Monday, December 17, 2012

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Solution

Alrighty. So I've heard some pretty stellar things about Bioderma on YouTube and in the blogging world, but I was always turned off by the price. It's not cheap, people. I finally had an opportunity to pick up a small travel-sized bottle, without committing to the full-size. Unfortunately, I'm now loving this so much that I get excited about taking off my makeup... like I want to take it off mid-day, just so I can put it on again, only to take it back off...

Shoppers Drug Mart had a bin of these baby-sized 100 mL bottles of the Sensibio H2O solution for $6.95 CDN. Now, I know this probably isn't any sort of 'steal-of-a-deal,' but in the heat of the moment, there was nothing more logical to me than picking up a bottle to try. And while I'm not unhappy with my cleansing routine, I'm not exactly in love with it either.

Bioderma's website claims that this cleanser gently cleanses face and eyes, even removing the most stubborn makeup of all, waterproof mascara. It claims to emulsify impurities on the skin while maintaining the skin's pH balance, to prevent skin from drying out or generally freaking out. Plus, it's fragrance free! Whoooooooot!

A bonus to this cleanser is the fact that you don't have to rinse it off after using it. The website does stress that it is important that you do dry off your skin with a clean towel after use, however. Plus, the solution can be used multiple times a day. Whoot whoot!

The packaging is incredibly well thought out as well. The bottle is fairly heavy duty considering the cheap-o plastic that some facial products come wrapped in. It's a sturdy bottle with a durable cap. When first purchased, there is a safety tab over the cap that prevents someone from sampling or siphoning the product in the store. When opened at home, the cap is very thick and well-made. It clicks shut in a way that makes me feel comfortable with throwing this little bottle in my purse. It's a minimalistic design, but someone put considerable thought into the design overall. The quality of this bottle is heavy and durable, but not

My first impression was one of absolute shock and pleasure. This solution literally broke down all the makeup on my face and removed it with little force or effort. Usually I'm breaking out the elbow grease to get off regular mascara and black eyeshadow, but the Bioderma Sensibio seems to dissolve whatever's sitting on top of my skin within seconds. I don't have to apply pressure to my skin... the makeup literally melts off onto the cotton pad. I find that my generic WalMart brand makeup remover wipes tend to be too dry and a little abrasive to be removing makeup... plus they're freaking ginormous, there's no way to cut them in half and use less of a wipe.

I apply this product to a clean and dry cotton pad. I hold it over my eye makeup for a few seconds before beginning to work it in gentle circles to buff the makeup off of my skin and eyelashes. Sometimes I'll use one cotton pad on each eye, and then one to take off my face makeup. Other times, when I'm wearing less makeup, I'll use one or two pads to clean my whole face.
Applying the damp cotton pad to my eye, and holding for about 20 seconds.
All of this came off without rubbing...
With a little bit of work, this is one eye completely makeup free...
It's even great for tiny touchups while applying your makeup. I use it on a Q-tip under my eyes when there's fall out from black shadow, or if my mascara transfers to my lower lid (I apply concealer and foundation last, so this doesn't tend to be much of a problem). Again, no effort required. One quick sweep of the Q-tip and my makeup is clean, sharp, and ready to rock-and-roll.

I find that this product is incredibly gentle, yet thorough. I always dread taking my makeup off at the end of the day... nothing seems to do enough of the trick. I am always removing the other half of my makeup (that my cleanser/remover left behind) with my toner... But Bioderma Sensibio makes me EXCITED to take off my makeup. Makeup removal is so easy... I don't have to scrub, scratch, tug, pull, or peel to get my mascara, foundation, bronzer, blush, etc. off. It's so fantastic, I seriously cannot get enough of it... I keep monitoring how much is left in my wee bottle, wanting to spare it only for special occasions, but I can't. I HAVE to use it, that's how good it is.

Can you see the difference...?
This makes all the other makeup removers and cleansers I've used in the past look like regular H2O. It knocks everything else out of the ball park.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Heck-to-the-yes.
I just wish it was cheaper... On another note, I'll definitely be picking up one of these babies for my Christmas vac-ay to the USofA...

Let me know: what makeup remover/cleanser do you use? Does it get you excited about taking off your makeup?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes in Carbon Black

I picked this mascara up from Shoppers Drug Mart for about $7 CDN on sale, whoot whoot!

Voluminous® Million Lashes™ Carbon Black
Photo credit:
I did some research on this mascara before I picked it up - knowing full well that about half of the women out there hated it with all their guts, and the other half were madly in love with it. I hoped that I was one of the latter.

This mascara features a flexible silicone wand with spacious bristles. L'Oreal describes the design as a "Clean Sweep System [which] wipes the brush free of clumps" for a clean, defined, voluminous look. It is supposed to be ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested. It claims to be clump-free and fragrance-free, as well as safe for contact-lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes.

Oh my, oh my, oh my. How I adored this mascara.

