Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reivew: Wild Argan Oil Skincare | The Body Shop

I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to my skin, I am far less diligent about my body than I am about my face. The Body Shop's Wild Argan Oil collection is now available in stores (and online) and includes an array of 9 different products for the body. Tinted with a golden hue, these products are all formulated with essential argan extra to moisturize the skin. After a whole summer of being baked and dried out by the sun, I am so ready for this.

  • Body Butter* (200ml/$20 CAD)
  • The Radiant Oil (125ml/$20 CAD) (not shown)
  • Bubbling Bath* (250ml/$12 CAD)
  • Rough Scrub* (200ml/$20 CAD)
  • Body Lotion* (250ml/$12 CAD)
  • Shower Gel* (250/$9 CAD)
  • Massage Soap* (150g/$6 CAD)
  • Miracle Oil* (50g/$14 CAD)
  • Solid Oil Lips* (20ml/$6 CAD)
  • Available: August 2014
The Wild Argan line includes both some Body Shop classics such as the body butter and the rough scrub yet also introduces some exclusive products such as the Radiant Oil and Miracle Solid Oil. A slightly sweet, light scent brings all the items together cohesively but while I though it was welcoming and pleasant, it didn't always suit the noses of those around me and more than one person found it to be too rich and dominating.

THE ARGAN STORY: The Body Shop uses Community Fair Trade Organic Argan Oil which is grown in south west Morroco. Hand picked and cracked by the Berber women who live there, the nuts go through a 48hr filtration process for the purest extraction.

The Body Shop Wild Argan | Rough Scrub & Massage Soap


The Rough Scrub | Surprisingly, this scrub won over the girl who never use scrubs. Many I've tried in the past are sugar based (melted away too soon) or had polyurethane beads (painful and unpleasant), neither of which felt very good. This one however contains fine walnut shell powder which feels great especially on the legs and feet. The consistency is thick enough that it stays on my skin until I am ready to rinse off. It also doesn't dry my skin and paired with the body butter, it's heavenly.

The Body Lotion | Easy to absorb, great for those who have normal skin but still want a light moisturizer, I love how creamy this feels yet leaves no greasy residue on the skin. I use it not only on my body but also keep it on the table to moisturize my hands. No sticky fingers.

The Body Butter | I am very very particular about my body butters. It has to have the right scent and consistency and this one ticks all the boxes and then some. This actually feels like smooth, rich butter as you're applying this to your body but leaves a comfortable velvet after finish that would be great for men as well. My favourite is still the cocoa butter version for winter but this will do great in the transitional weather.
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THE ONES TO AVOID: As amazing as this feels at first, unfortunately the massaging nubs on the Massage Soap only lasts a few washes before the soft product melts away. It was also too dry for me and I'd much better prefer the Body Wash. The Solid Oil Lips also had me very excited but the thick formula only seemed to coat my lips on the surface and did little to repair dry patches. As soon as it wore off, I was dry again.

The Body Shop Wild Argan | Miracle Oil Solid (left), Body Butter (top) & Solid Oil Lips (bottom)

I love the argan concept for this time of the year as we're all needing a little extra TLC for our sun ravaged skin. The lighter consistency and velvety finish of The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Collection as a whole makes this a unisex range that can be enjoyed by everyone. You've got options to use the products individually or stack them up for rough spots or extra dry skin making the range quite versatile. Definitely worth stopping by the store to check it out.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Foodie Chat: Stocking the pantry | A grocery haul + video

If you've been following my everyday wanderings on Instagram, then you'll know that I went on a bit of a farm hopping, fish hunting, grocery shopping escapade this past weekend. One stop along the way is Rice World, a local warehouse style food market that carries a large selection of dry foods, snacks and condiments. I thought I'd mix up this week's Foodie Tuesday post by sharing with you my spoils from of the day. Do let me know if you eat any of these foods yourself!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Event: Estee Lauder F/W Beauty Preview

If you put the product into the customer's hands,
it will speak for itself if it's something of quality.

- Estee Lauder 

Of all the popular big name brands available in the beauty world, I have no idea how I've managed to avoid Estee Lauder all these years. In fact, I believe I've only owned one full sized product in my life, something along the lines of a moisturizer that I picked up on a whim at the discount store and frankly I don't remember much about it. But all that was about to change as I walked into the Estee Lauder Fall/Winter Beauty Preview set in the elegant Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

Greeted with a warm smile and a morning cup of jasmine tea, the schedule of the day was a tour of Estee Lauder's new and highlight products ranging in everything from skincare, to fragrance and of course, makeup. I'm a firm believer in learning about your products so I was thrilled to be guided through a detailed introduction to every single item by brand's makeup artist and educator Jason. Have a look at some of the just released and up and coming products that really caught my eye.

