The Body Shop Virgin Mojito collection review, photos

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito collection review

The products: The Body Shop Virgin Mojito collection ($9 CAD-$22 CAD)

When I was fifteen, surgery was a cakewalk. Sleep it off in the hospital, grab a burger on the way home, ready for a road trip by Friday. But at 23, and when you find out after the operation that you might not be able to eat normally for up to six weeks? I’m going nuts over here. Telling a Chen she can’t eat is like telling a dog it can’t pee on things. Eating is where I get all of my joy. 

So, I mean, I’ve been hitting the mojitos pretty hard to help cope. Virgin skincare mojitos, that is. (I don’t want to find out what happens when you mix rum with open wounds and morphine.)

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Shower Gel review photos

The scent: I was told that you either love or hate The Body Shop’s new Virgin Mojito scent, but I mean… I love it; my boyfriend loves it; Julie from Swatch and Review and her boyfriend love it; Zoë from Writing Whimsy and Steph from Fun Size Beauty both totally love it.

It’s summery and fresh, and smells like taking a sip of a delicious wall of lime with just a hint of mint and that tart bite of citrus peel. (It’s totally 100% deserving of the cheeky little “NOT FOOD!” labelling.)

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Scrub review photos

In the shower

The Body Shop has offered up two ways for you to get your mojito on in the shower this summer: the Virgin Mojito Shower Gel ($9 CAD) and the Virgin Mojito Body Scrub ($22 CAD).

I’m still trying to figure out if the beads in the mojito body scrub are regular beads or micro beads (the latter of which end up in lakes and rivers, basically just hangin’ out and killin’ fishes), but I have to admit defeat, here: I’m not eco-knowledgeable enough to tell the difference, and I need some help to figure out if I can indulge or if I need to pitch this! 

I’m hoping for the former–didn’t The Body Shop swear off micro beads a few years ago?–because that jelly-like texture looks like waaaay too much fun not to use. 

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Shower Gel review

On the other hand, I’ve been guiltlessly indulging in the Virgin Mojito Shower Gel pretty heavily. The Body Shop’s Shower Gels are possibly my favourite product from the brand — they just always smell so good, and at $9 CAD (or less; a bunch of them are on for $5 right now), they’re so cheap.

I love being able to get a Body Shop scent fix at a price tag that I don’t have to think about (I mean, it’s not exactly Byredo, but is far from drugstore stuff). This tall glass of deliciousness is no exception!

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Butter review photos

After the shower

Coming out of the shower, you have three options: The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Butter ($20 CAD), a classic that has too many ‘cones for me to touch (I used to adore these), the Virgin Mojito Body Splash ($20 CAD), which is delightfully splishy-splashy but honestly kind of a pain to apply (splashes, man. We should have left them behind in the ’90s), and the Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet ($15 CAD).

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Splash review photos

The Body Sorbets are a product that I’m split on. On one hand, they’re $15 (sometimes even less!), and they all, without a doubt, smell awesome. But on the other, they’re just not hydrating — like, even when I get other people to use them, they don’t find them to do a thing. And they pill up like a bad primer if you try to make them hydrate more by applying extra.

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito review

Buuut (and there’s always a but) they’re $15. And silicone-free. And I guarantee you, they are the only tasty-smelling ‘cone-free body lotions that you’re going to be able to find for that price — believe me, I’ve looked.

So, you know. I hate them… and also, I own three. (This was, for interest’s sake, the only one of the three that was a press sample. I bought the other two with my own money and darn it, I was happy to.)

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Body Sorbet review photos

The verdict?

Out of all of the limited edition collections that The Body Shop has come out with recently, the Virgin Mojito one has been, by far, my favourite. I love the delicious, limey fragrance (it’s so summery!) and I’m quite happy with the product offerings.

My recommendation? Get the shower gel for sure. Then, if you can use silicones, buy the Body Butter. But for those who can’t… get the Body Sorbet instead. You’ll probably hate me for it, but at the same time, you’re totally not going to regret it in the least.

Availability: $9 CAD & up at thebodyshop.ca and The Body Shop stores. Limited edition.

Keep reading! »

Guerlain Boutique & Institute Toronto photos, Complete Facial review | BEAUTY DESTINATIONS

Monday, August 10, 2015

Guerlain Yorkville Toronto Boutique and Institute review

The most unexpected adventure I’ve taken so far this year was a trek into the gorgeous, glossy depths into Toronto’s Guerlain Boutique & Institute at 110 Bloor Street West.

