Posts Tagged review
[This post contains press samples] Ever since I tried Lina Hanson’s delectable Global Body Oil, I’ve been quietly lusting after heavenly-scented oil mixes for the body. Though I deem them more a luxury than a necessity when it comes to skincare (due to their price…and if you apply these as you would any other body product, they can disappear quickly!), I’ve come to have a small yet satisfying array of body oils that I use when the mood is right (date night, an evening pamper session, to boost my mood after a long day, just because I CAN). The most recent addition to my collection is organic wunderbrand Kypris’ newest product, Body Elixir: Inflorescence ($95US).
Kypris is a relatively new brand (created by Chase Polan in 2012) that offers holistic, high performance skincare that is both organic and wild-crafted. Believing sustainability is both an environmental and social imperative, the line uses sustainably grown botanicals and all formulations are 100% natural and nature-derived. Though I don’t believe ‘all “chemicals” are bad‘ and I do use a few non-organic skincare products, if I’m going to go ‘green,’ I want my brand to be up front and transparent about just how eco-concious they are, so I appreciate Kypris’ philosophy. In a previous post I wrote a brief review on the brand’s Moonlight Catalyst serum, which is absolutely lovely. Expectations high, I was eager to try out the body elixir.
Thoughtfully created, Inflorescence is not just your basic body oil; containing moringa, tamanu, sunflower and prickly pear oils, it soothes and protects dry skin while also touting antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Tamanu oil in particular has been noted to be effective at treating eczema, so you know I’m on board! Not only does this elixir contain a host of nourishing oils, it also contains sweet iris leaf stem cells and vitamin C ester, included for their ability to target and repair the visible effects of sun and environmental damage and encourage the production of collagen.
Ok, so basically we have a superstar body product on our hands, yes? But there’s something we haven’t yet discussed: the scent. I’m all about amazing ingredients, but no matter how good the formulation, I won’t bother using something that doesn’t please my delicate nose (re: woefully uncultured nose, but I like what I like!). May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff might be a gorgeously crafted body oil, but MAN I am not down with that obnoxiously cocoa scent. Nope, not for me. And I’ll admit, when I saw that Inflorescence boasts organic neroli flower and sweet orange essential oils, used for their uplifting and energizing qualities (not to mention their lack of photo-toxicity nor evidence of irritation), I was pretty leery – some iterations of orange blossom does NOT float my boat, as it can shift into floral overload quite quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Inflorescence does not offend my olfactory palette; the scent is light, soft, and a touch romantic, and it brings out the better qualities of orange blossom (and neroli…coincidentally, one of my long-standing fragrance lemmings has been Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, it’s top notes being both neroli and orange blossom!…and now it’s definitely time to buy that fragrance already ;)). Oh, and if you’re curious – the zero irritation bit so far has rang true for me and my touchy skin, hurrah!
The cherry on top of this wonderfully created cake is that this oil is so, so light – though it hydrates my skin beautifully, it’s not greasy in the least, making it perfect for rushed mornings or pre-bed routines where you don’t want to feel sticky once you slip under the sheets. It’s easily the lightest oil I’ve tried, and a little goes a long way (which you appreciate when spending this amount on a product!).
I’m sure you’re unsurprised to hear that Inflorescence’ pretty, lace-adorned green bottle has joined the ranks of my small (yet fabulous) body oil collection. It was kind of a no-brainer! With a second homerun product for me, you can bet your ass I’ll be trying more products from the brand (I’ve got my eye on the Beauty Elixir III and the Antioxidant Dew next).
Check out the whole line at www.kyprisbeauty.com.
Wow, some days I’m just so amazed at how out of touch you become when you’re a new mom (or maybe this doesn’t go away…? O_o). I thought for SURE I’d already posted about this palette, but NOPE. My bad, guys. Soooo…I should probably do that now, eh? Considering these palettes ($56CAD) appear to be no longer available online at Sephora. Oops. The good news: The shades in both this palette and the other palette promoted for the “Be Bold. Be Unexpected. Be You.” campaign are not limited edition and are available for individual purchase. So, not all is lost!
Since I’m way late to this party, I’m not going to go into great detail about the campaign since a) it wrapped up August 26th, and b) I’m sure you’ve read/heard all about it already*. But the eyeshadow shades themselves deserve a mention because they’re rather lovely!
