Pür Minerals Epic Illusion Palette & Mystic Lip Lure review, swatches | & A cruelty-free Christmas Eve makeup look!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pur Minerals 4 in 1 porcelain review

It’s taken me a little while to really get into Pür Minerals, but now that I’ve done it… man, I don’t think it would even be possible for me to go back. I’ve worn this look FOUR times over the past week (mostly without the lip), and it has performed like a freaking–uh, like something that performs really well. Every single time.

I am going to be reviewing EVERY product in this makeup look at some point, because I am beyond impressed with every one of them, but for today, I’m focusing on the Lip Lure (what a shade) and Epic Illusion Contour Kit (it’s limited edition)!

Pur Minerals makeup look products used

Products used for my Pür Minerals Christmas Eve makeup look. (Don’t they look so pretty together?)

Pur Minerals Double Ego, Wake Up Brow makeup look review

Pur Minerals Epic Illusion contouring palette review

I’m wearing all Pür Minerals products in this look, from the eyes (Eye Polish in Satin, Double Ego Liquid Eyeliner in Milan, Wake Up Brow in Espresso/Hello Bright Eyes and Volume Vixen Mascara) to the lips (Lip Lure in Mystic and nothing else, not even lip balm).

Even the skin in this look (Epic Illusion Contour Palette and Pür’s 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15 in the shade Porcelain, which actually matches my skintone!!!) is Pür Minerals — I didn’t need any concealer or powder after using the 4-in-1, which was awesome (and super fast!)

pur minerals eye polish nude swatch review

Pür Minerals Double Ego Liner in Milan, Eye Polish in Satin, Volume Vixen Mascara, and Wake Up Brow in Espresso. Plus the line’s 4-in-1 Foundation to conceal my undereye area!

Pür Minerals Lip Lure in Mystic ($22 USD/$26 CAD)

Pur Minerals Mystic Lip Lure lacquer review

I personally think that the standout products of this look are the foundation and eyeshadow, but the Pür Minerals Lip Lure Hydrating Lip Lacquer in Mystic is certainly the most eye-grabbing. It’s described as a “ripe blackberry with a hint of raspberry” by Pür Minerals, but on me, it reads more of a berry-red. 

My skin eats cool tones for breakfast, however, so make sure to check out the shade on bloggers with your skintone before buying! It’s gorgeous and glossy on Glamorable, who describes the shade as a plummy burgundy, and it reads very purple against Brigette Ramos‘ warmer colouring. I have liked it on every single blogger (including myself) that I’ve seen it on, though, so it might just be one of those unicorn shades!

pur minerals Lip Lure Mystic swatch review photos

Pür Minerals Lip Lure swatches: Mystic in indirect sunlight (L) / indirect artificial light (R)

As for the formula? I’m in love. It’s insanely pigmented, with a creamy, hydrating texture. I haven’t worn this one for hours and hours–I’ve been eating far too often recently to really test out a colour this opaque–but within the hour or two that I have tested it for, it’s been wonderful.

The liquid lipstick formula looks glossy if applied heavily or satin-matte if applied sparingly (I’ve applied it thinly here, believe it or not), and it hasn’t made my lips feel even the littlest bit dry!

Pur Minerals contour palette review

Pür Minerals Epic Illusion Contour Kit ($28 USD/$32 CAD)

The last Pür Minerals gem that I have to talk to you guys about today is the brand’s limited edition contour kit.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of contour kits (they’re always so warm and harsh), but… I like this one. It contains two rows of products (a yellowier row for lighter skin and a darker row below, as usual), with a highlighter, contour/bronzer, and blush in each row.

Keep reading! »

LUSH Winter Garden set review: Gorgeous, Snowcake, Rose Jam, Dream Cream, Rub Rub Rub

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

LUSH winter garden review gift set

The product: LUSH Winter Garden Wrapped Gift

↳ Snowcake bar soap, Rose Jam shower gel, Gorgeous moisturizer, Dream Cream hand and body lotion, and the brand new Rub Rub Rub body scrub bar

For all of you out there who are still still, three days before Christmas, struggling to finish your Christmas shopping… here’s a set from Lush that you might find handy! The Winter Garden Wrapped Gift comes in a ready-to-go little ball and includes five popular Lush products for a really affordable $37.95 CAD (including one of my all-time faves!)

