Lancome Urban Ballet Baume in Love swatches, photos, review

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lancome Baume in Love review - Urban Ballet

The product: Lancôme Baume in Love in 110 Urban Ballet

Lancôme’s Baume in Love won an Allure Best of Beauty award last year. But get this: it won for best sheer lipstick. The thing literally has “balm” in its name, and it won as a lipstick. I honestly don’t even understand how that happened.

Anyhow — the winning shade (this one; Urban Ballet) is still available, as are seven other shades at Nordstrom. And so, without further adieu: may I please introduce the classiest, brightest lip balm you’ll ever have the pleasure of owning.

Lancome Baume in Love review swatches photos

The formula: With these balms, Lancôme promises to “saturate lips with comfort” and moisture, with a lasting stain of colour. But, while I like the way its light, oil-based formula feels, I have to say — they didn’t do so great on the moisture front, and the stain isn’t too noticeable on the lips.

For a tinted lip balm, the Baume in Love formula feels pretty standard. It isn’t as hydrating as, say, Fresh’s, but it’s also way less gross and melty — it holds its shape elegantly, even in the heat, and seems rather “moisture neutral” on my lips. It has a very light scent that fades quickly.

I need to re-apply this balm in a decidedly not long-lasting two hours, but — it’s not exactly a trial to reapply, you know? I’d expect three, maybe four hours at least from a lipstick or gloss, but a couple of hours from a balm (while it doesn’t live up to its claims) is pretty much par for the course.

!Lancome Urban Ballet swatch Baume in Love on lips

Lancôme Baume in Love in Urban Ballet – swatched on lips (one swipe)

Lancome Baume in Love Urban Ballet swatch review

Lancôme “Urban Ballet” Baume in Love

!Lancome Urban Ballet Baume in Love swatches review

Lancôme  Baume in Love in Urban Ballet

The colour: On the other hand, where this balm clearly earns its keep is that gorgeous, “neon-translucent” pigmentation — their words, not mine, and wonderfully accurate. The fluoro-pink Urban Ballet is eye-searingly bright, yet it reads on the lips like nothing more than a balm.

As an extremely sheer bright, Urban Ballet is exactly what one would hope for. It makes the lips look soft and plush, as if you’re wearing nothing but clear lip balm and just happen to have perfectly flushed lips. This pink is a little darker and more vivid than my natural lip shade, and it brightens my complexion in seconds while still running totally under the radar.

!Lancome Baume in Love

The verdict?

It’s a splurge, but if you want to treat yourself with something luxe but super low maintenance (am I the only one who gets stressed out by those gorgeous, full-coverage reds?), this really is the way to go. Everything about the Baume in Love range is so Lancômeelegant but vivid in a very Parisian way. I can’t speak toward the other shades, but Urban Ballet will suit literally any complexion to add a bit of instant brightness.

On a budget, the Maybelline Baby Lips Neons ($3.99 USD) lip balms will offer a similar sort of neon-sheerness — but they’re a very different experience, and feature a chunky sort of electric-fun vibe in contrast to Lancôme’s refined feeling of spontaneous-luxury.

Availability: $26 USD/$30 CAD at Nordstrom (8 shades) and Lancôme counters throughout Canada (which carry just this shade, I believe!)


L’Occitane Verveine EdT Fresh Roll-on review, photos | Summer echoes

Friday, October 11, 2013

L'Occitane Verbena Fresh Roll On review

The product: L’Occitane Verveine (Verbena) Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on

Behind the collection: L’Occitane’s Verbena lineup contains organic verbena extract from Provence, and was created for use by both men and women. The Verbena Fresh Roll-on is a purse-friendly version of the original L’Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette; the “Fresh” in the name is irrelevant (this is the same scent.)

L’Occitane has Mint and Citrus Verbena fragrances available as well this summer, in addition to the Eau Fraîche Collection of verbena-scented body products.

L'Occitane EdT review - verveine:verbena

The notes: A soft, delicate fragrance in the green citrus family, the L’Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette lists top notes of orange and lemon, heart notes of verbena and petitgrain, and base notes of rose and geranium.

A few fun facts: Unlike most flowers used in perfumery, Verbena (also known as vervain — yes, all you Vampire Diaries fans, that vervain) can sometimes deliver a second harvest in October, weather allowing. Used  in everything from love potions to sleeping draughts, some plants in the Verbenaceae are odourless; others, delicately lemon scented.

L'Occitane Verveine Eau de Toilette review

My thoughts on the fragrance

I don’t love doing “verdicts” for perfumes, so I thought I’d change things up a little today.

I’m not entirely smitten with the Verbena fragrance, but it’s such an individual thing — I can easily think of half a dozen friends and family members who would absolutely love it. Very fresh, green, and lemony, Verveine opens as a freshly-zested lemon’s rind but sits a little too sharp and synthetic for my nose.

L'Occitane Verveine Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on review

The Verveine Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on fragrance is very light, with little sillage and a wear time similar to that of most lemony-fresh fragrances. Without any heavy or heady notes to “cling” to the skin, this summery verbena is gone within a few hours; perhaps due in part to its formulation, or perhaps due to its delivery method (roll-ons and EdTs tend to have less throw and tenacity than EdP and parfum sprays).

I would recommend this most to someone who wants to smell fresh and refined, and is alright with touching up throughout the day. I feel almost as if I love perfume too much for this perfume: it feels very much like a chic home fragrance, or a green bouquet sitting aside a bowl of lemons in the kitchen.

Availability: $22 CAD/10ml, limited edition and in-stores now.

