DHC Acerola Cream | A little pot of goodness

dhc acerola cream review

Do you switch up your skincare with the seasons? Thankfully Vancouver is fairly temperate so my skin doesn't notice the changing of the seasons too much, but it's always fun to change things up a bit. Lately, I've been leaning using lighter creams and relying more on mists to hydrate my skin, but as the weather begins slowly to transition to pumpkin spice season, I've been transitioning my skincare as well.

I knew I wanted something hydrating, yet not heavy and lately the DHC Acerola Cream is giving me just that. Containing extracts of the acerola berry, which DHC claims contains more vitamin C than a typical orange, the DHC Acerola Cream promises to hydrate, plump and smooth skin.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this cream are:
  • Water
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride - a moisturizer derived from coconut oil
  • Isopentyldiol - a solvent
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Isohexadecane - helps products feel rich and creamy without feeling heavy
This cream also contains olive oil (moisturizing), squalane (moisturizing), tocopherol (vitamin E), argan oil (moisturizing), crambe abyssinica seed oil (moisturizing), allantoin (moisturizing) and hyaluronic acid (moisturizing). 

Sadly, the star of the show, acerola fruit extract, appears near the bottom of the ingredient list, but this cream does contain many other proven moisturizers to make up for it.

dhc acerola facial cream

Price & Packaging
I was quite surprised by how small this cream looks, but it actually contains 41 ml of product, which is a fairly decent size and I think the smallness of the jar, plus that it's pink, makes this cream look really adorable!

Each jar costs around $23 which sounds pricey, but if you compare it to say a bottle of Olay Total Effects which looks much larger, but is around $26 for 50 ml, there's really not much difference. It's funny how the eye can fool you!

Designed for normal-to-oily skin, this cream fulfills its promise of feeling rich, but lightweight. This is the type of cream that can comfortably be used both day and night and is great for anyone who wants moisture without excessive stickiness. Depending on your hydration needs, this could be enough for you at night, but I'd recommend pairing it with a serum outside of summer as it really is quite light.

I've been using this cream alternately during the day and at night. At night, I like to pair it with a serum and facial oil to up the moisture factor and it feels comfortable and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. More often, this has been a great day cream for me, delivering moisture without leaving me an oil slick, or clogging my pores, and it pairs really well with my sunscreen and foundation.

DHC acerola cream review

Final Verdict
Buy - super cute packaging with lots of moisturizing ingredients. Sized perfectly for travel, this cream helps give lightweight, lasting moisture.

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Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Haul and First Impressions

Bite lipstick cover image

Why is that when you try to restrain yourself, life decides to place temptation in your way? Recently, my deal fairies brought to my attention that Sephora was clearing out the original Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipsticks in favour of the newer Amuse Bouche and so trios of the lipsticks were selling for the same price as a single. Technically, I was on a self-imposed shopping ban until my Spain trip, but how can you ignore a deal like that?! I'm only human!

The two trios for sale were grouped as a "nude" and a "bold" option. Naturally, I got both and after spending a couple weeks just petting and cooing over them, I'm finally ready to share my very first impressions of them with you!

Compared to the Amuse Bouche line, the Luminous Creme lipsticks are supposedly more hydrating and with a glossier finish, but because of these aspects, they are also more prone to feathering, transfer and slightly shorter wear time. However, like the Amuse Bouches, all of the lipsticks featured here had true one-swipe color with an enjoyable creaminess that melted onto lips and they had a light, candy-like scent. Whereas I find sometimes the Amuse Bouche lipsticks would tug very very slightly, the Luminous Cremes did not. Between the two lines, there is a lot of the same shades, but I think for the most part the colors are the same.

bite beauty luminous creme nude trio
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Nude trio

Now onto the photos! The first trio I was immediately drawn to was the nudes of course. I'm all about pink MLBB shades and I literally have a whole pencil box dedicated to just MLBB shades. The Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Nude trio contains:
  • Fig, a petal pink 
  • Retsina, a pale beige with pink undertones
  • Musk, a pink-brown
I already own and LOVE Fig from the Amuse Bouche line and so this one is strictly a restock for me. I was worried that the two would differ and they do very slightly in that the Luminous Creme version is much glossier and a little bit sheerer. I still love it though and it's the perfect everyday shade.

