SKINCARE DEVICE | Clarisonic Mia Smart

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Clarisonic overhauled their entire product line in September of this year, discontinuing all older models including the Mia 1, Mia 2, Mia Fit, Smart Profile, Smart Profile Uplift, and whatever else was available at the time. In their place, it launched Mia Smart and Mia Prima. It was probably a good thing because it was starting to get confusing which models were which and which ones were still available versus discontinued.

I previously owned a very early generation of the Clarisonic Mia way back in 2009 or 2010, and it was one of the priciest skincare products I purchased out of pocket while I was still a student. I remember ordering it from TSC and they had this pay over 6 periods thing interest-free, and that’s what I used to pay it off. Unfortunately, it was fine for the first few weeks but then my skin became super sensitive to it. I continued using it off and on for about 6 months and then I stopped, preferring manual cleansing over a cleansing device.

Clarisonic was one of the first beauty cleansing devices on the market, and the first with a sonic cleansing technology. There were other cleansing devices on the market at the time but none of them had the technology that Clarisonic had, and those other devices definitely weren’t being recommended on a widespread level. Over the years after the Clarisonic launched, I’ve tried and reviewed several cleansing devices, including the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush, which I loved and used for a long time, and the Philips PureRadiance Facial Cleansing System, which I loved a little less. None of them received the same amount of hype as the Clarisonic, and for good reason. Clarisonic is a brand that only makes skin cleansing devices, so their technology is constantly updating and being reviewed. Compared to Clinique or Philips where they have multiple product lines and the device isn’t the heart and soul of their brand. Because of that, over time, Clarisonic developed new uses for its sonic technology for the skin.

And that’s where the Mia Smart comes in. The Mia Smart is not just a cleansing device, it is a beauty device for cleansing, massaging your skin, massaging your eyes, and applying foundation. With just the switch of a device head, you can use one device for four applications. The Mia Smart also has bluetooth capabilities, so it connects to your phone via the Clarisonic app. I love to customize my skincare routine, and you can do just that with the Clarisonic. I tend to find using the cleansing brush a bit too abrasive on my face, so I focus more time on my chest and neck where I could use a bit more of a deep clean. The timing of how long you use your device on each spot on your body can be customized via the app.

Each device head has a barcode at the bottom where it connects to the device, and the barcode allows the smart device to know which head is attached to it, so it knows to vibrate at a certain intensity. It will also know whether to be on for 1 minute (for a cleanse) or 3 or 5 minutes for a massage. The length and intensity of your massage can be customized through the app as well.

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In addition to the cleanse, it also comes with the Uplift facial massager and the eye massager. The facial massager is made to contour to your face, and the massage is super intense, much more intense than what you’d be able to do with your own hands over the span of a few minutes. The eye massager has these two metal balls that are designed to cool the temperature of the skin around your face so that it will help reduce puffiness, and fine lines and wrinkles. Lastly, it comes with the foundation brush that can be used to apply and blend foundation on your face. This brush has been much raved about by a lot of Youtubers. I personally don’t love using a brush for foundation because I’m lazy and don’t like to wash brushes, but I can see how this could be useful.

The Radiance brush head has been redesigned for the Mia Smart so that it draws more impurities from your pores, along with the dirty way, out of your skin and out of the brush. The fibres on the Radiance brush are also softer. Despite these updates, and after almost 10 years of having owned the first Clarisonic device, I have to say that the new one is still meh for cleansing. I honestly feel like it is way too abrasive on my skin, and I prefer cleansing with my FOREO Issa or using my hands. My skin is pretty dry and dehydrated, so if you have oily or combo skin you might enjoy the Clarisonic cleanse more. I do have to say that the brush head is significantly softer than what I had back in the day, but it still feels slightly irritating on my skin.

My favourite device head is, of course, the Uplift facial massager. I rarely even switch my device head out to something else. It is fantastic to use with a face mask, or a facial oil, massaging the goodness into your skin. The sonic waves are supposed help to push the product deeper into your skin, and you also waste less product because nothing is being absorbed into your hands and later washed off. The recommended time for a facial massage is 3 minutes, but I let it go on for 5 minutes instead, focusing around my jawline and neck. While I don’t feel like it necessarily “pushes” product into my skin, I do feel like it gives my face and contours a nice massage with minimal effort.

