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    Duckish Lotion Stick, Body Butter, Bath Salts review, photos | DIY Pedicure Kit

    Duckish canadian pedicure kit review photos

    The product: Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit (customized) – Duckish Mint Bath Salts, Pink Grapefruit Body Butter, and Lavender Lotion Stick

    Okay, so I really wanted to feature Duckish as part of my Small Business Saturdays series, but things keep coming up on Friday nights and I really didn’t want to wait any longer. So we’ll call this one Small Business Mondays instead, I guess!

    Duckish is an all-natural Canadian beauty brand with just the absolute cutest packaging. (I want to own basically everything they make.) Their products are all cruelty-free, handmade, and free of icky things like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and silicones.

    Duckish mint bath salts review photos

    Mint Bath Salts ($9.99 CAD)

    I wanted to focus my review on Duckish’s body butter and lotion stick, because I’ve been dying to try them out for what feels like forever–but this kit includes bath salts and a pumice stone on a rock, too. The pumice stone is pretty standard fare, but the bath salts are more then just plain ‘ol rock salt.

    They’re a blend of Dead Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and Epsom salts, with sweet almond oil and organic coconut oil to add a bit of hydration to your bath or foot soak. Each scent comes with a unique blend of essential oils, too; the Mint one is made with eucalyptus and peppermint (two of my all-time favourite oils.)

    Duckish pink grapefruit body butter review

    Pink Grapefruit Body Butter ($11.99 CAD)

    Funnily enough, I was most excited for the Duckish Body Butter, but their lotion stick stole the show for me. The Body Butters, I think, are best for those with dry or weathered skin – not so much for Sahara-like dehydration.

    The Duckish Body Butter formula is definitely a classic one, with a thick, creamy formula that’s heavy on the shea, and honestly… I didn’t like it. It’s surprisingly creamy for an indie body butter, but non-“mainstream” (The Body Shop, L’Occitane, Bliss, etc.) butters just don’t seem to be hydrating enough for me – this one just kinda sits on my skin, leaving hands feeling both vaguely greasy and so dry that they’re itchy.

    Some people love these kinds of body butters, though, so just keep it in mind when ordering! Oh, and a warning for all my fellow crazy cat ladies: there’s just enough citrus oil in Pink Grapefruit to scare Tunakitten away from me when I’m using this, but not quite enough to make the olive oil in the formula palatable to my nose. :(

    Duckish lavender lotion stick review

    Lavender Mini Lotion Stick ($6.99 CAD)

    Duckish’s description for their lotion sticks is:

    “Lotion? In a stick? Is this real life? Yes, yes it is!”

    And you know what? They couldn’t have been more accurate with that statement. These lotion sticks are crazily good – the mini one is perfect for mess-free application on the go, and the formula is spot-on.

    I have really dehydrated skin, and the Duckish lotion stick definitely works better for me than their body butter. It melts immediately upon contact, basically turning into a light oil that absorbs immediately into the skin, and it feels so lovely – not greasy at all.
    Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit review

    The verdict?

    I love buying Canadian when I can, and Duckish makes that really easy. You’re not sacrificing packaging or price, and my only two reservations about the line are small ones: I’d have liked to see a bit more fragrance in their EO and a wider online availability, but both of these are things that will be remediated naturally, as the brand grows.

    If bought separately, the three Duckish products in this kit come out to $28.97, so buying the kit essentially gets you a free pumice stone. If I was re-ordering for myself, though, I’d take all $29.99 and put it toward a hoard of lotion sticks!!

    Availability: $29.99 CAD. Duckish just recently began shipping to the US in addition to Canada, so use code DUCKISHUSA to get $5 off all US orders over $20 until the end of the month.

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    NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Lip Cream swatches, review, photos

    NYX Transylvania review swatch photos

    The product: NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in 21 Transylvania 

    Man, it has been a LONG time since I reviewed any makeup! I feel like I just haven’t had the time or energy to wear any recently – my everyday face consists of tinted moisturizer (Rodial foundation and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm), a light brow (Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner, of course), and like, nothing else.

    Lather, rinse, repeat; day in and day out. So, a couple weeks ago, I decided to change things up a little.

    NYX TRansylvania soft matte lip cream review

    NYX Transylvania review photos swatches

    The formula: Alright, so I’m just gonna stick my head out there and say it: I don’t like the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream formula. I can see why other people like it, but I just don’t.