The packaging is tres chic. Who wouldn't want to pull this golden tube of deliciousness out of their makeup bags, I ask you!? This definitely looks more expensive and high-end than any other mascara I've tried. Kudos on the packaging, L'Oreal. I especially love the way the inside of the tube is designed, with the little 'cleaner' feature that pulls excess product off of the brush before you get it out of the tube.

The brush was perfect for getting right in to the base of my lashes, and because of the way the brush was designed, it got just the right amount of product on my lashes - enough to thicken them, but the brush wasn't so gobbed up with product that it couldn't clear away the excess at the same time. This brush is a little bit larger in size - sort of reminiscent of CoverGirl's infamous LashBlast mascara, but with a gentle curve that fits the curve of your natural lashline perfectly. This brush wasn't as torturous as the L'Oreal Clean Definition Telescopic that I loathed with it's razor sharp bristles; still not friendly if you happen to get it too close to your lashline, but not nearly as painful.

The wand also features short bristles mixed in with longer bristles, to lengthen and clear out any clumpage. Ingenious design, I tell you. Brilliant!

The mascara itself has an interesting smell. It's not overwhelming or overpowering, but it's not nice either. Sort of a "peppery-plastic" smell, and yes, you can quote me. I don't know if I notice the scent too much after it's applied, but when you first whip your brush out of the tube, it's sort of a startling discovery - especially when you're not used to smelling anything from your mascara tube.

The formula was thin, but not as thin as other L'Oreal mascaras I've tried. Usually I have to leave my L'Oreal mascaras uncapped for several days before they dry out enough to be usable. Not so with this mascara.

It was pure black. Like the blackest of black mascaras - it made my green eyes pop like you wouldn't imagine.

On the left, 2 coats of the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara.
On the right, my naked lashes.
It volumized my lashes fantastically. But it wasn't clumpy and it didn't make my lashes spidery. I got separation and definition, yet the base of my lashes was dark and thick. Somehow this mascara did exactly what I wanted every mascara in the history of ever to do for my eyeballs.

A comparison of my naked lashes to my lashes with
2 coats of the mascara.
On the top - Left: 2 coats of the mascara, Right: naked lashes
On the bottom: Left: 3 coats of the mascara, Right: 1 coat of the mascara
I never tried curling my lashes with this mascara, but I have no doubt that it would've rocked it up in that category also. I've heard a lot of complaints about this mascara flaking and such, but I never experienced a problem with flaking or transferring. This mascara stayed put on my eyeballses.

BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.... there's always a but... haha, I said "butt"...

This mascara was no comprendo with my eyeballs. Every night after taking my mascara off, my eyes would itch and water and burn so bad. Sometimes they even itched during the day if so much as a little flake got into my eye... It was maddening, I tell you. I considered that maybe it was just environmental allergies, but as soon as I stopped using this mascara the problem went away. So unfortunate.

And the price is sort of a con as well. If you're buying this mascara full price, expect to pay at least $9 CDN. Depending on where you purchase it, you might be looking as much as $11 or $12 CDN dollars. Ouch. My wallet is crying...

Needless to say, I'm really disappointed. I wanted this to be my holy grail mascara - now it's just taking up space in my drawer, and I'm not really sure what to do with it. Maybe my sister would like to take it for a test drive...

3 out of 5 stars.
A huge part of me wants to give this 5 or 6 stars, just because it is that amazing. But I knocked it down to a 3 because the price I pay in pain and agony just isn't worth any delicious lashes.

Sigh de la sigh. What mascara duds have you tried? I want to know.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

LOTD: Smoky and sultry

Lately, I've been loving simplistic but sexy looks. And by "looks," I am really just referring to the one look I've been wearing non-stop recently.

I've never been a "black" makeup girl - I never really wore black mascara or black shadow. I felt like it looked too unnatural on my eyeballs. And then I discovered this combo...

I even cracked this baby out for my work Christmas party - and I have to say, I am in love with this combo.

I primed my lids with Urban Decay's Primer Potion. I break out my NYX single eyeshadow in White and use an all-over fluffy brush to apply a light dusting of the powder under my brow bone. Then I used NYX's single eyeshadow in Black with my Quo smudger brush to apply the black shadow along my lashline, and then I fade it out in an exaggerated wing. I really buff the lines out to create a gradual fade to the wing, it allows me to have a more exaggerated wing without looking gothic and overdramatic. A new edition to my makeup routine includes curling my lashes, after which I proceed to pile on the mascara - my newest obsession is the Prestige My Blackest Lashes mascara. I finish off with a shimmery white/gold shadow in the inner corner to brighten up and draw attention to my eyes.

For my work Christmas party, I primed my face with Urban Decay Primer Potion (yes, I know it's a eyeshadow primer, but I needed something to hold my foundation in place and I was out of options...) and used my Revlon Whipped Creme Foundation with the foundation brush from Real Techniques all over my face and blended it out. I used Maybelline's Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Radiant (310) under my eyes to cover up my dark circles, and I set everything with Rimmel's Stay Matte Pressed Powder. For bronzer and contour, I utilized what remains of my MAC Matte Bronze Bronzing Powder, and for blush I applied a light wash of MAC's powder blush in Mocha, then a little bit of Benefit's Coralista, and finally a few dabs of Essence's Renesmee Red powder blush.