With all of these improvements to the Clarisonic Mia Smart, the price point also dropped. The comparable device prior to everything being discontinued is the Clarisonic Smart Profile, which includes the cleansing brush heads as well as Smart technology for recognizing the difference between the different brush heads, but without Bluetooth. That device was priced at $389. Mia Smart, on the other hand, is priced at just $229, which is a pretty good deal for an all-in-one beauty device. The Mia Prima, is even purse-friendly, priced at $129 (compared to $169 for the Mia 1, which is now discontinued).

That being said though, I feel like the Mia Smart is definitely not as well built as the Smart Profile. While I’ve never owned a Smart Profile, I have held it in store and it feels substantially heftier. Even compared to the Mia 2, the Mia Smart feels a little cheap. The good to this is that it is very light, and if you were to hold it up to your face up to 5-7 minutes per session (cleanse, face massage, eye massage, then foundation brush), your wrists aren’t being tortured.

Finally, do I recommend the Mia Smart? Yes and no. If you already have a cleansing routine that works for you, you may not need the Clarisonic. I certainly don’t. What I do enjoy it for is the facial massage abilities, and then once in a while I may use it to exfoliate my face since I already own the device. The price point now is much more attractive to more consumers, so if you have the budget for it, especially come Sephora VIB sale time, you may want to pick one up to try. Do you absolutely need it though? Not really.

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Product gifted by PR at a media event; all opinions are my own.

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NEW IN BEAUTY | Charlotte Tilbury Genius Magic Loose Powder, Stars in your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette, Pillow Talk Luxury Eye Palette and Blush

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I have a few Charlotte Tilbury reviews for you today. I first posted about these a few months ago when the photos were posted on Instagram. I’m so excited that I now have all three products that I wanted from the new releases in my hands!

The first product is a release that is permanent (not limited edition) – Charlotte’s Genius Magic Powder (C$58). When I first heard that Charlotte was releasing a new loose powder, of course I got excited. I LOVE the Airbrush Flawless Finish pressed powder, it is one of the only powders that I’ve finished completely and then repurchased. It is so finely milled and skin smoothing, while setting and mattifying my face. It is one of the top items I highly recommend from the brand. When the loose powder came out, I received a jar from PR to try out. I read some reviews on the Charlotte Tilbury website that said it had a really strong scent, but I didn’t think too much about it. When I first opened it though, I was completely taken aback by the scent. It is super strong and smells really terrible, like chemicals or plastic or something. Over time it does dissipate, but it’s still a bit unnerving especially if you aren’t expecting it.

I’m just… okay about this powder. I don’t think it’s finely milled or smoothing as the pressed version. It does have a bit of micro shimmer so you get a bit of glow to your skin after you apply this, but that’s not something I tend to look for in a powder. I wear shade 1, which is a pretty good match for my light skin tone, and the same shade I wear in the pressed powder version. Comparing the two, I still prefer the Airbrush Flawless Finish.

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The next product is the Stars in your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette (C$95), a 12-shade palette comprised of four different eye looks. I skipped on last year’s 12-shade palette, but I’m really happy I purchased this year’s. It has a rose gold, blush, and purple theme to it, which is completely up my alley. I love Charlotte’s eyeshadows, they are essentially the only shadows I wear now (unless I’m wanting to be super adventurous one day), because they are incredibly foolproof, have amazing staying power (without primer, and I have relatively oily eyelids), and come in a variety of shade combinations for basically any eye look. The Stars in your Eyes palette has the same amazing quality of Charlotte’s normal quads, which is really nice because sometimes limited edition palettes tend to not be as good quality as the regular collection. My favourite daily eye look is Love Eyes, the first set of colours, for a super easy girly eye look.

Compared to a normal Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eye Palette, this actually is incredible value. A normal CT quad is C$66, whereas you get eight more shades in this palette for an extra C$30. This is currently still available on the Charlotte Tilbury website, and will also be available in stores at Nordstrom Canada and Holt Renfrew. I highly recommend buying this in stores, because I had a pretty bad experience ordering from their website (see my mini-rant later in this post).