I wandered in one fine Tuesday, expecting to just take a quick sniff of Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille–could it really be as gorgeous as I remembered? (Spoiler: it is, and then some.)–and walked out with some seriously sharp bronzer and a facial appointment for that Friday.

Guerlain Boutique Toronto tour review

The Boutique 

As a fragrance junkie, the only thing you need to know about Guerlain boutiques is this: there is only one in Canada, and it contains all of the brand’s current fragrances…

Les Exclusifs and all.

Guerlain les exclusifs perfumes

From bee bottles to tailor-made fragrances (you know, if you have a year, time for a trip to Paris, and a spare $75 000 lying around), this is the place to be. The staff here know everything there is to know about Guerlain’s recent launches as well as their classics, and can tell you about everything from Guerlinade to Theirry Wasser (Guerlain’s in-house perfumer).

Scents you must try while you’re there:

Guerlain Boutique Toronto Yorkville review

Guerlain exclusifs perfumes boutique

The Institute

Tucked discreetly in the back of the boutique is a small treatment room and all the necessarily amenities — a gorgeous glass shower, a mirrored change room, and the boutique’s secret weapon: a petite esthetician named Sakien Teymouri who, I swear, has magic hands.

Guerlain Institute Spa facial review Toronto Bloor

Guerlain facial review Toronto Yorkville

I was lucky enough to experience a complimentary Complete Facial ($170 CAD), which is a 1h30 treatment that can be customized to match your skin’s needs.

As someone with extremely touchy skin, facials aren’t usually something I can indulge in, but the boutique’s manager took the time to double-check ingredients lists and customize a gentle, silicone-free regimen just for me. (Thank you so much, Jaimelee — your kindness and attention to detail really made my day!)

Continue the adventure!! »

Juicy Couture giveaway (& behind the scenes at the I AM JUICY COUTURE launch party)

Friday, July 31, 2015

I AM JUICY COUTURE launch party

I had a pretty wide variety of adventures while I was in Toronto this month (I got home late Tuesday night), from factory tours to coffee dates. Today, though, I get to share with you something special: a launch party for the new Juicy Couture fragrance, plus a little giveaway with a memento for one of you.

I am Juicy Couture review notes

The I AM JUICY COUTURE party was a really weird experience for me: it was a lot of pink, a lot of people out to “be seen,” and a lot of fragrance notes that I’m not the biggest fan of, personally. (What? I like my fragrances vaguely snobby, kind of dirty, and aggressively unisex.)

THE NOTES: TOP – raspberry, pomelo, passion fruit / HEART – gardenia, heliotrope, Rose de Mai, sweet pea / BASE – musk, woods, amber

I AM JUICY COUTURE ($89 CAD/50 ml; available soon) was created for the house by Dora Baghriche for Firmenich Paris, and was inspired by candied pralines and the idea of the ultimate Juicy Couture girl. It’s described as a “rebellious gourmand” for the “prestige rebel,” and smells kind of like something that would happen in all caps. The press release says it’s for the girl who “daringly proclaims exactly who she is not in order to declare who she is“… but what kind of life is that?

Juicy Couture

This guy is Juicy Couture

Yes you are, dude. Yes you are.

So here’s what I think. I think you should take the great parts of I AM JUICY COUTURE, and leave the rest. Feel free to tell people that you’re not apologetic, because no one should have to be. Tell them that you’re not conventional, because you’re not obligated to be.

But don’t operate under the assumption that these are traits of the “cool girl.” Girls, in case you haven’t noticed, are awesome. I’d be pretty damn proud if someone told me that I was just as cool as a conventional girl.

Megan Joy Nicole About Town Diary of a Trendaholic

The lovely Nicole (Beauty, Brains +), Megan (Megan Joy), and Erica (Diary of a Trendaholic)!

Elaine Atkins

Elaine (Elaine Loves)

Megan Joy

Megan is THRILLED TO BE HERE; TO BE ALIVE (seriously though, how cute is she??)

The ultimate Juicy Couture girl sounds kind of like a bully. So aim higher than that; be better than that. Wear the I AM JUICY COUTURE fragrance, but wear it to say:

» I AM NOT going to be held down by the conventions of your misogynistic society

…not “It girls are not ordinary, shy, predictable, reserved, or average.” Because there is nothing, nothing wrong with being shy or predictable or reserved if you choose to be. 

