Review + swatches – Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour, Lip Definer, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

I am always reviewing luxury brands and high end makeup on my blog, but today I have something I never thought I would ever get to try out just because the price tag is so astronomical for a makeup product. Yes I am talking about Christian Louboutin Beaute, a brand that has lipsticks that are double the price of Tom Ford, another ultra high end luxury brand.

I’ve always admired Christian Louboutin shoes, having his Simple pumps on my wishlist for the last 5 years. When the brand first came out with beauty product, I didn’t even bother looking because the price tag was just so out of reach and I didn’t want to fall in love with anything in fear of starting a new addiction. Well when I was invited to the Louboutin fragrance event a few weeks ago, I got to try out some of the makeup and yes, I fell hard for the products. At the event, I had the Sheer Voile Lip Colour applied on me over a Lip Definer, and for a sheer glossy lipstick, it lasted over 8 hours on me with no touchups required. It was incredible. I was lucky to be sent home from the event with the Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara, and then later sent the Silky Satin Lip Colour and Lip Definer for review purposes. Honestly if you are on a budget, or have any kind of makeup budget, you should just stop reading. If you love to splurge on makeup and love to treat yourself, then keep reading.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl
Let’s first talk about the packaging. The lipsticks, mascaras, glosses, and liquid eye liners come in this incredibly beautiful and super luxurious box that can be used to display the product. I do not see myself throwing these boxes away because they are like jewelry boxes. The boxes themselves are very well made, and definitely reflect the designer nature of the brand.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

The product themselves also come in very hefty packaging, specifically the lipstick and mascara tubes are metal and feel very substantial. The lipstick comes in a solid black metal body, like a precious elixir vial, which twists up to reveal the lipstick. Everything is like a work of art that can be displayed after application.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

The Silky Satin Lip Colour (C$120) is Louboutin’s classic satin finish lipstick. The shade I have is Belly Bloom, a beautiful nude rose pink. The formula is super creamy, and feels lightweight and comfortable on the lips. It’s also lightly hydrating, which is fantastic for people like me who have perpetually dry lips. It gives me medium to full coverage in 1-2 swipes, and wears for over 8 hours on me when layered over the Lip Definer. Alone, wear time is still around 6-8 hours with drinking and light eating, which is pretty impressive for a creamy lipstick. I’m scared to say it but I really think this ranks in one of my top 5 favourite lipstick formulas. What I don’t love is the price tag… it’s $120 which is really out there, even for me. But I do love to spoil myself, and having one or two of these in my collection doesn’t seem too terrible, right?

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl
Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

Louboutin’s Lip Definers (C$55) are created to match the natural shade of your lips, so that you can use the one lip liner with any lipstick. The shade I have is Nats, which is a matte rosewood that is a tinge more brown than my natural lip colour but works well to create a neutral base for lipstick. I love how long wearing the Lip Definers are, and it also makes any colour apply smoother and more vibrantly. I also love the self-sharpening twist-up tip. I am super lazy and hate sharpening pencil products so this is perfect for me. What I don’t love is that it is a little bit dry to apply and it’s also slightly drying on the lips; it’s not waxy so it doesn’t glide on as easily as other waxy lip pencils. That being said, it not being waxy means that it doesn’t slide off as quickly, giving it its long-wearing properties. I definitely need to use a lip balm before applying this because it does accentuate my dry lip lines.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl
Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

Lastly, the only thing I like but don’t love is the Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara (C$90). For a volumizing mascara, the applicator isn’t huge. It also has little short plastic spikes that help to coat every lash. I like this because it is insanely black, one of the blackest mascaras I’ve ever used. It also dries soft, and doesn’t leave my lashes feeling crunchy. It lengthens and volumizes, and doesn’t become cakey as you build up. I don’t like it because it does not hold a curl very well, and it also smudges on the undereye after a few hours. Those are my two must-have attributes in a mascara, and this one doesn’t live up to those requirements. I can prevent smudging and transfer by using the Clarins Double Double Fix mascara topper, but it doesn’t help the curl situation. If you have naturally super curly lashes, you will LOVE this mascara, but if you have stick straight Asian lashes like mine, you might want to look elsewhere.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

Do you need any of this? Truthfully, no. But like I said earlier, if you have some money to spare and want to treat yourself (the holidays are a time of giving, including giving to yourself!), this would make a great treat. If you had to pick up one thing, definitely go for a lipstick. The formula is beautiful and there are also so many colours to choose from. You can’t go wrong with it!