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in fig
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Fig

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in fig
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Fig

Retsina really surprised me as it looked darker in the tube than it applied on my lips. Retsina felt almost oily on and it's about 2 shades lighter than I think I can pull off. I loved how pigmented it is though; you only need two swipes to get full opacity, so if your skin tone can suit this one, I'd say get on it!

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in retsina
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Retsina

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in retsina
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Retsina

After Retsina I was feeling let down by the nudes, but Musk pulled it back for me. This shade is made for people like me. It's just brown enough to align with my medium-tone skin, but the rosiness helps veer it away from making me look sickly or too 90's. A true MLBB!

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in musk
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Musk

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in musk
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Musk

If nudes aren't your thing, then the next few photos will get your makeup senses tingling! I wasn't originally going to purchase the bold trio as I already own so many reds, but these three are just so drop-dead gorgeous, I couldn't help myself! The Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Bold trio contains: 
  • Mulberry, a deep maroon 
  • Zivoli, a vibrant true, warm red 
  • Tannin, a cool toned deep blood red
bite beauty luminous creme lipstick bold trio
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Bold trio

I'm a firm believer that there's a red out there for everyone and within this trio, I think many of us can find that perfect match. 

Mulberry is unique in my collection as I don't generally find myself drawn to vampy, deep plums, but Mulberry has just enough red in it to make it wearable and I love how it reminds me of a glass of Merlot. Although a lot of the swatches and photos online made this lipstick appear as more of a deep wine with purple tones, on me the reds came through much more. I was actually surprised that it was quite wearable despite the intensity of the tube. This would be really great to pair with a soft smoky brown eye.

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in mulberry
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Mulberry

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in mulberry
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Mulberry

For a more traditional red lipstick look, then look no further than Zivoli. Zivoli is the kind of red you'll see in vintage makeup looks as it's a true, old-fashioned red that's just dying to be paired with cat-eye eyeliner. Unlike the others, I was a bit disappointed by this one as it wandered out of my lip lines a bit and applied a bit patchy, as you can see in the photo. That being said, it's really comfortable to wear and I love how it's a neutral red without any orange in sight.

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in zivoli
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Zivoli

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in zivoli
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Zivoli

Last, but not least is my favourite of the bold trio - Tannin! This one was such a pain to apply and I'd recommend using a lip brush and lip liner. Tannin loves to wander outside of my lip lines and although the pointed tip of the Bite lipstick bullets makes corrections a lot easier, this usability will quickly diminish as the tip wears down. Tannin is CRAZY pigmented and is what I would call a blood, almost garnet red. This is the type of red that you wear when you want to seduce someone or just generally feel powerful. I have no idea how to pull this off in the day, but dayum would it ever look good at night!

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in tannin
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Tannin

bite beauty luminous creme lipstick in tannin
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Tannin

If you've never tried Bite before, then I hope I've enabled you to check this Canadian brand out! You can still purchase the Luminous Creme lipsticks at Sephora, for the regular price of $28. They're pricey, but whether you get the Luminous Creme or the Amuse Bouche, these are among my favourite lipsticks to wear and I cannot recommend them enough!

Which of these shades would you wear?

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Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette Review | All hail the contour!

makeup revolution contour palette review

When you think of summer, what comes to mind? Beaches, sunglasses, sipping sangrias maybe. Well for me, it also makes me think: GLOW. Although I do love a good glow in winter too, winter glow is more about ice fairy/ethereal/elf-lady-goddessness, but for summer, I'm all about that warm, sun-kissed California surfer glow. Unfortunately I work for a living, so getting that from natural sources is a bit tricky for me. So a girl's gotta fake it to make it, y'kno and this Makeup Revolution contour palette that I've been using lately is my everything to not look super pasty and tired.

The Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette is a stunning eight pan mix of contour and highlight powders designed to help anyone sculpt and strobe their way to heaven. There are three highlight/brightening shades, alongside three corresponding contours, and two iridescent baked highlighters. As you can see, this means that the Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette leans a bit more towards the strobing side than the contouring side, but I think that's actually quite smart as strobing is way more accessible.