    It feels light and airy without too much transfer, which I like. And it smells like cupcake batter, which I also like because I’m not a monster. And it’s way more comfortable than a retro matte, so that’s nice too.

    But my lips are DRY, you see. They’re not just dry; they’re Alberta-dry. They have dry patches galore, all of which this lipstick catches on, and after half an hour, my lips get uncomfortable. So I fidget and press them together to compensate, and this lipstick (which never truly sets) heads for my lipline faster than an ex who can’t get away from you fast enough.

    NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Lip Cream swatch

    NYX Soft Lip Cream in Transylvania swatches – after 15 min

    The colour: In the tube, Transylvania is gorgeous. It’s this beautiful “matte deep violet” (description right from the NYX site), and it looks like it’s going to turn you into an instant Bad Grrl, with capitalization totally necessary.

    On my lips, though… Transylvania is yet another dark, moody red. And don’t get me wrong; it’s still totally gorgeous! But in everyone else’s swatches, it looks like it’s going to be this mind-blowing eggplant shade, and I just couldn’t get it there without plum or black liner underneath (which is totally cheating.) Even with three layers, it was just red, red, red on me.

    A sexy red that’s totally ’90s (Faith would have worn the hell out of this shade), but still. With my naturally red lips, this wasn’t purple on me at all. 

    NYX Transylvaia with lipliner

    NYX Transylvania overtop of nude lipliner (left) and eggplant liner (right)

    NYX dark violet matte lipstick review

    The verdict?

    I think that Transylvania looks killer on most humans, but my lips aren’t having any of it. The formula seems to only have medium opacity, so unfortunately, the colour of my reddish lips bled right through it.

    Would I buy a different Soft Matte Lip Cream, though? Well… Probably not. (Make Up For Ever does a way more comfortable soft matte). But I’d definitely try a shade like this one again; maybe in the NYX Full Throttle or Liquid Suede formula instead!

    Availability: $6 USD/$9 CAD at Nyx Cosmetics, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Rexall, and London Drugs.

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    CODE BLUE: The colour-coded skincare edit

    Colour coded skincare blue bright

    Have you ever noticed that beauty brands, at some point in time, all seem to have collectively decided that certain colours mean certain things? It’s like some overfunded marketing department went, “hey, you know what sounds like fun? Bringing in an unqualified psychologist to tell us the true meaning of life and colours sounds like fun!” And everyone else followed suit.

    It’s like that prison experiment: painting the walls pink made everyone calmer, but it wasn’t because pink is a gentle colour. (What was it said to be before the male to female changeover, again? Strong, bold, assertive?) The change just broke up the listless monotony of one identical day after the next, and even as a prisoner, it’s kinda nice when someone gives a crap about your environment. The same effects can be seen if you paint the walls red, yellow, fluorescent green…

    Okay, maybe not fluorescent green, but that’s only because it’s impossible to maintain a pleasant disposition when the walls are literally (figuratively) screaming at you while you sleep.

    Purple skin care for anti ageing hydration

    The thing about these arbitrary industry colours, though, is that despite all the hogwash, they’re pretty helpful little guiding tools.

    I like knowing that blue means cleansing, and that purple means anti-ageing, and that orange means that something is going to contain vitamin C and use the word “invigorating” or “energizing” at least twice on its packaging. It’s probably also going to smell like citrus, and I will surely try to taste it some point and no matter what, it’s going to be revolting.

    I like that kind of reliability. I mean, I never learn from that kind of reliability, taste-wise, but I like knowing that it’s there all the same.

    Funnily enough, this is a phenomenon that I think is strongest in mid-range and drugstore brands. Trendy high-end brands are too busy being coherent and classy, you know? Like, they are not going to break that aesthetic just so a consumer will immediately reach for their skintype’s “colour,” and they don’t need to – the sales associate is there to guide the consumer anyways.

    But for drugstore brands? This colour-coded nonsense can actually be pretty helpful, especially in a barrage of twenty other near-identical products. I think it’s kinda handy, like a weird life boat that nobody wanted but everybody is going to use anyways, because this ship is going down.

    So what about you? What’s your “colour” in the skincare aisle? 

