First thoughts – Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series

Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series review

A while ago, I gave you guys my thoughts on Naruko’s Rose & Botanic series. Today I’m sharing with you a more premium line in the Naruko family, which is the Jing Cheng series. The Jing Cheng series is for ultimate anti-aging, containing 60 botanical extracts to treat all signs of aging.

Jing Cheng 60 Actives La Creme EX (C$99 for 50mL) is the cream version of the Ultimate Moisturizer. It’s the most moisturizing product I tried from Naruko as it is a true cream formula that will melt under the heat of your fingers. I love moisturizers like this because my dry skin demands it. It’s a bit rich for those sweltering summer months, but in the winter I can see this being my skin saviour. I don’t have any wrinkles right now, but I do notice that this helped to smooth out some uneven texture on my skin. It also helped to firm and tighten my skin just slightly. It’s definitely on the pricier side, but it’s pretty worth the money.

Jing Cheng Illuminating Bright Essential Gel Cream (C$99 for 48mL) is a light gel-creme that contains 60 botanical extracts and 10 peptides to help maintain skin radiance, prevents melanin production, gently softens and soothes skin, as well as improve skin balance. It contains arbutin as the primary brightening ingredient. I really love this gel, it’s lightweight, hydrating enough for the summer, but does a great job at evening out my skin tone. I would imagine this alone would not be great in the winter as it’s not the most moisturizing of moisturizers, but for the summer it’s perfect. Always use SPF after using this because any brightening products will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Jing Cheng Platinum Bright Essence Repairing Complex (C$100) is an ampoule set. I first learned about ampoules through Niu Er, and since then I’ve tried a few of them. Ampoules are essentially highly concentrated serums housed in individual glass bottles. They do not contain any preservatives, and each ampoule is designed for one-time use only. Once you open it, you gotta use it up right away. Each ampoule of this Repairing Complex is good for one day, half bottle in the morning, and half bottle at night. It contains rosewater as its primary ingredient, and also contains arbutin for brightening. I used two ampoules, morning and night, right after a day trip to Seattle where I definitely “grew” more sun spots. I felt like my skintone was evened out a bit. Just after four doses, I didn’t expect my skin to look any brighter or my sunspots reduced, but it was definitely promising.

Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence (C$99 for 150mL) is a treatment essence (think SK-II Facial Treatment Essence) that is designed to be patted over the skin until absorption, or applied using a cotton pad. It contains 94.4% active ingredients. This Miracle Essence claims to revitalize skin, remove dullness, prevent melanin production and lighten spots. I really like this, it’s very lightweight but still hydrating. I did find that my skin was brighter whenever I used this, but I didn’t see any of my spots lighten.

Jing Cheng 5-D Face Lift Firming Serum (C$130 for 30mL) is an anti-aging serum that claims to work with the collagen protein in enhancing firmness and elasticity of the skin. I only had a small sample of this, so I can only say that based on using it for a few days, my skin felt smoother and more hydrated. I didn’t notice any increase in firmness or elasticity, but I imagine it would take more than a few days of use to see the results.

Jing Cheng 60 Actives Ultimate Moisturizer (C$94 for 120mL) is a moisturizing milk that also contains the 60 botanical extracts. It claims to stimulate collagen production to boost elasticity and firmness, also deeply hydrates, smoothens wrinkles, rejuvenates and balances skin tone. Despite it being a moisturizing milk, it’s a good nourishing moisturizer for the nighttime in the summer. I’ve really enjoyed using this when my skin is still dry, but I need an additional dose of moisture. I haven’t noticed any firming or smoothing from this one compared to the La Creme Ex. If you have normal to combination skin, this is a good fit for you.

I’m pretty impressed with this line, it contains a lot of good active ingredients that are targeted and treat various skin concerns. That being said, the price point is on the high side, which can be risky if you want to try it but don’t know if it’s worth the money. Hopefully my review has been helpful!

Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series review

Ingredients of Jing Cheng 60 Actives La Creme EX and Jing Cheng Illuminating Bright Essential Gel Cream

Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series review
Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series review

Ingredients of Jing Cheng Platinum Bright Essence Repairing Complex

Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series review

Ingredients of Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence, Jing Cheng 5-D Face Lift Firming Serum and Jing Cheng 60 Actives Ultimate Moisturizer (click to zoom)

Naruko Jing Cheng premium anti-aging series review
Product received as PR samples for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

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IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+… does it live up to its hype?

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+ review

IT Cosmetics launched in Canada last year, and I was sent a tube of their Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+ (C$49 for 32mL) to try. This is one of IT Cosmetics’ most raved about products, and I was really excited to see how it lives up to the hype and its claims.

This is the first CC cream I’ve tried in a long time, and it has some pretty hefty claims (per the IT Cosmetics website):

Clinically shown to give you 179% of skin hydration, smooth skin texture and enhance skin brightness, this breakthrough color-correcting cream never creases or cracks and instantly camouflages skin imperfections including dark spots. Plus, it’s infused with an advanced anti-aging serum made of hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, niacin, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and vitamins A, B, C and E that work in harmony to diffuse the look of wrinkles, minimize pores and give you a more radiant, supple and flawless-looking complexion.

The ingredients look pretty impressive, with snail secretion filtrate (a popular K-beauty ingredient), Babassu Oil (Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil), bergamot fruit oil, lim oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, niacinamide, and a very long list of plant extracts and oils. It also contains SPF 50 in the form of titanium dioxide 9.0% and zinc oxide 6.3%. In terms of the makings of a CC cream, IT Cosmetics got it all right. In addition, it comes in seven shades, which again is impressive for a CC cream, which following after traditional Korean beauty, usually only comes in 1-3 shades that are all very light / fair. This one has something for almost everyone, from fair to deep.

I was sent the shade Fair, which looks super light in the tube but actually does a pretty good at adjusting to my skin tone. It is still just slightly too light for me so I’ve been making it work for a tinted powder. It blends in very, very easily, and I just pat it in with my fingers. I can get light to medium coverage with this, and it also does a pretty good job at covering redness. It’s also lightly hydrating, which is great because I have dry skin.

My biggest dislike, and the reason why I actually don’t like this CC Cream for day-to-day, is that it doesn’t fully dry down. I really need to powder it quite a bit in order to get it to stay on my face, otherwise it slips and slides around. While I appreciate that it is an all-in-one product for moisture, anti-aging, sunscreen, and tint, I generally prefer to rely on individual products for each purpose anyways (including applying an actual sunscreen because the sun block in a foundation is never enough for true sun protection). I have relatively dry skin too, so I can’t imagine how much it will slip and slide on someone with oily skin. Also, because it has some slip, I find it settles a bit into my lines and pores unless I really powder it down.

With all of the products on the market now, and all of the products on my bathroom counter, I don’t find myself reaching for this one very much, if at all. The only time I can think of that this would be good for is travel, and even then I’d want to apply a separate SPF to get true sun protection.

If you are looking for an all-in-one product for travel or for convenience, then you might find luck in this one. It does have some very promising ingredients and it is priced pretty fairly based on what it can do.

You can find IT Cosmetics at Sephora in Canada.

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

Review of pre-serums, featuring Vichy Mineral 89, Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Ex and Dior One Essential

Review of pre-serums Vichy Mineral 89, Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Ex and Dior One Essential

Ever since I wrote about Shiseido Ultimune more than three years ago, the original pre-serum serum, the market has been flooded with other brands introducing similar products. I’m still skeptical of the benefits of using a pre-serum, but I love layering skincare and any excuse to add more products to my regime is a good one. Today I have three pre-serums to share with you, ranging from affordable to the ultra expensive.

Priced at C$40 for 50mL, the Vichy Mineral 89 is the most affordable and most easily accessible of all pre-serums. It contains 89% Vichy thermal water, powered by 11 different minerals, and only 10 other ingredients. It is ultra light, very watery, and fast absorbing. This is also the simplest of all of the pre-serums, in that it claims to hydrate, plump, and fortify the skin. I think it does a fantastic job at hydrating my skin, and I can even use this alone as a hydrating serum during the day. It does help the absorption of other products, which I am loving, but whether or not it helps to boost the other products’ efficacy is hard to tell. Based on its superior hydrating properties and its reasonable price, I’d re-purchase this.

