Clinique Bonus Review!

 

Clinique Bonus Review!

Clinique Bonus Review!

 

It’s rare that I will splurge for higher end/cosmetics counter (read: non drugstore) cosmetics, but when I do, it’s often when there’s a gift with purchase full of things I think I will like, the minimum buy is low, and I can make that amount by buying things I use/will use. In this case, it was a couple of lipsticks, which will be reviewed in a later post. This Clinique Bonus included a cute makeup bag, a Chubby Lash mascara, a Chubby Stick blush in Roly Poly Rosy, a Chubby Stick eyeshadow in Lots o’ Latte, a Chubby Stick lippie in Chunk Cherry, a Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, and a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream. They advertised it as a full look.

The Chubby Lash mascara ($21CAD for full size) came in a cute little tube that dispenses a HUGE amount of product. The picture below is brightened so you can see the enormous amount of excess globbed on to the wand. This tube needed a much smaller opening. I had to scrape most of the mascara back off along the opening of the tube to make it usable, while not wasting product.The brush itself was also far larger than it needed to be, and I found I had a hard time not getting it all over my eyelids and surrounding area. The formula, however, was fantastic. It built up well, and barely flaked all day! The black was also nice, deep, and rich. If you can tolerate a globby, too big wand, this mascara might be for you!

Clinique Chubby Lash, Black

Clinique Chubby Lash Mascara in Jumbo Jet

 

The Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm ($27CAD for full size) came in a swivel tube larger than it needed to be for the amount it contained, but it was sturdy and it worked. The shade was a lovely, slightly warm pinkish red which blended out smoothly to a natural looking flush. No shimmer. Beautiful finish. Swatches on NC 20/25 skin. I didn’t notice any fading over the course of the day, it stays exactly where you put it, and it didn’t break me out. I quite like this blush!

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

 

The Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes ($21CAD for full size) in Lots O’ Latte is a cool leaning taupe-ish light brown with a hint of shimmer. Goes on pale, but builds up with a few swipes. Blends out easily with a finger. The colour did fade a bit, but was still visible at the end of the day even on my oily lids (I do use my foundation as a primer, however.) I might not use it every day, but have used it very frequently as a one-and-done eye colour on days I don’t feel like fussing about with multiple powder shadows, or am pressed for time. I like it enough to consider purchasing it in other shades! But right now I’m happy with just this one.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Lots O' Latte

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Lots O’ Latte

 

The Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm in Chunky Cherry ($21CAD for full size) is of your standard swivel twist up lip crayon variety. The shade is a light red which is very sheer and wearable. It doesn’t last very long, but is at least moisturizing. I’d say even Revlon’s Lipbutters last longer than this, but that’s really my only complaint. I like it for a refreshing wash of colour, and it would be great for someone who wants to wear a red but is scared of the intensity. Shown below with 5 passes, then just one.

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry

 

The cleanser I also liked. A small amount lathered well and spread around well to remove the day’s makeup. No fragrance! It did leave my skin feeling almost too clean, and I have oily skin. Someone with dry or sensitive skin would feel that this over strips your natural moisture. I like it so far as it performs well, might consider a full size purchase. Especially at bonus time….(scratch that, I just tried looking for it on their website for a full price quote in Canadian dollars, and it’s not there at the time of this post!)

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream

The Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream is.. well.. not. There is nothing exciting or advanced in this cream’s ingredients. I don’t require a moisturizer beyond my staple Neutrogena Healthy Skin retinol treatment, so I’ve used this as nothing but a hand cream. As a hand cream, it soaks in well and leaves a nice smooth, soft finish to the skin. Non greasy. Non fragranced. Non interesting.

Lastly, the cosmetics bag has a cute cheery print of Clinique’s Chubby Stick lippes, seems well made and is roomy enough to carry what you’d probably want to take along cosmetic wise for a vacation or short trip. I like it.

clinique_bonus_bag_

All around this gift with purchase has fully impressed me, and would encourage me to purchase many of these products in full size. They picked some fantastic products for this gift with purchase! Coming up in a future post, reviews on some Clinique lipsticks, in Plum Pop and A Different Grape!

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Manuka Honey Peel-Off Face Mask by Montagne Jeunesse

Manuka Honey Peel Off Mask

Manuka Honey Peel Off Mask

I’m a bit particular about facial masks. My oily skin doesn’t need a moisturizing mask, plus I don’t see the point of slapping it on only to rinse it off a few minutes later. Mud masks perplex me as well. Despite occasionally (and very temporarily) improving my skin texture, I don’t see how it is possible for them to “draw out impurities” (whatever those are. Is it a mud attracting dirt theory?) But peel off masks I really like. They take along with them a layer of dead skin, leaving you looking fresher with less annoying dry winter skin flakies!

Tiffany from ObsessedCanada offered to send me a selection of Montagne Jeunesse face masks, and I was excited to pick out some peel off masks. As I only have one face, I will be featuring them one at a time in separate reviews. Today’s review is for the Manuka Honey one!

Back of Manuka Honey Mask Package

Back of Manuka Honey Mask Package

This mask really smells like honey. A very floral honey (jasmine). It is intense, but lovely, as I really like honey! This scent does linger after the mask is removed as well. The texture and colour is also very honey like, thankfully without as much stickiness. It smooths on evenly without any trouble, and dries to a thin, solid, easy to peel off finish.