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Lastly I have two products from the Pillow Talk collection, which sold out online in a matter of days, but I have heard rumours that it will be at Nordstrom in January / early next year. I have the Pillow Talk Luxury Eye Palette, a quad of blush pink shades with rose gold shimmer, as well as the Pillow Talk blush. I originally only had my eye on the Pillow Talk eye palette but then after seeing a tutorial on Charlotte’s Youtube channel, I had to order the blush too.

The Pillow Talk Luxury Eye Palette is GORGEOUS. I LOVE rosy blush colours right now and it is such a beautiful, foolproof, easy to apply, eye palette. I have my eye on this for future wedding makeup inspiration. I was surprised at how similar it is to the earlier limited edition Exaggereyes palette, so if you have Exaggereyes you won’t need Pillow Talk. Pillow Talk is slightly warmer and more rosy and Exaggereyes is slightly more cool-toned, so you’ll get a more neutral look with Exaggereyes but a more romantic, girly eye look with Pillow Talk.

The Pillow Talk Blush is a nice every day neutral blush to warm up your skin. It’s not anything too special though, like I didn’t notice that it was particularly amazing on me. It does help me look more alive and healthy, which is nice, but I can achieve a similar look with other neutral blushes. I probably prefer the look of Charlotte’s Sex on Fire blush over this one.

In conclusion? Buy the Pillow Talk Eye Palette, the Stars in your Eyes Palette, and the Airbrush Flawless Finish pressed powder, and skip the Genius Magic Powder and the Pillow Talk Blush.

Semi-related to this, I had a horrible time ordering from the Charlotte Tilbury website for the Pillow Talk products. Long story short, I ordered off their official website, but there were delays left and right, no communication from their customer service, and then the product was sold out. There were a few days when I thought I wouldn’t even be getting the product, which caused me quite a bit of stress. I heard from others who have purchased from the official website during a popular product launch that this is not uncommon. The customer service during this time was slow and basically nonexistent (you try calling their customer service line and you get a recorded message saying to e-mail them… ouch).

When I get my packages from her, it comes from a third party logistics provider, i.e., the Charlotte Tilbury company itself doesn’t ship out your products, which isn’t uncommon either. Also, I got a sense that the customer service was provided by a third party call centre company too, because they seemed a bit disconnected from what was actually going on, and the messages going out on social media. It seems like the only thing that was actually done by the Charlotte Tilbury company was the social media aspect, which is why they were constantly promoting products even though they weren’t able to fulfill them – because the fulfillment wasn’t in their hands. When you tweet at their official Twitter, most companies provide support directly on their social media, but their Twitter also tells you to just e-mail the customer service – likely because they are run by different companies with different mandates.

All in all, after the stress, I did get my products, but it made me think twice about order off the official website. I’d rather purchase from Nordstrom or Holts where they actually have dedicated customer service agents who are responsive, and real people you can talk to. It doesn’t affect the products themselves, but of course the experience will always affect how you view or support / don’t support a brand.

Charlotte’s Genius Magic Powder was sent to me by PR, everything else I purchased with my own money. All opinions are my own.

PERSONAL CARE | LELO SONA personal toy for women

Lelo Sona review

I’ve never written a review like this on my blog, but the last few years I’ve tried to bring more authenticity back to my blog posts by not simply pumping out reviews of beauty products, but write about the stuff I want to write about. So today I am venturing into the unknown world of personal toy reviews. I was recently contacted by the PR team at LELO about their recent celebration of five years on the market of personal toys.

The team at LELO sent me the SONA (C$189) to try out. It is their most popular product, and one that has been on the market for only a year but has already been breaking records. It is a clitoral vibrator, using sonic waves instead of vibrations to stimulate entire area, not just the visible parts. The SONA features eight different intensity settings, and is also 100% waterproof. It’s quick charging – an hour of charging will give you an hour of use. Because it relies on sonic waves, it is also quieter compared to conventional toys.