I kept the lips quick and simple with Strawberry Parfait gloss from Bonne Bell's lipLITES line.

I feel that this look draws a lot of attention to the eyes. The intense black mascara especially draws attention to my green eyes. The smudgy black shadow creates the illusion of thicker lashes, and the winged shape creates the appearance that my eyes are more almond-shaped and lifted up towards my eyebrows. By keeping the blush and the lipgloss simple and muted, it allows all the focus to be on my beauteous green eyeballs.

Don't you wish your eyeballs were as hot as mine? Tee hee.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme Makeup

Hola beateous babes! I'm here with another review on the Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme foundation. Now you guys know that I raved about the original Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation, so I definitely had to give this version a try, especially after reading/seeing the stellar reviews.

Is it just me, or is Revlon putting out a lot of stellar products recently...!?

Each jar contains 23.7 mL (0.8 fl oz) of foundation goodness. It costs anywhere between $15-$20 CDN, though I paid approximately $16 CDN at my local WalMart. Depending on where you want to purchase this product from, you may end up paying almost twenty bucks for one jar - if you're penny-pinching, you might want to check this out at WalMart before you pick it up from somewhere like Shoppers Drug Mart.

I picked this up in 150 Buff, which is the same shade that I use in the original liquid formulation. This foundation is available in 12 shades, ranging from Ivory (being the lightest shade) to Caramel (being the darkest shade). Overall, the variety of shades isn't stellar, but it's definitely respectable considering it's a drugstore line. I find that Revlon has some of the most 'realistic' shades for foundation out of all the drugstore brands. While other brands sell very pink or very yellow shades of makeup, but Revlon seems to have a good collection of yellow-based, pink-based, and neutral-based foundation.

Left: With flash. Right: Without flash.
Left: With flash. Right: Without flash.
I find that the ColorStay Whipped foundation color actually matches my skin tone better than the original ColorStay Liquid foundation. The liquid version tended to be too white on my skin, making me look rather albino - though it's still an awesome shade for me in the dead of winter!

The texture and consistency of this foundation is cray-cray! I've never experienced anything like this before. It's fluffy and light, very mousse-esque, just as Revlon's website describes it. I love and appreciate the light-weightedness of this foundation, as it sits just as lightly on the skin - giving you the illusion that you're not wearing any face makeup at all.
This light and fluffy consistency also allows one to build up the coverage of the foundation with each layer that one applies. You can build this up to full coverage by applying thin layers of foundation - I find that, personally, I can build this up to 'full' coverage within 2 to 3 even applications. One layer of foundation leaves me with a very natural, but flawless finish - one that evens out skin tone and texture in one pass.

The packaging is pretty retardando, not gonna lie. Unfortunately, I can't really think of a better alternative considering the texture and consistency of the foundation itself. The foundation comes packaged in a solid glass jar, very reminiscent of Chanel and L'Oreal foundations. One beauty guru on YouTube commented that you could bludgeon someone to death with the heavy duty glass jar, which I definitely agree with. While the packaging is impractical, it is sleek and very minimalistic. The shade name is featured in a little sticker on the lid of the jar, which makes it incredibly easy to pick out which shade you want to use when (if you're someone who has to own several different shades at one time). I tend to scoop a bit of foundation out of the door with my index finger, and place it on the back of my hand to apply with either a damp sponge or a stippling brush.

Onto application techniques, tally-ho! I've only used two techniques to apply the foundation, considering the strange consistency and awkward packaging: a stippling brush and a damp beauty blender sponge. I initially heard that the best way to apply this foundation was with a stippling brush. So I whipped (haha!!!) out my Real Techniques Stippling Brush, plopped some of the foundation on the back of my hand, and went from the back of my hand and started stippling and buffing this into my skin. I find that using this technique, the finish of the foundation leans more on the full coverage side of things. With a damp sponge, I also stipple this all over my face, but find that this allows a more natural and less opaque finish. I think I prefer the latter technique on a daily basis, when I need less coverage and can get away with a less flawless finish.

The finish of this foundation is matte, but what I'd call a 'natural matte.' It's not shimmery, dewy, or glittery, but it isn't flat either. It looks real and flexible on the skin, "like my skin but better" and not at all mask-like. I do feel that in some areas of my face (under my eyes, on my forehead and cheeks) I need to powder the foundation to keep it from looking too glossy as the day wears on, but I don't find that this foundation exacerbates my oiliness throughout the day the way some foundations can.

I don't find this foundation particularly cakey or heavy on the skin. It can cling to dry and oily patches in an awkward and obvious fashion, which is why I wouldn't recommend this foundation to those with excessively dry or oily skin types. In my case, having combination skin and all, there are some days when I cannot bring myself to put this foundation on - because I know it'll cling to my dry patches too much, or it'll just slide off of my oily areas in a matter of minutes. But most days I find it gives me the perfect amount of coverage, with minimal effort and ease.