Shade Breakdown
Starting from the top, the Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette contains:
  • a matte, baby pink highlighter that is a nice pink highlight for the tops of cheekbones
  • a matte, yellow cream highlighter that is ideal for those who like to bake or really highlight under the eyes
  • a slightly shimmery blush pink highlighter that is really great for applying a subtle glow all over
  • a silky shimmery white highlighter that can be used sparingly to give yourself super cut cheekbones or wherever you want maximum glow
  • a warm, matte chocolate brown contour
  • a slightly taupe brown matte contour
  • a medium, slightly warm brown matte contour
  • a peachy golden shimmery highlight
makeup revolution ultra contour palette review

Price & Packaging
The entire palette retails for around $15 depending on your source, which is really great value considering you get eight generously sized pans. The palette comes packaged in sleek black plastic casing with a full sized mirror. Unlike most plastic packaging, this one doesn't actually feel super cheap or flimsy. It has a nice click to it when you close it and although it shows every piece of dust, it doesn't' seem to collect fingerprints excessively.

Each pan is big enough to easily accommodate my usual blush and bronzing brushes, although my Bdellium Maestro 987 Face Blending brush has a bit of trouble fitting, but it's not a deal breaker.

makeup revolution ultra contour palette swatches
Swatches in indoor light

Pigmentation & Wear
Now onto the juicy details! I surprised myself with how much I love this palette. I've even been reaching for it more often than my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow (partly because this one is so cheap, I don't feel bad using it up). 

I love that all the contours are matte and are pure browns. No orange mess here! A contour palette isn't for everyone as you really only need one color to use as a proper contour, but I actually find myself mixing and matching these a little bit. With my skin having a bit of tan, I use the leftmost shade as my starting contour. Each of the contour shades are crazy pigmented, but this one is the most, so dip your brush sparingly. After some very vigorous blending, I then apply another layer using the middle shade to my contour if I want to deepen it and then the middle shade lightly mixed with the warmer tone as a bronzer if I feel I need more definition around the jaw or forehead. 
Despite being a highlighter fan, I haven't been using the matte highlights as much. To me, a matte highlight doesn't make much sense, but I do use the pink shades if I want to tone down my bronzer. All the matte highlights also make great base eye shadows as they are pigmented and easy to blend without any fallout or powdery texture, which isn't something I can't say of all my matte eye shadows!

And now onto my favourite part of this palette - the baked highlighters! I am so in love with these. Each are quite simply beautiful. They are both shiny, but not glittery in any way; they just have a straight up, gorgeous shimmery sheen. The peach one is pigmented, but subtle and I love to load this onto my cheekbones. The white highlight I use more sparingly and for targeted highlighting along the high points of my face.

makeup revolution ultra contour palette swatches
Swatches in outdoor light - SO PRETTY!!

All the shades wear very well throughout the day. After the 6-8 hour mark, you may need to gently touch up a bit. I didn't notice any cakiness with cream products and they all blend very easily.

Lastly, here's a look I put together last weekend wearing just this palette on my face and eyes! For the eyes, I used the matte pink highlight as a base, then applied the shimmery pink highlight all over and the middle contour shade to my crease. Then I applied the white baked highlighter to the center of my lid and the peach-gold baked highlight to the crease and blended it all together.

makeup revolution ultra contour palette makeup look

makeup revolution ultra contour palette makeup look

I love this type of warm, sun-kissed look for summer and thanks to this palette, it only took me a few minutes to do!

Final Verdict
Buy - Affordable, pigmented and with some drop-dead gorgeous highlighters. A must-buy!

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Kiss Pro Top Brow Fine Precision Brow Pencil Review | Precise, natural brows at your fingertips

kiss new york top brow pencil

The hype about brows has died down a little bit in recent months, but brows are still a makeup essential that everyone should try to master. Doing my brows is one of those no-fuss steps that I always make time to tackle and it's especially easy when you are using all-in-one products like the Kiss Pro Top Brow Fine Precision Brow Pencil (now is that a mouthful to say or what!).

I only recently discovered Kiss Pro New York makeup after checking them out at this year's #LDBeauty event by London Drugs. There's not too much info on their website either, but what I do know is that they take Asian makeup techniques (particularly that of K-Beauty) and adapt it to Western colors and pigmentation; so think bold, saturated colors, with long-lasting finishes and easy wear.