Ingredients of Manuka Honey Mask

Ingredients of Manuka Honey Mask

I really enjoyed the smooth feel of my skin after this mask, and would absolutely use it again! I got 2 uses out of the package ($1.99) just by keeping the remainder left inside the package, folded over then in a zip bag. If you are into peel off masks and honey, give this a try! Montagne Jeunesse products are cruelty free and made in the UK. This package contained 10mls of mask.

Thanks again to ObsessedCanada. Looking forward to trying the rest of the masks!

September Empties with Mini Reviews!

September Empties!

September Empties!

How was everyone’s September? New schools? New jobs? September was a hugely busy month for me, full of workshops and interviews, and next month will be even busier as I am to be starting a new job with long hours. I think I will only be able to post on weekends, sadly. I did manage to get through some items this month however! I will go through them one by one as numbered in the photo below, left to right, and add in some mini reviews and applicable links to previous reviews and the like.

Empties_Sept_2014_Numbered

 

1) Coppertone SPF 60 Continuous Spray Waterproof Sunscreen

Not that anyone should need any extra reasons to wear sunscreen at all times, but I am allergic to the sun. A few minutes of unprotected sun exposure and I’m stuck with an itchy hives reaction that can last for weeks (this is known as Polymorphic Light Eruption). So I keep my face, hands, and any other exposed skin covered at all times. I grabbed this one as not only was it on sale, but I liked the idea of a waterproof formula to make sure it sticks on during a potentially sweaty summer day when I am unable to reapply. The product was an easy to use spray on. It did leave a sticky feeling however, presumably from whatever ingredient in it makes it waterproof. I didn’t mind this until I noticed every speck of dirt and dust I walked past stuck to my skin and was hard to wash off! The scent was also somewhat strong to me, something typically beachy with a splash of light floral and a side of chemicals. If you’ve smelled Jennifer Aniston’s first fragrance, which supposedly was also intended to be beachy, it smells like that. Due to the stickyness and scent, I would not rebuy. I did like the spray on aspect, but I think I will stick to cream formulas thought winter. Will not rebuy.

2) Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Waterproof Mascara in Very Black

This, for reasons that entirely escape me, has been discontinued in Canada. I believe it is still available in the US. This has been my HG mascara for for twelve or thirteen years maybe. It builds well to great volume and length, doesn’t flake (until the tube gets a bit old and dried up), leaves my lashes soft and pliable with no spiky, spidery lash attributes, and is in fact waterproof. Not too hard to wash off. I am down to one last stashed away tube, after that there’s no more here to be found in Canada. I will miss it! If there are any US readers who would like to enable my Full ‘n Soft addiction I would be more than receptive to the idea! I would rebuy but it doesn’t exist here.

3) Bath & Body Works White Citrus Shower Gel

A zesty, sparkling citrus scent with notes of ginger and water lily. A slight musky base. I liked this enough to use as a shower gel and diluted in my foamy hand soap dispensers as detailed in this post. It was nice and refreshing. I don’t think I liked it enough to rebuy. I think this would make a great scent for a laundry detergent or a room spray or candle.

4) Pantene Sheer Volume Weightless Shampoo Sample

This shampoo has an interesting texture in that it is more of a thick, gel like formula and not at all liquid. It didn’t pour out. I used this by squeezing out little jelly blobs. I liked this far more than I usually like Pantene products, probably because the formula was so, so different. I did a good job, and my hair didn’t feel limp afterwards when dry. Even the scent is better than usual Pantene offerings, reminds me more of something Fructis might make. Worth noting is that sodium laurel sulfate is it’s primary surfactant, which some people can have sensitivities to. I’m usually ok with it if I don’t use it too many days in a row, otherwise my scalp gets itchy. I would consider buying this if I found it at a great price and needed shampoo at the time.

5) Pantene Sheer Volume Weightless Conditioner Sample

Like it’s shampoo counterpart, this formula was completely different than Pantene’s other conditioner offerings. In fact, the formula reminded me a lot of Tres Emme’s, which is my go to every day conditioner and has been for years. This did the job well and smelled pretty good. I would consider buying if it were at a great price and I needed conditioner at the time, but I can’t see it ever being any better or cheaper than my $4 a liter Tres Emme. But good job an this new shampoo/conditioner, Pantene.

6) John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo Sample

I didn’t notice any lightening. The formula didn’t lather well, and had a strange chemical undertone to the scent. Would not buy. Seemed almost indistinguishable, aside from the colour from it’s purple tone correcting counterpart I reviewed in my last empties post. Says it’s ammonia and peroxide free. How is this intended to lighten?

7) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream

Also known as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream Night depending on where you buy it from. This is a retinol treatment I have used for a year now and do not intend on stopping, unless I upgrade to a higher dose of retinol. There is still a couple of uses left in this tube, but I felt it would be an important addition to my empties post to demonstrate how long this little 40ml tube lasts. My last empty tube made an appearance in my debut empties post back in May, so I get at least four months worth of use out of one tube. I buy this when it’s on sale for about $16-17 Canadian, so I get my retinol treatments and results for less then $5 a month. Amazing. I’ve done a very in depth full review as well if you’d like to check it out. I will rebuy this until they stop making it, which I hope is never.