At first glance, I love the design aesthetic. Not only is the colour and shape pleasing to the eye, I also love that it added a touch of gold to increase the luxe factor. The size is relatively small – not the smallest personal toy I’ve owned but small enough to fit comfortably in my hand. The waterproof silicone that wraps around most of the device feels nice and smooth, and also gives good grip. There are three buttons at the front, the top and bottom buttons are to increase or decrease your intensity, as well as the button in the middle is for changing the pattern of the sonic pulse. I haven’t played through all of the pulse options yet because I generally prefer just a limited number of patterns. The changes in intensity is very useful, which I enjoy using.

My first impression of the SONA is that it is pretty quiet. The toy I’ve been using the most frequently in the last few years is the Magic Wand, and compared to that, this one is super quiet. There is a very light, relatively low-pitched humming sound when operating it. For such a small device, it is powerful. The sensation is comparable to my Magic Wand, which is strong.

There are a few downsides to this though, specifically I find it a bit tedious (and mood killing) to aim. Because this device uses sonic waves, the waves are concentrated in the little opening at the top. You basically need to be pretty precise in where you place this otherwise it doesn’t feel like anything. That can be a mood killers especially because when you are getting all handsy, you tend to be not as precise.

All in all, I do really enjoy the SONA. It is powerful and effective for its size. It is fantastic for when you are travelling and want something equivalent to what you are getting at home without lugging around so many toys. The waterproof feature is also quite useful – while you may not need this function all the time, it’s nice to have the option. You can purchase the LELO SONA at Amazon, Well.ca, as well as several online retailers.

Lelo Sona review

Lelo Sona review

Lelo Sona review

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

HAIRCARE | Natural yet effective haircare products featuring LaCoupe Naturals Moroccan Rose and Coconut Milk

LaCoupe Naturals Moroccan Rose and Coconut Milk

It’s no secret that the beauty trend for the last few years has been on natural beauty. In addition to using skincare and makeup that are natural and organic, haircare has been a big area where consumers are pushing for sulfate-free, silicone-free, and paraben-free products. Today I want to share with you the LaCoupe Naturals range, which feature four different collections that target four specific concerns.

The LaCoupe Naturals Moroccan Rose Volume Loving was created using a blend of aloe leaf juice, coconut water, Moroccan rose, as well as biotin and collagen to help thicken and volumize the hair. It comes in a shampoo, conditioner, and volumizing mousse. The formula is sulfate-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, DEA free, petroleum-free and propylene glycol-free. Over the summer, this was my favourite of the two ranges I was able to try out.

First things first – this range smells AMAZING. You know how I love to incorporate roses in every step of my beauty care routine, and this is the first ever rose-based haircare line that I’ve ever tried, and I’m obsessed. It doesn’t smell overly strong, and the scent doesn’t linger, so I get to enjoy it just when I want to. I love having volumnous hair, especially when the weather is nice.

LaCoupe Naturals Coconut Milk Moisture Quenching is perfect for the fall and winter months. It’s rich and hydrating but not heavy, which is great for when the weather gets cooler. It contains aloe leaf juice and coconut water, as well as a blend of oils to help nourish dry hair. My hair can get a bit dry and static-ky when the indoor heat gets turned on, so this range helps to prevent frizz and keeps my hair smooth. I love the coconut milk scent as well; it’s very warm and earthy.

In addition to how well these work, the best part is also that the prices are super reasonable. The shampoo and conditioners come in 500mL large format bottles with a nice pump, and are priced at just $9.99. The Volume Loving Mousse that’s part of the Moroccan Rose line comes in 200mL for also just $9.99. As they are drugstore brands, you can also find them on sale.

If you are looking for an affordable yet natural alternative to drugstore haircare, you should look into LaCoupe Naturals.

Ingredients:

Moroccan Rose Shampoo & Conditioner

LaCoupe Naturals Moroccan Rose and Coconut Milk ingredients

Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner

LaCoupe Naturals Moroccan Rose and Coconut Milk ingredients

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

LIP CARE | A tale of two lip balms from Bite Beauty

Bite Agave Lip Mask in Lavender and Maple review

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Masks are my absolute favourite lip product to use. I have several tubes that I keep next to my bed, in my travel case, etc. The first one I purchased was the Maple version, which contains maple syrup and is a bronze tint. I also have the regular formula, and the Lavender. I purchased the Lavender because it just felt like such an awesome combination – night-time lip mask + lavender oil, what could go wrong? Well I was too optimistic, because the Lavender Agave Lip Mask completely ruined my lips.

