Sliquid H2O, Oceanics, Sassy, Swirl review: an intro to lube

    Sliquid review comparison

    All about lube

    Before I get started with a Sliquid lubricant review, I wanted to take a minute to talk about lube itself. As a sex blogger, a bottle of lube is like a tube of lip balm for me*, but not everyone uses it.

    The point of personal lubricants is to reduce friction and prevent tearing, which makes lube necessary for safer anal play (ideally something silicone-based) and advisable for use with silicone toys (ideally something water-based, as silicone lubricants can bond with and degrade silicone toys). They’re great for minimizing pain if you have vulvodynia, and they’re a handy aide for anyone who doesn’t produce a lot of their own natural lubrication.

    Needing or wanting to use lube during sex isn’t shameful, and it isn’t a sign that there’s something “wrong” with you. All bodies are different, and that’s okay!

    Body safe lube review

    Why Sliquid?

    I’ll tolerate a lot of “bad” ingredients in my makeup, but not in my lube. Because pink skin is so much thinner and more permeable than the skin that covers the rest of your body, anything you put on your genitals or in your mouth is going to absorb more quickly and at a higher rate than usual. (That’s why sublingual and suppository drugs work.)

    So, when it comes to my lube, I like to avoid parabens, petrochemicals, phenoxyethanol, and propylene glycol. I also avoid glycerin, which can convert into simple sugars in the vagina and cause yeast infections.

    Sliquid is my lube of choice because they’re a sex-positive company that formulates without any of these ingredients. They have clean, genderless packaging on all of their lubricants, and they’re widely available, making it easy to choose a body-safe lube every time.

    » Sliquid is available at all of my favourite sex toy retailers, including SheVibe, Come As You Are, and PinkCherry.

    Sliquid organics oceanics review comparison body safe lubricant

    Sliquid H2O vs Sassy vs Oceanics: which one is right for you?

    There are three main “plain” Sliquid water-based lubricants, and I’ve tried them all. (What? I’ve been planning this review for a long time.) My favourite of the bunch is Sliquid Organics Oceanics ($17.99 USD/$27 CAD/$22.99 CAD), which I find to be just a little more natural-feeling than Sliquid H20.

    Sliquid chart

    How these lube formulas compare in texture and feel

    Sliquid H2O personal lubricant review

    The lube that I typically purchase, however, is Sliquid H2O ($15.99 USD/$18.99 CAD). It’s the brand’s flagship product, and it’s usually a few dollars cheaper than the Organics. The difference between the two is practically imperceptible, so with the cost difference in mind, I’d recommend the H2O. (Unless, of course, organic is important to you!)

    Finally, Sliquid Sassy ($15.99 USD/$19.99 CADis the brand’s water-based lube designed for anal use, and it’s a little more plush than the other two. However, I find that the thicker texture makes it dry a little faster, so I’d actually opt for the silicone based/blended Silk, Silver, or Ride for anal play.

    Sliquid Swirl flavoured all natural lube review

    Fancy a flavoured lube? Try Sliquid Swirl

    One of the best things about Sliquid is that they make one heck of a flavoured lube. The flavoured Sliquid Swirl line (find it at SheVibe, CAYA, and PinkCherry) includes a wide range of subtle fruity flavours, each as tasty as the last.

    Sliquid Swirl lubes are glycerine-free and sweetened with a small amount of aspartame, so they never taste bitter. They’re almost identical in ingredients to the Sliquid H2O formula, but I’ve always felt like they dry out a little bit faster. My current partner doesn’t notice a difference between any of the different formulas, though, so perhaps it’s all in my head.

    I’m dying to try the new Swirl Tangerine Peach, but for now, my favourite Swirls are Green Apple (an excellent, lightly-flavoured sweet green apple taste that never gets old) and Pina Colada (a pineapple-y coconut that seems to fit just perfectly with group sex.)

    Sliquid Swirl flavoured lubricant review

    The verdict?

    Overall, I’m a big fan of Sliquid lubes. They’re the favourite brand of most sex bloggers, and their popularity makes them pretty easy to find. All Sliquid formulas are free of parabens and glycerine, so they’re body-safe, and the water-based formulas covered here are silicone-free and won’t stain your sheets.

    Of the bunch, my must-haves are Sliquid Organics Oceanics, H2O, and the Swirl Green Apple flavour!

