on par with or just slightly under the Osmia Organics and Bobbi Brown lip balms that I love, but due to its super-soft texture, a $17 pot won’t last you nearly as long.

However: that soft texture, created undoubtedly by waxes and oils suspended in silicones, is exactly why I would recommend this one as my #1 lip balm for dryness in combination with ageing skin. Its formula has virtually no drag, unlike the others that I have listed above, and will be far more gentle on your lips and lip contour area — a definite plus for many!

Availability: $19 USD/$17 CAD (!) at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Scarlet & Julia, Target (US), and Birchbox (US/Canada).

Keep reading! »

Hylamide Sensitive Fix, HA Booster review, photos, comparison

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Deciem Hylamide Booster review photos comparison

The products: DECIEM Hylamide Sensitive Fix & Low-Molecular HA Booster Serums

It’s no secret that I love Deciem’s SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum, so when I heard about the line’s “boosters,” my interest was immediately piqued. The boosters are designed to be used as an adjunct to your skincare routine, applied after your serum and before your moisturizer, letting you customize exactly what you want out of your regimen.

I was sent the Low-Molecular HA Booster by the lovely folks at Deciem, but I liked it enough to purchase the Sensitive Fix Booster on my own — and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

Deciem Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster review photos

Low-Molecular HA Booster

The HA Booster contains 5 different hyaluronic compounds that target everything from lightweight surface hydration (hyaluronic acid ferment) to encouraging your skin to produce more hyaluronic acid on its own (HA precursor), but for some reason, I find that I get lots of little closed comedones when I use this.

The formula of the HA booster is a little weird, too. Like Fountain’s Hyaluronic Molecule, it’s very thick — not sticky, but almost… goopy? It dries to a “nothing” finish, but the application is a little weird!

Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster review photos

Deciem Hylamide Sensitive Fix Booster review photos

Sensitive Fix Booster

Okay, so this? This is where it’s at. 

I was a little disheartened with my experience with Hylamide’s HA booster, so I went and purchased their Sensitive Fix during the brand’s 20% off Halloween sale. My order came out to a tiny $16.80 CAD including 2-day shipping, and it was marked as shipped literally twelve minutes after I made my order, so yeah, you could say that Mr. Sensitive Fix and I got off to a pretty good start.

Hylamide HA Booster review photos

Sensitive Fix is meant to decrease irritation and redness with twice daily use. I don’t have a lot of redness and it doesn’t do anything for the redness that I do have (though I suspect those with serious redness will have different results), but what it does do is calm down my surface irritation. 

I have super-sensitive skin that sometimes feels like it’s burning for no reason whatsoever, but Hylamide’s Sensitive Fix kills the irritation almost immediately. It works much like the Guerlain SOS Serum does, with a very mild “hot” feeling followed by a dramatic decrease in irritation, except it’s $20 CAD, not (have mercy) $104 USD.

Deciem Sensitive Fix Booster review photos

Now, this is a total over-share, but when I read that the Golden-Eye Grass Complex in this serum balances skin pH to reduce sensitivity in the immediate and short term, I, uh. Put it on not-my-face. And then I re-tested it on not-my-boyfriend’s-face.

That’s all I’m going to say about that, but trust me on this one: if you’re experiencing pain on pink skin due to dryness or irritation, this stuff will calm it down in literally seconds. 

But I mean, don’t try this one at home, kids.

Hylamide Sensitive Fix Booster review photos

The verdict?

You NEED the Hylamide Sensitive Fix Booster. I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first, but now that I’ve tried it, I really believe in its ability to calm down surface sensitivity in the short term. It was easily my best purchase of 2015, and I’ll likely be stocking up with a second bottle before the end of 2016!

As for the Low-Molecular HA Booster? My skin is really dry, so it doesn’t always slough off its layers correctly (hence the clogged pores), but I think those with oily, dehydrated skin will really like it. It does a great job of hydrating my partner’s face without feeling heavy or greasy, and unless it’s really dry outside, he can actually just use the HA Booster and nothing else!

Availability: $20 CAD each with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING!! (the caps lock is definitely necessary) at Deciem.com. Also available at the Hudson’s Bay Beauty Underground.

