September Birchbox (CA) review & unboxing! | Davines Sea Salt Spray, Japonesque Eye Shadow, 100% Pure Eye Cream, and more

Saturday, October 3, 2015

September 2015 Birchbox review

The product: Birchbox (Canada), September 2015 box

I’ve always been wary of monthly subscription boxes. I mean, I’ve tried one or two in the past, but subscription boxes tend to be full of silicone-y products that I can’t try and creamy eyeliners that just wouldn’t work for me.

But when I was asked to try the September Birchbox, I had to say yes. It’s the company’s five-year anniversary, and I’m on the site all the time – it’s chock-full of reviews, funny product descriptions, and (most importantly) ingredients lists! I figured I was probably long overdue to try an actual box.

Birchbox unboxing review canada september 2015

The overall box: September is customer appreciation month at Birchbox, so my box came with the usual five products (actually, it came with six by mistake; there was a double of the Japonesque eyeshadow) plus a 20% off code for the store.

For $14.95 including shipping, the contents of this year’s September box really impressed me. The box itself was just gorgeous (I’m using it to store stuff now!) and it contained a sheet mask, a full-sized eyeshadow, a VERY generous haircare sample, and two “regular” samples. I did the math for comparison’s sake, and compared to the full-sizes based on ounces, the samples in this box are valued at $44.20.

Tocca Giulietta scrub review, 100 percent pure coffee bean eye cream

The products: Honestly, the most important factor in all of this was luck. I happened upon a box that was perfect for me, so I got to use all five of the silicone-free, paraben-free goodies — and two of them, again, just so happened to be products that I’ve been meaning to try for a while anyways.

(My mom always tells me that I’ve got horseshoes up my butt, which I can assure you, I absolutely do NOT. That sounds dangerous and also horrifically painful.)

  • 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($26 CAD full-sized) – I had a hell of a time opening this one (it still had that little bud-thingy that needed to be cut off), but it smells JUST like sugary breakfast cereal! It’s smooth and rich, and definitely best for vanilla-lovers.
  • BioRepublic Skincare Aloe Rescue Revitalizing Sheet Mask ($21 CAD for 3) – I’m not really a sheet mask girl, but if I was, this would have been the perfect mask for me! It’s a fiber mask (so it’s all ready to go), and it’s perfect for dry, sensitive skin like mine.

Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray review

  • Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray ($30 CAD full-sized) – Okay, so I maybe actually squealed a little bit when I saw this in my box. The sample itself is practically full-sized, and I’ve been meaning to buy a salt spray for months. Now, I won’t have to: the This is a Sea Salt Spray, which smells deliciously like vanilla and coconut, gives my hair lots of texture and body and makes it feel lush and full. 
  • Japonesque Velvet Touch Eye Shadow in Shade 02 ($12 CAD; this is full-size) – This was the other product that I really wanted to try! It’s a light green/gold with a soft metallic finish, but honestly, I’m glad I didn’t spend $12 on it alone — it’s smooth and blendable, but definitely on the sheer side.
  • TOCCA Esfoliante da Corpo in Giulietta ($38 CAD full-sized) – Am I going to get heckled if I admit to not really “getting” the TOCCA line? All of the scents seem so watered-down and dated to me, and while I love the packaging… I need a little more punch. Giulietta smells, to my nose, kind of like generic green apple hand soap in a mid-range restaurant, but I do really like the scrub itself — it’s a lovely, gritty sugar scrub that leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized.

Japonesque 02 eyeshadow review

The verdict?

With a box whose contents change on a monthly basis, there’s no way that I can tell you that you’re going to love the Birchbox every month. What I can tell you is this: I was really happy with my box, and it contained only full-sized products and deluxe samples — nothing that you could just pick up a sample of at Sephora.

I found two products that I loved, two products that I’m glad I got to try (so that I could learn that they’re not really for me), and one product that I’m still looking forward to trying, which… I mean, isn’t that kind of the whole point of a sampling subscription? To get to try a bunch of stuff that you’re interested in without spending a lot of money, and find some loves and losses along the way?

Availability: $14.95 CAD shipping/month. I would love if you used my friend referral (I’d get “Birchbox points,” but no actual $$), but it’s up to you!

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (dark hair) | Two in, one… still in

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Klorane dry shampoo HG stocking up

This summer has been a major month for re-buying, and I’ve carefully taken the time to snap & document each time it happens. In my soon-to-be eight years as a beauty blogger (I think theNotice started on the 23rd of September? I’ll have to look it up later), I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve re-purchased an item — so when it happens, the product has to be pretty darn good.

