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.

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Quick review – Dior Fall 2017 Metallics makeup collection

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I’m super late with this review but better late than never right? The reason why I was late was that I’m not a huge fan of this collection as a whole… I know Peter Philips has been really innovative since he arrived at Dior, but this one has been kinda meh. The recent holiday collection calls my name more, which is a disappointment because I generally like fall collections. This collection’s theme is metallics, and also lots of neutrals. I have a few products to show you.

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The first is Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in 007 Magnetize. It’s a very warm neutral, with the top two shades being metallic, middle shade and bottom left are shimmery, and the bottom right is the only satin-matte shade. This reminds me a lot of an edited version of the Urban Decay Naked Heat, which is nice but a bit too warm for me. Everything except the matte brown shade performed very well – they were smooth, pigmented, and easy to blend. The matte shade was a bit patchy, but it did its job as a transition shade. For C$72 a pop, I’d probably skip this one. I imagine with the onslaught of warm palettes recently, you’re also likely to have dupes in your collection.

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Next we have brand new releases, which are these Eye and Lip Metalizers. They are metallic cream eyeshadows that can also be worn on the lips. I’m not a fan of the metallic lip look, but I LOVE THESE ON THE EYES. These three shades I have are 528 Platine Fusion, 678 Bronze Tension, and 548 Copper Power. No idea who named these, the names are all very weird. Despite the weird names, they perform wonderfully on the lid. They really set to leave you bulletproof eyelids for at least 8-10 hours. I have generally oily lids and these really stay on. They are also available  in three other shades, including a beautiful dark green that’s calling my name. These perform beautifully as eyeshadow primers as well. Well worth the C$32 price tag.

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Lastly I have some lipsticks to share. Dior has a beautiful Rouge Dior matte formula, and this season saw the release of both matte and satin finishes. The two shades I have are 426 Sensual Matte (left) and 996 Eccentric (right). Eccentric looks very brown in the tube but actually wears a little bit rosy. It’s definitely a very wearable brown, if you are wanting to try that trend but don’t want to do true brown. Sensual Matte is a nice formula, but a bit too light on me to be a good nude. Maybe if you have very fair skin, this would be a nice nude lip on you. It also leans rosy-warm, so you won’t look like death. These are C$43.

If you were to pick up anything from this collection, it’d have to be the Eye and Lip Metalizers. While I’m not a huge fan of this collection as a whole, I definitely see myself reaching for the Metalizers on a regular basis. They are a very easy, weekend eye, for if you want some colour but are too lazy to actually do a whole eye look. For $32, they are also quite affordable for Dior.

You should still be able to find these on counter at The Bay, Holt Renfrew, Sephora, Nordstrom, and select Shoppers Drug Marts.

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

New York quick travel guide – do, stay, eat, skip

I haven’t done a travel guide in more than seven years, but I was recently in New York and I wanted to share my travel thoughts with you. The last time I was in New York was before 9/11. I was really young so I don’t remember much, so it was really nice to be back in the city. Despite it being such an old city and already pretty developed over the last 20 years, I still feel like a lot has changed. We were there for eight days total and had a great time, ate a ton, and did a lot of sightseeing. That being said, at the end of it, I was pretty glad to be flying home.

