Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Creme of Nature Argan Oil Gloss & Shine Polisher

Argan oil is officially a mainstay in my general routine concerning hair care. First it started with a small bottle of the Hask Argan Oil Healing Shine Treatment a few years ago and at $2 a bottle that lasted for a long time, it's a great deal. You can find Hask at any beauty store but given how often I used it, I figured it was time to get a bigger bottle. Hask doesn't have a bigger bottle, but luckily at certain drugstores, you can find Creme of Nature: Argan Oil Gloss & Shine Polisher.

Argan oil is pretty simple to use -- you would use it similarly to the way you'd use other oils (such as, but not limited to macadamia nut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or even rose water [there is a oil for every hair type, apparently]). When your hair is damp, take a small amount into your palm and work it through your hair. I mostly concentrate on the ends rather than high up on the crown or scalp (though if you have a dry scalp, you'll want to make sure you work some into that area). On my own hair, I take about a nickel size worth of the oil and work it only onto the ends of my hair as since the ends get brittle and dry (whereas my scalp gets oily).

So yeah... great for your hair. Now here's an interesting side step -- how do they work as a moisturizers? You've probably seen Argan oil in an awful lot of products lately so something I wanted to see was how well would it work on my skin. Both Hask and Creme of Nature leave behind a slick of greasiness that eventually dissolves for about 15 minutes, you're aware of it being there. Remember that has a moisturizer you would be using more than you would if you were just working it into your hair so don't hold this portion of my review against either of them. The one that does pass this experiment though is interestingly Organix Penetrating Hair Oil Moroccan Argan which penetrates quickly and leaves your skin moisturized. I do not know how the Organix works in one's hair because I used the entire sample as a hand moisturizer. >_<

Product: Creme of Nature Argan Oil Gloss & Shine Polisher
Price: $6 - $8 (varies by store)
Would Recommend: Yes.
Takeaway: While Hask is great, so is having a 4 oz bottle instead. Definitely more economical in a sense. Works well with your hair as it gives a nice shine to it as well as moisturizes dry hair.

Product: Hask Argan Oil Healing Shine Treatment
Price: $2
Would Recommend: Yes.
Takeaway: Love this bottle but for long hair, it's just not very economical. Works great though and definitely a fantastic moisturizer.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve

If you have dry skin and have been dealing with it for years then you are probably one of those people that is never without a some kind of lotion within an arms' reach. In addition to that, the terms "cocoa butter" or "shea butter" is no stranger to you and is more a necessity rather than a luxury. At my BF's place we keep a small container of shea butter and at my place I keep a small container of cocoa butter -- and yep, for years I've been keeping a small tin of C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve

The rose salve (like other salves on the market) are pretty versatile. They are positioned as a lip treatment but if you look at the container, you can pretty much use it anywhere. The scent of it is quite nice and light, it looks glossy and never seems to have much of a tint, and finally the texture. Well, that's a bit of a pain point. It's a bit on the sticky side -- or something like that. Think of Vaseline for a moment and consider slathering Vaseline on because that's what it feels like. The difference is the scent and the fact that isn't as greasy as Vaseline (but still kind of greasy) but the rose extracts help to soothe the skin and in conjunction with the lanolin oil, it moisturizes.

Will it ever replace the cocoa and shea butter containers I have strewn about? No. Rose salve in a way, stands in it's own category. It's great for cuticles and serves as a fantastic lip balm amongst other things. While cocoa and/or shea butter are great for my limbs, rose salve (especially since it comes in such small convenient tins) is great for spot treatments. Hands are dry and you don't have lotion? Slather on some of the salve and while you're at it you can use it as a lip balm. Sure cocoa and shea butter can do the same thing but sometimes they are a bit heavier.

Price: $4 - $5
Would Recommend? Yes
Takeaway: Convenient to go tin (which I've never had issues with but other people have mentioned that sometimes it gets stuck) which doubles as a moisturizer that you can use anywhere. Great lip balm and great for cuticles as well.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Naturally Fresh Papaya Fusion Roll-On

Lately I've been kind of obsessed with natural deodorant, so I apologize if that is not up your alley. If it is, read on! Anyhow a few months ago, I noticed that my Crystal Essence Lavender & White Tea Roll-On (read the review here) wasn't really holding up much especially since while at work, I sit next to a small heater. Sure, I do walk with it in order to reapply periodically throughout the day, but this led me to investigate other options. I came across this YouTube review by Blue Ott Lisa and figured that I had to keep my eyes peeled for the Naturally Fresh Papaya Fusion Roll-On deodorant she mentioned.

