#FOTD Featuring the Urban Decay Urban Vices Palette

FOTD with the Urban Decay Urban Vices

Lately, I've been trying to shop my stash more often instead of hoarding all my makeup for the Apocalypse when all makeup shall be gone *shudder* At least I know I'll be the most beautiful dystopian survivor with all my primers and shadow palettes! Anyways, one of those recent finds from my stash was this lil' mini quad shadow palette from Urban Decay.

The Urban Decay Urban Vices palette was a Sephora 500 VIB points perk that I cashed in on awhile ago. It's not often that you'll get some legit makeup with the Sephora points so I figured, why not? I'm a big fan of the Naked series, but have never tried anything from UD's Vice line.

Urban Decay Urban Vices eyeshadow palette

The Urban Decay Urban Vices palette features four slightly smaller than normal shades:
  • Dope, a peachy pink lid shade
  • Hoodoo, a yellow-toned lavender 
  • Derailed, an dark olive with brown undertones
  • Smokeout, a warm almost black
All the shades in the Urban Decay Urban Vices palette are from UD's other Vices palettes. Dope, Smokeout and Derailed are from the UD Vice 2 and Hoodoo is from the UD Vice LTD palette. All four shades have what I'd describe as a "satin-shimmer" finish. They are nowhere near as shimmery as the shimmer shades in the Naked palettes, nor are they a true satin IMO. Instead, I'd describe these as being in a very hard-to-describe, but wearable middle that's great for anyone who likes shimmers, but who has crepey eyelids or who doesn't want to emphasize wrinkles.

Also unlike most UD shadows I've tried, there was very little fallout. Pigmentation is spot-on of course and it's quite easy to work up the color, or to blend it out. Without primer, they crease on me like most shadows after a work day, but with primer I have no problems whatsoever. 

Urban Decay Urban Vices sephora perk

Since it's a freebie, UD didn't splurge on the packaging. It's just a cardboard flip-top palette with a small mirror and an eyeliner (which I promptly lost somewhere in the canyon that is my stash). I definitely feel that UD went with an unnecessarily thick packaging and it would have been nicer if this was a lot slimmer and easier for travel. Wouldn't doing that have saved them some more money too??

My only other complaint with this quad is that the pans are a wee bit too small for my brushes. It's still workable, but I like a bit more space to really run my brush around in a pan. Other than that, considering this is free, I can't complain too much! 

Urban Decay Urban Vices review

Since the shades here practically beg for a smoky eye, that's just what I did. I love swiping Dope all over. It's such a beautiful shade and I wish it would come in a giant pan because I would just dab that all over my cheeks too as it's a great subtle highlight. I was also surprised by how much I liked Hoodoo as well; it's a pretty spring pastel that isn't so fair that I can't make it work on my more medium skin tone. I used to wear shades like Hoodoo all the time when I was a teen, so this feels very #TBT to me y'kno? Derailed was also a joy to work with as it was very buttery and pigmented.

Urban Decay Urban Vices makeup look

Here I am wearing all four shades: Dope all over the lid, Hoodoo from lashline to just above my crease, Derailed in the outer corners and Smokeout smudged just a bit along the outer corner lashline. I'm also wearing Hoodoo and Derailed on my lower lashline. Together these make such a no-brainer smoky look that's still daytime appropriate if you don't wear any liner. To further keep this in daytime makeup territory, I didn't fill in my brows and am wearing a warmer black mascara instead of a pure black.

Urban Decay Urban Vices review and makeup look

Other products used in this look include

Face:

  • Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner (reviewed here)
  • NYX Color Correcting Palette (reviewed here)
  • Guerlain Meteorites Baby Glow Foundation (reviewed here)
  • Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana (reviewed here)
  • Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Baby Love
  • Lise Watier Jardin de Givre Illuminating Powder (reviewed here)

Eyes:

  • Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel
  • Clinique Chubby Lash Mascara in Bodacious Black Honey

Lips:

  • Rimmel London Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in Rossetto




I hope you enjoyed this look! Does this make you more curious to try the Urban Decay Vice palettes?




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THEFACESHOP Smile Foot Peeling Mask Review | Get smoother feet in just 1 week!

THEFACESHOP smile peeling foot mask

If I were a house in Game of Thrones, my words would be "Summer is coming" because summer is my favourite season! One of my favourite parts of summer is oddly enough not having to wear socks. Is there anything more carefree than free toes and shoes you can kick off without a care?

To get my feet ready for the sunshine season, I decided to try out THEFACESHOP's Smile Foot Peeling Mask. This peeling foot mask is an intensive treatment for your feet that promises to give you soft baby feet in just one week.

How it works is that inside each pack you have 2 socks and 2 packets of solution. Simply empty the solution into the socks, tie the socks closed, and chill out for an hour. After your time is up, remove the socks, rinse, and within a few days, all the dead skin and calluses will peel right off!

The Guts
THEFACESHOP Smile Foot Peeling Mask primarily contains:
  • Water
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Butylene glycol - helps other ingredients penetrate more easily into skin
  • Cetearyl alcohol - an emollient and emulsifier
  • Cetyl ethylhexanoate - lubricates skin and removes dry patches
Other ingredients of note are mineral oil (emollient), shea butter (moisturizing), urea (moisturizing, exfoliating), and salicylic acid (exfoliating). I do recall the box stating that this product contained glycolic acids, but I don't see it in the ingredients listed online.

THEFACESHOP smile foot mask review

Price & Packaging
As I mentioned, each pack contains 2 large plastic socks and 2 packs of peeling solution. The socks work well enough and are massive so it should fit all sizes of feet. Each sock has a tearaway band that is sticky on one side so you can fasten the socks closed, which is handy. A pack will cost you $14 which is fairly expensive for a sheet mask, but is worth it in my opinion as the results will last you a long time.

