Lush Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar, Cream review, photos | Father’s Day picks for you & dad

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lush smugglers soul multi purpose cream

The products: LUSH Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar & Multi-Purpose Cream

This year, Lush launches its largest-ever Father’s Day collection. One of the key lines featured in it is Smuggler’s Soul, a range of three products that are all scented with the brand’s sandalwoods-y, fresh-smelling perfume. (It also scents their permanent-collection eponymous solid perfume & the Lush Veerappan Moustache Wax.)

The key notes of Smuggler’s Soul include sandalwood, vetiver, and lemongrass. 

Availability: Lush’s Father’s Day 2016 collection is available online now & in stores as of June 13th. Limited edition.

Lush Smuggler's Soul shampoo bar review

Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar ($16.95 CAD)

I’ve always been very, very skeptical of Lush’s whole shampoo bar thing, but these things are actually pretty ingenious. The Smuggler’s Soul Shampoo Bar ($16.95 CAD) is formulated to wash and condition in three quick swoops of the bar from root to tip, and it’s made with fair trade cocoa butter, fresh cucumber, and Lush’s Smuggler’s Soul perfume.

Lush shampoo bar review

I was surprised to find that this shampoo bar really did actually only need three swipes to cleanse my entire scalp, and that the entire process was really simple and not at all camping-y. However, Smuggler’s Soul is full of super-stripping SLSs (hence the thick foam), and it left my hair feeling squeaky-clean and a little dry.

My oily roots actually really love this stuff, but my dry ends… not so much. I know that many men have been conditioned to love squeaky-clean finishes, but I’d recommend going for for one of their more hydrating shampoo bars if you have the choice.

Lush shampoo bar review smugglers soul

Smuggler’s Soul Multi-Purpose Cream ($18.95 CAD)

Lush’s Smuggler’s Soul Multi-Purpose Cream ($18.95 CAD) is totally, unequivocally, 100% a dad productIt’s a nice but largely generic-smelling men’s product that’s extremely liquidy and lightweight, and it’s designed to be used for everything: hands, body, face, hair. 

Lush smugglers soul multi purpose cream review

It is also, sadly, priced very much in line with the beauty industry’s pinkwashing–that is to say, as a men’s product, it’s no worse than a women’s product but costs just a fraction of the price (a practice that I’m very disappointed to see Lush engaging in.)

At the price, though, Smuggler’s Soul is an awesome product. I’d recommend buying two: one for dad, and one for you! It makes a nice, light lotion for your hair/face/body while it’s hot and humid out, and if you have dry skin, it feels absolutely glorious with a couple drops of rosehip oil added in.

Lush mens lotion review

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Smashbox Inspiration lipstick, Insta-Matte, & Mulholland Mauve review, swatches, photos

Monday, June 6, 2016

Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick Inspiration review

The products: Smashbox Cosmetics Be Legendary Cream Lipstick in Inspiration, Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer, and L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Mulholland Mauve

Smashbox Spring 2016 review

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick ($21 USD/$36 CAD)

The Be Legendary lipsticks are a staple of the current Smashbox lineup, and with Inspiration, it’s not hard to see why. This new shade is a super-flattering bright fuchsia pink with subtle shimmer (which I think makes it NOT a “true” cream!!) and it’s a total dreamboat.

Smashbox Inspiration review photos Be Legendary Creamm Lipstick

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration review

Smashbox Inspiration swatch Be Legendary Lipstick review

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration swatches in indirect sunlight. (Can you tell that I took these photos with my old Canon? Just not as good, man.)

The Smashbox Be Legendary Cream Lipstick formula is comforting, heavy, and smooth – I wouldn’t mind owning another couple (dozen) of these. They remind me of the Clinique Pop Lipsticks, actually, but with a lighter texture.

The Be Legendary “cream” finish (they’re also available in a matte finish) is luscious and looks almost glossy thanks to the shimmer, and Inspiration is well-pigmented with colour that goes exactly where it ought to, no lip brush necessary.

Smashbox Be Legendary Inspiration review photos swatches

(See the glitter?)