The Kiss Pro Top Brow Fine Precision Brow Pencil is probably the most subdued of the products I tried out by Kiss Pro, but that doesn't mean it doesn't carry any impact. This super-fine pencil comes with a built-in spoolie, which is basically standard for any brow pencil these days, and comes in six shades. I received the shade Taupe, which is perfect for Asian skin tones who have black-brown hair. My brow hair is slightly darker than the rest of my head, so I like how this shade allows me to either lighten my brows a bit, or go bolder by filling them in heavier.

kiss pro top brow fine precision brow pencil review
Teeny tiny tip!

The tip on this brow pencil is one of the finest I've ever tried and I like how easy it is to use as you simply twist up! Of course, that means you can't sharpen it manually to an sharp point, but the tip is already naturally so small that I don't think it matters.

In terms of texture, this pencil was perfect for filling in the tails of my brows and it's not super hard either, so it's great for filling in gaps as well. I like pairing this with a brow shadow to fill in the major gaps, while reserving this pencil to do the ends and define the shape of my brows.

kiss new york brow pencil
Left: filled in
Right: au naturel

My only complaint is that this pencil retails for $12.99, which is a bit pricey for a drugstore product. If I'm going to splurge on brow products, I'd rather get something fancier like a brow gel which will last me months and months. For what it is, it works, but there's nothing else about this pencil to write home about.

Final Verdict
Ditch - works well and if you're used to paying a lot for brow pencils, then this might be a cheap alternative for you, but personally I'd rather put my money elsewhere.

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Lush Haul c/o the new Lush Cosmetics Mobile App!

lush cosmetics shopping haul

A couple months ago, one my favourite natural skincare companies, Lush Cosmetics finally launched their own dedicated mobile app! Available on both iPhone and Android devices, the Lush Cosmetics mobile app lets Lushies shop, browse and share about their favourite Lush products.

I work in the tech industry, so trying out the new Lush app was interesting for me on multiple levels. I found the app to be easy to use and very appealing as Lush makes full use of beautiful imagery and on-brand coloring and fonts to emulate that in-store feel. Too bad there's no way to transmit scent yet through a phone as that would have just topped off this app experience perfectly!

lush mobile app review

You can shop for products by the usual category types, but also by scent and feeling, which is really cool. Product pages include full details about the product, as well as reviews, full ingredients and related products. There's also a section to to read more about Lush's use of various ingredients and company adventures, as well a tips and tricks. Lastly, if you're lucky enough to live near a Lush spa, you can browse what treatments are available; I kinda wish they had put some localization into this section as hardly anyone lives near a Lush spa location and I got overly excited at first thinking I could go to one :(

lush mobile app review

lush mobile app review

Anyhoo, onto what I purchased! After adding a ton of things to my wishlist, I finally pared it down to a few key essentials.

lush go faster feet

Firstly, I've been dying for a good foot cream as my feet have been really getting rough with all the dry heat and sandal wearing. Go Faster Feet is a luxurious, yet lightweight foot cream containing thyme, bergamot and cocoa butter to moisturize and make feet fresh smelling. I wish this was actually heavier, but time till tell if this eventually gives me baby feet!

The second product I was most excited to purchase was the Superbalm scalp treatment. My scalp is like a parched desert and after reading all the rave reviews, I knew I just had to splurge on this one. First of all, it smells amazing - like a mix of something medicinal or minty with coconut oils - and secondly it feels SO GOOD on my scalp. Just a little bit of this gives me instant relief, although it does make your hair oilier and harder to wash.

lush cosmetics shopping haul

Lastly, I never would have thought to get these three items without having tried the app and I'm so excited to see how they work! The Full of Grace serum bar is so unique. It's a solid serum that looks like Lush's massage bars and works very similarly. Originally created for use in the Lush Spa, these serum bars are warmed between hands and then massaged gently into skin. Full of Grace contains muru muru butter, rose petals, almond oil and anti-aging mushroom extracts to soothe and calm skin.

And just to continue the spa/pamper date feeling, is this Tea Tree Toner Tab. This one-time use tab dissolves in hot water to create a gentle steam bath for your face. Tea tree oil is amazing for cleansing pores and reducing irritation. You can even use the leftover water as a toning spray after!

I don't often get into a Lush store, but the new app is a great way to keep myself stocked with skincare goodies. What's on your Lush Cosmetics wishlist?