The claims that this foundation lasts 24 hours are iffy for me. This definitely has a significant wear time - I can usually wear it anywhere between 6 and 10 hours looking fresh. I still have foundation on my face around 15 hours, but it's definitely looking like it's seen better days. One thing I find incredible is the way in which this foundation wears. Upon first application, I find that this foundation looks a little heavy and somewhat unnatural, but as it wears, it takes on a more natural and even appearance which I love! This includes the way it wears at the end of the day - instead of wearing off in patches, it wears off evenly, slowly revealing more and more of your real skin underneath, but not in an obvious or gross way... BONUS!! Some days, when my skin is more moisturized/oily, I notice the tendency for this foundation to 'slip around' on my skin a little bit more than actually settling. For myself, it's imperative to have as dry and matte of a face as possible before applying the foundation. I think a primer would work wonders for the longevity and application of the Whipped Creme Foundation, but I haven't had any success with primers yet to give you any sort of recommendation on this end :)

All in all, I am really loving my Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme foundation. There are some aspects of it that I'm not in love with (such as the packaging, the cost, and the way it wears on my oily/dry patches), but overall the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tell me: what's your favorite drugstore foundation, and why!?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads

Oh my... I know it's uncommon, and probably uncouth to discuss the infamous "sanitary napkins" on the world wide web, but I figure hygiene is a huge part of beauty - especially if you're 'blessed' enough to be a woman.

Pads aren't really something I've ever given a thought to. I don't really know how we, as women, ever walk into a store and go "this is the pad for me!!" I don't remember my first pads, but I imagine they were influenced significantly by what my mom used and kept in stock herself. I feel that this must be at least somewhat true for most all women...

Either way, I've tried a lot of pads since Auntie Flo first happened my way. Everything from Kotex to Always to Stayfree... you name it, I've likely tried it. And over the years, my body has changed, and my feminine products with it.

Recently, my sister and I were stopped by some nice ladies in the middle of the mall, inquiring as to whether or not we wanted to watch a free demo, and then receive free goodies. Of course, we said yes. The lady demonstrated one of those infamous 'blue liquid' tests on three different pads, and of course, we were asked to watch and see which pad absorbed the best. By the end of the demonstration, both Stephanie and I were astounded at the results. Whether or not this pad was actually as good as they made it seem, both of us wanted to run into our nearest Shoppers Drug Mart and grab a package. Can you say suckers-for-shameless-Stayfree-self-promotion ten times fast?

A day or so after the sneaky demo, Auntie Flo came knocking on my door. Oh, hello there. I'm out of everything I would need for you to visit - off to the store I go. And I decided to try the new Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads as I was still residually astounded by the demo.

Needless to say, a few cycles later, I'm still LOVING these pads. Hence the reason I'm writing this post...
Photo credit:
These pads are fantastic for so many different reasons.

First, they are made of cotton. As in, your skin is touching cotton the whole time. My previous go-to-feminine products were Always brand, and the plastic layer on top was neither comfortable nor discrete. Gotta love that little *krinchle-krinchle* as you go from sitting to standing... And you cast that judgmental glance from side to side, so that no one would suspect that it was you. Don't kid me, we've all done it.

The Stayfree Ultra Thins are thin (imagine that...) and flexible. They move with your body without bunching up or moving around. Needless to say, I feel protected the entire time. This was/is a HUGE pro for me. My previous Always brand pads were always bunching up. I felt like I was constantly headed back to the bathroom to replace the pad, just to get rid of that awful bunching feeling down below.

These pads are also incredibly absorbent. For being so compact, it doesn't seem like they'd hold a lot, but in my personal experience, they definitely keep you feeling drier for longer.  I know some people who love using 'pillow' pads because they feel more protected with three inches of cotton fluff tucked into their underwear - trust me, I used to be one of those women too. But these pads leave me feeling as clean and dry, without the bulk.

One of the most desirable features, in my opinion, of this pad, is the 'unique' Night-Guard Zone. I have to say, I've never seen a feature quite like this in any other pad on the market (yet...). There is a billowing quilted area around the end of the pad, which is "designed to block leaks from side to side, and front to back." What lady couldn't use that little bit of extra protection??

And have I mentioned how much I love how long these babies are...?! They really do provide extraordinary protection and coverage. Personally, I'm all about the length. I'm always trying to refrain from rushing the first sales associate I see in the Personal Hygiene aisle and shrieking maniacally, "SHOW ME TO THE LONGEST PAD YOU OWN!!! Aha!! I'll take about ten dozen."

