Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mountain Ocean - Coconut Skin Trip

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.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Origins - Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

 After receiving a bunch of Origins deluxe samples as a 500-point perk from Sephora, I fell in love with the brand. (You  may remember my rave review of Checks and Balances Foaming Cleanser.) It helped that I kept hearing about various Origins products from YouTube beauty bloggers. Tanya Burr mentions Ginzing Eye Cream in one of her faves videos, Lily Pebbles is a huge fan of Drink Up (see one of her many reviews of it here), and someone (I can't remember who, but possibly Kate from Gh0stparties) mentioned this mask.

First impression? The dark grey colour is quite alarming. But being ever the intrepid beauty blogger, I decided to give it a go.

In practice, the colour isn't any better when applied to the face. It makes me look like I've fallen head first into a volcanic mud puddle. I'm pretty sure that if an intruder broke in and stumbled across me with this mask on, they'd me more scared than I would.But despite the less-than-appealing look of the mask itself, you can't argue with the results. Here's what the Origins website has to say about it:

"When environmental toxins, dirt and debris get under your skin, its waste-filtering system gets jammed, pores get clogged, skin looks cloudy. Nature's complexion clean-up crew gets to the bottom of skins overcast condition and clears the way for it to act its best. Activated Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers, White China Clay absorbs environmental toxins, Lecithin dissolves impurities."

Sounds about right. It leaves skin feeling refreshed, deeply cleaned-out and brightened, but without making it dry or irritated. I find that it helps my skin re-balance whenever it's having a rough week. I use it every week or so - whenever my skin needs a bit of deeper cleaning. 

Pro tip: The instructions say "open pores with warm, moist towel" before applying. Though it's tempting to skip this step, don't. It actually does make a difference - the first time I used it I didn't bother. The mask was still awesome and left my skin feeling great, but the second time I followed the instructions exactly and it was even better!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bliss - Super Minty Body Butter

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!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sleek - Oh So Special Palette (658)

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!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fushi - Argan Oil

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.

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