Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy review, photos

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fresh Sugar Lip Serum review

The product: Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy

I skipped over the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Serum ($35 USD/$41 CAD) while reviewing the Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers set yesterday, but with good reason: I wanted to give it a full review today for everyone else who has been curious about this one.

Fresh Advanced Lip Therapy Serum review

The premise: Lip serums are becoming more and more popular nowadays, but they’re still a rarity in the beauty world. Fresh’s Sugar Lip Serum is one of just a few that I can think of. I know that Lancer and Murad do one, and the Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil and NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate are similar, but nothing else comes to mind.

The Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy is made to nourish the lips and improve definition, so maybe I’m not the best candidate for it — after all, I’m not really in the market for “fuller, younger-looking lips.” But I had hoped that all of those skin-firming amino acids would result in a more hydrated, plush lip area, so I did as I was told and dispensed a drop every morning and night to spread over my lips. 

Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy Serum review

The practice: Sadly, after using this one on and off for a month and a half, I can’t report that I saw results with this one. My lip contour area was not “immediately nourished and soothed;” my lips did not look “firmer and toned;” the serum did not immediately decrease lip roughness.

Instead, I found that this serum tasted bad, made my lips feel tight, and needed a healthy heaping of lip balm immediately thereafter to prevent dryness and cracking. Not only did it not smooth my lip area, I think it actually dried out my lips — and while I know that it doesn’t promise to be the ultimate nourishing lip balm, I certainly don’t think a lip product should dry out your lips!

Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy Serum review

The verdict?

I’m really glad that I tried this one out, because as cool as I think it is, and as much as I adore its packaging, I think it’s a solid “fail” for me. I’ll continue using up this mini bottle if I can, just to see if I get results at any point, but for now… I’m not impressed.

The Fresh Sugar Lip Serum made my lips feel tight and dry, and comes with a metaphorically bitter $41 CAD price tag and a literally bitter formula. I say skip this serum, spend your $40 on a new pair of Fresh Tinted Lip Treatments, and apply an anti-ageing moisturizer to your lip area instead!

Availability:$35 USD/$41 CAD at Sephora.

Keep reading! »

Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers review, swatches, photos | THE GIFT GUIDE

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fresh Sugar rose, advanced lip therapy, scrub review

The product: Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers set

I get pretty excited about the Fresh gift sets each holiday season, but this year was a good year for the brand. Their Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers set ($45 USD/$55 CAD) contains minis of one of my favourite Fresh products (the Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15), plus four other products that I was dying to try.

Fresh Sugar Rose tinted lip balm review

Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($22.50 USD/$26 CAD)

The Sugar Lip Lovers set contains one of my favourites, the Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($22.50 USD/$26 CAD). But, while I think it’s great to include a bestseller in your sets every now and again, Rosé is becoming the MAC Carbon or NARS Laguna of the Fresh brand — beloved, but in way too many things

So, while I think Rosé is a great inclusion for a gift set, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for a different shade in 2016. Rosé is far from their only wearable colour, and I can’t be the only beauty junkie out there who now has three of them kicking around!

Fresh Sugar Rose Shine Lip Treatment review gloss

Fresh Sugar Rosé Shine Lip Treatment ($18.50 USD/$22 CAD)

Now, being a longtime fan of the original Tinted Lip Treatments, I’ve been meaning to try the Fresh Sugar Shine Lip Treatments ($18.50 USD/$22 CAD) since they launched. And, I am happy to report, I really like them, too!

Fresh Sugar Rose lip gloss swatch review

Fresh Sugar Rosé Lip Shine Treatment swatches

They’re not as hydrating as, say, the new Estee Lauder Lip Volumizer, but then, almost nothing is. They are, however, scented with the same sugar lemon scent as Fresh’s other tinted lip products, and they have a great shine and comfortable texture to accompany their sheer pigmentation. 

I’m not chomping at the bit to buy a full-sized tube of any of these, but the mini size has been in my handbag for the last two weeks and I’m still pulling it out daily!

Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers swatches review

Swatched L-R: Fresh Sugar Rosé Lip Shine (gloss), Fresh Sugar Rosé Lip Treatment (stick), Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy (stick), Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy (cream)

Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy lip balm review

Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment ($25 USD/$29 CAD)

And now the good stuff: Fresh’s Advanced Therapy line. These products are entirely new to me (I know; I’m late to the game), but, sadly, they didn’t quite live up to my expectations. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad that I finally tried them, but the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment ($25 USD/$29 CAD) lip balm didn’t do any more for my lips than the regular one. I tested it for a few days at a time on three or four occasions, because I figured hey, I must just be confounding my testing somehow, but… nope.

If you get great results with this one, I would love to hear about it in the comments, because it’s just not working for me!

Fresh Sugar Lip Serum review

Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Serum ($35 USD/$41 CAD)

The Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Serum ($35 USD/$41 CAD) was the biggest appeal of the Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers set for me, and I hate to keep you in suspense, but… I want to take a little more time to go over it on the blog.

Come back tomorrow for a full review of this one! ;)

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish review

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish ($22.50 USD/$26 CAD)

And, finally, we have the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish ($22.50 USD/$26 CAD). I was the least excited about this one (I mean, $26? For a lip scrub?) but I was surprised to find that it was actually one of my favourites of the bunch!

The Fresh Sugar Lip Polish tastes, smells, and looks like brown sugar creamed with butter, and it leaves my lips feeling super soft and extremely hydrated. It’s very scrubby, so I have to remember to apply it with a light hand, but a little goes a very long way — you barely need half a pea-sized amount for each use. 

Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers review holiday gift set

The verdict?

As someone who never finishes products, I am always very reluctant to buy Fresh products at full price. Come the holidays, however, I am always sure to stock up!

The Fresh Sugar Lip Lovers set is a great way to try out a whole bunch of Fresh products at a pretty reasonable price (especially if you use Ebates/, and it would make a fantastic holiday gift for a lucky loved one in your life. This one gets two big thumbs up from me!

Availability: $45 USD/$55 CAD at Sephora.

Keep reading! »

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Defining Wet/Dry Eyeshadow, Lip Volumizer, Matte Sculpting Lipstick review, swatches, photos

Friday, November 13, 2015

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy lipstick Commanding review swatches

The products: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy collection

↳ Lip Volumizer, Matte Sculpting Lipstick in Commanding, Defining Eye Shadow Wet/Dry in Blue Fury

Pure Color Envy Lip Volumizer ($28 USD/$32 CAD)

I love a good pH-adjusting lip product, so I wanted to start off today’s post with the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Lip Volumizer ($28 USD/$32 CAD), a plumping gloss that adjusts to a sheer pink once applied.

Estee Lauder Lip Volumizer review swatches

The Estée Lauder fall launches this year mainly consist of two collections: the New Dimensions range, which I talked about on Monday, and the Pure Color Envy line, which is an extension of the brand’s colour cosmetics range.

All of the Pure Color Envy products are just gorgeously packaged (especially the lipsticks), and this volumizing gloss is no exception. I don’t really see plumping results with this one, but it definitely delivers on sheer colour (nothing like the hot pink applicator!) and an extremely moisturizing, shiny, minty finish. 

I think that $32 is a lot to pay for a gloss, but if price was no object, I’d be recommending it to everyone! It’s crazy hydrating, super-smooth, and smells delicious — definitely one of the most comfortable glosses that I own.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lip Volumizer review

Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick in Commanding ($30 USD/$34 CAD)

I also tried out the brand new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick in Commanding ($30 USD/$34 CAD), which comes in just the most exquisite, weighty, magnetic packaging.

Commanding is too bold for my tastes (all 12 of the Matte Sculpting Lipstick shades are “statement” shades), but the formula of these is fantastic — even a shade this dark feels creamy and smooth as it’s applied, and the finish is as velvety and comfortable as it is opaque.