My one large-ish gripe with this product is the packaging. Not the overall bag they come in, but rather the individualized packages. Oh sure, it's cute. The pretty purple plastic isn't an eye sore when I whip it out of my purse or bathroom cabinet, but it's not exceptionally durable and definitely not subtle. The one thing I appreciated about Kotex (way back in the day...) was the fact that they were using 'cloth-esque' wrappers, to cut down on all that awkward crinkling that plastic wrappers can have. Now I realize that while this isn't particularly 'eco-friendly,' neither are the traditional plastic wrappers either. And I know someone out there is bound to think/say, "Who cares!? When you're in the bathroom changing your feminine products, it's not like it's news to the lady in the stall next to you..." And you'd be right - but I still like having the option to be discrete - whether I be at a friend or family's house, to being in a public restroom. In addition, these purple wrappers are far from durable. When I pop a couple of these pads in my purse, they are pretty much mutilated from my door to the car. The wrapper gets torn open and lost in the abyss that is my purse, and the pad becomes an unsanitary mess as it mingles with the cash, makeup, and goodness knows what else floating around in cyber space. I've definitely been on the lookout for a little zippered pouch that I can throw my pads in, close up, and huck in my purse so they don't end up getting dismembered in commute. Another feature that I miss but appreciated (in hindsight) was the little sticky tab on my Always Ultra Thin Overnights' package - they made for easy and quick disposal. Finally, I have to admit that for every one of these Stayfree pads, I end up putting A LOT of stuff in the garbage. As there are four wings, plus a sticky strip right down the base of the pad, I end up pulling off 5 paper tabs and throwing them out in addition to the fancy purple wrapper. It's frustrating and annoying when you're pulling off that many tabs, let me tell you. It seems wasteful and it's not convenient, I mean, I seriously don't want to be pulling that much paper off my pads. My goal is to get in and out of the bathroom as quickly as possible, and these certainly do not contribute to that ultimate goal.

Overall, a pack of 40 will set me back about $6-$9 CDN, depending on where I buy them and whether or not they're on sale. I wouldn't say that they're cheap, but they definitely aren't expensive in my opinion either. And they're sort of a necessity.

I've been using them for several months now, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying them. Despite my frustrations with the packaging, I am a huge fan and I can't really see myself switching or trying a new brand any time soon.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Let me know what you think - about this review, about those unsavory hygienic items we keep stashed around our home so that no one will figure out that we are just like every other woman out there, about your preferences, etc. I'd love to hear your views on this touchy topic!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment

I picked this up from a local salon after the stylist tried it out on my hair. I wasn't expecting anything miraculous, I had just asked him what he'd recommend in the way of good heat protectants, and this is what he suggested.

Photo credit:
Uniq One is supposed to treat your hair in 10 different ways:
- repair for dry and damaged hair
- shine and frizz control
- heat protection
- silkiness and smoothness
- hair color protection/with uva and uvb filters
- easier brushing and ironing
- incredible detangling
- long-lasting hairstyle
- split ends prevention
- adds body

Needless to say, I didn't expect a whole lot from this little bottle.

I picked this 150 mL (5.1 fl oz) bottle up from my local salon, as I mentioned earlier, for about $20-$22 CDN. It comes packaged in a sleek, opaque red bottle with gold and white detailing. The bottle features a spray pump, which I find an incredibly intriguing feature considering the product itself is a white, thin-ish lotion-esque consistency. 

You're supposed to spray this product over your damp hair and style accordingly. You are not supposed to rinse it out. I'll admit, the whole concept is somewhat strange... but go along with me here...

Like I mentioned earlier, the consistency of this product is thin, so it sprays over your hair rather easily. I don't find that the nozzle of the spray applicator gets clogged at all, mind you, I am using this product religiously every other day. The product doesn't seem to dry in gooey clumps, as many other products tend to do when exposed to the air for too long. I find that this is a problem with several of my other hair products, including some oils and leave in conditioners. Over time, their nozzles or applicators because clogged with the gooey remains of product and then I struggle to pry these remains out of the packaging, or end up applying a large wad of goo to my hair absent-mindedly. Either way, the outcome is neither pleasant nor attractive. Huge brownie points for uniq one!

The scent of this product is heavenly... that is, if you aren't scent-retardant. If you hate/loathe/stay-away-from strong(er) scents, this product will definitely not be for you. It's a scent that you'll want to take a whiff of in the salon before picking it up and taking it home. The only way I can really describe the scent itself is by defining it as a "salon" scent. The scent is incredibly strong, and will last throughout in your hair throughout the day - though it will noticeably fade after several hours of wear-and-tear. I personally adore the scent - I love smelling like I rolled out of a salon every morning, regardless of whether or not my hair actually looks like it just came from the salon, haha.

