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.)

Silicone-free primer list (+ paraben-free)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Today’s list of silicone-free makeup primers is one that came requested by a few of our readers — and, unlike the last instalment of silicone-free cream foundations, it’s sorted by (US) price ascending rather than brand. If you prefer one over the other, please let me know — I can’t decide!

More of these primers were paraben-free than not, so primers with parabens listed in their ingredients lists are denoted with a hyphen (-). If you are extremely sensitive to parabens, however, please check the packaging or contact the manufacturer to double-check each product’s status before buying!

See more silicone-free beauty products here, and check out our old lists here.

NYX Dewy Finish Makeup Setting SprayNYX Cosmetics Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray ($7.99 USD)

ULTA }

NYX COSMETICS  Matte Finish Makeup Setting SprayNYX Cosmetics Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray ($7.99 USD)

ULTA }

The Body Shop Moisturise It primerThe Body Shop Skin Primer Moisturize It ($15 USD/$16 CAD)

The Body Shop (CA) }

Sephora Collection Silicone Free Foundation Primer

Sephora Collection Silicone Free Foundation Primer ($15 USD/$19 CAD

Sephora }

Ulta Hydro Prime silicone-free primerULTA Hydro Prime ($18 USD)

ULTA }

Alima Pure Balancing Primer PowderAlima Pure Balancing Primer Powder ($20 USD/$22 CAD)

Alima Pure | Fresh Faced }

Cover FX Blemish Treatment Primer

Cover FX Blemish Treatment Primer ($22 USD/$26 CAD)

Sephora }

OCC Skin PrimerObsessive Compulsive Cosmetics OCC Skin Primer ($27.50 USD/$33 CAD)

Sephora | OCC }

Korres Face PrimerKorres Vitamin E Face Primer (original) ($28 USD/$36.50 CAD)

Sephora | Korres }

Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix-Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix ($29 USD/$34 CAD)

Sephora }

Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing PrimerKorres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer ($30 USD/$39 CAD)

Sephora }

Tarte Clean Slate Flawless 12 Hr Brightening PrimerTarte Clean Slate Flawless 12 Hr Brightening Primer not Clean Slate original ($30 USD/$39 CAD)

Sephora }

Too Faced Primed & Poreless PowderToo Faced Primed & Poreless Powder loose only ($30 USD/$38 CAD)

Sephora }

Benefit Cosmetics Dr. FeelgoodBenefit Cosmetics Dr. Feelgood ($31 USD/$37 CAD)

Sephora }

PÜR MINERALS  Correcting Primer Hydrate & BalancePür Minerals Correcting Primer Hydrate & Balance ($31 USD)

ULTA }

Urban Decay Brightening & Tightening Complexion Primer Potion

Urban Decay Brightening & Tightening Complexion Primer Potion ($31 USD/$37 CAD)

Sephora }

Cargo Blu-Ray Activating Face PrimerCargo Blu-Ray Activating Face Primer ($32 USD

Nordstrom }

LORAC Im So Sensitive Soothing Face PrimerLORAC “I’m So Sensitive” Soothing Face Primer ($32 USD)

Nordstrom | ULTA }

Japonesque primer-Japonesque Color Radiance Primer ($32 USD)

ULTA }

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face PrimerToo Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer ($32 USD/$40 CAD)

Sephora }

Korres Pomegranate Mattifying PrimerKorres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer ($33 USD/$43 CAD)

{ Sephora | Korres }

Korres Quercetin & Oak Age-Reversing PrimerKorres Quercetin & Oak Age-Reversing Primer ($33 USD/$43 CAD)

{ Sephora | Korres }

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Original, not Hydrating $33 USD/$40 CAD

Nordstrom | Sephora | Space NK }

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance-Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance ($33 USD/$40 CAD)

Nordstrom | Sephora | Space NK }

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance Bronze

-Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze ($33 USD/$40 CAD)

Nordstrom | Sephora | Space NK }

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen PA+++Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen PA+++ ($33 USD/$40 CAD)

Nordstrom | Sephora }

Urban Decay B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep SprayUrban Decay B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Spray ($33 USD/$39 CAD)

Sephora }

Ardency Inn Americana Ultra Lightweight Skin Perfecting Primer

Ardency Inn Americana Ultra Lightweight Skin Perfecting Primer ($34 USD/$39 CAD)

Sephora }

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray-Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray ($35 USD)