*If you somehow missed the hubbub surrounding this campaign, it’s intention was to promote individuality and authenticity, celebrate the freedom of self-expression and encourage us all to redefine what beauty truly means. The faces of the campaign – Jamie Chung, an actress and fashion blogger; and transgender fashion model Andreja Pejić – both curated a palette of four eyeshadows that they would use to create their signature look. Hollywood makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis – who is also Make Up For Ever’s Pro Consulting Artist – created four unique looks each for Chung & Pejić, from the wearable to the avant-garde, to bring the brand’s transformative nature to life and inspire everyone to express who they are.
I chose the Jamie Chung palette because I felt like it had shades that weren’t strongly represented in my existing collection (though after seeing Tracy’s post I feel a bit of regret, as those shades look MAGNIFICENT). They’re more neutral-to-cool in tone, and they have a really chic, sophisticated vibe:
Each of the four shadows (which are full size, BTW) are smooth and super creamy-feeling (due to their gel-powder formula), and the color payoff is excellent. The palest shade, M532, packs a lot of pigment, so it looks a bit garish against my darker skin, but the formula is top-notch. S642 is kind of a nude tone on my skin, but due to it’s satin finish it’s eye brightening on me in a subtle kind of way. I own maybe only one other gunmetal shade, so ME108 was a welcome edition to my collection – I feel like it will make for a great cool weather smoky eye (and greyish tones make my brown eyes pop).
Finally, I had a hunch that D320 was going to be the spitting image of another MUFE shadow I own, I628 Reptile from the Fifty Shades of Grey palette, and I wasn’t far off. D320 is more shimmery (given that it’s has a Diamond finish vs I628’s Iridescent finish), and warmer, but for all intents and purposes they’re quite similar.
Below, I’m wearing just S642 Sahara on my eyes just past the crease. Buuuut you guys probably can’t really see it haha, so these pics aren’t terribly useful, except to point out how closely it matches my skintone. I’m quite happy with that actually, I don’t have anything like it and all too often ‘skintone’ shades others use for a base color are far too light on me, so this is great. It’s also an awesome no makeup-makeup product, eh??
In these next shots, I’m wearing S642 as my base, and then I used an eyeliner brush to sweep a thick line of ME108 Steel across my upper lash line, which I buffed out a bit to diffuse the color. I used another MUFE shadow on my lower lash line, ME612 Silver Brown, just for contrast. It’s a pretty subtle look but I liked the effect and LOVED that it took me all of 2 minutes to do.
So far, every single MUFE shadow that’s crossed my path has been crazy wearable with a gorgeous texture that almost looks like a second skin when applied (like you naturally woke up with shimmering grey lids…oh YEA, baby), and these are no exception. I plan on trying out several different looks with these shades when the weather cools, as I feel like the color combination is better suited for fall/winter than summer (though S642 will be a go-to for me all year round!). Just one more reason to look forward to fall (sorry guys…I know you love your summer & sunshine, but bring on the season change!)!
The best kind of coincidence happened to me back at the end of June. I was browsing the cosmetics aisles of Walmart – something I can’t help but do in every store that has a cosmetics section, regardless of my original shopping intentions – and I came across a brand I hadn’t seen before, c.Booth. I was in the market for a new body wash and the simple, botanically-based ingredients were appealing, but I was short on time (aka pushing my luck with Elena’s good nature) to choose a formulation, so I left empty-handed.
Flash-forward to the next day. I receive an email from a new PR contact looking to work with me, who represented none other than c.Booth! I eagerly responded and in a couple weeks received a HUMONGOUS box filled with almost every product offered by the brand. It was easily the most excited I’ve ever been to receive press samples – you should have seen the glee with which I opened that box! It was a good day lol.
Came home from my 1st #postpregnancy #run, sweaty but feeling amazing, to find nearly the entire c.Booth bath & body line on my doorstep – perfect timing! SO excited to try this botanical, apothecary-inspired line (now sold in Canada at Walmart). #bathtime #showertime #skincare #bodycare #bblogger #beautyblogger #postpartum
c.Booth is part of the Freeman Beauty Labs family, offers a sizeable range of bath and body products including body washes, scrubs, lotions, oils and body butters. It’s newly available in Canadian Walmarts since June, with all products $10 or less. You can’t beat that!
There are 4 body butters (Honey Almond, Egyptian Argan, Italian Olive and Shea Blossom – all $6.99CAD); 3 body lotions (1 firming – Honey Almond, which retails for $6.99CAD – and Lemon Sugar and Coconut Fig, both 4-in-1’s that hydrate, exfoliate, nourish & firm, for $9.99CAD), a bath & body oil ($9.99CAD), an in-bath conditioner (Blackberry scent, $8.99CAD), 3 body washes (Clean Vanilla Bean, which retails for $6.99CAD, and Honey Almond and Rosemary Mint – both which retail for $5.99CAD), and 2 body scrubs (a sea salt-based scrub for $6.99CAD and a walnut shell scrub for $5.99CAD). I received all of these products with the exception of the Coconut Fig Body Lotion – insane, right!??!