Do

  • Buy a New York Citypass, which gave us access to 6 different sites / museums for a really reasonable rate of $122 USD + 20% off if you buy online in advance. The best part wasn’t saving money on the various tickets, but bypassing all of the ticket lines. The only real line we had to wait in was when we first picked up our Citypasses at the Natural History Museum, other than that we skipped right to security for all of them. You pick up your pass at the first of your 6 sites, so pick one that has more ticket booths, such as the Met. The Natural History Museum, 9/11 Memorial Museum and Empire State Building all had massive lineups.
  • Visit the Empire State Building with morning and night tickets. We went up once during the day, and then again at night. The difference was actually pretty big and we loved both views. If you can only go once, definitely go at night. It’s much quieter, shorter lines, and the view is amazing.
  • See a Broadway show. We watched Wicked, after it was on my bucket list for nearly 10 years, and it was so amazing. We purchased our tickets off TodayTix and saved ourselves a ton of money. The tickets are face value, but you don’t have to pay any ticket processing or service charges, which can get super ridiculously high. We also had a coupon code to save $10 off our first order. You don’t know which seats you will be getting, but we ended up getting amazing seats in the front of the rear mezzanine right near the centre of the stage. You can save $10 off your first show if you use my code ILMNQ.
  • If the weather is good, definitely rent a bike in Central Park. We went in the fall so the weather was perfect, and the fall foliage was beautiful. You’ll need at least a 1 hour bike rental to do the entire park without riding too hard (think leisurely).
  • The 9/11 Memorial Museum was gut wrenching but a must see.
  • If you are from Vancouver, definitely fly Cathay Pacific. You get treated like you’re on an international flight, with pillows, blanket, and MEALS!! Plus you get two free checked bags per person, which is unheard of for any North American carrier.

Stay

  • We stayed in an AirBnb in East Village. It was walking distance to Soho, Nolita, and a TON of different restaurants, shops, and nightlife. It was also super close to multiple subway lines so it was convenient to get to both uptown and downtown. AirBnbs are illegal in New York unless the host also lives there, so you’re likely to share common space with the people who live there. It worked out really well though, our hosts were very nice, and it was nice to have our own bathroom.

Eat

  • Eat lots and lots of pizza. We had Prince Street Pizza twice because it was so good. Definitely ask for it extra crispy because then it’s extra hot too. So delicious, and we’re pretty sure regular pizza is ruined for us now.
  • Enjoy some spicy lamb noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods. If you are noodle lover, you have to try this place. I highly recommend the lamb cumin noodles, they are AMAZING. There are several locations in Manhattan, and they are all equally busy. We went here 3 times, so you know how good it is.
  • If you have the budget for it, I highly recommend trying a traditional New York steakhouse (for the science, you know). We did one the same evening we went to see Wicked, and it was an amazing date night. The steaks, while expensive, were delicious and definitely something different from what we have at home.

Skip

  • We took a red-eye in but couldn’t check into our AirBnb until 4PM, which means we were walking around like zombies for the first day. I don’t recommend that unless you can find a place to crash for a bit when you first land. We ended up taking a nap in Central Park.. on a bench… like homeless people… *shifty eyes*
  • Top of the Rock. It was just okay, another observatory. There are so many in New York, and this one was probably not as impressive as the Empire State Building.
  • Staying in New York the entire time. We were there for 8 days and honestly by the end of it, we were getting a bit bored and homesick. One of the options we were talking about was doing a day trip to Boston or DC, but we didn’t end up doing that. Next time, we’ll definitely try to do more day trips instead of staying in one city the entire time.
  • Taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. I went the first time and remember it being a bore. Instead, do a cruise around Manhattan at night where you can see the Statue of Liberty close up but not having to stay for a long time and wait around for ferries. The cruise we took was the Circleline cruise included in the Citypass.

Three new Skin Caviar product to feast your eyes on, and La Prairie counter opening Bloomingdales 59th Street

When I was in New York, I paid a visit to the PR office of one of my favourite beauty brands – La Prairie. There, I was introduced to three new Skin Caviar products released recently to lead up to the 30th anniversary of La Prairie Skin Caviar.

The first, Skin Caviar Absolute Filler is a skin plumping moisturizer that’s used as the last step to your skincare routine, before your sunscreen and makeup. It contains Caviar Absolute, a potent derivative of Skin Caviar which helps to fill in skin’s fullness, and also refine the skin’s contour. It comes in an innovative pump packaging that gives you the perfect dose, every time. I played with the Absolute Filler at the La Prairie office, and hastily applied a layer over my makeup. I have to say this stuff is pretty amazing – it’s a light whipped texture that activates immediately to help volumize the skin and also firm the skin. I could feel my skin tightening in the mere minutes after application. Priced at C$775 for 60mL, it is pricey but definitely works.

