Friday, July 22, 2016

CND Cuticle Eraser and CND SolarOil Nail and Cuticle Conditioner Review | Getting a start on my nail game with the #CNDRescueKit

#CNDRescueKit

Although I am pretty meticulous when it comes to my skincare, I am pretty damn lazy when it comes to my hands. Outside of moisturizing, I don't do squat with my nails and as a result they're definitely lacking some, er grace, so when I was contacted to try the #CNDRescueKit, I said hell yes.

Consisting of a capsule collection of CND's must-have essentials, the #CNDRescueKit contains

  • VinylLux Weekly Polish, a polish claiming seven day, no-chip wear
  • VinylLux Weekly Top Coat, a long-wear top coat
  • Scrubfresh, a dehydrator for your nail bed, which helps polish adhere better (not sure about this one. It just seems odd to me to dehydrate any part of my precious body!)
  • Cuticle Eraser, a chemical exfoliant for your nail beds
  • SolarOil, a moisturizing cuticle oil
  • RescurerXx, a potent nail treatment that helps repair damaged and peeling nails
Out of all of the above, the Cuticle Eraser and SolarOil appealed to me the most as I'm pretty self-conscious about my cuticles. Did I mention that I rarely do anything with my hands? Well I have pretty gnarly cuticles that are long, tough and very thick. I usually take care of things by ripping my cuticles off, which as I'm sure you can guess, does not have good results!

For four long weeks, I decided to put the Cuticle Eraser and SolarOil to the test and see if it could tackle my horrible hands. 

The Cuticle Eraser contains glycolic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids to gradually and gently slough away dead cuticle skin. The most noticeable thing about this lotion is its pungent scent, which is super sharp and chemical smelling. Every night before bed, I applied tiny dabs of the Cuticle Eraser to each of my fingers, massaging the product in until it was absorbed. I experienced no irritation or tingling from the Cuticle Eraser and after just a couple of weeks, I started to notice results! My cuticles weren't as thick, or as long as before and also seemed easier to push back. 

Unfortunately, if used solo, the Cuticle Eraser is a little drying, so I think it's key to pair this one with the SolarOil. Now, I love this cuticle oil! The CND SolarOil contains sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, rice bran oil and vitamin E, all of which are powerful moisturizers and smell just heavenly mixed together! I love anything almond scented and the SolarOil smells super almondy and yummy. For those sensitive to fragrance (and sadly for me) the scent does fade once you massage this into your nail beds. The SolarOil comes with a standard nail polish brush which makes for easy application and the oil also helps moisturize your nails themselves too, giving them a nice sheen. After using this oil, my nails and cuticles look noticeably hydrated and I've experienced way less hangnails. The only downside is that you can only keep these results with regular, daily use. If I skip a day or two, my dry cuticles return very quickly. 

With both products being less than $15, these two are very affordable and have certainly helped improve the look and healthiness of my hands!


Final Verdict
Buy



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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rocia Gardener's Glove Hand Therapy Review| Banish dry hands forever!

rocia gardener's glove hand cream

Whether you work in an office, or you work as a farmer, everyone's hands go through a lot. Harsh cleaners and dry air can wreak havoc on your skin, especially as you get older. I don't moisturize my hands nearly often enough during the day, so I always try to make sure that I deeply moisturize them at night.

Recently my go-to nightly hand treatment has been Rocia's Gardener's Glove Hand Therapy cream. This rich cream is made of all natural ingredients and contains multiple botanicals and antioxidants to replenish your skin's suppleness and youthful appearance. Like all Rocia products, Gardener's Glove is handmade in small batches out of Rocia's factory in Brighton, Ontario and is of course cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and contains no parabens, artificial fragrances, preservatives and petrochemicals.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this cream are:
  • Water
  • Cetearly glucoside - a coconut derived emulsifier. Rocia's is EcoCert certified.
  • Organic sesame seed oil - an emollient and anti-inflammatory
  • Organic Bulgarian rose otto hydrosol - an antioxidant and humectant (draws moisture to skin)
  • Spruce knot extract - an antioxidant with antibacterial and moisturizing properties
Like all Rocia products, I was really impressed by how this cream is just chock full of good antioxidants and moisturizers - there's no filler here! You can check out the full ingredients list here.

Price & Packaging
For $20, you can get a 30 g jar, which isn't too bad if you are judicious about how you use this. I'd love to see Rocia come out with a 50 g version as 30 is just a little too small considering you have to pay for shipping each time you purchase. 