I always suffered from a case of dry lips, which is why I was drawn to this product in the first place. The Maple version is an absolutely godsend, very nourishing, softening, and is just fantastic as a night-time mask because it is thicker than the other lip masks, which means that when I wake up in the morning, my lips are still very well protected. The Lavender version, on the other hand, is thinner, more gel-like, and a milky lavender tint. I used the Lavender religiously when I first got it, but I’d always continue to have dry, peeling lips. I thought it was just my lips being dry like normal so I applied more of it.

For a few months, I misplaced the Lavender lip mask, and went on to use something else (my other staple, the Nuxe Reve de Miel). My lips slowly went back to normal, no longer peeling or super dry. Well recently I re-discovered the Lavender lip mask, and just after two nights, my lips were back to being very dry, peeling, and cracked. It was horrible, and made me super scared to even use the Maple one. Unfortunately the Reve de Miel wasn’t helping very much either because my lips were THAT bad, so one night I decided to take the plunge and try to see if the Maple lip mask will help. I mean, it can’t get worse right? Thankfully, it paid off because the Maple one really helped to bring back that lost moisture to my lips. It was so nourishing, that the dry, peeling skin on my lips were just sliding off, revealing fresh skin underneath. A month after my dry lip fiasco, my lips still aren’t back to normal, but they are significantly better than they were when it first happened. I love the Maple lip mask, and it’s one of my absolute beauty staples.

If you are looking for a lip balm / mask, I highly recommend the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Maple. The regular one is good but not as nourishing. The Lavender one is a hard skip – stay away from that one!

I’m always on the lookout for new lip balms to try. If you have any recommendations, please do tell!

HAIRCARE | Kerastase launches at Sephora

Kerastase Specifique and Discipline review

I rarely do these types of “announcement” posts because I’d rather focus my time on reviews, but I honestly think this is such big news that I want to share it with you. As of September, Kerastase has launched at Sephora Canada, both in store and online. Kerastase has become one of my favourite haircare brands.

I started using Kerastase in 2013 and it has been a constant in my shower ever since. The brand truly knows hair, and has developed so many different ranges to customize that perfect haircare for your specific needs. I use several lines from the brand depending on the state of my hair and how I want it to look and feel. The two that I’ve been using constantly in the spring / summer are the Specifique for dry/sensitive scalp, and Discipline to smooth unruly hair.

Specifique is amazing for my hair because I have dry scalp and a lot of shampoos tend to dry it out. I find SLS-free shampoos to be overly gentle on my hair, especially because I only wash it every 5 or so days, so it doesn’t necessary do a good job at cleaning. The Specifique dry scalp shampoo is gentle but still great at cleaning. I was recently on a trip to Europe where I brought along another shampoo / conditioner with me and it was just terrible – it didn’t rinse out properly and my hair felt greasy and dry at the same time. I came home and immediately used Specifique on my hair and it immediately helped. In place of conditioner, I use the Specifique dry scalp hair mask, which is a gel texture hair mask that is super lightweight but very hydrating. It keeps my hair smooth and feeling comfortable all week-ish long until my next wash.

Discipline (review here) is great is you love that smooth, sleek hair look. I don’t have super frizzy hair but I do love very sleek hair, so that is what I use. It is also great for combatting static on very dry fall / winter days. It was one of the first lines I discovered from Kerastase, and also the range that made me fall in love with the line.

Lastly, I’ve also been using the Aura Botanica (review here) but only in the winter. This is an all natural haircare range from the brand that is ultra nourishing. During the spring / summer months, I find the whole range a bit too nourishing for me, but I love to use the dry oil whenever my hair needs a boost.

Yes this brand is extremely pricey, but if you know me, I love my luxury anything. Also since I only wash my hair every 5 days (or longer if I can get away with it), each bottle lasts me a very long time. If you think about it, your hair is one of those things that doesn’t regenerate (if you wear it long). Skin, if you get acne or dry spots, it will regenerate over a few weeks / months and potentially go back to normal. But your hair, once damaged, will stay damaged unless you cut it off. Just my two cents!

