LUSH Sun Review, Photos (Gorilla Perfumes Vol. 2) | A bitter orange splash to end the summer

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


The product: LUSH Gorilla Perfumes – Sun

↳ from Volume Two, the 2013 Gorilla Perfumes collection

Sun, packaged and tinted in a bright, lemony yellow, speaks toward traditional citrus splashes. With minimal sillage and unimpressive tenacity, it’s really best for use as a summertime cologne — bright and juicy, like the bitter rind of an tangerine as you peel it, with its sticky-sweet flesh hiding just inside. 

LUSH Sun review

Mark Constantine (LUSH co-founder & one of the noses of Gorilla Perfumes) crafted Sun to remind him of “warmer, sunnier climates;” of a roadtrip he had taken down the East Coast, from the New Jersey Turnpike to Cape May. In all honesty, he did an amazing job: though this isn’t my sort of scent, I’d have loved it when I was first getting into perfume, and it’s well-composed in terms of its notes.

Sun opens as a freshly-cut tangerine, and transforms over the next few minutes to reveal its sandalwood base. One thing I’d say about it is that you really need to treat it like a splash: expect it to be gone within an hour or two, and be prepared to apply both liberally and frequently.

LUSH Volume 2 Sun review

The overview

It’s a bit like: A Marc Jacobs Splash or Guerlain Aqua Allegoria (though the Guerlains are really in a class of their own). The notes of Sun make it a good non-perfume perfume, but it’s nothing you couldn’t find elsewhere.

You might notice: Brazilian orange, tangerine, mimosa, sandalwood.

Availability: Online & in select stores now, $14.95 – $55.95 CAD. (Featured here: 9 ml, $14.95 CAD).

Keep reading! »

LUSH Sikkim Girls Review, Photos (Gorilla Perfumes Vol. 2) | A sexy, heady summertime scent

Friday, August 16, 2013

LUSH Sikkim Girls Gorilla Perfume

The product: LUSH Gorilla Perfumes – Sikkim Girls

↳ from Volume Two, the 2013 Gorilla Perfumes collection

I don’t like fragrances like this. No, really: I don’t. I don’t like florals; I don’t like incense; I don’t like the spice trail.

But god, I don’t hate this at all.

Gorilla Perfume Sikkim Girls review

I should, by all means, (hate this, that is,) but I just don’t. One might even say–if one was being incredibly pretentious, and also a bit of a dick–that I’m quite fond of it, all told.

More floral in the bottle than on the skin, Sikkim Girls goes surprisingly spicy within the first few minutes of wear. It has a bite to it that I wasn’t expecting, from LUSH’s description of a “subtle, seductive, heady, exotic, floral” scent, but the incense (and yes, there’s incense) is balanced out with heady florals and hidden woody base notes.

 LUSH Sikkim Girls

While I don’t feel like Sikkim Girls is a game-changer by any means, it’s certainly a standout when compared to department store fragrances. Think of it as the sexier, grown-up version of your standard whole foods store incense: perfect for summer evenings, but too kiss me now! for the office.

And let’s be honest: who couldn’t use a good ravish-me scent every now and again?

LUSH Volume Two reviews - Gorilla Perfumes

The overview

It’s a bit like: Don’t quote me on this, but if I was to compare Sikkim Girls to its mainstream counterparts… think of it as a cross between the outlandish YSL Opium, layered with the big white florals of CK Beauty. Sexy, but with incense and florals, too.

You might notice: Jasmine, frangipani, vanilla, and tuberose.

Availability: Online & in select stores now, $19.95-48.95 CAD. (Featured here: 25 ml, $34.95 CAD).

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Clinique Chubby Sticks for Eyes review, swatches, photos | A fan favourite, translated to the lids

Friday, July 19, 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick for Eyes review swatches photos

The product: Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes

↳ in 03 Fuller Fudge, 04 Ample Amber, 05 Whopping Willow, and 09 Lavish Lilac

When I heard Clinique was doing a Chubby Stick for Eyes, I was thrilled. A longtime fan of the original Chubby Sticks, I couldn’t wait to see how these would fare on my finicky lids: would they be just as chic, smooth, and sheer? Or would they let me down, like so many other cream eyeshadows?