It’s taken me quite some time to try all of these products (no surprise there!), and there are still some I haven’t – namely the Honey Almond Body Butter and the Blackberry In-Bath Body Conditioner, as they contained fragrance quite high on the ingredient list which as you know I avoid. But I’ve methodically tried the others, and my overall thoughts are quite good. My particular favourites are the 4-in-1 Multi-Action Lemon Sugar Body Lotion, which smells heavenly and which makes my skin feel oh-so-soft and smooth; and the Walnut Shell Body Scrub & Cleanser, which – if used on dry skin before a bath or shower – is just the right amount of scrubbiness that smoothes and refines without irritating my sensitive skin. And it smells quite tasty – a bit sweet and a bit nutty. I do find that the exfoliating powers are minimized if used on wet skin, which is a bit of a hassle, however (as I often forget to use it dry first before turning on the shower).
I’ve been using the Original Bath & Body Oil when I have a long soak in the bath at the end of the day (that and a glass of wine, oh YEA, baby!), and it’s great because it coats the skin and I can skip apply moisturizer afterward, which saves time when I just want to crash. It contains wheat germ oil though, which is comedogenic, and I find if I use this a few nights in a row it caused some small breakouts here and there on my body, so bear that in mind.
The All Over Body Sea Salt Scrub is a strange beast. It contains a lot of glycerin, which you really notice in it’s texture – it’s SUPER slick-feeling – and the sea salt doesn’t feel like sea salt somehow…it’s kind of rounded? It also seems like the eucalyptus oil might be kind of strong and I worried about how my skin would react to it – so I actually use this as a foot scrub, and it’s PERFECT for that purpose. The eucalyptus oil perks up my tired feet and they feel incredibly soft, smooth and hydrated afterward.
Truth be told, I haven’t been using the Body Butters too often as it’s so hot and humid that they feel a bit heavy on the skin this time of year. But they have a lovely smooth texture and the scents are nice and inoffensive, so I am certain I’ll be getting good use out of these once the weather cools. The Honey Almond and Clean Vanilla Bean Body Washes also smell kind of cool-weather-y to me, too, so those will be pulled out then as well. I just realized that I haven’t tried the Triple Action Rosemary Mint Bath, Shower & Hair Wash yet, and that would probably be perfect right now to refresh and stimulate the skin and scalp, so I’ll be trying that soon!
All of c.Booth’s products are free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and petrolatum. While these aren’t all-natural, they do contain less complicated ingredients than some of the other body care offerings, and I really appreciate economical pricing. Easy access on top of that makes these a great alternative for anyone looking for cleaner, affordable body care options!
Have you seen and/or tried c.Booth products yet?
Summa, summa, summa’time! How’s everyone’s summer going? It’s been kind of great for me, we had awesome weather for most of June, July was not bad – we had a long stretch of rain for a couple weeks which sucked (especially with a little one who loves the outdoors and needs constant stimulation!), and now August has been pretty grand, though it’s been hella hot here the past week. Today I took Elena on the ferry which was a nice way to enjoy the sun and keep cool…she seemed to dig it ;) I try and do water-related things with her most days as she was a fish in another life I swear! I *just* signed us up for parent & tot swimming lessons starting in September – should be fun!
Today I have half of the OPI Infinite Shine summer collection – honestly, I feel like all I do lately is swatch nail polish, which is my own fault as I have to request the samples when they’re available… Anyway, I quite liked a lot of these shades so I ended up wearing them for a few days each, instead of swatching them all at once, which means I’ve only gotten through the first handful (I also have the Infinite Shine 2015 Soft Shades to show you, of which I’m 2/3rd’s through – so I’ve actually done about 10 swatches total). I should probably quit wasting time and get to it, eh? All swatches are without top coat, FYI.
Lavendurable is a super-pretty pale lilac creme that looks awesome with a tan. I’m actually a fan of wearing pastels at the height of summer, and wearing brights more toward the tail-end of spring/beginning of summer when I need to fake the illusion of sunkissed skin (yes, I know I’m always brown lol…but sometimes I’m a watered down milk chocolate and I need a little oomph, OK?). The tricky thing with pastels is that the white base can be streaky if you’re not careful in your application – I had to use a steady, quick hand and apply 3 medium-thick coats as it tended to get patchy otherwise. I don’t mind if a polish is finnicky though if it’s this lovely!
