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! »

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.

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?

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