Mereadesso opening at Nordstrom Vancouver | Celebrate and win!


Are you ready Vancouver? This September, the early awaited opening of Nordstrom finally arrives! In its sleek new location in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Nordstrom is a welcome addition to the Vancouver shopping scene and one of the many unique brands that will be available in Nordstrom come September is Mereadesso.

I've featured Mereadesso before and I love their approach to simplifying makeup and beauty. Founded by Linda Stephenson, a former cosmetics product developer for Estee Lauder, MAC, Mary Kay and more, Mereadesso takes a refreshing approach to beauty by creating a series of all-in-one products for all your cleansing, moisturizing and anti-aging needs. Up till now, Mereadesso was only available online, but now Vancouver will be the second retail store in Canada to carry the full line of products, including the:
  • All-in-one Moisturizer ($120): a single product that replaces your toner, serum, moisturizer and primer into one unique product for the face and even the eyes
  • Tinted All-in-on Moisturizer ($48): similar to the original, but tinted so that it also acts as a concealer
  • Face and Neck Cleanser ($45): a creamy cleanser that will cleanse, tone, remove makeup and even act as a mask
  • Travel Ease Kit ($45): ideal for travel, this little kit contains 12 ml resealable containers of both the cleanser and moisturizer, plus a soft reusable cleansing cloth
  • Lip Treats ($28): available in 3 shades (clear, pink and burgundy) these slim and sleek lipsticks act as a lip primer and balm
All Mereadesso products contain tons of vitamins and natural extracts and they truly do help your skin become more radiant, even and supple. Although the price point is decidedly high, considering that you really only need 2 things to replace a shelf full of products is very convincing.

Are you curious to try out Mereadesso? Well, I have a treat for you! In celebration of their launch at Nordstrom, Mereadesso has kindly offered to giveaway their Travel Ease Kit and a burgundy Lip Treat to one lucky reader! 

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only Simply enter using the widget below and don't forget to check out Mereadesso in stores at Nordstrom Vancouver this fall!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Rocia Naturals Mineral Eye Shadow in Tyrian and Antique Rose | Review + FOTD

makeup look featuring rocia naturals makeup

Have you ever tried mineral makeup? I only started using mineral makeup this year and I'm so happy to share with you yet another great mineral makeup find. Rocia Naturals is a Canadian all natural skincare and makeup brand based out of Brighton, Ontario. They specialize in mineral makeup and skincare, with an emphasis on sustainable, local, and handmade production.

I've been trying to become more aware of the types of products I use and Rocia Naturals is one of those brands that you just feel at ease about buying. Their products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, synthetic-free and made from organic or biodegradable ingredients wherever possible. Everything at Rocia Naturals is handmade in small batches to ensure that the highest quality and care goes into every product.

rocia natural mineral eye shadow

Recently I was offered the chance to try out this brand and I was immediately drawn to their various lines of mineral eye shadows. Rocia Naturals offers over 26 different eye shadow shades, which come in 3 different finishes: matte, luminous and pearl. The luminous shades I would say offer the shimmery finish typical of more popular brands like Urban Decay, while the pearl gives off just a hint of fine shimmer. There are so many gorgeous shades to choose from: pearly whites, soft dove greys, rich browns and plums perfect for smokey eyes - I just wanted them all! I had to restrain myself though, so I only asked for 2 shades. I opted to try out Tyrian, a brown plum with a bronze shimmer finish, and Antique Rose, a soft rose.

rocia natural mineral makeup

Each shadow pot came in a small 1 g, screw-top jar with a built-in sifter. At first glances, the jars seem quite small, but as I found out, a little goes a long way!

Antique Rose (pearl)

rocia mineral eyeshadow in antique rose

Price: $12.50 for 1 g

  • Mica - for luminosity and slip
  • Calcium carbonate - an absorbent
  • Iron oxides - colouring
  • Ultramarines - colouring
  • Titanium dioxides - provides thickness and adhesion
And that's it! I love how Rocia Naturals explains the purpose of each ingredient on their website and the list of ingredients literally can be counted on one hand, which is always a good sign. Plus, you'll also notice that these shadows don't contain bismuth oxychloride, a somewhat controversial "natural" ingredient commonly found in mineral makeup.

My thoughts: Antique Rose is a beautiful rosy pink with neutral to slightly blue undertones. I loved using this shade for an all-over wash of color on my lids. It's pretty pigmented, so I like to use a fluffy brush to gently pick up just a bit of pigment at a time. With, or without primer the wear time of this shade is awesome. I didn't notice any creasing whatsoever at the end of the work day and after walking out in the sun. 

Antique Rose is great to wear with other eye shadows as a base color, but I actually love this shade even more as a blush! Antique Rose is the perfect subtle flush color on me. The pigment blends so beautifully on my skin and is barely detectable, but oh-so-pretty! I love to swirl it on the apples of my cheeks. It's the ideal fool-proof color if you have fairer skin, so I can only imagine that I'll be using this even more come wintertime!

Final Verdict: Buy

Tyrian (luminous)

rocia mineral eyeshadow in tyrian

Price: $12.50 for 1 g

Ingredients: see previous as they're exactly the same.

