The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick swatches, review, photos (& a little Smoky Poppy preview)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Body Shop Lip Cheek Velvet Stick reviews swatches

The products: The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks in Universal Shade and 40 Red

↳ Photographed with the limited-edition Smoky Poppy Body Butter ($20), which smells amazing but contains silicones, so I can’t touch it! (But seriously: amazing. It’s super sultry for a Body Shop fragrance.)

My love affair with jumbo lip pencils is a long and almost frighteningly well-documented one, but when I tried these for the first time, I actually stopped and went, “oh, cool,” for a moment.

TBS lip velvet jumbo pencil review swatches

The texture: Unlike your standard jumbo lip pencil (sheer-glossy or opaque-matte), these Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks are exactly that: velvety. They apply with an incredibly natural finish, softly matte but not at all drying.

Unlike most mattes, though, they’re sheer — or, rather, they’ll sheer out if you blend them. Red (and I’m assuming the rest of the regular line) applies with a very medium opacity, but blends out to create the most seamless, perfect flush; the Universal Shade applies more sheerly, but in a way that’s suited well to the shade.

The Body Shop black universal Lip Cheek Stick review

The Body Shop Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick

The Body Shop Lip Cheek Stick swatches review universal, red

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks, swatched – Universal Shade (heavily/blended) and 40 Red (heavily/blended)

The shades: Red is a bright strawberry red, but the pH-adapting Universal Shade is the Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick that really steals the show. Purple-black in the tube, it applies as a very sheer dark purple. It’s less glossy and more plummy than Clinique’s Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick (the closest dupe that I’ve seen), and you NEED it.

When sheered out, the Universal shade reads as a muted flush of colour, and on the lips, it’s nothing short of perfect. My natural lip colour leans a bit orange (bleh), which makes most medium/dark lip colours look punchy and ostentatious as they wear off, but this weird, pH-adjusting pencil is perfect. It darkens my natural lip colour considerably without making my lips look bright!, which–believe me–is a pretty substantial feat.

Bare lips - Korres Cherry Picked reference

Bare lips

The Body Shop Universal Lip & Cheek Stick swatches review

The Body Shop Universal Shade Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick lip swatch

The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Body Butter review

The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Body Butter

The verdict?

These sheer-matte Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks are great both for the lips and cheeks, but it’s the black Universal Shade pencil that you really need to own. If you’ve ever been intrigued by a sheer purple lipstick, or if you’ve ever been tempted to try Clinique’s classic Black Honey, get this one instead — you won’t be disappointed. 

Availability: $15 USD/CAD at The Body Shop. Permanent.

Keep reading! »

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads review, photos | A semi-DIY cleanser/exfoliator/mask

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads cleanser review

The product: Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads Daily Powdered Face Cleanser

How it works: DIY meets green beauty, baby! Instead of releasing a ready-made exfoliator, Kaia offers a cleansing kit comprised of an exfoliating powder, a mini vial of moringa oil, and instructions.

Now, I’m all about customizing products, and this kit is perfect for it. All you do is tap out some of the powder into your hand, then blend with a liquid to make a cleanser/mask/exfoliator that’s customized to meet your needs exactly.

Exfoliating powder review - Kaia

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads kit

What to blend it with: Kaia recommends moringa oil, a makeup-removing dry oil that’s rich in vitamin C, but the sample they provided goes cloudy and thick in my (cold, cold, cold) bathroom. They also suggest water, yogurt (for a mask), other oils, and green tea.

I liked it best paired with my go-to cleanser, though — a dollop of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, a tap of powder, and you’re off to the races.

Kaia Bamboo Tapioca Beads review

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads

Kaia Naturals review

The caveat: While I like the idea of this cleansing powder a lot, I still prefer an enzyme powder cleanser (like Tatcha’s) over a gritty one like this. But, as a physical exfoliator, this powder definitely isn’t too harsh for my sensitive skin, and is far less abrasive than all of the regular-line Clarisonic heads!