Go figure that I found it on sale at Whole Foods. Those of you familiar with the Crystal Essence line will find a lot of similarities between the two -- just different scents. There is a lot of different varieties in the Naturally Fresh line which includes the crystal, a spray mist, and at some point I could have sworn I saw deodorant wipes (but don't quote me on that). The roll-ons come in these scents: regular (which I assume is unscented), Ocean Breeze, Lavender, Tropical Breeze, and of course, Papaya Fusion.

Ever since my days at Lush, I've alternated deodorants (whether all natural or with an antiperspirant) -- so I will always have at least two and I switch them each day. Why do I do this? Well, my body adjust very quickly to these kinds of things so in a way it keeps things different. So I am still using the Crystal Essence roll-on, just every other day.

They both are quite comparable to one another. But let me focus on the Papaya Fusion. I love the scent of it and throughout a normal day, it performs well. I do have to reapply at least twice a day, but that's fine with me. There are no real downfalls with this one, the only thing I don't like is that the bottle is transparent so I can't tell how much of it I have gotten through.

I'd honestly have to say that in comparison to the Crystal Essence (CE), both are the same. They work well, but you will have to reapply it throughout the day (you're definitely looking at reapplying it once and number increases as the heat does). The ball of the roll-on for Naturally Fresh (NF) is much larger than the CE one however it doesn't pick up as much of the liquid as CE (so CE has a smaller ball which grabs more liquid, the NF has a larger ball that doesn't pick up as much liquid). The CE bottle is transparent so you can see how much of the way you are through, and the NF doesn't have that so you'd have to shake it to figure out how much is left.

Overall, it's worth it -- especially if you're used to natural or crystal rock deodorants. If you're packing the switch to a natural deodorant from an antiperspirant then be aware that you might be a bit disappointed. These types won't last the whole day and require reapplication. The base of this deodorant is Alum (Potassium or Ammonium) and the product is propylene glycol free and paraben free.

Price: $3 - $10 (depending on where you find it)
Would Recommend? Yes. 
Takeaway: Definitely worth it as it is comparable to Crystal Essence's roll-ons. You will likely need to reapply throughout the day but that seems almost typical of a natural deodorant. Great scents and a good selection as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kara's Way Launch

Kara's Way just launched their sign-up page as soon as possible as they are a limited quantity. If you were considering a box (whether for yourself or a friend) this would be perfect as it is a natural and eco-friendly box.  They've been working quite hard on this box and I think you'll be very happy with it -- so give it a shot. :)

For additional information, please be sure to check out the Facebook (where they tend to answer a lot of lingering questions that you might have) or follow their Twitter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Little Bit of L'Occitane

L'Occitane is like my personal black hole of abyss nowadays. Well, for my wallet. I go in there and it's the weird sensation of wanting everything. Of course, I can't really give into every single one of my desires in that store, but I can name them all. Today was a bit of a L'Occitane kind of day for me.

As I was getting ready, I treated myself to the very lavish Almond Milk Concentrate which I adore. The scent is amazing as it is light and refreshing but it is also so incredibly moisturizing. I have very dry skin and this was just superb as it moisturizes and keeps that up all day. Supposedly it helps to tone and firm, but I use this so sparingly that I can't really attest to that. I can say that if you have dry skin, it would be very good (though the price in another thing). The texture is a bit silky though not too watery -- it is definitely not the same as some of the other lotions that I've seen.

After putting on the lotion and fixing my makeup, I decided to put on perfume and sticking with the L'Occitane mood, I opted for the Plum Blossom. Now I know it's not fair to mention it as since it was a limited edition last year and while there is the Plum Blossom Intense Eau de Toilette Roll-on, it is only available in the UK, I had to mention it. The scent is just right up my alley with it's floral notes and that hint of plum sweetness. Which is actually kind of interesting considering that this type of scent isn't what I usually go for but I think that given it was light and simple, I actually ended up liking it. As a result, I'm kind of interested in this year's floral limited edition which is peony.