Now, onto the good stuff. Does this product do everything it claims to...?? The million-dollar question.
- Does it repair damaged and dry hair? In a word, no. Nothing will 'repair' damaged and dry hair. The only thing that will eliminate frazzled hair from your life is a good old-fashioned pair of scissors *snip snip*. However, this product does a fantastic job of masking my dry and damaged strands - my hair definitely looks healthy, shiny, and silky without being weighed-down by product. I would also say that this product, while not repairing my dry and damaged hair, does protect it from becoming further damaged via styling and heat, but we'll save that for later.
- Does it provide shine and frizz control? Definitely. My hair is significantly less frizzy and insanely more glossy, without the grease. My hair looks copiously healthy, without being oily/greasy-looking and weighed-down. Huge brownie points here.
- Does it provide adequate heat protection? HECK YES. I've been searching for this stellar of a heat protectant for a while now. I've tried a lot of different products spanning drugstore and salon categories, and nothing has wow-ed me... until this. I feel like my hair is superbly protected from heated styling tools, and I don't feel like I have to reapply between blow-drying and straightening/curling/crimping. One application over damp hair leaves me feeling protected from start to finish. And for this feature alone, I'd repurchase uniq one in a heartbeat.
- Does it provide silkiness and smoothness to the hair? Absolutely. My hair is extremely more touchable and smooth, every since incorporating this product into my hair care regimen. It is considerably more sleek as well, but it is no miracle worker. My damaged ends still tend to poke up here and there, but nothing like before... I am thoroughly impressed to say the least. 
- Does it provide hair color protection via UVA and UVB filters? I can't speak to this as my hair is not color treated in the least. Additionally, I am using this product in the winter months, where the effects of the UVA and UVB filters will be less noticeable, as my hair is not exposed to sunlight as frequently as it would be in the summer months.
- Does it allow for easier brushing and ironing? You know, I didn't think it would. But heck-to-the-yes, it totally does. I didn't think it could get any easier with the whole brushing and ironing aspect of styling my hair, but it does!!! This product allows my brush to glide through my hair without hardly any tangles - it's actually painful to me now if there is a slight tangle in my hair, as I'm so used to the ease with which I can comb my pretty locks now. Additionally, this makes straightening/flat-ironing a breeze. My flat iron glides over my hair without tugging or catching, and I find that I am exponentially more efficient as I have to do less passes to achieve my desired hair style. Definitely one of the best features of this product, in my opinion.
- Does it detangle incredibly? YEAH, boy. See above.
- Does your hairstyle last longer? I thought this was incredibly hokey, quite honestly. Aside from hairspray, I don't think there's much you can do to make your hairstyle last longer - especially not with a mere 'leave-in conditioner.' HOLY MOLEY, was I wrong. I was surprised to notice that a few days in my hair style was lasting all through the day, through my chaotic sleep patterns and into the next day. I kept thinking to myself, "what did I do differently this time!? Was it the way I used my straightener??" and I couldn't figure it out... then all of a sudden it hit me. Uniq One! I'm not joking you - my hairstyle does last significantly longer because of this product. Boo-to-the-yes.
- Does it prevent split-ends? Ummm, I'm not 100% sure on this one yet. I can't really say 'yay' or 'nay.' I'd like to say that it does, but quite honestly I'm undecided. It wasn't a huge selling point for me anyways...
- Does it add body to your hair style? YESSSSSSSSSS. I've noticed that my hair is incredibly more voluminous and bodacious (haha, that word makes me laugh...) since incorporating this product into my daily preparations. My hair tends to style with more volume as well - despite the fact that nothing in my hair routine has changed, besides the use of this product.

Since incorporating this product into my routine, I've stopped using pretty much every other hair product I own, including hairspray - what!?! I find that I can go an entire day with my hair looking pretty much the same at 8 am as it is at 10 pm, and all without using a drop of hairspray - in fact, I find that hairspray tends to weigh my hair down too much! The only products I use on the side are Head & Shoulders shampoo and my Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil Restorative Conditioner. Very rarely will I spray a little Tresemme hairspray through my bangs to hold them in place, and sometimes I'll pull a pea-sized amount of serum or oil through my hair to help with my damaged ends, but that's about it. So you can know that my review isn't intentionally biased by any other products that I use - it's 100% Uniq One, baby!

As you can see, my hair here is incredibly shiny and glossy, but in a healthy-looking fashion.
Additionally, you can see that it's really voluminous... no hairspray whatsoever.

I also want to mention that my hair hates hats. The second a hat touches my scalp, my hairstyle is toast. I've got a dent in my hair that rivals craters on the moon. Since using Uniq One, I've found that my hair is more resistant to hats, headbands, etc, and it doesn't crease or dent nearly as easily. For example, I recently graduated from University, and while I dreaded taking my cap off after the ceremony, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my hairstyle was still 100% intact and looking stellar!

Overall, I am incredibly impressed and surprised. I didn't expect to love this product as much as I do. I also didn't expect to reap as many of the benefits as I am. I will be the first to admit that I thought the whole thing was hokey - you can't claim that your product does all of this and have it actually work.... I mean, that's just not the way our market works nowadays. But heck yes, Uniq One does deliver. I will one-hundred-million-percent be repurchasing this product after I empty my precious bottle. It's one of my most talked-about, and raved-about products to date. I seriously haven't been this impressed with a hair product in a while

If you have the opportunity to pick this up and try it for yourself, you definitely should. Perhaps you could get your stylist to try it out on your hair when you go in for your next cut/trim and see how you like it afterwards before purchasing. Either way, it's a definite staple in my medicine cabinet from now on!

Let me know, what do you think about these 'all-in-one' products? Are there any other all-in-one products out there that do everything they claim to!?