8) Diorskin Forever Flawless Perfection Wear Makeup SPF 25 Sample

I don’t have the little Sephora bag that had the label on it, but I believe this was in shade #010. I went into Sephora asking for samples of foundation of longer wearing, SPF bearing formulas, and this was the winner. It is basically perfect. Coverage was impeccable, it lasted all day in humid weather, no smudging, smearing, or transferring. I found I only needed extra concealer on my dark under eye circles when I used this. The finish is skin like, and just matte enough. I would buy this, but at the atrocious price of $49 Canadian that won’t be happening. I won’t feel too bad about asking for more samples however, after what Sephora put me though, and use it on occasions I need my skin to look nicer.

Hope everyone had a wonderful and productive September! I’m looking forward to October and all the spooky stuff (and candy) it brings with it!

Enormous August Empties Post with Mini Reviews!

August Empties

August Empties

Summer has blown by far too quickly for my liking! Monday is September, and although I like the Fall, I’m still a bit sad to see the pretty summer colours and clothing go. At least I got through a lot of products this summer! This post is huge! Looks like most will be hair care products which I suppose isn’t surprising, I do have a lot of hair. There is also a lot of bath & shower gel type things. I have a lot of these, as I love having so many different scents to choose from. I wasn’t satisfied with only being able to use one per shower, so I decided to come up with a way I could enjoy all these luxurious, yummy smells more often. Whenever one of my Bath & Body Works foamy soap dispensers is empty, after a good rinse I fill the bottom with an inch or so of a selected shower gel. I add a bit of warm water to dilute, stir, then top up, and stir again with the pump. The trick here is to make sure it is *stirred* and not shaken. James Bond would be disappointed. Every time I have shaken this kind of mixture it somehow screws up the pump foaming mechanism. On to my empties! Numbered and described below, left to right.

August Empties

August Empties

 

1) Tres Emme Tres Two Extra Hold Hairspray

It did the job at a good price. I liked it. The only thing I didn’t like was the fragrance. I would buy it again (I actually didn’t buy this one, it was a gift with purchase) but in unscented, should it be available like that.

2) Schwarzkopf got2be Glossy Anti-Frizz Shine Serum

This was ok. Not much different than any other silicone serum, perhaps a bit thicker. I use a silicone serum daily or my hair become a completely unmanageable frizz fest, and I have found that they are pretty well all the same at any price point. I only bought this one as it was what was on sale at the time. I usually buy the Fructis version as I can generally find it on sale for about $2.50, it has a pump, and it smells great while doing the job. Would not buy again unless I had no other more cost effective options.

3) Yves Rocher Organic Vanilla Shower Gel

Pretty decent vanilla scent. On the sweeter side. Didn’t make my skin itchy or dry. I can’t see myself buying again, I think this was a gift with purchase as well. If you really like sweet vanilla and are placing an Yves Rocher order, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

4) Bath & Body Works Country Chic Shower Gel

A sweet, citrusy summery floral with a caramel base. Kind of unique. More complex than other BBW fragrances. I like it but not more than my other BBW scents I have reviewed recently, Sunset by the Pool and Peach & Honey Almond (plus there’s more to come!) I still have some of this left in a body spray so can’t see myself needing to rebuy.

5) Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze Shower Gel

Also known as Coconut Lime Verbena, I think, before the repackaging. This is a super summery, potently tropical lime coconut scent. Very rich for what the notes are. It smelled familiar to me, and I eventually discovered it has 6 notes in common with my old beloved and long discontinued Ralph Lauren Hot, so I used this as a base before wearing the Hot. I don’t see myself repurchasing any time soon as I still have some of this in the spray.

6) The Body Shop Moroccan Rose Shower Gel

A slightly spicy, tiny bit citrusy rose scent. I use this before any rose based scent I’m planning on wearing. It’s a nice, soft, soothing smell. I also have gone through most of the full size bottle of this as well. Might or might not replace, not at that point yet. The lotion of this is also lovely.

7) Yves Rocher Jardins de Monde Laotion Lotus Flower Shower Gel

A fresh, slightly green watery floral. Quite refreshing. I used this before using any watery or water lotus scents. Good formula. This was a gift with purchase, can’t see myself rebuying but was nice while it lasted.

8) Tres Emme 24 Hour Body Silk Protein Conditioner

I have a giant, larger than this bottle even, bottle of Tres Emme conditioner with a pump that I continually refill with more Tres Emme conditioner. I’ve been doing this for probably about 7 years now, at least. It performs well for my extra long, super fine, prone to frizz hair type, and I buy it for something like $4 a litre! This version and the “Climate Control” version are my favourites and I alternate between them. The scent is a fresh-fruity type which doesn’t compete with any other fragrance I might have on. I will continue buying this/these until they stop making them. Love it!

9) Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Color Infinity Shampoo & Conditioner

This was a sample mailed to me. Enormously disappointing. The formula reminds me of Pantene’s, which I also find to be disappointing every single time. Both are Proctor & Gamble. It just doesn’t work with my hair type, might be great for someone else. A quick glance over the ingredient list shows it is very basic, and there is nothing special in here to help keep your hair colour. Basically any well formulated hair care product wouldn’t strip your colour these days. Even the fragrance is remarkably boring. Would never buy this. Vidal Sassoon had an incarnation in the mid 90’s with a formula and fragrance I really liked. Perhaps that was before it’s P&G days. Sad that version wasn’t relaunched.