I’ve been lucky enough this year to find not one, not two, but four products worth re-purchasing this summer alone. The first, of course, was Odacité’s Pomegranate & Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate; the second is this one!

Klorane Dry Shampoo for Dark brown hair review rebuy

Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk for Brown to Dark Hair is a product that I really like, but unlike my other re-buys, I probably wouldn’t sell my soul for a bottle. My firstborn, maybe, but probably not my soul. I reviewed the spray originally this May, and when my bottle began to run out, I began to wait patiently for a Klorane sale.

Shopper’s had them on for about $11/each in July, which is fantastic (compare to $17.29 CAD at, so I picked up two: one to replace my bottle, and one to leave at my partner’s place.

Klorane Dry Shampoo Oat Milk review holy grail rebuy

As I said in my original review, Klorane is, by far, the best dry shampoo I’ve found so far. (Unless you care more about white casts than scents, in which case, Colab all the way.) It works well to absorb oil and smells subtle and clean, but it can get a little chalky-looking if you over-spray, and the regular $15-20 USD price tag is way too high. (Sephora really marks up; I think they’re regular $14.95 CAD at Shopper’s!)

But, well. I can make it to day three hair with my trusty bottle of Klorane, and even though their Oat Milk formula isn’t perfect… I own three bottles. I think that tells you all you need to know. At $15 a pop, I would hesitate, but at $10 or $11, they are definitely worth the re-buy!

30 (free!) hair braiding tutorials | The Couture Book of Braids by Kérastase

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kerastase the Book of Braids tutorials

My hair–like most Asian hair–is a braiding nightmare. It’s fine, flat, and almost incomprehensibly smooth, which all sound like they’d be good attributes… except what they add up to is hair that, unless you apply product first or start with wet hair, just can’t hold a braid.

Kérastase aims to fix all us straight haired gals’ problems this fall, though, with a brand new Matéraliste Thickening Spray Gel ($38 CAD) and a 100-page e-book full of tips, tricks, and tutorials. 

braided chignon tutorial

Nowadays, I only really give hair tutorials in person (compulsively and enthusiastically, but uh… only after at least three shots of tequila), so you’re going to have to rely on Kérastase’s Book of Braids for your late summer/back-to-school braid training.

The book is “for all those who dreamed of artful braids but couldn’t,” so in the spirit of dreaming, here’s a special, 30-braid gift for all of you guys, illustrated by Jessica Durrant.

» Click here « to access your complimentary copy of the Book of Braids!

beachy braided bun tutorial

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Vervine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo, Body Milk review, photos

Monday, June 15, 2015

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo review

The product: L’Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo & Fresh Body Milk

I’m not a huge fan of L’Occitane’s original Verbena scent, but for some reason, I always really love their summer limited edition flankers.

This year, the line is doing Verveine Agrumes (Citrus Verbena), and they’re introducing a few unexpected products to the range — deodorant, shampoo, an conditioner.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo Body Milk review

The Vervine Agrumes scent

Verveine Agrumes smells good. Like, really good. It smells like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits being squeezed for their juice — there’s that almost bitter undertone to the oils in the rind that no one ever seems to get quite right, but with Verveine Agrumes, L’Occitane gets it just right. 

There’s something immediately very real about this scent (unlike so many synthetic lemon-cleaner and lemon-sugar fragrances), and it’s paired with a cedar base for a very “fill in the blank” kind of effect. I really like the way these products smell, but they’re not overpowering — they’re definitely unisex-friendly, and they pair well with most summer perfumes and colognes, too.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo review photos

L’Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo ($23 CAD)

Okay, but like — was anyone else even aware that L’Occitane did shampoos up until now? Because let me tell you, I was very much not aware of this. But apparently they do a bunch: a Roses et Reines shampoo, a Shea Ultra Rich shampoo, a whole bunch of Aromachologie shampoos… apparently I’ve just been very (very) behind the times.

The Verveine Agrumes Fresh Shampoo pairs with a Daily Use Conditioner ($23 CAD) that I didn’t have a chance to test, but I really like the shampoo on its own. It’s tingly and minty and just a little acidic (I’m guessing; I don’t have any pH testing strips right now), leaving my hair feeling clean and weightless without stripping it too badly.

To note, however, this one gets very sudsy. It plays well with my dry scalp, but I wouldn’t recommend it for really overprocessed or heat-damaged hair.