The swatches

Lip Definer in Nats on the right, Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom on the right.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Beaute Silky Satin Lip Colour in Belly Bloom, Lip Definer in Nats, and Lash Amplifying Lacquer Mascara in Kohl

Christian Louboutin Beaute is available at Holt Renfrew, as well as on holtrenfrew.ca.

Product provided for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

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Review – LUSH Holiday 2017 collection review, featuring naked shower gels!

Lush Naked Shower Gel review

This holiday, Lush is furthering their commitment to the environment by introducing products that don’t come with ANY packaging. As part of the naked body care series, you can get shower gels, body conditioners, body lotions, lip scrubs, lip tints, and hair masks.

Today I have three products from the Naked Shower Gel series as well as their regular packaged counterparts to share and compare with you. The three scents I have are:

  • Santa’s Christmas (C$14.95 for 200g or C$21.95 for 250mL) – A cola-scented shower cream that features a coffee infusion for a skin pick-me-up. It also includes cinnamon, black pepper, fresh lime juice, to invigorate the skin, as well as cocoa butter and almond oil so often and hydrate.
  • Berry Berry Christmas (C$17.95 for 200g or C$23.95 for 250mL) – A cranberry and blueberry juice based shower gem that also includes bergamot oil and wild orange oil for the juiciest shower ever.
  • Rose Jam (C$14.95 for 200g or C$21.95 for 250mL) – My Christmas favourite every year, Rose Jam is a lemony rose shower gel that smells amazing. It also contains vanilla pod infusion, goji berry juice, and argan oil. I stock up on this every Christmas and it’s my absolute favourite shower gel.

Lush Naked Shower Gel review

When I first heard about these naked shower gels, I was thinking wow they invented soap. The difference though, is that these naked shower gels are creamier and have a smoother, richer, lather that don’t leave your skin feeling stripped. Also soap is generally fat based, which is kinda nasty, whereas these shower gels are not! I received these in the mail completed naked, they were not covered in any paper, or plastic, making them very environmentally friendly. Compared to the shower gels, these only one in one size – 200g, which is similar to the 250mL bottles of bottled shower gel.

The naked shower gels are actually so cool because they are completely translucent when you use them in the shower, they look kind of like solid jello! I love how the colours match the colour of their packaged counterpart, and they also come in the same great scent. Lush bottled shower gels need no introduction, they are super juicy and succulent, foam up very well, and leave my skin feeling super soft and silky. Lush has said that there is virtually no difference in the two products, basically just one is packaged and the other is not.

I’ve been using the naked shower gels for the last little while, and comparing it to the regular packaged shower gels, and I feel a little conflicted. I haven’t used solid cleansing bars for face or body in years, as I’m generally not a fan of the format. I also find that leaving it unpackaged in my shower is a bit unhygienic, since I’m not the only one who uses my shower. I like using a loofah so the convenience of just pouring some shower gel onto the loofah and then using it on my body is really nice. The solid shower gel also works with a loofah but it’s a bit more work because you gotta rub the solid bar in the loofah for 5-10 seconds before it will get sudsy enough. The naked version has more refined, silkier bubbles compared to the packaged version, when used on a loofah.

That being said, I really can’t tell a difference in terms of skin benefits between using the naked shower gel and using the bottled shower gel. They are both super sudsy without being drying, very silky on this skin, smell AMAZING, and generally I love using both. The good thing with the naked shower gel is that they are fantastic for travel, since it is solid and won’t take up any of your liquids limit, and also the price is pretty good since you are paying only 70% of the packaged equivalent. Leaving it out on a soap rack leaves my bathroom smelling absolutely delicious (my whole bathroom smells like Rose Jam all the time!).