    Availability: Sliquid can be found at SheVibe, Come As You ArePinkCherry, and most independent sex shops.

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    FaceOff Cloth review & comparison to microfibre cloths

    FaceOff Cloth review

    The product: FaceOff Cloth All-in-One Makeup Remover

    The trend of the moment may be silicone makeup sponges, but this week, I’ve been testing out microfibre face cloths. I have the FaceOff Cloth (“Your All-in-One Makeup Remover”), which is one of the more budget-friendly versions of this product: one cloth will run you $12.95 CAD.

    Faceoff all in one makeup remover cloth review

    How microfibre makeup removers work

    Just like in a regular cloth, each fibre in a microfibre cloth picks up particles of dirt, grime, and makeup, trapping them in the cloth. However, the fibres in microfibre cloths are, well, micro. They’re really bloody small, and the more fibers you have, the more surface area you’re working with – so the more thoroughly you can clean something in one swipe.

    These particles are then supposed to wash out easily with hot water, which relaxes the fibers slightly and un-traps the dirt. This is mostly true, but my cloth is definitely showing signs of staining.

    Swatches makeup remover before

    Swatches – before the cloth! They’re all long-wearing or waterproof products.

    How the FaceOff Cloth compares

    I tested the FaceOff cloth against two other cloths, all with the same products – a mix of eyeliners, lip liners, and lipsticks. My first cloth tested was just a regular cotton washcloth (Cl). It did the worst job of the bunch, barely removing any product at all.

    My second cloth was a microfibre with larger fibers (MF). I wanted to show the wide of variation between different cloths, so I went with a cheap cleaning microfibre. It did quite well, removing just as much makeup as the FaceOff Cloth, but with a little more friction needed.

    Finally, the last set of swatches was removed by the FaceOff Cloth (FO). It removed almost all of the makeup, with the least friction necessary. However, it wasn’t perfect; pigment stains were still left on my skin, and you can see in the photos how irritated my skin was afterwards.

    Microfiber makeup remvoer review after faceoff cloth

    Washcloth/microfibre/FaceOff Cloth

    My thoughts on the FaceOff Cloth

    The FaceOff Cloth worked a lot better than I expected it to, removing as much of my makeup as an oil-based makeup remover would. However, it’s still not something that I would purchase on my own – and for a very good reason.

    I have sensitive skin, and even though the FaceOff Cloth feels very soft to the touch, it’s way too aggressive for my skin. In order to remove my makeup with it, I have to wipe pretty firmly, and it leaves my skin feeling really raw each time. It’s the worst in my eye area, where my skin is left bright red and tender to the touch until the next day.

    This sensitivity makes sense, because a cloth can’t discern what’s makeup from what’s skin. Alongside all of the grime from the day, the FaceOff Cloth is removing all of my dead skin cells, and likely a few that aren’t quite ready to go yet, either.

    Microfiber makeup remover cloth review

    The verdict?

    As cool as removing my makeup with just a cloth is, I’m not a fan of the microfibre cleaning method. It’s even harsher on my skin than getting a chemical peel at a dermatologist’s office, and I shudder at the thought of doing that to my face every day. So, while the FaceOff Cloth does technically work, I wouldn’t recommend it. It would be way too easy to over-exfoliate your face with this cloth, which risks breaking down your skin’s natural lipid barrier and triggering the overproduction of sebum.

    If you must try a microfibre face cloth, I’d recommend looking them up on Amazon, where you can get the same quality of product for half the price. And hey – order yours in black to hide the staining.

    Availability: $12.95 CAD at FaceOff Cloth; on sale for $5 CAD at Showcase.


    Fitglow Beauty review: Vita-Active Foundation, Bliss Oil, Good Gloss, and Vita-Set Powder

    fitglow beauty vita active vf1 foundation

    The products: Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation in VF1, Vita-Set Powder, Good Gloss in Cherry, and Bliss Oil

    What happens when a Canadian fitness fanatic with rosacea decides to design an entire range of organic, cruelty-free products? Well… Fitglow Beauty happens, that’s what.

    fitglow beauty vita-active foundation review VF1

    How pretty is the Fitglow Vita-Active foundation packaging?

    Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation ($59 USD) and Vita-Set Powder ($69 USD)

    To start us off, here’s one product that I had high hopes for that totally delivered. The Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation ($59 USD) is, in a word, excellent. It reminds me a lot of my Make Up For Ever Water Blend foundation (VF1 is very close in shade to Make Up For Ever’s Y225), with its light coverage and comfortable finish. The results aren’t quite as seamless–Vita-Blend is more of a thin fluid and less of a wet gel–but I’d still be very comfortable recommending Vita-Active as a cruelty-free alternative to Water Blend. 

    VF1 is just slightly too dark and yellow for me, but it blends into the skin so seamlessly that it still looks natural. I’ve been wearing it almost daily since it arrived, and for a 95% organic formula, it’s extremely impressive. Heck, it’s so good that even if it was full of chemicals, I’d still be a fan.

    Fitglow vita-active foundation swatch vf1

    Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation in VF1 swatch: blended, unblended (indirect sunlight)

    Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation, Vita-Set Powder review, before and after

    Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation review / Vita-Set Powder added on right

    I do, however, take a bit of an issue with the brand’s matching Vita-Set Powder ($69 USD). It’s the only Fitglow Beauty product that I haven’t liked so far, and honestly, it makes me far more agitated than it should.

    It’s a good product, but it’s not a great one. I found the Vita-Set Powder to be very yellow and pigmented, and it visibly muddies up my fair complexion. You can see it in the before and after photos here; it makes my skin look darker and more yellow than the foundation alone.

    fitglow beauty vita set powder review

    But while we’re at it (I’m so sorry, Fitglow!), can we talk about that price tag??? I mean, it’s awesome that the Vita-Set formula touts glacial marine clay and niacinamide (my fave cosmetic ingredient), but that pricing is way out of line. This powder is TINY, and it’s not as finely-milled as it could be. This powder is gritty to the touch, and you can really feel the difference when you’re applying it.

    With a few tweaks (less pigment, more finely-milled ingredients, and an adjusted price tag), I think the Vita-Set Powder could be pretty great.

    fitglow beauty good gloss cherry review swatch

    Fitglow Beauty Good Gloss in Cherry ($26 USD)

    The Fitglow Beauty Good Gloss in Cherry ($26 USD) feels like a bit of a throwback to natural gloss formulas of days gone by. It’s extremely sheer, smooth, and shimmer-free, with a hydrating formula and zero tackiness.

    My lips have been really dry this winter, so I’ve been enjoying my Good Gloss. Its ingredient list is really refreshing (considering how much lipstick I undoubtedly eat in the course of the week), and I love that it adds moisture to the lips with jojoba oil, coconut oil, and shea butter. When I put this on, my lips actually feel more moisturized than they were, which is awesome.

    fitglow good gloss cherry swatch, vita set powder

    Fitglow Beauty Vita-Set Powder swatch (blended, then heavily), Fitglow Beauty Good Gloss in Cherry

    Fitglow Beauty Bliss Oil ($74 USD)

    I’ve saved the best for last, and folks… this is the best. The Fitglow Beauty Bliss Oil ($74 USD) is a beautiful, luxurious oil that’s scented with locally-harvested lavender. I can’t stand synthetic or highly-processed lavender fragrances, but this stuff is gorgeous.

    fitglow beauty glow oil review

    Fitglow Beauty Bliss Oil review. Oh, and me – hiiii!

    “Bliss” is the perfect name for this product, because my skin was a mess before I found it. Formulated with macadamia and avocado oils, Bliss Oil is the most nourishing oil I currently own. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated without feeling heavy, and it smells simply divine.

    (Did you want me to say “simply blissful?” Because I can, but you’ll have to ask very nicely for it.)

    Fitglow’s Bliss Oil pretty heavy-duty stuff, though, so I would recommend it primarily for those with ageing or dry skin. Check it out if you have skin struggles that are similar to my own – it’s very glowy and perfect for someone with eczema.

    Fitglow beauty review swatches

    The verdict?

    I love getting to check out small(er) Canadian beauty brands, and Fitglow is one that deserves all of the attention it’s been getting. It’s a cruelty-free brand that labels each product with easy to read symbols about each product’s “free of” list, vegan status, and percent organic ingredients, and the packaging for the entire range is really lovely.

    I would give the Fitglow Vita-Set Powder a pass, but I honestly loved the rest of these products. The oil and foundation are deserving of an almost cultish following, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from Fitglow in the coming year!