Available: July 2014 (Select Hudson's Bay, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Sephora, EL online)

Popular in Asia and recently beginning to emerge from various western brands, the new "it" product is the essence water. Estee Lauder's version was first launched in Asia and was originally developed, tested and proven for Asian skin types. Now in Canada due to popular demand, this Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion  has a fluid texture and is meant to help aid the effect of your chosen serum and other skincare by providing skin calming, strengthening and extra moisturizing effects. Said to penetrate deeply into the skin's layers, it improves the overall quality of skin from texture to translucency. It has a very faint scent, feels immediately hydrating on the skin (or on my hand rather) and leaves a slight stickiness.

Available: October 2014 (Select Estee Lauder counters, EL online)

Brand new to Estee Lauder, the Enlighten Skincare Range targets skin unevenness and dark spots with a focus on a nightly treatment and daily protection routine. This includes a Dark Spot Correcting Serum, an Even Skintone Correcting Creme and the Even Effect (EE) Corrector SPF30. The technology here is based on a new study concerning the formation of dark spots induced by daily exposure which emerges during night time. By treating and helping to prevent the settling of these pigments at night, it promises bright even skin when you awake. Intriguingly, the range includes an "EE" cream which can be used in place of your day time moisturizer while guarding against UV damage as colour correcting pigments enhance the luminosity of your skin. Swatched on my hand it had a very smooth and creamy feel plus the light shade is a spot on match for my skin. Is this a little redundant given the BBs and CCs currently available in their other lines? I'm undecided.

Available: October 2014 (Select Hudson's Bay, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, EL online)

If you're reader of Asian beauty magazines, then this red packaging would already be familiar to you as it's all over every single beauty publication in circulation. The Nutritious line first launched with great success in Asia, featuring nutritious fruit extracts which helps to feed your skin. Now available in Canada, the newest edition brings the Rosy Prism Radiant Gel Cream and Radiant Essence. If sallowness and dull yellow tones are your target concern, the Rosy Prism products are packed with pomegranate and peony extract in a hydrating delivery system to bring forth a radiant rosy glow. With anti-oxidants that help to reduce environmental stress, this seems ideal for those concerned about skin vitality.

Available: Now/October 2014 (Select Hudson's Bay, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Sephora, EL online)

Catering to the luxury market, Re-Nutriv is Estee Lauder's prestige range of anti-aging skin and body care products. The line is extensive and coverages all aspects from eye creams to various moisturizers, treatments and even a body cream. I'm not quite there yet but this is worth a look as a gift for the mother, aunt, sister or friend in your life.

Available: July 2014 (Select Hudson's Bay, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Sephora, EL online)

You know I love a good foundation so my eyes sparkled at this full spectrum display of the Perfectionist Foundation which is infused with youth enhancing CP+R, the same key ingredient as their hot selling anti aging Perfectionist Serum. Formulated with a smooth fluid feel, it has micro-shimmers to illuminate the look of the skin while providing medium buildable coverage. Continued use is reported to have skin caring effects such as hydration and a reduction in fine lines.

Available: July 2014 (Select Hudson's Bay, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Sephora, EL online)

I was both surprised and intrigued to see this brush which accompanies the Perfectionist Foundation as I didn't peg Estee Lauder to be a tool conscious brand. However, it's got some interesting details such as the combination synthetic/natural hair blend, the dense bristles and short curved design all come together in a brush that hugs the contours of the face for an easy and seamless base application. Certainly a newer concept and certainly worth checking out for brush lovers.

Available: Sept 2014 (Select Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, Hudson's Bay, EL online)

As part of the Re-Nutrive range of products, a newly released base range also accompanies the skincare products to further perfect and protect mature skin. Indulgently luxurious, the Re-Nutriv Ultra Radiance Collection series features a liquid foundation, a creme foundation and a concealer/primer duo all infused with precious micro-gems including sapphires, rubies and jade for the ultimate brilliant finish. All are created to work synergetically with the corresponding skincare range to smooth wrinkles, impart clarity and luminosity. Quite literally, you will be able to wear jewels on your face. Enough said.

Available: September 2014 (Select Estee Lauder counters, EL online)

I've always thought of the ideal Estee Lauder client as a chic, put together type of woman who knows exactly how to enhance her features with the right colours that make her features glow. Everything from the luxurious gold packaging to the rich colour combinations exudes a subtle understated glamour. With 10 palettes available, I love that each quint has at least one neutral colour that anchors the look and allows for a very wearable eye regardless of your colour choice.