You can find all of these products now at Sephora now!

Product mentioned in this post were provided by PR over time; all opinions are my own.

SKINCARE REVIEW | My 54 year-old mother uses La Prairie Skin Caviar


My apologies in advance for the abundance of La Prairie the last few months; I have a bit of a backlog right now on La Prairie product reviews. Because the products are so expensive, I did really want to make sure that we do a good test of everything before I write about it. I am super excited to share with you this story that I’ve been working on for a while.

This is actually the first part of my two part La Prairie Skin Caviar series because as I was working on this story, La Prairie actually reformulated their Luxe Cream using Caviar Premier, a new generation of their Caviar Extract. I will be writing about their new Luxe Cream, as well as the new Caviar Premier, in a separate post.

Basically about two Christmases ago, I received a beautiful La Prairie gift from the PR team containing their signature Skin Caviar products – the Skin Caviar Liquid Lift, the Luxe Lift Eye Cream, and the Luxe Cream. As the good daughter that I was / trying to be, I gifted this entire package to my mother in hopes that it would make a bigger difference on her skin (which then I would document and review for you on her behalf) than on my own. As the good frugal Asian mother that she is, she saved this package for a year and didn’t want to open it because it was so luxurious, until I told her that products expire so please use it.

Anyways, finally she started using it about nine months ago and she is absolutely enamoured with the products.

The Skin Caviar Liquid Lift (C$730 for 50mL) is one of La Prairie’s most iconic products. Housed in a beautiful blue bottle with a clear glass window that showcases this amazing caviar essence, it is quintessentially what La Prairie is all about. This is my mother’s favourite product out of all the three – the product has helped her significantly firm and contour her skin. Her skin texture also showed improvement, smoothing her lines and pores. She freaked out a bit at the price when I told her, but she said she will likely repurchase because it is that good. Even though it is a serum, it does come in a very generous 50mL bottle (most serums are 30mL) so if you think of it like that, it’s actually not bad value.

The Skin Caviar Luxe Lift Eye Cream (C$455 for 20mL) is an ultra luxurious eye cream that helps to firm and lift the eye contour area. Like the Skin Caviar Liquid Lift, this has been very effective at keeping my mother’s eye area looking fresh, hydrated, and smooth. The texture of the cream is rich but not heavy, a little tiny bit goes a very long way and the jar will last 4-6 months. She said that she really likes this but it’s not such a huge difference compared to other eye creams such that she would definitely need to repurchase. Similar to the Liquid Lift, the value is actually not bad because you receive 33% more product compared to other eye creams.

Lastly, the Skin Caviar Luxe Cream (C$600 for 50mL) is another classic La Prairie product, claiming to increase the skin’s firmness and elasticity, as well as smooth skin texture. This was the second favourite of the three products that my mom tried. She said that the texture was very rich and moisturizing, helping to fill in a lot of her fine lines and wrinkles, and also prevented new ones from forming. She used this morning and night, and said that a little bit goes a very long way (she’s still working her way through the last bits in the jar!). While she said this wasn’t as effective in firming and lifting as the Skin Caviar Liquid Lift, it still slightly firmed her skin and also prevented further aging.

Over the nine months that she was using this, I saw a significant improvement in my mom’s skin texture, brightness, and overall look. Her skin was brighter, firmer, more lifted, and more even-toned. I also saw a reduction in her fine lines. My mother has been using luxury skincare pretty much all her life (think Dior, Shiseido), but we saw the biggest difference and improvement with the La Prairie products.

Even though I did gift these products to my, I truly believe that anti-aging starts at any age. It is much easier to keep your skin smooth than to try to fix any wrinkles and fine lines later on. Think of your skin like a fresh sheet of paper – once you scrunch it up, it’s impossible to revert back to 100% smooth.

Hope this was a helpful review! Like I mentioned earlier, La Prairie recently reformulated their Skin Caviar Luxe Cream using Caviar Premier, a new generation of their patented Caviar Extract. I’ve been testing out the Luxe Cream Sheer (a lighter version of the Luxe Cream) and hope to have a review of this for you soon. So far only the Luxe Cream, Luxe Cream Sheer, and the Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask have been reformulated with the Caviar Premier, but hopefully we’ll see this trickle down into other Skin Caviar products as well.