The packaging is very homespun and is just a simple plastic jar. I don't mind the simple packaging as you're paying for the handmade aspect and the awesome ingredients, but in future it would be nice if Rocia invested in a pump so that the antioxidants don't dissipate.

Rocia gardener's glove review

Effectiveness
Since the Gardener's Glove cream is supposedly so rich, I thought I'd try this on my feet as well since those always get really dry after wearing sandals everyday. After about a month of daily use, I have to say I'm pretty pleased with my results!

The Gardener's Glove has a thick, rich consistency and takes a minute or two to absorb. It also has a slightly odd smell; I can't place what it is exactly, but it smells basically like there's no fragrance in this product, which is true! The smell isn't offensive, but just... unfamiliar to anyone used to heavily fragranced things.

I love how this cream just envelops my skin in moisture. I love heavy creams so that sticky, kinda glossy finish really appeals to me and makes me feel like something is working! Since I only use this at night, I haven't noticed any big transformation with my hands. Probably moisturizing my hands more during the day would make a bigger difference; however I have noticed a change with my feet! After using Gardener's Glove regularly out of the shower, my feet feel softer and my calluses are much reduced.


Final Verdict
Buy - a fair price with top-notch ingredients, this cream is a treat for dry, dehydrated skin.


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Monday, July 18, 2016

Introducing: Teeez Cosmetics!

Teeez cosmetics review

One of the perks of being a beauty blogger is being privy to new brands, and today I'm excited to share with you one that I'm sure you will love!

New to The Bay, is European makeup brand, Teeez Cosmetics. Consisting of a full line of face, lips, nail and eye products, Teeez was previously only available to us Canadians online, or via subscription boxes, but now the brand is officially launched in Canada. You can find Teeez is seven Bay stores across Canada at the moment, as well as via The Bay's website.

Known for their fun packaging and trendy, bright colors, Teeez immediately appealed to me for their playful aesthetic. The brand was kind enough to send me a couple of products from their Sugar Rush collection to try and after a few weeks playing around with these, I'm ready to share my thoughts with you!

Teeez cosmetics review

The Sugar Rush collection consists of an eyeshadow, eyebrow cream, eyeliner, nail polish, tinted lip balm and a lipstick/gloss duo. Out of the collection, I received the eyeshadow and lipstick duo.

The Spectrum of Stars Eyeshadow ($24) contains argan oil and comes in 18 beautiful shades, ranging from a warm purple, to aquamarine, to a mossy gold. The shadow comes packaged in a glossy gold sphere. It reminds me a lot of an EOS balm as you also unscrew the top hemisphere to reveal the product inside. The spherical shape is cool, but also rather impractical to store. Thankfully, the shadow quality makes up for the odd packaging!

Teeez Spectrum of stars eyeshadow in magical fuchsia

I received the Spectrum of Stars shadow in Magical Fuchsia and I absolutely LOVE this color! Purples and I are frenemies; it seems like we should be paired together since brown eyes + purple are apparently a match made in heaven, but it can be tricky to get the right purple for one's skin color. Magical Fuchsia though seems like it was made for me! It has a warm yellow tone to it, that complements my own... yellowness... if I can say that. The shadow itself is very buttery and silky to apply. I didn't experience any fallout, but I did need a primer to make this last all day. Magical Fuchsia has a lovely soft shimmer that actually looks a teeny bit duo-chrome in person. I have no complaints about this eyeshadow. Next shades I'd love to try: Forest Luster and Splendor Sunset!

Teeez lipstick in Sugar Rush

I was also pretty impressed with the Sealed with a Kiss LipDuo ($28). This duo consists of a satin-matte lipstick and a matching lip lacquer. The Sealed with a Kiss LipDuo comes in 16 shades, but unlike the shadow, the lip duo shades are a bit tamer, staying mainly in the pinks and reds safety zone. The shade I received to try was Very Vixen, a decidedly cherry red. Both the lipstick and lip lacquer are crazy pigmented. I'm talking, true-to-tube, one-swipe color for instant impact. The slim bullet of the lip duo makes for easy application, but it's a bit tricky to get crisp cupid lines as the bullet is oval shaped. The lip lacquer of course is easier to line with as it has a typical doe-foot applicator. Although the lip lacquer applies glossy, it dries down somewhat matte-er, while the lipstick gives a typical satin finish.

Teeez lip gloss in Very Vixen

I usually find lip lacquers too finicky to mess with unless it's a special occasion so I like to use the lipstick solo as an everyday stain for berry-toned lips. My favourite thing about the Sealed with a Kiss LipDuo is of course, the packaging. I love the fun play of sleek, shiny gold against the pop art bold colors of the Sugar Rush pattern.