Define yourself by what you are, not what you hate.

Juicy Couture giveaway Gold Bracelet

Win it!

I’m not much of a memento type (well, except for scent memories, but more on that soon), so I’m sharing this little piece of my travels with one lucky reader! Enter below to win one (1) Juicy Couture “Juicy Bangle” in Gold. This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is currently residing in Canada, and will close on August 8th at 11:59 PM MST.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Decant Index scent sampler review | Frédéric Malle En Passant, Maître Parfumeur Cuir Fétiche, Ineke Field Notes from Paris

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Detox Index perfume sample review

Getting into perfumes is hard. I mean, I’ve been doing it for the past five years, and even still think it’s hard. And scent sampling makes it easier, but generic sampling sets just aren’t an option if you want something a little more unique than a mass-market perfume.

That’s where The Decant Index comes in.

Perfume sample review - The Decant Index

The service

I was contacted by Shana at The Decant Index (@decantindex) to try the service, and… on my god. It was amazing. Shana personally matches people to perfumes based on what they like and what they’re looking for, and there’s none of that generic “if you like woody florientals, you’ll like…” stuff.

Shana looks at feelings, places, and past perfume loves, and despite the fact that I only gave her a quick paragraph of information to go off of, her picks for me were spot on. I literally could not believe how much I liked all three of these — I have NEVER had anyone match me to perfumes this well. 

Maitre Parfumeur Gantier Cuir Fetiche review

The scents

Maître Parfumeur Et Gantier Cuir Fétiche ($117 USD/100 ml)

↳ The Decant Index 3 ml sample: $17.50 USD. Notes listed: mandarin, bergamot, lemon / leather accord, ylang-ylang, rose / musk, ambergris, patchouli, cedar wood, sandalwood.

Cuir Fétiche was the first of this trio that I sprayed, and oh my god is it ever gorgeous. It’s one of the sexiest scents I’ve ever smelled, but sexy in a sort of… literary way, you know? It’s all high collars and first editions without a whiff of “date night perfume” in sight.

I get a lot of bergamot and leather from this one, with a bit of patchouli and lots of sandalwood and ylang-ylang in the delicious, creamy drydown. For a mass market perfume comparison, this one reminds me very much of the Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum — but if Chanel (under Jacques Polge, not Olivier) had created it.

Maitre Parfumeur Gantier Cuir Fetiche perfume review

Cuir Fétiche was formulated to reference the history of the perfume industry in Grasse, which originated to cover up the scent of the tanning process in fine leathers. (Thank you, Lucky Scent, for this little history lesson!) Until the French Revolution, the master perfumers in Grasse were the glove-makers, hence the brand’s name.

If you only sample one of the scents in this post, let it be this one. Cuir Fétiche is absolutely exquisite, and bookishly edgy in a way that would be heart-stopping on both a man or a woman. I hear that the brand’s Santal Noble and Ambre Precieux are also a dream.

Ineke Field Notes from Paris review

Ineke Field Notes from Paris ($95 USD/75 ml)

↳ The Decant Index 3 ml sample: $9.50 USD. Notes listed: coriander seed, orange flower, bergamot / tobacco flower and leaf, patchouli, cedar / tonka bean, leather, beeswax, vanilla

Field Notes from Paris is one of the most interesting scents I have ever encountered, and I couldn’t be happier that I got to experience it. It is immediately delicious, strange, and manly, and transforms completely over the course of 2-3 hours.

Ineke Field Notes from Paris review perfume

This Ineke creation opens with a wall of coriander seed, which I didn’t think I would like but was, for some reason, completely enraptured by. The initial shock fades, but the coriander note remains distinct and astringent for hours. (It smells, to me, almost like tasting a little bit of tea tree and lavender oil simultaneously.)

Field Notes from Paris is bizarre and unisex in a quizzically appealing way, with fresh, interwoven notes of orange flower, tobacco, bergamot, and cedar. It’s not something that I would buy a full bottle of, but if you love perfume, I think you need to sniff this one — it’s very, very engaging and definitely an experience worth having.

Frederic Malle En Passante review

Frederic Malle En Passant ($165 USD/50 ml)

↳ The Decant Index 3 ml sample: $18.50 USD. Notes listed: white lilac, cucumber, wheat, orange tree leaves.

