Monday, January 30, 2012

La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel & Milk Review

La Roche-Posay is an European based brand focused on dermatological skincare using thermal spring water. Originally designed as complementary products intended for use with doctor prescribed treatments for skin disorders such as acne or eczema, La Roche-Posay has in it's 30 years of existence branched out into consumer end skincare, while still focusing on dermatologically developed products.

La Roche-Posay sent me two cleansers for review - the Physiological Cleansing Gel and the Physiological Cleansing Milk. I have been testing both cleansers over the last month. Both cleansers retail for approximately $22.00 CA/200 ml bottle.

 La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel

This product is designed to clean normal/combination sensitive skin. The brand claims it can effectively remove waterproof makeup, has a physiological PH (PH equivalent to that of skin), is soap/alcohol/dye/paraben free and non-comedogenic.

This cleanser reminds me of Cetaphil - both are non-foaming gel cleansers for sensitive skin. Where this cleanser differs from Cetaphil is in it's texture and it's ability to remove makeup. La Roche-Posay's Physiological Cleansing Gel has a viscous (slightly sticky) texture which makes it a lot thicker than Cetaphil. Although this stickiness may sound unappealing, the texture helps it cling to the skin and really allows you to massage the product into the skin without the fear of tugging. I find that this product is also strong enough to remove most makeup - although if I wear heavy eye makeup (primer, MAC Paint pots, waterproof liner/mascara etc.) I would still remove those products with a dedicated eye makeup remover like Lancome's Bifacial before cleansing.

While I don't have sensitive skin by definition, my skin is drier and more sensitive to the environment in the winter. Edmonton has a pretty unforgiving climate (dry, dry and drier) and in the winter I like to turn to non-foaming cleansers in an effort to stave off dryness. Having used this at night for the past month, I would definitely recommend it. It manages to leave my skin feeling clean but not stripped of it's moisture. In comparison to Cetaphil, I find this product leaves my skin feeling cleaner especially if I've been wearing makeup. Another aspect of this cleanser I love is the smell, which is clean and not overwhelming.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Milk

This product  is designed to clean dry/very dry sensitive skin. Like the gel cleanser, the brand claims it can effectively remove waterproof makeup, has a physiological PH (PH equivalent to that of skin), is soap/alcohol/dye/paraben free and non-comedogenic.

This cleanser is much richer than the gel version, and you can definitely feel a layer of moisturizer left on your skin after cleansing with this product. Just as I don't technically have sensitive skin, I also technically don't have dry skin. However, due to the aforementioned climate of Edmonton in the winter, I will often use cream cleansers in the morning. My rationale for this practice is that in the absence of a day's accumulation of dirt and makeup, my skin only requires the gentlest cleansing. Having that extra layer of moisture on my skin really helps my skin stay supple throughout the day. At first I was worried I might get really greasy in my t-zone or break out because of it's very rich texture. However, I didn't find my t-zone to get any greasier than if I used another cleanser. 

I also encouraged my boyfriend to use this product. In my opinion my boyfriend definitely qualifies as having dry sensitive skin. His skin is prone to redness, flakiness and irritates easily - so much so that he often doesn't wash his face complaining that cleansing makes his skin drier. He's been using this cleanser since I received it and he does report less dryness. I too notice an improvement in his skin's texture when he cleanses with this regularly.

General Thoughts

I think both of these cleansers are excellent choices, especially in the winter months. La Roche-Posay is a brand completely new to me, and these first products I've tested have impressed me. My skin is such that I can generally get away with using most cleansers - so I tend not to be too choosy either way - but I can say that I love the gel cleanser and would definitely purchase and recommend this product.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Benefit POREfessional Review

Benefit's The POREfessional is a pore-minimizer that claims to quickly minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines for smoother-than-smooth skin! It can be applied alone, under or over makeup. It's silky, lightweight, translucent, and oil-free and acts as a primer to help makeup stay put.

I received a sample with a purchase I made at Sephora recently. I'm impressed lately with Benefit samples (see my recent review of CORALista) since they're clearly putting effort into packaging and for a company like Benefit whose packaging is on par with the desirability of the products, this is important.

My little tube of The POREfessional is 0.25 oz., plenty for a few applications.

I tried it on my cleansed, moisturized skin. I wouldn't use it on top of makeup simply because it'll smear the product. You shouldn't put cream or liquid products on top of powder products, that's a no brainer. So if you have large pores, you most likely have oily skin and if you wear makeup, it's probably a powder makeup or you have to powder your makeup to keep it in place. You wouldn't want to use this product on top of your makeup.

But I found it made quite a dramatic difference on the texture of my skin. I have large pores on my cheeks next to my nose, on my nose and on my forehead - the classic t-zone. This is where my skin is naturally a bit pinker than the rest of my face, and it's where my skin gets shiny during the day. 

The photos below show before and after application of The POREfessional. I found that The POREfessional reduced the shine on my skin, balanced the skin tone slightly and definitely minimized the look of my pores. My skin looked smoother, less pore-y and even-toned. I was impressed. 