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Face of the Day Featuring the Revlon Eyes, Cheeks + Lips Palette in Romantic Nudes

makeup look with revlon eye cheek lips palette

Is anyone else shocked and appalled that we are in the last few weeks of summer? At least the weather here in Vancouver has swung back towards the sunny side, as if to say "won't you miss me when I'm gone?" YES I WILL, SUMMER. YOU GOT ME.

With all the sudden warmness, I've been trying to get out of the house as much as I can and as a result blogging has fallen a bit to the wayside. Only the demands of my editorial calendar's deadlines keeps me in check. Barely. So today is a bit of a half-assed post featuring one of my latest acquisitions, the Revlon Eyes, Cheeks + Lips Palette.

revlon eye cheek + lip palette in romantic nudes

New for summer, the Revlon Eyes, Cheeks + Lips Palettes come in three different shades and are designed to be your ultimate all-in-one makeup basic. Each palette contains six eye shadows, four lip colors and a blush, all in perfectly coordinated shades. Berry in Love features a beautiful mix of purples and raspberry-toned lip colors that would be swoon-worthy for fall; Seductive Smokies contains a vampy mix of blue-grey tones, purples and deep reds; while Romantic Nudes is a dead-easy mix of peach, gold and brown tones.

I received the shade Romantic Nudes to try and it is right up my alley. All the shades lean warm-neutral, with the left-hand side leaning slightly warmer, and show up very well on my medium-toned skin. Pigmentation and blendability are pretty good for a drugstore palette. My brushes were able to pick up color easily and each shade was simple to build up to your desired intensity.

revlon eyes cheeks + lips palette in romantic nudes review

While I wouldn't call the eye shadows shimmers, they certainly aren't matte. I suppose I would call these "lightly glittered" as the base color is matte, but it contains a fine mix of teeny glitter that gives it a bit of dimension; it's kinda odd to me, but it works! Lastly, wear time is so-so. I need a primer to make this last through a whole work day and even then, it still slightly creases. I have pretty oily eyelids though that requires primer everyday, so take that as you will.

If you're a makeup collector, then every shade in this palette and its sister shades, is likely dupeable and most likely the Revlon Eyes, Cheeks + Lips Palettes will be a pass. If you're a makeup noob however, then this palette is totally worth it.

Even though you may initially balk at its $20 price, this palette has everything a casual makeup user would ever need. As I have so many palettes (SO MANY) I didn't bother trying out the lip colors as I knew this was instantly going into my giveaway pile, but I would really recommend this as each pan is a decent size and the colors are so easy to mix and match you could probably slap these on with your eyes closed and go.

My only complaints about this one is that the packaging is nothing to write home about as it's just cheap plastic. Also, the blush pan is way too tiny for a regular fluffy blush brush to dig into. Pretty minor complaints though and yes, this blush totally works as a base shadow too!

To demonstrate how easy this palette is to use, here's a makeup look I wore to work Monday. This palette is so great to use for an easy daytime smoky eye. Just blend a bit here, blend a bit there and within a couple minutes you're done!

Look Details

#motd with Revlon eyes, cheeks + lips palette

  • Burberry Fresh Glow in No 26 Beige (review)
  • Wet N' Wild Color Icon Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana (review) to set
  • NYX Color Correcting Palette (review) under the eyes to brighten
  • All Revlon Eyes, Cheeks + Lips Palette in Romantic Nudes
  • Middle left shadow all over lid
  • Top left shadow on brow bone to highlight
  • Bottom left shadow along lashline up to crease
  • Bottom right in outer corner
  • Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink
  • Clinique Pretty Easy Brow palette (review)
  • MUFE Pro Sculpting palette (review) as blush and highlight
  • Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate in Rosetto
  • MAC Cremesheen Glass in Richer, Lusher

revlon eyes, cheeks + lips palette romantic nudes look

I hope you enjoyed this look! How are you enjoying the end of summer?

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Jergens BB Perfecting Hand Cream Review | Finally, an affordable hand cream with SPF!

Jergens BB Perfecting Hand Cream Review

You can spend all you want on fancy face creams, but it's easy to forget one sure-fire way to giveaway your age: your hands.

Hands are exposed to the elements everyday and they undergo more wear and tear than most parts of your body and over the years that begins to show. I've been really paranoid about having wrinkly spotty hands when I'm old, so I've been on the hunt for a long while for a hand cream with a decent level of SPF and moisture factor. Today I'm very happy to report that I have found it!

