The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer review, photos

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer review

The product: The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer for Dull, Tired, Grumpy Skin

Five years ago, finding a silicone-free moisturizer was tough. And, while it’s certainly not impossible anymore (thanks to the natural beauty movement, there are a whole ton more options nowadays), I find that a lot of the newer ‘cone-free brands are a little out of my budget.

Widely-available natural companies like Odacité or Pai make some awesome products (aside: I have a review of some Pai coming up!), but not everyone has $50+ to drop on a single bottle of moisturizer — or have the inclination to do so. So, here’s a silicone-free moisturizer from The Body Shop that clocks in at a nice $25 CAD.

TBS Vitamin C Moisturizer review

The formula: The texture and scent of the Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer are honestly just divine. It smells as bright, cheery, and citrusy as it looks, and it has a bouncy gel texture. The formula absorbs very quickly, and it feels almost watery when it touches the skin.

Despite the fact that this moisturizer didn’t have quite enough “oomph” for my skin, I tested it with my Hydraforce Hydration Detector and got more than decent results. Ten minutes after applying, my skin had gone up from 31% hydrated to 50% hydrated, and it outperformed all of the other moisturizers that I’ve tested so far. (Including, ironically, the Hydraforce ones!)

The Body Shop silicone free moisturizer review

Best for: Where the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer really excels, I find (other than in reminding you to eat your daily dose of vitamin C), is in acting as a little transporter vessel. It’s nice on its own, but it pairs really well with serums, whether it’s layered overtop of them or mixed in before applying.

I think it would be best for normal, dull, or dehydrated skin, but it’s a little heavy, and it’s definitely better for dehydration than dryness.

TBS Glow Vitamin C moisturizer review

The verdict?

From the friendly-luxe packaging (you know; really nice and well-made but not breakable) to the citrusy scent, this “glow boosting” moisturizer is a total winner. It’s a great product for dehydrated skin, and really easy to find, too!

It doesn’t make me super glowy, but unlike my favourite DHC and Marcelle silicone-free moisturizers, the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer is available outside of Canada/online. It’s also full of antioxidants, nice to use, and affordable, so if you want a ‘cone-free moisturizer that isn’t a hassle or an “investment piece,” definitely give this one a look.

Availability: $30 USD/$25 CAD. Permanent as of Summer 2015.

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BS Atelier Small G-Spot Ella & White Handcuffs review, photos | Small Business Saturdays (well, Sundays)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

BS Atelier leather wrist restraints review

The product: BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Blue (Small) & White Handcuffs

Today’s Small Business Saturdays feature showcases something other than a skincare brand! (Cue cheers, clapping, and a lone sobbing skincare fanatic.)

Uh, anyhow. Today’s feature brand is BS Atelier, a wonderful, sex-positive Spanish company with just the most beautiful, nostalgic, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic. They make both realistic toys as well as ones covered in stripes, rainbows, splatters, and even cow print, so there are lots of options on both sides of the spectrum!

BS Atelier review - packaging

Even the BS Atelier packaging is cooler than you.

BS is nice white leather handcuffs review

BS Atelier Handcuffs – White

BS Atelier Handcuffs (47.0 €)

BS Atelier focuses mostly on rope bondage, but I’ve loved their handcuffs for ages. Their leather cuffs are very simple and versatile, and no attention to detail is skimped on. They feature a loop-back closure for a custom fit, and the leather itself is pretty nice — it’s unfinished, so it pills a little at first, but it’s lightweight, flexible, and really comfortable. 

Mostly, though, I love that these cuffs don’t look like hard bondage gear. I love the hardcore BDSM aesthetic as much as the next queer girl, but personally, I just can’t pull it off! I thrive in a bedroom that can be giggled in, and I think it’s fantastic that the BS Atelier team is offering such a cheery alternative for those who are into bondage but not necessarily the whole hardcore vibe.

(And I mean, how gorgeous would these be as outerwear?? I love how they’re suggestive, but not so obvious that you’d be likely to make people uncomfortable.)

BS Atelier G-spot Ella small, leather handcuffs review

My one caveat: Before you buy, there’s one last thing to note: The double snap hook that attaches these cuffs together is absolutely terrible! It’s stiff and poorly-made, and I find that you have to pull down on the bar itself rather than on the sliding bit in order to get them open.

So, if you’re planning on clasping these together, plan accordingly. Otherwise, just make sure to care for these cuffs as you would any piece of leather (treat them kindly and keep them out of major wet works) and you should be good.

BS Atelier clasp

BS Atelier hardware – this is me pushing down on the clasp!!!