If I had to pick one, I’d probably still go with the bottled shower gel just because I wash my body with a loofah and a liquid version is easier to use than a bar. Lush bottled shower gels are pretty pricey though, so if you want to be a bit more economical, then the naked shower gels are a great alternative where you save a bit of money but get all of the benefits of the bottled version.

Lastly, the naked shower gels make fantastic gifts for men who are low maintenance and want something quick and easy like a bar of soap, but isn’t as skin- stripping as soap.

You can find Lush products in store and online at lush.ca

Lush Naked Shower Gel review

Product provided for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Gifting made easy with L’Occitane en Provence

L'Occitane en Provence almond shower oil, almond milk concentrate, almond hand cream, supply skin oil review

There’s no shortage of coverage of L’Occitane en Provence on my blog. It’s not surprising, but the brand is one of my favourite skin and body care brands. The products are incredibly luxurious without the ultra high price tag. Every holiday season, L’Occitane has a plethora of decadent sets for gifting and keeping for yourself. This holiday season, I was sent the beautiful Almond Collection (C$79) gift set. This set contains five of their top Almond products, with total value of $100:

  • Almond Shower Oil (500ml, value of $42)
  • Almond Milk Concentrate (100ml, value of $32)
  • Delicious Hand Cream (30ml, value of $12)
  • Almond Delicious Soap (50g, value of $6)
  • Supple Skin Oil (15ml, value of $8)

The Almond Shower Oil has been a longtime favourite in my shower. It is fantastic for both showering and bathing, as it is literally a thick, beautiful oil that you apply on your skin (wet or dry), emulsifies, and rinses off milky. It’s fantastic for dry skin types because it leaves your skin feeling really soft and hydrated after. I don’t always use a body lotion after this! My biggest tip is to take this with you on beach vacations – I actually use this kind of like a body cleansing oil. It removes every bit of sunscreen off your body, which is great for when you don’t want that sticky after-feel of waterproof sunscreens even after you’ve washed it off. Best of all, in keeping with L’Occitane’s commitment to the environment, this generous bottle of shower oil is actually refillable. You can save $8 off your purchase of the next 500mL by purchasing the refill pouch.

The Almond Milk Concentrate is a smoothing and firming body moisturizer. It’s very rich and moisturizing, but not greasy. The 100mL size in the kit is perfect for taking on trips with you. The Almond Delicious Hand Cream is a lightweight moisturizer for your hands. It comes in a convenient 30mL size that fits in any handbag. I’ve never tried the Delicious Soap before and was pleasantly surprised with it. It contains almond bits to lightly exfoliate your skin. It’s also lightly hydrating, which was a pleasant surprise for me. Lastly, I did a quick review of the Supple Skin Oil, which contains over 50% almond oil. It’s super decadent and very nice on the skin. I love using it as a full body massage oil as well.

The gift set also includes a coupon for $10 off $40 on Shea Butter products for purchases made in the month of January.

L'Occitane en Provence almond shower oil, almond milk concentrate, almond hand cream, supply skin oil review

I wanted to share a few other gift options from L’Occitane that I picked up myself for gifting my friends and family, and to keep for myself. I love this time of year because you can actually pick up a lot of great staple products for fantastic prices (such as the Almond Collection featured above).

I picked up this Luxury Advent Calendar (C$134) for myself. I love to get myself an advent calendar every year (even if I don’t open it day by day), because it’s nice to have a little surprise for yourself. Most beauty advent calendars also include really great deluxe size products that are convenient for travel (which is what I use mine for). I picked up the normal advent calendar a few years ago from L’Occitane, but this is the first year they’ve had the Luxury version which include bigger sized products as well as products from more expensive ranges. The box is also better construction as they come with reusable drawers instead of cardboard that you rip off. If you are considering either the regular Advent Calendar or the Luxury version, I’d recommend the luxury version for sure!

