Mika for Shu: Cleansing Oils in POREfinist, Whitefficient, and Anti/Oxi reviews, photos | Summer 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

mika for shu skin purifier cleansing oil collection

The products: mika for shu shu uemura skin purifier cleansing oils (450 ml/14.2 fl. oz.)

   ↳ POREfinist (anti-shine/pink), whitefficient (brightening/blue), and Anti/Oxi (anti-dullness/green)

Available this spring from Shu Uemura is the Mika for Shu collection, which features artwork by photographer and director Mika Ninagawa. It’s her third collection with Shu Uemura (the other two launched in 2008 and 2011), and this time, she highlights the line’s iconic false eyelashes and lipsticks, telling a tale with images of butterflies and the idea of a “wonderland fairy tale adventure.”

In addition to these three, the Shu Uemura ultime8 cleansing oil (reviewed here) is also available in limited edition Mika for Shu packaging ($98 CAD).

mika for shu uemura summer 2014 reviews - cleansing oils

POREfinist anti-shine fresh cleansing oil ($82 CAD/regular packaging)

I’ve always referred to Shu’s cleansing oils by their colours rather than their names – the latter tend to be quite lengthy, and can be rather confusing. The pink POREfinist/Fresh cleansing oil is made to be the most lightweight of the Shu Uemura Skin Purifiers, and as such, it’s ideal for normal to oily and acne-prone skin. 

mika for shu uemura POREfinist fresh cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura POREfinist skin purifier cleansing oil

This pink cleansing oil is formulated with cinnamon bark extract to regulate oil production and remove blackheads, and features a bright, floral scent wrapped in Mika’s “Melting Sweet Dream” artwork. Of all of the Shu Uemura cleansing oils, this is definitely one of my favourite fragrances.

The shu uemura Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil ingredients (copied from the back of the box — for some reason, the ingredients on the site don’t line up.)

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicrapate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tocopherol, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinesis Oil, Methoxypropanediol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil, Caprylol Salicylic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Prunus Cerasus Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylancium Extract, Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu fresh cleansing oil skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “melting sweet dream” artwork

whitefficient clear brightening gentle cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

Detailed with Mika Ninagawa’s “Curiosity” print, which was created around the idea of an enchanted carnival, the blue Whitefficient cleansing oil smells quite fresh — it reminds me of a clean-smelling men’s cologne, actually, and is my second-favourite cleansing oil in terms of scent (behind the pink POREfinist, above).

mika for shu uemura whitefficient brightening gentle cleansing oil

mika for shu uemura Whitefficient skin purifier cleansing oil

While I’m not a fan of whitening products (as I’m sure you all know), the specifications of this one actually focus on brightening, not whitening. Again, the Whitefficient formula is made to feel lightweight, and removes dead skin cells to remedy a dull complexion.

However, this formula also features whitening ceramides, white algae, vitamin C, and prune extract to prevent melanin accumulation in the dermis — which is great for brightening and evening out the complexion, but hopefully won’t perpetuate the “whiter is better!” idea too strongly.

The shu uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil ingredients:

Paraffinum Liquidum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Isohexadecane, Peg-20 Glyceryl, Triisostearate, Aqua, Tocopheryl, Acetate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Isopropyl Myristate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Benzyl Salicylate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Sodium Ydroxide, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Vaccinum Myrtillus Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract, Acer Saccharnum Extract, Parfum.

mika for shu whitefficient brightening skin purifier

mika for shu uemura “curiosity” artwork

anti/oxi skin refining anti-dullness cleansing oil ($92 CAD/regular packaging)

The last cleansing oil I have to share with you today is Shu’s Anti/Oxi formulation, in Mika’s “Singing Forest” imagery. I already have a full review of the Anti/Oxi cleansing oil up here, but in short: tinted green and made to combat pollution, it smells the earthiest of all of Shu’s oils.

mika for shu uemura anti-oxi skin refining cleansing oil

Keep reading! »

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum

The product: The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum

I can’t review this one for you. I’ll be right upfront about it: I would love to, because I think it’s going to have a huge pull as part of a range of Asian skincare products brought over to the North American market, but I can’t — it’s full of silicones.

So, instead, let me tell you a little bit about this one.

The Body Shop Moisture White serum

The Body Shop’s Moisture White Shiso range contains six products (including this brightening serum), all of which contain hand-harvested Community Fair Trade aloe vera gel from Guatemala. The serum is made to be invisible and non-sticky, suitable for all skin types, and features the skin-brightening shiso plant (perilla leaf extract), liquorice, and vitamin C to add radiance to the skin.

I’m not a fan of whitening products, and I’m a little saddened by the fact that The Body Shop is perpetuating the whiter-is-better stereotype. However, I also recognize that it’s something that’s becoming more & more common in today’s market, and I would rather see theNotice’s readers turned toward a gentle, community-oriented, FDA-approved serum than order something from Asia that they may not be able to read the packaging for — something I’m personally very wary of, myself!