Next is the Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion, the first product in this category released by La Prairie. It contains primarily Caviar Water, which is active water infused with Caviar extracts. It’s a lightweight yet ultra hydrating essence water that you apply after cleansing and toning, and before serum. It helps to increase your skin’s hydration level which will also help the absorption of products applied on top of this. I had this applied on me at my La Prairie facial and it is so amazing, I love how lightweight it is and how it makes my skin feel plump. You only need a few drops of this per application, so a bottle will last you a long time. Press on your skin with the palm of your hands, and you won’t need to waste any product on a cotton pad either. Priced at C$325 for 150mL, it is one of the more affordable Skin Caviar products, and is a great entry-level La Prairie product for anyone wanting to experiment with the brand.

Lastly, we have the White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion. This is a brightening serum as part of the White Caviar line, meant to give you a bright, luminous complexion. It contains stabilized vitamin C encapsulated in pearls to keep the product from oxidizing. Once you pump it out on your hand, the pearls dissipate, releasing the active ingredients within. If you apply this and then wait a few minutes before applying the rest of your skincare, the Pearl Infusion will create an invisible veil which will also help to protect your skin against pollution and environmental aggressors. Living in the big city, this is definitely a must-have function. It is priced at C$680 and you get 30mL of product.

In Canada, you can purchase all of these products from Holt Renfrew.

Coincidentally, I was in New York just the week after La Prairie had re-opened their new counter space at Bloomingdales at 59th and Lexington. This new counter, named “the Penthouse,” has 530 square feet of retail space, including a 95 square feet facial room. The space is GORGEOUS, super modern, with lots of space to browse products. The counter also offers complimentary services, such as a 10 minute hand and arm massage (I had this service and it was such a nice treat after a long week of walking around the city), eye refresher massage (the boyfriend had this done and he said it was super nice), quickie mask, makeup touch up, and more. Exclusive to this counter, you can also get a complimentary 60-minute Skin Caviar facial, which includes treatments using the brand’s Skin Caviar products. If you are a La Prairie newbie and are interested in the products, a facial is a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with which products might work best for your skin.

I received a bottle of Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion as a gift from PR during my visit to their office, all opinions are my own.

Drape your skin in the ultimate luxury fragrances by Christian Louboutin

 

Christian Louboutin Beaute has been one of those “look but don’t touch” brands for me. Ever since their release a few years ago, I’ve never researched too deeply into the products in fear of falling love with any of them because of the high price tag. The brand started with a launch of nail products, then lip products, and have now expanded into eyeliners, brow products, and mascara. Unknown to me was that they had also launched a collection of fragrances, and a few weeks ago I was invited to the Christian Louboutin Beaute counter at Holt Renfrew Vancouver to experience these scents.

These fragrances were created by Christian to depict specific visions of different women:

  • Tournade Blonde – a glamourous scent for the red lipstick-wearing diva, think Marilyn Monroe. It contains notes of Rhubarb, Violet Leaves, Ambrette Signature, Cassis, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmin Sambac Absolut, Orange Flower Petals Firnat, Gardenia from Brazil, Ambregris, Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, and Patchouli.
  • Bikini Questra Sera – a warm floral for the free spirited woman, lounging on the beach or in a villa. It contains notes of Paradisone, Green Nectars, Jasmin Absolut, Tuberose Absolut, Australian Sandalwood, Vetiver Haiti, and Ambregris.
  • Trouble in Heaven – a sultry, seductive, and smokey scent that represents the sexy woman who is fierce and not afraid to get what she wants. It contains notes of Bergamot, Cascalone, Rose Bouton, Iris Firabs, Amber, Patchouli, Tonka Absolut, and Labdanum.