My thoughts: Tyrian is unique in my shadow collection, which is why I picked it. I've always been afraid of wearing such bold plums or pink tones on my eyes, but I find lately that I'm veering more towards these types of colors and away from the cooler purples I thought I favoured before. Tyrian is a gorgeous plum color with a shimmery finish that brings out its deep bronze undertones. To look at the pigment itself, you would think Tyrian is a matte maroon, but on the skin it transforms into this gorgeous, amazing splash of shimmery goodness. Can you tell I love this color?

For a day time look, take a small lid brush and gently, gently dip your brush into some color, then tap off the excess. There's a lot of fallout on this one, so tapping that off is essential and this way you can also slowly build up the color. Tyrian tends to be super pigmented and creamy on the lids, so you will definitely surprise yourself if aren't careful. 

As with Antique Rose, Tyrian's wear time is amazing. I can't rave enough about this color as it blends so easily, doesn't crease or fade at all, and is just so beautiful! If you have a deep eye crease, then Tyrian would be a gorgeous color for you. For us Asians and those with more hooded eyes, I like to apply Tyrian from the lash line to above my crease in a gradient for a sexy, smoky eye. There's even enough shimmer in Tyrian too that you may not even need any highlight on the center lid. 

Apparently you can also use Tyrian as a blush, but this color is way too dark for my skin to do that, but I could see it possibly working on darker tones that are say, NC35 and higher. 

Final Verdict: Buy

rocia tyrian eyeshadow and antique rose eyeshadow swatches
Swatches! Left to right: Tyrian, Antique Rose in outdoor ambient light

rocia mineral eye shadow swatches
Left to right: Tyrian, Antique Rose in direct sunlight

As you can see, I love my picks from Rocia Naturals. There's no bones to pick on the ingredients, the packaging is cute and travel-friendly and the product itself is superb. The price is a little steep considering you only get 1 g of product, but the quality is so good, I'm willing to pay for it (or wait for a sale!).

eye shadow look with rocia mineral makeup
Wearing Antique Rose all over lid and on cheeks, Tyrian up to crease

rocia naturals makeup blush
Wearing Antique Rose as a blush and NO highlight!

FOTD featuring Rocia natural makeup
Other products worn: Burberry Fresh Glow foundation, Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder, Ladykin  One Touch Bling Glow lipstick, L'oreal Paris Voluminous Miss Manga mascara

Sadly, Rocia Naturals doesn't sell anywhere yet in BC except online, but you can find them in various shops in Alberta and across Ontario.

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DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review | Spanish olive oil + Japanese ingenuity

For a long while now, I've been an avid user of cleansing oils. I can't even remember the last time I used a regular makeup remover that wasn't for swatches! Once I tried cleansing oils, there was no turning back. Their gentle yet extremely thorough way of cleaning off my day face cannot be matched and I've been fortunate to find some great options. Recently, I discovered a new cleansing oil to add to my buy-again list: the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.

Until I'd tried this oil, I'd never even heard of the brand DHC. Originating in Japan, DHC, which stands for Daigaku Honyaku Center, is actually a well-known direct sales company specializing in beauty and food products. Founded in 1972, DHC actually started off as an educational company, but when founder Yoshiaki Yoshida discovered the restorative health benefits of olive oil while visiting Madrid, he immediately took some home and pivoted his business into skincare.

Now DHC is well-known across Asia for their plant-based range of cleansers, moisturizers, serums and fine food products based off of this exceptional olive oil. You can purchase DHC products online, through their sales reps or through certain sellers. For us Canadians, DHC is available only online.

The Deep Cleansing Oil is a typical cleansing oil. You massage it onto dry or damp skin and it will emulsify away all dirt and makeup and prepare your skin for cleanser. The Deep Cleansing Oil, like all cleansing oils, never makes your skin feel tight, irritated or dehydrated. Its special mix of oils actually makes your skin feel better by coating it in a rich layer of emollients.

The primary ingredients in the Deep Cleansing Oil are:
  • Olive fruit oil - an emollient with antioxidant properties
  • Capryli/capric triglyceride - an emollient
  • Sorbeth-30 tetraoleate - an emlsifier and surfactant that helps dirt and oil mix together with water so it can be easily rinsed away. Most cleansing oils contain such an ingredient as this acts as the primary cleansing action.
  • Pentylene glycol - a humectant
Other ingredients of note in this oil are rosemary leaf oil, which is said to have skin conditioning properties.

At just under 200 ml, a single bottle retails around $28, which puts it around the same price and size as my other favourite cleansing oil, the L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil. Compared to that winner, the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is good, but not quite as fantastic. Don't get me wrong, this is a very solid cleanser. One pump is enough to cover my face in a thick, slick layer of oil and is enough to thoroughly dissolve all sorts of makeup, even waterproof mascara. The DHC Deep Cleansing Oil rinses away easily and leaves my skin feeling soft. I think the only area where the L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil edges out this one is that I found the L'Occitane oil to be a step above in terms of luxuriousness. The L'Occitane oil coats my skin in a comforting layer of shea and that really elevates it above this equally effective, but not quite as pleasurable oil.

Final Verdict
Buy - Would I purchase the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil again? Absolutely. Was it my favourite cleansing oil ever? No, but only because the competition out there is fierce!

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Fall Beauty & Makeup Previews: Stila, Paul & Joe, Bliss, CLEAN and Anna Sui

It's that time of year again! Beauty and makeup collection preview time! I love getting a sneak peek at upcoming beauty and makeup collections and the ones hosted by ACI Beauty are one of the funnest. Imagine being let loose in a room filled to the brim with beautiful makeup and luxurious skincare and then being told it's okay to try out everything. Plus, there's free pastries, tea and good photo lighting!! *swoon* It's hard to imagine a better way to spend a morning for a beauty blogger.