 

The other kit that I highly recommend is the Shea Butter Collection (C$79), which contains their top shea butter sellers: Shea Butter Hand Cream (75ml), Foot Cream (75ml), Ultra-Rich Body Cream (200ml), and Extra Gentle Milk Soap (100g). I love their shea butter products and this one has full sizes of the hand cream, foot cream, and body cream, all of which are great for the dry winter climate. You also get a $10 off $40 shea butter purchase with this set as well.

L’Occitane also has a few little baubles and stocking stuffers, with prices starting at C$14. You can check out all of their gift sets here.

You can pick up these gifts at all L’Occitane locations across Canada, and on the L’Occitane website.

The Almond Collection and Festive Crackers Trio were gifted from L’Occitane; all opinions are my own.

Review – Dior Holiday 2017 Precious Rocks collection

Dior Holiday 2017 Precious Rocks collection review

Today I have to share with you the holiday collection from Dior, called Precious Rocks. I have a few products from the collection to share, namely a few lip products and nail polish. Every year, Dior’s holiday collection is presented in vintage gold packaging that look gorgeous on the vanity.

Dior Holiday 2017 Precious Rocks collection review

First we have the brand new Diorific Khol Powder Lipstick (C$46), which is a bold new invention by Dior that is super innovative and causing a lot of head-turning this season. It’s a lipstick powder in a bullet that is super pigmented and ultra longwearing. The shade I have is 991 Bold Amethyst, which is a very vampy plum. While the design and concept is innovative, in practice it is actually a bit awkward. The pointy bullet is challenging to use, and the dark colour also made the formula patchy. For the hefty price of $46, I’d recommend skipping this and picking up something else (like the Pat McGrath matte lipsticks!).

Dior Holiday 2017 Precious Rocks collection review

Diorific Matte Fluid Lip and Cheek Color (C$47) is a re-release of last year’s matte liquid lipstick. The bottle is super beautiful and will draw a lot of attention when you are doing touchups.  The two shades I have are 007 Desire and 008 Intensify, which is a true red and vampy plum, respectively. I’m a little surprised they decided to release that vampy plum shade, which are almost exact dupes of each other but in different formulas, in one collection. It’s not really a colour that most people reach for, so they definitely took a risk there. Intensity definitely wears a lot better than the Kohl Powder Lipstick in Bold Amethyst, and it is also easier to apply and more comfortable on the lips. Desire is a beautiful classic red lip. I honestly have so many red lipsticks already and this didn’t exactly wow me in terms of wear or application, so I don’t know if I could recommend spending $47 on these.

Dior Holiday 2017 Precious Rocks collection review

Lastly, the Dior Vernis (C$34) is one of my favourite nail polish formulas. Their holiday releases are always beautiful and in-demand, as they come in a variety of festive shades. The two shades I have are 673 Ruby and 745 Grenat, which a pink-red with metallic shimmer, and a true deep red. I’m in love with Ruby because it is a great alternative to the classic red nail. I really wish they released something other than Grenat this year because they always do a red nail colour for Christmas for as long as I can remember, and it would be nice for them to switch it up. The brush and formula is flawless though, and it lends itself to impressive wear time and shine.

I have to say I’m a little bit disappointed by this collection. I saw some photos of the eyeshadow palettes and they were gorgeous, so if you were to get anything from the collection, it would be those. It’s a bit unfortunate that every holiday season, Dior seems to recycle the same colours / formulas without truly innovating. The new Kohl Powder Lipstick was a nice concept but it didn’t quite pull off the implementation right. I’m also surprised by the price of these products, it seems like the price of Dior products have gone up substantially. The price increases, coupled with the lack of original shades year-to-year, make me want to say that this collection is kind of a dud. I love Dior, but just not this collection.

Products provided for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Men’s gift set review + GIVEAWAY – American Crew Essentials Kit

IMG_6997

The boyfriend is back with a review today of a men’s care kit that has become a staple in our bathroom. The American Crew Essentials Kit has all the basics every man needs to maintain their dapper looks. It contains a giant 450mL bottle of the 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash, as well as 150mL size of the Moisturizing Shave Cream, both full size products in one convenient kit.