Keep reading! »

Bio Beaute Flash Perfection review, swatches | A NYE-ready review!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Silicone-free Flash Perfection review

The product: Bio Beauté by Nuxe Flash Perfection Beautifying Serum

OH GOD IT’S THE LAST DAY OF 2015 I CAN’T HANDLE THIS HELP ME

Happy New Year’s Eve, readers! How are your holidays going?

I wasn’t really feeling a NYE makeup look this year, so I have a different New Year’s themed post for you instead: a review of this neat little Flash Perfection serum by Bio Beauté. It sounds pretty New Years Eve party-ish, right? Flawless and instant and, most importantly, luminous?

Bio Beaute Beautifying Serum review.jpg

What’s in it: This new Bio Beauté by Nuxe serum (well, not-so-new if you’re in France; I think it launched in the spring for all of you lucky ducks) is silicone-free and certified organic, and it’s lightly scented with a 100% natural rose, freesia, and raspberry fragrance. (I had to read the press release for that info — it honestly doesn’t really have much of a scent.)

What’s nifty about this serum, though, is that like products such as Deciem’s Photography Foundation and Neutrogena’s Instant Tone Corrector, it’s designed to blur out imperfections with “chameleon nacres” — basically, a light nude/peachy tint and delicate micro shimmer that instantly makes all skin tones look better.

Nuxe Flash Perfection serum swatch

But does it work? Sadly, on my skin… Not so much. It does make my skin look lovely and glowy, but it’s subtle. I was hoping Bio Beauté’s Flash Perfection would be a great pre-party product (perfect for things like New Years) because of, you know, the name, but it’s more of a lightly luminizing long term product for me. It’s still a nice serum, but didn’t really deliver on the flash!

On a dark or medium skin tone, I think you’d see more of an effect, but I don’t find myself reaching for this when I need a quick fix.

Bio Beaute By Nuxe Flash Perfection review.jpg

The verdict?

Sadly, Bio Beauté’s Flash Perfection Radiance Beautifying Serum wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It was a close thing, though — it does instantly make my skin look more luminous and smooth, but no more so than a great facial mist would have. 

However, I do think there’s a small group of people who would LOVE this product. If you really like the idea of those “instant complexion booster”-type products BUT you want something that’s (a) silicone-free or (b) truly invisible under a macro lens, this is going to be your jam. The trade-off will be that it won’t give you major results at a distance, though, so I think this one is best used daily for long-term luminosity instead! 

Availability: $37 CAD at select Shopper’s Drug Mart boutiques in Canada. (Should be available at the Beauty Boutique soon!)

Keep reading!

MIYU Soirée Essentials review, photos | The (Canadian!) Gift Guide

Thursday, December 17, 2015

MIYU Beauty Soiree Essentials kit review

The product: MIYU Beauty Soirée Essentials kit

Every Christmas, I like to pick out a couple “quick fix” gift ideas. Kits for under $100 that are luxurious, easy to wrap, easy to buy, and (most importantly of all) sure to please many. They’re a step above your standard hostess gift, but juuuust generic enough that you probably have 3 or 4 people in your life (if not more) that would absolutely love them.

MIYU Beauty Soiree Essentials kit

MIYU Beauty mirror

MIYU Soiree Essentials love juliet earrings

The MIYU Soirée Essentials kit ($69 CAD) contains a full-sized Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence and Hydrate Mi Tea, along with a Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence Mini to throw into your clutch or leave on your nightstand. But what I really love about this kit is that it isn’t only beauty products — it’s a complete, well-rounded gift, ready to wrap with a compact mirror and a set of sparkling pearl & crystal 14K gold plated drop earrings by Love Juliet.

I’ve reviewed the MIYU Beauty Essences before, so I won’t go too much into detail about Hydrate Mi, but I’m happy to say that I’m still using (and loving!) both my Hydrate Mi and De-Stress Mi Beauty Essences religiously.

I find that I actually my essences more now than I did when I wrote my review — they’re perfect for adding a veil of moisture to my super-dry skin right before bed or just as I wake up, and unlike all other beauty essences, they can be spritzed on to freshen up winter-dry foundation.