Recently I attended the ACI Beauty Fall 2015 preview showcasing the latest releases (and re-releases) from Stila, Anna Sui, CLEAN and Paul & Joe. There's so much to talk about with each of these brands, but here are some quick highlights from the day:


Stila fall 2015 makeup collection

Stila for sure won it for me in the makeup department with a strong showing of new innovative products. Standouts were for sure their cushion gel eyeliners - instead of a pot filled with creamy pigment, the Stila cushion gel liners instead house their pigments in a squishy sponge. Simply press down with your liner brush to get instant color without worrying about it drying out. The shades of these were so beautiful, especially a gorgeous aubergine, which feels to me will be the color of the season.

Besides that, Stila also introduced a new "putty" correcting powder that truly feels like silk and conceals like a dream - I'll be reviewing that later - as well as a gorgeous set of bronzers. I love the packaging of these bronzers. The bronzer itself has an elegant sunbeam inlay and the compact is sleek and contains a handy large mirror; it's the perfect thing to carry in one's purse at all times.

Another huge win for Stila is their amazing new line of liquid lipsticks. These liquid lipsticks apply like a cream and dry down matte and O M G the colors are gorgeous - just check out these swatches!

Lastly, in time for the holidays, Stila is releasing a set of shadow, gloss and blush collections, all housed in their characteristically pretty packaging. I love Stila eyeshadows so I highly recommend checking those out in stores!

Paul & Joe

Paul and Joe fall 2015 makeup

Continuing with the makeup theme, is the clear packaging design winner, Paul & Joe. What makes P&J so unique is that they really emphasize the experience of their packaging. Each makeup item is meant to be swapped out and placed into a custom case. For Fall 2015, the packaging collection features a nature theme focusing on birds and cats. There are cats everywhere on Paul & Joe products normally, but this season they're playing even bigger roles. The fall lipsticks even feature a LE line of colors that feature a central contrasting color in the shape of a cat's face, and what's even more amazing is that this color carries throughout the tube so you never have to feel sad about wearing the cat face away!

Besides eyeshadows and lipsticks, Paul & Joe is also revamping and re-releasing their popular Moisturizing Primer Foundation line with 3 new shades. Like the original formula, the new shades focus on smoothing, hydrating and illuminating skin and are the perfect way to prime your face for foundation. As you know, I love this set of primers, so I'll definitely be picking up one of these eventually. Besides primers, Paul & Joe is also releasing a line of BB creams and pressed powders, which of course come in a cute metallic compact complete with pouf.

Finally, did you also know that Paul & Joe offers bath and beauty products? I certainly didn't, so I was pleased to discover their fall collection of bath products, including some very feminine smelling bath salts. Paul & Joe definitely has that girly, Parisian aesthetic down pat, so I think you can easily guess the type of fragrances they use in these.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui Fall 2015 collection

Probably the second most exciting brand packaging-wise out there is Anna Sui. There weren't a ton of new innovations from Anna Sui this season, but everything was impeccably packaged in her characteristic embellished style. Her nail polishes now come in a new bottle design and she also released some very pretty and bold shades of her lipsticks.

In terms of the fragrance department, things got more exciting. Anna Sui has a new fragrance called Romantica, which is a heady floral containing notes of mandarin, pomegranate, bergamot, rose de mai, jasmine, peony and Indonesian sandalwood, among others. I would describe Romantica as being perfect if you want to feel womanly, sensual and like a slightly dangerous ingenue. This is not the type of perfume you should wear to work!

If you do need something a little less sexy, then for holidays, Anna Sui also has a super cute collector's box of LE mini perfumes, which I am immediately lusting for due to the adorableness of the bottles. Each mini bottle contains 4 ml and contains the fragrances Secret Wish, Flight of Fancy, La Vie de Boheme, La Nuit de Boheme and Romantica.

The star of the show for Anna Sui for me were the new Nail Art Foils, a set of gold and silver flakes that can be applied to nails to create fantastically cool abstract looks. The girls at the event wore them on their nails and it was so unique and eye-catching. A must for any nail art aficionado!


Clean perfume fall 2015

Continuing on into fragrances was the CLEAN collection. There was only one new release for CLEAN: the new CLEAN Cashmere perfume. Inspired by the comforting and elegant embrace of cashmere, this new fragrance contains notes of cedar leaf, bergamot, lime, mimosa, jasmine, tonka bean and musk to create a light floral that feels both sophisticated and uplifting. I could not stop sniffing the swatch stick and going "mmmm!" Amazingly, all attendees got a full sized bottle of this, which is fantastic as I've been dousing myself in this daily!


Bliss beauty fall 2015 collection

Last, but not least, was the fall collection from Bliss. I am totally new to Bliss, but apparently it's quite well known for their gentle skincare that's most often found from people stealing the amenities at the W hotels! There was an impressive array of products coming out from Bliss, ranging from luxurious body butters, to fat-trimming creams (going to be testing this for the wedding!), cleansers, masques and creams. Highlights for me was their amazing foaming and fizzing oxygen mask, and the glycolic cotton pads designed to target hyper-pigmentation.