I was asked to smell each of these, and pick the one that resonated the most with me. I normally don’t like rich, heavy scents (I generally prefer lighter, more airy scents), but all of these smelled SO GOOD. I love florals, and Tournade Blonde and Bikini Questra Sera were both florals, rose and jasmine, respectively. In the end being the rose lover that I am, I picked the Tournade Blonde.

Tournade Blonde is one of the most complex rose fragrances I’ve ever owned or smelled. The combination of rose, cassis, violet, and gardenia create a beautiful, rich scent that has multiple layers. Like a real rose, you peel back the outer petals to reveal a softer inner core. I love wearing this, it makes me feel ultra glamourous, sexy, and confident. Because it is on the richer side, I feel like it’s more appropriate as a night-time fragrance, but I can wear this to a date-night, girls night out, or any evening occasion. Paired with a pair of heels, preferably Christian Louboutin, it makes me feel unstoppable. These fragrances are expensive, but you rarely have to reapply because wear time is very good; it is a parfum after all.

Christian Louboutin fragrances are available in parfums, priced at C$185 for 30mL or C$375 for 80mL, as well as perfume oils priced at C$415 for 30mL. The perfume oils are probably one of the most decadent and sensual beauty products I’ve ever laid eyes on. You can find all of these products at Holt Renfrew Vancouver.

Product featured in this post was provided as a gift for attending the Christian Louboutin fragrance event at Holt Renfrew Vancouver; all opinions are my own.

Experience: Creating my own Bespoke Lipstick at Bite Beauty Lip Lab in Soho, New York

Hellooooooooo! I was recently in New York and was super lucky to be able to try out the Bite Beauty Lip Lab. I had the longest journey to my Lip Lab experience – I’ve been wanting to try out the Lip Lab ever since they opened, but at the time they only had a location in New York. Last summer, I heard the rumour that they were going to open one in Toronto, and coincidentally I was travelling to Toronto for work in August. Sadly, the Lip Lab wasn’t scheduled to open until mid September, meaning I had just missed it by a few weeks. Fast forward to this summer, I saw that they had two pop-up locations in San Francisco. If you follow my Instagram, you would have saw that I was in San Francisco in early August. Sadly, both pop-up locations closed a few weeks before I was scheduled to arrive (what luck, right?!), and at the time had no immediate plans to reopen. Sadness ensued, but when my boyfriend and I finalized our travel plans for the fall, we decided on New York and I knew that my time had come to finally get myself to the Lip Lab. Many years, and several attempts later, I finally sat in that chair to make myself some bespoke lipsticks!

I was paired with Lip Lab technician Jen, who is an absolute sweetheart and so easy to work with. The bespoke lipstick experience includes two bespoke, custom-blended for you shades in the scent and finish of your choice, as well as a Lip Lab-exclusive lip care kit. The process started by me describe the two shade that I was looking to make, and the type of finish. The two shades I wanted were a my-lip-but-better dusty rose blush pink in a satin finish, and a cool-ish toned medium berry pink in a matte finish that would be a good dupe for the Charlotte Tilbury Kiss Chase (I love this shade but it leans warm so it makes my teeth look very yellow).

I was amazed, because on the first try, Jen got the dusty rose blush pink colour 100% right, but the finish was too shiny, so I switched to getting a matte finish instead. In between each custom-mixed shade, I tested it on my lips and Jen asked what I thought – I gave my feedback and Jen re-mixed it based on if I wanted more pink, more brown, etc. The subtleties between each shade were so small, but it really made a big difference on the lips. Two more tries later, and I had gotten the colour of my dreams. Repeat the process for the medium pink shade, and I had gotten two completely custom-to-me shades that only I owned in this world! The two that I picked are the two in the very right column.

I also was able to pick what I wanted my lipsticks to smell like. Bite Beauty lipsticks generally smell of citrus, which is very light and uplifting. There are eight scents that you can sample, and at the end I settled on the citrus for the dusty rose shade, and violet for the medium berry pink. Both smell super fresh and are perfect paired the shades that were created.