I applied makeup as I normally would on top of The POREfessional and it definitely make a difference in the way my skin looked. I was also impressed with its primer capabilities. It held on for most of the day, my pores stayed minimized and my makeup stuck. 



I would definitely buy a full-size tube of The POREfessional and recommend it to anyone who wants a primer or a pore minimizer.

It retails for $29 US for a 22 mL/0.75 US fl. oz. and is available wherever Benefit products are sold. 

Have you tried The POREfessional? 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

LUSTING: butter LONDON Spring/Summer 2012

butter LONDON's spring/summer 2012 collection is available to buy online! Do these colours look summery or what? 

Pops of neon colour, sherbert pastels and cool neutrals is butter LONDON's spring/summer collection, adding five shades to their impressive regular collection. 

I love the looks of Knackered and Slapper. 

Disco Biscut: Tropical hot pink with an undercurrent of tiny iridescent glitter particles
Bossy Boots: Light, opaque pistachio green. A beautiful take on neutral for the summer.
Knackered: A sheer, twinkling oyster shade flecked with micro glitter particles.

Trout Pout: An opaque shade of cantaloupe, pale and retro.
Slapper: A truly teal lacquer, bold and very bright.

And you've gotta love the names. butter LONDON polishes have the best names.

If you need a dictionary for these, check out the definitions of Disco Biscut, Bossy Boots, Knackered, Trout Pout and Slapper



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Glymm Box

January in the beauty industry is always about clean, natural and minimal after the excess and glitter of the holiday season. In Canada there's always an increase in advertising in moisturizers as well. Would my January Glymm Box follow this trend? Let's see.

First, for reference, here's what Glymm is:
Glymm is a world-leading, luxury based beauty and cosmetics website offering the best new products, expert advice, and an exclusive beauty community combined with a revolutionary subscription service that facilitates a life more beautiful.

A Glymm Box is a carefully curated selection of 3-5 luxury samples that we’ve tried and tested ourselves alongside our panel of beauty experts. From your favorite brands to hidden gems, your samples will span a number of categories to beautify you from the inside out. From hair care to skin care, make-up to brushes and tools, your life will be so beautiful and you will love switching it up every month! - from the FAQs

The image on the insert card has soft, natural, clean makeup and grooming. There's a glow to the photo as if she's standing in a snowy field. She's wearing a fur hat or hood, so clearly she's cold. Check, check, check!

Product card

What's inside!
Let's take a look at what Glymm brought me this month.

Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion

Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion: Burt's Bees new and improved body lotion is clinically proven to restore moisture and replenish dry skin. Canada's favourite beauty brand uses nature's best resources such as milk and honey to soothe, soften, and hydrate dry skin without making it feel greasy. The coconut and vitamin E deliver beneficial nutrients to the skin.

I've tried (and liked) this lotion. See my review here.

Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths

Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths: One Cloth, multiple functions! Juicy bamboo facial cloths that effectively and gently sweep away makeup, dirt and oil for clear, fresh skin! Soaked in  Vitamins and made with 99% natural ingredients, which make your skin feel soft, instead of stripped and tight. These urban facial cloths are the perfect solution for the girl on the go!

I'm not sure what an "urban" facial cloth is but I guess I'll find out!

Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator: Alright beauties it's time to dramatically improve your skin's texture to reveal softer, brighter and younger looking skin! This aloe-enriched cleanser brightens with powerful papaya enzymes to give radiance, exfoliate with dermatologist grade micro-crystals which help smooth and hydrate your gentle skin. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel: From the upscale salons of Beverly Hills, we bring you the brow expert, Anastasia's clear brow gel. Awarded as Allure's editor's choice, this brow gel sets your perfect brow look and keeps brows in place all day. This best-selling formula tames unruly brows without leaving them stiff, flaky or sticky.

Cargo Cosmetic Eye Pencil in Black

Cargo Cosmetic Eye Pencil in Black

Cargo Cosmetic Eye Pencil in Black

Cargo Cosmetics Eye Pencil: Cargo eye pencils offer a cutting edge formulation! An incredibly high pigment pencil that delivers intense colour combined with a smudge-resistant formula for immediate and longwearing results. Rich, deep colour that glides on easily with just one application and minimal skipping.

So does my January Glymm Box fit my expectations? Well, yes, they all fit into that post-holiday beauty trend of natural, clean and simple, don't they? I'm anxious to try all the products and to use some more of that lovely Burt's Bees moisturizer.

Sign up for your own Glymm Boxes here.

What did you get in your Glymm Box this month? 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Benefit CORALista Review and Swatches

CORALista is one of Benefit's newest bestselling boxed powders. I received a sample of it recently and thought I'd review it since it's winter here and this is a box of summery-glow if I ever saw I saw one!

Also, I'm impressed with the sample - it's a good size (3g) and the container can be opened and closed. 

CORALista is a warm coral-pink and like all of Benefit's boxed powders, sheer and shimmery. The full-size comes in a box with a mirror and with a brush.