With so many amazing products coming out, you'll be hard pressed to save your money this year! I can't wait to try out some the products shown above for future reviews which can either help you avoid the duds, but more likely probably enable you to fill that shopping cart ;)

Which of these releases are you most excited about for fall?

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August CBB Guest Post: Maria of Pink Petals on a Her Favourite Splurge-worthy Masque

Hello! I'm Maria from Pink Petals. This month's Canadian Beauty Blogger guest post theme is: Worth the Splurge. I find skincare items completely worth the splurge - so I chose the Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment ($21/$76).

 Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment
 Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

The Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment is a mud mask claims to make your skin brighter, smoother and softer - and it definitely does. It contains French Sea Clay to purify, Volcanic Pumic Rockto exfoliate, and Green Tea Leaf pieces to freshen your skin.

When first applied, the mud mask tingles a bit as it dries (don't apply it too close to the eyes!), creating a tightening feeling. Once it dries, in approximately 10 minutes, you massage it into your skin while rinsing it off. The aftermath of the mask leaves my face a bit drier, as most masks do, but feeling squeeky clean and smoother.

Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment
Glamglow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate mask

What I love most about this mask is that if it manages to dry out in the container, all you have to do is add a bit of water and stir it until it's back to normal - no product wasting here!

I think this mask is really great and I would recommend trying it out, but be wary if you have sensitive skin because the tingling might do more tingling than it's supposed to.

What's your go-to mask?

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The Face Shop Konjac Cleansing Puff Review | A traditional, all-natural method of cleansing

the face shop konjac puff

Have you ever heard of a konjac sponge? These all-natural plant sponges have become trendy in the last couple years as an alternative to synthetic loofahs for both body and face. Hailing from Asia, konjac is actually a type of potato that is commonly used for both cleansing and eating. In Japan in particular, konjac is commonly eaten as a jelly or as a noodle and is known for its nutritious properties. Someone at some point in this long history also discovered that konjac had beneficial effects on skin and so konjac sponges were born.

There are a wide variety of konjac sponges out there, but in its most basic form it's usually a white puff that helps increase your cleanser's effectiveness and its inherent nutrients also help condition and rejuvenate the skin, while the soft texture deep-cleanses pores.

Recently I was sent THEFACESHOP Konjac Cleansing Puff ($5) to try. This sponge is so gentle you can easily use it twice daily without any chance of irritation. These sponges are supposedly gentle enough for babies, so I'm sure it can handle anyone's sensitivity!

the face shop konjac cleansing puff

To use, dampen your sponge and then either apply cleanser directly to the sponge, or apply your cleanser to your face first and then use the sponge to massage it in. I prefer the latter, but if you're using more of a milky cleanser, you may want to apply it to the sponge first as it can rub milkier cleansers right off.

Although THEFACESHOP Konjac Cleansing Puff may just look like any old sponge, I found that it does help my cleansers work better. Particularly, when I use this sponge at night, I don't even need to use a cleansing water after as this little puff works overtime to get every last bit of dirt and makeup off.

Each Konjac Cleansing Puff costs only $5 and lasts for 2-3 months, so it's pretty affordable. The only things I didn't like about this sponge was its shape. Unlike the other konjac sponge I've tried, the EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge, the THEFACESHOP Konjac Cleansing Puff is shaped like a big hemisphere, which makes it difficult to get this sponge into the corners of my face. I actually have to fold it in half to make it fit, whereas the EcoTools Pure Complextion Facial Sponge is already teardrop shaped and thus, easier to use. This is a pretty minor annoyance though and I'd easily repurchase this one again. I'm also curious to try TTHEFACESHOP 's Charcoal and Konjac Cleansing Puff for an even deeper clean!

the face shop konjac face sponge

Final Verdict
Buy - cheap and easy to use, these cleansing puffs are a great all-natural addition to my cleansing routine that leaves my skin soft and cleaner than ever.

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Prestige Cosmetics Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner Review | From subtle to flashy, this liner does it all!

Prestige Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner

One of the best things about going to beauty events is discovering new makeup brands. At this year's #LDBeauty event, I discovered Prestige Cosmetics, an international makeup company selling in over 40 countries. Their display at the London Drugs event was filled with intense, bold colors, including some super saturated eyeliners, so I was excited to try their Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner after the event.

Designed for makeup users of all levels, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner is a unique twist on your standard liquid eyeliner. Instead of the usual pointed felt tip or brush hairs, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner instead has a trio of stubby felt tips that can be used in a multitude of ways. With a unique budge-proof and waterproof formula, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner can be worn all day and if you're into these kinds of things, then you'll be happy to know that this eyeliner is also gluten-free, GMO free, paraben free and fragrance free. I've never heard of anyone having gluten reactions from makeup, but recently I've been seeing this advertised more, so I guess that's a thing now? One thing I'm surprised that isn't mentioned anywhere about this eyeliner is that it's packed with moisturizing ingredients; for instance, its third ingredient is aloe vera juice, and it also contains vitamin E and sunflower seed oil, which I thought was pretty different from other liners out there.

Prestige Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner

Anyhoo, with its innovative brush, the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner can be used to do anything from tight-lining to a full cat-eye. To tight-line, simply dot the liner between lashes at the base of your eyelash for a natural darkening of your eye rim for definition. Then for a more dramatic night look, apply this liner as usual by sweeping it along your lash line.