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso range

I’m not a fan of whitening itself, but whitening serums can be a great way to safely manage hyperpigmentation, too — so this could be a good option for you even if you aren’t looking to lighten your skintone. And, of course, it’s great to see the North American market extend past western ideals of beauty, even if I still hope for the day when everyone can be happy with their own skintone!

The Moisture White range was formulated in Japan, which I think is very cool — and I hear the Moisture White BB Serum Inside ($25 CAD, not available in the US) BB cream is very pale, which speaks to my inner (okay, outer) pale girl.

Availability: $36 USD/$36 CAN online & in-store at The Body Shop. The Moisture White range is available starting at $15 CAD.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso review overview

Ingredients & more »

My Marcelle recommendations & must-haves (and a 40% off code)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marcelle annabelle 40 off free shipping

With Marcelle and Annabelle featuring 40% off until the 13th to celebrate International Women’s Day, I thought I’d take a minute to go over a few of my must-have from their lines. I’ve linked to full reviews wherever possible, but I’ll do my best to tell you why I love each & every one of these within this post, too.

» Shop Annabelle.ca & Marcelle.com at 40% off with the code WOMEN

As with the Annabelle site, shipping is free on all Canadian orders, and is calculated by weight for all US ones. If you do live in the US, now might be a good time to stock up anyways — 40% off goes a long way in negating the cost of shipping!

My Marcelle favourites & recommendations (see my Annabelle picks here)

Marcelle Essentials 400ml

Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk { review | buy }

Marcelle’s Cleansing Milk was both the first Marcelle product and the first skincare product that I truly fell head over heels for. Sure, there are products that I like more, but so far, I have yet to find anything I love more.

While not flawless (my skin is still not 100%), this cleansing milk made a huge impact on my skin. Because it doesn’t strip my skin of all of its natural oils, it leaves my face feeling less tight and dry than other cleansers (even other cream cleansers that I’ve tried), and it keeps my skin from overproducing oil during the day.

Formulated for normal to dry skintypes, it’s also scent-free and sensitive-skin friendly.

 Marcelle Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water review

Marcelle Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water review | buy }

If there was one “hit product” in the Marcelle skincare line, I think this one would be it. I’ve gone through an entire bottle (which doesn’t sound like much, but this is literally the only makeup remover I’ve ever finished), and I have two more as backups already.

Also scent-free and sensitive-skin-friendly, the Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water does an amazing job at removing makeup without leaving your skin greasy or raw. It’s great for removing eyeliner from the waterline, and while it’s not as hydrating as a straight-up oil (and really, why would you even expect it to be?), it removes makeup beautifully and quite gently.

Marcelle Light to Medium BB cream review

Marcelle BB Cream (original) review | buy }

This isn’t a product that I use in my daily makeup repertoire (it’s full of ‘cones), but I tested it out when it launched & loved it so much that I bought a tube for my mom. It’s great at evening out the skin while still looking like skin, and wears well throughout the day.

Where the Marcelle BB Cream really excels, though, is in covering up large pores. I’m not sure how it does it (magic!), but it makes the pores on my mom’s nose disappear. I basically think that my mom is the prettiest human to ever exist–who doesn’t think that of their mothers, though, really?–but I’m not looking forward to getting her pores when my skin ages!

Marcelle Face Powder review | buy }

An oldie but goodie. Marcelle’s Face Powder is a classic, both in its utilitarian packaging and its velvety-soft finish. It holds up well throughout the day, disappears into the skin while giving it a beautiful satin-matte finish, and keeps a pretty short, ‘cone-free ingredients list.

I’ve had my tub of Marcelle Face Powder for years (at least three, if not four), and I’ve barely made a dent in it despite dropping it all the time. This, along with Marcelle’s original pressed powder (now available as their Monochromatic Pressed Powder ($15.95 CAD)) is all I will use for powder — nothing else measures up!

IMG_9438-1

Marcelle Lux Eye Dust in Go-Violet buy }

Okay, so this one is kind of cheating. It’s not one of my must-haves, but I posted about Annabelle’s Violet Vibe pigment many years ago, and it apparently resonated with a lot of you! I still have readers writing in and telling me that they bought Violet Vibe, and think of theNotice every time they use it.

Go-Violet is essentially the same as Violet Vibe, but I’m recommending it as an upgrade for one simple reason: the packaging is a lot better. And, with 40% off, you have no reason not to buy the slightly more expensive but far better-packaged version!