Rating: 5 out of 5 shiny gold stars
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Joico K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstuctor and Intense Hydrator

Whew. Say that ten times fast.

Anywhooo... I picked my Joico products up from my local Chatters salon. The K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor contains 250 ml (8.5 fl oz) of product, and the K-Pak Intense Hydrator contains 313 ml (10.6 fl oz) of product. Each cost me about $20 CDN, but sometimes you can find them on sale for a little more or a little less... it just depends, really.

I'd never tried Joico products before, and I'd never really had anyone recommend them to me either. But since my hair has decided to become permanently straight, I have to use heat on it every other day to maintain a somewhat delectable appearance. I wash my hair every other day(ish), and after washing I blow dry it, and touch up the ends with my flat iron. And after a few months of this, my hair was really hurting. I had some serious problems with frizz, breakage and split ends, as well as MAJOR hair loss. At the rate I was losing hair, it was a miracle I didn't have bald patches. Our bathroom floor and the sink and toilet (our bathroom is tres small) were coated in red hair clumps, and it was becoming a little disconcerting. So I did some Google-age, and discovered that many people recommended the Joico K-Pak line of treatment products for severely dry and/or damaged hair.

Joico K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor
I initially bought the Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor, which is a protein treatment strictly for dry and damaged hair. It claims to rebuild and improve the structure of hair using "an exclusive blend of low molecular weight and size proteins... to adhere quickly and effectively to ensure maximum protection and reconstruction from the cuticle to the cortex." This product also claims to be safe for color-treated hair.

Let me just say that I ADORE this product. I have noticed a significant improvement in the health of my hair since beginning my treatments several months ago. I feel that my hair is incredibly stronger and less prone to breakage and splitting. It is more manageable and is soft and elastic.

This treatment is meant to be used sparingly, perhaps once or twice a week, depending on the level of damage that your hair is suffering from. When I first started, I used this product twice a week, but now I've moved my treatments down to once a week, or once every two weeks. The product is applied to damp hair, and is left on for 5 minutes - no longer and no less. I typically apply the reconstructor in the shower after I shampoo my hair clean. I feel that the steam from the shower helps it absorb into my sad strands more effectively and efficiently too.

The smell of this treatment is to die for. It smells of coconut and bananas, and every time I apply it, I'm in heaven. I wish they made this scent in perfume form.... <3 font="font">

The consistency of the reconstructor is incredibly strange. It reminds me of overcooked rice that has been semi-mashed in a vat of water. It comes out in uneven globs, because of the texture, but is easily spread and worked through the hair. It rinses out easily and without fuss.

The most important thing to remember when using this product is that after application, you MUST follow up with an intensely hydrating and moisturizing conditioner. The protein treatment will dry your hair out severely and will make it unmanageable and unruly, unless you replace the lost moisture with a conditioning treatment. Additionally, using this product more frequently will not speed up the rejuvenation of your hair - keep your treatments to once or twice a week. If you happen to notice that you aren't benefiting from the treatments any longer, cease using the Reconstructor until such a time as you need to use it again.

Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator
I picked up Joico's K-Pak Intense Hydrator after a few uses of the Reconstructor. I found that my own deep conditioning masks just were not cutting it, and that my hair was struggling after each treatment instead of showing obvious improvement. 

The Intense Hydrator does not smell nearly as heavenly as its Reconstructor counterpart, but still smells clean and lush. While not being an particularly dense conditioner, it does have a more thick consistency, which spreads quickly and easily throughout hair - evenly coating every strand.

The bottle recommends that you leave the conditioner in for 3 to 5 minutes. When I am conditioning with this product after using the Joico K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor, I leave the Intense Hydrator on for at least 5 minutes, if not more. I find that this conditioner replenishes my hair more than adequately and leaves it touchably smooth and soft after drying.

One of the aspects I love most about this conditioner is the fact that I can use it from roots to ends without suffering from a greasy scalp after getting out of the shower. I can use this conditioner every time I wash my hair, and I don't experience build-up or unpleasant effects from using this product on a regular basis. It rinses clean with ease. I love how my hair feels hydrated and happy after a shower, without feeling weighed down and 'product-y.' It has quickly become my favorite conditioner to date.

Since starting this regimen, I've noticed significant and dramatic improvements in the condition and health of my hair. I have noticed that I lose little hair now, if any, during combing and/or styling. The elasticity of my strands has also seen dramatic improvement. Before, if my comb caught and tugged on a strand of my hair at all, it would break off mid-shaft or pull out of my scalp; now my hair is incredibly elastic - springing through the brush instead of snapping off. My hair is incredibly smooth and noticeably less frizzy. It doesn't tangle at all anymore, and maintains style longer (though it's nothing radical...).

These products (used separately or together) do leave a slight reminiscent scent in your hair when styling. It's not overpowering or overwhelming, but it's a beautiful clean smell that lingers slightly throughout the day. If you're not one to enjoy lingering scents in your hair, you may want to stay away from these products. The scent is more noticeable after using heat on your hair, especially during styling, but fades as the day wears on.