At first when I received this liner I didn't actually realize the 3 nubs were for tight-lining. I actually thought it was for creating a kawaii anime/Betty Boop look by winging out your liner into 3 lines! Surprisingly doing your liner this way is really cool, although tricky. Simply line your lashes as per normal, but don't create a wing yet. To do the wing, lay the brush flat against the skin and carefully swoop it upwards. The result is a cute little trio of wings that when paired with lots of mascara looks pretty fun. You can even wear this during the day so long as you keep the wings small.

Prestige Cosmetics Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner look
Trying out tight-lining - can you tell that I'm wearing eyeliner?

Oddly enough, I actually found applying this liner the intended way trickier. Maybe I just need more practice, but dotting this liner evenly between my lashes is damn finicky! My tip would be to do your best, then take a slanted eyeliner brush and run it over your eyeliner while it's still damp so then you can smudge and smooth out any mistakes. You have to do this super fast though as this liner dries really quickly.

As for the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner's longevity and pigmentation, I found both kinda lacking. By the time I'm done one eye, the pigmentation of this liner kinda fades a bit on the second and applies a tad streaky. Also, the waterproof claim? Not so much. I was able to easily wash off my eyeliner swatches with just some water!

Prestige Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner swatches

You can purchase the Back to Black Triple Line Ink Pen Eyeliner from Prestige Cosmetics at your local drugstores for around $8-10.

Final Verdict
Ditch - the gimmicky brush doesn't blow me away enough to purchase this again, but it's a decent drugstore quality eyeliner.

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Lush Movis Facial Soap Review | Like waking up to your mom's baking every morning

In my line of work, I often have to think about product and brand strategy. What makes a business unique among its competitors and gives it that lasting power through the years? Immediately, Lush came to my mind as a prime example of a company whose values truly make it a market leader. When I think of Lush, I think of fun, innovative products that don't take themselves too seriously, but are seriously into promoting natural, effective beauty products that are good for you. For a unique example of this, just check out their new(ish) face cleanser, the Movis Facial Soap.

Lush Movis face soa

Inspired by the iconic British staple, Hovis bread, the Movis is certainly the most "out there" exfoliatant I've ever tried. First of all, it's a bar soap, which is something I haven't used since I was a teenager. Second, it's inspired by a piece of bread and one of its main ingredients is even wholemeal bread! I can only imagine that someone at Lush came up with this while eating breakfast, and being extremely hungover, accidentally rubbing some bread on their face!

Regardless of its origins, the Movis Facial Soap is designed to gently cleanse and exfoliate, while softening and conditioning the skin with rich vitamin E.

The primary ingredients in this soap are:
  • Water
  • Wholemeal bread - the main exfoliant 
  • Glycerin - a humectant that helps capture moisture in skin
  • Extra virgin coconut oil - an emollient 
  • Sugar (Fair Trade) - a natural exfoliant
This soap also contains sunflower oil (emollient), Fair Trade organic cocoa butter (emollient), hops oil (antiseptic and yes, it's the same hops as in beer) and sandalwood oil (astringent).

To use, simply wet and rub the bar between hands until it softens and begins to create suds, which you then apply to your face in gentle circular motions. For a quicker method, I actually just rub the soap directly onto my face, then finish off with my fingers to get into the nooks and crannies.

If you're not a fan of physical exfoliants, then the Movis Facial Soap may be the one that will change your mind. The sugar and bread grains in the Movis Facial Soap are so gentle that you could safely use this soap everyday. When wet and massaged into skin, this soap feels a bit like if you'd dropped a bunch of breadcrumbs into milk and then applied that to your skin. The result leaves your face feeling silky smooth and gently refined and like all Lush products, the Movis Facial Soap smells simply amazing. Although I don't see bananas listed anywhere in the ingredients list, the Movis Facial Soap smells just like my mom's banana bread! I love to just hold this soap to my nose and breathe in its heavenly, homey scent. What could be more relaxing at the end of a long day? 

Overall, I think if you have normal-dry skin like me and you love the smell of fresh baked bread, then you will like this soap. If you have oilier skin, this might be too moisturizing for you, but it might still be worth a try during the colder months if you can get a sample made. I for one, am reserving this for winter myself when my skin loves a gentler, more moisturizing routine. For $9.95, you get a massive 100 g bar that could probably last you months. I'm curious to try this out in the shower to use on my body and my face as a way to use this up quicker!

Final Verdict
Buy - smells amazing, is cost-effective and is a great way to gently exfoliate everyday.

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NYX Color Correcting Palette Review | The perfect palette for spackling your face

NYX concealer palette

Concealers is one of those areas that I've always had trouble with. Thankfully, my skin has settled down a lot since I was a teenager thanks to the pill, so I don't even normally need much concealer, but unbeknownst to me, concealers can be used for so much more than for just hiding pimples!

For instance, concealers can be used to highlight, lowlight/contour and generally alleviate all kinds of skin issues. You can use concealer to brighten sallow skin, give warmth to cool tones, or to minimize inflammation. Sure, foundation also does these things, but the beauty of concealers is that they are like your targeted sniper hits, whereas foundation is more of a blanket shotgun for skin correction.

I've always been intimidated by those crazy concealer palettes that seem to incorporate entire color wheels of options, but recently I finally learned to overcome that fear when I received the NYX Color Correcting concealer palette at the #LDBeauty event a couple months ago. Thank you once again free blog items for pushing me out of my comfort zone!