BS Atelier Ella Blue small review

BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Dildo in Blue – Small

BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Blue (70.0 €/on sale at SheVibe)

I was also lucky to be able to test the matching G-Spot Ella in Blue thanks to the lovely team at BS Atelier. (The small size is featured here; it’s available in S, M, and L at BS Atelier or just M through SheVibe). The striped Ella Blue print just as fun and uplifting as the white cuffs, and the two would make an absolutely charming gift together!

BS Atelier G-spot dildo review

BS Atelier G-Spot Ella Blue review

There are two tiny flaws in this dildo; a little circle next to the BS and a fine line in the red stripe. However, both are completely unnoticeable in use, and there is no seam anywhere on the product.

The Ella is hand-poured from 100% silicone and measures 5.5 inches (14 cm) tall. It’s 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide at the base and 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) wide at its narrowest. I know that some bloggers aren’t fans of the BS Atelier silicone, but I really like it — it’s soft but springy and has a slightly velvety finish, kind of like a bouncy ball.

The Small G-Spot Ella is too short for comfortable use in a strap-on, but it’s pleasantly squishy and holds its curve better than my Tantus or VixSkin toys. And, even though the curve is relatively unpronounced in the S, it feels absolutely mild-melting. I can only imagine how lovely it would be in the L.

» I would definitely recommend BS Atelier’s G-Spot Ella line, but I’d advise ordering the medium or large size instead!

BS Atelier handcuffs review white

The verdict?

The BS Atelier White Handcuffs are a touch pricy, but man, are they ever beautiful. They’re bright, lightweight, and comfortable, and would be a gorgeous accessory to pair with a summer dress… and take into the bedroom with you at the end of the day. That being said, I expected better quality hardware at $53 USD (ish), and I really hope to see these get even better in the future! (A vegan option, for instance, would be just amazing.)

The G-Spot Ella, on the other hand, is a total must-have. The soft, springy texture of BS Atelier’s silicone and the small head on the Ella work well to offer just blissful stimulation, and while the Ella doesn’t feel lifelike in the way that something like VixSkin does, I think BS Atelier might just do a g-spot curve even better!

Availability: 47.0 € for the cuffs; 70.0 €/$63 USD for the Ella. (Note: all BS Atelier toys are currently 15% off at SheVibe until Sunday night!)

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Le Sérum de Jacynthe oil review, photos | Les Soins de Jacynthe serum & trio

Friday, April 15, 2016

Le Serum de Jacynthe Soins du Visage review

The product: Les Soins de Jacynthe Le Sérum de Jacynthe (“Jacynthe’s Serum”)

I have been trying a lot of skincare products recently. Like… a lot. Enough that it’s honestly kind of frightening to see it all on my bathroom countertop.

More than half of what I test doesn’t even go up on theNotice, so when you guys do see skincare on the blog, it’s because I’ve found the products to be either something that I think people will be interested in, or something that I personally am really enjoying. This one is the latter.

Les Soins de Jacynthe review facial oil serum

The serum: Le Sérum de Jacynthe is a facial oil from a Canadian skincare brand founded by French-Canadian actress Jacynthe René. It’s all-natural and silicone-free, and features evening primrose, borage, sea buckthorn, and rose hip oils, along with vitamin E and essential oils of sandalwood, rose, and rosemary.

The Les Soins de Jacynthe site lists this serum as good for all skintypes except acne-prone. I’m not so sure about that, but my super-dry skin absolutely loves this stuff. It smells beautiful and rich, and its dark orange tone speaks volumes about the quality of rose hip seed oil that’s going into this stuff — it’s immensely hydrating. (Less hydrating than my PO+R and Paula’s Choice Resist oils, but more hydrating than all of my other serums).

 

Les Soins de Jacynthe review

Le Soins de Jacynthe floral water, cleansing oil, and serum

The Les Soins de Jacynthe range: I was sent Jacynthe’s Trio to test, which also includes the brand’s floral water and cleansing oil.

As much as I love this serum (and I really, really do), I think this range is overpriced for what it is. The labels are plain sticky paper and get dirty very easily, and a $21 bottle of floral water… I mean, the mister is lovely, but the rosewater itself smells vinegar-sour at first spray. It settles into something I can stomach only after the first few minutes, and honestly, I prefer the $2 rose water that I pick up from the “ethnic” aisle at the grocery store.

The cleansing oil, I think, has the best packaging of these three products, but I never really got behind the whole “soap-free natural oil cleansing” thing. I know it’s good for my face, but AT WHAT COST. I’m just not a fan of the heavy, oily feeling!

Le Serum de Jacynthe review

Le Sérum de Jacynthe Soins du Visage review

The verdict?

First and foremost, I would love to see the Les Soins de Jacynthe range switch over to non-absorbent labels. Their products are full of natural oils, and my serum bottle barely made it two weeks before it started to look super grotty.