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    Rodial Airbrush foundation & concealer review, swatches, photos | UPDATED 11/16/11

    Rodial Airbrush Make-up heavy duty foundation paste review

    The products: Rodial Airbrush Make-Up in 01 and Airbrush Concealer in 01 Aspen

    I know it’s only been a few days, but I feel like I haven’t blogged in ages. So today, I’m bringin’ the blog back with a couple of new products that I’ve been super smitten with this month!

    I get a lot of requests for silicone-free foundations (even though I’ve talked about my other two top recs, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer and Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup, at length), so for those of you still looking: these two new products from Rodial are definitely ones that I’d recommend.

    UPDATE 16/11/16: Please see the bottom of this post!

    Rodial Airbrush foundation paste review swatches

    Rodial Airbrush Make-Up Heavy-Duty Foundation Paste review

    The foundation 

    Rodial is a brand that focuses on sculpted faces, so I was a little surprised that it took them this long to come out with base products. After trying them, though, I can appreciate why: they’ve been done just right, and they were worth the wait.

    The Rodial Airbrush Make-Up Heavy Duty Foundation Paste ($45 USD/$50 CAD) is a gorgeous, old-timey foundation made in Italy. As described, it’s a paste, not a cream – it’s thick and a little grainy, but it applies beautifully.

    Rodial Airbrush Makeup 01, Aspen concealer swatches review photos

    Rodial Airbrush Make-Up in 01, Rodial Airbrush Concealer in Aspen 01 (indirect sunlight)

    The formula: Like other “classic” cream makeup products, the new Rodial Airbrush foundation is silicone-free, so it can feel a little heavy on the skin. I love the way it performs, though: it wears all day long, blends seamlessly into the skin, and has a very natural-looking dewy/satin finish.

    It reminds me of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, but despite its pastier texture, it catches less on fine lines when applied. Rodial’s Airbrush Make-up looks great even on my dry skin, and like the Kevyn Aucoin, it can double as a concealer or be mixed with an oil or makeup primer.

    Rodial Airbrush Makeup, Concealer before after review

    Rodial Airbrush foundation and concealer before (left) and after (right) – click to enlarge! 

    Rodial airbrush base review before after

    Rodial before & after (up close)

    The packaging: The Rodial foundation paste is packaged in a sharp-edged, matte black plastic jar, and it’s as lightweight as it is slick. I love the aesthetic behind this foundation’s packaging, but it does have one problem: the formula separates in hot temperatures, and unfortunately, its oils do leak out of the jar.

    Rodial Airbrush concealer aspen 01 swatches review

    Rodial Airbrush Concealer review

    The concealer 

    The Rodial Airbrush Concealer Industrial-Strength Camouflage Cream in 01 Aspen ($39 USD/$44 CAD) has an even shorter ingredients list than their new foundation does, and it comes in only two shades.

    The formula: The Airbrush Concealer is a product that I wasn’t very excited about, but having tried it, I really like it. It’s a super smooth concealer, both in texture and in finish, and it does an amazing job of colour-correcting and concealing my under eye circles.

    Rodial Airbrush makeup review application

    Rodial foundation & concealer application before blending

    Rodial 01 aspen foundation concealer swatches comparisons

    Comparison swatches L-R: theBalm Lighter Than Light, Cover FX G20, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Light, Rodial Airbrush Make-Up in 01, Rodial Airbrush Concealer in Aspen.

    I’m lucky enough that Aspen more or less matches my skintone, so I can use it around my nose and on blemishes as well. It has a soft, waxy texture, and it keeps my dark circles looking bright (and crease-free!) all day long.

    The formula is more lightweight than the Rodial Foundation Paste, which is a bit odd but is definitely worth keeping in mind if you’re trying to pick between the two.

    Rodial Airbrush concealer aspen 01 review

    The verdict?

    I really, really like both of these new base products from Rodial, but I’d love to see a wider shade range become available soon–there are virtually no shades available for non-white skintones right now.

    If you can find a shade to match your skintone, however, both of these products are really well-formulated. The concealer is a bit pricey (although it’s fabulous), but the foundation is a very reasonable price at $50 CAD/0.7 oz and will easily last through 1-2 years of daily use before running out.