Price: $44
Would Recommend? Yes.
Takeaway: Great for dry skin and it is very moisturizing and is absorbed quickly. Feels great but the downfall is probably attributed to the price.

Review & Comparison of Eyeshadows: Kat Von D's Beethoven and Tokidoki's 24 Karat Arte

Today has been a bit stressful and I couldn't get around to blogging earlier in the day even though I have a bunch of things lined up to write about. Last week I got my Bare Minerals and Sephora order and then today my Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes arrived. So destress I'm throwing on some The Honey Wilders music and trying to focus. One of my favourites songs by them is Light of Day, but yeah, go check them out because they are awesome. To the Sephora haul!

Let's make something clear though. I do not intend to post about my hauls however I kind of have to in order to talk about the comparison in eye shadows. Also, this might be a bit long cause I really got carried away with the pictures.

Kat Von D's Beethoven palette is no stranger to my collection. I fell in love with it way back... oh, about 4 years ago. It was one of the more pigmented palettes so I just had to have it. And I still love it (though I do plan to give other brands a shot). It was time to restock and so getting the palette was no real dilemma. My favourite colour which I wish they would sell separately or in a pan is Lucifer which is a matte charcoal black.

For purposes of trying something new, I decided to spring for the Tokidoki Arte palette in 24 Karat. (Which is amazingly now sold out online through Sephora and is going for $20 on eBay). Now obviously there's going to be a huge difference between testing Kat Von D's palette with Tokidoki's -- given the sheer size. Beethoven has 8 eyeshadows whereas 24 Karat Arte has 4 (and a blush). But there is a clear winner. Let's talk about packaging first.

Tokidoki Arte Palette - 24 Karat
The 24 Karat palette is quick and convenient because it's kind of on the go; wrapped in a plastic casing, you peel it off to flip it open and you've got your makeup all ready in the palm of your hand. The Beethoven palette is something to be enjoyed though as the packaging is thoughtful. The box itself opens in a smooth like motion to reveal a wrapped palette inside complete with the KVD sticker. The Beethoven palette is black with the outline of roses  and if you're a sucker for packagaing (like myself) then you will be sold on this alone. But of course, given the 24 Karat's nature or desire to be on the go, you have the typical Tokidoki illustrations on the front. They are both lovely for different reasons.

As for the eyeshadows, obviously they don't entirely align with one another so forgive the variety of comparisons that will occur from this point on. Right off the bat, there's a a blue, black, and silver to compare. There is no white in the Beethoven palette though I imagine you can get away with using Tequila which is a metallic cornsilk shimmer (the fourth one from the left).

Kat Von D True Romance - Beethoven
Blue: I have no control eyeshadow to make sure I wasn't biased. While they both appeared quite pigmented, it seems at though 24 Karat has a bit of opacity to it. I'd opt for Beethoven's Speed Blue for that high pigmentation.

Black: Must I say it? Beethoven's Lucifer comes in quite solid. Although I admit, it doesn't appear in the swatch test below -- instead as a test I checked it against Sonia Kashuk's Cocktail Hour black and L'Oreal Studio Secrets Singles in Lush Raven. I love the black in the KVD palette that I will clutch lovingly to it forever. Well, maybe not. But it has been the best I've used so far.

Blue (left), first stroke is KVD and the second is Tokidoki.
Black (center): first stroke is L'Oreal, second is
Tokidoki, & the third is Sonia Kashuk.
Silver (right): first stroke is Tokidoki and the second is
Sonia Kashuk.
Silver: Again, not pictured below but I'm pretty sure you didn't even see it on my skin. While the 24 Karat palette picks up a lot of glitter and magically places them about -- you can't really see it. In comparison is the Sonia Kashuk's Cocktail Hour in silver. You can see the glitter of the 24 Karat but that's it. KVD wins this round with Razor Gray.

Left is Bobbi Brown, center is Tokidoki, and the right is
Blush: To be fair, I had to test against what I know. I wear Bobbi Brown everyday (my aim is to hit the pan) and in reserve I have the Illamasqua in Hussy (and if you missed it, I did a review on the both of them called "Rosy Cheeks").