For the low maintenance man child that is me, this is the perfect set.  Not only do both products satisfy my shampoo and shaving cream needs, they are only $24.95.

I have that Asian facial hair that grows in patches, so I can’t speak to the experience of burly lumberjack bearded men.  The shaving cream is very soothing to put on, and I did not need much.  After shaving I didn’t need to apply any aftershave.  My skin felt very smooth and hydrated after the shave and there was no irritation or discomfort after.

I could really feel the difference after using the shampoo.  My hair felt rejuvenated and soft right after.  It also has a nice subtle scent that is not overpowering.  I would recommend to anyone with thick hair like myself. I have dry skin, and this didn’t dry out my skin like other 3-in-1 products.

GIVEAWAY!

It’s the season of giving and American Crew has very generously provided a second Essentials Kit to give away to one lucky friend! All you have to do is follow me and American Crew on Twitter, and then tweet: “I want to win the @AmericanCrew Essentials Kit from @maddylovesblog https://wp.me/pXD4Z-2sF”

Deadline to enter is December 7, 2017 at midnight Pacific Time. The winner will be selected and contacted on December 8. The chosen winner will have 48 hours to get back to me otherwise another winner will be selected. Open to residents of Canada only with a Canadian mailing address. Good luck!

You can purchase your own American Crew products at Trade Secrets, Chatters.com, and salons across Canada!

Product provided for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Review – CND Glacial Illusion collection for winter / holiday 2017

CND Glacial Illusion collection for winter holiday 2017 review

It’s no secret that CND makes one of my favourite nail polish formulas – the CND Vinylux. The vast majority of my nail polish collection is comprised of this formula, and the reason is that it is so easy to apply, fast drying, and long wearing, basically everything you want in a nail polish formula.

You can see my collection below, and everything on the left with the black caps is CND!

 

 

Exploring mom's nail polish collection.

A post shared by Noodles (@noodlesthesiamese) on

For winter 2017, CND has released Glacial Illusion, a collection of neutral colours that can take you from desk to evening. At the same time, the Vinylux formula has also been reformulated so that it doesn’t thicken as fast in the bottle, and the brush is also wider, which allows for even easier application.

The six colours in the collection are:

  • Mystic Slate (cream) – a neutral grey with a hint of green
  • Winter Nights (cream) – a medium-dark blue
  • Cashmere Wrap (cream) – a beautiful neutral light pink
  • Alpine Plum (metallic) – a cool-toned metallic lavender
  • Radiant Chill (metallic) – a chic rose gold
  • Icy Bar (shimmer) – a shimmery sheer white that can be worn alone or over top another shade to add some holiday shimmer

CND Glacial Illusion collection for winter holiday 2017 review
CND Glacial Illusion collection for winter holiday 2017 review

My favourite colour in this collection has got to be Mythic Slate, which is such a beautiful grey. I’ve been super into greys lately as it is a fantastic neutral and goes with so many other colours. These colours are also available in the Shellac formula, which you can see applied on me in the Instagram post below.

 

CND Vinylux is available at Chatters salons, Trade Secrets stores and select salons that use CND products.

Product received from PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own. 

GIVEAWAY – Hard Candy Holiday 2017 gift sets

Hard Candy is an extremely affordable yet whimsical makeup brand that is available exclusively at Walmart. The products are all priced under $20, making them very easy and affordable holiday gifts, perhaps for your niece, daughter, or younger sister who is just starting to experiment with makeup. There are 12-day advent calendars for lips, eyes, and nails, all for under $10, as well as a complete eye and cheek kit that contains eyeshadows, blushes, contour, and more. My top pick that is a cute accompaniment to any girls holiday party is their 6-piece holiday cracker collection, for under $15.

For the holiday season, I am working with the brand to spread some holiday cheer by giving one special friend an amazing set of holiday products from Hard Candy. To enter:

Giveaway is open to residents with mailing addresses in Canada only. Deadline to enter is December 4 at midnight PST and a winner will be selected and contacted on the 5th. The chosen winner has 48 hours to respond otherwise another winner will be selected.

Good luck!!