One thing I have noticed is that Joico is down-sizing the tubes/bottles of both of these products. My 'large' bottles don't seem to be readily available anymore - the tubes for sale at my local salons seem noticeably smaller with less product. So if you come across larger bottles, grab them! :)

Used together, these products are unbeatable. I will definitely be repurchasing both (and already have) as I have religiously used them from first purchase and am now running dangerously low on both. If you're looking for touchably smooth, silky, untangled, strong hair - look no further. My only complaint is the steep price, but it's definitely worth it, especially if your hair is suffering as much as mine was.

Have you tried out the Joico K-Pak line!? What do you think of it??
A whopping five out of five stars
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lise Watier's Summer 2012 Summer Sunset Bronzing Powder

This limited edition bronzer retails for $35 CDN - a little bit hefty, if you ask me. It is part of Lise Watier's Summer 2012 limited edition collection. It can be purchased wherever Lise Watier products are sold; I picked mine up at Shoppers Drug Mart. Each bronzer contains 11 g of bronzing goodness. These products can also be found at

Lise Watier describes this as follows:
Five summer shades that blend perfectly with a brush to illuminate the face and neckline with a soft, golden hue, recreating the perfect summer tan! They also describe the bronzer as one that "radiates health."

I had to pick up this bronzer after reading beautiful Miss Tracy's review on it at Beauty Reflections. The way it warmed up her complexion sent me reeling to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart to wrap my greedy little paws around this summer delight.

Bronzers are products that I usually splurge on. It's difficult to find 'just the right shade' for my pale, neutral-undertoned flesh, so paying the extra money for a bronzer that will be worth my while is essential. I find that the bronzers I 'invest' in are usually the ones that I tend to use on a daily basis and 'hit pan' on first. When I saw Tracy's post, I knew this bronzer would be perfect for me. And man, I wasn't wrong... 

I have mixed feelings about the packaging. While it is really cute and quite unique, it's a little bit bulky and somewhat impractical as far as packaging goes. It is essentially a puffy little clutch number, with a push-open clasp. The inside features a full size mirror with the bronzer, and a little travel-sized brush. After you use up the product you can pop out the plastic inserts on both sides and use the compact as a mini clutch of sorts. I used it as a money 'satchel' this year at Stampede and it worked really well. The pattern on the packaging is bright, fun and definitely summer-y.

The brush is quite soft, and I have used it for on-the-go application. It blends product, but takes more effort because of the small size. It's functional, though not my first choice when it comes to applying the bronzer in the best way for my face shape and skin type. 

The bronzer itself (obviously the best part) is made up of 5 various shades. The bars are of assorted sizes and finishes. When swirled together, the bronzer gives off the most beautiful peachy golden bronzed shade. Lise Watier's website suggests focusing your brush on the brown shades and applying them to the high points of the face, while then focusing your brush on the pink shades and concentrating them on the apples of the cheeks. 

This bronzer is not matte, but it's not glittery or even 'shimmery.' I would put this one in the category of 'glowy' bronzers - ones that make you appear to be glowing from the inside-out. I don't find that the shimmer in this bronzer settles into my pores, exaggerating their shape at all, which is a definite bonus.

I love this bronzer in that when I swirl my brush in all of the included shades it doesn't come out overly brown or orange in tone, but rather has a peachy golden hue that perfectly mimics a natural tan on my pale skin tone. I find that this bronzer has a similar finish and tone as the Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess, that I talked about here.

This bronzer is so smooth, and moderately pigmented. It's not 'too' pigmented, but definitely not sheer. The pigmentation is buildable, which is fantastic. The powder blends like a dream, so if I apply too much or put it in the wrong place, it's easy for me to correct.

This is a product I'm using almost every day. I find that it warms up my face just enough and helps me too look more even (my body has a tendency to look WAAAAAYYYY darker than my face) and less albino. I love this product so much I even bought a backup for the sad day when my first one runs dry...

I'm only wearing my Marcelle BB Cream in Light/Medium
Bronzer added.
Can you see the glow on my cheek??
The only downside, I've found, to this bronzing powder is the fact that the various bars of color seem to wear-down at different rates. I don't want to run out of a certain shade of color before I'm done the whole powder itself, so that's the only real peeve I have about the product (aside from the steep cost). I'm not 100% I captured it in this photo, but here's what I'm talking about:
Can you see how the middle brown shade is significantly deeper than the pink
shade adjacent to it?
All-in-all, I think this is a fantastic product and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a peachy, golden bronzer. I think this particular bronzing powder would work best for light to medium skin tones, though I could see it being a beautiful highlighting powder for those drop-dead gorgeous dark-skinned ladies as well. This was my first Lise Watier buy, and I'm so impressed I'm considering trying out a few of their other products if the opportunity ever arises... It is a little pricey, but if you're looking for quality and something you'll use every day without fail, I'd say...

GO GET YOU SOME... seriously.
Run, don't walk. It's limited edition and won't be around forever... *tear*

5 out of 5 fabulous stars.
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What's your favorite bronzer?!