You couldn’t see the differences in the first shot so I took a second at a different angle…you can see that Zoya Marley is a bit deeper in tone. Marley is a much-loved polish, but I think Lavendurable has it beat – I really love the way it’s both pale and bright! A bit less demure than Marley, shall we say.
Patience Pays Off is another great pale shade, this time in a sort of soft pinky-clay hue that again looks awesome with a tan. As with Lavendurable, it required 3 quick coats but the finished product was totally worth it.
I didn’t have a comparable shade to Patience – everything else was too beige or too light to be considered a contender.
You’re Blushing Again is a bit deeper in tone, but this creamy pale peachy-pink is another stunner in my opinion. I think it’s really feminine and looks great with my skintone. Yet again, it required 3 coats to avoid patchiness, and yet again I don’t care! It has pretty great shine on it’s own too, eh?
The only remotely similar hue I could find was Essie Muchi Muchi, and it’s not even close. This is a really unique shade as it’s not peach and its not pink – I’m loving it!
Follow Your Bliss is kind of a pepto-pink shade that isn’t normally something I gravitate toward, yet I love the look of it in this swatch. It’s very girly, eh? This is 2 coats, but its still got a fair bit of white in it so I had to be careful when applying and I used thicker coats to avoid streaks/patchiness. The shine on this one was really something!
This shade also didn’t have an equal in my stash, though Suzi Shops is close, just several shades lighter. I though Oh Slap! would be very similar but it’s not so vividly pink – I prefer the latter, as it’s more wearable, but man, every time I look at the swatch above I waver – it’s so fabulously in-your-face-PINK!
The Sun Never Sets is an orange cream-sicle kind of shade…the shine was killer on this one (it seems to be a bit of a jelly/creme hybrid?), but these yellow-based oranges clash hard with my skintone. The first coat was very patchy, but it leveled out well with a thicker second coat.
This one was tricky to show shade differences – Is Mai Tai Crooked? looks quite similar in the first shot, but in the second you can see it’s even more yellow-toned and a hair lighter. Resort Fling is much more peach in comparison (and hence why I like it a lot more…has less yellow and more pink).
I swatched Purpletual Emotion on my right hand because I NEVER use my right hand for swatches and I just felt like it for once (plus, it meant I could do two swatches in quick succession lol). My right middle nail isn’t as nice as it is on my left hand (since I’m a righty), but my nails were super-long for these swatches so you can’t tell as much. This shade is a creme/jelly hybrid that was a cinch to apply – two easy flowing coats – and has shine for days! I’m not generally a fan of bold purple polishes, but the shine on this one and the intensity is kind of getting to me….I might have to keep this one!
I thought for SURE that this shade was super-similar to Dutch’ya Love OPI?, but it’s not in the least! The latter is way darker (and that’s not even taking into account the shimmer). The other 3 shades are also nowhere near in tone – they’re all much cooler. Every single one of these purples I’ve passed along, but I might actually hang on to Purpletual…as long as I never have to say the name again (tongue-twister!).
I was pleasantly surprised with this half of the summer collection, many of the OPI polishes I’ve received have been lacklustre for me, but I really liked almost all of these! I will say that though the shine on a lot of the Infinite Shine polishes is pretty good, I find a lot of them have application issues (patchiness mostly) which is a bummer. I’m applying them on the Infinite Shine base coat too so it’s not that. In any case, while I don’t like to mess around with polish too much I really didn’t mind much with these as they were so darn pretty. That’s saying something!
Have you tried the new(ish) Infinite Shine polishes? Will you tough it out for a shade you love, if the formula is subpar?
We’re almost done with these posts folks, I promise; there’s only one more after this (and I’m hoping to make it really extra special!). Today we’re looking at the base products I’ve accumulated over the past few months, plus a blush I picked up because, ya know: PRETTY.
Probably my favourite acquisition out of the bunch is MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Tan ($37CAD). I am SURE I’ve tried this stuff before, but I don’t remember liking it so much! Even though I’m all about that #dewyskinlife, I kept seeing how lovely this looked on Karen and thinking I should really give it another shot. Guys, if you haven’t tried this, this ain’t your regular flat matte powder! Especially on top of well-moisturized skin, this powder makes my skin GLOW without heading into greaseball territory, which you know can be difficult to achieve with oilier skin (like mine). What I especially appreciate is that I can actually layer skincare products (serum & sunscreen in the summer) as well as use a primer if I’m so inclined (see next item) prior to using this, and my skin doesn’t feel sticky with product and my base doesn’t slide off in the warmer weather – which always happens when I use a liquid foundation over more than say, one other product. Applied with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush I purchased, I don’t get that matte, dull look from this either – it really doesn’t look like powder, just like my skin is naturally great and healthy-looking. I think I’ve found my HG summer foundation!