Review – belif Classic Essence Increment and Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream

belif Classic Essence Increment and Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream review

belif makes one of my favourite go-to moisturizers for my dehydrated skin. Today I’m sharing with you two additional belif products that I’ve incorporated into my skincare routine.

The belif Classic Essence Increment (C$57 for 50mL) (what a name!) is a nutrient-dense essence that nourishes and hydrates to improve skin elasticity, tone, and texture. It smells very fresh, with a bit of an herbal-floral mix; it’s definitely a very “natural” scent (it does contain fragrance, but it’s at the end of the ingredients list). If you have dry skin that lacks both water and oil, this is your godsend. It is extremely, extremely rich. I cannot use this as a serum as it is way too rich for me, and I have relatively dry skin. I can use this on its own as a serum and moisturizer in one, particularly at night. If I am feeling more water-lacking that day, I will also layer with the belif Moisturizing Bomb.

The Classic Essence Increment dries tacky, which is my main complaint about it. That being said, I do layer another moisturizer on top so the tackiness subsides with that.

The belif Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream (C$59 for 25mL) claims to be “a hydrating and nourishing eye treatment that provides long-lasting moisture and firmness to the delicate eye area.” I love this eye cream. It’s super hydrating without being heavy, and leaves my eye area feeling very refreshed and awake. It absorbs quickly enough so that its great in the morning and under makeup. I haven’t really noticed any changes in terms of firmness of  my eye area, but the hydration helps soften the look of fine lines. The price at first looks high, but it actually comes with a whopping 25mL of product. That’s 2/3 more product than other eye creams! I only use a little bit each time, so this jar has lasted me forever.

For the upcoming holiday season, belif has this amazing gift set available for purchase. It comes with a full size The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb (my fave product from them), as well as mini sizes of the Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream (5mL) and the Hungarian Water Essence (10mL), for just the price of the Moisturizing Bomb of C$47. That means, you get the other two products for free! This is a great way to stock up on this moisturizer and get a few additional goodies as well.

The Classic Essence Increment and Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream were provided to me for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Reveal healthier hair with Kerastase Aura Botanica

Kerastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire, Soin Fondamental, Essence d'Éclat, Oil Concentré Essentiel review

Kerastase haircare products are a staple in my shower. I’ve gone through several bottles of the Discipline range because I love how silky and smooth it makes my hair feel. Kerastase now has a range of hair products that contains on average 98% ingredients from natural origins. Designed for all hair types, Aura Botanica promises to deliver two days of durable nutrition, three days of anti-frizz control, and four times the shine compared to other hair products. The products are free from sulphates, silicones, and parabens, so those who are more conscious about these ingredients can also use them. The Aura Botanica range contains four products – shampoo, conditioner, concentrated oil, and oil mist.

I have relatively normal to dry hair. My hair used to be super damaged from colouring, but I’ve stopped colouring for the last two years and I’m just letting my hair grow out now. In winter climates such as now, my hair gets extremely frizzy and full of static, so I need a lot of oil-based products to help keep my hair from getting too crazy.

The Bain Micellaire (C$45 for 250mL) shampoo contains 96% ingredients from natural origins, and is a gentle shampoo that is perfect for those damaged or sensitive scalps. In place of sulphates, it contains surfactants derived from coconut and sugar to still get a nice lather. This reminds me a little bit of the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo in that it is very gentle and provides a gentle cleanse. If you have very greasy hair, or if your hair is gunked full of styling products, this will not give you that deep clean that you will want. If my hair is particularly gross, I might use a light clarifying shampoo first (such as Lush Rehab) and then followed by this for some nourishment. As with other Kerastase shampoos, a little bit goes a long way so I don’t need a lot in order to get a nice gentle cleanse. I’ve been really loving this shampoo this winter because my hair has been particularly frizzy. The oils in it help to keep my hair smooth and nourished.