Effectiveness
It's best to use these masks when you have nowhere to go and before the weather warms up too much and you'll be wearing sandals all the time. I found putting on the socks and opening the solution packs simple enough, but do be forewarned that there is a LOT of solution in each pack! I accidentally spilled some of mine all over my bathroom floor, which was a pain to mop up. A whole solution pack was enough to cover the bottom of my socks and slightly immerse my feet. Then it was simply a waiting game to see my results.

While wearing the mask, I did notice some slight tingling on my skin, but nothing too annoying. Right after the treatment, my feet didn't look red or irritated and I didn't notice any effects just yet. About 3-4 days after though, it was a different story! All the dead skin was peeling off everywhere on my toes, the balls and heels of my feet. Even some of the skin on top of my feet was peeling away and revealing softer, newer skin underneath. It's pretty tempting to just pick away at all that dead skin, but try to restrain yourself as you could accidentally pull off too much skin and leave yourself with a painful cut, which I know from experience! After a few more days of peeling, my feet were back to normal and felt noticeably softer and smoother! 

THEFACESHOP peeling foot treatment review

I'm pretty impressed with my results with THEFACESHOP Smile Foot Peeling Mask and would definitely use these again if I have a big event to go to or right before I go on a beach vacation. 


Final Verdict
Buy - a quick, easy and painless way to get smoother feet with minimal effort.


* This post contains PR samples






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Les Soins de Jacynthe Skincare Review | 100% natural and 100% Canadian

jacynthe skincare review

I love trying out natural skincare products. I'm sure it's totally a marketing gimmick, but using natural products just feels so much better doesn't it? However, do they always work as well? Well today I'm putting one all natural skincare line to the test!

A few months ago I was contacted by the Quebecois brand, Soins de Jacynthe to try out some of their best-selling products. Founded by actress, activist and lifestyle guru Jacynthe Rene, Soins de Jacynthe is a 100% natural beauty line consisting of your usual cleansers, serums, creams, essential oils and soaps. What's really interesting is that not only does Jacynthe emphasize natural beauty, she also emphasizes that holistic approach in all aspects of life, as evidenced by her online magazine. There you can find tips and tricks on how to eat better, live a fuller life and of course purchase her products!

To try out the line, I was sent three of their best-selling products to try: the Floral Water Toner, the Cleansing Oil and Jacynthe's Serum.

Eau florale de neroli by Jacynthe

Floral Water Toner
Price: $18.90 for 100 ml
What it is: A refreshing floral water spray containing neroli and orange blossom. This soothing spray invigorates and hydrates skin while tightening pores.
What's in it: No ingredients were listed online.
My take: I'm new to toner mists and facial mists in general so it took a little getting used to, but I quite like this one. The smell is fresh and light with just a hint of orange to it. I like to douse my face with a good 3-4 sprays, which leaves my face feeling very hydrated and comfortable. I use this after cleansing and before applying any other products. Since I am being quite liberal with my application, I have to usually do a bunch of hand-waving to get my face dry before I can apply anything else on top. I don't think there's anything in this spray that would help to set makeup, but I think if you sprayed it from far enough away and just once or twice, you could use this as a pick-me-up to refresh tired makeup or to make powdery makeup melt into skin.
Final Verdict: Buy

Soins de Jacynthe cleansing oil

Cleansing Oil
Price: $28.35 for 50 ml
What it is: A gentle cleansing oil designed to remove dirt, impurities and makeup while also containing rich antioxidants to help condition skin. This cleansing oil is also recommended for acne-prone skin as it claims to help reduce sebum production.
What's in it: In no particular order, this oil contains
  • Jojoba - a wonder ingredient that helps moisturize, protect and repair skin. It is non-comedogenic, helps fight redness, is non-irritating, and can help your skin fight sun damage!
  • Apricot oil - an emollient (helps seal in moisture) and antioxidant
  • Sea buckthorn oil - an emollient with some antioxidant capabilities. 
  • Bourbon - a most unusual ingredient, but apparently good at oil control!
  • Geranium rosa oil - an astringent
  • Ylang ylang oil - fragrance, can be irritating
  • Sandalwood oil - similar purpose as ylang ylang
My take: The Jacynthe Cleansing Oil comes in a large glass bottle with a dropper dispenser. To clean off a full face of makeup (foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, liner, lipstick and brow pencil) I like to use 2 full sized droppers; this usually is enough to still hold in my small palm. This cleansing oil has a slight, medicinal/herbal smell that is not uncommon to "natural" products, and has a thicker consistency compared to other cleansing oils I've tried. I'd say the Jacynthe Cleansing Oil has a viscosity similar to the DHC cleansing oil, but with less slipperiness to it. I like to apply this to a dry face with slightly damp palms. Unlike most cleansing oils, the Jacynthe oil doesn't emulsify. It's literally as if you took a bunch of oils and massaged it onto your face. While I really like the ingredients in this oil, I don't find it to be an effective makeup remover for me. Sure, it does breakdown my makeup somewhat and does a pretty good job at removing mascara, which is often the toughest thing to remove, but it does a poor job at removing foundation. It's also really hard to rinse off as it doesn't emulsify. If you use this one, I would recommend following it up with a strong, soapy  or foam cleanser. A creamy or milky one won't be strong enough to wash through the oily layer of this cleansing oil plus remove anything leftover in terms of dirt and makeup. And then I'd recommend a good toner afterwards as well to remove any last vestiges of dirt. While it doesn't work well at cleansing for me, I do like how it softens my skin and makes it feels very conditioned and it's great for a good facial massage. I think I'll continue using this as a morning cleanser and keep to my regular cleansing oils at night.
Final Verdict: Ditch