The NYX Color Correcting concealer palette is a 6 shade palette designed to tackle the most common skin issues:
  • Yellow, for concealing and brightening dark under eye circles
  • Green, for counteracting redness on the cheeks and nose area
  • Purple, for balancing out overly yellow or sallow tones
  • Peach, for adding warmth and brightness under eyes and anywhere on skin
  • Warm beige, for concealing on light-medium skin tones
  • Dark tan, for contouring on light skin tones and concealing on darker skin tones

Each color in this palette is cream based and can be mixed and matched together to achieve that final flawless look.

Nuxe Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Detox Mask Review | The best smelling mask everrrr!

Nuxe Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Detox Mask

Nuxe is a French skincare brand that I've recently become acquainted with on my quest to incorporate more naturally sourced products into my routine. I first tried their signature dry oils awhile back and LOVED them so I was eager to try out more from the brand.

The Nuxe Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Detox Mask is unique among my mask collection as it's a "detoxifying" and purifying mask. Generally, I purchase my masks to fulfill one of two purposes: either deep cleansing or moisturizing, so the whole "detoxifying" claim is quite new then for me and to be honest sounds a little hand-wavey and hokey. From what I can tell, the idea is that this mask helps to do everything it can to make your skin better: deep cleans, hydrates, refines texture and generally make it look more radiant and youthful. The Nuxe Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Detox Mask also seems to have a brightening component to it, with extracts of orange water, beta-carotene and other citrus elements.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer Review | Super duper subtle glow for the tan-averse

the body shop instant glow enhancer with vitamin C

When you think of summer, what comes to mind? Beaches, BBQ, good times with friends and glowing, tan skin. The California beach babe look has always been super popular and I like to think I have a bit of a beach babe inside me whenever the temps climb higher than 20 degrees.

Unfortunately, it can be tricky to get that natural glow. Sure you could get it the legit way, by you know, going outside, but as I work indoors and I'm also averse to getting more sun spots, that route isn't ideal for me. Also, fake tanners really freak me out as I have horrible visions of turning into an Asian Tan Mom and the idea of standing around naked waiting for my self-tanner to dry seems terribly tedious. So what's a girl to do?

Thankfully, The Body Shop has a solution. Just released this summer, the new Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer is a lotion that hits that sweet spot between makeup and skincare. Designed to be the last step in your cleansing routine before makeup, the Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer gives skin a subtle warmth while Fair Trade honey conditions and softens.

Looking at this product, you might be asking yourself, what is a skin enhancer? Well trust me, so was I and I had to do some googling to find out just where in one's routine The Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer fits. What I've concluded so far is that this product is kind of a like a primer by smoothing out any bumps and imperfections and by giving a very light wash of coverage.

I've been trying The Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer off and on for the past few weeks, so let's dive right in to how this "skin enhancer" panned out!

Da Lish Cosmetics Lip/Cheek Balm Review | Carefree makeup you can feel good about

Da lish cosmetics lip cheek balm

Lately I've been happy to discover some really great natural and organically sourced makeup alternatives and I'm happy to introduce you today to yet another one. With all the news stories of environmental degradation and animal cruelty out there, we as consumers should try to seek more ethical, or at least honest, companies to fulfill our daily wants and needs. I'm not a total tree-hugger, but if I can have the choice to purchase something that's better for the environment and for my skin, then it's a bit of a no-brainer isn't it?

Da Lish Cosmetics is a Canadian skincare and makeup company that seeks to be that viable alternative to artificial, big corp cosmetics brands. The company began less than 10 years ago, when founder Melanie Cruickshank began cooking up her own cosmetics in her kitchen and distributing them to friends and family. Her products became so popular, that soon she had to expand and Da Lish was born.

Having grown up on a farm, it was important to Cruickshank to know what was in her makeup. All Da Lish products are manufactured in Canada and without the use of phthalates, parabens, petrochemicals, GMOs, gluten and sulfates. Da Lish is available primarily online at the moment, and only in physical stores across BC, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

I recently got introduced to Da Lish when I visited the Lynn Steven boutique in Vancouver's historic Gastown neighborhood. If you haven't been to Lynn Steven before, then you simply must. It's one of my favourite stores in Vancouver as it's always filled to the brim with beautiful clothes, jewelry and beauty products, many of which are organic or contain natural ingredients.

As part of my visit to Lynn Steven, I got a complimentary tube of the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm. This multi-use balm can be used as both a lip and cheek pigment and comes in a variety of shades:
  • Dusty Rose, for fair to medium skin
  • Coral, for all skin tones
  • Bubble Gum Pink, for all skin tones
  • Bronzer, for contouring
  • Deep Plum, for all skin tones
75% of the ingredients in the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm are naturally sourced and contain antioxidants to help skin maintain its youthful glow.

The Guts
It's always fun to peek into ingredients for makeup that doubles as skincare, so let's dive right in! The primary ingredients in the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm are:
  • Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil - a rich, natural emollient
  • Caprylic/capric triglycerides - a common emollient
  • Copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax - gives this balm its waxy, solid texture
  • Cetyl alcohol - an emulsifier with emollient properties. Can be derived from natural or petrochemical sources, so I'm assuming the former in this case!
Other ingredients of note are cetyl palmitate (moisturizer), beeswax, sunflower seed oil (moisturizer) and rosemary leaf extract (antioxidant).