My arms a bit darker than my face or something like that so swatching on my arms doesn't always translate to how it will look. So if you look at the image, you'll notice how barely noticeable Bobbi Brown and Tokidoki are. Illamasqua just barely stands out (but trust me, it shows on my face).

I did try the Tokidoki blush out but it vanished pretty quickly. It also comes out much lighter than the Bobbi Brown but has a bit more shimmer to it.

So very sadly, as much as I love some Tokidoki products, the 24 Karat Arte Palette just did not cut it. And for some reason my love for the KVD Beethoven goes on and slowly ferments like a good wine.

Product: Kat Von D True Romance - Beethoven
Price: $34
Would Recommend? Yes.
Takeaway: Great palette with a bit of versatility to it -- I did not review the lighter shades or the purples, but they are great. The black eyeshadow in this palette has long been a staple of mine and continues to trump all. (Fandom glee is over now).

Product: Tokidoki Arte Palette - 24 Karat
Price: $10
Would Recommend? No.
Takeaway: I love Tokidoki for their eyeliners (yes, I know I didn't touch upon that in this review but it beats KVD's liquid liners) so I thought this palette would be convenient. The problem is that pigmentation wise, it just doesn't hold up -- not the eyeshadows or the blush. It's probably better to pass.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: Renpure Organics Shampoo & Conditioner

Last month I wrote about Renpure Organics My Hair is Pretty Parched! and it was quite positive. I found myself not really have to use much of my argan oil in order to add back in moisture to my parched hair. The bottles, being a bit on the small side and my hair being the long side meant that I ran out of it a little while ago. I've now been using the "I Love My Hair!" which I admit, is probably not the best for my hair. As the names suggest, the former (My Hair is Pretty Parched!) is for moisturizing and the latter (I Love My Hair!) is for shine.

As with the other two, the consistency of both the shampoo and conditioner were just right. Sometimes when you get these types of hair care products (No parabens, sulfates, gluten, phthalates, or propylene glycol), the consistencies tend to be a bit weird. (Not all the time, but this has been my experience as of late).  The scent was also light and a bit on the floral side so it was very pleasing to me.

But how did it hold up? Well, my hair did get quite shiny which is exactly what these bottles boast. They delivered and for that, I am quite happy. Problem being that my hair requires... no demands extra moisturizers which is not something these two can deliver. As a result I had to use a lot of argan oil in order to balance my hair out.

Does that mean I'd recommend against them? Absolutely not. If you're looking for shine, it's all right there. But do not expect a moisturizer as well. Expect to use some extra oil (doesn't have to be argan, it could be coconut) in order to balance it out. It's definitely worth it but just not a "please all" kind of product.

Product: Renpure Organics I Love My Hair! Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner
Price: $6.99 each
Would Recommend? Sort of.
Takeaway: Fantastic for shine but if your hair requires more than shine then expect to pair it with another product that delivers (such as moisturizer, which was my case).

Coming Soon: Guest Bloggers!

I'm really very excited about this because I've finally reached out to a few people about this and I've gotten some positive responses. (Translation: I finally asked some of my friends to come on-board). Anyhow, I'm sure they will get around to making their own introductions but I just wanted to announce it as they are in the process of getting ramped up. The ladies that I've asked to come on-board for now are amazing when it comes to makeup (I either look up to them when it comes to makeup or tend to go to them for suggestions) so I can't wait for them to get started.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio

I trully am a sucker for kajal which means that this latest spike in making kajal eyeliners accessible has me all the more intrigued. Of course, the Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio (for brown eyes) flew off the helves at my local store and I had to wait the longest for it to be back in stock.

But let's get one thing out of the way right now. They are incredibly soft and creamy which sounds great but you need to be very careful with them. I noticed that an awful lot of them were already broken in the store, so just be aware of how easily they can break if you end up purchasing them.

Given my brown eyes, of course I opted for the appropriate pack. I already knew that the brown would be useless so I figured that out of this trio at least two might work for me. the other two colours are plum and black.

I adore the packaging though I can see how the cover might nick the top of the kajal stick. Luckily if you know how to use them (remember that you apply them by holding them horizontally and swipe across your eyelid rather than holding them vertically) you should be fine, even if you take a little bit off the top. Creamy consistency and easy to apply. The only thing I was disappointed by a few things.