Soins de Jacynthe serum review

Jacynthe's Serum
Price: $80.85 for 30 ml
What it is: A rejuvenating and restorative night serum designed to target signs of aging and restore the skin to a youthful glow. This serum can be used by all skin types except acne prone.
What's in it: In no particular order, this serum contains:
  • Evening primrose - an emollient and anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties
  • Borage - an emollient with significant anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used to fight eczema. It also helps restore skin's elasticity.
  • Sea buckthorn
  • Rosehip - antioxidant
  • Rosemary - antibacterial and antioxidant, but can be irritating
  • Sandalwood
My take: I would say this serum is very similar to my beloved Odylique Superfruit Concentrate Oil as both contain similar ingredients such as sea buckthorn, rosehip and rosemary oils, they both are a bright orange color and both feel more like a thick oil as opposed to a watery serum. Jacynthe's Serum though feels slightly thicker and has a much oilier consistency that sits more on top of my skin instead of being readily absorbed like the Superfruit Concentrate Oil (this could be due to the latter containing jojoba oil, which is readily absorbed by skin). As such, I prefer to use the Jacynthe Serum as more of a facial oil instead and it is the last step in my nightly routine. As a facial oil, Jacynthe's Serum spreads easily over my skin and leaves it feeling protected and hydrated. It takes a few minutes for this one to absorb like any oil and definitely less is more! The first time I used this oil, I used way too much and my face felt like an oil slick all night. 1-2 drops is definitely sufficient to cover my face. Since using this serum, my skin definitely feels comforted, softer and more even. Although it doesn't topple the Odylique serum for me, I'd say I do prefer this over other facial oils I've tried such as the Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil due to its lack of fillers and high amount of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients. Does that make it worth twice the price though? I'm not sure, but if you're willing to pay more to support natural, Canadian brands then maybe it is!
Final Verdict: Buy


Soins de Jacynthe skincare review

Overall I was fairly pleased with my results using the Soins de Jacynthe line. If you're interested in using high quality, all natural products, then this is a line you need to try. The only things I'd warn is that although these are just as good as their non-natural counterparts (with an exception to the cleansing oil), you are paying a premium for supporting a smaller, all natural brand. As well, the scents of these products is decidedly au naturel, so they may be a bit off-putting if you're more used to more generic floral skincare scents. Personally, I would only repurchase the cleansing oil. Although I did mark this one as a Ditch, I only did so because it didn't work as advertised for me, which is as a cleansing oil, but I do think it would make a lovely morning cleanser and the price and ingredients is good enough for me to consider using it again for that purpose.


* This post contains PR samples





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Annabelle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Review | A drugstore winner for stay all day eyes

annabelle waterproof liquid eyeliner review

I am unabashedly a liquid liner girl. Sure, pencils are probably more versatile since you can smudge them and blend them in a variety of ways, but there's just something so damn pulled together and sexy about a really good looking slash of liquid eyeliner. That's why I'm always on the hunt for cool new liquid liners to try and if they're affordable too, that just makes it all the better!

Recently, I got to try out two shades from Annabelle's new-ish Waterproof Liquid Eyeliners. Although they've had liquid eyeliners out for quite awhile, I think the waterproof version is somewhat new this year and having waterproof versions of stuff is so handy to have as summer inches closer.

The two shades I received to try are Bronze and Black Star. Bronze is a warm, slightly coppery brown, while Black Star is a soft black-grey. There is also a third shade in the line, Blue Spark, that is a brilliant bright blue. Each liner is $8.95 and is available at most drugstores in Canada, or online if you're in the states.

annabelle waterproof liquid eyeliner in bronze and black star
Left to right: Bronze and Black Star

Most of the packaging of these liners is taken up by the ultra-long, pointed lid. I like the look of these standing up and how the lid reflects the liner's color, but since I usually just store my makeup in a box, I kinda wish these liners were a slim pencil shape so it wouldn't take up so much room.

The liner brush tip itself is also not my favourite. It's not a brush or a felt sponge tip, but rather like a... really hard felt tip? Okay, if you pressed it against your skin as I did when I did these swatches, then you can see the tip bend, but on delicate eye skin, this tip felt really hard and stiff. As it's so stiff, it makes me feel that it is more prone to streakiness, plus the product itself tends to glom onto the wand more as opposed to being absorbed by the brush hairs or felt sponge for a more even coverage. What this all means is that if you don't thoroughly brush off excess product back into the bottle, that you will end up with huge blobs of liner mistakenly applied all into your eyelashes and you'll crease your liner like hell if you've got hooded eyes like me. Even in my swatches you can see how thick and gloopy this liner comes out as and I feel this is totally due to the wand.

annabelle waterproof liquid eyeliner review

Once you do vigorously brush off the excess though, this liner does work pretty well. The color is very pigmented and sets in seconds. I haven't had a chance to test how waterproof it is, but I can say that it is really hard to wash off and you will need a good cleansing oil to remove it, so I think it's safe to say you don't have to worry much about smudging or fading.

I love using the Bronze shade for an easy everyday eye as it has a hint of sparkle in it that gives my eyes some light and it pairs really well with the warmer tones I've been favoring lately. I was also surprised by how much I liked the gray Black Star shade as well. I've never used a gray liquid liner before and I liked how it gave my eyes definition, but not in as harsh a way as a black liner does.

Overall, if you're on the hunt for cheap, long-lasting liquid eyeliners, then I'd definitely try these ones out. Unfortunately I probably wouldn't repurchase these myself as I just hate that wand tip, but that could be personal preference. As far as drugstore liners go, these are pretty decent.


Final Verdict
Buy - you get ultra-pigmented color that stays put all day. The applicator is really annoying, but it's still workable and for the price I think it's still worth it.


Click here to read about another great drugstore find I'm loving - the new Orchid collection from Demeter! Plus, enter to win some yourself!


* This post contains PR samples




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#ACILovesSummer Beauty Preview Ft. Stila, CLEAN, Paul & Joe, Korres and Bliss! *warning: image heavy*

May means warmer temps, longer days so I have more time to walk the dog, and of course, more beauty events! All my favourite brands have a ton of new goodies coming out this summer and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at some of them a couple weeks ago at the ACI Beauty Preview. ACI is the parent firm that manufactures many popular brands, including Stila, Paul & Joe, CLEAN, Korres, Bliss, Anna Sui and many more. I love attending their events as it's like being a kid in a candy shop as we get to play with all the new items before anyone else, although this time around, many of these items were already on store shelves as the event covered both spring and summer launches.