10) John Frieda Color Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo

I don’t really have a huge problem with brassiness as I prefer my blonde to be on the warmer side, and not too light. I do use these types of purple shampoos from time to time. This one has the same issue I find with all of them – they don’t lather well. Now I know that a big sudsy lather doesn’t necessarily mean it is cleaning your hair better, but I like it. I like to think the bubbles are lifting the dirt and oils up and away to be rinsed off. Maybe I’m imagining it. Otherwise, this shampoo was ok. My hair looked decent after use. Scent was a tiny bit chemically. I think I’d have to use it a lot longer to see any significant tone change, however. As I already have a bottle of straight up purple shampoo for blondes, I wouldn’t purchase. If I didn’t have that, I might.

11) Vichy Normaderm Anti-Age Resurfacing Care

Also claims to be anti-imperfection, and anti-wrinkle. I didn’t buy this, this is one of many products my mom hands over to me when she decides it might not be right for her. I have noticed a trend in these – they often contain alcohol. This product does as well. Mom, read the ingredients, and don’t buy skin care full of alcohol, your skin hates it! Basically, this product is a salicylic acid treatment trying to be fancy. It smells lovely, but facial skin care does not require fragrance. I used this on my less sensitive chest area instead of my face, as alcohol tends to make it oilier, and I liked it for that, but I would never buy this due to the alcohol content. How a product containing skin aggravating alcohol can claim to be anti aging is beyond me.

12) Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne Sample

I am surprised how much I liked this. The sample the very nice girl gave me (she was new, and had not yet succumbed to the ways of Sephora) was very small as there wasn’t any left in the bottle, but I did like the small amount I tried. I went back a month later hoping to find someone to pull another one for me, but the same empty bottle was sitting there, and no one was around to assist me anyway. What a surprise. Anyway, this smells like a classy, rose based scent. I’d like to say more but I’m afraid I would need another sample!

13) Lancome Bienfait UV SPF 50 Ultra Fluid Sunscreen

Last and certainly least. So glad to finally see the back of this one. I hated it for my face, as you can read in my full review here. Another facial care product loaded with alcohol. As it still performed well as a sunblock, I used it on less sensitive areas to finish using it up (like feet.) They would need to reformulate this with the skin aggravating ingredients removed for me to ever consider purchasing it again!

So much stuff! Has anyone else tried any of these products? What did you think? Thanks for reading, enjoy the last of your summer!

Bath & Body Works Sunset By The Pool Fragrance Line Review!

Bath & Body Works Sunset by the Pool

Bath & Body Works Sunset by the Pool

It’s exceptionally rare that I am near a Bath & Body Works at all, let alone in one when they are having a crazy good sale on their new stuff! They happened to have their entire new summer line on for $5 apiece, so I made an exception (I’m trying to be on a body care buying break) and picked some up. Considering a full set of the large sizes of the fine fragrance mist (236ml/8oz), shower gel (295ml/10oz) and body lotion (236ml/8oz) would be $15 combined, it was well worth it. From their website, regular prices in Canada are $14 for the fine fragrance mist, $12.50 for the shower gel and $12.50 for the body lotion at the time of this post.

The new summer line (that I could find here) includes Cool Coconut Surf, Hello Sunshine, Peace, Love & Daisies, and Sweet Summer Kiss. I found it hard to get a good sniff of any of them with so so many nice smelling products interfering. I gave up on trying to figure out if I liked them by smell and looked for what the fragrance’s notes were as a jumping off point. I almost went with Hello Sunshine, when I picked up a bottle of Sunset by the Pool and read the notes: White Peach, Exotic Passionfruit and Sun-Warmed Woods. A quick perfunctory sniff assured me it smelled okay. As I have been looking for a more than single note peach based scent for a long time, I decided to grab this one.

When I got home, I decided to look up the notes. Their website shows two different sets of notes! The “Key Fragrance Notes” are still listed as a sun-ripe blend of white peach, exotic passionfruit & sun-warmed woods. But then there was a different breakdown when it came to the top, middle and basenotes, as follows:

  • Top Notes: Fuzzy Apricot, Sparkling Bergamot, Juicy Grapefruit
Top Notes of Sunset by the Pool

Top Notes of Sunset by the Pool

 

  • Middle Notes: Lily Of The Valley, Mirabel Plum, Blood Orange, Apple Blossom
Middle Notes of Sunset by the Pool

Middle Notes of Sunset by the Pool

 

  • Base Notes: Sun Warmed Woods, Madagascar Vanilla
Base Notes of Sunset by the Pool

Base Notes of Sunset by the Pool

 

What’s not listed here:

WHERE'S MY PEACHES?!

WHERE’S MY PEACHES?!

As you can see, no peach! Although I suppose apricot is close. Now to me, at first spray this fragrance hits me with pineapple! Not even in the notes! Along with the pineapple is a huge, juicy amount of blood orange. I love blood orange, and all citrus really, so I’m okay with this part too. The super juicy part does last for a good while, longer than I expected. Once it settles, it mellows out to a barely perceptible vanilla wood smell. You would have to really be looking for the vanilla to find it here. It works as a nice smooth base for the rest of the notes. What I mostly get out of this for the majority of the fragrance is a chewy, possibly dried, plummy apricot. This is sweet, but it is more the sweetness of fresh, ripened fruit rather than sugar. Delicious.

Label shows a peach and a hibiscus – there’s no peach nor hibiscus in this. It’s still delicious though!