And here it is on me. Benefit's boxed powders range are quite sheer and CORALista is no exception. On fair skin like mine, it can be worn alone as a blush, but on darker skin tones, it'd work better as a highlighter or on top of another blush. 

I love the warmth CORALista gives my skin and it makes for a great shimmery blush. What do you think? Have you tried CORALista?


Monday, January 23, 2012

Shellac Manicure Review

Shellac manicures are the hot new thing in professional nail care, at least as far as I know. I went for my first recently and decided to document it. 

Shellac is a hybrid of the gel manicure and promises weeks of chip-free wear. The application process is more or less the same as a regular manicure, except that the bottles of Shellac polish are opaque and each layer of polish on your nails needs to be cured under a UV lamp.

The pros of a Shellac manicure are:
  • long wear, obviously. You can expect two-four weeks of chip-free manicure and will likely only need to remove it because of nail growth.
  • Shellac manicures are instantly dry after UV curing, so there's no smudging your nails reaching for your wallet to pay.
  • a Shellac manicure allow your nails to grow long with minimal chipping. You may never have seen your nails so long and hard.
The cons of a Shellac manicure are:
  • if your nails grow quickly, you may see regrowth at the base of your nails much more quickly than usual. 
  • your nails need to be strong and healthy before you get a Shellac manicure.
  • you need to see a professional to get a Shellac manicure; there's no do-it-yourself at-home Shellac manicure kit.
  • you also need to see a professional to get it removed, although if you do a Google search you can find how others have removed it themselves.
  • you have to want to have the same manicure for weeks. So there's no changing up your polish week to week.
  • you can file your nails but you can't cut them if you want to keep them looking nice.

I went to Tips Nail Bar, a salon I'd heard a lot about and chose a half-moon manicure, similar to what I did on my own nails here. Tips is a great spot, I highly recommend it if you're in Toronto. 

I chose a deep burgundy red, as I often do, with a bare half-moon at the bottom of my nails. I like the retro style of this and also, I knew the regrowth of my nails wouldn't show as much with this style.

The deep burgundy colour was a little sheer so my nail technician used a taupe colour underneath to give it opacity. The whole manicure took about 40 minutes and my nails were super-shiny when it was finished. They almost look wet and actually, they still did weeks later.

Here's what my nails looked like on Day One.

Day One

Day One

Day One
There was no chipping or scratches or wear after a week, which is as long as a regular manicure might last on me if I'm lucky. I got over my wariness about using my nails pretty quickly once the regular bumps and bangs didn't affect my manicure at all. I was amazed that my nails weren't splitting or peeling at all. I began using my nails more aggressively too.

After about two weeks I noticed that the back of my right thumbnail was snagging on fabrics and although there were no cracks on the surface or at the tip, at the back, it seemed that the nail was splitting. I used a nail file to file down as smoothly as I could.

Here are my nails on Day Ten. I was impressed that I could see how quickly my nails were growing. I was very glad for the half-moon manicure. 

Day Ten

Day Ten

Day Ten

Day Twenty-Three

I booked my appointment to have the Shellac manicure removed a month later. I know now that I'm not a big fan of my nails too long. I'm much more a short and vampy nail length gal. Also, I'm a bit bored by the look after a month. After about three weeks, I began to see some wear at the tips and overall, my nails were feeling a bit scruffy. I'm glad I tried the Shellac manicure and will get it again if I want my nails to look great for a long period of time, like vacation or for Christmas. 

Day 23

My first chip - Day 23

Chips - Day 23

Day 23

Any Shellac purists out there? Can you live without it?

Oh and if you're curious, my first manicure after the Shellac was this one - short and inky blue metallic:

Friday, January 20, 2012

butter London Wallis Review and Swatches

butter LONDON has become my favourite nail polish. I've eyed Wallis for awhile, it intrigued me but I'm not one for warm nail polish shades so I didn't think it'd suit me. But it called my name over and over so I bought it.

Wallis is named for Wallis Simpson, the American socialite and double-divorcee who scandalized the UK by falling in love and marrying the crown prince Edward. Edward abdicated the throne of England in order to marry her and his younger brother George became King. If you've seen the recent film The King's Speech, you know some of the story.

butter LONDON's Wallis is described as a tarnished, metallic olive gold, as mysterious and regal as its namesake.

And here it is on my nails. I used three coats.

Wallis surprised me. I loved the colour. It's as it's described but it's got flecks of red and gold (click on the photo above to see) and quite a bit of depth.

Like the other butter LONDON polishes I've tried, Wallis goes on very smoothly and dries quickly. I could have gotten away with two coats, but went for three for the perfect finish.

However, after a day or two of wearing it, I decided that the gold flash of Wallis wasn't to my liking. I'd  been meaning to buy a mattifying top coat so I did and applied it to my manicure.

Here's what Wallis looks like mattified. I LOVE it. It makes it look even more antique.

Anyone out there own Wallis? Do you love it? What do you think of it with the matte top coat? Yay or nay? Or do you prefer it with its own lustre?

Any other butter LONDON fans out there?