Marcelle Lux Diamond Eyeliner in Pure Gold see itbuy }

I don’t even have odes left to talk about this one, I write about it so much. Marcelle’s Lux Diamond liners are the same as the Annabelle Glitterama liners that I love, but the Annabelle ones don’t come in this beautiful, beautiful gold. It’s perfect during the holidays, for a dinner date, for an effortless summer evening eye — I could even see excelling at office wear.

It’s beautiful, beautifully packaged, and beautifully subtle. There’s nothing not to love.

Marcelle Lux Metallic, Diamond liquid liners glitter

Marcelle Lux Metallic Eyeliners review | buy }

Finally, I wanted to wrap up with Marcelle’s Lux Metallic Eyeliners. Housed in the same packaging as their Diamond counterparts, the Lux Metallic liquid liners are quite unique: they deliver translucent metallic colour, for a very interesting, almost watercolour effect. They can be layered for more impact, but they hold up well, and make it easy to create an ombré effect from one liner to the next, as well.

What are your Marcelle skincare and makeup favourites?

LUSH Valentine’s 2014 reviews: Tender is the Night, Neon Love, Love Locket

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lush Neon Love alt

The products: LUSH Tender is the Night massage bar, Love Locket bath bomb, & Neon Love soap

Tender is the Night massage bar ($11.95)

A returning limited edition product coming to the permanent line, Tender is the Night is a solid massage bar. It’s very sturdy in its solid state (perfect for travel), and melts immediately upon contact with skin. The oil it melts into is smooth and intensely moisturizing, and I really appreciate that the body of the bar isn’t coloured — it saves me from worrying about it getting on my white sheets.

Lush Tender is the Night review

Scented with Simon Constantine’s Vanilla Orchid fragrance, this bar smells a little sour to my nose. That said, I’m crazy picky about my vanillas — past the initial sharpness, Tender is the Night is kind of delicious and a little bit sexy. Scented with notes of vanilla, jasmine, and ylang ylang, it’s sweet without being nauseating, and I think many will adore its fragrance.

As long as you don’t live in a hot climate, I think this would be a lovely bedside or bathroom addition. If you really love vanilla, it would be a really nice treat for yourself, too, even just for travel or for moisturizing with after a bath!

Tender of the Night is photographed here in LUSH’s Massage Bar Tin ($3.95), which is great for both storage and travel. 

Murumuru Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Fragrance, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Cornflour, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Lilial, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, FD&C Red No. 4, D&C Red No. 27

Lush massage bar review - Tender is the Night

Love Locket ballistic bath bombs ($10.95)

Love Locket is priced a little higher than Lush’s other bath bombs, but for good reason: this thing is MASSIVE. Like, three-baths massive: the heart “unlocks,” breaking into two halves with an additional heart in the centre. It’s heavy, dense, and honestly, the idea behind it is kind of fantastic.

A little macabre (“break your heart”), but fantastic.

LUSH Love Locket Bath Bomb

Lush Love Locket open

Fragranced with vanilla, jasmine, and neroli essential oils, I’m not crazy about the scent — but unlike some of LUSH’s other bath bombs, it’s not a deal-breaker. The outside layer hides paper hearts that will float out to the surface of the water, while the centre heart has shiny red hearts made from agar. Unlike plastic wrap or microbeads, both will dissolve entirely, making them 100% ocean-safe.

Note: my Love Locket “unlocked” in the mail (though all of the pieces are intact), so if you’re going to buy one of these, I definitely recommend purchasing it in person.

Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Jasmine Absolute, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Neroli Oil, Gardenia Extract, Eugenol, Geraniol, Methyl Ionone, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, D&C Red No. 27, Pink Heart Confetti

Red Edible Hearts (Hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose, Glycerine, Gum Arabic, Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, FD&C Red 40)

LUSH bath bomb review - love locket

Neon Love soap ($6.95)

The first thing that came to mind when I saw Lush’s Neon Love soap was Cut Copy’s 2004 Bright Like Neon Love. I still haven’t gotten around to listening to anything post In Ghost Colours, but you guys — they’re pretty great. Not, like, “I love this so much I never want to listen to anything else ever again” levels of great, but there’s something about their light, electro-pop sound that’s sort of smooth, like little fizzy bursts of soft light in a dark room. 

LUSH Valentine's 2014 review - Neon Love soap

Much like Cut Copy, Neon Love is heartbreakingly bright. It’s sunny and cheery without being too sweet — Lush lists notes of passion fruit, bergamot, rosewood, and cinnamon, and let me tell you: it does not disappoint. The cinnamon leaf oil gives incredible balance to the scent, a spicy base to tether the fizzy passionfruit, and it’s so perfectly mouthwatering that I’m presently using it to scent my office.

(Neon Love is named after 12 Months of Neon Love, a public art project.)

Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Fresh Passion Fruit, Cornflour, Sodium Stearate, Fresh Figs, Fragrance, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Rosewood Oil, Bergamot Oil, Titanium Dioxide,Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Editronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citral, Coumarin,Eugenol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, FD&C Yellow No. 8, D&C Green No. 8, D&C Red No. 27

Lush Neon Love review

The verdict?

Of these, Neon Love is really the only one that I’d call a must-have – but what a must-have it is. Honestly, I don’t even think I’d be upset if it was the only soap I was allowed to use all spring and summer: it’s that good.

The fragrances of Love Locket and Tender is the Night didn’t really hook me, but the delivery of both is stellar. I love that Love Locket breaks open and reveals yet another heart (what a wonderful, romantic-or-platonic Valentine’s Day gift it would be for a bath addict!), and Tender is the Night would make a great bedside addition if you want to subtly hint that you’d like a massage.

And Lush? If you’re listening… please, please, please bring Neon Love into your permanent collection. I think it’d be a hit!

Additional photos & more »

Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair review, photos | The one winter lip balm you absolutely need to own

Monday, January 20, 2014

Osmia Organics Lip Repair review comparison Honey-Myrrh

The product: Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair

Have you met Osmia Organics yet? Until very late last year, I hadn’t — and I wasn’t all that interested in the line. Sure, their packaging was pretty, and everyone else seemed to love them, but niche organic lines seem to be a dime a dozen these days. What’s one from the next one, right?

Wrong. Their range is relatively small, but everything is such a joy to use: naturally-fragranced, packaged in the most beautiful, basic glassware, and run by a small business owner in a mind-blowingly idyllic, dreamy, snowy Colorado nook. I’m a convert, you guys — and this lip balm is a big reason why.

Editor’s note: Win this (and a few of my other Osmia favourites) here!

All natural lip balm review Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics lip balm review natural

Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair review – unbroken surface

The formula: Osmia makes sure to note that this “Lip Repair” isn’t quite the same as your standard lip balm. Formulated with organic manuka honey, myrrh extract, and lanolin, it’s designed to heal dry and cracked lips in a matter of days.

The surface of your new balm needs to be “broken” with the tip of your finger or the back of your fingernail before use (it forms a stiff layer after being poured and cooled, but no product needs to be removed or wasted), which I think is just the coolest thing — as a lip balm addict, anything new and different is always interesting to try. Once broken, the balm is much softer and more emollient, working easily into the lips and forming a comforting layer.

Osmia Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair Review

Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair review – broken/cracked surface

The wear: The Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair isn’t lipgloss-sticky, but it sticks around. While drugstore lip balms like Maybelline Baby Lips & Labello/Nivea have me reaching to re-apply every hour (minimally), Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair lasts from meal to meal, and wears well overnight. Yes, you can really feel it on your lips (it’s a lot tackier than a a tube of Chapstick), but honestly?

For lads & ladies with dry lips, you want your lip balm to stick — that’s what makes it great.

The (impressively short and natural) ingredients list:

Castor Bean Oil, Beeswax, Cupuacu Butter, Lanolin, Manuka Honey, Tamanu Oil, Gmo-Free Vitamine E Oil, Wild Myrrh Co2, and Bergamot FCF Essential Oil.

Osmia Organics review - Honey Myrrh Lip Repair balm

But does it work?: In one, short, succinct word, yes.

While not quite as effective for my lips as Bobbi Brown’s Lip Balm SPF 15 (my go-to overnight lip hydrator and healer), Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair comes a very close second. It wears just a fraction shorter and doesn’t prime lips in the same way, but I think a lot of people will be more comfortable with Osmia’s version. It’s a little less sticky and much more natural, carrying a strong herby/natural scent rather than a strong synthetic one. I love my Bobbi Brown lip balm, but it feels like slapping a chemical salve on my lips — not exactly pleasant.

Of all of the lip balms I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot), this is my second favourite, falling very close behind the first. It is hands-down the best natural option, and works wonders on very dry, cracked lips! 

Osmia Organics review - Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair

The verdict?

If you’re on the market for a new lip balm, please give Osmia’s a try. It’s a little pricy at $22 USD, but it hydrates and nourishes the lips quickly and beautifully, touting an ingredients list so clean that it’s well worth the cost.

Don’t get me wrong: I wear a ton of non-organic, non-natural products on my lips, but it just feels kind of weird to be doing it overnight. Like, where do nighttime lip balms go? You’re not wiping them off before dinner, but they’re almost always gone by the morning — are they all over your pillowcases? Did they seep into your skin while you slept? Did you eat them by accident while dreaming about cake?

Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair won’t disappear in the dead of night like some sketchy one-night stand, and the most frightening thing in it comes from sheep. I wish it was less strongly scented, but aside from that? Colour me impressed.

Availability: $22 USD/0.28 oz at Osmia Organics. International shipping available!

Keep reading for nitty-gritty photos! »

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