The Jergens BB Perfecting Hand Cream dropped in my mailbox awhile ago and I've been trying this out over the summer. This cream is kind of amazing; not only does it claim to moisturize, it also protects from the sun with SPF 20 and over time it works to reduce hyper-pigmentation and produce more even, youthful skin. If only I could slather this on my face!

Thankfully, I don't have any dark spots or age spots yet on my hands, so I can't really verify if that aspect of this cream works, but Jergens claims that wearers will start to see results in as little as 2 weeks!

What I can report about this cream is that it feels very lightweight and has a light perfume that fades as the cream absorbs. If you have very dry hands, I'd layer this over a heavier hand cream, but for summer it's enough for me.

The Jergens BB Perfecting Hand Cream is quite slippery, but doesn't have that stickiness that so many products that contain SPF have. It just feels a bit oily and light. This cream keeps my hands feeling soft and comfortable for a few hours, but it never hurts to reapply often to make sure that you get that SPF coverage! I love slathering this on right before I leave the house since I'll be driving and my hands will be exposed on the wheel. No more trying to hide my hands in my sleeves!

I couldn't seem to find pricing or ingredients online, but you can find this cream in London Drugs, Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart. Since it's a drugstore item, I'm guessing it's not super expensive either. I know that I'll be repurchasing this again!

Final Verdict

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Mega Review Featuring THEFACESHOP Hwansaenggo Escargot Collection!

THEFACESHOP hwansaenggo face cream

So excited today to finally share with you guys my thoughts on the latest skincare collection by THEFACESHOP! The Hwansaenggo Escargot collection consists of a cleanser, eye cream, emulsion, eye mask, face mask, night cream, serum, and toner all containing a potent mix of snail mucus and real gold. Snail mucus may sound really weird, but it's all the rage in Asian beauty right now for its powerful anti-aging capabilities. As well gold is commonly used as a luxury ingredient to help detox the skin and give it a beautiful radiance.

Compared to THEFACESHOP other product lines, the Hwansaenggo collection is definitely higher-end with beautiful cardboard packaging and sleek gold toned exteriors. If you're under 25, I wouldn't even bother using this line as the packaging and ingredients skew for an older demographic, but if you're in your late 20's and up, then hell yes go check this out!

Now, onto my thoughts on each of these individual products!

Hwansaengoo Escargot Golden Firming Cleanser

THEFACESHOP hwansaenggo foaming face wash

Price: $30 for 150 ml
Description: A foaming cleanser that cleanses and hydrates.
Major ingredients:
  • Water
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Myristic acid - a lubricant, emulsifier and cleansing agent
  • Lauric acid - a moisturizing cleanser that also helps reduce blemishes thanks to it antibacterial properties
  • Potassium hydroxide - a foaming agent and cleanser that also helps keep skin pH balanced
Thoughts: This cleanser is SUCH GOOD VALUE. The first time I tried this, I didn't know how much to use, so I squeezed out my usual amount, which is maybe about a dime sized amount. I ended up with a crazy mass of foam that made my face look like it was swallowed by a cloud! Now I know to use just a teeny smidgen of cleanser and it's still enough to generate a lot of foam. Unlike most foam cleansers, this one isn't drying at all. It actually has a very creamy texture, maybe due to the snail extract, that made it a little harder to rinse off, but was still just as effective at cleansing off all dirt and oil. My only complaint about this one was that if you get any of it anywhere close to your eyes, it does sting.
Verdict: Buy

Hwansaenggo Escargot Golden Firming Toner

THEFACESHOP hwansaenggo toner

Price: $50 for 155 ml
Description: An anti-aging toner that helps firm, hydrate and protect skin from environmental damage thanks to its snail mucus, black ginseng and 24 k gold.
Major ingredients:
  • Snail secretion filtrate - moisturizing
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Dipropylene glycol - helps other ingredients penetrate skin
  • Niacinamide - helps reduce hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin, and improves elasticity
Thoughts: I love how the special snail extract is the topmost ingredient in this toner! I'm a big fan of this toner. The bottle itself is quite elegant, but the toner itself is really pretty as it's a light golden color with actual gold flakes in it. This toner is meant as a moisturizing toner, so you apply it after cleansing to balance out your skin and give it a splash of moisture that helps prep it for your heavier hitting products. My skin drinks up this toner like it's no tomorrow and it gives it an instant plumpness and luminosity. I would definitely repurchase this one!
Verdict: Buy