Sunset by the Pool Label

Sunset by the Pool Label

The fragrance doesn’t last very long, maybe a couple of hours to my own nose, although I’m sure others would still be able to smell it faintly. As it’s a body spray, and not a strong scent to begin with, I wasn’t really expecting huge lasting power. It’s good enough for what it is!

As for the lotion, it’s a decent formula. It absorbs well and smells true to the fragrance, although it does reach the smooth dry down sooner than the spray. I generally prefer my lotions to be more emollient (I don’t know why my skin just soaks them up, it’s not that dry) but it’s good enough for light moisture. The formula boasts shea butter, vitamin E and aloe according to the label. Click for larger pictures.

Sunset by the Pool Lotion Label

Sunset by the Pool Lotion Label

The shower gel is as juicy as the fragrance and also performs well. Most shower gels I can’t use for more than a couple days in a row without my skin starting to hate it but this one seems fine so far! The shower gel also contains shea butter, vitamin E and aloe. The label below.

Sunset by the Pool Shower Gel Label

Sunset by the Pool Shower Gel Label

Overall I really like this, especially at the price I found it! I also like to layer it with another summer fragrance I have, which will also be reviewed at a later time. If you’re looking for a juicy, apricoty summer treat, give this a try. If you are looking for something truly peach, keep looking (I will). This will hold the place until I find something really peachy!

Have a great weekend, maybe even by the pool!

Tocca Florence Hand Cream & Fragrance Duo Review!

Tocca Florence

Tocca Florence

Up first for review from my Sephora prize/haul is this cute hand cream and fragrance rollerball travel set from Tocca. It includes a small (but not tiny) 60ml/2oz tube of hand cream and a mini rollerball fragrance which is 7ml/0.24oz.

Tocca Florence is elegantly described on Tocca’s website as “A Parisian beauty and sophisticate, Florence conjures memories of old-world Paris.”

Tocca Florence

Tocca Florence

Top Notes: Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple

Middle Notes: Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris

Bottom Notes: Blonde Wood, White Musk

Tocca Florence Rollerball and Cream

Tocca Florence Rollerball and Cream

Tocca Florence is a white floral that opens up green, likely due to the bergamot, and then after a few minutes opens up into an opulent gardenia scent. I can occasionally catch hints of the other fruit and florals, but they are light and fleeting as that gardenia sure does stomp it’s ladylike, well dressed foot all over the rest of the notes, save for a sniff of fuzzy violet leaves at the very end. After the gardenia shines through at it’s full force, it stays fairly linear. I would recommend a sample first if you are interested in this as it is very distinct and might not be for everyone. It would be gorgeous for the right person. Gardenia lovers only!

Tocca Florence Package Back

Tocca Florence Package Back

The hand cream’s fragrance stays true to the perfume itself. The size is perfect for a purse or desk drawer, and the formula is lovely and very soft and moisturizing, likely as its full of shea butter and coconut oil.

Although this one is nice, it wasn’t quite right for me and will be going back as I expect to be near a store this weekend and the package slip says I can return in any Canadian or US store, but with their track record I won’t get my hopes up. I do wish they had this travel set in other fragrance selections, as they have so many and some sound delectable!

Tocca_Florence_Box_Open

Nice sentiment 🙂

I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for the prize!

May Empties and Samples Review (My First Ever!)

May Empties!

May Empties!

My first empties post! I really like reading these types as they almost always come along with a quick review of a product after it’s been used long enough to go empty, making it (presumably) a more thorough and fair assessment. By the time you finish a product, you’ve got to have something to say about it. Some of these are brand new to me, and some I’ve been using for a while.

I’ve numbered them 1-8 in the photo below for a quick write up about each.

May_Empties_Numbered

1) Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation 100 Ivory.
This is a product that I’ve been really wanting to try for a while, as I keep seeing such rave reviews. I was lucky in that the sample shade matched me well, and I really liked the texture. The coverage was also pretty good. My only concern was that it seemed a bit thick, cakey on some areas when applied with fingers, even when blended out. As I didn’t have enough product sample to try out different application techniques, I might try this out some time in the future with a damp/dry sponge/brush  etc to see what might work better for the formula. If this foundation contained sunscreen, I’d buy it again on the merit of that and the texture/coverage alone and learn to make it work for me regardless. But it doesn’t contain sunscreen. As it stands right now I’m a bit on the fence about this one. I prefer Rimmel Lasting Finish at the moment.

2) St. Ives Green Tea Cleanser

Initially, I really liked this cleanser. It has a very light green tea scent, has the surfactant my skin agrees with most (sodium laureth sulfate), has salicylic acid and even some green tea extract. It removed makeup well. Unfortunately, I noticed that my skin seemed to get oilier faster after using this product, so I decided to find out why. Turns out this product contains a menthol derivative (menthyl lactate) which can cause mild irritation and subsequent excess oil production. It’s a real shame they added that, this would have had holy grail beauty product status for me (tough accolade to obtain) and at $3.50, twice as sad.

3) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne Treatment

This is a 2% salicylic acid treatment, and as that, it performs well. I’ve been using this for a few years now actually, and my skin is smoother. The bottle doesn’t clearly say what the 3 in 1 effect is, it might be on the box which I don’t have handy. I wouldn’t really say this is moisturizing as it is in a silicone base and dries to a silky finish (think something like a thinner, watery version of the Smashbox primer type texture). As for stress control, well I wish stress control was as easy as a skin treatment. What this product is in fact really good at is helping speed up healing and minimize redness. Apparently this is discontinued in the US. It is still available in Canada, and I’m grateful for it as there is no other afordable, widely available within Canada irritant free salicylic acid treatment. The US has another option made by Clean & Clear but I can’t find it anywhere in Canada. If Neutrogena discontinues this in Canada I’m not sure what I’ll do! I will buy this as long as they make it. If they stop making it, I may have to rethink my love of Neutrogena.

4) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream

This one’s not quite empty yet but close enough to add here as I’m getting to the last dregs and I’d probably throw it out before my next empty post. I did a very thorough review on this one you can find here. I will buy this one as long as Neutrogena makes it as well.

5) Aussie You Can Shine Shampoo

Had a lovely super fresh citrusy orange scent. I suppose my hair was shiny, clean. I did like it. I might buy it again if it’s on a fantastic sale. I have a lot of shampoos to get through right now though, and although this performed well it wasn’t magical, it was shampoo, so this wouldn’t be an immediate rebuy. Only concern, it’s second surfactant is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is considerably more of an irritant risk than sodium laureth sulfate (it’s first surfactant). Although it doesn’t bother me, it does bother some people, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.

6) Aussie Moist Conditioner

A somewhat iconic, well known conditioner. I liked it. Has a nice tropical coconuty scent. It performed well, as I do like a richer conditioner. My only concern is I’m suspicious it might have made my skin break out. Looking at the ingredients the only thing I think that may have done that is the jojoba oil. I guess I will know within a few weeks if it were this conditioner or not. I’d rebuy on the same stipulations as the shampoo counterpart above, on a great sale.

7) Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy

As you can tell by the well worn label, this was with me and used often. I’m the type who always needs something on their lips. I won’t use the lip balm types that have menthol, camphor, or other irritants as I find they are the ones that cause the “addictive” rebound lip balm effect. This is basically just Vaseline in a smaller container, and I already like Vaseline for a lip protectant. Yes, I’d absolutely rebuy, but I’ve already refilled this small container with the same Vaseline Cocoa Butter scent from a larger container so there’s no need to.

8) Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot from Sephora

Up last we have the end of a sample of Vanille Abricot. It was nice, a bit sugary for me. The sweetness was of an intense icing sugar variety. The apricot and other fruits (papaya and jackfruit) kept it tropical and warm. I liked it, but I didn’t $85 like it. Too bad I can’t find the Vanille Almande at all, now that might be worthwhile. If I ever did buy this, it would not be at full price and it most certainly would not be from a Sephora. Or anything else from a Sephora. At the moment I’m currently battling with them to get them to honor a new, perfectly valid $50 e-giftcard awarded to me as a prize, and so far (4 phone calls and countless emails later) they are refusing to assist me, provide any goods, or provide a refund to anyone (myself or the gifter) because I am in Canada (yes, we do have Sephora here). Essentially, they have the money paid for the gift card and are not interested in assisting me beyond that point and I do have this in writing from their most recent email.  I offered a set of six perfectly reasonable, fair solutions in a politely, carefully worded email. All were declined. I am awaiting final confirmation that they will keep the cash and refuse to provide goods or refund before I make my public write up to share on my blog, their Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media I find to be relevant to the subject. I will not purchase anything from a Sephora until this is resolved satisfactorily. I will, however, continue going in for free samples, at least until I feel I’ve received about $50 USD worth. Seems fair don’t you think?

Sorry to leave my empties post on that note, but there was no way I was going to say the word Sephora without saying what was on my mind. There will be a full write up soon on what happens. Up until today I was giving Sephora the benefit of the doubt as a large, well known company to do the right thing customer service wise and so far I’ve been greatly disappointed. Still hoping for the best as I would greatly prefer to report on a positive experience. 🙂

EDIT: Please see my new post about the products (good) and service (highly questionable) from Sephora. As this post of mine is popular, I would like to use it to help word get out. https://katezillablog.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/sephora-orderprize-opening-and-a-word-of-caution/

Moving on, has anyone tried any of these products? And if so, what did you think?

Have a great weekend!

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Review

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream

I’ve been using this product for 6-7 months now, and about to start my third tube, so I feel by now clearly know and like this product well enough for a thorough review! I’m surprised I haven’t yet actually. A note first about the name, as in some areas or depending on what stock your store has, it has changed. In the US (and some retailers in Canada, but not all), this product’s name is now Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night – with the same exact formula as the original. Neutrogena made up a new “original” formula with (insufficient) SPF15 for day. This new other product is in no way the same as the actual original which I am reviewing here. In some places in Canada it is still available as it is labelled in my pictures and write up as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream (no “Night” label, no “SPF15” label). I double checked ingredients carefully to make sure this is the same, as I can see how it would cause a lot of unnecessary confusion.