The Soin Fondamental (C$50 for 200mL) is the accompanying conditioner in the collection. It contains 97% natural ingredients, including certified organic coconut and argan oils. It is thicker than a normal conditioner, but lighter than a mask, which makes it perfect for this time of year. I LOVE THE WAY IT SMELLS and feels on my hair. have pretty dry scalp so I actually apply it closer to my scalp than other conditioners, and it helps to nourish my scalp as well, without being too heavy. It does feel like it weighs hair down a bit, but this range isn’t meant to be volumizing so I wasn’t surprised by that. I actually prefer the sleek, heavier look it gives my hair.

The Essence d’Éclat (C$57 for 100mL) is a multitasking, heat-protectant, bi-phase mist. It contains coconut, argan, jojoba and avocado oil in the oil phase, and the water phase contains Damascus Rose floral water. The ingredients mix together to help give you gentle hydration and deep nourishment to each strand of hair. I’ve been using this quite a bit when I blow dry because it helps significantly to keep the static at bay. Especially with the heat on in the winter, this is very helpful to keep my hair smooth with no flyaways. As with everything else in the range, it smells amazing. I can also easily use this to touch up when I’m feeling like my hair is feeling drier than normal.

The Oil Concentré Essentiel (C$60 for 50mL) is my favourite product in this collection. It’s a concentrated oil that contains 99% natural ingredients. It’s a true multi-tasker in that you can use this alone or blended in your existing hair products to boost its nourishing properties. If my hair feels particularly parched, I use one pump with the Soin Fondamental. After blow drying, I also use half a pump of this spread through the very ends of my hair. You can also use this as a pre-shampoo scalp mask (although I recommend using a clarifying shampoo to wash it off since it will be hard to wash off with the Bain Micellaire).

Of the four products, I’d most likely skip the Bain Micellaire, and I’d mostly likely repurchase the Oil Concentré Essentiel. You can even use the Oil Concentré Essentiel with your existing haircare routine to help give it a boost. It is pricey but a little bit goes a long way. My Kerastase shampoo and conditioner bundles usually last me around 6 months with regular use, so you do get good value with your purchase.

For the holiday season, Kerastase is offering a fantastic deal on Aura Botanica. You get the Bain Micellaire, Soin Fondamental and the Oil Concentré Essentiel for a great price of C$110 – essentially getting the Bain Micellaire for free! The burgundy and gold packaging on the bottles and accompanying gift box is also beautiful for the holidays.

You can purchase Kerastase products at Kerastase.ca, or at your local professional salon.

Products were provided for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Review: Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm & Queen of Hungary Mist, PLUS some amazing holiday value sets

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and Queen of Hungary Mist review

Recently I’ve been obsessing over luxury beauty brand Omorovicza. Ever since my trip to Japan, I’ve been missing the healing powers of thermal water – soaking in the Japanese hot spring and experiencing the benefits of thermal water was probably one of my coolest experiences I’ve had. Omorovicza’s products all contain Hungarian thermal water as well as Hungarian thermal water extract. It also harnesses the power of Hungarian moor mud to help detox the skin of all impurities. The products are all developed in collaboration with a Hungarian Nobel Prize-winning laboratory. Today I have two products from Omorovicza to share with you.

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and Queen of Hungary Mist review

The Thermal Cleansing Balm (C$135 for 50mL) is a gentle black facial cleansing balm is rich in Hungarian Moor Mud, whose unique mineral complex detoxifies and purifies the skin. Its supposed to remove all makeup, including waterproof mascara, and cleanses all skin types without stripping to leave the complexion soft, hydrated and radiant. It’s a bit messy to use, as it contains charcoal due to the Hungarian Moor Mud. It also contains Hungarian thermal water ferment extract and Hungarian thermal water, so you get the benefits that come with mineral water (think onsen water!).

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and Queen of Hungary Mist review

It does remove most makeup, but I prefer to do a second cleanse anyways so I lose a lot of the benefits of it being an all-in-one product. Because it is full of natural ingredients (the base oil for the balm is sweet almond oil), it doesn’t actually emulsify, so even when I cleanse with the mini cloth that’s included with the balm, I still get an oily film left on my skin. It’s probably fine to leave it on since it’s all good ingredients, but I prefer a cleaner feeling so I do a double cleanse. They recommend that you use their full size cleansing mitt in order to get all of the cleanser and makeup off (and also act as a mild exfoliant). In addition, I like to do a facial massage when I use a cleansing balm, and you need quite a bit of product each time. It’s pretty expensive for the amount you get, so you end up going through it very quickly. For those reasons, I don’t know if I can recommend this product. If you are set on trying this product, it does come in a 15mL size for $40 so you can see if you like it before dropping money on the full size.