    Availability: Fitglow Beauty products can be found online at Fitglow Beauty, Rodale’s, and Ecodiva. All permanent products.


    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick review, swatches, photos

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Supreme lipstick review photos swatches

    The product: Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême (Rouge à Lèvres Intense) Lipstick – all shades

    This Spring, Lise Watier introduces an entirely new range of lipsticks: the Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême lipsticks.

    A far cry from the mattes, velvets, and liquid lipsticks that inundate the market today, the Rouge Intense Suprême range is the full-opacity sister of the sheer Rouge Fondant Suprêmes that won a 2016 ELLE Beauty Grand Prix award.

    Lise Watier Spring 2017 rouge intense supreme lipstick review photos swatches

    Lise Watier Arielle, Olivia, Kelly, Zoe, Suzan swatches review

    The promise: The Rouge Intense Suprême lipsticks promise “rich, intense colour in one swipe” with “incredible hold” and a “hydrating and nourishing” texture. I kinda love that these don’t guarantee X-hour wear, because let’s be honest: products never make it as long as they say they will.

    The Suprêmes are packaged in magnetic cases (which is pretty darn classy) and are infused with Lise Watier’s Labrador Tea extract.

    Lise Watier Kelly lipstick review photos swatches

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick review – Kelly

    Lise Watier Jasmine rouge intense supreme swatch

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick review – Jasmine

    The formula: You guys, I love this formula. I wanted to like the Rouge Fondant Suprêmes, but these — these practically hypnotize you into doing their bidding.

    The Rouge Intense Suprême lipsticks feel comforting and glossy, and they have a delicious fruity-tea scent that makes me smile every time. They’re intensely pigmented, and glossiness of the finish endures. Even two or three hours after I apply these, they feel comfortable and emollient, and I can rub my lips together without moving the colour or getting stuck on the finish.

    (Resentful? Who, me?)

    Lise Watier Kelly rouge intense supreme swatch

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick swatch – Kelly

    Lise Watier Jasmine lipstick review photos swatches

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick swatch – Jasmine

    I can comfortably wear these for a good 4+ hours, and the colour wears away evenly throughout the entire lip. At the end of four-ish hours, I need to reapply or add lip balm, but I don’t look like I’ve been eating grapes or living in the ’90s or something.

    The buttery formula doesn’t slip around, and it doesn’t catch on lip lines or dry patches. For someone who lives as an eternally-parched cactus, these lipsticks are simply perfect.

    Lise Watier Clara, Maya swatches review

    The shades: I was lucky enough to be sent all 15 of these new, permanent shades, and I gotta tell you… they are all pretty fab. First, there are the nudes: Clara, Maya, Charlize, Kim, and Daphne. I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of Kim, which is a little more metallic than the rest of the range but looks just gorgeous on.

    Lise Watier Charlize, Kim, Daphne swatches review

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick swatches, L-R: Clara, Maya, Charlize, Kim, and Daphne

    Then, there are the pinks. Arielle, Olivia, Kelly, Zoe, and Suzan range from a ballet pink (Arielle) to a blinding tomato-red (Suzan, which is definitely going to my Auntie Sue the next time I see her; her bright red lips were basically an icon of my childhood). Of the pinks, Zoe and Suzan are notable for being particularly opaque and creamy.

    Finally, there are the big, bold shades. Jade, Jasmine, Mary, Brooklyn, and Caroline are where the Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême lipsitcks really shine. If you’re looking for colour that’s literally opaque in one swipe and wears away with soft-focus berry stains instead of rings of colour, these are what you’re looking for.

    Lise Watier Arielle, Olivia swatches review photos

    Lise Watier Kelly, Zoe, Suzan swatches review photos

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick swatches, L-R:  Arielle, Olivia, Kelly, Zoe, and Suzan

    These bolds are so comfortable, and they’re quite flattering. Caroline is patchier than the rest, but overall, they perform very well. I went with Jasmine for my wear test, and it lasted without a single sign of wear right up until I had to eat dinner–which, admittedly, was only about a 3-hour span. (Am I the only one who exists in a constant state of “oh god, feed me, I am starving,” when I have a cold?)

    The last five shades I swatched (“the bolds”) pack such a punch of pigment that my arm was stained, I kid you not, for more than four days. They couldn’t be rubbed, scrubbed, or oil-cleansed away.