Price & Packaging
A single 5.75 ml tube of the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm costs around $15. I like how the packaging is transparent so you can see how much product you have left as well as what color it is. The size of the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm is much closer to that of a lip balm, has a twist-up dispenser and is a skinny oval shape that fits well to the lips, but not so much for the cheeks.

Pigmentation & Texture as a Blush
The shade I received to try was Bubble Gum Pink, which is a fun medium pink with rosy undertones. It's the perfect shade for my medium skin tone as it matches the natural flush of my cheeks and lips.

Da Lish lip and cheek balm swatches

With all its emollients, I thought the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm would be quite soft and balmy, but it's actually harder than I thought it would be. I guess the carnauba and beeswax really come through in this product as it felt more waxy than anything. 

As a cheek color, I found the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm a little tricky to apply. The hardness of the balm made the color apply a bit streaky, although I found that it blended pretty nicely with my fingers once it warmed up. I definitely would apply this product last because if you apply it to skin that has freshly applied foundation, then you're likely to rub your foundation right off. That's one reason why I don't like creamy or stick blushes as much as I'm always paranoid about them disrupting my foundation. Alternately, you could use your fingers or a cream blush brush to dab color onto your cheeks and then gently blend it out, but I found this method to take longer to apply. 

wearing Da Lish all natural lip and cheek balm

Once on, the color of the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm seems very bright, but I think that might be due to my rubbing my skin to blend it out. The end result is that the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm fades down to a very subtle, pinky glow. These photos definitely don't do it justice as you can't tell it's there at all, but trust me it is! If you want a finish that's truly subtle and as close to a "rosy from within" glow as I've ever been able to get, than this is the blush for you. 

Pigmentation & Texture as a Lipstick
Since stick blushes aren't really my thing, I actually preferred the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm as a lipstick. The term MLBB (My Lips But Better) is way overused, but I can't think of any term that describes the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm better. It really does brighten up my lips and makes them a gorgeous summery pink with a slight pearlescent shimmer thanks to its light-reflecting pigments. While I love how it looks on me, the color is semi-sheer so it might look differently depending on your natural lip color (for reference, mine are kinda like a dusty rose). 

The one thing I really didn't like about using the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm as a lipstick was that it has that chalky texture that seems to exist in all lip/cheek sticks I've ever tried, so it settles into lines like crazy. If you apply this with your fingers to bare lips, then top it with gloss or balm, it looks a little better, but if you have dry or flaky lips, don't even bother!

Wear Time
With the hot weather, my skin's been oilier than normal so it breaks down this product that much faster. I seem to get only a few hours wear time out of the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm as a blush and less that as a lip color. 

FOTD with Da Lish lip cheek balm

Final Verdict
Buy - although I'm not a fan of lip/cheek products and therefore wouldn't likely purchase this one again, I think it's a great product for what it is and very affordable. I love the shade Bubble Gum Pink and the pigmentation and wear of the Da Lish Lip/Cheek Balm is on par to much more expensive, similar products. 

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Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion Review | Erase away those pesky scars

avene triacneal emulsion lotion

As someone with pesky hyper-pigmentation and who also scars easily from any sort of pimple, I am always on the hunt for products that brighten and eliminate scars. As with eye creams, inevitably most of these products fail. Whenever I find a new one, my heart swells with its promises of clear, luminous skin unmarred by discoloration, yet after trying and patiently waiting months for results, I am usually left discouraged, heartbroken, and in some instances worse off than before.

You can imagine then my skepticism when I first opened the Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion. According to online reviews, this is a revamp of a product of the same name, but this revamp was deemed weaker and more fragranced than the original.

The Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion is designed for oily, blemish-prone skin and is meant to be used during and after breakouts. The Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion helps during breakouts to ease redness and inflammation, while afterwards it helps to eliminate scarring. This innovative lotion contains ample amounts of Avene's thermal spring water, which is said to have healing properties, as well as glycolic acid for skin renewal and retinaldehyde for anti-aging benefits.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this lotion are:
  • Avene thermal spring water
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride - a thickener that also acts as an emollient (seals moisture into skin)
  • Isododecane - gives products a slippery, spreadable texture and which also acts as an emollient
  • Isodecyl neopentanoate - an alternative to cyclomethicone, this ingredient softens skin and helps make this lotion spreadable
  • Pentylene glycol - a humectant (helps draw moisture to skin). Some may experience irritation.

Price & Packaging
As part of the reformulation, the Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion now comes in a slim tube with a pump dispenser. I love how Avene packaging is always designed to minimize air exposure, which helps to ensure maximum longevity and efficacy of its products. I suppose I can live with pumps if they're meant for this purpose! 

A 30 ml bottle retails for around $30 at drugstores wherever Avene is sold, such as at London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart.

While past reviews stated that the Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion would help with breakouts, based on the descriptions I'd read of the new formulation, it seemed this one was designed more for its skin tone improving function. For about a month, I applied this cream nightly anywhere I wanted to eliminate discoloration, which is basically on my cheeks and around my mouth area. After a bout of breakouts and over-exfoliation, my skin had a lot more scarring than I'd ever experienced before. Thankfully, a couple months had passed so some of those scars had faded away, but there were still some hardcore ones lingering around.