Estee Lauder Commanding swatches review Matte Sculpting lipstick

I couldn’t wear Commanding for a full evening without topping up with lip balm, but I’m not kidding, you guys: the Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick formula is the #1 most comfortable matte that I own. I’m just a serious dryness wimp!

(Note: these are not, however, a “hard matte” the way that MAC Ruby Woo & co. are. Rather, they’re fairly matte, but have a slight creme sheen to them.)

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy reviews swatches

Swatched L-R: Estee Lauder Commanding Matte Lipstick, Lip Volumizer, and Blue Fury Wet/Dry Eyeshadow (dry, then wet)

Pure Color Envy Defining Eye Shadow Wet/Dry in Blue Fury ($25 USD/$28 CAD)

And, finally, my least favourite Pure Color Envy product: the Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Defining Eye Shadow Wet/Dry in Blue Fury ($25 USD/$28 CAD).

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Blue Fury swatches review

I can’t speak for the rest of the Pure Color Envy eyeshadows (Ominous, for instance, looks absolutely stunning ), but Blue Fury is just kind of underwhelming. Like every single other dark blue eyeshadow out there, it applies as a sheer, patchy charcoal with blue shimmer when used dry, and shines only when used wet: it’s luminous, pigmented, and even, with a lovely dark blue glow.

Estée promises a “tri-brid” formula with these, though, combining “the best properties of a cream, powder and gel,” but all I really see here are the old Estée Lauder eyeshadows, rebranded with a made-up word.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy reviews

Would you ever buy a “tri-brid” product? Or would you just angrily yell “THE WORD YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS HYBRID” while shaking your fist at the sky?

Check out these other Pure Color Envy reviews:

  • Temptalia – wet/dry eyeshadow reviews by shade (not all of them are great, and not all are terrible!)
  • Writing Whimsy – wet/dry eyeshadow and matte lipstick reviews
  • A Beautiful Zen – featuring Joan Smalls’ matte violet lipstick and one of the matte wet/dry eyeshadows
  • Fun Size Beauty – a rave for the wet/dry eyeshadows!

Shu Uemura Haute Street review, swatches, photos | Vision of Beauty Vol. 02

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shu Uemura Haute Street Vision of Beauty collection reviews photos swatches

The products: Shu Uemura Vision of Beauty Collection – Vol. 02 Haute Street

Haute Street is shu uemura’s interpretation of street art for the face. However, the brand’s artistic director, Uchiide, is adamant that this collection (which is the second in a series; see Vol. 01 Brave Beauty hereis not “graffiti for the face.”

Instead, it’s meant to bring the “essence” of street art into everyday makeup looks, but here’s the thing: street art, and especially graffiti (which the visuals of this collection centre around) isn’t about beautifying streets or letting overprivileged youth express themselves. It’s a form of protest and a way to claim spaces; a way to disrupt, interrupt, and change the discourse when your voices aren’t being heard.

So, while I think the bright hues and mixed-media textures of the Haute Street collection are wonderful, I also think it’s kind of uncool that shu uemura is re-appropriating graffiti culture to sell $90 luxury eyeshadow palettes.

Shu Uemura eye color pencil cool chic review swatches

Shu Uemura Dual-Ended Eye Color Pencil in Cool x Chic

Cool x Chic

The Haute Street collection is a really big one, so it’s separated into “cool x chic” colours and “warm x vibrant” colours. I started, of course, with the cool tones!

First up: the Shu Uemura Dual-Ended Eye Color Pencil in Cool x Chic ($30 CAD), which is a double-ended matte neon green and neon blue shadow/liner. I loved the bright matte colours of these liners, and the colour payoff is so good, but I couldn’t get behind the “traditional” dry pencil texture.

I find that I have to make multiple stiff passes to get an opaque line with these, and they perform best as an eyeshadow base.

Shu Uemura Haute Street reviews swatches cool x chic

Swatched L-R: Shu Uemura Dual-Ended Eye Color Pencil in Cool x Chic, Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in City Neon, Tint in Gelato in Street Rose (heavily/lightly)

Shu Uemura City Neon swatches review

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in City Neon

Next, we have the Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in City Neon ($36 CAD), which is sheer, juicy, and so, so pretty, and the gorgeous Shu Uemura Haute Street Eye Shadow Palette in Cool x Chic ($90 CAD), which is full of beautiful plums, blues, and greens.