On the left is the plum eyeliner. Application was easy though a bit messy as you will notice that the scalene triangle at the edge of my eye was a bit off -- and ran a bit. Creaminess is great, but not so good when you're looking for precision. The liner also ran on my bottom eyelid. Additionally it looks as though it was an uneven application -- except that it wasn't. If you go with this eyeliner I would highly recommend that you pat some powder on it. It came off quite shiny so many of the pictures I took just looked messy or uneven. The eyeliner runs and that isn't a perk.

As for the black, I apologize since I know the application was uneven. Unfortunately I ran into the same exact problems as I did with the plum and by that point I wasn't amused. The pigmentation of the black is great and as you can see, it seemed to hold up well in photographs -- additionally it was easy to apply with that creamy texture but it ran.

Product: Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio
Price: $9 - $10
Would Recommend? No.
Takeaway: While this product seems like it would be great for smudging, it's pretty bad in terms of precision. The product runs (more so than your standard liner) and ends up being a bit messy -- not to mention is liable to break.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm

Forgive the sloppy nature with which I applied the NatureLuxe Gloss Balm but I was really excited (translation: I had a headache). 

I was really a bit excited about this one because I'm a sucker for lip balms (and lip gloss). I was hoping to get a bit of colour out of it but also afraid to go too sheer so I opted for 210 Tulip which looked like a bright pink. Knowing my skin tone, I knew that it probably wouldn't be that distinguished (meaning that it probably wouldn't really show) but I was hoping that a bit of colour would pop given the pink colour.

Mango and shea butter? Yes! I love the creamy feel of the lip balm but the thing about it was that the colour didn't show. The picture on the left shows the lip balm, which isn't really showing up at all -- you can tell my lips are moisturized but what really sets this one apart from a normal lip balm?


For $6 (which is what it costs), I could spring for a tin of Rose Salve and I'd be all the more happier knowing that the salve has multiple uses. While I love the idea behind the gloss, I couldn't rationalize getting it when there were better lip balms out there. I think that if you can find a complementary colour, it would be worth it but otherwise, you might want to pass.

Product: CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm in Tulip
Price: $6
Would Recommend? Perhaps.
Takeaway: While it feels good and has a good pitch, you have to find the right colour otherwise it's useless. The colour just disappeared on me which left me wanting.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: CoverGirl Blast Flipstick Lipcolor

I picked up 815 Flashy of the line (or at least, that's what I think it was). The Flipsticks seem to be quite popular at my local store so the selection was reduced.

When I first tried the darker colour, I was amazed. I loved how it looked as it was amazing. I didn't even really see how the second colour looked but I was in awe of just how pretty it looked. The picture to the left shows the initial application -- heavy on the darker colour with just a bit of the lighter colour to accentuate it. The lip color was creamy and had a sheen to it, which I adored. 

But obviously, there was a drawback. After I took it off for the night, I noticed a slight residue but didn't pay too much attention to it. The next day though, that residue became all too... annoying. Yeah, there, I said it. The residue was ever present and came off on everything. Morning coffee to afternoon coffee, when the talk about this thing lasting it does -- much much to my own chagrin.

Okay, that was a little bit annoying so I decided to try again, but instead of direct application I decided to try a lip brush. The third picture on the left is what it looked like applied with a lip brush and note how soft the colours come off. Not as strong, definitely do not pop so I'd recommend not applying with a lip brush. 

After the second application, I decided to use a makeup remover in order to get rid of any residue from the lip color. Much better during the second try but I admit, I was already kind of annoyed that I had to use it in the first place. The colour is long lasting, which is a plus, but the downside is that it takes a while to go away which is just downright frustrating. 

Last critique before the wrap-up is the container itself. On the right is a picture of what happened right after I opened the container. The lip color doesn't fully retract into the tube and given it's angle, it will easily get nicked. I haven't even been paying attention (which is probably why this happened in the first place) when I realized the lid had already been attacked.

Obviously at this point I am not a fan when any brand packages lipstick like this.

Product: CoverGirl Blast Flipstick Lipcolor
Price: $6
Would Recommend? No.
Takeaway: While the colour is vibrant and the texture is creamy, the colour lasts and it took me two days to finally be rid of the colour in it's entirety. Not cool.


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