Smashbox Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer ($24 USD/$26 CAD)

Smashbox also introduced their Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer this spring, which I think is a pretty nifty product. It’s a silicone-y gel that’s similar to their Photo Finish primer, but thicker, and it’s designed to turn any cream (!!) lipstick into a matte.

 Smashbox Insta-Matte transformer review

I liked the idea behind the Insta-Matte, and it worked well to mattify Inspiration when I tried it on. However, it doesn’t do anything that a sprinkling of loose powder could do (a trick that makeup artists have been using for decades), and the effect is subtle.

Granted, it’s a lot more comfortable to wear than loose powder is, but it can’t be used overtop of glosses, lacquers, or balms, which I think kind of minimizes its appeal. Cream lipsticks are halfway to today’s mattes anyways, you know? Just pat with tissue and you’re 90% of the way there.

Smashbox Inspiration, Mulholland Mauve swatches, Insta-matte

Smashbox swatches L-R: Insta-Matte over Be Legendary Lipstick in Inspiration; Inspiration on its own; L.A. Lights in Mulholland Mauve lightly, then heavily. Swatched in artificial light. 

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color ($29 USD/$36 CAD)

I love a good stick/pencil product, but the Smashbox L.A. Lights formula just didn’t grab me. It’s workable, but it feels tacky and heavy to me. The formula drags on the skin as you blend it out, so while the finish looks lovely and dewy, I find that I rarely reach for these.

As a lip product, though, I found Mulholland Mauve to be extremely disappointing. A darker colour would fare better, but it looks pasty and thin on my lips–almost like a $2 bargain bin lipstick or an early-2000s party girl lipgloss.

Smashbox L.A. Lights cheek lip review

However, the L.A Lights sticks are one of the few silicone-free stick blushes that I’ve found, and Mulholland Mauve is a rather unique colour. It looks passable on my fair olive skin (the shade choice was my mistake!), but would be gorgeous on a warmer complexion.

As a note, the availability on the L.A. Lights is a little weird. If you’re looking for Mulholland Mauve or Fairfax Fuchsia in Canada, they’re only available at Shopper’s/Murale – you won’t be able to buy them at Sephora. Make sure you shop accordingly!

Smashbox Mulholland Mauve review swatches

The verdict?

Sadly, none of Smashbox’s spring launches were total must-haves for me–but I do really like their Be Legendary lipsticks, so it was nice to see that shade range expanded.

On the whole, I’d say that the Be Legendaries are a nice-to-have, the Insta-Matte is a cool-to-have, and the L.A. Lights are a skip. I’ve heard excellent things about the L.A. Lights from other bloggers, though, so if you love ’em, hit me up in the comments. I want to know what I’m missing here!

Availability: New permanent products (as of January 2016) at Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, Murale, Nordstrom, and Sephora.

 

Bio Beauté by Nuxe Toning Citron Body Oil, Deodorant review & photos

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bio beaute cedrat review body oil deodorant

The products: Bio Beauté by Nuxe Toning & Nourishing Satin-Touch Oil with Corsican Citron Extract and 24 HR Refreshing Deodorant

My love for Bio Beauté is far from a secret, so when I found out that they were launching two new lemon-scented products this summer, I was pretty excited.

I soon realized that they were, in fact, not launching two lemon-scented products this summer, and were actually launching two new body products featuring naturally “toning” citron (an ingredient you may recognize from my old L’Occitane review), plus their repackaged deodorant.

But! Confusion aside, I was still very, very happy to try out the new oil, and it didn’t disappoint.

Bio beaute nuxe deodorant roll on yellow review

The deodorant: Okay, first things first. This is NOT a lemon version of the Bio Beauté deodorant that I reviewed last year, a fact which I am super sad about. This the exact same deodorant, now in yellow packaging. It contains 10 essential oils and 5 floral waters to gently inhibit bacteria growth, starch powder to reduce moisture, and aloe vera for a little additional soothing – and yes, it still smells like candy. 

While I’m not crazy about smelling like I just got wrecked in a Wonka factory, this alcohol- and aluminum-free deodorant is actually very well-formulated (and 98% organic!) It works well on my man-smelly boyfriend, and leaves no stains on clothing.