My last scent from the Decant Index was Frédéric Malle’s En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti, a fresh, springy perfume full of fruity lilac and fresh cut flowers. I just have to share my notes on this one with you, because nothing says it better: “Fruity, flowers — but littles ones. Like little lilacs or something. Fresh. Green.”

I don’t know why it’s important to note that this one smells like little flowers, but you know what? It is. And it does.

If $165 USD sounds like way too much to pay for a fragrance, though (because erk!), you can try En Passant in a 10ml refill for $46 USD (Barney’s) or get the 3ml sample from the Decant Index for $18.50. I also love Musc Ravageur from Frédéric Malle (it’s the sexiest scent I have ever smelled in my life).

Frederic Malle En Passant review perfume

AERIN Waterlily Sun EdP review, photos | Or, how to bottle happiness

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aerin perfume review - Waterlily Sun

The product: AERIN Waterlily Sun Eau de Parfum Spray

I first met Waterlily Sun on a hectic day in Toronto with Liz/Reductionista. (For that matter, that’s when I first met Liz, too. And yes, for the record, her hair is just as amazing in person.) We were at the Eaton Centre Sephora to sniff the Serge Lutens line, and upon finding out that almost all of their Lutens had to be sent back to the distributor due to water damage, we were wandering around…

And I came upon the AERIN range in person for the first time ever.

Aerin Waterlily Sun

The packaging: All of the AERIN perfumes look, like their namesake, like old money and flawlessly curated good taste. They come in thick, carefully cut glass bottles topped with gem-like stones (each in a soft, unique shade) and touched with gold accents, and are packaged in boxed with designs by Lee Jofa, a textiles/home decor company that has produced fabrics and carpets for everyone from Oscar de la Renta to Lilly Pulitzer.

Waterlily Sun looks exquisite in front of all of my La Collection de Grasse perfumes, but I can only imagine how perfect two or three of these would look together on a hammered-metal gold tray…

Aerin Waterlily Sun perfume review photos

Aerin jade Waterlily Sun review photos

The scent: I fell immediately in love with both Waterlily Sun and Lilac Path ($110 USD/$125 CAD by Richard Herpin, which smells just like passing by a lush lilac bush in a garden), but Waterlily Sun was the one that I had to go back for.

For a lack of a better descriptor, Waterlily Sun ($110 USD/$125 CAD by Annie Buzantian, Master Perfumer) smells like sunshine. It’s crisp and very light, and doesn’t smell like any one thing or flower or perfume in particular — its scent is, honestly, encapsulated perfectly in its name and packaging.

The story - Waterlily Sun is inspired by Aerin Lauder’s trip to Monet’s garden in Giverny, France as a young girl. It “inspires serenity and calmness with a floral watery scent that leads the senses to a warm and peaceful place. Like sunlight reflecting on water.”

Listed notes - Sicilian Bergamot and Lush Dewy Greens / Waterlily and Jasmine Sambac / Musk

Aerin Waterlily Sun review Eau de Parfum

The bergamot in this makes Waterlily Sun’s opening very lemony, like the perfect cold lemonade on a hot summer day in the garden. It’s balanced out very nicely with some crisp green notes (I usually find “green” to be too mulch-y, but I love it here) and a base of musky florals.

Like all light, citrusy fragrances, Waterlily Sun fades long before dinner, but I love it nonetheless. It’s reminiscent of something like Fresh Citron de Vigne ($88 USD/CAD), but with its bergamot opening and jasmine sambac heart, it smells far, far less generic.

Aerin Waterlily Sun EdP review

The verdict?

Waterlily Sun smells the way a bright summer day makes you feel; it smells like nothing in particular other than happiness. It has just the right amount of sillage and tenacity for warm weather, and it’s the kind of scent that makes you spritz, sniff, and sigh.

As far as light, citrusy scents go, Waterlily Sun is in a class of its own. It manages to be transparent and pleasant without ever becoming boring (even after months), and it smells, somehow, both effortless and complex at once.

Give this one a sniff — you won’t regret it. And hey, while you’re there, check out Lilac Path, too.

Availability: $110 USD/$125 CAD for 1.7 oz at select Nordstrom, Sephora, and Holt Renfrew locations.

Keep reading for more photos! »

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