About the package:

This cream comes in a pretty standard box packaging, with labels stating it contains retinol, multi vitamins and is intended to treat fine lines, winkles and age spots. The side panel suggests you use a cleanser from their line (which I haven’t tried but hear isn’t bad), their SPF 15 during the day (sorry, that formula doesn’t provide adequate sun protection, so nope), and their eye cream but I am of the school of thought that if your regular skin moisturizer/cream/wrinkle treatment is properly formulated there is no need to spend far more for far less product just to put around my eyes. A well formulated cream shouldn’t bother your eyes or skin regardless, just be careful not to put anything too close to your eye as it will migrate over night and possibly get in there, causing irritation. The back of the box has a write up about the product claims. Click for larger pictures.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Side Panel

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Side Panel

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Box

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Box

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Packaging

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Packaging

About the tube itself:

The tube is metal of some sort, which is nice as it blocks out light keeping your retinol safe and effective. I also like this as it flattens itself out as you use it, keeping air out, which also keeps your active ingredients safe. The tube comes completely sealed, which you pierce open with the outer side of the cap that has a built in point especially for this purpose. The tube holds 40mls, which applied in a thin layer seems to last me for a couple of months. The instructions on the back say to apply a small amount to clean skin, but doesn’t say when or how often. I apply this once (sometimes twice if I’m up late and rewash my face) and only at night, as retinols can make your skin very sensitive to sun damage. It also does warn you that you may experience mild tingling or redness. I would normally say that is just your skin being irritated and to not use the product, but due to the nature of how retinol works, this side effect is common and temporary.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Tube

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Tube

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Sealed

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Sealed

About my results:

As this was the first retinol product I had ever used, along with first moisturizer I planned on using somewhere other than around the eye area, I was a bit apprehensive due to my oily, prone to breakout skin. I decided to first try it out on some test areas to see how it would perform. For the first week or so, I placed it only on my under eye area (not too close to eye, maybe a cm down from lower lid). I did feel some mild tingling, and it was welcome as it let me know there was enough retinol in the product to have an effect. This went away quickly, and from the info I can find, your skin acclimates to retinol treatment in this way very quickly. I did not experience any dryness. After being sure that my skin wasn’t going to completely freak out, I decided to try it on a sample area on my forehead. I figured if it broke me out terribly I could try out some bangs for a while. Luckily, no breakouts! What I did experience however, was a case of the retinol uglies. I had read about them before, and then forgot. Then one day I woke up with the lines under my eyes (which normally don’t bother me) looking deeper and much older, I suddenly remembered the retinol ugies are a very real thing!

Apparently I got off easy without any dryness and irritation and the trade off was the common experience of having your lines and wrinkles looks worse first. Thankfully I knew this effect is TEMPORARY! I suffered through about a month or more of worse looking wrinkles and dull looking crappy skin (ugh, I went to interviews like this), crossing my fingers that the information I found about this was correct. Apparently this is the stage most people give up. I did not. And I’m sure glad I didn’t.

One morning I woke up – and there it was – results! My skin was softer, plumper, smoother, of more even tone, and those lines under my eyes suddenly looked more like they did about 5 or more years ago, possibly better! As an added effect, the tiny bump type of acne that I’d previously had on occasion along my cheeks especially was greatly reduced.  I have also noticed a drastic reduction in cystic type acne as well,  I can only think of two, maybe three of those since I’ve begun using this. I do still break out, but they are most certainly fewer. Also noteworthy, blackheads that were impossible for me to remove for years in certain areas had started to just disappear. I find this cream also helps bring other types of blackheads and clogged pores to the surface faster as well, and once removed/healed,  the skin is much smoother.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Tube Back

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Tube Back

About the product/application itself:

The cream feels very lightweight. It spreads out to a thin layer smoothly. It is a pale yellow colour, which I’ve learned is the actual retinol itself, which shows as a pale yellow. I use about a pea sized dab for my whole face. There is no scent and no greasy residue. It is oil free and alcohol free. I apply this only at night as retinol causes sun sensitivity during the day and can make your wrinkles worse and skin drier. Even the back of the tube clearly recommends an SPF for daytime.  A thin layer is best, as more is not necessarily better for retinols. The picture below shows about the amount I use for my whole face, and the pale yellow shade.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Pea Sized Dab

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Pea Sized Dab

About the ingredients:

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Original contains green tea, vitamin e and retinol as the ingredients intended to help your skin. Thankfully it contains no fragrance. Research has shown that the polyphenols in green tea have anti-aging benefits, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properies. Vitamin e is a well proven antioxidant and skin protecting agent. Retinol (a name for the vitamin a molecule) is a skin cell communicating ingredient and an antioxidant. Retinol actually changes how your skin cells grow by creating better, healthier cells. If you are curious about more thorough information on any of these ingredients I’d recommend you check out their respective wikipedia pages, or the ingredient dictionary on Paula’s Choice.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Ingredients

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Ingredients

Would I recommend this? Absolutely, but with a few caveats. You must be willing to apply a thin layer every day, only at night, and refrain from complete judgement about this product for 3 months. You might get the uglies. They pass. You also must be willing to endure these uglies, which may include dryness, redness, and for me an overall look of deeper wrinkles and not so great skin tone. For some people this is only a couple of weeks, for me it was over a month. If you’re having some kind of awful allergic reaction then yes of course stop. I’d recommend you look up the ingredients if you think there is something you might react to.

I buy this at my local London Drugs (a pharmacy) on sale for about $16.49, which for this type of product is on the low end of the cost scale. Neutrogena has other retinol offerings but from my own research none have as much retinol or work as effectively as the Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream or Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Night. I sincerely hope they don’t stop making this.

I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day!

