Mountain Ocean – Coconut Skin Trip

1 Jun

I randomly stumbled across this during one of my Whole Foods skincare forays. I was picking up, sniffing and putting down one product after another (as you do) when I got to this one. And I just couldn’t put it down.

I usually find coconut- and pineapple-scented products to be overly sweet and fake smelling, so I usually avoid them. But this… it’s like bottled coconuts with just a hint of sweetness over top, and it’s intoxicating.

Of course, a delicious scent isn’t all you want in a body cream. You also want it to, you know, moisturize. The good news is that this does that as well. I don’t like really heavy, greasy or sticky creams – this is none of those things. It absorbs quickly, leaves skin feeling soft, and the scent lingers but isn’t too overpowering. According to the website:

“This extremely fast absorbing, non-greasy formula soothes, protects and quickly replenishes needed moisture to dry skin. Blended with Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, and Lanolin, Skin Trip gives your skin the nutrients it needs and effectively reduces the natural evaporation of moisture from your skin. pH Balanced. Perfect After Sun, After Shower, After Shave, Anytime.”

It’s not heavy enough for really dry skin like hands, feet and elbows, but for general all-over moisture, it’s great. I also find that I love this in summer. Perhaps it’s because I first bought it in summer so it has warm and balmy associations for me, but whatever the reason it is great for the sunny months.

Bliss – Super Minty Body Butter

24 Apr

I think I’m in love. I actually found this in Winners, of all random places, and when I smelled it I just couldn’t put it down. It’s minty, no doubt about that, but not that intense, bitter mint. More of a subtle, sweet mint.I’m guessing there’s a bit of vanilla in there too.

The consistency is thick, since it’s a butter. It’s a little hard to get out of the tube, but once it’s out it melts beautifully into the skin and, surprisingly, doesn’t leave as much of a greasy residue as I expected. I love the scent and it lingers on the skin -but it isn’t overwhelming, nor does it seem to come off on anything I touch like some scented products.

This is great to use straight out of the bath when you’re having one of those days and just need something a bit extra special. I also love using it as an intense foot lotion and find it does a great job of really moisturizing feet that need a bit of TLC.

It’s limited edition, so you need to get it while you can! The only place I’ve found it other than Winners (I haven’t seen it there again since purchasing it) is Feel Unique – it’s part of a set on there. I’ll be reviewing the accompanying Soapy Suds Body Wash + Bubbling Bath shortly!

Sleek – Oh So Special Palette (658)

15 Apr
L-R Top Row: Bow, Organza, Ribbon, Gift Basket, Glitz, Celebrate
L-R Bottom Row: Pamper, Gateau, The Mail, Boxed, Wrapped Up, Noir

If you’re a neutral shadow girl, like me, this is the palette you need to get right now. Every single colour is gorgeous, but none of them are over-the-top. This is a great daytime look palette – one of my faves is to use Gateau on the lid, Wrapped Up in the crease and Bow to highlight the inner corner. I’ll usually add some of Celebrate or Noir on top of a kohl liner to thicken up the lashline or create a bit of a smoky finish. Super easy, and beautiful every time.

I swatched without base so you can see how the shadows hold up on their own – with base the colours pop even more. I love that this palette has a mix of matte and shimmer – similar to the Naked Palettes from Urban Decay. There’s enough variation in colour and finish to create endless looks and really have some fun playing around.

If you’re in Canada (or the US, probably) you can pick this palette up on the Sleek website, or, of course, on eBay. It’s dirt cheap and the quality is fantastic. Two thumbs up!

Fushi – Argan Oil

13 Apr

Argan Oil is pretty big these days – in everything from hair treatments to skin serums to lip balms. So I decided to find out what all the fuss was about. Rather than buying one of the uber-expensive, trendy, brand-name Argan treatments, I went on Feel Unique and picked up some pure, organic, cold-pressed oil – at a fraction of the cost.

It comes in a large glass bottle (ambered to protect the oil from spoiling quickly) that you can either pour from directly, or transfer into a smaller bottle. You know it’s good quality because the bottle includes instructions for how much to take internally, not just how to use it on your skin (for all the details on its medicinal uses, visit the Fushi website). But, of course, it’s the external benefits I’m interested in.

Part of what makes Argan Oil such a power player in the beauty market is that it contains high levels of vitamins A and E, both of which help fight the free radicals that contribute to signs of aging. Not only that, but it actually stimulates the skin cells and helps to regenerate them at a faster rate. Sold on it yet? No? Well it also feels fantastic as an overall moisturizer for any trouble spots on the skin and provides deep nourishment to help them become soft, supple skin again.