Priced at US$84 for 60mL, the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Ex contains the most plant extracts, harnessing the power of traditional herbal medicine to create a product that’s good for you on both the inside and outside. The texture is a super lightweight gel. As with most Asian skincare, it does contain alcohol. It’s not as fast absorbing as the Vichy Mineral 89, but it feels significantly more nourishing, like a step above simple hydration. Despite its higher price tag, you do get a good decent amount. I use one pump for my face and one pump for my neck, and the bottle has lasted me a long time. I can see myself wearing this as a serum on its own as well in the summer as on its own it performs decently. Sulwhasoo is a high end luxury brand, and this product seems to be priced on the lower end. It’s a great entry level product if you are interested in trying more from the brand.

The Dior One Essential is the most expensive product talked about today. Its priced at C$162 for 50mL, or you can also purchase a smaller size of 30mL for C$130. The Dior One Essential has the most claims of all of these products, as it claims to “detoxify, regenerates and boost skin for a revitalized complexion,” and also targets UV rays, stress, and pollution, as well as indoor toxins such as carpet, glue, varnishes, and electronic devices. I generally have pretty good skin so I didn’t see many major changes. I do feel like my skin is a tad brighter and less dull after incorporating this in my routine for a few weeks, likely because pollution is one of the major causes to skin sallowness. In that sense, it worked pretty well!

But let’s not end it here. I’ve previously talked about the La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster (C$405 for 50mL), which is probably the most lux pre-serum on the market. I only had a small sample of it so I wasn’t able to test it over a long period of time, I have heard that some people consider this a favourite and game changer. If you have some cash to spare, consider looking into the La Prairie as well. Another brand that released a pre-serum around the time that Ultimune was released was Elizabeth Arden, called the Superstart Skin Renewal Booster (C$119 for 50mL). I’ve never tried theirs but it’s another option to look at.

If I had to pick in terms of price and value for the benefits, my top choice would be the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX. It’s not the most expensive, but comes in the biggest bottle, and also has the most nourishing herbal ingredients. If you are looking for a simple, straight-to-the-point hydrating pre-serum, the Vichy Mineral 89 is a fantastic choice. If you are looking for a do-it-all and aren’t worried about price, then the Dior One Essential can be your friend. With so many pre-serums on the market, you’re bound to find one that fits your needs.

Sulwhasoo, Dior, and La Prairie are available at Holt Renfrew. Vichy and Elizabeth Arden are available at London Drugs.

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

Fight city pollution with Biotherm Skin Oxygen

Biotherm Skin Oxygen review

The new Biotherm Skin Oxygen collection is designed for city life. It claims to fight off pollution and other environmental aggressors, helping the skin breath and be more detoxified through the use of star ingredient Chlorella Algae ‘the breathing algae.’

Skin Oxygen Foaming Melting Gel (C$26 for 150mL) depolluting cleanser traps and removes impurities while not drying out the skin. It’s a foaming gel cleanser that deep cleanses but is still gentle on the skin. Biotherm makes some of my favourite high end yet still affordable. Over the years, the prices of their basic cleansers and toners haven’t gone up by much, which is great. This cleanser doesn’t remove makeup, and would work best as a second cleanse. It also works very well with a Clarisonic to remove all last traces of makeup and grime. In terms of its skin oxygenating properties, I really haven’t noticed much. It’s a good basic cleanser for anyone who is looking to try something new. I’d say this is good for all skin types.

Skin Oxygen Oxygenating Lotion (C$26 for 200mL) is a clarifying, skin-perfecting, pore minimizing toner. It contains 99% ingredients of natural origin. I haven’t used a traditional toner in a few years, so it was interesting to see with this one. It is super lightweight, and is a perfect last step to cleansing, removing every last bit of grime from my skin, and prepping it for the next steps.