You can pick up all of these products, as well as other La Prairie products, at Holt Renfrew.

Products received as a gift from PR; all opinions are my own.

SHOPPING | My August 2018 Sephora VIB Sale purchases

Helloooo I am back from Europe so I’m just slowing getting back into the grind of blogging. There are so many things coming out next month that I can’t wait to share with you, but first… my Sephora VIB sale purchases! I almost never share these purchases because I never go crazy and do those massive hauls that you see on other people’s blogs or Youtube channels. I usually pick up 1-2 basics each time there’s a sale and that’s all, which isn’t very exciting. That being said, I am crazy excited about one thing I did pick up this time that I NEED to tell you guys about it.

So the two things I picked up are the Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches and the FOREO LUNA (original) for Sensitive/Normal Skin. The latter, I am so excited about. I received a FOREO Luna Play from the Holt Renfrew media event in July 2017, and I started using it about a year ago and I absolutely love it.

The Luna Play is a tiny tiny (see size comparison here) non rechargeable version of the Luna that is fantastic for travel or for when you want to just try out the Luna system. There are SO many cleansing systems out there and it can get very overwhelming. I myself have tried four of the very popular ones on the market (Clarisonic, Clinique, Philips, and the Foreo) and everyone has different opinions about each one. They can get pretty pricey if you aren’t sure if a system will work for you, so the Luna Play is great to dabble in this system first before deciding to make the investment (and then you can just keep the Play for travel later). Basically it doesn’t come with an option to charge, but each factory fresh Luna Play will lasts you about 100 cleanses. I don’t use mine every night so one year later, it’s still going strong. It is very basic so it doesn’t even come with a timer, and it only has one speed setting, but it should work for most skins. I have slightly sensitive normal / dehydrated skin and the Luna Play has done wonders for my skin.

Anyways, the reason why I am so excited about the FOREO Luna purchase is because the original one is currently on sale for 30% off for $139 down from $199, and then you get the additional 15% off on top of that, which means the system ultimate ends up being 40% off the original price. This is the original Luna, not the Luna 2, but I did a bunch of research and basically determined that the different between the Luna 2 and the Luna isn’t significant enough for me to warrant paying $194 (post-discount) for the Luna 2, versus $118 for the Luna. If you’re looking for a good comparison post between the original and the Luna 2, here’s a great one.

I can’t wait to receive mine in the mail!

The PTR Eye Patches I’ve had in my Loves list for a while. My eye area is super dry, especially since I work at a computer all day and then winter is also coming (dun dun dunnnn), so I need something to alleviate the dryness and incoming fine lines. I haven’t used this yet but once I do, I’ll be sure to post my thoughts.

One last thing I wanted to mention. There has been a lot of noise out there in the beauty community about Youtubers and influencers accepting tens of thousands of dollars to post reviews and feature products in videos / posts. I just wanted to clarify again that:

  1. I have a full time job and I don’t rely on my blog to make money. In the last year, I’ve done a few sponsored posts but I would estimate my earnings for the entire period from January 2017 to now to be under $1,000. I also never actively pursue sponsored posts, only reacting to them if I receive an offer.
  2. I don’t use affiliate links. Obviously it’d be nice if you guys went out and bought stuff that I recommend, but I don’t have any interest in whether or not you do.
  3. I do receive PR samples to review and write about, but I have always been brutally honest with my reviews, especially as I don’t use affiliate links and I don’t have any interest in whether or not you end up buying.
  4. I started this blog as a side hobby to document my love for beauty, and I continue to strive to keep that up.

Thanks for letting me speak my mind here!

BODYCARE REVIEW | North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion

North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion review

Oh my goodness, the North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion is one moisturizing body lotion. I’ve been using this during the winter, and this is easily one of the heaviest body moisturizers I’ve ever used (even heavier than Body Shop’s Body Butter, yes, it is that heavy). It comes in a tall rectangular bottle with a pump, and two pumps is enough to spread over each of my legs. It is scented of warm coconuts, like the rest of the North American Hemp Co. line, and I absolutely love it after a long day out in the cold.