But one of the things I like about it is that it can be used for a bunch of different purposes. Much like dry oils, you can use Argan Oil as a moisturizer for dry skin or skin irritations, on your cuticles, as a facial treatment for dry or dehydrated skin – you can even use it in the ends of dry hair to help condition and smooth it. And while it is an oil, it isn’t as heavy as some of the oils I’ve encountered and it absorbs relatively quickly. One word of caution, however – a little goes a very long way, and it can leave hair looking a bit stringy, even if used only in the ends, so it’s better used as a hair treatment before washing rather than a leave-in.

If the Moroccan and Argan Oil trend has you curious, I’d recommend giving this a try. Not only is it much, much cheaper, but it’s completely pure and of excellent quality. Great deal.

La Roche-Posay – Effaclar Duo

12 Apr

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar line is intended for those who are prone to breakouts and/or have oily or combination skin. The line has everything from cleansers to spot treatments to moisturizers, but this product is more of a treatment serum.

The product website lists the benefits: 

Effaclar Duo has been rigorously formulated to act on the 2 major clinical signs of acne prone-skin:

  • Acne pimples: its formula dries and helps clear up acne pimples and allows skin to heal.
  • Clogged pores: its formula penetrates pores to prevent acne pimples.

I just use it under my regular moisturizer (at night, in the morning or both) whenever my skin is having a teenage flashback. Though it is a blemish treatment, and though it does contain salicylic acid, I find that it’s much more gentle than most others I’ve tried. It doesn’t cause any dry patches or skin irritation and doesn’t burn, sting or cause my skin to feel tight when applied.

This is an important point because I’ve found most blemish treatment products focus only on drying up the blemishes and removing excess (or all) oil from the skin, entirely overlooking the fact that blemished skin is usually irritated and sensitive. So you have to choose between either dealing with the blemishes and making the overall condition of the skin more angry and aggravated, or soothing sensitivity and ending up with more blemishes. I didn’t believe a product existed that addressed both issues simultaneously, but here it is!

It’s quite a thin, serum-like consistency that spreads easily and absorbs into the skin instantly. Which is great, because you can put it on under other products. The scent is lovely and subtle as well – another thing I usually can’t say about blemish treatment products.

 I’ve been using this for hormonal breakouts, and the first morning I woke up after using it, I could see visible improvement, and it seemed to help reduce the number of new breakouts with continued use. Obviously I’m not the usual target audience for blemish products, being in my early 30s, but hey, we get breakouts too and it’s great to find a product that doesn’t cause other skin problems. Two thumbs up!

From the French Pharmacie: Physiogel – A.I. Crème

11 Apr

This cream is intended for sufferers of eczema, psoriasis or any other skin condition that leaves skin itchy, delicate and very, very sensitive. It’s hypoallergenic, scent-free and incredibly hydrating and soothing. This appeals to me because even though the sun is making an appearance, it’s still chilly out there and my sensitive, overly dry skin needs some TLC.

I originally heard of this in one of Bubzbeauty’s videos – and on her blog – where she claimed it works wonders on her irritated skin. She won’t use anything else.

According to the product website, A.I. Crème is for:

  •     itchy, irritated and dry skin, such as in atopic dermatitis
  •     sensitive baby and children’s skin

It’s also:

  •     hypoallergenic: no fragrance, preservatives, dyes
  •     contains skin-related lipids, rejuvenate the skin barrier
  •     provides the skin with long-lasting moisture
  •     no emulsifiers, no further drying of the skin
  •     itchy, irritated, inflamed skin is soothed

I don’t have any specific skin complaints at the moment, so I can’t speak to its efficacy in treating severe skin irritations, but I always have sensitive skin and love anything that will soothe and moisturize effectively without being too heavy or perfumed.

I’ve only used this a couple of times so far, but I really like it. It’s quite different in texture to any of the other moisturizers I regularly use. When I apply it to the skin, it glides on effortlessly and almost seems to multiply as I massage it in. I was surprised at how little I needed to cover my entire face in a generous layer, and I love that there’s no tugging or pulling during application which is great considering it’s a cream for such sensitive skin!

You can definitely tell that it’s there, and skin remains tacky for a little while after application, but it’s not overly heavy or uncomfortable. It feels a bit like Embryolisse Baume Riche though perhaps a tad more sticky – and, like the Baume, it absorbs fully by morning if used as a night cream. I wouldn’t recommend using it in the daytime if you plan to use foundation, because it does take awhile to absorb and I feel like it would make skin look a bit too oily and cause foundation to move around. But if your skin is very irritated and you can’t wear makeup anyway, there wouldn’t be any harm in putting a light layer on during the day as well.

I’m pretty impressed with it so far, and if you’re someone who suffers from any type of skin irritation or discomfort – or even if your skin is just a bit on the sensitive side – I’d definitely recommend trying it out.

February 2013 Empties

10 Apr

I love watching empties videos on YouTube. Partly it’s because I’m nosy, but also because I love hearing what the reviewer thought of each of the products after using it for that long and whether they will buy it again.