Bio Beaute toning nourhishing body oil review

The oil: On the other hand, I loooove the Bio Beauté citron/toning body oil. It smells like lemon squares, sugared to perfection and waiting patiently for you on the kitchen counter (a scent that comes from a combination of citrus oils and vanilla), and the packaging is great: sleek but made of lightweight plastic, with a mister on top.

A spray-mister, unfortunately. Not a mister-mister. (Ugh, that bone structure. Those sad-sexy eyes. That really good hair.)

Bio Beauté notes that this oil is quick-absorbing (true!) but perfect for a massage, which… Boyfriend had better get on that; that’s all I’m saying. It’s not really much of a toning product, but as a body oil, it’s lovely.

Bio Beaute deodorant review

The verdict?

It’s a bit confusing that Bio Beauté has quietly relaunched their 24HR Refreshing Deodorant in yellow (but otherwise identical) packaging, presumably to differentiate it from the “Bio Beauté Body” anti-perspirant, but that’s honestly my only complaint about these launches. Stop gaslighting me, Bio Beauté! I’ve only ever shown you love!

The new Toning & Nourishing Satin-Touch Oil is a lemon-scented dream, and I love that it features lots of organic ingredients & fair trade oils. It smells delicious, too, and as we all know… the way to any twenty-something’s heart is through their stomach.

Availability: $13 CAD (deodorant) to $26 CAD (body oil). New as of June 2016 & available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash, Lotion review, photos

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aveeno Gentle Scent body wash lotion review

The products: Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash and Lotion in Chamomile and Coconut

This spring marked a pretty monumental step in Aveeno history, which is to say: Aveeno launched their very first line of scented lotions and washes for sensitive skin this March.

Designed specifically for sensitive skin, these two scents have been formulated to be just as gentle on sensitive skin as fragrance-free products. Having used them myself, I’d have to agree.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent body wash coconut review

The scents: I’m a big fan of the whole “luxurious shower experience” thing, so scents are a must for my body products whenever possible.

Coconut smells like a subtle, standard coconut scent; maybe a little more earthy than some. It’s not really my thing, but I think it’ll be a hit. On the other hand, Chamomile smells like crack cocaine and nostalgia, and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. It smells exactly like something I used to use when I was a kid, and it’s so good that I want to eat it.

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent chamomile review

The products: Even though I’m allergic to the silicones in them now, my family was always an Aveeno lotion family growing up. We’ve always had a lot of allergies and sensitivities, and from ages 6-16, they were the only brand that all of us could enjoy.

But, while I’m sad that I can’t use these new lotions, I’ve been using nothing but the new Gentle Scent Body Washes. They’re soap-free, dye-free, and allergy-tested, and I can confirm that they are just as gentle as even my Aveeno Eczema Care body wash.

I really notice a difference when I switch to a “bad” body wash (Lush in particular makes me itch my legs like a stray with fleas), but these are as hydrating as foaming washes get. They actually leave my skin feeling more moisturized than using no soap at all – sort of like a light in-shower moisturizer. 

Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent review photos

The verdict?

I kinda thought Aveeno was already making fragranced body products in all of their departments (I’ve been a dummy and thought the soft, oatmeal-y scent of the line was added), so I’m pretty thrilled that Aveeno is actually making scented products for sensitive skin now.

Whether or not you have dry skin, you need a bottle of Chamomile lotion or body wash like, yesterday. The scent is totally my jam, and the body wash leaves my skin feeling softer and more hydrated than any other shower gel out there!

Availability: $7.99 USD/$9.99 CAD for the body washes (354 mL); $8.99 USD/$13.99 CAD for the lotions at drugstores and mass market retailers!

Keep reading! »

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil review, photos | A great, affordable cleansing oil find!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil review

The product: Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil

I’m a pretty lazy beauty blogger, so it’s not surprising that I review a fair number of cleansing oils. What can I say; they’re fast, they’re easy, and they usually smell great.

My latest find is the brand new Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, and ugh, it’s so good. I received it in early May, and it’s been sitting on my countertop next to my Bella Aura and Fresh ever since.

Neutrogena Ultra Light cleansing oil for all skin types

The formula: From the sleek packaging to the subtle “fresh” scent, I honestly have nothing bad to say about Neutrogena’s new cleansing oil. It removes all of my makeup without any tugging or pulling, doesn’t require a separate eye makeup remover, and rinses off easily to a skin-neutral finish (both in hydration and in pH).