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence, Tea review

I thought it was silly at first that MIYU put two Hydrate Mi essences in to this kit, but then it hit me: one is totally not enough. I keep a De-Stress Mi in my bathroom, and bottles of Hydrate Mi at my desk, in the bathroom cabinet at my partner’s place, and on my side of the bed. (I like to think of it as my portable humidifier, because it does about the same thing for my skin.)

If you’re searching for an awesome last-minute gift, or if you want to treat yourself for the holidays, the MIYU Beauty Soirée Essentials Kit ($69 CAD) is a great way to do it!

» Why gift MIYU? I love the MIYU brand because it’s a small Canadian business built around two absolutely inspiring ladies. CEO Connie Tai grew up here in Edmonton and has an extensive background in cosmetic chemistry and product development, so she actually gets it — she’s not just a pretty celebrity face behind a thrown-together brand.

Keep reading! »

LUSH Celebrate, Baked Alaska, Old Father Time review, photos | Christmas 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

LUSH celebrate, old father time, baked alaska review

The products: LUSH Baked Alaska, Old Father Time, and Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion

Happy Decem-burr, dear readers! I’m super jazzed for the holidays this year despite the eerily warm weather we’ve been having, so I’m very temporarily suspending my regular to-review shelf in favour of some more festive finds.

Up first are a few cruelty-free, vegan products from LUSH’s holiday range. Or, as they like to call it, the Christmas collection! (Because fuck political correctness, I guess?) (Um. Also, sorry for swearing at you bright and early on a Wednesday morning.)

LUSH Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion review

Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion ($32.95 CAD)

LUSH went a different route from most brands this winter & released a bunch of fruity and citrusy products for the holidays, so (of course) I had to check at least a few of them out!

Celebrate is one such product, and it’s great — not really all that festive, but it’s hydrating and lightweight and it smells super tasty. (True fact, my partner put his head in my lap yesterday, looked up at me, and said, “Your knee smells really good,” with an almost reverent in his eyes.)

Love the scent? Celebrate is made with the same fragrance as Lush’s Golden Wonder Bath Bomb.

This one is formulated with almond oil and cocoa butter, and scented with orange flower, lime, benzoin, and cognac oil. I get almost a lime/grapefruit feel from the scent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was back for a third year in 2016 — it’s that good.

LUSH Baked Alaska soap review

Baked Alaska Soap ($7.95 CAD)

Another fruity holiday product from LUSH this year is their Baked Alaska soap, which is fluorescent and cheerful and smells as zingy as it looks. I was expecting a sweeter/more gourmand scent based on the name, but I think the lemon myrtle, grapefruit, and ylang ylang blend really suits this bright cube of yellow and green!

Fun fact: Baked Alaska was actually inspired by “The Baked Alaska Story,” a book about a snow empire built on a foundation of multi-coloured ice cream!

(I cut mine into a square after taking these photos, and goddamn, it is really cute square.)

Baked Alaska does smell a little bit lemon cleaner-y, so if you don’t like your citrus scents bitter or sour at all, maybe skip this one.

LUSH Old Father Time soap review

Old Father Time Soap ($7.95 CAD)

Old Father Time is a “properly” festive scent, dolled up in deep red and gold with notes of sage, thyme, and myrrh. This was the product that I was most excited to try from Lush’s holiday range, but funnily enough, it was my least favourite!

I’m not crazy about the dark red colour that this tints the water with, and the scent is kind of weird. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool, but it’s… weird. It smells like spiced Kool-Aid blended with motor oil, and I am 100% certain that a lot of Lushies are going to LOVE it, but it’s a very strong, saccharine scent. If you can, smell this one in person before buying — and if you love, stock up. It’s only around for the holidays!

LUSH Holiday 2015 reviews

The verdict?

The LUSH holiday catalogue is, as usual, huge — and there’s something in it for everyone, I think. I wasn’t as smitten with these three products as I have been with other LUSH holiday products (the Sikkim Girls Body Lotion and Snowcake soap come to mind as particularly great ones), but it’s awesome to see a brand doing something other than cinnamon and spice for the winter months. 

I would definitely recommend checking out the Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion if you like citrus, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for another LUSH feature soon — I have a great little gift set to review in a couple of weeks!

Availability: Currently on shelves and online at LUSH. Limited edition!

Ingredients and stuff »

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