{ Skindinavia }

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray Oil Control-Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray Oil Control ($35 USD)

{ Skindinavia }

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector-Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector ($36 USD/$44 CAD)

Sephora }

Jouer Anti-Aging-Moisture-PrimerJouer Cosmetics Anti-Ageing Moisture Primer ($38 USD)

Jouer }

Jouer Anti-Blemish-Matte-Primer

Jouer Cosmetics Anti-Blemish Matte Primer ($38 USD)

Jouer }

Peter Thomas Roth Un-wrinkle primer-Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Primer ($38 USD)

Beauty Bar }

Gorgeous Cosmetics silicone-free primer-Gorgeous Cosmetics First Base Foundation Primer ($39 USD)

Beauty Bar }

Dior Glow Maximizer PrimerDior Glow Maximizer Primer ($42 USD/$42 CAD

Nordstrom | Sephora }

Clarins Beauty Flash BalmClarins Beauty Flash Balm ($47 USD/$50 CAD)

{ NordstromSephora }

Vapour Stratus Instant Skin PerfectorVapour Organic Beauty Stratus Instant Skin Perfector ($48 CAD)

Vapour | Fresh Faced }

Vapour Stratus Instant Skin PerfectorVapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector ($56 CAD)

Vapour | Fresh Faced }

 

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.

L’Occitane Frisson de Verveine review, photos: Ice Gel & Shower Gel

Saturday, August 9, 2014

L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine review

The products: L’Occitane Frisson de Verveine Shower Gel & Cooling Foot Gel

It’s hard to find a good summer scent. Trust me; I know. The ones that are good never last, and the ones that last are always so heavy. And, ugh, don’t even get me started on how sticky-sweet and floral the summer heat can make feminine fragrances.

This summer, though, L’Occitane has solved the summer scent problem — in part. No one can make citrus and aquatic-family molecules linger for any longer, but this bright, genderless summer collection might be just what you need to get you through August. (I think it makes an especially appealing androgynous scent for women.)

L'Occitane shower gel review Frisson de Verveine

The scent: This stuff smells good. Like, so good that when my shower is over, I have a tendency to wander back into the bathroom (hot and humid as it is), just to stand by the shower and inhale for a moment. It smells like bright summer days, and like verbena, but it doesn’t have any of the hard edges that the original L’Occitane Verveine scent has — instead, it has soft edges with just the right amount of zest.

Frisson de Verveine reminds me of D&G Light Blue and Fresh Citron de Vigne, in feeling if not in its notes. An aptly-categorized unisex “aqueous citrus,” it’s light and very fresh, almost masculine and not at all “perfumey”. But, unlike Light Blue, it’s very unique — no one is going to sniff this on you and go, “oh yeah, I used to wear that in high school.”

L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine review Fresh Shower Gel

L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine Ice Gel review

The Ice Gel: I found the collection’s Fresh Shower Gel ($32 CAD) to be a little drying, despite its gorgeous scent (use with a shower puff for maximum fragrance release!), but the cool-cred in this collection totally goes to the Ice Gel for Legs & Feet ($24 CAD). It’s actually a liquid, and has the coolest method of application — you roll the ball onto your skin while gently squeezing the tube to get just the right amount of product.

This is the only product I’ve ever owned with this type of packaging, and I love it. It’s easy to use, weirdly fun, and amounts to zero drips or drops. And the product inside is really good, too — while it doesn’t feel cooling on my feet (it does on my hands; I think my feet just aren’t sensitive enough), it’s surprisingly hydrating, and dries down quickly.

And yes, okay? Yes, I will admit to dabbing some of this onto my wrists as well. It just smells so good, you guys. I couldn’t help myself.

L'Occitane Ice Gel verveine review

The verdict?

L’Occitane’s fragrances outside of La Collection de Grasse don’t always wow me, but wow – this one did. The perfect aquatic-citrus for both men and women, Frisson de Verveine is as bright and watery as you could wish for on a hot summer day. 

But I’m going to recommend you don’t buy these two products, because I love the scent so much. Instead, I’m going to point you toward the line’s gorgeously bottled Frisson de Verveine Eau de Toilette ($56 CAD) and aerosolized Verbena Refreshing Mist ($12 CAD). This is a scent that deserves to be enjoyed both in and out of the shower.

Availability: The Frisson de Verveine range is available for a limited time at L’Occitane boutiques & online beginning this month.

Keep reading! »

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