That being said, the serum itself is fantastic. I think Jacynthe’s Trio can be passed on (that sour rosewater!), but Le Sérum de Jacynthe is full of high-quality ingredients and is great for super dry skin!

Availability: $49.35 CAD for 15 ml (pictured); $80.85 for the full size.

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Clarins Rose Praline, Pink Cherry Rouge Eclat swatches, review, photos

Monday, April 11, 2016

Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick review spring 2016

The products: Clarins Rouge Eclat Lipsticks in 26 Rose Praline and 24 Pink Cherry

It’s no secret that I love Clarins lipsticks, but up until this season’s new Rouge Eclat shades came and knocked it out of the park, I hadn’t found my shade yet. These little potatoes are part of the Instant Glow Spring 2016 makeup collection, and folks: they are divine.

So divine that they can even distract me for a fraction of a moment from how stressed-out and wild small cat has been this week (cry).

Clarins Pink Cherry Rouge Eclat review

The formula: Clarins’ Rouge Eclat lipstick formula is sort of the brand’s answer to balmy lipsticks. They’re not as pigmented as the Joli Rouge lineup, or as shiny as the Joli Rouge Sheers, and they’re actually my favourite of the three because of it!

The Rouge Eclat formula is buttery and smooth, but it is NOT a glossy sort of buttery — it’s more of an understated, “nothing” sort of lip, with a subtle shine that wears down almost to a matte finish. On my lips, it’s about as hydrating as a mediocre lip balm (aka not super hydrating, but also not drying.) The Rouge Eclat lipsticks, like Clarins’ other lip products, have a really uplifting, fruity scent that smells luxe and never gives me a headache.

Clarins Rose Praline Rouge Eclat swatch review

Clarins 26 Rose Praline Rouge Eclat lip swatch, indirect sunlight

Clarins Rose Praline swatch review makeup look

Wearing Rose Praline (and I have no idea what else, so I am desperately hoping that no one asks)

Clarins swatches Pink Cherry, Silver Plum, Rose Praline review

Swatched L-R: Clarins Ombre Iridescente in 07 Silver Plum; Rouge Eclat in Rose Praline and Pink Cherry

The shades: As I mentioned earlier, these two lipsticks are four of the new Clarins Rouge Eclat shades that were introduced this February. (The other two are 23 Hot Rose and 25 Pink Blossom, and all four are permanent!)

I thought Rose Praline was going to be too warm on me, but I’ve actually been wearing it almost every day this spring! It’s a great day-to-day shade that looks more refined than my natural lip colour, but is still quite subtle. (If you have trouble wearing nude lipsticks, give Rose Praline a try — it has the same visual effect, but doesn’t look as done-up.)

I haven’t gotten as much wear out of Pink Cherry because I’m a sad sack who never has fun with her lip colours, but it would be a fantastic shade for the spring and summer. I can just imagine it with some bronzer and eyeliner on a trip to the beach!

Clarins Rose Praline Rouge Eclat lipstick review

The verdict?

If you love Clarins lipsticks, you have to check out the new Rouge Eclat shades. They’re creamy, comfortable, and super easy to wear, and Rose Praline has quickly become my very favourite Clarins lipstick of them all!

Plus, I mean, you can’t beat that Clarins packaging and scent. These two always make me feel like I’m putting something super-indulgent on, no matter whether I’m headed to class or just hanging around in an old pair of sweats!

Availability: $28 USD/$28 CAD in department stores, pharmacies, and at Clarins.com. New permanent shades as of February 2016.

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Annabelle Big Show Lacquer review, swatches, photos

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer lipgloss review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Big Show Lacquer in Adore Simply, Caress Tenderly, Kiss Swiftly, Enchant Romantically, Love Fiercely, and Hypnotize Deeply

As I’m sure most of you know already, I am a huge fan of Annabelle Cosmetics. They’re Canadian, affordable, and cruelty-free, and all of their products pack an awesome punch of pigments–especially when you consider that most items are $10 or less.

One of the lines that I just haven’t been able to really get behind, however, is their Big Show range. I liked but didn’t love their Big Show Mascara (which is a HUGE fan favourite) and, later, their Big Show Lip Glosses. Similarly, it pains me to say that I liked these Big Show Lacquers, but… I didn’t love them.

Annabelle Big Show lacquer review

The formula: The Big Show Lacquer formula follows on a trend similar to that of the YSL Glossy Stains and Shu Uemura Laque Supremes: high-impact liquid lip colours that have the saturation of a lipstick, the finish of a lipgloss, and the lasting power of a lip stain. 

If I’m being honest, the Big Show Lacquers hit all three of these out of the park. They’re glossy and highly pigmented, and unlike the YSL and Shu Uemura gloss-stains, they’re opaque in just one swipe.