I was able to name my lipsticks as well, and I named the medium pink – berry shade after my boyfriend, who’s name is Barrie (berry, Barrie, get it? hahaha).

Each Bite Beauty Lip Lab bespoke lipstick experience is $150 (USD for New York and San Francisco – yes that location recently re-opened – and CAD for Toronto). You do get two custom blended lipsticks, plus a lip care kit that contains a mini lip scrub, agave lip mask (I LOVE THIS STUFF), and a translucent lip pencil. If you’re unable to splurge on this experience, you can also opt for the custom lipstick experience, which is $55 for one lipstick or $80 for two lipsticks, where you can choose an existing shade from their line of nearly 200 pigments, plus the finish and scent, and create a lipstick that way. If you can afford it, I honestly think the bespoke experience is the way to go because you really do get a lipstick made just for you and your skin tone. I’m so in love with both of my lipsticks, and it was such a unique experience that any lipstick or beauty lover will appreciate.

If you are planning on visiting, I highly recommend making an appointment. They do take walk-ins, but weekends are extremely busy and they may not be able to accommodate you. If you are open to going on a weekday, you can have more time to play around with the colours, which you may not have the luxury to do on a weekend. You’re spending a lot on these lipsticks, you should thoroughly enjoy the experience!

Bite Beauty Lip Lab – New York
174 Prince Street
Mon-Sat 11 – 7
Sun 11 – 6
646-484-6111
liplab@bitebeauty.com

Bite Beauty Lip Lab – Toronto
678 Queen Street West
Mon-Sat 11 – 7
Sun 11 – 6
416-860-5652

Bite Beauty Lip Lab – San Francisco
2132 Fillmore Street
Mon-Sun 11 – 7
415-872-9661
liplabsanfran@bitebeauty.com

Thanks to Bite Beauty for this complimentary experience; all opinions are my own.

Experience the ultimate in luxury with a La Prairie facial at Holt Renfrew Vancouver

I LOVE facials and I also love La Prairie, so when I had the opportunity to try out a La Prairie facial at the new Holt Renfrew Beauty Hall, I was absolutely elated. The La Prairie counter at Holt Renfrew Vancouver is now an expanded space with its own consultation table, sitting area, and luxury facial room that allows you to hat the ultimate in luxury experience.

The space is gorgeous, super spacious, and very modern, featuring their most popular skincare products front and centre, so that anyone who passes by can take a quick peek at what La Prairie has to offer. On the side, there is also space for its makeup products. La Prairie, while widely known for their amazing skincare products, actually also makes some incredible makeup. Their Skin Caviar Foundation (my review) is one of my favourite foundations of all time and a product I highly rely on for special occasions to give me that flawless complexion.

The day that I was invited in for my facial, La Prairie was also offering Dermograph Skin Health Analyses for anyone who was interested in getting a more in-depth analysis of their skin. I filled in my information about my age, as well as my own concerns for my skin. The La Prairie ambassador removed any foundation on my skin, and used a specialized camera to take a picture of my skin’s top layer. The camera was able to see and analyze the deeper layers of my skin, to give me an overview of my skin’s health.

According to my dermograph, I have moderate to low hydration, which is what I was expecting. My skin texture was above average (I had been masking almost every day since I got back from Mexico, so I was happy to hear that it was working), and that my skin was low on the oil. I was happy to hear this because oftentimes I go to a skincare counter, and almost every salesperson I’ve spoken to looks at my skin and says I must have combination to oily skin. I have some surface oil, but the La Prairie ambassador correctly described that my skin was oily on the surface because it lacks oil and moisture on the deeper layers. I also have below average luminosity (too much work and computer time will do that to you), average pigmentation (just got back from Mexico and my face had formed new freckles), and above average elasticity (damn, I need more firm!).