This review has taken me much too long to put together (I think I’ve had these since the end of January), but I hope you enjoy the post nonetheless.

Clinique Fuller Fudge Ample Amber review

L-R: Clinique Fuller Fudge, Ample Amber, Whopping Willow, and Lavish Lilac

The formula: Designed to be sheer, buildable, and long-wearing, the Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tints for Eyes apply smoothly and blend out easily. I know layerable, medium-sheer products get a lot of flack in beauty blogging, but it’s hard to fault these for it — after all, that’s what they’re designed to be.

I find these to be drier and more silky than most cream eyeshadows, in a way that makes themdream to work with. There’s no catching, sticking, or rush when you blend these out, and they’re not going to crease if you open your eyes before they’re fully set. The formula isn’t flawless (more on that in “the wear,”) but I really enjoy the shades & texture of the Chubby Sticks for Eyes.

Clinique Shadow Tint for Eyes review swatches

Clnique Chubby Sticks for Eyes

The packaging: The formula paired with a soft-click lid means that I have no worries about these drying out — I’ve been testing them on and off for at least five months, and the texture is no different. It’s a nice change from potted cream eyeshadows with a six-month lifespan, and I like not having to store these upside-down to keep them from becoming unusable!

Clinique Lavish Lilac Whopping Willow review

The wear: Like every other eyeshadow I’ve ever tried, I don’t get all-day wear with these. I do get good wear, for my stubborn lids, however: overtop NARS Smudge Proof, I get 6-8 hours from these before the creasing becomes noticeable. (For comparison, 2-3 hours is the norm for cream eyeshadows on my lids.)

These weren’t a holy grail product for me, but I’ve heard really great things about them from other bloggers — Christine, for instance, gets a solid 10-12 hours out of them!

Clinique Ample Amber Fuller Fudge swatches review

Swatched L-R: Clinique Fuller Fudge, Ample Amber, Whopping Willow, and Lavish Lilac

The shades: Finally, I get to talk about sparkly things!

As someone who likes colour, but doesn’t always love a super-bold look, I really like the Clinique aesthetic. These Chubby Stick Shadow Tints are no exception: soft, flattering, and medium-sheer, they tout a slightly frosty finish (think “soft metallics,” not “era makeup,”) and contain gorgeous, dimensional microshimmer (everything from fuchsia to light blue, all in tiny amounts) to add mesmerizing depth.

Clinique Chubby Stick for Eyes swatches

So, quickly: 03 Fuller Fudge is a warm bronzed-brown with a frost finish and red undertones. 04 Ample Amber is a bit similar (in that they’re both warm and would pair together beautifully), a slightly-coppery soft amber “everyday” shade.

05 Whopping Willow is an mossy olive/khaki green with a distinct “old gold” sheen — a great not-quite-neutral for anyone starting to wear colour. Finally, the metallic 09 Lavish Lilac is my favourite of the bunch: a beautiful, silvery-grey lilac, it’s perfect for both spring looks (try it with a cool taupe) and autumn ones (pair it with a chocolate brown in the crease).

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tints for Eyes review

The verdict?

If you love cream eyeshadows, I’d probably skip these. But here’s the catch: if you love the theory of cream eyeshadows, these might just be perfect for you. 

With a drier, smoother formula and a softer finish, these are sort of the cream-to-powder product of the eyeshadow world. I’d say give them a pass if you want startling, opaque colour, but try them out if cream eyeshadows have never quite worked the way you wanted them to.

(Or if you love subtle, shimmering shades. These are actually medium-opaque if you ask me, and they’re very, very pretty!)

Availability: $16 USD/$19 CAD, in-stores and online. All 12 shades are permanent.