L’Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche review, swatches, photos | A Tale of Two Freidas

Thursday, September 19, 2013

L'Oreal Collection Privée review swatches photos

A tale of two Freidas

If you didn’t notice it in Tuesday’s post (the nail polish half of the Collection Privée), there are two sets of Freida’s Nude in my photos of the collection. From group shots to lipstick swatches, it appears once on the left, and then again on the right.

This wasn’t some great ploy or easter egg, however — I’m not that good. Rather, I’ve been operating on auto-pilot for the past few weeks, and I completely blanked on the fact that the press kit for this collection included two of each of Freida’s products.

My apologies for any confusion!

L'Oreal Colour Riche lipstick swatches review

The Colour Riche Lipcolours ($10.99 CAD)

Packaged in matte black tubes with shiny gold accents, the Collection Privée Colour Riche Lipcolours are pretty darn chic for the drugstore — and at $10.99 each, they darn well better be. (What? It’s the drugstore; I like to keep my price expectations low!)

Each tube contains a sheer, pearl-finish nude lipstick. Like all L’Oreal Colour Riche lipsticks, these lip colours are fairly perfumed, so be sure to give a tester a sniff in-store if you haven’t used the line before.

L'Oreal Colour Riche review photos swatches - Collection Privée microshimmer

The microshimmer/pearl finish of the Collection Privée by Colour Riche lipsticks

Despite its darkness in the tube, Freida’s Nude applies as a very soft violet with a brightening sheen. Even on my very fair skin, it’s no more bold than a sheer Fresh Sugar lip balm or Clinique Chubby Stick, and picks up my complexion rather than muddying it (as many darker nudes will do).

Eva’s Nude is much more full-on; with medium opacity and a slightly thicker texture, it’s also more of a traditional frost. A warm, orange nude with only a hint of pink in its undertones undertones, it’s much better suited for skintones like Eva’s — against my complexion, it’s very noticeable and rather dated.

L'Oreal Freida's Nude swatches review photos

Collection Privée by Colour Riche: Freida’s Nude

L'Oreal Eva's Nude review swatches photos

Collection Privée by Colour Riche: Eva’s Nude

L'Oreal Colour Riche swatches review Collection Privée

L’Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche Lipsticks swatched very heavily L-R: Freida, Eva, Doutzen, J Lo, Freida

Keep reading! »

L’Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche review, swatches, photos | Nudes fit for the TIFF red carpet

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

L'Oreal Collection Privée TIFF review

Made-to-measure “perfect nudes”

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, L’Oreal Paris had the honour this year of releasing the official TIFF Festival Collection, a limited edition colour collection currently available in most drugstores throughout Canada.

The collection contains nudes created to suit four different skintones: that of Doutzen Kroes (Barely Pink), Eva Longoria (Barely Golden), Freida Pinto (Barely Parma), and Jennifer Lopez (Barely Greige). They’re not your normal nudes, either. Rather than flesh tones and too-milky pinks, the Collection Privée by Colour Riche encompasses everything from a cement grey to a dark brown-red — perhaps more “naturals” than nudes, if even that.

Either way, they’re gorgeous.

L'Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche Nail Polish review

The Colour Riche Nail Colours ($3.99 CAD)

If you ask me, the real stunners in this collection–er, aside from the incredibly gorgeous spokesmodels–are the four Colour Riche Nail Colours. The wide, thin applicator is fantastic for distributing colour evenly, and the formulas settle into opaque, streak-free finishes in only 2-3 coats.

When it comes to getting the perfect nail, the brush is just as important as the formula and shades, and the Colour Riche polishes nail it in every category (pun intended).

L'Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche swatches review nails

Swatched L-R: L’Oreal Collection Privée by Colour Riche Nail Polishes in Freida, Eva, Doutzen, and J Lo (indirect sunlight)

Keep reading! »

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! »

Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil Review, Photos

Sunday, September 1, 2013

shu uemura anti:oxi vs a:o, ultime8 review

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The product: shu uemura anti/oxi skin refining anti-dullness cleansing oil

[  Get 10% off your order with the code NOTICESHU  ]

The formula: Shu Uemura has lot of different cleansing oils, so I thought I’d take a moment to first go over the new Anti/Oxi formula. This one–lighter in texture than the Ultim8 or A/O, but heavier than the fresh pore clarifying–is designed to cleanse environmental pollutants from the skin’s surface, preventing damage to cellular functions lower in the dermis.

Shu Uemura Anti:Oxi review

shu uemura cleansing oil review anti:oxi

Shu Uemura Anti:Oxi cleansing oil

Now, all cleansers cleanse, but the science behind this one is pretty cool. The Anti/Oxi formula uses moringa seed extract to bond to negatively-charged pollutants, detoxifying the skin — think of it like dragging a magnet through a pile of lead shavings.

(Moringa seeds are commonly used to as a water purifier in areas where it is grown, which, if you ask me, is pretty cool.)

shu uemura whitefficient in anti:oxi review

The other oils featured here are the fresh (pink/pore cleansing), high performance (light yellow/balancing), ultime8 (brown/full review here), and whitefficient (blue/brightening). There’s also the cleansing A/I (dark yellow/sensitive skin), which isn’t featured here but does exist!

shu uemura cleansing oils with anti:oxi

How cleansing oils work: Shu Uemura recommends you use 3-4 pumps of cleansing oil, worked into dry skin and then emulsified and rinsed off with water. I actually find one pump to be more than enough, but then again, I don’t tend to wear much makeup unless I’m product testing.

(Confession: I’ve always found cleansing oils to be a lot of fun. It’s pretty cool that such a thick oil turns into a comforting soap with just a bit of water!)

shu uemura skin refining review anti:oxi

Keep reading! »

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