Skin Oxygen Strengthening Concentrate Anti-Oxidant Serum (C$58 for 30mL) strengthens the skin and repairs damage due to environmental aggressors. It has the texture of a lightweight gel fluid, and absorbs really quickly. It feels cooling, and slightly hydrating. It smells fresh, but the smell dissipates quickly. I have very dry skin and this alone isn’t quite enough to keep my skin adequately hydrated.

Skin Oxygen Cooling Gel (C$60 for 50mL) is an oil-free hydrating moisturizer that reinforces the skin barrier, moisturises intensively stressed skin, helps to reduce sebum and prevents pollution particles from being absorbed into the skin. While I like that this is a very refreshing moisturizer, I didn’t feel like this was enough to keep my very dry skin hydrated throughout the day. That being said, I used this in the dead of winter so it might be better in the summer when it’s not so dry out.

Generally I think this collection is fantastic for young skin. If you are in your late teens or early to mid 20s, this would be a great basic skincare range to try out, particularly if you live in the big city where there is a lot of pollution. This could also work out if you have normal to oily skin types, but not super dry. Unfortunately, I feel like the serum and moisturizer, which are the most important products in a skincare range, aren’t intense and nourishing enough for my ultra dry skin type. I love the cleanser and the toner, and feel like those would be perfect for all skin types.

You can purchase the Biotherm Skin Oxygen range at The Bay, Shopper’s Drug Mart, and on Biotherm.ca.

Product received as a gift from a media event; all opinions are my own.

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.

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.

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.

Preventative eye creams for early signs of aging, featuring BareMinerals, L’Occitane en Provence, Estee Lauder

A big misconception that people often have is that you can fix your under-eye wrinkles. If you imagine a new piece of paper that’s been wrinkled up, regardless of how much you try to smooth it out, it will never go back to being that brand new smooth crisp sheet you started with. That’s similar with the under-eye area – if you have lots of lines and wrinkles, unfortunately you won’t ever go back to looking like you didn’t have any. That being said, you can prevent fine lines and wrinkles from showing up in the first place by using proper eye care. Eye creams, eye serums, and eye masks are great at 1) preventing those lines from forming in the first place, and 2) making your under-eye area appear smoother (if you already have lines). Today I have a few recent eye releases to share with you.

BareMinerals Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Eye Cream

BareMinerals Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Eye Cream (C$49 for 15mL) is a new eye cream from BareMinerals for Spring 2017. It contains a few key active ingredients: Manganese to help support the skin’s defense against signs of aging; Vitamin C to help brighten the skin’s appearance and improve skin tone; Alfalfa Seed Extract to help de-puff and reduce under eye circles; as well as youth peptides and eye reviving peptides to combat the appearance of fine lines and dark circles.

L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Eye Balm

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Eye Balm review

L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Eye Balm (C$98 for 15mL) is made with organic Immortelle oil and 7 naturally-derived ingredients, including Aescin, a natural-based extract of horse chestnut. I can be used as an eye mask, or a daily renewal balm. It is very emollient, and a true balm (the second ingredient is shea butter, after all). It’s very moisturizing, and great for those with dry skin. I normally use this at night, and I only apply a tiny bit because a bit goes a long way, and I wake up with smooth, hydrated, and overall happy undereyes. It does take a while to absorb, but once it does, my skin feels pretty bouncy. I can’t use this in the morning because it does take a while to absorb. The good thing is, there’s no shine or greasy finish, as it absorbs to a satin finish.

As summer is approaching, I ended up passing this off to my mom because she has pretty dry undereyes, so this would be a better fit for her skin type. If you are just looking for entry-level eye creams for preventative treatment, this may be a bit too heavy for you (unless you have ultra dry skin).