Wearing the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish on top of the Laura Mercier primer, along with MAC’s Peony Petal blush and the MAC Orange Corrector/Maybelline Neutralizer combo under eyes – and the Lancome lippie of course!
In keeping with my constant quest for glowing skin, I picked up a travel size of Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance ($25CAD) shortly after Elena was born (I think it was our first trip to the mall together lol) because I desperately needed something to give my clearly overtired face a boost. Described as a ‘lightweight, water-based gel’ (except it contains castor seed and jojoba seed oil??? Calling it water-based implies it’s oil-free, but it’s not…sort of misleading, eh?), it’s supposed to ‘provide a sheer, healthy glow to skin while prepping skin for makeup’. The shade is fairly neutral, not warm nor cool, and ‘blurs imperfections and improves makeup wear’. So ok. This kind of product I normally wouldn’t go for because to me it’s just asking for trouble (aka shine) when you use a non-mattifying primer on oilier skin like mine. But in my baby-adled brain it made sense at the time, and happily it hasn’t been a decision I regret. It just requires me to use it in a certain way. I started off using this by combining it with my liquid foundation for that all-over-glow, but it’s a bit much and ends up making me look – not greasy, exactly, but sort of unkempt somehow? I dunno, all I know is that by the end of the day I’m like ‘Yikes, Latoya!’ However, if I use it strategically before foundation on my cheekbones, down the centre of my nose, and over and under my brow bones (AKA – step one of STROBING [so funny how highlighting has a ‘technical’ name now]), it gives a lovely ethereal look to the skin – a bit more subtle than straight highlight. Interestingly, I’ve read reviews that say this is really sparkly; as a person who doesn’t much care for sparkle on the face except for on eyes, I haven’t actually found that to be the case, so not sure what’s the deal there.
Anyway, I do like this, but I’m glad I just have the travel size, as I’d like to try the CoverFX Illuminating Primer next.
When Elena was still in the hospital, I put in an online order for MAC because, well, essentially I think I was losing my mind in there and needed something to boost me up lol. I got it in my head that I *needed* a purplish blush, but they’re quite hard to find (this was before Urban Decay released their new blushes – I’m still curious about Bittersweet). MAC Satin Blush in Peony Petal ($26CAD) looked like the closest I was gonna get to a purple-hued blush – it’s actually a bright blue pink, but it’s super-cool tones appealed to me – so into the online cart it went.
This was also a purchase I didn’t regret – more and more I find cool-toned makeup quite flattering on me, and this is no exception. In the winter months it gave me a beautiful chilly flush, and now in the summer it adds a very subtle hint of color that is hard to overdo (which is good as I am still more heavy-handed with blush than is probably good). Loving it!
Also in that order, I picked up MAC Studio Finish Skin Corrector in Orange ($15.50CAD) because I was desperate to find something to help with my dark circles, which were looking even worse than normal. This product is INTENSE guys, and you should NOT apply it straight from the pan and think your problems will be solved (no hate, but I watched this tutorial and it was what made me think I needed this concealer…I dunno how she made it work, but it is NOT that easy). I tried it and promptly put it to the back of my makeup drawer, thinking I just wasted $16.
However, I got reinvigorated to try it this week while writing this post, and I found some better advice that suggested mixing this with a yellow-toned concealer to create a ‘corrector’ shade, much like Bobbi Brown’s or the like. I just so happened to have a product like that (see Maybelline Neutralizer, below) so I applied the yellow-toned concealer first, then added the smallest dab of the orange and blended together for an awesome eye-brightening look! I’m actually super-pleased with the effect and I’m happy that I didn’t give up entirely – the results are well worth giving the Corrector a second chance.
Earlier in the year, before I had Elena but during the later part of my pregnancy in which I was experiencing some insomnia, I was on the hunt for something, anything to help with my dark circles (can you send a recurring theme here?!). After picking up Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Creaseless Concealer, I decided I needed a brightening powder to set it with, and came home with Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($29CAD). Truth be told, I don’t use it that much – I just don’t find it to be so brightening, and to use a separate setting powder just for under eyes is just more effort than I’m willing to put in. If this were a miracle product, I’d happily do so, but I honestly don’t find it does much of anything. Ah well.
