Thursday, March 31, 2016

Loving Lately - March 2016

It's spring....ish. It's grey and rainy, but not necessarily cold, so there's the silver lining. Spending lots of time with family this past month meant a pretty low-key routine across the board. I did a pretty substantial switch-up of my skincare routine, stepping away slowly from acid peel pads and towards an acid-laced night cream instead. It's been a bit of a revelation! All in all, I'm fond of the following products and reckon you might be, too.

If it's not apparent by now, I've been on a bit of a cleanser kick lately (exhibit A, exhibit B). This cleanser has been one I've wanted to rave about for a while, but it had yet to launch. Personally, nothing torments me more than learning of a new product but not being able to read up on it more online or check it out in-store, so I held off on blabbing about this cleanser. The texture of this stuff is surprising, because it's almost like honey that's crystallized, you know what I mean? That slightly gritty but still melt-y texture that may give skin a mild exfoliation until the crystals dissolve with the heat of your skin and friction of your hands? Yeah. That's what this stuff is - and it smells divine, like milk and honey, which makes total sense since it contains manuka honey and lactose from goat's milk. In my usual skepticism, I wasn't sure if this cleanser would break down my makeup, but it did a killer job of removing every trace of my full face, so it can be subbed in to either of the two-step cleansing method I use. It left my skin extremely soft and smooth, it smells great and was a real star product through January, February and this skin-frustrating weather fluctuations of March, so it's a solid choice for non-stripping cleanser that actually cleanses. I'm working my way through the tube and would highly contemplate adding it to my basket in the future for a top-up.

Couldn't help but get a little sucked into the hype of Jen Atkin's new haircare range, Ouai (like "oui" pronounced with a French accent - "way"). The line hit Sephora's Canadian website this month and while everything looks appealing in its minimalistic-chic way, I decided to grab the Hair Oil to see how it stacks up to my usual standbys (including the aforementioned Shu Uemura Essence Absolue and Kérastase Perfume Oil). The mid-range price point is somewhat deceiving, meaning it's seemingly more affordable initially than my go-to options I just mentioned (which are $69 and $70 per bottle, respectively), but it's also available in a much smaller size bottle (this bottle is 1.7 oz vs. the 5 oz Shu bottle and 4 oz Kérastase bottle), so you end up paying more per ounce for Ouai -- just a little beauty math heads-up. I'm sure that's hardly accidental, but onto the oil itself. The formula's second ingredient is dimethicone, which probably makes that math I just did sting a little bit more, but it also contains sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, ama oil, borage oil, African galanga root extract.... the list goes on. Basically, this is a solid mix of oils, butters and 'cones to smooth hair out and make it crazy soft and I'm here to tell you it works. My hair is coarse, dry and huge in general, particularly unruly in appearance after washing, so I find myself into this as a second-day option to run through my ends and soften my hair overall. I'll definitely get use out of this and really love the gardenia scent, which doesn't last in hair too long, but is definitely pleasant in the moment.

I feel a little bit of giddiness when it comes to drugstore mascara, possibly because the promise of a cheap beauty thrill is so real these days. The formulations are better than ever and simply go to show that you don't have to spend a small fortune to have major impact from your products. I loved the original Voluminous formula, felt Voluminous Butterfly mascara was excellent, was definitely less taken by Voluminous Butterfly Intenza and don't even want to talk about the Voluminous Miss Manga or Manga Rock mascaras, because what were those? I've glazed over Voluminous Superstar, because it was a dual-ended two-step situation, so it seems unfair to throw it into this rundown. Anywho, this mascara offers up some sort of promise of tightlining and lash-defining, which sounds grand. I can't comment on the tightlining claims because I usually tightline with Charlotte Tilbury's Classic Eyeliner Powder Pencil in "Audrey" or Rock'n'Kohl in "Barbarella Brown" before applying mascara. I personally enjoy it because it gives major impact with a few swipes of the unusual brush. I find it visually similar to MAC Studio Sculpt Mascara, which was an interesting experience because MAC Studio Sculpt gave lashes separation, but I found the brush barely deposited product on my lashes. This L'Oréal ditty is much more full-on, and I found the effect on my lashes to be reasonably similar to Chanel Le Volume de Chanel, with slightly less volume and more clean definition. For around the $11 price point, I don't think anyone's mad at that - certainly not me.

I've never been a huge Philosophy Hope In A Jar fan. I've definitely dabbled in the brand offerings before (who among us didn't try out Purity Made Simple at some point, probably ages ago, in conjunction with a Clarisonic?); the 2-step Microdelivery Peel lured me in, but never the moisturizers. This was sitting on my bathroom counter for a really long time before I actually started to use it nightly, but I'm glad the guilt of unused skincare started to drive me mad - this night cream has made a difference in my skin. My skin has not been flaky, irritated or uneven in any way since using this in my nighttime routine. I also like that there was no heavy feeling on the skin after application. Glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid do their thing and my skin looks better as a result. 

Aside from the fact that I'm perpetually chasing down anything that contains camellia oil (see: the entire Shu Uemura Moisture Velvet rangeShu Uemura Essence Absolue, Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil), this range as a whole from The Body Shop was well-executed. I love the storytelling aspect of each product and how it reflects the internationally sourced ingredients. The scent of this body cream is not mega intrusive, but it does linger on the skin. I personally love that about this cream, but I'm sure that won't be everyone's cup of tea. That being said, it is anything but cloying - a far cry from The Body Shop's usual fruity or nutty body butter line up. It's worth noting that this is a different texture from the standard body butter fare from the brand, and that this melts into skin with total ease and little to no residue whatsoever, absorbing quickly and leaving soft skin in its wake. Key ingredients at play include camellia oil, shorea seed butter, shea butter and mango seed oil. The price point is fair ($36) for the quantity (a 350 mL tub), so if you're looking to step up your body hydration as we allegedly inch towards warmer weather, give this a shot if you overlooked it when it launched last fall.


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