Kaia powdered face cleanser review

The verdict?

At $38, this cleansing powder is a little pricy — but it leaves my face feeling super soft. I love that Kaia has taken the usual approach to cleansing and broken it down into its component parts, allowing the consumer to decide how to use the product without needing to buy three separate versions of it.

If you’re really picky about things being just-so (or if you need an exfoliator/cleanser for your carry-on luggage), then definitely give this one a look. My recommendation? Go with the refill, not the kit — you’ll save $8 and all you miss out on is a spoon and a tiny-baby vial of oil.

Availability: $38 USD/CAD at Kaia Naturals and select Holt Renfrew locations.

Keep reading! »

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser – Foaming Wash review, photos | Currently hooked on…

Friday, March 13, 2015

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser Foaming Wash review

Okay, so you know how I took that trip to Toronto a couple of weeks ago? Well, like an idiot, I totally forgot to bring soap with me — I guess I figured my crazy-dry skin could handle bar soap for a couple of days or something. (WHY, Rae.)

Luckily for me, my welcome basket from Neutrogena just so happened to contain this little gem, which I’ve always passed over for its non-foaming creamy counterpart!

Neutrogena face body wash review

Turns out, Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser is ultra gentle — and the foaming version is AMAZING as a bodywash. It feels and smells super luxurious in the shower, but because it’s an enormous face wash from a drugstore brand, it’s not going to run you $20-30 like a lot of department-store body washes will.

Plus, it comes in totally cute, sensible packaging, and it foams up really easily. (I’ve always found that shower gels are too thick to really enjoy using unless you put them on a shower puff.) So the next time you’re at the drugstore and you feel like treating yourself to something: give this a go! 

I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Lise Watier Expression swatches, reviews, photos | Spring 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lise Watier Palette Expression eyeshadow packaging

The products: Lise Watier Expression collection (Spring 2015)

This year, Lise Watier’s spring collection has been crafted around the idea of “creativity, spontaneity, and individuality” — and so, for today’s review, I’m going to try something ever so slightly different and just kind of… chat about these products. (Let me know if you prefer this format drastically more or something!)

The must-have product

Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD Vert review swatch Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner Vert review

liked a lot of the pieces from this collection, but I loved the Lise Watier Féline Eyeliner HD in Vert ($20 CAD; new shade). I am obsessed with this product — if you buy nothing else from Lise Watier all year, make sure you get this eyeliner.

The Féline Eyeliner HD formula wears really well (which surprised me, based on how easily the black version smudges on your hand), and the long, stiff felt tip makes it easy to get a steady, insanely saturated line. Plus, that green!!

Lise Watier Vert Eyeliner Feline HD

Lise Watier Féline Eyeliner HD in Vert (swatch/wearing)

The nice-to-haves

As always, I was a big fan of the Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême eyeshadow; this time in Fairy Pink ($24 CAD; new shade). The Ombre Soufflé Suprême formula is very bouncy and wet, with a very high-shine finish — this one glows cotton-candy pink in the light, but wears as a sheer, peachy gold straight-on.

Lise Watier Fairy Pink review swatches ombre souffle supreme

Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Fairy Pink

Lise Watier Palette Expression eyeshadow review swatches

Lise Watier Palette Expression Eyeshadows

I also really liked the Lise Watier Palette Expression Eyeshadows ($42 CAD), a palette that you can see worn here with Fairy Pink, Vert, and the grey Expression pencil. It’s not of breathtaking quality (the matte, pastel peach and mint need to be layered quite a bit), but it’s still very pretty — and the shades work together beautifully.

If you really like mint green, I’d say pick up the Palette Expression. Matte mint greens are a dime a dozen, but they’re usually terrible — and this one isn’t. Like, yeah, you have to layer it some, but unlike most, it actually shows up (and sticks around)!