Based on this, the dermograph also recommended a few La Prairie products for me, with the help of the La Prairie ambassador. I was recommended to use the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal collection, combined with the White Caviar line to promote brightness. This information was communicated to my facialist to create a custom facial for my skin’s needs.

The facial that I received was super comprehensive. I won’t list out all of the products, but it was seriously one of the best facials I’ve ever had. It really focused a lot on massage and applying light layers so that products absorbed. My skin was cleansed very well, and it also incorporated a deep cleansing massage that drew all of the impurities. It also really focused on the importance of toner, as my skin was toned no less than four times during the experience – after the initial cleansing using the Purifying Cream Cleanser, after the deep cleansing massage, after the Cellular 3-Minute Peel, and then after the Cellular Hydralift Firming Mask. The two toners that were used were the Cellular Softening And Balancing Lotion, to help with balancing the skin, and then the Cellular Refining Lotion, which calms redness and hydrates.

The facialist also lightly patted on that Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion, which is a product that I am obsessing over right now. It’s such a light fluid but offers so much hydration and skin firming that goes a long way to improve the health of your skin. One of the products that was highly recommended to me was the Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster, a pre-serum booster that helps to improve the absorption of everything else. It also targets signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, skin texture, and overall improving the look of the skin.

On the eyes, the facialist first lightly applied the White Caviar Illuminating Eye Serum, followed by a light layer of the White Caviar Illuminating Eye Cream. I have dark circles under my eyes so this helped to boost the radiance of my eye area. My facial ended with a light application of the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream, which was patted on to help absorption.

Even though there were a lot of products layered on my skin, it didn’t feel heavy or greasy at all. Since I got my facial at the end of the day on a Friday, I went home after and let the products slowly absorb into my skin. My boyfriend had commented on how glowy and radiant my skin looked. Honestly my skin hadn’t looked better in a long time, it was truly the perfect start to the weekend.

The best part is that the facial is actually complimentary with a product purchase of $1,000 at Holt Renfrew Vancouver! If you go to New York or L.A., La Prairie facials can cost upwards of US$250-1,200+ just for the facial alone and with no product, so this way you can get both the product as well as the facial experience. In terms of products, I highly recommend picking up the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream (if you have dry skin), the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil (perfect for blending in with any moisturizer, I’m currently using this with a gel moisturizer and it really boosts the hydration and firming properties), and the Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion.

If you want to book, just call Holt Renfrew at (604) 681-3121 and ask to speak to the La Prairie counter.

Service received was complimentary of La Prairie and Holt Renfrew for review purposes; all opinions are my own. The La Prairie counter photograph is courtesy of Holt Renfrew.

Review + swatches – Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

Yes it is indeed a bit early for holiday collections considering I am a bit behind to review certain fall products, however I know there’s been a lot of interest in this collection so I wanted to get this out to everyone as soon as possible. Today I am featuring the Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collaboration, which is a collection near and dear to my heart because my boyfriend is a huge video game nerd. For the recent launch of the Super Nintendo Mini #SNES, we got up super early in the morning to line up for it. We were lucky and managed to get one each, and so far we’ve been enjoying playing with it.

This collection is split into three categories: skin, hair, and makeup. All of the products come with a super adorable 8 bit Super Mario print, featuring Mario and Peach.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

The two skin products I have are the Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil and the Skin Perfector – Yuzu Makeup Refresher Mist. The Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil (C$49 for 150mL or C$99 for 450mL) doesn’t need an introduction, it’s one of Shu’s most popular cleansing oils and the most luxurious. It contains eight precious botanical oils to give you the richest and most nourishing cleanse. I have dry skin, so I love this one because it feels richer and more hydrating than the others. I can use this for a light facial massage at night, and it removes all of the impurities and makeup off my skin, leaving it supple and smooth.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