Anyhoo, enough blabbing and let's get on to the goodies shall we?

clean reserve perfume

First up, some new goodies from my favourite perfume line, CLEAN! Their new Reserve collection is now also available in two smaller versions: a set of sample vials and travel-sized 0.34 oz bottles. The travel sized minis are almost exact replicas of their full sized counterparts with the same sustainable wood caps and recycled glass bottles. I absolutely adore this line. Each scent is very unique and so wearable and really feels a step above the regular CLEAN fragrances, which are already among my favourites.

korres rose oil

Next, Korres is a brand I'm not too familiar with, but I am so excited to try out this beautiful Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil. The bottle as you can see, contains real rose petals and contains Korres own vitamin C boosters that increase your skin's absorption of this super antioxidant by 1000%!

Besides the Wild Rose line, which I couldn't stop cooing over, Korres also was showcasing their regular line of creams, body washes and body butters, all of which are packaged just beautifully in very artistic looking packaging.

korres

On the other end of spectrum, Bliss opted to put its money on innovative gadgets this season, with their spa tool series. The Sweeping Beauty device is Bliss' rendition of a Clarisonic with a unique angled brush designed to get into every crevice. Each kit contains 2 brush heads, a cleanser and a stand-up charging station.

bliss sweeping beauty

Next here is the neatest gadget ever - Bliss' Climate Control wand is a hot and cold device designed to open and close pores. Yes, much side-eye at these claims, but if it works, then it is definitely one of the most interesting devices out there. Simply switch on the heat and press the metallic plate gently against skin to open pores before deep-cleaning and applying creams. Then, switch on the cool side to reduce redness, puffiness and tighten pores. The wand heats and cools very quickly and isn't so hot or cold that it is unpleasant to use.

bliss cleansing face brush

Besides gadgets though, Bliss also showed off their usual line of skincare and mask solutions. The most interesting to me was the new Triple Oxygen Radiance Restoring Mist, which promises to restore hydration and protect skin from environmental aggressors - definitely a handy thing to have in dry summer weather!

bliss facial mist

Moving on from skincare, there were also many new makeup launches, starting with Paul & Joe! I absolutely adore everything by Paul & Joe, at the very least because it's all just so damn pretty. Case in point, these adorable eye and cheek trios. Each come in a sleek cardboard palette with three different fun prints. As you can tell, the cheek based ones contain a blush and contour shade, but my eye is drawn the most to that pretty pink and green eye palette!

paul and joe eye and cheek palettes summer 2016

paul and joe eye and cheek palettes

paul and joe cat lipsticks
Cat lipsticks!
Last, but not least, is Stila and their awesome lineup of new makeup goodies. First up, a repackaging of the Stay All Day foundation. Stila has repackaged all their products in sleek metallic gold exteriors and the foundation now features a press-down pump that dispenses product into a little donut-shaped well, the idea being that a pump is more hygenic and will ensure no air enters the bottle. Seems pretty neat, but also a little messy?

stila stay all day foundation

The next two items from Stila though have got me so excited! First is their new Perfect Hue, Perfect Me eye and cheek palettes. Seems like there's a trend this season to emphasize travel-ready products eh? Well, these ones look just stunning. Unlike most brands who tailor palettes to eye colors, Stila has decided to base theirs on skin tone, which is just brilliant. The palettes come in four different shades: fair-light, light-medium, medium-tan and deep, which is quite confusing, but offer a good range of colors. All the palettes lean very rosy and warm-toned except for the lightest shade, as they're designed to be fool-proof and for use in summer. I have my eye on getting either the medium-tan or deep version as the colors look like they'd just add such a perfect hint of warmth to my skin!

stila perfect me perfect hue palette

stila perfect me perfect hue palette in deep

And finally, here is the other cool release from Stila for summer: a new all-in-one color correcting palette. I'm fully on board the color correcting train and this one had me squeeing all over. It comes with a super-handy guide and contains all the colors you need to get flawless skin. Unlike other palettes I've seen, this one contains both powder and creams, but I was assured by the Stila rep that this it is totally workable to layer creams and powders on top of each other, so long you buff in each layer properly.

stila color correcting palette


And that's all the latest goodies coming your way! Which ones are you most excited to try?

PS. And don't forget to enter my Demeter giveaway!




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Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel Review | No more excuses for undone brows with this wonder gel!

My mornings are a study in time optimization. I do all I can to optimize my morning routine so that I can sleep in until the last possible moment. This includes planning out my outfits and showering the night before, as well as investing in quicker ways to do my makeup.

Although I don't always wear a full "face" to work, I do like to have my brows defined and neat as doing my brows goes a LONG way to making me look put together. How did I live before I discovered brow products?! Unfortunately, filling in my brows with a pencil or powder does take a precious couple minutes, so that's where brow gels come in, like the new Perfect Brow Gel from Marcelle.

marcelle perfect brow gel

This egonomically designed brow gel is tinted so that it provides volume, color and also helps to comb your brow hairs into place. The Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel comes in two shades: light-medium and medium-dark and features a neat angled spoolie wand to make it easier to get right into your arch. Like most Marcelle eye products, the Perfect Brow Gel is ophthalmologist tested and is safe for sensitive eyes. It's also hypoallergenic and gluten-free, which I still don't understand why is a thing, but sure why not!

I received the shade Medium-Dark to try and it's a dark brunette color with neutral undertones. Medium-Dark matches perfectly with my natural hair color, which I'm so thankful for. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find a neutral or cool toned dark brow pencil or shadow! The Perfect Brow Gel is also pretty pigmented! A couple of swipes and instantly my brows look fuller and much more defined, thanks to that handy angled wand. If you want a lighter look, you could probably just dip your wand once into the tube to cover both brows, but I'm always paranoid the color will look uneven, so I dip twice.

marcelle perfect brow gel in medium dark review
Wearing the Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel in medium-dark on the left and bare brows on the right

I love how the Perfect Brow Gel doesn't leave my brows feeling crunchy or stiff, yet the hold is awesome. My brows stay put all day and the color doesn't fade either. And the best part? It literally takes only a few seconds to do!