The CoverFX Custom Color Drops in N60 ($44CAD) have been a polarizing product that has had many reviews for and against it. I’m not going to waste MORE words doing a full-on review because others have done it better, but my two cents is that it’s handy for adding to other skincare products without losing too much potency and coverage (like you would if you added your regular foundation to say, a moisturizer), which is ultimately what I bought it for. As mentioned, I don’t like layering too many products on my face in the summertime, so this is ideal to mix with my current SPF60 sunscreen – I get the coverage of a foundation (I only use a couple drops so it’s about a light-medium coverage, which is my preference), but since my SPF is higher I don’t feel my sun protection is compromised too much. Some people have also found the foundation lightened up too much when mixed – I bought mine online and had to guess at the shade, which is a bit dark on it’s own but perfect when mixed, so I lucked out! Win-win-win for me!
I grabbed Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer in Neutralizer on a whim when it was on sale while I was still in my ‘BANISH THE DARK CIRCLES‘ phase (not that I’m every really OUT of that phase…I just get to a point where I have TOO many products that I can’t justify even ONE more). They didn’t seem to have a dark enough shade for me so I figured the Neutralizer was the safe way to go. Alone, this is SUPER light on me – like Kim K. reverse racoon-eyes light [note though that I used this on all the girls during a wedding makeup I did last weekend and it was perfect for concealing any darkness on them (they were all fair-skinned)]. But as mentioned, mixed with the MAC Orange Corrector, this works kind of awesome to brighten my under eye.
Finally, just a quick mention of the Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronze Perfect Tan ($59CAD) that I bought and later returned during the Sephora sale. It was a fabulous shade, but for my darker skin it was just not enough. However, if you’re lighter than me I definitely recommend checking this one out – it wasn’t too orange nor too brown, and the powder was silky smooth and lovely. Below are a few swatches of it against other bronzer shades I own for comparison purposes.
That seemed like a long-winded post for only a handful of products! Sheesh. I can’t keep my trap shut lol. Anyway, I feel slightly overloaded with base products right now, but as they’re something I use every day I don’t worry too much about using them up. That being said, I am on a base-product-hiatus for the time being!
Do you own any of these products? What kind of skin finish do you prefer: dewy, satin or matte??
I guiltily admit that sometimes I have a mental block when it comes to cosmetics – though more expensive definitely doesn’t mean better, in my head for some reason I can’t truly appreciate a beauty product’s value unless it costs me an arm and a leg. Why? I dunno what it’s all about, but I am trying to change that – when it comes to skincare at least (with makeup, I don’t mind so much as my expensive taste keeps me from buying EVERY DAMN THING IN SIGHT). And right now in particular, there are some amazing skincare products that are actually affordable (check out Tracy’s post on Deciem if you don’t believe me)!
derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C ($29.95) is one such product. I’ve used a couple derma e products in the past and liked them a fair bit, but in general I often passed by their offerings because…well, I guess my snobby self found them too accessible and affordable lol. Shame, shame, double shame. After trying out the Brightening Serum, I can say absolutely that I have learned from the error in my ways.
Designed to brighten skin by addressing uneven pigmentation and age damage (ie. sun spots), this treatment serum has a whole host of active ingredients in its formulation to fight discolouration and help to achieve more evenly toned, luminous skin. A quick scan of the first handful of ingredients reveals that it contains: niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory that enhances skin’s barrier function and helps erase discolourations; licorice root, anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps improve dark spots and pigmentation by inhibiting the stimulation of an enzyme that activates melanin production; sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that helps slow down the aging process; and bearberry & alpha-arbutin, both natural skin brighteners with lightening properties.
Happily, all of those good ingredients don’t go to waste and lose potency in a jar formulation – the serum is in a bottle with a nice pump, which dispenses the perfect amount of serum in one press.
Also handy is the fact that they’ve printed the expiration date of the product right on the bottom of the bottle itself.
One thing to note however, is that date shows the product being good for almost 3 years. The serum does contain preservatives – namely, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, and Ethylhexylglycerin. These are considered safer alternatives to parabens (of which this serum is free), but I still wanted to give a heads up to those of you looking for an entirely preservative-free formulation.
The texture of the serum is like a gel, but without any stickiness or slippery, filmy feeling whatsoever – it glides on and absorbs within a minute, and leaves my normal-oily skin feeling comfortable and soft. I have been using it as both my treatment and hydrator, and I don’t need a separate moisturizer at all (though dry skins will likely need something additional to hydrate).