Hwansaenggo Escargot Golden Firming Serum

THEFACESHOP hwansaenggo serum

Price: $75 for 45 ml
Description: Repair tired, aging skin with the powers of snail mucus, gold and black ginseng. This lightweight serum is instantly absorbed by skin for improved elasticity and radiance.
Major ingredients:
  • Snail secretion filtrate
  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Propanediol - helps other ingredients penetrate skin and is also moisturizing
  • Triethylhexanoin - an emollient (prevents moisture loss)
Thoughts: Like the toner, this serum is a lightweight gel that absorbs easily into skin. It's an opaque, brass color flecked with gold, but applies transparent onto the skin. Unlike the toner, I'd say the serum is a bit more sticky and creamy but it's not heavy feeling by any means. I really like these types of serums as they absorb quickly and pair really well with heavier creams. You could use this serum both day and night, but I've been using the toner during the day and the serum at night. Both the toner and the serum come in the same sized bottles, but the serum actually only contains 45 ml of product. It's not really a fair comparison, but I think I actually prefer the toner over the serum as I get more product for the cost and the toner contains better ingredients in my opinion. A serum should really be a heavier hitting product, but I didn't really notice any dramatic effect from this one, so I'd say save your money for something better.
Verdict: Ditch

THEFACESHOP Hwansaenggo Escargot Collection

Hwansaenggo Escargot Golden Firming Eye Cream

THEFACESHOP hwansaenggo eye cream

Price: $75 
Description: A concentrated anti-aging eye cream that targets those first signs of aging.
Major ingredients:
  • Snail secretion filtrate
  • Water
  • Butylene glycol - a penetration enhancer that helps give this cream a slippery texture
  • Hydrogenated polydecene - a emollient
  • Neopentyl glycol diethyl hexanoate - an emollient
Thoughts: This eye cream is a rich, deeply hydrating eye cream, but it still feels lightweight enough for use during the day. It's easily spreadable and absorbs quickly so you get a bit of a tacky feeling, but you can easily apply makeup after. Although it doesn't totally do away with my fine lines, this eye cream still wore better than most I've tried, which makes it a winner, if not a HG, in my books. I'm not sure how large the tube is, but it seems a lot bigger than most eye creams and you only need a small dot per eye, so I think this is pretty good value for $75.
Verdict: Buy

Hwansaenggo Escargot Golden Firming Cream

THEFACESHOP Hwansaenggo Escargot Collection

Price: $69 for 50 ml
Description: A rich anti-aging face cream that helps improve skin's elasticity and radiance by deeply hydrating it with extracts of snail, gold, ginseng, garlic and mushroom, as well as shea butter.
Major ingredients:
  • Snail secretion filtrate
  • Propanediol
  • Macadamia ternifolia seed oil - an emollient
  • Dimethicone - a smoothing silicone that helps seal in moisture and gives skin a smooth, plump appearance
Thoughts: This cream is so rich that I've been using it as a night cream only. With its thick, silky texture, this cream feels really luxurious to apply and my skin just loves to soak up its moisture. Although not the richest night cream I've ever tried, this one does feel pretty nice and gives me soft, smooth and even skin every morning. It has a very light scent to it and dayum is this jar ever pretty! All good things aside though, this cream is a bit pricey for what it is. If this cream was say, $40 or even $50 then I might say go for it, but $69 is just a bit past my limit.
Verdict: Ditch

Overall, I think this line was really nice... but not life changing. If you're going to spend basically $300 on this collection it had better be amazing and I do not think the Hwansaenggo collection is anywhere near that. None of the products were bad, but the price point just makes me hesitate on whether I'd ever repurchase. Extra points though for packaging design as the packaging on these are top-notch and the ingredients were pretty good with most of them containing the hailed snail mucus as the first ingredient. While I wouldn't recommend splurging on the entire collection, I would recommend getting the cleanser and the eye cream, with the toner being a "treat yo'self" addition. 

Have you tried any snail skincare products?