Shu Uemura Haute Street Cool x Chic swatches review

Shu Uemura Haute Street Eyeshadow Palette in Cool x Chic

Shu Uemura Cool x Chic eyeshadow palette swatches review

Swatched over primer in indirect sunlight: Shu Uemura Haute Street Eyeshadow Palette in Cool x Chic

Shu Uemura Street Rose swatches review

Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato Lip and Cheek Color in Street Rose

The Tint in Gelato lip/cheek colours (repackaged without a doe-foot in the Haute Street collection) have always fascinated me, but they’ve never worked for me. Something in the formula makes my lips tingle (in a bad way), and on the cheeks, the silicone content always breaks me out — but oh, they are an artist’s dream!

Each Tint in Gelato is wildly pigmented and features a mousse texture with a velvety matte finish, and the Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato Lip Color in Street Rose ($28 CAD) is no exception.

Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato swatches review comparison

Shu Uemura Haute Street Tint in Gelato packaging vs. original/regular packaging

Warm x Vibrant »

5 top products to try from DHC | More than just cleansing oil

Thursday, October 22, 2015

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1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($28 USD)

When I first started beauty blogging, everyone who was anyone was obsessed with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. It was the only cleansing oil worth noting for those “in the know,” and for a little while there, it felt like all of my beauty friends & fellow bloggers were all ordering it online and raving about its magical, makeup-removing properties.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil review

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil review

I finally tried the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil this month, and let me just say: even though years have gone by and it seems like every single brand out there has released a cleansing oil since then, this is still, somehow, one of the best cleansing oils I have ever tried. Its rich, cushy olive oil and rosemary formula (no cheap mineral oil here!) takes off everything, even waterproof eyeliner, and rinses off with perfect skin neutrality (you know; no greasy film or stripped finish), making it perfect for oily and super-dry skin types alike.

DHC Sweetpea moisture care lipstick review

DHC Moisture Care Lipstick in Sweetpea

2. & 3. DHC Moisture Care Lipstick ($14.50 USD/each)

I’m not big on lipsticks with shimmer, but the DHC Moisture Care Lipsticks are totally the cutest lipsticks to be had at under $15 each! They’re shiny and slick, and detailed in flowers and butterflies — what could be cuter?

Pictured here are PK04 Sweetpea (the peachy nude) and WN12 Sugarplum (the plum). Both come with a heaping dose of silver shimmer and a glossy frost finish, so purchase only if you’re a glitter lover!

DHC Sugarplum moisture care lipstick review

DHC Moisture Care Lipstick in Sugarplum

4. DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36 USD)

The DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture moisturizer is the perfect plain moisturizer. It’s full of olive oil, squalane, collagen, and radish root ferment filtrate, and is free of stuff like silicones, fragrances, and parabens.

I wouldn’t recommend this one as a day moisturizer (it definitely leaves you looking greasy), but it’s great for dry or reactive skin that just needs something really rich, soothing, and nourishing.

DHC Extra Nighttime Moistsure review

DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture review

5. DHC Face Wash Powder ($12.50 USD)

Ladies and gents, I have saved the best for last. The DHC Face Wash Powder looks unassuming–fine, white powder; basic, dated packaging–but it is an absolute treat to use.

When mixed with a couple drops of water, this boring-looking powder foams up to create a lovely, dense lather that removes all of my day-to-day makeup without any scrubbing or smearing. It’s gentle, simple, and completely non-gritty and non-stripping.

I love this one for daily use, but it would be fantastic for travel, too!

DHC Face Wash Powder review cleanser

DHC Face Wash Powder review

What are your favourite products from DHC?

This is a sponsored post. However, all of the opinions included in it are my own — I got to pick out each product & share my honest thoughts on all of them! 

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