But, while other bloggers seem to just adore these, I’m on the fence about them. There aren’t any MLBB/”no makeup” shades in the range, and I find that once these start to wear away (within 1-2 hours), they become quite tacky and drying. And then there’s the smell: chemically fruity. They’re not any more drying than a Glossy Stain, but I’ve definitely noticed how actual-lacquer-y these can feel.

Annabelle Big Show lipgloss review photos swatches

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer applicator

Annabelle Adore Simply Caress Tenderly Kiss Sweetly swatches review

Annabelle Big Show Lacquers swatched L-R: Adore Simply, Caress Tenderly, Kiss Swiftly, Enchant Romantically, Love Fiercely, and Hypnotize Deeply

The shades: As I mentioned above, there aren’t any natural-looking shades in the Big Show Lacquer range. (I really want to try the Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers for this very reason; they look to have the exact same formula as these, but they’re unscented and come in only pink/peach/nude shades.)

That being said, if you love colour, then this is a great range to check out. The Big Show Lacquers currently come in six super-shimmery shades, including the particularly-shimmery nude Adore Simply, the orange Caress Tenderly, and two pinks. Kiss Swiftly is more of a milky fuchsia, while Enchant Romantically is a darker, warmer pink with blue reflects.

I’d love to see a purple in this range (it’s the perfect formula for it!) but for now, lovers of darker lip colours can opt for Love Fiercely, a metallic, warm brick red, and Hypnotize Deeply, a purplish berry.

Annabelle cosmetics Big Show Lacquer lipgloss review

The verdict?

The Big Show Lacquers are huge in the blogosphere right now, but I’m just… not a fan. The synthetic fruity scent gives me a headache, and ALL of these shades are punchy and shimmery, which just isn’t my thing.

I also noted a distinct “lacquer” feeling when I wore these (almost like there was a film over my lips), but I have to admit: they definitely make good on their promises of gloss, pigment, and endurance, and they apply with glorious opacity and evenness. When my lips are in better condition, I might pick up a Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer to see if I’ll like the formula any more without the shimmer and scent, but I think this is about it for the Big Show Lacquers and I!

Availability: $9.95 CAD at Annabelle.com (US & Canadian shipping) and in-store at drugstores and mass retailers across Canada. Permanent as of January 2016.

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Dry skin must-haves & my April at-home spa essentials!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Silicone-free dry skin favourites

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should, because sometimes I meet puppies and take pictures of them), then you’ve probably missed these two product roundups. If you do, then a) thank you, and b) you’ll recognize the images. Don’t click away just yet, though, because there’s a lot more detail here!

Above, I have everything that I’m keeping sink-side right now.* For my dry, dehydrated skin, these have proven to be the best of the best so far. 

  • For super dry skin, I can’t speak highly enough about the DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster. The DHC is so creamy and hydrating, and the Paula’s Choice will get rid of any dry spots you have! I’m also really loving Le Sérum de Jacynthe (review soon), which I think is a bit pricy but is an excellent “green” option.
  • For sensitive skin, Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solution is just fantastic. It’s scented, but I was surprised to find that it’s also incredibly gentle — noticeably more gentle than the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Solution or the Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water.
  • For dehydrated skin, the Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser makes a huge difference for my skin. It doesn’t look very glamorous, but it’s creamy and luxurious, and leaves my skin feeling divine. My MIYU Beauty Essences are something that I can’t live without, too — I’ve now gone through four bottles, if you include the minis!

I’m also a big fan of the Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30, which is relatively heavy, but my skin really likes. It’s not breathtakingly creamy or smooth or anything in particular, but it is affordable, comfortable, and silicone-free, and I think those are three pretty important things.

(Plus, it feels way better than a physical sunscreen, so there’s that.)

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

I also posted about a little at-home spa day that I had on Sunday, which I wanted to update you guys on! It was my first time using a peel-off mask (so, so weird and cool) and the first time in a little while that I had taken the time to pamper myself with my Ahava goodies.

My skin has been so out of whack recently, and the half-hour it took me to mask and exfoliate before my shower really balanced things out. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask tightened up my t-zone, and the Kérastase hair mask/exfoliator left my hair feeling super soft. (I could have still used more scalp exfoliation, though.)

But what I loooooved using again was this Ahava trio. I received them for a post & giveaway last year, but they’ve become some of my carefully-rationed favourites. My legs haven’t been this smooth in years (thank you, Liquid Dead Sea Salt), skin feels so soft, and my sheets now smell amazing.

But yeah; that’s what I’ve been up to! I also petted a dozen dogs on Sunday (VERY IMPORTANT) and took the rest of the weekend to let my body rest, and it’s been great.

What’s been keeping you busy (or not so busy) recently?

*Note: I’ve drifted away from the Jurlique and Tatcha since taking this photo. They’re both still great, but I’m just really into the Paula’s Choice cleanser right now!

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