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Caliburger: Bringing California taste to Vancouver

caliburger vancouver review
Caliburger Vancouver on Thurlow and Robson

In the last couple years, it seems like the humble hamburger is experiencing a sort of revival in Vancouver. Nowadays, the hamburger is not just your standard basic found on every bar and Western style restaurant menu; it's gone positively gourmet with chefs inserting new twists on the standard ingredients. As far as I can tell, if you're going to try freshen up your basic burger you can go one of two ways: either you go crazy unique with wacky ingredients and fusions, or you pay homage to the burgers of yore and try to make the absolute pinnacle of the classic that lives in everyone's memories.

Vancouver's most recent entry into the hamburger revival, Caliburger, chose to go that latter path it seems. Starting off in, of course, California, Caliburger seeks to evoke the classic burger joints of California's surf towns. Their slogan "California, land of dreams - and also really great hamburgers" also serves to emphasize that easy-breezy, all-American appeal. If you've ever been to Fat Burger, or In-N-Out, then you'll find Caliburger to feel very familiar.

Vancouver is only the second Caliburger location to open in Canada (the other being in Waterloo) so burger lovers everywhere were all a-buzz with the opening, which was the other month. I missed the opening event, but Caliburger's PR was kind enough to give me some free passes to visit on my own time, which I did the other weekend for the Celebration of Light fireworks finale.

caliburger vancouver review
Our order: 3 combos plus a single cheeseburger

I really loved the laid back, Cali-style feel of the restaurant. Interestingly, Caliburger also serves some really cool cold brew coffee, which I didn't try this time, but which looked very refreshing. That may just be a Vancouver addition as I don't see it mentioned on the main Caliburger website.

In terms of menu options, you've got your standard hamburger, cheeseburger and chicken burger, as well as a vegetarian mushroom option. The chicken burgers come in two versions: Cali chicken, which is made with a lemon-herb marinade and avocado mayonnaise; and Chipotle BBQ, which swaps the mayo for a smoky BBQ sauce. The beef burgers come in single and double-patty renditions and all the burgers come with your standard onion, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. As well, you can even opt out of your standard bun and go for a lettuce wrap instead.

In terms of sides there are just fries, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic milkshakes (I really wanted to try an alcoholic milkshake with bourbon, but sadly was too full after!).

Caliburger cali fries
Cali-style fries - not the most photogenic, but trust me, they're delish!

The unique twist of eating at Caliburger comes when you ask for anything to be made "Cali-style." For the burgers, this means extra pickles and Caliburger's own special sauce, and for the fries it means fried onions and more Cali-sauce, which seems to be a less tangy version of Thousand Island dressing, with lots of melted cheese.

As odd as the sauce sounds, it was actually pretty tasty and I'd recommend getting everything made that way. Mr. Artist and I opted for the cheeseburger, while our friends got the double patty hamburger and the Cali chicken burger with a lettuce wrap. We all got our items Cali-style.

I love pickles, so I really liked having all the extra pickles in my burger, but other than that this burger was pretty meh for me. The Caliburger patties are super thin, like McDonalds thin, and even though everything is made fresh to order, the meat still tasted super bland. Also, the burgers were surprisingly small, with the exception of the double patty one. Now, we were still super full after consuming our burgers and fries, but for almost $15 after tax for a single combo, I felt a teeny bit shafted. Thank you Caliburger for enforcing portion control on me I guess! As for my friend who had the chicken lettuce wrap, she also felt it wasn't very flavourful and that her chicken was a bit dry.

caliburger vancouver
Cali chicken burger with a lettuce bun and the cheeseburger

On the plus side though, the fries were crispy and getting them Cali-style was definitely a good choice. As well, the restaurant had this fun pop machine where you could get all these different fruit mixes of Coke, like orange-Coke, or raspberry-Coke or even lemon-Coke! I recommend the raspberry, which is sweet, but not overly so.

caliburger vancouver review
Mr. Artist at the pop machine - so many choices!

Overall, while I found the ambiance of Caliburger pretty cool, I don't think I'd go back as the burgers didn't live up to the high prices. I'd rather get a reliable Teen Burger at A&W and if I do feel like splurging, I'd go for Five Guys instead. Don't take my word as gospel though - it was a super busy night being fireworks and maybe things were a little rushed, so try it out yourself and for sure get the Cali-style fries!

Have you tried Caliburger? What is your go-to burger joint?

* While I was provided passes to visit Caliburger, all opinions are my own.

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