Teeez cosmetics swatches
Swatches in natural light

Teeez makeup swatches
Swatches in direct sunlight

Overall I was pretty happy with my first experience with Teeez Cosmetics! The packaging and bold pigmentation, as well as the lasting quality and ease of application make using these a breeze and help justify their mid-range price tag.


Final Verdict
Buy


* This post contains PR samples




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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Coppertone ClearlySheer Faces Sunscreen Lotion Review | SPF without the grease!

Coppertone Clearly Sheer Faces Sunscreen Lotion review

I love trying sunscreens and they're one of my skincare essentials, but they're just so hard to review, y'kno? Yet still I want to write about them because the more I can encourage sun protection the better!

I'm super guilty of neglecting sunscreen well into my 20's. It wasn't actually until after I went to Asia for the first time and got brainwashed with the Asian aversion to sunlight that it finally clicked for me. You see, for us Asians, sun damage is a greater worry than wrinkles when it comes to aging and after my trip to the "motherland" I became slightly obsessed with brightening products and keeping my face out of the sun. Do not take this reaction lightly people as I am a die-hard beach girl and while I can't give up the beach and tanning entirely, at least now I'm much better at being cautious about it.

So, back to the review! I love trying out new sunscreens as it's pretty tricky to find a HG sunscreen. So many sunscreens out there aren't formulated well for facial skin and feel greasy, heavy, and cause breakouts. Plus in order to get the actual protection rating stated on the bottle, you have to really pile the sunscreen on, and if it feels gross or causes breakouts, the odds of anyone applying enough to be protected is very unlikely.

That's why Coppertone's new ClearlySheer Faces sunscreen is so neat. This lightweight, non-greasy formula is specially designed for your face. It won't clog pores, is okay for even sensitive skin and is water-resistant! Available in SPF 30 and 50 the ClearlySheer Faces sunscreen also moisturizes while protecting with vitamin E.

The Guts
The primary non-sunscreen related ingredients are:
  • Water
  • Aluminum starch octenylsuccinate - a thickener with mattifying properties
  • Ethylhexyl isononaoate - emollient
  • Dimethicone - a silicone with a lightweight feel that provides a smooth surface
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
Sunscreen actives: Avobenzone 3%;  Homosalate 10%;  Octisalate 4.55%;  Octocrylene 8%

Price & Packaging
A 59 ml bottle sells for around $10 from drugstores like London Drugs and Walmart. Nothing too exciting about the packaging with its sporty branding. I do like the hourglass shape which makes it easier to hold, but I hate the pump. I don't know if it's just my bottle, but the pump is just crazy! It's very stiff so it either dispenses very very little if I just carefully press the pump a little, or it squirts literally across my counter or all over my sink if I do a full pump. Basically I have to hold my hand perpendicular to this bottle, close my eyes and hope it lands somewhere useful.

Texture & Wear
Packaging issues aside, the ClearlySheer Faces sunscreen is pretty great. Just as it claims, this sunscreen really does feel light and dries down to a slightly matte finish. It also doesn't feel greasy at all, yet spreads easily like a moisturizer. I've been reaching for this daily over my usual sunscreen, even though my other sunscreen is SPF 50. As far as I can tell, it also doesn't give my skin a white cast.


Final Verdict
Buy - cheap, non-greasy and doesn't leave me super shiny!




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Monday, July 11, 2016

Take Your Look From Day to Night with The Estee Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformers!

Estee Edit lip flip shade transformer review

My favourite part about playing with makeup is stretching myself out of my comfort zone and trying new techniques, new colors and products. Makeup is all about having fun and not taking oneself too seriously so it's always special when brands give you something that is playful and unique.

Estee Lauder isn't one of those brands I associate with "fun" but lately they've been making some attempts to loosen up a bit with their new Estee Edit line. Geared towards "the youths," the Estee Edit line is a more colorful, experimental version of Estee Lauder with trendy packaging to boot, but the same attention to quality and experience as the original.

The most exciting Estee Edit release to me was for sure the Lip Flip Shade Transformers. As you know, I love playing with mixing my lipsticks up with each other, so these innovative shade transformers are right up my alley as they allow you to mutate any lipstick into something totally different.

The Estee Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformers come in two colors: Turn Up, which is a bright yellow to lighten and brighten, and Turn Down, an inky black to vamp out.

To use these transformers, simply mix it into your chosen lipstick color on your hand and then apply to lips, or dab on top of your lip color to create more of an ombre and "undone" look. You can even wear these solo for a super dramatic look!