I’ve been using this regularly each morning for just over 6 weeks and I quite like it. I had the presence of mind to take before and after shots (considering the fact that I have ‘mommy brain’ AND taking into account my severe lack of sleep due, this is highly impressive) so you can see the results (sorry for the difference in lighting):
BEFORE (June 25)
AFTER (August 10)
As you can see, my skin is definitely more even-toned, with most of the scarring from the small postpartum breakout I had considerably faded. Now, I do exfoliate regularly, in a variety of ways (exfoliating serum every 2nd night, exfoliating mask 1x/week, acid toning pads 1-2x/week, manual scrub 1x/week) so take that into consideration too, but I’m confident that with that stellar ingredient list, derma e’s serum definitely plays a part in the change in my skin. The niacinamide and stable vitamin c alone have sold me on this; because the niacinamide boosts skin’s barrier function, it’s perfect for use during the day to protect skin from environmental aggressors, and vitamin c’s antioxidant power helps fight off the sun’s potentially damaging free radicals. FABULOUS.
I am definitely impressed by this serum, and the fact that it’s affordable yet still has effective, mostly ‘clean’ ingredients makes it a complete YES in my books. It’s also easy to find – derma e products can be found at Shoppers, or you can buy from their online store if you’re in the States (or from Well.ca in Canada).
derma e products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, GMO-free.
More polish you say? No problem! I have a constant backlog of OPI polishes to swatch and review, which means I always have more polish comin’ at ya.
The original OPI Nail Envy is a translucent, maximum strength nail strengthener & fortifier that you can use on it’s own or as a base coat to help nails grow faster and stronger. The new Nail Envy polish shades are formulated with the same hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium complex to help nails resist peeling, cracking and splitting, and come in 4 delicate OPI shades – 3 existing favorites (Bubble Bath, Samoan Sand and Hawaiian Orchid) and 1 new Nail Envy exclusive shade (Pink to Envy).
Bubble Bath is a sheer, feminine pink that makes nails look polished and clean (due to it’s blue-leaning tones). While I like those qualities in a sheer polish, it was somewhat streaky (often a problem with sheers) so you need careful application with this one. Thin coats and a quick hand, plus ample time to dry between coats is a must.
Bubble Bath isn’t a terribly unique shade, and I found a few similar polishes to compare it to: Essie Muchi Muchi, which is also streak-prone; OPI Put It In Neutral, which is a touch less pink; and Dior Incognito, which isn’t really very close as it’s opaque and more of a beige-pink.
Samoan Sand is a polish that’s been on my radar for years, as I’m a sucker for a good nude and I read somewhere this is a great option for deeper skin tones like mine. Happily, it did not disappoint – this went on easily in two smooth coats, and was quite flattering with my skin tone, though I’d be curious to see if it’s still that way once my summer tan has faded (I prefer my nudes lighter than my skin tone, not matching like mannequin hands). In the swatch below I had been wearing it for several days, so please excuse the tip wear!
Being a collector of shades like these, I thought I might have a few dupes in my stash, but I actually didn’t (huzzah!). Dior Sunkissed is more peach, and Tom Ford Toasted Sugar (another fave nude -> which I realize I haven’t shown you guys yet! Shame on me) is darker.
Finally, we have Hawaiian Orchid, a pretty dusty mauve-pink which I normally would never look at. It’s still not entirely my cup of tea, but there’s something about it that I like – could be its smooth, creamy shine! I think this would look great on more fair skin than mine thought – which is why I might try it out again once my tan has faded (for SCIENCE).
Naturally, I didn’t have any really similar shades in my collection, but I pulled anything close just for the hell of it (continuity, ya know). RBL Poco a Poco has that same dusty quality, but it’s much more purple; RBL Oh Slap! is much lighter and a bit brighter but is in a similar color family; and Dior Incognito is once again more beige-y than pink.
I didn’t swatch Pink to Envy, because though it’s got that pink tint to it, for all intents and purposes it’s a clear polish – I didn’t even find that it gave my nails a brightening effect like the Dior Nail Glow polish. Not a big deal, just – no reason to add to the massive amount of swatches I need to do these days!
Do you use the original Nail Envy? Do you like when polishes have a treatment in them? What are your thoughts on neutral polishes?
Ok guys. Once again I’ve been delinquent in getting this post up – I seem to be really good at taking photos of product in a timely manner, but not so great at writing the reviews. It used to be the other way around, but I am better at amusing Elena while taking photos than I am typing on the computer / editing photos and simultaneously keeping her occupied – she loves the camera (as you’ll see shortly). Anyway, she’s been taking a power nap this am, so I’m just going for it [edit: and it’s now nighttime…I got the majority of the post done while she was napping, but the finishing touches had to wait till she was down for the night!]!
A few months ago Make Up For Ever came out with a new formulation of lip gloss that is along the lines of the Dior Fluid Sticks / Lancome Lip Lover / etc. etc. – a long-wearing, full-impact gloss with high shine and vivid color. These Plexi-Glosses ($23CAD) are touted to be comfortable to wear and to deliver up to five hours of color impact. The ‘superflex’ applicator is design in a lip-hugging shape to allow for precision and control and sweeps on the ‘ideal’ amount of lipgloss.