I figured I might as well be generous, so I applied a ladybug sized dab to each cheek and another to cover my upper lip and chin area. The Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion is a creamy yellow color with orange undertones, but it applies transparently and absorbs readily into skin. I usually applied this lotion in between my serum and moisturizer as I figured doing so after my night cream would render this lotion incapable of properly penetrating my skin.

aAvene triacneal emulsion

For those with sensitive skins, the glycolic acid and retinaldehyde may cause some tingling, but I think both ingredients are in such a low percentage that it shouldn't be a huge concern for most. Without looking up each ingredient, I'm unsure how much of either active ingredient is contained in the Avene Triacneal Expert Emulsion as there were no obvious markers on the ingredient list - not a good sign usually, but surprisingly I actually quite like this product.

Avene triacneal emulsion - results after
Wearing concealer on my under-eye and to cover a blemish on the chin. Wearing No. 7 pressed powder on top

Although its hard to tell whether it's a placebo effect or not, I do believe that my scars are lighter after having used this product, which is amazing considering it's also summer! I haven't experienced any irritation or adverse effects from this lotion and while its effects are subtle, I feel encouraged that things will only improve the longer I continue to use it. 

Final Verdict
Buy - Perhaps too soon to truly tell, but so far so good with this scar-eliminating lotion!

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Review Re-do: Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment, Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer and Make Up Forever Graphic Liner

review redo with kiehl's creamy eye cream, lise watier primer and make up forever graphic ink liner

Every once in awhile you get it wrong. Or maybe you didn't give something enough of a chance. Like that nerdy guy that you just knew would be a hottie later even though nobody else agreed that he had amazing cheekbones (true story!). Sometimes you have to wait a little longer to truly see how something evolves.

As a beauty blogger, I review a lot of items and I try to give everything a fair shot. My general policy is to test everything for at least a 2-4 weeks (at least 4 if it's skincare) to ensure I test it out in various conditions and over time to see results. Even still, sometimes I don't always get it right.

That's why I decided to try something new and to a review re-do of a couple of items that I've switched sides on. For various reasons, I gave these products a buy or ditch verdict, but now I am changing my official verdict, for reasons I'll outline below.

Redo #1: The Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
What it is: A deeply hydrating eye cream containing avocado oil, shea butter and salicylic acid. This cream is designed to hydrate and reduce fine lines and increase suppleness.

My original thoughts:While I found this cream to be hydrating, it didn't do anything for my fine lines and I couldn't stand the texture, which was very odd. If my eye area or fingers were damp at all, this cream would slide around and refuse to adhere to skin, making it difficult to apply.

Original verdict: Ditch

Why I'm changing my mind: Since first reviewing this cream back in June, I've become used to the odd texture. It very rarely slips around anymore because now I just make sure my fingers are dry when using it. I like how this cream applies richly, but absorbs readily, with judicious patting of my fingers. While my fine lines still appear (nothing seems to work on those damn things!), my eye area appears more even and softer, now that I'm using this cream both morning and night. My dark circles also seem slightly reduced and are easier to cover up. Although this cream may seem pricey at first, you really only need a small dab per eye. I've been using mine now for about 3 months and I've only used up  about half of the jar!

New Verdict: Buy

Redo #2: Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer
What it is: An illuminating primer and color corrector. Available in various shades to address different concerns, the shade Banane is designed to eliminate redness, smooth over pores and provide a dose of moisture. Plus, this primer even contains real diamond powder to give you that inner glow!

My original thoughts: I was blown away by this primer's ability to eliminate redness on my skin; so much so that I even wore this primer on its own. While I didn't notice any significant effect from this primer on extending my foundation's longevity, I did enjoy its smoothing and slightly mattifying properties, while giving my skin a healthy glow.

Original verdict: Buy

Why I'm changing my mind: Maybe it's the changing of the seasons or of my skin, but I no longer enjoy wearing this primer at all. I reviewed the Luminous Correcting Primer back in November 2014, just before my skin decided to rebel on me over the holidays and while winter was in full swing. Nowadays, my skin seems to hate anything that feels slightly heavy or stifling and this primer just feels way too mask-like for the summer weather. Even back in spring, I found this primer to feel much thicker than before and even though my skin doesn't generally hate silicones, I feel that the heaviness from the silicones used in this product are to blame. As well, I think my skin is slightly lighter  than before, and I found the golden shimmer that this primer imparts a bit too fake and metallic looking for my current tastes. I was all ready to throw this one out right after writing this post, but now I'm wavering whether to hold onto it until the winter to give it a third, last try.

New verdict: Ditch

Redo #3: Make Up Forever Graphic Liner
What it is: A glossy finish liquid liner that promises to give you all the control and versatility you ever dreamed for with a blacker-than-black finish.

My original thoughts: I loved the control and ease that this liner gave me. This liquid pen liner applied like a dream, with super dark color in just one easy swipe. The only things I didn't like? The price! Paying $29 for an eyeliner just seemed way too ridiculous, even for a liquid liner lover like me.

Original verdict: Ditch

Why I changed my mind: Call me hypocritical, but I LOVE THIS LINER SO MUCH I DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT MONEY. I hate to admit it, but this liner is so good that I will willingly shell out $30 to get this one again and again. And what made me change my mind about the price? Because it's been 7 months since I started using this liner and it is STILL super black and the felt tip hasn't worn out at all! It's still just as freaking amazing as when I first opened it and that has literally never happened before with any pen tip liquid liner I've used. Ever. In my life. This is a game changer people in case you still don't get my point.

New verdict: Buy

What do you think of these review redo's: should I do more? 

PS. Happy BC Day!

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