You barely need more than a couple of dabs of either Turn Up or Turn Down to have an immediate effect. I found that the Estee Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformers worked best with creamier, opaque lipsticks. Anything glossy or sheer just tended to melt away as the Estee Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformers are themselves very opaque and matte.

Turn Up works beautifully to instantly up the vibrancy and warmth of your color. Some combos I tried were:
  • cherry orange --> creamsicle
  • red --> orange-red
  • pink --> baby pink
Estee Edit lip flip shade transformer review

Turn Down is, if you can believe it, even more impactful than Turn Up. While I can get away with applying Turn Up directly to my lips and smooshing it around, Turn Down I can only judiciously dab to the center of my lips and then smooth out as it's super duper pigmented. Some combos I tried with Turn Down were:
  • red --> blood red
  • cherry orange --> brick red
If you're thinking that these might be too extreme or complicated for regular use, then I beg to differ! The Estee Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformers are a great option to easily transition your look from day to night in just one step. I thought I'd demonstrate how simple this is with a makeup look centered around the Lip Flips.

For this look I wanted something subtle and neutral that I can wear anywhere. To achieve this, I used:
  • Stila Stay All Day Foundation in Light to create a long-wearing base
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather in Creamy Beige to prime lids
  • Urban Decay Naked Basics 1: W.O.S and Venus to highlight eyes, Faint and Crave to line and shade lid
  • Make Up Forever Graphic Ink Liner to give eyes definition
  • Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel in Medium to Dark Brown to keep brows in place and fill them in
  • Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
  • Make Up Forever Pro Sculpting Duo to bronze
  • MAC Otherearthly Mineralize Skinfinish all over cheeks to highlight and give warmth
And for the lip color, I chose the Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Sorbet, a creamy pigmented magenta pink, which you can see here:

Estee Edit lip flip shade transformer review and FOTD

And here's how it looks mixed in with Turn Up. I love how Turn Up transforms Sorbet into a sheerer MLBB:

Estee Edit lip flip shade transformer - turn up

And for going out at night, here's the same look, but with Turn Down. Check out that instant bad-assery!

Estee Edit lip flip shade transformer - turn down

Overall I found the Estee Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformers easy to work with and super fun. At $26 it's a bit steep, but a worthy purchase if you don't have a lot of lipsticks and you want to get basically triple the number of shades. It's also worth it if you're a makeup lover like myself and you want to treat yourself to something special!


Final Verdict
Buy



Would you use a lip transformer like these?



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Friday, July 8, 2016

Clinique City Block Purifying Clay Mask + Scrub Review | Duo-purpose equals twice the fun!

Clinique City Block Purifying Clay Mask + Scrub Review

My favourite way to destress after a long day is to pop in some soothing essential oils into my nebulizer, turn on some soothing instrumental music and slap on a good mask. Usually my go-to relaxation mask is something hydrating, but it can also feel wonderfully therapeutic to use a deep-cleansing mask as well.

Lately I've been trying out the Clinique City Block Purifying Clay Mask + Scrub as my weekly deep-cleanse treatment. The latest deep-cleansing mask formulation from Clinique, this dual-action mask acts as both a detoxifying clay mask and a physical exfoliant. Bamboo and kaolin clay help suck out dirt and impurities, while silica beads gently slough away dead skin cells to reveal radiant, new skin. The City Block Purifying Clay Mask + Scrub can be used by all skin types, although of course it depends too on how well your skin tolerates clay masks. Besides the mask, Clinique also has a special City Block Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel. I've been testing out this cleanser as well and I'd recommend it as a gentler alternative to the mask as it contains charcoal as well; however, I do find that this cleanser isn't so great at removing makeup so it might be better if used in the mornings only or when paired with a good makeup remover.

The Guts
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any ingredient listings for this mask, so I can only speak to the ones listed on the website:
  • Bamboo charcoal - this activated charcoal is a powerful absorber of impurities and dirt with antibacterial and antioxidant properties 
  • Kaolin clay - another great detoxifier that sucks up impurities out of pores, but can be drying
  • Silica beads - from what I can tell, silica beads are not microbeads and so are okay to use. Microbeads, which are teeny plastic spheres commonly in scrubs, are super harmful to the environment and should be avoided if, you know, you like animals and fish. You can learn more about why microbeads are bad and how to avoid them in a little guide I wrote before here!