The only downsides with this product is that it can get a little messy on the edges if the wand accidentally brushes against your skin and you won't get that super defined line that you can with a pencil or shadow. My favourite way to resolve this is to first define the outline of my brows with brow powder (or you could use a pencil) and then fill them in with the gel. Then I'll clean up the edges with a bit of concealer, which also gives my arches a nice, natural highlight.

You can purchase the Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel in most drugstores for $12.95.

Final Verdict
Buy - an affordable product that can help even the most makeup-challenged get full, defined brows.


Don't forget there's still time to enter my Demeter Orchid Trio giveaway!


*This post features PR samples




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Giveaway: Win the new Demeter Orchid Trio!

Orchids have always had a special spot in my life. I grew up seeing my grandfather growing them, I wore them in my hair for grad and of course orchids always remind me of Hawaii, where they grow in abundance. I even had orchids at my wedding!

Orchids are known for symbolizing beauty and love, but did you know that even the color of the orchid denotes different meanings too? Apparently, pink and white orchids symbolize innocence and love. Purple orchids are the color of royalty and therefore symbolize respect and elegance, while red orchids represent passion and desire. Lastly, yellow and green orchids, not that I've ever seen these, represent friendship and good health.

demeter orchid collection giveaway

With their new Orchid collection, Demeter has explored all these unique aspects of this tropical flower. There are five scents so far in the collection, with more to come in the future:
  • Twilight Orchid - a sensuous mix of red ginger orchid and midnight orchid alongside warm amber, oud and lightened with notes of pink grapefruit and jasmine
  • Calypso Orchid - evoking the sensation of "bathing in orchid petals", this scent is a single note fragrance featuring this bright pink flower
  • Aphrodite's Slipper - is a spicy floral with notes of honey and green grass
  • Cattleya Orchid - the "Queen of the Orchids," this one is described as a creamy floral grounded with spicy patchouli
  • To Yo Ran Orchid - is a light, green and citrusy orchid scent ideal for daytime wear
Each scent in the collection is available as a 1 oz cologne spray ($20), a 4 oz cologne spray ($39), a 0.5 oz purse spray ($12) and as a 0.1 oz sample vial spray ($3.50). 

Unlike most Demeter scents, the Orchid collection features a unique artistic label that highlights the beauty of the flowers they seek to evoke. I think I actually prefer the minimalistic look of the classic Demeter bottles, but these do look quite pretty still when placed all together.

Besides purchasing these individually, you can also purchase three of these scents as a nifty trio! These limited edition trios retail for $35 and contain three of the 1 oz bottles, which is a fantastic deal. Demeter was kind enough to send me a trio to try as well as one to giveaway!

My trio contained full sized bottles of Twilight, To Yo Ran and Aphrodite's Slipper scents. Like most Demeter scents I found these had a shorter than normal wear time, with To Yo Ran disappearing within an hour. I also found that the scents changed quite a bit on my skin versus how they smelled on the swatch stick, so I've been using these mainly as room fragrances. I'm not sure if it's just reacting funny to my body lotion though, so I'm still in the midst of trying these out more fully.

The most wearable out of the trio was Twilight, which is a beautiful smelling creamy floral. There's a strong warm undercurrent to this one that comes off as distinctly vanilla to me. Twilight was the most appealing to me at the moment as it reminds me of my new favourite combo, which is Demeter's Jasmine + Vanilla Ice Cream. Twilight is a very sensual yet light scent, which makes me feel very ingenue. I think it would be great for those who love florals and gourmands.

To Yo Ran on the other hand, is way at the other end of the spectrum. To Yo Ran has a very fresh, green scent with just a hint of citrus and floral. A perfect summer fragrance, To Yo Ran is such a light, breezy scent that it would be super easy for even people who hate perfumes to wear. The only sad thing was that it fades really fast so you'd need to reapply this every few hours.

Lastly, Aphrodite's Slipper was a pleasant surprise to me. I wasn't expecting to like this one at all based on its description, but Aphrodite's Slipper wasn't spicy at all to me. Rather, Aphrodite's Slipper felt the most "orchid" to me and instantly transported me back to the lush, humid climes of Hawaii. If you're familiar with Hawaiian flowers at all, I'd say Aphrodite's Slipper smells like a muted version of pikake flowers. I couldn't stop sniffing this one as I was just entranced by its moist, greenness.

If I had to rank these, I'd put Aphrodite's Slipper as #1, then Twilight and To Yo Ran, which is totally opposite of what I would have thought! Each is quite unique from the other and out of these five there's surely something for everyone, so what are you waiting for - enter the giveaway to get your own trio and get out to your local Demeter retailer to try some yourself!





Please note that this contest is open to Canadians only as I will be shipping the prize myself!
Update May 23: Demeter has kindly opened this giveaway to Americans as well so I have extended the deadline to enter to June 10!



* This post features PR samples



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Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 Review | Finally a glycolic cream with SPF!

reversa anti wrinkle cream with spf 30 review

As all my regular readers know, I've been heavy into the chemical exfoliants lately. Sorry scrubs, but I'm going #teamchemical lately. They just make my skin feel so good! Yet another entry into my chemical arsenal: this Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30.

Now, the name Reversa may not be familiar, but you may recognize their sister brand, Ombrelle for their popular suncare products. Both Reversa and Ombrelle are owned by Dermtek Pharma, a Quebec based beauty brand specializing in anti-aging and glycolic products. In fact, Dermtek was among the first companies in Canada to incorporate glycolic acid into their products!

The Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 is just one of five products in Reversa's line of anti-aging and UV protecting products. Others in the line also include an eye cream and an anti-dark spot treatment cream that I'm very curious about! The Anti-Wrinkle Cream contains 8% glycolic acid and claims to gradually reveal smoother, brighter and more even skin, while also hydrating and protecting skin from further sun damage.