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Burt’s Bees Blush, Petunia, & Autumn Haze swatches, reviews | 3 Lip Launches Worth Buzzing About

Monday, July 8, 2013

Burt's Bees Lip Gloss review swatches - Autumn Haze

The products: Burt’s Bees Lip Shine in Blush, Tinted Lip Balm in Petunia, and Lip Gloss in Autumn Haze

Burt’s Bees Blush Lip Shine ($7.00 USD/$9.99 CAD)

Burt’s new Lip Shine is the star of the show for me, so I have to lead with it, of course. Blush is a sheer, shiny light pink, and the Lip Shine formula is everything that the now-retired Super Shiny formula wished it was: glossy, lightly hydrating, softly tinted, and completely non-sticky. What really seals the deal for me, though, is the Lip Shines’ mouthwateringly delicious scent. I’ve run into great-smelling lip balms before, but nothing quite like this — they call it a “natural apricot fragrance,” but it’s so much tastier than that.

Burt's Bees Lip Shine review swatches - Blush

Burt’s Bees Lip Shine in Blush

Despite not being much of a gloss girl and liking a bit more of a tint in my lip products, I can’t stop using this gloss. I think I’m going to need a few more shades (uhh, like maybe the other five), because I’m going through my tube like there’s no tomorrow.

Burt’s Bees Lip Shine ingredients:

Castor seed oil, oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides, sunflower seed oil, lanolin, silica, beeswax, acacia decurrens/jojoba/sunflower seed wax, polyglyceryl-3 esters, natural flavour, apricot kernel oil (& hydrogenated, unsaponifiables), shea butter, cocoa seed butter, tocopherol, ammonium glycyrrhizate, soybean oil, alumina. +/- carmine, CI 77491, CI 77492, iron oxides, titanium dioxide.

Burt's Bees Lip Shine Blush swatch review

Swatched L-R: Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss in Autumn Haze, Lip Shine in Blush, & Tinted Lip Balm in Petunia

Petunia Tinted Lip Balm ($7.00 USD/$7.99 CAD)

I told you how much I loved the Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms when they launched, and Petunia is no different. The brand launched four new shades in this range this past January (the others are Sweet Violet, Caramel Daisy, and Blush Orchid), and this soft pink balm has secured itself a place in my handbag for lazy days.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm review swatches - Petunia

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Petunia

It’s a lot more sheer than my first shade (Pink Blossom), but this almost-clear balm is still comfortable, lightly scented, and moderately hydrating.

And as a bonus: You know that chunky cardboard tube that these come in? Burt’s recommends using them to store bobby pins or cotton swabs — not only are they recyclable and 60% recycled, but they’re reusable, too.

Keep reading! »

Sephora + Pantone Color of the Year 2013: Emerald | Reviews, swatches, and far too many photos

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year 2013

This year’s Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year collection has been out for a few months (since March), but I haven’t really been “feeling it” — until now, that is.

With the weather finally warming up & the sun coming out from behind the clouds, 2013’s vibrant collection of Emerald products is (finally!) in-season and on-trend. Perfect for creating a summer smokey eye, or adding just a touch of bright green, now is the perfect time to pick  up a couple bold green products to add to your summer makeup kit.

Blogger’s note: so, this post ended up at around a thousand words. Click here or scroll past all the pretty pictures for a two-sentence rundown of each product.

The product: SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Color of the Year 2013, Emerald (assorted products)

Sephora + Pantone Color Watt Highlighting Mascara

Color Watt Highlighting Mascara

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Watt Highlighting Mascara ($22 CAD)

Funnily enough, I thought this was the best and worst-performing product in this year’s Color of the Year collection. Dry, matte, and intensely pigmented, the Color Watt mascara really does show up green on the lashes — even short, dark, sparse lashes like my own.

There’s a lash photo of this at the end of the post, but in a nutshell: yes, it absolutely does show up, but the gorgeous green pigment is its downfall, too. It sits in tiny, dry clumps on the lashes, adding neither length nor noticeable volume, and stains for days if it touches the skin.

