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! »

Je Joue MiMi Soft Silicone Vibrator review, photos | A Valentine’s Day review, from me to you

Friday, February 14, 2014

Je Joue MiMi Soft box

The product: Je Joue MiMi Soft Waterproof Rechargeable Silicone Vibrator in Fuchsia

My dearest, darlingest readers: over 180 of you requested this review in a gift guide last December, and because I was so incredibly overwhelmed by the gesture, consider this my Valentine’s Day gift to all of you. 

Try as I might, I can’t really do anything with theNotice without your support, so thank you. I have a super embarrassing brain crush on all of you beautiful creatures right now, and I really hope that some of you will love the MiMi Soft as much as I do.

Je Joue MiMi Soft

The execution

Packaged in the sturdiest, most luxurious box I’ve ever received anything in, the MiMi Soft is luxury inside and out. With a very cool magnetic charging mechanism and a soft, plush silicone finish, it appeals to both my lady-parts and my inner geek.

Like the original MiMi ($88.99 USD), the MiMi Soft is entirely waterproof, with five vibration levels and five vibration patterns (controlled separately), and comes in four colours: black, lilac, fuchsia (featured here), and Je Joue’s classic purple. Both deliver two hours of use on a two hour charge, and feature metal intensity buttons on their back end that double as points of charge. The buttons are very hard to push, one of the MiMi’s only faults (the only other is its slight noisiness), but I personally think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff — yes, even with my arthritic fingers.

Je Joue MiMi Soft details

Je Joue MiMi Soft review controls hard

Je Joue MiMi Soft intensity buttons/charging ports, & pattern switch (between)

Je Joue MiMi Soft magnetic charger

Je Joue MiMi Soft, with its magnetic charging “port”

The experience

The silicone finish: Unlike the original MiMi, or any other toy I’ve owned before, the Soft version features a thick layer of silicone overtop the ABS plastic. It’s squishy without being too squishy, holding its shape but delivering a very unique, incredibly comfortable experience. Silicone is the safest material to use in any type of sex toy, but it usually feels like a thin, fixed layer of protection overtop a harder material. With the MiMi Soft, however, the silicone layer feels plush and somehow realistic (without being creepy-realistic), and lifts slightly off the inner body of the toy if squished just right. For me, it’s like the difference between bare hands and latex on a stick: which is to say, a huge one.

Somehow, though, the soft finish of this vibrator isn’t even its main selling point. Instead, may I please introduce you to the Je Joue MiMi motor: a little rattly, a little loud, and yet exponentially better than anything else I’ve ever tried. 

Je Joue MiMi review

Keep reading to find out what makes the MiMi a must-have »

Five gift ideas for the woman who has it all | The Gift Guide

Friday, December 20, 2013

For the luxury skincare lover: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence

Founded just this past year by fellow blogger Connie Tai, MIYU Beauty is a new Canadian brand that’s stealing hearts across the blogosphere. I’m having difficulties putting together a review of the line (I live in fear of the glycerine ratios in facial sprays, which do wonders for a few days but always seem to break me out after a week), but I can’t find a single bad thing to say about the aesthetic — or the people behind the brand.

Beautifully housed in luxe-but-lightweight packaging with Ladurée-inspired details, the MIYU facial spray serums (!) are innovation at its best. { buy }

For the green girl: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil

Osmia Organics is a company that I was introduced to pretty recently, but I’m completely smitten with their range. Run by a former emergency room doctor who found her calling in all-natural skincare, the entire Osmia line up is exquisitely packaged, all-natural, and beautifully formulated.

While perfumes and skincare can be hard to pick for someone else, though, Osmia’s body oils & soaps are a great way to gift a little luxury without the worry. Sunset, one of Dr. Sarah Villafranco’s newest creations, is a super-sexy (but not at all overpowering) jojoba-based blend that hydrates immediately with absolutely no oiliness left on the skin. { buy }

Osmia Organics Sunset body oil review

Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil (2 oz)

For the best friend: Je Joue MiMi Soft

Here’s your not-so-fun science fact of the day: did you know that only 25% of women report frequently experiencing orgasms during intercourse? We live in a culture that’s so fixated on sex, and yet — from magazines (five surprising tips on how to please your man!) to porn, sex is all about male pleasure, not female.