The Guts
The primary sunscreen ingredients in the Anti-Wrinkle Cream are:
  • Octinoxate (7.5%)
  • Oxybenzone (5%) - another UV blocker that helps other sun-protecting ingredients from degrading once you're out in the sun. Studies have shown that children should probably avoid this ingredient since it is easily absorbed by the body, but the jury's still out on whether it's harmful for adults as well. Some studies have also shown that oxybenzone could be harmful to ocean life, such as corals. The FDA has approved concentrations up to 6% in products in the US. 
  • Octisalate (5%) 
  • Avobenzone (2%)
Non-sunscreen ingredients include:
  • Water
  • Glycolic acid - an acid that helps to gently exfoliate skin
  • Octyldodecyl neopentanoate - an emollient (helps seal moisture into skin)
  • Arginine - an antioxidant 
  • Aluminum starch octenylsuccinate - a mattifying ingredient that can help boost a product's SPF

Price & Packaging
A 50 ml tube of the Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 retails direct from Reversa for $45 and is also available at Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Effectiveness
As I've noted previously, AHA products tend to sting on me more than BHA ones and the Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 is no exception. There is definitely some mild stinging when I first apply this cream, but it goes away very quickly and doesn't cause any redness or further irritation. 

One of the biggest selling points of the Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 is that it's unusual to see a glycolic product with SPF built-in. Having SPF is always a huge bonus for me as I like the two-in-one convenience, but I do wish the SPF was 50 instead of 30. I don't mind SPF 30 during the winter, but now that summer is approaching and also because glycolic acid makes your skin more photo-sensitive, having a higher SPF would be really nice. That being said, I still appreciate the effort! 

The Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 applies easily and has a medium thickness that leaves my skin feeling nicely moisturized, but without any heaviness. After a minute, the Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 dries down to a just shy of matte finish and provides a smooth surface for makeup. 

Since I'm still using my Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant while using this cream, it's a little hard to tell if there's any significant difference in my skin. I don't really notice it looking any brighter or more even. The Reversa Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 30 fit seamlessly into my routine in that it didn't break me out, didn't dry out my skin or otherwise disrupt its condition in any way. Does that mean that this cream is working? I'm not sure. My overall impression is kind of underwhelming, but I'd still recommend trying it out if you've never tried glycolic acid before.

Final Verdict
Ditch - a decent enough product, but I wish the SPF was higher and I found this cream kind of underwhelming for its price and claims.


* This post contains PR samples




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HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner Review | A detox for your scalp

hif Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner review

For the longest time now, I've had dry scalp. I think it's brought on by a combination of age, stress and just using the wrong products, but whatever the reasons, it seems here to stay. As such, I am always on the hunt for products that promise to re-hydrate and clear up flakes. Enter HIF's Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner. HIF is one of the child brands of that Canadian beauty super think-tank, Deciem, with a focus on hair.

The Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner is a deep-cleansing and re-hydrating two-in-one product that is designed to rejuvenate your scalp and hair. Unlike your usual shampoo-conditioner combo, a cleansing conditioner is like a mask for your hair. You simply apply, wait, and then rinse. The HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner contains hyaluronic acid and various natural extracts to remove build-up, blast away flakes and deeply moisturize your scalp, for thicker, shinier hair. Sounds pretty amazing right?!

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this product are:
  • Water
  • Fragrance
  • Cetyl alcohol - an emollient, emulsifier and surfactant. Some people with sensitive skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis can experience irritation from this ingredient.
  • Propanediol - a solvent that has moisturizing properties and which helps other ingredients penetrate skin more easily
  • Stearyl alcohol - an emollient commonly used to thicken hair products
  • Glycol distearate - an emollient
While I really don't like how fragrance and cetyl alcohol are the top ingredients, this cleansing conditioner also contains good things like hyaluronic acid (in the first 1/3 of the ingredients list), Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract (antioxidant), vitamin E and panthenol (moisturizing).


Price & Packaging
As soon as I heard about this product, I just had to have it, so I snapped this up by purchasing a 180 ml tube for $30 off of Deciem's website. The HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner is also available in a 1 L size for $75. The 1 L size comes in a pump bottle, but the 180 ml size comes in a squeeze tube, which is of course more inconvenient. You can't even stand this tube up in the shower as the screw-top lid is so small.

Effectiveness
The first thing I noticed about this product is its scent, which is a very strong, fresh and oceany scent. Although I don't usually like strongly scented products, I didn't mind this one as it just smells so good! The conditioner itself is a translucent, cloudy color with a gel texture that spreads easily over hair.

If you've never used a cleansing conditioner before, it can take some getting used to the fact that it doesn't suds up at all. Unlike other cleansing conditioners I've tried before though, I found the HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner to be easily spreadable through my hair and to massage into my scalp. I only need a quarter size to cover my hair.

Once you've applied the HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner you just leave it on for 3 minutes then rinse it out. After using this regularly for a couple of weeks, I found my tresses to feel softer and silkier. My hair also felt slightly bouncier, which I think is due to the fact that this conditioner is very deep cleaning. Surprisingly, despite its claim to be super-hydrating, it left my hair with that "squeaky" feeling which I usually associate with dryness and which made it a little harder to comb out after the shower, but this feeling seemed to go away once my hair dried.

While the HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner did a good job at hydrating my hair, I think it did less well at moisturizing my scalp. While it was on, my scalp felt deliciously cool and refreshed, but in terms of eliminating my dryness, it didn't seem to do much. After 3 weeks, my scalp actually felt itchier! I don't know what's up with my head, so maybe that's just me, but I had to scale back use of this conditioner to just once or twice a week. As I'd really been hoping this would become my HG scalp treatment, I was pretty disappointed that it didn't do anything for me. Despite that though, I do like using this when I'm too lazy to wash my hair properly and it works well as a reset product to get rid of build-up.


Final Verdict
Buy - although it didn't eliminate my dry scalp issues, I'd still recommend this conditioner as an easy travel product and clarifying shampoo.