Available: September 2014 (Select Estee Lauder counters, EL online)

Now let's not forget about lipstick, the Pure Colour range also includes a selection of succulent colour options for the lips. The displays paired the shadows with lipsticks and nail polishes for a complete total look and I loved it! Swatched on the hand, these are lush and full of creamy colour and I can't wait to wear one for the fall season.

Available: September/November 2014 (Select Holt Renfrew, Nordstroms, EL online)

If you haven't seen her all over the magazines in the last few years, then let me explain. Aerin Lauder is the granddaughter of Estee Lauder and her own AERIN Collection of beauty products has got me swooning. Catered towards a more carefree, Californian lifestyle the range features easy to wear makeup in conveniently coordinated compacts. The colours feature a rosier, undone vibe but with a hint of that EL glamour encased in gold detailing. Consider this the makeup for those who don't like wearing a lot of makeup.

Available: October 2014 (Select Holt Renfrew, Nordstroms, EL online)

To complete the AERIN lifestyle experience, we must not forget about fragrance and I must say I am smitten with the stone capped design on these bottles. Again exuding that chic simplicity that flows through the collection, this is a series of 7 different scents each pulled from a fond memory that evokes a mood, a feeling, a new experience to come. 

The event ended with a mini one on one tutorial with Estee Lauder makeup artist Fiona, who walked me through her easy contouring and highlight method. My partner in crime, Jayne from Cosmetic Proof choose the same look. Can you see our cheeks glowing?

A lovely morning spent getting acquainted with  Estee Lauder and most importantly being taught by such knowledge people always gets me so excited about a product. Look forward to a few of these items that I had the pleasure of sampling and will be reviewing for you soon!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: Apocalips Lip Lacquer | Rimmel

Forget coffee, I start my mornings with lipstick.

When it comes to colour, nothing excites me quite like a beautiful bold lipstick so when Rimmel first released these liquid lip colours over in the UK, I was swooning. The cool gemstone cap, the saturated colours and Kate Moss's glossy lips telling you that you need the "london look" made these an immediate hit in the beauty community.

Brand: Rimmel London
Product: Apocalips Lip Lacquer
Colours: 12 shades
Size: 5ml
Price: $8.99 CAD (often on sale $3.99)
Availability: Drugstores nationwide.
Would I repurchase: Probably not, unless there's an LE colour.

Donning a sleek dark design, the Apocolips Lip Laquer is marketed a a revolutionary lip colour with the intensity of a lipstick with satin smooth shine. Unique to this product is the welled applicator tip which is meant to hold the perfect amount of product for each lip application yet providing the precision of a traditional wand. The colour palette ranges from wearable pinks to stand out reds and every single colour I've swatched had incredibly rich saturation (even the lighter shades), something rare amongst drugstore products.

The scent on these is a little questionable, starting off with a fruity kick then immediately followed by a strong synthetic zing that I can't quite put my finger on. If you're particular with your scents, then do remember to give these a whiff before bringing one home.

On the bright side (quite literally), these Apocalips are one of the creamiest full colour lipsticks I have ever swatched to date. Period. No swiping back and forth or layering to get exactly what you want, these are immediate satisfaction and maximum impact all in an easy want delivery system. Not quite a liquid, the thicker cream consistency means no patchy areas and full on coverage. A few of the lighter colours can sink into lip lines slightly but the majority of the colours pass the test.

L-R | "Stellar", "Celestial", "Phenomenon"

The first to the store resulted in Stellar and Celestial, a rich coral that's a little finicky to capture in photos and a wearable medium mauve. But having gone giddy after seeing the full coverage colour, I quickly went back for Phenomenon, a lighted peached nude. Stellar in particular is incredible on fair-light skin while Phenomenon turned out too odd on my lips unless I pair it with a particular full faced look. Most of the colour options have a creamy shine and finish while one or two have a slight shimmer.

Like all tragic love stories however, the pinnacle of all this was the realization that these do not last. In fact, as much as I am enamoured with the colours these lip lacquers usually stay in my drawers as I don't find them reliable when I need to grab a something before heading out the door. The cream formula never seems to set and while this is great for not drying out my lips, it is terrible when my bright lipstick ends up on everything and I feel terribly conscious of checking my my lips at every opportunity.


The moral of story is, commitment is important even for a lipstick! The Rimmel Apocolips Lip Lacquer has so many things going for it; the looks, the colour, the great price but in the end if its not going to stick around when I need it to then this lipstick love affair has to end. In all frankness, the only times I've used them in the last few weeks is for photoshoots or filming a video when I know I can touch up any time. Altogether, I'd resist the urge on these unless you have the patience to deal with them.