The Skin Perfector – Yuzu Makeup Refresher Mist (C$34 for 50mL) can be used as a hydrating facial spray, or a dewy makeup setting spray. It has a light smelling yuzu scent which is super refreshing and uplifting. I love to use this at my desk in the winter because it helps to rehydrate my skin without disturbing my makeup. The bottle is super cute, as the Mario print translates really well on this small dainty packaging.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

Shu Uemura makes some amazing haircare products, and I’m super happy that they’ve decided to use the Cleansing Oil hair series with the Super Mario collaboration. This series is inspired by the traditional benefits of Japanese hot spring water to give your hair the same benefits (I’ve been to a Japanese hot spring, it is AMAZING for your skin and hair, probably the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced). I’ve gone through at least two bottles of the Cleansing Oil Shampoo (C$56 for 400mL) because it’s fantastic at cleansing while keeping my hair feeling balanced and nourished. The Cleansing Oil Conditioner (C$56 for 250mL) is a bit too light for my hair, and I prefer something a bit thicker so I would probably skip this. The Essence Absolute (C$69 for 150mL) is a hair treatment oil that contains camellia oil, and helps to protect hair against dryness, frizz, and UV damage. It comes in such a HUGE bottle, even though half a pump is basically enough for my hair. It’s pretty expensive but the value is pretty insane considering a little bit goes such a long way.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

After cleansing, conditioning, and nourishing your hair, you can style it with the Master Wax (C$42), a cream-to-wax formula that helps to add texture to your hair.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

Saving the best for last, the Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. makeup is super cute. The star product is the Peach’s Eye and Cheek palette (C$125) which contains two sets of eyeshadows and blushes to create two unique looks. The first set is a Darling Princess pink-plum look using eyeshadow shades IR Pink, S Mauve, and P Plum, with a complementary warm pinky peach blush in the shade Dreamy Peach. The second set is an Adventurous Princess orange-bronze look, featuring eyeshadow shades G Gold Light, ME Orange, and ME Bronze, as well as cheek colour Brave Orange. Normally I find Shu Uemura shadows, especially in these limited edition collaboration palettes, to be really sheer, glittery, and lower colour payoff than most other brands I’ve tried. I was really pleasantly surprised to find that the Adventurous Princess look is quite pigmented with good colour payoff. The Darling Princess look is still sheerer than most Western brand eyeshadows, but I know that Japanese makeup tends to be on the subtler side just because women look for makeup to wear everyday to the office.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

Next, we have limited edition Drawing Pencils (C$28), which are pencil liners that are ultra creamy that can add a pop of dimension to any eye look. It comes in limited edition Super Mario Bros. packaging, and is availability in four shades. The two shades I have are Light Orange and Brick Brown. Light Orange is a shimmery burnt orange-copper, and Brick Brown is a warm chocolate brown.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

In terms of lips, there are two products featured in this collection: the Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte, available in three shades, and the Tint in Balm, available in two shades. The Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte (C$36) shades are all part of the permanent collection, but with limited edition Mario packaging. The shade I have is RD 187, which is a dark raspberry red. It’s a pretty full coverage red that is matte but not drying. It wears very comfortably and still feels light on the lips. The The Tint in Balms (C$36) are both limited edition in special edition shades; the one I have is Underground Adventure which is a sheer, balmy plum.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

Lastly, as with any Shu Uemura limited edition collection, we have the Invincible Superstar Premium Gold Curler (C$25) With a super cute 8 bit star charm. I love collecting these limited edition curlers because they are both super useful (I always misplace my lash curler) and are a fun way to get a piece of any collection.

Out of this entire collection, I would recommend picking up a bottle of the Essence Absolute, the Ultime8 Cleansing Oil, and the Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte. The other products are nice to have but not must haves. If you don’t already own a Shu lash curler, then get on it and pick p the Invincible Superstar Premium Gold Curler.

The swatches

Darling Princess eyeshadows (left top) and blush (left bottom) and Adventurous Princess eyeshadows (right top) and blush (right bottom).