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BVspa by Bon Vital Body Butter Review | Get ready to show some skin!

bon vital body butters

Normally I'd think of something like a body butter as a product reserved for winter conditions, but body butters can actually be used all year long. Sun, chlorine pools, salt water and even air conditioning can all dry your skin out in the spring and summer months, so be prepared with these new luxurious buttery body butters from BVspa by Bon Vital.

Bon Vital is a spa beauty line that started in 1988 making products for massage therapists and healthcare professionals. Now the line is revamped and relaunching at Shoppers Drug Marts across the country with brand new body butters, lotions and scrubs. Recently I was treated with two jars of the new body butters in the flavours Pomegranate & Acai Berry and Pink Grapefruit.

The Guts
Unfortunately I couldn't find any full ingredient listing for either of these body butters, either online or on the jar themselves. What I can tell is that these moisturizers contain super-moisturizers like cocoa butter, shea butter, jojoba oil and sunflower oil.

Price & Packaging
A generously sized 225 g jar retails for $11.99 each. Since this is a drugstore product, the packaging isn't that glam and is just a simple screw-top jar. That's okay though because it's what is inside that counts right?

Effectiveness
The BVspa Body Butters are thick like a butter, but have a softer, whipped consistency that make them easier to work with than other body butters. I actually would call this more of a body cream cheese than a butter, as the texture is very akin to cream cheese. Don't get me wrong though - these butters are still super thick, rich and emollient. If you prefer light, gel lotions then this is not the product for you. After you spread the BVspa Body Butters over your skin, it will definitely feel tacky for several minutes. As well, its harder texture means this is a little harder to spread. These are very minor cons though and only relevant if you've never used a body butter before.

I personally really love the BVspa Body Butters. I always take hot showers so these butters help replenish my skin's moisture. I especially love using these on my elbows, chest and feet. The BVSpa Body Butters are thick enough that I don't even need my usual foot balm on top!

bon vital body butter review

Another big component of these butters that has to be mentioned is their scents. The Pomegranate & Acai Berry was the first one I opened and I adore this scent! It smells fresh, juicy and berry-like - all good things to make you feel refreshed. The Pink Grapefruit scent though was just terrible though. It literally made me gag a bit, but to be fair, I'm not a big fan of eating grapefruit so maybe I just didn't like this one as it was so... accurate? To me, Pink Grapefruit is super astringent smelling and artificial. Pomegranate & Acai Berry also smells artificial, but not to the same extent (think The Body Shop, not Bath & Body Works). I didn't try the third scent in the line, Lavender & Rosemary, but my guess is that it will be heavy on the lavender, so if that's your jam then this will be right up your alley.


Final Verdict
Buy - affordable and does a great job at moisturizing, but be forewarned that the scents are very strong so make sure you pick the right one!


* This post contains PR samples



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Recreating: Smoky Mauve EOTD by TheCinemaScoper Ft. L'Oreal La Palette Nude 2

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I have so many eyeshadow palettes that sometimes I forget about them. Case in point: the beautiful L'Oreal La Palette Nude 2. This and its sister, Nude 1, were all the rage last year and I made my wedding planner run around to multiple stores for me when were in Hawaii to find it for me. If you love mauve, plums and pinks as much as I do, then you'll love this palette. A mix of mattes and satin finishes, the Nude 2 is surprisingly pigmented for a drugstore palette and the warmer purples in this palette suit me much more than the cool toned purples I used to wear when I was a teen and makeup noob.

Today's makeup recreation is of a beautiful makeup pictorial by Kate of TheCinemaScoper, a beauty Instagrammer. This girl has crazy perfect features and always dons a perfect sculpted eye. I've been curious to try doing more of a defined crease, so I decided to try this look of hers on myself:


Unfortunately, I kinda suck at doing a defined crease! Firstly, my brow bone barely sticks out at all. Second, I don't have much eyelid space. Thirdly, well I kinda suck! My first attempt at faithfully following Kate's tutorial were a huge failure. I looked like I had a big mauve bruise. Thank god for micellar water! Time to reset and try again.

This time I opted to keep true to the spirit of Kate's look, but interpret it in my own way. I used all the same colors as her, but I modified some of the steps:
  • On step 1, Kate instructs to use a pencil first and then to go over it with shadow. I didn't have any pencil that matches the NYX Jumbo Pencil in Ruse, so I opted to just use the shade 1 shadow to define my crease. I also didn't accentuate the inner half as she did, but concentrated my color on the outer third. 
  • I didn't find the highlight shades light enough to give me enough light, so I used Dust from my Urban Decay Naked 3 palette in the inner corners on top of shade 6
  • I forgot to use a black pencil and shade 5 to line my eyes and instead just opted for liquid black eyeliner. I also gave myself a little duo wing
Here's my finished look:

smoky eyes with the loreal la palette nude 2
Inside lighting

smoky mauve eotd with the l'oreal la palette nude 2

makeup of the day with l'oreal la palette nude 2

smokey eyes with mauve
Outdoor lighting

Other products I'm using: 
  • Face: Burberry Fresh Glow foundation (read my review here!)
  • Contour and highlight: Charlotte Tillbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow
  • Blush: Too Faced Love Flush in Baby Love
  • Brows: Clinique Pretty Easy Brow (review here) topped with Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel in Medium to Dark Brown
  • Lips: Bite Amuse Bouche in Pepper

Even though I kinda failed at this recreation, I still liked the finished look and it reminded me of how pretty this palette is! For sure, next time I try this, I would use a smaller brush to blend out the plum shade on the lid as it just went over my whole lid and the highlight shades in this palette aren't pigmented to show up over top of it.

Now, time to go watch some Youtube tutorials on how to get that cut crease look!


What are your favourite ways to wear these types of colors?