LUSH Snowcake soap review

Snowcake Soap ($7.95 CAD)

Snowcake is one of my yearly holiday favourites, so I figured we’d start off here! It’s a lovely, almond-y confection covered (this year) with a plentiful heaping of golden dust.

This year’s Snowcake smells a touch less spicy than my last bar (2013), but it’s definitely still something that I’d buy again! I know a lot of people are fans of L’Occitane’s almond line, but I like Snowcake more. It’s sweeter and Christmasy-er, and doesn’t have that hard, headache-inducing edge that Amande does! 

LUSH Rose Jam shower gel review

Rose Jam Shower Gel ($9.95 CAD)

I was really pleased to find Rose Jam in this set, too. It’s another cult-followed limited edition Lush product, and one that I had never tried before now!

Unfortunately, I think Rose Jam is too sweet for me (it’s quite jammy), but I can definitely see why this delicious fragrance has such a following. It smells distinctly like rose and vanilla, and the sweetness lingers on the skin long after you rinse off.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Gorgeous Facial Moisturizer ($87.95 CAD)

The Winter Garden set also includes a tiny sample of Lush’s Gorgeous moisturizer, which… I mean, am I the only one who thinks Lush charges insane prices for Gorgeous? As a brand that mostly subsists on $8 bath bombs and $25 facial moisturizers, it’s weird that consumers have to pay THAT MUCH more for organic and cold pressed ingredients.

To be fair, though, Gorgeous is pretty gorgeous. It’s light-textured and creamy, and absorbs into the skin with almost startling speed. My skin loves the formulation and velvety finish, but it just doesn’t feel like a $90 moisturizer.

I have to apply two layers of Gorgeous to compensate for Alberta’s dry air, and though the formula really is excellent, Gorgeous still contains parabens and synthetic fragrance ingredients. Neither of those are things that bug my skin, but for almost $90, I feel like consumers deserve a moisturizer that really is all-natural if it’s marketed as such. 

All in all, I really do like Gorgeous. It’s a great moisturizer. But it’s not the only great moisturizer, and to say that it outclasses all of my $30 and $40 moisturizers would be a lie!

LUSH Dream Cream hand lotion review

Dream Cream Hand and Body Lotion ($27.95 CAD)

On the other hand, there’s Dream Cream — my unexpected love hit of the Winter Garden set.

Dream Cream is sort of the body version (texture-wise) of Gorgeous, and its formula is equally great. It lists oat milk, rose water, organic extra virgin olive oil, and organic cocoa butter as its first four ingredients, and is also enriched with soothing and hydrating ingredients like benzoin (which I just ordered a vial of out of curiosity; it’s a very sticky, sweet-smelling essential oil!), rose absolute, and lavender.

$27 is a little pricey for a body lotion compared to the drugstore stuff, but the ingredients in this one are great. In this case, I think $27 for a 240g jar is worth the price!

LUSH Rub Rub Rub scrub review

Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub ($9.95 CAD)

The last treat in this gift set is Lush’s Rub Rub Rub body scrub, the solid version of Lush’s Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub. I was really excited to give it a try (this season is the first time that Lush has done salt cubes like this one), but it was a big miss for me–the only one in the set.

To put it simply, the Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub is way too freaking scratchy. No matter how lightly I drag this along my skin, or whether I do it before my shower or during, it hurts to use. The salt chunks are big and sharp, and this Body Scrub leaves me with big red friction welts on my arms instead of soft, exfoliated skin. (I wasn’t brave enough to use this on my legs, which are currently dealing with a little bout of eczema.)

LUSH Winter Garden Christmas packaging review

The verdict?

If you need a quick Christmas gift fix (or you need to decompress after all of your holiday planning), the Lush Winter Garden wrapped gift is a great place to start looking.