The stain can be avoided if you carefully remove your mascara with an oil-based or micellar remover on a cotton pad, rubbing down the lash against a halved cotton pad covering your undereye area, but it’s a hell of a hassle for a single effective-but-kitschy product.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Emerald Glitter

Lightspeed Glitter Dust

Sephora + Pantone Universe Lightspeed Glitter Dust ($17 CAD)

On the polar opposite end of the spectrum is the Lightspeed Glitter Dust, which is dry, loose, and milled just large enough to stay on this side of shimmery. The green base is very sheer, and the plentiful sky blue shimmer really predominates, giving it an almost turquoise tone overall.

Like any glitter dust, this really needs a base to stick to, so be sure to have one on hand! On completely dry skin, it comes right off, but on primed or even just freshly-moisturized skin, it adheres like a charm.

Sephora Pantone Color of the Year 2013 swatches reviews

L-R: Color Watt Highlighting Mascara, Lightspeed Glitter Dust, Color Cube Lid Liner Stain (x2), Color Code Prismatic Shadow, Graphic Sculpt Waterproof Jumbo Liner

Sephora + Pantone Lightspeed Glitter Dust

Lightspeed Glitter Dust

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Cube Lid Liner Stain ($19 CAD)

May I please introduce you to the Sephora + Pantone Universe 2013 cream of the crop? The Lid Liner Stain (which, despite its name, absolutely does not stain) is gorgeous — a well-pigmented shimmery-or-metallic emerald, it makes me think of all the best parts of the Emerald City.

The smooth, light texture of this Color Cube “stain” blends out easily as a wash of green with finely-milled shimmer, but works as a seriously stunning metallic emerald liner, too. Basically, it’s everything the Color Code Prismatic Shadow (below) hopes to someday be.

Sephora + Pantone Lid Liner Stain

Color Cube Lid Liner Stain

Keep reading! »

The facial spray-slash-toner that you NEED this spring | L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Mist review

Friday, April 19, 2013

L'Occitanne facial spray water review

The product: L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Mist

So, I wrote a fifteen page paper earlier this week on prefrontal cortical damage and its intersection with tactical communications, mostly between the hours of eleven at night on Tuesday and two in the afternoon on Wednesday.

I’m still kind of dazed.

Despite the lack of sleep I’ve been getting this term, though, I think I’ve been presenting a pretty glowy base… but maybe my perpetually-dry skin just has me biased. Either way, L’Occitane’s limited edition facial spray has been high, high up on the list of things I’ve been loving!

Best makeup setting spray - L'Occitane

What it is: Part of L’Occitane’s Immortelle Brightening range, the Brightening Mist is an alcohol-free toner & make-up setting spray. It’s enriched–of course–with floral water from the Immortelle flower, an anti-ageing “golden sun” (Helichrysum arenarium) sourced by L’Occitane from the island of Corsica.

Also formulated with Bellis Perennis (a common European species of daisy), the range is made to increase collagen production, protect against free radicals, and reduce the appearance of pigmentation marks.

Bright blue eyeliner look

A quick snap from this bright blue eyeliner tutorial — glowing skin courtesy of the Immortelle mist!

What makes it great is not the marketing or fancy-schmancy ingredients, however. Nope, it’s something much more simple than that: the packaging. Solidly housed in the Immortelle range’s white, yellow, and blue uniform, this mist is easy to aim, spray, and diffuse — no awkward spluttering in sight.

Decent facial sprays are actually pretty easy to find, but functional, utilitarian packaging — that’s a little harder to come by, if you ask me.

L'Occitanne Immortelle face mist

The verdict?

I hate recommending limited edition skincare, but I have to say — I’m pretty darn pleased with this one. I think the fragrance (floral; a natural and synthetic blend) could be a little lighter, but my dry skin absolutely loves this water-and-glycerine formula!

All in all, I’m not too broken up about the fact that this isn’t in the permanent range. I like it, of course, and I think it does a great job of setting makeup and leaving skin glowing… but I think what I really love about it is the dense, even mist (and pretty-but-simple packaging).

Availability: $20 USD/$22 CAD for 100ml, limited edition.

Additional photos & more »

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