L'Occitane Verveine Agrumes Fresh Body Milk review

(I couldn’t test the Verveine Agrumes Fresh Body Milk ($32 CAD) due to its silicone content, but it smells just as good!)

The verdict?

I don’t love Verveine Agrumes as much as last year’s Frisson de Verveine (which I bloody adored; I still regret not buying the EdT), but I do really like it. The shampoo is pretty good, especially from a brand that isn’t really known for its haircare range, and it’s worth a try fo a little dose of summer in your shampoo.

For anyone who loves the scent of citrus fruits being peeled, though (and really, who doesn’t?), definitely give the Verveine Agrumes EdT a look — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Availability: Available online and at L’Occitane boutiques beginning this July. Limited edition.

Keep reading! »

Klorane Dry Shampoo Natural Tint & Leave-in Spray with Flax Fiber review | For lazy Sunday mornings

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Klorane sunday morning dry shampoo brown dark hair review

The products: Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (Brown to Dark Hair) and Leave-in Spray with Flax Fiber

What’s that, you say? It’s not Sunday morning?

Well, no. Not even a little bit. But I’m crabby and sleepy and I’ve had strep throat for going on three weeks now, so you can shut your pretty, beautiful face and imagine that it is, in fact, Sunday. Because these two products are great for a Sunday morning, or for any other morning that you’re short on time or energy and just want to take it easy and still end up with great hair.

Klorane quick hair fixers best of

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – Natural Shade ($20 USD/$24 CAD)

The one Klorane product that you NEED (yes, need) to own is their dry shampoo. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s the best, and after all this time, I can finally confirm that, yes, it’s the best. (Way better than Colab, even, thanks to the scent.)

They make four: a green-lidded one with nettle (Oil Absorbing Dry Shampoo), this one (Natural Shade Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk), their Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Extract, and the non-aerosol Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. The non-aerosol powder and the tinted aerosol (this one) are the only ones that are silicone-free, so be careful when you purchase!

Klorane Dry Shampoo brown dark hair review swatches photos

Klorane :natural Shade dry shampoo colour swatch

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk for brown to dark hair, “swatched” covering palm

I couldn’t get to a legendary seven days with this stuff, but I love it all the same. It smells fantastic; a very clean, subtle scent (sort of a powdery-floral), and applies as a sheer, even veil of light brown powder. You’re supposed to leave it on for 2 minutes and then brush thoroughly, but in a pinch, I find that it works just as well to simply spray on as you head out the door and then tousle lightly on the train.

This stuff is so good that if I apply it on second-day hair, my third-day hair still looks like first-day hair when I wake up. It’s that good. It makes hair look at feel clean, and adds just a touch of volume without making my hair feel gritty.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Natural Shade review photos

Klorane Leave-in Spray with Flax Fiber ($16 USD/$20 CAD)

Klorane operates on the very cool concept of one problem/one plant, and for volume, it’s flax fiber. (For gentle balancing/second-day-hair, it’s oat milk.) Tracy from Beauty Reflections really loves this one, and when she mentioned that it doesn’t feel like anything at all on the hair, she had me.

Klorane Leave-in Spray with Flax Fiber review photos

When Klorane figured out that flax was naturally soluble, they put it in their volumizing products to provide actual, physical plant-lift to the hair. But while I think this one is a dream to use (it smells lovely, like a very subtle veil of perfume, and has a really solid, even mister) and looks awesome on Tracy, it didn’t quite work for me.

Check this one out if you have short or fine limp hair, but skip it if you want instant volume for stick-straight Asian hair. Unlike what it does for Tracy (which looks awesome and natural; I’ve seen it in person and can attest to this), it doesn’t give me much in terms of air-dried root lift.

It does get major points for touch-invisibility, though, so give it a look if you’re willing to put in the styling time but want something 100% non-sticky and non-gritty!

Klorane dry shampoo leave in spray review

The verdict?

The Klorane Leave-in Spray with Flax Fiber feels touchably natural, but unless you have fine, limp hair (not just straight/limp hair), it’s not an instant fix-it.

The Natural Tint Dry Shampoo, on the other hand, is a total must-have. It’s a little bit pricy, but the next time you’re due in for a hair treat, you need to try this!! It absorbs oil like a champ, has the best scent of any dry shampoo I’ve ever tried (light, pretty, and clean-smelling), and makes hair look and feel clean.

Availability: Natural Tint Dry Shampoo – $15.24 USD at; $20 USD/$24 CAD at Sephora. Leave-in Spray – $16 USD/$20 CAD at Sephora. Klorane products are available at Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada.

Ingredients & stuff »

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