Lush’s Home for Christmas gift set ($27.95 CAD) is an even better choice, though, if you ask me — it’s a pared-down version of this one, and by skipping out on a tiny sample of Gorgeous and that awful Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub, you save yourself $10 to use elsewhere!

Availability: $37.95 CAD at LUSH stores; sold out online.

Shiseido Perfect Rouge lipstick RS 656 review, swatches, photos

Monday, December 7, 2015

Shiseido Perfect Rouge review swatches

The product: Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick in RS 656 Empress

This year’s Shiseido Autumn/Winter collection featured three beautiful new Perfect Rouge lipsticks ($30 CAD), and I am lucky enough to be able to share RS 656 Empress with you guys today. I couldn’t find a lot on this one online, and what I could find was almost exclusively written in–Russian, I think?–so it’s likely that this one is a non-US release. 

(Yay for Canada getting things!)

Shiseido Perfect Rouge RS 656 review swatches

The formula: This is my first Shiseido lipstick, but I have a feeling it won’t be my last. The Perfect Rouge formula is creamy and opaque, with colour that won’t slip around, a moisturizing texture, and just the most gorgeous magnetized packaging.

The formula is unscented, and despite the cream finish of this one, it still sort of glows on the lips when applied. It settles into more of a semi-matte finish, but like, the most moisturizing, luscious semi-matte/cream finish you will ever find. (It’s not your standard “moisturizing while creamy, but super drying an hour later” cream finish!)

Shiseido Perfect Rouge RS 656 Empress review swatches

Shiseido Perfect Rouge RS 656 Empress swatched as a stain/swatched properly

The shade: RS 656 Empress is a stunner, you guys. It’s a beautiful, dark, cream finish plum–a true autumnal shade. It’s very opaque, needing just one swipe for full coverage, and it balances its brown and blue tones on top of a lovely red base.

If you’re new to dark lip colours but wanted to try one for the holidays, this is a great place to start. It can be a little ageing, like any dark lip colour, but it has this almost dusty kind of smokiness to it, so it’s just dark–not dark and in-your-face vibrant, too. (In other words, it’s medium-dark without being a “statement” lip.)

Shiseido Perfect Rouge review packaging

The verdict?

I’m pretty sure Shiseido RS 656 Empress is the fall lipstick of my dreams. It’s moody, plummy, scent-free, and moisturizing, with just the most gorgeous cream finish and (and!) the ability to work as a stain.

It’s a great fall lip colour, and thanks to its fancy, magnetized packaging, it would make just the loveliest little Christmas gift, too!

Availability: $25 USD/$30 CAD at Sephora, Murale, Hudson’s Bay, Jean Coutu, London Drugs, Ogilvy, select Shoppers Drug Mart locations, and Shiseido.

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Cedrat Shower Gel & After-Shave review, photos | The Gift Guide

Thursday, December 3, 2015

L'Occitane Cedrat After-Shave gel lotion review

The product: L’Occitane Cédrat Shower Gel and After-Shave Cream Gel for him

The one thing that strikes me every Decem-burr (yay!) is that I never do enough of a “gift guide for him.” Dudes deserve product too, so if you have a Mr. in your life who needs a little spoiling this season, this post is for you!

(And him.)

L'Occitane Cedrat After-Shave review

My partner and I couldn’t test out the Cedrat After-Shave Cream Gel ($36 CAD) because it contains silicones, but I had to include it in this post–it’s just so gorgeously packaged! Formulated with Corsican cédrat (citron), it’s meant to hydrate, mattify, and energize the skin, reducing irritation after shaving with a lightweight “melting texture.”

Hilariously, L’Occitane describes the cedrat as an “eminently masculine fruit” with its “thick and rough bark,” which is so unbelievably, comically unnecessary. Men’s marketing, you guys. It gets me every time.

L'Occitane cedrat shower gel review citron

I did give the Cedrat Shower Gel ($22 CAD) a go, though, and I was happily impressed. It’s a 2-in-1 cleanser for the body and hair, and it does a great job of both. It’s lightly scented with a faint herby-citrus fragrance and a hint (not a hit) of woods in the base, and it is great as a shampoo — richly lathering, yet completely non-stripping. 