    To compare these two to other popular high-coverage options: if you can find your shade, I’d buy these before Kevyn Aucoin SSE, Cover FX anything, Bobbi Brown concealers, or Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in a heartbeat. The shade range is embarrassingly small, but they just work better. Respectively, they’re unscented and look better on dry skin; they have better coverage; they’re better priced; and they have a more flawless finish.

    UPDATE 11/16/11: Unfortunately, I can no longer recommend the Rodial Airbrush Make-Up. I’ve been concerned about the integrity of this packaging since I received it, as oils from the foundation separate out and leak through the lid’s threads. As you may know, many ingredients can damage the integrity of plastics, and I believe that this is what has happened here. Today, I went to open this foundation, heard a “crunch,” and found out that the twist-portion of the jar had sheared off completely into the base. Because of this major packaging flaw, I will no longer be recommending the Rodial Airbrush Make-Up unless its packaging is fixed.

    Availability: Select Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, Murale, and online at Rodial (US and UK)!

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    Swan Squeeze Kiss rechargeable vibrator review, photos (BMS Factory “The Swan Kiss”)

    The Swan Kiss vibrator review

    The product: Swan (BMS Factory) Squeeze Control “The Swan Kiss” vibrator

    A little while ago, I posted a review of an absolute powerhouse of a vibrator: the Swan Wand.

    Today, I have another Swan toy to share with you, and I’m just as psyched about it–but for very different reasons. This little guy doesn’t have the girth, power, or battery life of the Swan Wand, and yet, I find myself reaching for it even more often.

    The Swan Squeeze review Kiss

    The features: The Swan Squeeze Kiss is a weird dude. It’s whale-shaped (well, if whales had segmented bodies) and squishy on the sides of its biggest segment, almost like a really firm balloon.

    It has all the basics that you want in a good sex toy (waterproof, submersible, rechargeable, 100% silicone), and has a solid run/charge cycle of 3 hours each. It’s also very quiet, which is excellent!

    The Swan Kiss vibrator review photos comparison

    Instead of clicking a button to increase the speed of the Swan Kiss or change its pattern, everything is squeeze-based. The harder you squeeze, the stronger the toy will vibrate. To lock in a speed, you click the button while squeezing; to set a pattern, you turn on “Mimic Mode” and squeeze to your heart’s content.

    In terms of strength of vibration, the Kiss is good, but it’s not great. It’s more powerful than my Leaf Life, but is less powerful than my We-Vibe Tango or Je Joue MiMi Soft (admittedly my two favourites). It sits in the middle ground for rumbliness as well; more rumbly than Lelo, but not quite rumbly enough for my tastes.

    Swan Squeeze kiss review packaging

    Swan Squeeze packaging – Teal (also available in a much less epic pink)

    What makes it special: What I really love about the Swan Kiss, though, isn’t its squeeze control–in fact, I’d prefer a remote. What I love about it is its shape.

    The Swan Kiss only has one motor in its middle segment, but the vibrations transmit well through silicone. It makes the little “whale tail” flicker as the vibrations gently touch a surface, stroking in a “come hither” motion if you arc from a low speed to a high one.

    So, um. That’s cool. Cool is one word for that. (Another appropriate one may be “hrrrrngh.”)

    The Swan Squeeze vibrator review - the swan kiss

    But EVEN COOLER than that is that the Swan Kiss can be used hands-free and internally thanks to its “100% play area.” Try it with the tail pointing downwards and the rest of the toy wedged easily between your thighs, or by using the balloon portion internally, with the rest of the toy resting on your vulva and clitoris.

    (Anatomically correct words! Know them. Love them. Embrace them.)

    As an internal toy, the Swan Kiss isn’t designed to be used other objects, but it stays in place very well for me. If it had more rumble or more power, it might just be my perfect vibrator. (As it is, it’s lovely, but not an all ’rounder for me!)

    Swan Squeeze Kiss rechargeable silicone vibrator review copy

    eeeeeeeeee!

    The verdict?

    Whereas the Swan Wand is something that I think would do well in any sex toy arsenal, the Swan Squeeze Kiss is more of a niche product. You have to specifically like hands-free toys to really get the most out of it, but for those who do, it’s an excellent choice – the best I’ve ever come across.

    It has a very respectable run time and is a great way to experience pleasure while your hands are doing other stuff. I’ll let your imaginations take it from there.

    Availability: $99 USD SRP/$79.99 USD at SheVibe.

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