It is extremely moisturizing (like I repeated many times before), and takes a while for it to absorb – I would have to walk around my room for a few minutes before putting my pajamas on, otherwise it would transfer to my pajamas and I’d lose all of the moisturizing goodness. That is sometimes a bit annoying because it’s cold and I want to get wrapped up in my PJs but I can’t because my body lotion absorbs too slowly (#firstworldproblems).

The North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion features hemp seed oil as the SECOND ingredient on the ingredients list, right after water. In addition, it also ha sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, lime oil, grape seed extract, green tea extract, and so much more awesome ingredients (see the complete list below).

If you are in the market for a body moisturizer, or if you have extremely dry skin and need something that’s more than just silicones, I highly recommend you check out the North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion. It is affordable but extremely effective. You can purchase North American Hemp Co. products at London Drugs and other drugstores.

Ingredients:

North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion review

Product provided by PR; all opinions are my own.

SHOPPING | Sephora Favorites deluxe kits for travel and trying out new products!

C9EAE73E-4D2B-4D36-A28C-4A80A5F1266FSephora releases these amazing Sephora Favorites kits each season, with an abundance of them released in the summer in order to accommodate the summer travel season. I’ve been buying these kits for the last year and I highly recommend them as they are incredible value. Not only do you get several, very generously-sized deluxe samples to try out, they are also very travel friendly. You can either bring them with you on your travels, or use it as an opportunity to play with different brands for a low price.

There are kits made for skincare, hair, lip products, perfume, and also specific themes such as inner beauty. At the time of writing this post, there’s also a Clean Beauty one (might be sold out already by the time this is published… these kits go super fast!).

The one I ordered recently is The Ultimate Travel Bag (pictured). Everything came in a TSA-friendly clear pouch which is perfect for hauling everything around with you in your carry on. The price? Just US$40! The value of the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Serum itself is already $42.50, so you are essentially getting everything else for free. I plan on taking some products in my kit to Europe with me when I’m there in August, and then the rest of the products will go with me to Florida in November. Sadly, this kit sold out within a few days of being posted on the Sephora website.

Here’s the complete list of products included in the kit. Some of the products I’ve already tried in the past, so I’ve included some thoughts about it, others I have not tried.

  • 0.23 oz/ 7 mL Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm – amazing value, basically half of the full size which retails for $68. A tiny bit goes a very long way, very good for soothing and hydrating tired undereyes, great for preventing fine lines
  • 1.35 oz/ 40 mL Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo
  • 1.35 oz/ 40 mL Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Conditioner
  • 0.16 oz/ 5 mL AMOREPACIFIC The Essential Crème Fluid – very lightweight but very hydrating, love this for travel
  • 0.7 oz/ 20 g boscia Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask – didn’t find it very luminizing but definitely very fun to use!
  • 0.5 oz/ 15 mL boscia Tsubaki Swirl Two-Part Gel & Cream Deep Hydartion Moisturizer
  • 1 oz/ 30 mL Caudalie Beauty Elixir – really refreshing, not super hydrating, great for travel when you need a quick pick-me-up
  • 7 tablets HUM Nutrition Beauty zzZz Sleep Supplement
  • 0.5 oz/ 15 mL LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – amazing for when you are on the plane and want to prevent your skin from drying out.
  • 1 oz/ 30 mL Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash
  • 0.81 oz/ 24 mL Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream – LOVE THIS CREAM! Smells amazing and is super moisturizing and nourishing, but dislike the shimmers in the cream
  • 0.5 oz/ 15 mL Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
  • 0.5 oz/ 15 mL Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40

Sadly, the availability is different on Canadian and US Sephora. The Canadian one has fewer kits (there are only six on Canadian Sephora compared to 21 on US Sephora), and even within the kits there are certain products missing (for example any SPF products that aren’t sold in Canada, such as Supergoop). If you are near a Sephora store in Canada, you might find certain kits that are either not available or already sold out online. If you have access to a US mailing address, I highly recommend that you order these directly from the US Sephora site for the biggest selection.

Highly recommend Sephora Favorites!