(I’m serious, you guys. I went from Kérastase to this, and I liked this one more.)

L'Occitane Cedrat review men's skincare

The verdict?

The L’Occitane Cédrat line has a very unexpected, earthy-citrus fragrance to it, but I was really impressed with what I saw from the range. I think it’ll be a big hit for fans of vetiver and other earthy, subtle scents — just make sure not to get it confused with the brand’s Cèdre range, like I foolishly did!

Availability: $8.50 CAD & up at L’Occitane stores and online.

Keep reading! »

LUSH Celebrate, Baked Alaska, Old Father Time review, photos | Christmas 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

LUSH celebrate, old father time, baked alaska review

The products: LUSH Baked Alaska, Old Father Time, and Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion

Happy Decem-burr, dear readers! I’m super jazzed for the holidays this year despite the eerily warm weather we’ve been having, so I’m very temporarily suspending my regular to-review shelf in favour of some more festive finds.

Up first are a few cruelty-free, vegan products from LUSH’s holiday range. Or, as they like to call it, the Christmas collection! (Because fuck political correctness, I guess?) (Um. Also, sorry for swearing at you bright and early on a Wednesday morning.)

LUSH Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion review

Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion ($32.95 CAD)

LUSH went a different route from most brands this winter & released a bunch of fruity and citrusy products for the holidays, so (of course) I had to check at least a few of them out!

Celebrate is one such product, and it’s great — not really all that festive, but it’s hydrating and lightweight and it smells super tasty. (True fact, my partner put his head in my lap yesterday, looked up at me, and said, “Your knee smells really good,” with an almost reverent in his eyes.)

Love the scent? Celebrate is made with the same fragrance as Lush’s Golden Wonder Bath Bomb.

This one is formulated with almond oil and cocoa butter, and scented with orange flower, lime, benzoin, and cognac oil. I get almost a lime/grapefruit feel from the scent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was back for a third year in 2016 — it’s that good.

LUSH Baked Alaska soap review

Baked Alaska Soap ($7.95 CAD)

Another fruity holiday product from LUSH this year is their Baked Alaska soap, which is fluorescent and cheerful and smells as zingy as it looks. I was expecting a sweeter/more gourmand scent based on the name, but I think the lemon myrtle, grapefruit, and ylang ylang blend really suits this bright cube of yellow and green!

Fun fact: Baked Alaska was actually inspired by “The Baked Alaska Story,” a book about a snow empire built on a foundation of multi-coloured ice cream!

(I cut mine into a square after taking these photos, and goddamn, it is really cute square.)

Baked Alaska does smell a little bit lemon cleaner-y, so if you don’t like your citrus scents bitter or sour at all, maybe skip this one.

LUSH Old Father Time soap review

Old Father Time Soap ($7.95 CAD)

Old Father Time is a “properly” festive scent, dolled up in deep red and gold with notes of sage, thyme, and myrrh. This was the product that I was most excited to try from Lush’s holiday range, but funnily enough, it was my least favourite!

I’m not crazy about the dark red colour that this tints the water with, and the scent is kind of weird. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool, but it’s… weird. It smells like spiced Kool-Aid blended with motor oil, and I am 100% certain that a lot of Lushies are going to LOVE it, but it’s a very strong, saccharine scent. If you can, smell this one in person before buying — and if you love, stock up. It’s only around for the holidays!

LUSH Holiday 2015 reviews

The verdict?

The LUSH holiday catalogue is, as usual, huge — and there’s something in it for everyone, I think. I wasn’t as smitten with these three products as I have been with other LUSH holiday products (the Sikkim Girls Body Lotion and Snowcake soap come to mind as particularly great ones), but it’s awesome to see a brand doing something other than cinnamon and spice for the winter months. 

I would definitely recommend checking out the Celebrate Hand and Body Lotion if you like citrus, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for another LUSH feature soon — I have a great little gift set to review in a couple of weeks!

Availability: Currently on shelves and online at LUSH. Limited edition!

Ingredients and stuff »

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/Ebates.ca), 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! »

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