I’m very fickle and have no self-control, so I’m constantly flipping back and forth between different products and almost never actually finish anything. You might notice that some of these “empties” aren’t entirely empty – that’s because I started using them, moved on, and forgot to go back and finish them before they expired. So I guess that’s kind of cheating, but they’re getting tossed along with the empties and I figure there’s a reason I didn’t go back to them, so you might still find the feedback useful.

Here goes!

1. Vichy Essentielles Facial Emulsion

This was a nice, light moisturizer that I used a lot last summer. I don’t think it’s entirely empty, but it has expired and I don’t like using expired product on my face!

2. Marcelle Essentials Clay Mask

Marcelle is an unsung gem of a drugstore brand available in Canada. It’s one of the two major ones (the other is a brand called Quo, available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) that no one has heard of outside of the country, but that are pretty darn awesome for the price! I love that the majority of their products are unscented, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Their makeup is hit or miss, but the skincare is great for sensitive skin and works really well. This mask is pretty much just your basic mask – toss it on, leave it for a little while, remove with a face cloth. I honestly couldn’t really tell if it did anything or not, but the texture was lovely and it was gentle enough for my sensitive skin.

3. Marcelle Oil-Free Multi-Defense Moisturizer

Before Embryolisse, this was my daily face cream. I may switch back in the summer. It’s a very liquidy lotion that doesn’t have a scent and is incredibly light on the skin. I like it in the summer because it has SPF 15, is soothing if I have gotten more sun than I should and is great if my skin is feeling a bit more on the oily side. It absorbs very quickly, so it’s great to use under makeup.

4. Alba Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser

Just alright. Smells great, perhaps a little drying on the skin. Confession time: I got so sick of having this bottle hanging around that I used up the last third of it as hand soap. Yeah, I have that many face washes hanging about in the bathroom. Feel free to start judging now.

5. Juice Beauty Green Apple Mineral Antioxidant Moisturizer

This one expired too, sadly. I loved it, but it’s the curse of the natural beauty product – it expires too quickly. And this was a HUGE bottle. This one hurt to throw out, though, I’m not gonna lie! The smell was gorgeous – light and citrusy. It did a great job of moisturizing – not too heavy, not too light – and was great for sensitive skin. If it weren’t so darn expensive, I’d definitely repurchase.

6. Juice Beauty Green Apple SPF 15 Moisturizer

This I actually used up and it was delicious. I love this stuff – smells good, feels lovely on the skin. And of course, the SPF is excellent to have in a face cream! A bit pricey, though, and it expires quickly. I’d consider re-purchasing if it was ever on special.

7. Vichy Essentielles Facial Cleanser

This goes with #1, obvs. This was pretty “meh.” Not excellent, but okay. Did the job. Got me clean. Not worth the money, though.

8. Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash

I’ve been using this line since I was a teenager with oily skin. I like that even though my skin has matured (even if my personality hasn’t) it’s still gentle enough to use when my skin’s having a good ‘ole teenaged tantrum. The smell is intense, so you have to be okay with tea tree – but once you get used to it it’s actually quite nice. Love it.

9. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

I’ve gone through a bunch of these, because until I discovered the wonder that is First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, I used it as hand cream. I also used it as night-time face cream in colder months until switching to my French pharmacie products. It’s still great, and I still have a bottle of it in my bathroom. I’m sure I’ll always have some of this kicking around.

10. Bioré Purify Daily Scrub

I have used up a few tubes of this – the smell is lovely, I like the round beads because they’re not too abrasive on my skin and the formula of the cleanser itself left my skin nicely refreshed. I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a budget physical exfoliator.

11. Bioré SkinPreservation Even Smoother Microderm Exfoliator

This is another great one. I don’t like the smell as much, but the texture is amazing. It has very fine, very dense exfoliators so you feel like it really gets into your skin and takes off all the dead skin cells. I would only use it a couple of times a week because it is quite an intense exfoliation, but I think it does a great job – particularly considering that it’s a drugstore brand. I’ve gone through a few tubes of this as well.

12. Makeup Forever Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector

I love this stuff. I have light patches in my brows where I’ve lost pigment, so I use a tiny bit of this on a spoolie and work it through my brows and it colours the individual hairs rather than the skin so it looks totally natural. This is in shade #3, which matches my natural brow colour perfectly. It lasts all day long and I love that it’s waterproof so I don’t have to worry about it smudging. I’ve had this one tube for over a year now – maybe even a year and a half – and I could probably get even more out of it. Great stuff.

Phew! That’s it for empties this time around. I’ll do another post whenever I feel like I’ve amassed enough empties to warrant it, but since it takes me forever to finish things it probably won’t be monthly – maybe every couple of months.

Hope you guys found that helpful! Have you used any of these products? What were your impressions? What products have you used up lately, and what did you think of them? Share in the comments!