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Volare Makeup Brushes E03 Blending Brush and E05 Flat Brush Review | Affordable natural hair brushes? Sign me up!

volare makeup brushes in E05 and E03

Good friends don't let friends miss out on a good deal and when I read about Volare Cosmetics on Sheila's blog a couple months ago, I was ripe for some good friend enabling.

Based in Vancouver, makeup artist Valensia Ng started Volare Cosmetics in 2015 with a focus on developing the perfect makeup brush. With her professional connections and experience, Ng searched for two years before finding the right partners to develop her brushes. Using all natural hair and Japanese crafting techniques, Volare offers a high-end performance product for surprisingly affordable prices.

Almost all of Volare's face and eye brushes retail for less than $20 with the exception of a couple of the face brushes, which is pretty much unheard of as far as I know. All of the Volare brushes are made with goat hair, except for the E01 Tapered Blending brush which is made of a mix of goat and blue squirrel hair and the F01 Foundation/Cream brush which contains goat hair and synthetic bristles.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I chose the E03 Blending brush and the E05 Flat brush as my first Volare purchase.

The E03 is described as a "blending brush ideal for blending your eyes makeup to obtain smooth result", but admittedly it was the review on the page comparing it to the MAC 217 that sold me. My MAC 217 brush is my most used brush and I've been wanting a second one for awhile.

The E05 is described as a "flat brush, perfect for placing colors on your eyelids". I have a similarly shaped Sonia Kashuk brush, but this one appealed to me for doing more dramatic makeup looks and layering heavier shimmers.

volare makeup brushes in E05 and E03

The sucky thing about Volare is that the pricing is in USD, so these $16 USD brushes cost closer to $20 each with the exchange, but even with that, they are way more affordable than other brushes. Also, for Canada you have to get over $75 USD to get free shipping. Other than that though, the service was prompt and my brushes arrived in a very nice, sleek black box.

Like my MAC 217 brush, both the E03 and E05 are all white with a light, black ferrule. Some people may not like white bristles as they show up dirt more easily, but I have no preference either way.

Being goat hair, both brushes were extremely soft and were like brushing little clouds across my lids. I experienced zero scratchiness from either of these and I love how fluffy they are.

Compared to the MAC 217, I would say the E03 is quite interchangeable, with the E03 being fluffier and definitely softer. The E03 does a great job at blending out edges and creating a soft gradient, but despite the fluffiness of the E03, I think the 217 is denser, which helps it deposit color better onto lids.

Like the 217, you can use the E03 for all sorts of purposes. This brush is a true workhouse and is great for depositing all-over color, blending, applying highlight, and for defining a soft crease. I usually use just this brush and maybe one other to create my eye looks. If you're Chinese, then you could say this brush is like cooking with a Chinese meat cleaver - it's all you need!

volare makeup brush review

In comparison, the E05 is much more of a specialist. The brush is shorter and denser than the E03, with a distinctly narrow, paint brush-like shape. Thanks to its softness, you can use also use this brush in a variety of ways. I like to use this one to apply shadow along my lower lash line and to define my outer lid and crease. It's a bit too wide to do precise outer corner work, but it's perfect for applying color all over. If you want to pack on the color then this brush is for you. Even though the bristles are so soft, the E03 does a pretty decent job at picking up color from the pan. I haven't tried this one yet with any creams or glitters, but that's next on my list to try!

Overall, the price and quality of these brushes really can't be beat. I was really impressed with how easy they were to work with and their sleek, all-black look. So far, I've been using these everyday and haven't experienced any fallout or splaying of the bristles.


Final Verdict
Buy - affordable, well-crafted natural bristle brushes like these are hard to find, so what are you waiting for!




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Girls Tea Date at Adorabelle Tea Room

adorabelle tea salon

One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is sipping tea with friends. I love the whole experience of going for high tea: the dressing up, the fancy dishware, the precisely put together miniature bites of food, just everything about it is so elegant and pretty and makes my inner girly-girl go squee!

Last month, Sheila, Angela and I ventured out to Steveston on a bright sunny day to Adorabelle Tea Room. Located in a cozy little old courthouse, Adorabelle is a little hard to find, but so charming inside. The interior is cloaked in pink everything and floral tea cups adorn the walls. There are only a few tables inside, so it's best to book ahead.

IMG_1906

Adorabelle offers three types of high tea service: full (adult), senior and child. As well, the full service also offers a "deconstructed" option that is smaller and cheaper. I really appreciated the variety of serving options as I haven't noticed that at many other tea shops and it's a nice touch to accommodate lighter appetites. Of course, since I'm rarely in Steveston at all, I had to go with the full serving option!

For $30, the full tea service includes (and this is based off my memory and photos sorry!):
  • egg salad sandwich on white bread
  • cream cheese and asparagus sandwich on brown bread
  • asiago cheese scone sandwich with smoked salmon mousse
  • some sort of baked cheese biscuit
  • a mini savoury cupcake 
  • two freshly baked scones with cream, jam and honey
  • meringue
  • strawberry with cream
  • poppy seed cookie
  • chocolate cake
  • a pot of loose-leaf tea of your choice
savouries at adorabelle high tea

adorabelle high tea scones

high tea at adorabelle steveston

Adorabelle's tea menu isn't so large that it's overwhelming, but is varied enough that you have plenty to choose from, whatever your taste preference. While Sheila and Angela went for the fruity and crisp passionfruit green tea, I opted for the Paris black tea, which is a creamy mix of caramel, bergamot and currant.

tea date at adorabelle

While not the biggest tea service I've eaten, it was still plenty enough to fill me up. Highlights for me were of course the scones with plenty of cream and honey. I think I could make do with just scones and tea, screw the rest! Tea shops should really offer an option of just that! After the scones, I really enjoyed the asiago cheese scone sandwich. 

adorabelle tea salon

adorabelle tea salon

All in all, the items at Adorabelle aren't super original, but I think it's more the ambiance and location that are the reasons it's worth a visit. It's pretty hard to beat spending an afternoon strolling along the Steveston quay and peeking into the various shops in the village. I can't wait till our next weekend outing!

adorabelle tea date on just j



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