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INGREDIENTS: (may vary slightly depending on colour selection)
Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Trisostearyl Citrate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Ozokerite, Kaolin, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Silica, Parfum/Fragrance, Ascorbyl Phosphate, Serica (Silk Powder), Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylparaben, Propylparben, Tocopherol, Ethylparben, Retinyl Palmitate, Tin Oxide, May Contain (+/-):, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), D&C Red No. 7 Calcium Lake (CI 15850), D&C Red No. 6 Barium Lake (CI 15850), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), FD&C Yellow No 5 Aluminum Lake (CI 19140), D&C Red 27 Aluminum Lake (CI 45410), D&C Red No. 33 Aluminum Lake (CI 17200), FD&C BLUE NO. 1 ALUMINUM LAKE (CI 42090), FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake (CI 15985), Carmine (CI 75470)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Pore Energy Essence | Tony Moly

Pores are the bane of my existence.

While you can cover everything from discolouration to dark under eye circles, skin texture (and pesky pores included) is the hardest to conceal. Though there isn't a permanent way to shrink pores via topical treatments, I could use all the help I can get in with a little extra skincare. Korean brand Tony Moly would be a familiar name if you've dabbled in Asian beauty products or have seen a few of my other TM skincare reviews. Their ever popular Floria line (based on plant and flower ingredients) has expanded into various sub-categories to cater more specific skin needs.

Brand: Tony Moly
Product: Floria Pore Energy Essence*
Size: 50ml
Price: $30 (?) via YesStyle
Availabilty: YesStyle online
Would I (re)purchase: No

As part of their pore treatment range, the Pore Energy Essence is the second step in the Floria pore care series following the corresponding toner. Packaged in a cool icy teal bottle, the plastic packaging is sturdy and is topped with a precision pump for controlled dispensing.

The essence itself has a slightly cooling sensation when applied to the skin and is subtly fragranced with a fresh aquatic scent which is actually very pleasant, especially during the warmer weather. Lightweight in feel and texture, this spreads like a mix between a lotion and a whipped balm with a smooth silicone finish and a satin-matte look. As most products of this consistency goes, it glides easily over pores as well as skin texture and with a few days of consistent use I could visibly see a reduction in the appearance of my pores.

Now if you've a long time reader of my blog, you'll know exactly what I'm about to say here...this product broke me out. Plain and simple, once again my skin has chosen to express its great unhappiness with silicone heavy products by showering me first with a few red dots then with some large and loud painful spots. I've tried this on two accounts and ended with the same distressing result so unfortunately this is a miss for my skin type. However, I do know that not everyone has silicone intolerance so do consider your own skin type and history.

Last thing to note is that while this essence does provide light dose of moisture and does not dry out my skin, it doesn't seem efficient for dry skin, those with easily dehydrated skin or the upcoming winter weather.


The Tony Moly Floria Pore Energy Essence falls into one of those niche categories of "great product, just not for me" and for this I'm no longer using it as part of my personal skincare routine. If silicone heavy products aren't an issue for you, then consider this a very lightweight skin smoothing, pore minimizing essence that does deliver noticeable results. Unlike many alcohol heavy, astringent products this does not dry out my skin during the process but is much better suited to those with combination or oily skin. The consistency and immediate satisfaction means you can also use this as a light primer for your foundation and the unobtrusive fresh scent easily makes this an unisex product.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Event & Haul | IMATS 2014 Vancouver

IMATS is my one guilty beauty pleasure of the year.

The well known International Makeup Artist Trade Show hits many locations around the world and Vancouver has been a regular spot in the last 5 years or so and brings great excitement to the local film, theater and beauty industry. A gathering of industry professionals, beauty enthusiasts, special f/x artists and vendors with their suitcases filled with products gather here every summer.

While the venue is smaller and the selection slim compared to the larger cities like New York or L.A., I feel that this more intimate setting separates those who are in it for the glitz, glam and publicity (crazy lines, Youtube meet & greets) and those who are truly in it for the makeup artistry. Despite not being high end per say, IMATS excites me because of its authenticity towards the raw magic and transformation of makeup especially when you watch the competitors hard at work during the annual special f/x contest. Veteran award winning artist who have worked in some of the biggest movies you've seen in theaters offer their expertise through workshops and demonstrations throughout the day, opportunities that a non-industry beauty lover would rarely be able to experience. In short, I always leave feeling inspired.

But of course, there is also the makeup. This year, with a budget on my mind and my shopping list in hand, I hit the booths with surprising efficiency. Here's a look at what came home with me.

If you've been twiddling with the idea of attending an IMATS event, I would highly recommend you do so once in your life. Even if not for the shopping (and discounts *ahem*), to be surrounded by passionate people is a beautiful thing.