As this formula is water-soluble, I don’t find that it clogs my pores at all, even though it sweeps the makeup off my face in one fell swoop. (That sounded way less violent in my head.)

Neutrogena cleansing oil review

The elephant in the room: While I really like this cleansing oil, I should mention that it’s made primarily from mineral oil. Like other petroleum byproducts, mineral oil gets a bad rap; personally, I think that’s largely due to the “anti-chemical” stance of natural beauty brands.

I totally support not wanting to use a certain ingredient for ANY reason, but the “mineral oil will break you out” thing is a total myth. All oils have the potential to break you out; it just depends what your skin likes! If yours hates mineral oil, skip this one, but if it likes it, why not use it.

Mineral oil is scent-free, won’t go bad as quickly as plant oils (meaning chemists can add smaller amounts of preservatives), and it seals in moisture really well. But that brings me to my last point…

Drugstore cleansing oil review

The verdict?

The Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil has quickly become my new favourite cleansing oil with price, scent, and formula all taken into consideration.

That being said, Tatcha’s cleansing oil is a great option without synthetic fragrances, and DHC’s cleansing oil is definitely more lush. (L’Occitane and Shu’s offerings aren’t nearly as good.) But the Tatcha is expensive and the DHC smells like olive oil, so if I was to run out, this is definitely the cleansing oil that I would spend my money on – and I’d do it happily.

This stuff is effective, gentle, and smells great, and let’s be honest: the packaging is pretty sexy for a drugstore product!

Availability: From $8.99 USD/$9.97 CAD at drugstores and mass market retailers & online at Ulta and Drugstore.com. Available in most major markets (it’s a bestseller in Asia!)

Keep reading!

Clarins Silver Plum, Natural Glow Palette review, swatches, photos | Instant Glow Spring 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Clarins Instant Glow Spring 2016 review

The products: Clarins Palette 5 Couleurs (5-Colour Eyeshadow Palette) in 05 Natural Glow & Ombre Iridescente Cream-to-Powder Eyeshadow in 07 Silver Plum 

The Clarins Spring 2016 Instant Glow eye palette is quickly disappearing off shelves, so before it’s too late, here’s a quick review and a few swatches of the palette!

Clarins Natuarl Glow 5 colour eyeshadow plette review swatches

Clarins Palette 5 Couleurs review – 03 Natural Glow. (Did you know that these are made in Italy?)

I’m usually a big fan of Clarins’ eyeshadow palettes, and Natural Glow was no exception. Like most Clarins eyeshadows, these shadows are blendable and well-pigmented, and there are two signature Clarins iridescent shades in the palette – you know; those gorgeous ones with flakey glitter that are so hard to dupe.

Sadly, though, Natural Glow was way too warm/orange to look natural on me, especially once I applied it to my eyes. It kinda broke my heart, because $39 CAD is an awesome price for five Clarins eyeshadows in travel-friendly packaging, but I suppose warm-toned gals should get to have fun sometimes, too.

I guessss. 

Clarins Natural Glow Eye Palette swatches, review

Clarins 03 Natural Glow Eyeshadow Palette swatches (primed skin in artificial light)

Clarins Silver Plum eyeshadow ombre iridescente

Clarins Silver Plum Ombre Iridescente Eyeshadow review

Also new this spring are four new permanent Ombre Iridescente cream-to-powder eyeshadows ($25 CAD). I have 07 Silver Plum, and it’s pretty darn gorgeous.

These apply with much more pigment than the Ombre Mattes, but they definitely still need a primer underneath – think of them as a fluffy, buttery powder eyeshadow rather than a cream. (I totally need more.) Silver Plum is rich and pigmented, with cool silver shimmer on top of a plummy-grey base. 

It kind of makes me think of wet mud, which is a weird thing that shouldn’t be appealing unless you’re a cartoon pig, but I guess I must be a cartoon pig in spirit, then.

Clarins swatches Pink Cherry, Silver Plum, Rose Praline review

Clarins Silver Plum eyeshadow swatch (and Rouge Eclat lipsticks in Rose Praline and Pink Cherry)

Keep reading! »

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