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and Queen of Hungary Mist review

The Queen of Hungary Mist (C$110 for 100mL) is Omorovicza’s most popular products. It is a neroli and rose-scented face mist that refreshes the skin. This toner was inspired by the Queen of Hungary Water, the world’s first recorded perfume, formulated for Queen Elisabeth of Hungary in the 14th century. It’s perfect for morning and night, over or under makeup. I really love this product, it definitely helps my skin feel more hydrated and supple. I really love how it smells – very fresh and uplifting. I find it to be more hydrating than other skin mists I’ve used, so I don’t really need as much of it compared to other facial mists. That being said, it is probably one of the priciest facial mists I’ve used, so it’s hard for me to justify the money for it. There are some products I can justify spending money on, but cleansers and mists don’t belong in that category. If it was under $100 then I would feel a lot better about it.

All of that said, Omorovicza actually has some amazing skincare sets coming out for the holiday season. They are a fantastic way to try out the brand to see if you will want to buy the full size, and you can try out multiple products for the price of less than one full size product. I’ve already ordered a kit to try because I really do love the concept behind the brand and its products, it’s just hard for me to justify spending money on the full size. There are two sets that particularly jump out to me, as they are travel sizes but are very generous travel sizes. The moisturizers themselves should last you at least 6-8 weeks.

The Omorovicza Essentials Collection is a kit designed for normal to dry skin types, and it contains the two products I reviewed above in travel sizes, as well as two moisturizers for day and night. It’s priced at US$105 on the Omorovicza website, but only C$120 on the FeelUnique website, which is a British e-tailer that is like Sephora. It contains:

  • Thermal Cleansing Balm (15ml) – value of C$40
  • Illuminating Moisturiser (30ml), designed for normal and dry skin types, this moisturizer helps to hydrate and illuminate your complexion – value of C$120
  • Rejuvenating Night Cream (15ml), a rich silky cream to rejuvenate your skin overnight – value of C$88
  • Queen of Hungary Mist (30ml) – value of C$40
  • Omorovicza Cleansing Mitt – value of $20
  • Travel case

You can see that this is amazing value because it contains a total of C$308 worth of product, and it also includes everything you need to travel with. Just the Illuminating Moisturizer makes up for the entire cost of the kit, and you get everything else essentially as a gift. I’m going to Toronto in December, and I’ll be bringing this kit with me.

The Omorovicza Discovery Collection is a kit more suited for normal, combination, or oily skin types. It is priced at US$95 on the Omorovicza website and C$105 on FeelUnique. It contains:

  • Deep Cleansing Mask (15ml), to deep-cleanse and brighten tone while reducing pore size – value of C$45
  • Queen of Hungary Mist (30ml) – value of $40
  • Thermal Cleansing Balm (15ml), which removes all makeup without stripping the skin – value of $40
  • Cleansing Foam (30ml), to awake and cleanse the skin – value of C$20
  • Balancing Moisturiser (30ml), which provides hydration, whilst absorbing instantly – value of C$102

This kit contains C$247 worth of product, which is also incredible value. Both kits come in beautiful gift boxes so they would make fantastic holiday gifts as well. There were some other kits available, but the products in those kits weren’t as highly recommended by other reviewers, whereas these two kits contains the most highly recommended products for the best price. If you click through my referral link on FeelUnique, you can save another $15 off your first purchase. You also get free tracked shipping on orders over $120.

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and Queen of Hungary Mist review

I received the full size Thermal Cleansing Balm and Queen of Hungary Mist as a press sample for review purposes. I purchased the Omorovicza Essentials Collection. All opinions are my own.