Price & Packaging
A 100 ml tube retails for $32 at Sephora or Clinique counters. Like most Clinique packaging, there's not much to write home about, but if you're going to invest in skincare, I'd say that Clinique is a pretty safe bet to invest in as their products generally have great cost-for-value. 

Effectiveness
This is my first time trying a clay mask from Clinique and I really like it! Like most clay masks, the City Block mask does have that tightening feeling, but it's not as uncomfortable as some I've tried. I also am really amused at how this mask is a bright blue color (the same color as the tube in fact). The instructions state that you can tell when to remove the mask as it will change to a lighter blue color, but I haven't noticed this effect at all, which is probably my only complaint about this product.

I like to leave the City Block mask on for 5-7 minutes and then I'll moisten my fingers a bit to get the mask malleable enough that I can then give my face a gentle scrub before finally rinsing it all off. The silica beads in the City Block mask feel very gentle, yet do a great job at making my skin feel deeply cleansed and refreshed. Any dry flakes on my face are removed and my skin isn't left feeling irritated or red at all.

Immediately after using this mask, I was super impressed that my pores actually looked tighter and clearer, which is pretty rare after just one use. The City Block mask is definitely a great option if you need to get rid of a breakout and just for general maintenance. 

In terms of its effects, the Clinique City Block Purifying Clay Mask + Scrub is pretty similar to the Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Mask, another mask that also offers deep-cleansing clay plus physical exfoliation, however I think the Clinique wins out if you are wanting something a little gentler, dislike that super tight feeling and most importantly, it's almost half the price!


Final Verdict
Buy - gentle enough for all skin types, this mask is a great option for an at-home facial that will give you clearer, softer skin.


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

THEFACESHOP White Seed Brightening Toner Review | The perfect intro to hydrating toners

THEFACESHOP White Seed Brightening Toner

With summer now firmly in full swing, I find myself drawn to lighter hydrating products such as toners and facial mists to keep my skin feeling fresh and comfortable. Lately I've been testing out my first THEFACESHOP toner and I'm finally ready to share my thoughts!

THEFACESHOP White Seed Brightening Toner is part of the hydrating sub-category of toners. There are various types of purposes for toners, but generally they are to be used for either cleansing or hydrating skin. In all cases, toners are the perfect way to reset your skin's moisture balance and prep it for your heavier duty products. The White Seed Brightening Toner is part of the hydrating group of toners and is designed to provide a splash of moisture and luminosity to parched skin. What makes this toner unique is THEFACESHOP's special White Seed complex, which contains a mix of brightening ingredients such as White Lupin Seed to make skin more translucent and softer. The White Seed Brightening Toner is also formulated without the use of parabens, animal-sourced ingredients, mineral oil, talc and paraffin.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this product are:
  • Water
  • Propanediol - a moisturizer that also enhances the penetration of other ingredients
  • 1,2-hexanediol - a humectant (draws moisture to skin) and preservative
  • Niacinamide - helps fight hyper-pigmentation and repair UV damage while also fighting signs of aging and evening skin tone. Studies have shown it to be effective at percentages of at least 5%, but it's unknown how much this toner contains
  • Hydrogenated polydecene - a moisturizer
Other ingredients of note are white lupin seed (moisturizing), daisy flower extract (moisturizing, anti-inflammatory but also oddly can be irritating), willow bark extract (astringent) and quinoa seed extract (moisturizing).

Price & Packaging
A 145 ml bottle costs $32 and comes packaged in an opaque plastic bottle with a simple pump dispenser. Like most THEFACESHOP products, the White Seed Brightening Toner is quite simple and clean looking. 145 ml is also a very generous amount so even though $32 may seem a little pricey at first, I think it works out pretty well in the end as you only need 1 pump per use!

THEFACESHOP White Seed Brightening Toner review

Effectiveness
The main claims for this toner is that it will hydrate and brighten. Since I've only been using this a few weeks, it's hard to say how effective the White Seed Brightening Toner is at brightening. I haven't noticed any significant change in terms of my skin's luminosity, but since this toner does contain a healthy amount of niacinamide, perhaps over time I'll notice something!

So far, I've been using this toner twice daily. I love using it right after cleansing with one pump each for my face and neck. Like most moisturizing toners, I recommend squirting the toner onto your fingers or palms and then gently pressing it into the skin. The White Seed Brightening Toner provides a lovely splash of moisture to my skin and acts as a damp base for my creams and serums that helps them to absorb more readily.


Final Verdict
Buy - nothing terribly exciting to report here, but this toner contains lots of moisturizers and does a solid job at prepping my skin and helping it to feel supple and comfortable after cleansing.


*This post contains PR samples



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