Lancome Bienfait UV SPF 50 Ultra Fluid Texture Facial Sunscreen (and GWP) Review

Lancome Bienfait UV SPF50

Lancome Bienfait UV SPF50

“Bien Fait” is french for “well done”. Did Lancome aptly name this facial sunscreen offering? Well, almost. Perhaps they could have more accurately named this sub brand “Presque”. I’ve been using this product for quite some time now (over a year), and  now that it’s almost gone I feel I’ve accumulated enough experience and information for a thorough, fair review. This was a rare treat for me, as I almost never go higher end for cosmetic products. My local pharmacy was offering a gift with $35 Lancome purchase, and I happened to be there specifically in the market for a facial sunscreen. Lancome’s Beinfait UV SPF 50 was exactly $35 at the time, and the free gift was pretty good! Inside a pretty (and by now well used) purple make up bag was a moisturizer, mascara, bronzer, eyeshadow, lipstick, make up remover, and I think a serum of some sort which is by now long gone. It was a ton of stuff! The eyeshadow itself was the clincher, I loved the shades. It was an afterthought to gather up the GWP for a photo, but after realizing I had most of it left in various states of use I figured I should!

Lancome GWP

Lancome GWP

Included in the gift makeup bag (that I remember):

-Star Bronzer Natural Glow in 01 Lumiere (not bad, a bit sparkly for day)

-Definicils Precious Cells Mascara in Black (beat up from living in my purse makeup bag, smells like roses, it’s gloppy but ok)

-Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover (also smells like roses, don’t find it any more effective than any other dual layer remover)

-Renergie Lift Volumetry Volumetric Lifting and Reshaping Cream, because apparently creams can do that (nope). I don’t use this on my face as I don’t like jar packaging as I find it unsanitary to continually dip your fingers in and put it on your face. I put this away in a bed side drawer and sometimes use as hand cream when I remember.

-Color Design Cream Lipstick in Natural Beauty (perhaps someone else’s natural beauty, as this is too warm/brown for me on it’s own, nice texture and pigment though – reminds me of the 90’s)

-Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow quad with Pink Pearls (matte), Lavender Girl (shimmer), Clock Strikes 12 (matte) and Sultry Mauve (Matte). I quite like these and often wear it to interviews.

Below are swatches in varying lights, from top to bottom Star Bronzer Lumiere, Pink Pearls, Lavender Girl, Sultry Mauve, Clock Strikes 12, then the Natural Beauty Lipstick.

Lancome_Swatch1

Lancome_Swatch2

Lancome Natural Beauty

Lancome Natural Beauty

Lancome Natural Beauty

Lancome Natural Beauty

Back to the actual product I intended to review! Lancome Bienfait UV SPF 50 Ultra Fluid Texture Facial Sunscreen claims to be a quick absorbing. oil free, non comedogenic water resistant broad spectrum UVA/UVB protective sunscreen. Oil free, I guess so. Quick absorbing? Eh, not really. I found I was left with a thin layer of sheen, and I used oil absorbing sheets to pull that off my face before make up application so I wouldn’t be a greasy mess. I’m unable to quantify if it is water resistant as I don’t generally go splashing about after I apply my make up for the day. Non comedogenic? Perhaps for some, but I feel this irritated my skin somewhat, causing a few smaller cysctic acne type breakouts that I have’t gotten since I stopped using this sunscreen, so there goes that claim. As far as effective UVA/UVB coverage goes, well the ingredient list shows the right amount of the right chemicals to make that claim true, so at least there’s that. There is a piece of plastic in the bottle that rattles when you shake it, these are in most of this type of sunscreen bottles I’ve found. The bottle top includes a nice little nozzle/pour spout thing, presumably to keep it from getting everywhere, because…

Lancome_Beinfait_UV_SPF50_nozzle

Lancome_Beinfait_UV_SPF50_swatch

…application itself was a bit slippery due to the very liquid nature of the product. It was downright runny. Although this does in fact aid in spreading it around your face, it doesn’t help you from keeping it out of areas you do not wish it, such as your eyes! The smell is very strong, and typical of sunscreen scent. Once on, it does burn my skin on a more sensitive day, and the fumes bother my eyes. I will attribute this to the deal breaker ingredient: ALCOHOL. Why, Lancome? I could have put up with the runny texture, and I don’t mind blotting before make up application, but alcohol, in this high of a concentration (I can smell it!) in a leave on product? No no no! I could also blame the skin irritation and strong smell on the alcohol as well. The alcohol content in leave on products causes dryness, free radical damage and irritation. I would think such a well known long standing cosmetics company would know as much. Presumably it was added for the thin, fast drying feel.

I told myself I’d use this til it ran out and never repurchase. The alcohol alone is a deal breaker, especially in a product that doesn’t contain any antioxidants or skin communicating ingredients to mitigate the free radical damage it causes on it’s own. I can’t see why someone would want to pay more for a high end product that will do more harm than good to their skin. I only paid $35 for this (and it’s free gifts), and from what I can see they have raised the cost on this to something around $10 more for this same sub par formulation. To me this is unfathomable. Now that I’ve reached the tail end of this product I will be glad to see the back of it. It would not be worth the repurchase even at the lower cost and free gift I got it at! You can do better Lancome! Will be leaving my sunscreen product needs in the hands of Olay and Neutrogena from now on!

Full ingredient listing as follows:

Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), Oxybenzone (6%), Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denatured, Silica, Dicaprylyl Ether, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate. Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Nylon-12, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Lauryl PEG.PPG-18/18 Methicone, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Methylparaben, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium EDTA, Dodecene, Poloxamer

NOPE.

NOPE.

 

Just remembered, I forgot to post my standard negative review haiku.

Were I looking for
Greasy skin and alcohol
I’d go to a prom