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

This picture looks a bit dark but the swatches are true to colour.

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Bros. collection for Holiday 2017 review and swatches

New obsession: Pandora charm bracelets

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I recently have been enamoured with the Pandora charm bracelet. My good friend J has been collecting these charms for years but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I started being obsessed with them. At the time, Pandora was doing a promotion where if you spend $125CAD/$100USD in store, you can get the starter bracelet for free, so of course I took advantage of this special deal and started myself a bracelet.

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I read up on people’s inspirations for starting a Pandora bracelet. Many of them wanted the versatility of being able to style your own bracelet, but others wanted it as a sentimental token. My inspiration is the latter – I wanted each of my charms to reflect something special in my life, whether it is a reflection of my personality or to commemorate a special event or time in my life.

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To start my bracelet (and to get the bracelet itself for free!) I chose three charms that I felt reflected me. I chose the Chinese lantern, for my heritage and background; a London bus, for my love for travel; and a quaint little house, to represent the importance of my family and home in my life.

I’m hoping to slowly accumulate my charm collection over time; I want this to be something I can look back to when I’m old and reminisce about all the memories. The only thing is I have to try to stop myself from buying all the cute charms now, which would defeat the purpose!

Some other charms I’m hoping to add to my collection:

pandora3Pandora’s Box

pandora4Camera

pandora1Love Letter – my favourite of all the love-related charms!

pandora2Key to my Heart (silver / silver+gold)

What are some ways you remember the past, do you keep a scrapbook or store your memories in sentimental items?

Review: L’Occitane Aromachologie Control Styling Prep-Cream

L'Occitane Aromachologie Control Styling Prep-Cream review

The L’Occitane Aromachologie Control Styling Prep-Cream is a silicone-free leave-in conditioner that claims to repair hair as well as tame frizz. The product can be used on damp or dry hair, and a little bit of the product goes a rather long way.

After towel-drying, I apply about a quarter-sized amount onto my hair, concentrating mostly on the ends, and running whatever remains on my hands up closer to the scalp. It is worthwhile to note that I wear hair extensions (mine are sewn-in, via the weave method), and extensions are notorious for absorbing all sorts of moisture and product. If I were to use this product on only my natural hair, I would probably reduce the amount by half.

My hair is very fine and is prone to flyways and frizz, so I’ve found that this product does a good job of taming my hair and getting it nice and smooth before I heat style it. Additionally, it smells incredible! It has a very complex fruity-floral aroma, and I can definitely smell the Sweet Orange fragrance that is said to be one of the ingredients.

The drawbacks to this product are that it’s quite pricey. You could get a comparable product at a drugstore (I’m personally a fan of the John Frieda series) that would do an adequate job for half of the price.  Yes, the L’Occitane Control Styling Prep-Cream is good, and silicone-free, but it’s not amazing. At 34$ for 200ml I would expect better fly-away control and a significant improvement in hair texture over time.

Lastly, I am not a huge fan of the packaging. The tube comes with a twist-cap that cannot be removed, and when twisted slightly, dispenses the product through a small opening on the bottom of the cap itself. If you are like me and find yourself holding a million different tools/products when you style your hair, it’s hard to use this product with one hand. Also, unless you take the time to clean the cap every time after use, product residue is bound to make its way onto your countertop.

Overall, this is a very nice product that does its job well and smells incredible, but it is not a revolutionary breakthrough in hair care by any stretch. I would recommend it to someone looking to try a silicone-free leave-in product, however due to its price, it’s unlikely that I will repurchase it myself.

The L’Occitane Aromachologie Control Styling Prep-Cream retails for $34 CAD for 200ml and can be purchased on the L’Occitane website or at L’Occitane boutiques.

Ingredients:

L'Occitane Aromachologie Control Styling Prep-Cream review

This review was written by Liza. The products in this post were provided by PR; all opinions belong to Liza.