It comes in a whopping 35 shades, in varying finishes – from pearly to cream, sheer to opaque – which is INTENSE, guys. I’m glad I had an opportunity to try these out and not have to choose a color (or several) on my own, because I’d be there all damn day. The three I was sent are: 403, an opaque red; 207, an opaque candy pink, and 102P, a sheer pearly sweet beige (the ‘P’ indicates a pearly shade).
As I mentioned, Elena loves the camera (probably since I’ve become the paparazzi with her since she was born) and I thought I’d really keep her busy by giving her each of the glosses to play with. Now that she’s got good hand control she was loving it!
Red gloss has never been my first choice when it comes to lip color – I tend to favour matte shades of red, as it’s already bold enough on it’s own – but in the summertime, I confess that a gloss red lip is kind of fabulous. The sheer (or opaque, in this case) juiciness of it is so enticing and perfect on a warm summer night. 403 Red is just that kind of gloss – it truly is ‘full impact’ and majorly high shine. It’s also comfortable to wear, and though these glosses are intense, they’re not at all sticky – a bit thick, perhaps, but honestly the lip glosses I’ve had in the past that are thin fade away within minutes. I don’t mind the thicker texture on its own, but if they were sticky they’d be a no-go for me (which is why I haven’t own a MAC gloss in god knows how long).
Though I just said I don’t generally gravitate toward glossy reds, I did happen to have one in my collection – Maybelline’s Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet. These two are damn near dupes in my eyes; Signature Scarlet is a hair more warm in tone, but that’s getting nitpicky – for all intents and purposes, they’re the same. The real difference is in the texture (Maybelline’s feels a bit more plasticky to me) and the scent (MUFE’s has none, while the Maybelline has this bizarre sickeningly sweet/chemical smell that is just awful – it fades after wear, but UGH, SO bad). Needless to say, I got rid of the Maybelline in favour of the MUFE version!
Next, we have the shade 207 Candy Pink.
Since discovering cool pink look quite nice on my skintone, I’m all about the shade. 207 Candy Pink is a cheerful pink shade that leans cool, but actually isn’t heavily blue-toned, so those of you who don’t like to wear those kinds of colors could probably still wear this. This is another saturated shade, though the formula is slightly less opaque than 403 Red. Equally nice formula though – and of note is that all 3 glosses leave my lips feeling hydrated even after they’ve worn off.
Once again, I had a similar shade in my existing collection (a mark of someone with too much makeup, perhaps?) – Dior Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse. Unlike the red shades above however, there are more noticeable differences: the Dior is more sheer, and a bit more warm than 207 Candy Pink. However, they’re close enough for me that I don’t feel I need to own both – but I haven’t been able to part with either just yet. I prefer my lip products to be opaque, so MUFE – 1, Dior – 0….however, it’s like, a DIOR GLOSS, guys. And they’re kind of lovely. AND it’s got sexy packaging. So I dunno, dudes.
Finally, we have the most subtle of the bunch, 102P Pearly Sweet Beige, and the only one without a ‘dupe’ in my stash.
102P Pearly Sweet Beige is a sheer, slightly milky peachy beige gloss. This was actually on my wishlist to buy previously, so I was excited to get this in the trifecta. Though I like my lip colors opaque as a general rule, I actually like my lip glosses to be neutral sheers – I find punchy, bold colors that are also high shine are a bit more in-your-face than I’d like. This would fit that bill perfectly; however – on my lips there is something about this shade that doesn’t look all that flattering. I think the milkiness for one is a (small) issue; moreover, I realized after watching a video of Karima’s (so good, go watch her RIGHT NOW!) where she described her lip line as ‘blurry,’ that I also suffer from this affliction, and this is likely why true ‘nudes’ look kind of terrible on me. As I normally choose my glosses to be either clear with a hint of shimmer, or MLBB shades, this veers too closely to a nude tone on my medium pigment lips, and I dunno…just not a huge fan. But that’s just me – I suspect for most people this will be an incredibly wearable neutral.
Just for fun, I thought I’d take it even further and make it REALLY nude and see if that looked better. I used a Marc Jacobs lippie (the old style they don’t sell anymore) in Dizzy Spell, a warm peachy nude (which I rarely wear, for the reasons above), underneath 102P to see what would happen. While I don’t actually hate the effect, I think 102P would probably look best on me layered over a more strongly-hued and/or pigmented shade, or lipliner.