Lise Watier Expression Eyeshadow Palette swatches review

Lise Watier Palette Expression Eyeshadows swatched on lightly primed skin

Keep reading! »

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer & Organic Repair Lotion reviews, photos

Monday, March 9, 2015

Odylique Timeless Rose Repair Lotion moisturizer review

The products: Odylique by Essential Care Timeless Rose Moisturizer, Organic Repair Lotion, and Ultra Rich Balm

I have got to stop forming love-hate relationships with products.

Today, we’re covering a few products that I tried recently from a brand called Odylique, a relative unknown in the beauty blogging world. An all-natural and largely organic brand, Odylique is vegan-friendly and was created by its founder to help alleviate her own sensitive, eczema-prone skin.

» Odylique recommends that those with eczema moisturize sparingly but often, which is definitely life advice to take to heart!

Odylique natural skincare review

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer ($21 USD/0.51 fl oz)

Based around aloe, rose, coconut, and jojoba and enriched with rosehip and sea buckthorn extracts, the Odylique Timeless Rose moisturizer is quite thin but packs a serious moisturizing punch. I need to apply a lot for my dry skin and re-apply often (the avocado-based moisturizer would be better for dry skin), but once it’s on, it does a great job of making my dry patches disappear.

Best for slightly dry to combination-dehydrated skin types, I would recommend this cream as an affordable, all-natural alternative to those who are used to using fluid moisturizers — anything from the Olay or Neutrogena lines, for instance.

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer review

However (and this is a BIG however), this moisturizer started getting pretty funky after 2-3 weeks of use. My contact at Odylique said the batch should still be okay, though, so perhaps it has to do with contamination (air, bacteria, etc.) or the product freezing on its way over here, but I’m not sure. I plan on trying a different bottle of this soon, though, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer ingredients:

Aqua, Rose Flower Water, Jojoba Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Raw Fairtrade Shea Butter, Cold-Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil, Glycerin (non-plant palm origins), Cetearyl Alcohol, Seabuckthorn Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Briar Rose Fruit Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Rose Geranium Oil, Lactic Acid, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Geraniol, Eugenol (naturally occurring) (94% organic)

Odylique Repair Lotion review

Odylique Organic Repair Lotion ($23 USD/60 ml) and Ultra Rich Balm

The Odylique Organic Repair Lotion held up better than the Timeless Rose, but still separated quite badly — and it oxidizes around the opening, which (while not harmful) can look icky! I find that it doesn’t sink in quite as well as the Rose, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s still very good for the price.

I also tried the brand’s Superfruit Concentrate, which I wasn’t crazy about (I don’t like oils, remember?), and their Ultra Rich Balm, which really surprised me — it looks like it’s going to be really hard and waxy, but it actually melts quickly at skin temperature and turns into a thick, balmy oil. (This one would make a fantastic, all-natural cuticle balm!)

Odylique Organic Repair Lotion ingredients: 

Aqua, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chickweed Extract, Raw Fairtrade Shea Butter, Chamomile Flower Extract, Calendula Flower Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol (naturally occurring), Rosemary Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, St. John’s Wort Flower Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum (95% organic)

Odylique Ultra Rich Balm review

(Just a tiny-baby Ultra Rich Balm sample — this definitely isn’t the size you purchase!w)

The verdict?

While I did really love Odylique’s Timeless Rose Moisturizer (and I definitely want to try more from the brand), I’m not confident in the stability of Odylique’s fluid products. I like the idea of all-natural, but I’d rather use something I know is safe than use something all-natural that might be growing bacteria.

My recommendation? If you want a great fluid moisturizer but the L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream is too scented for you, try the Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer in the full-size form – it comes in a much more hygienic (and cost-effective) pump-style bottle.

Pass on anything by Odylique that comes in a squeeze-tube, and sample the Ultra Rich Balm if you love balms — this one is good (it’s way more hydrating than the Burt’s Bees one that everyone loves), but it definitely smells like a “natural” product!

Availability: $21-$48 USD at Odylique.com

Here’s what I mean by flecks and separation »

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