In the sprit of the season, consider giving someone the gift of self-love. Let them know that, like leaving the house without your makeup, sex isn’t anything to be ashamed of. And if we get to indulge in a bit of high-end tech while on the road to sexual equality? All the better.

The Je Joue MiMi Soft is small, classy, and discreet, with a soft, comfortable silicone finish (the safest material a vibrator could possibly be made from), a fully waterproof body, and a rechargeable battery. And the charger, you guys. The charger is so cool. It magnetizes onto the up/down buttons and supplies the vibrator with power through science magic, and I won’t be told otherwise. { buy }

If you’d like to see a review for the Je Joue Mimi Soft, click here to count your vote anonymously!

PS: This vibe was sent in by SheVibe.com.

Unlike everything else in this post, the Mimi was sent in by a storefront, not a brand. SheVibe.com is an online store that’s a far cry from the stereotypical blacked-out-windows sex shop in the bad part of town — I chose to work with them specifically because their site features reviews, articles, message boards, and tons of original artwork.

Whether or not you’re looking to purchase a new toy this season, their comics and articles are definitely worth a look!

Annabelle Cherry swatch TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Annabelle TwistUp in Cherry — from this post

For the lip lover: Annabelle Cosmetics TwistUp Retractable Lip Crayon in Naked or Cherry

These lip crayons may not feel super-luxe when you hold them, but oh my — do they ever pack a punch. With a lush, comfortable formula and way more pigment than any drugstore product has any right to have, Annabelle TwistUps are the perfect choice for a bit of luxury on a budget.

Naked is a stunning satin-matte nude that suits my skintone (and a surprising many others) just perfectly, while Cherry is a drop-dead-gorgeous opulent red. Neither have shimmer, and (excuse my French) are classy as hell on the lips. { buy | review | swatches | win one! }

For the luxury makeup lover: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes 

I know I usually put my beloved Cozzette brushes in gift guides, and don’t get me wrong — I still love them. But while the Artisan brush range is just as soft, cruelty-free, and well-made as Cozzette’s S range, Make Up For Ever’s new brushes come with sleek, wood-finish handles and dark metal ferrules that Cozzette’s range just doesn’t have.

I can’t speak for all of Make Up For Ever’s brushes, but the #150 Angled Cheek Brush, #174 Small Concealer Brush, and #304 Lip Brush all get my seal of approval. And, I mean, really — who couldn’t use just one more brush? { buy }

What’s on your wishlist this season?

Lise Watier Bronzing Gel & Tinted UV Shield review, swatches, photos | Sun Destination

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lise Watier Sun Destination 2013 reviews

The products: Lise Watier Sun Destination collection (part one)

Every summer, Lise Watier releases a summer bronzing collection, available only for a few months. I’m a little late with this one (the products are technically only supposed to be around until the end of July), but as far as I know you can still get all of these products — and some of them, on sale!

Here are two of this summer’s Lise Watier bronzing products, on shelves and online now. (Their summer Sensationnelle Dry Oil & Sun Bronzing Powder will be on theNotice shortly!)

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel review

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel

Illuminating Bronzing Gel, $30 $18

Described as a “lightweight, sheer illuminating gel that delivers a youthful, radiant finish,” the Illuminating Bronzing Gel is — well, kind of a stunner, really. Neither too orange nor too brown, it gives a great neutral-brown glow to the skin, sheer and sparsely shimmery.

I’d recommend this one to people with fair to medium skin who want to create a natural, softly bronzed glow. It can be worn with or without makeup, and I think (at $18 CAD) that it would be gorgeous on the décolleté, shoulders, and arms & legs, too.

Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Squalane, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Sorbitol, Octyldodecanol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Steareth-21, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Talc, Phenoxyethanol, Erythritol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Disodium Edta, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Nymphaea Coerulea Flower Extrat, Homarine HCL, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbic Acid, Fragrance, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, Iron Oxides.

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel swatches

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel, swatched heavily/sheerly

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel

Lise Watier Illuminating Bronzing Gel, swatched heavily/sheerly

Sun Smart Tinted Universal UV Shield SPF  30, $30 $23

I’m a lot less smitten with the colour of the SunSmart Tinted Universal UV Shield, but it does tout a shimmer-free matte finish and an SPF of 30, which may appeal to some.

Designed to give both chemical-free (physical) sun protection and a velvety, bronzed finish, this is a bronze version of Lise Watier’s Universal UV Shield (available year-round). It’s too orange, in my opinion, when you consider how much sunscreen you really need to be using to get proper coverage — about a teaspoon, for your face.

Lise Watier SunSmart Tinted Universal UV Shield review

Keep reading! »

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case: review, photos | (Colorful Eyeshadows Part 1/3)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow key

The product: SEPHORA COLLECTION Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case

As you may have guessed from Twitter, Instagram, or even this New This Week post, I’m having a bit of a Sephora Collection “moment” right now. They put out a new eyeshadow range recently, complete with a brilliant key-and-pan palette system, and I could not be more impressed by it.

I’m most excited about the eyeshadows in this range (coming up next week), but I thought I’d start off with a post on the system itself, just to acquaint you with it.

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows

The Colorful System & Palette

The concept behind the Colorful Eyeshadow range is pretty simple, but I have to give the execution props. The palettes are sturdy, easy to open/close, and each slot is magnetised (including the one for the key, which is cleverly levered out by pushing down on the non-magnetized end.)

I think the key is what really makes the Sephora system stand out for me; the simple, sleek too makes it hard to gouge out your eyeshadows by accident without really adding any weight or size.

(Also worth noting is that unlike somebody, Sephora hasn’t chosen to annoyingly suspend their pans in half their packaging when in palettes!)

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow palette review

Worth noting is that the palettes are a little heavy, what with the large mirrors, but you could always just throw the singles into your makeup bag for something lighter — each shadow is sold in a case, which I think is brilliant! (Think more MUFE, less MAC: you won’t have to choose between singles and pans.)

The Sizing

Sephora Collection vs MAC, NARS, MUFE Eyeshadow

Sephora Collection pan size vs. MAC, NARS, MUFE eyeshadow singles

The Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows are 33mm pans, smaller than Make Up For Ever but larger than MAC. I can see why each brand wants to use its own pan size, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have liked them to fit in with one of the other brands!

I think, optimally, I’d have liked to see smaller pans and slightly lower prices — who really needs that much eyeshadow all at once, you know?

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow size comparison

The Pricing

The Colorful system is priced as follows:

  • Colorful Eyeshadows: $13 USD/$16 CAD
    • Just to note, this is $186 USD per ounce; MAC’s singles are $300, Urban Decay’s are $360, NARS’ are $343, and MUFE’s are $250 (all USD per oz).
  • Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case, 3-shade palette: $12 USD/$14 CAD
  • Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case, 6-shade palette: $14 USD/$17 CAD

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow custom palette + pans

The verdict?

I know this post doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the shadows (reviews and swatches of these six coming up next week), butlove the Colorful Eyeshadow system. The shadows I’ve tried so far have been really impressive, especially from a house brand, and I’m smitten with the pan-or-palette options.

In a word? I am reluctant to use just one, but if I had to: awesome.

Availability: Sephora, of course!

For the launch, the 3-pans are free with the purchase of 2 eyeshadows, and the 6-pans are free with the purchase of 4 — it’s a USA-only offer, but I thought I’d give it a mention! (No word on if/when the deal will be over, sorry

Keep reading! »

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