    All fifteen of these shades save for Jade, Suzan, and Caroline contain imperceptible microshimmer to give additional depth of colour.

    Lise Watier Jade, Jasmine, Mary swatches review photos

    Lise Watier Brooklyn Caroline swatches review photos

    Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipstick swatches, L-R: Jade, Jasmine, Mary, Brooklyn, and Caroline

    The verdict?

    For a mid-range lipstick, these are expensive at $27 CAD. But you know what? For once in my life, I’m recommending them with NO reservations.

    The Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême Lipsticks are excellent in every way. They’re very pigmented, they don’t shift around on the lips, they smell amazing, they’re hydrating… I could go on forever. These are the best example of a glossy, opaque lipstick that I’ve tried yet, and I’ve been wearing them daily since they arrived.

    Buy one. Hell, buy three. You won’t be disappointed.

    Availability: $27 CAD at Lise Watier (Can/US), Shopper’s Drug Mart, London Drugs, and more. Permanent as of Spring 2017.

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    Marcelle Velvet Gel Spring 2017 review, swatches, photos

    Marcelle Buff Nude, Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active foundation MOTD review photos

    Marcelle Buff Nude lipliner, Rosy Nude Velvet Gel Lipstick

    Also wearing: Fitglow Beauty Vita-Active Foundation in VF1, Marcelle Kohl Eyeliner in Mother of Pearl and Chocolate, Annabelle Supernova Mascara

    The products: Marcelle Velvet Gel Rouge Xpression Lipstick, Waterproof Lipliner, and Waterproof Eyeliner; Marcelle Kohl Eyeliner

    This spring is all about gel-textured mattes (hello, eyeliner revolution of 2006), and I’m feelin’ it. As much as I love how comfortable and wearable lipglosses and sheer lipsticks are, the occasional heavy matte is just gorgeous – enough so that I’ll make my lips put up with it a few times each month, comfort be damned.

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Rouge Xpression lipstick review photos swatches

    Marcelle Rouge Xpression Velvet Gel Lipsticks and Velvet Gel Lipliners ($11.95 CAD each)

    For me, the highlight of these launches is the new Marcelle Velvet Gel Rouge Xpression Lipsticks. They’re a five-piece collection with Karine Vanesse, and they rock.

    Marcelle (whom I love, but who tend to fudge their copy) promises that these lipsticks will deliver extreme colour, smooth glide, and an ultra-lightweight feel… none of which I particularly agree with. BUT I still think these (and their corresponding velvet gel lipliners) are pretty great!

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Rouge Xpression review photos swatches

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Rouge Xpression Lipstick review

    Marcelle Buff Nude, Rosy Nude lipstick swatch, review

    Marcelle Velvet Gel “Buff Nude” Lipliner + Velvet Gel “Rosy Nude” Rouge Xpression Lipstick swatch

    The Velvet Gel Rouge Xpression Lipstick formula has a matte finish and medium opacity that’s reminiscent of the Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Lipsticks that I reviewed recently. The formula feels heavy and comfortable, and with the liners underneath, the resulting lip is extremely matte.

    I feel like matte lipsticks reinvent themselves every 5 years, and this gel trend is just the newest iteration. First there were the powdery mattes, then the silicone-y ones; now, there are the sticky velvets. Like the Rouge Artists, the Marcelle Velvet Gel formula shows wear after only two hours, and it feels really comfortable–until your lips feel suddenly parched and tight, 8 hours later.

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Buff Nude swatch review

    Buff Nude + Rosy Nude lip

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Lipliner review photos swatches

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Waterproof Lipliner review + Universal Anti-Feathering Lip Liner ($9.95 CAD)

    My favourite shade of the Velvet Gels is Buff Nude – a gorgeous, putty-brown pink. The lipliners in this collection pack a lot of pigment while the lipsticks are medium-sheer, so for a natural-looking lipstick, I like Rosy Nude… and for lips that look big and plush, I like to layer my Buff Nude lipliner with the Rosy Nude lipstick.

    If you decide to dip into this collection (it’s a lot cheaper than buying a Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist + a lipliner, for sure), I would definitely recommend that combo!

    Marcelle Velvet Gel Lipliner, Rouge Xpression lipstick swatches, review

    Swatches, eyeliners, & more »