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Eye Balm review

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask

Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair is one of the top-selling anti-aging serums on the market. The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask (C$14 for a set, C$49 for a box of 4 sets) is a new introduction to the ANR family, and is an eye mask that harnesses the power of the ANR technology to create younger, hydrated, and smoother looking undereyes. Each packet comes with two masks (one for each eye), and the mask is kept separate from the serum. When you’re ready to use, just squeeze the serum side into the mask side, let sit for a few minutes so that the serum penetrates fully into the mask fibre, apply on your face, then sit back and relax for 10 minutes. Massage in any leftover serum, and apply eye cream on top if needed.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask

I’m not sure what’s the reasoning behind having the mask and serum in separate compartments, it seems almost gimmicky. Also after one use, I didn’t really notice much of an improvement in the eye area, and I was almost tempted to decant the remaining serum (there is a ton in there) in a jar for use later. They recommend that you use this once a week, so I assume if you get the 4-pack, after a month you’ll notice better results.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Power Eye Gelée

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Power Eye Gelée

Continuing with the Estee Lauder eye products, this is a new favourite discovery. The Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Power Eye Gelée (C$68 for 8mL) is a milky gel that comes in a tube with a metallic gold applicator tip. There’s a rubbery bit on the side of the tube, where you squeeze and it dispenses a bit of product, then you can massage it in using the gold applicator.

I love this product because not only is the product hydrating yet refreshing at the same time, leaving my undereye area looking smoother and slightly firmer, the applicator is also a pleasure to use. I tend to apply too much pressure when I apply eye creams with my ring fingers, so the gold applicator allows me to massage in the product gently without sacrificing any of the actual massage part. I can use this both evening and mornings, alone or with a heavier eye cream (depending on my skin’s state of the day), and it works beautifully on all occasions. In the mornings, it also absorbs quickly enough for me to apply makeup on top. Win-win, I must say. The only thing is that it’s pretty pricey for the amount of product you get… it’s basically just a bit more than half the size of a normal eye cream, so if you prorate the price for size, it will end up being around $128 for a normal 15mL sized. Still though, I think it’s a worthy buy.

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Power Eye Gelée
Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Power Eye Gelée

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

Recent product hit and misses featuring Nivea, Dermalogica, Clarins, Farmacy, ATTITUDE and Caudalie

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Hits

Nivea Firming Body Oil – I received this as part of an Influenster Vox Box and I was so excited about this I started using it without taking photos first. Seriously though, it is so amazing. It’s the perfect dry oil, I can use this on a summer evening and it will absorb right away with no residue. It’s super hydrating without being heavy, and it smells SO GOOD. A little goes a long way, so this big bottle is fantastic on value. It contains Q10 for firming, and avocado oil for moisture. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I haven’t noticed any firming, but that’s okay because even without that it’s still pretty great. Highly recommend!

Dermalogica AGE Smart Nightly Lip Treatment – I have very dry lips, so I tend to go for products that are very emollient and almost mask like (e.g. Bite Agave Lip Mask or Nuxe Reve de Miel). I wasn’t super impressed with this the first 2-3 times I tried it because I felt like it was a bit lightweight and didn’t really do much. Oh boy I was so wrong. This anti-aging lip treatment is to be applied to your lips and the surrounding skin. One pump is all you need, and massage it in using the metal applicator tip. This is seriously firming – I can feel it firming and tightening my lip area, and it also leaves being an invisible barrier that keeps my lips feeling hydrating throughout the night without the thick layer of actual product. The result lasts the entire night and I can feel it up until the morning when I wash it is. Definitely a must have if you’re looking for a new lip product.

Clarins Double Serum – This classic product was reformulated for fall and now include tumeric, which helps the product’s absorption into the skin’s cells. The new formula also does not contain mineral oil, which is fantastic for those who are looking for more of a vegetable-based product. With the addition of tumeric, the Double Serum now contains 21 active ingredients to help combat aging in the skin. In addition to the formula upgrade, the packaging has also been upgraded. I love the customizable dosage option, where you can choose to dispense a full pump or a half pump. I use a full pump at night for my face and neck, and half pump during the day, either alone as my serum, or mixed with my moisturizer. I loved the previous generation of Double Serum, and this new one is even better. In addition to being super moisturizing and plumping for my skin, it absorbs quickly with no residue, and also smells amazing. I generally don’t use oil products during the day because I move fast to apply my makeup on top, but this one works really well to prime the skin. The scent is truly an aromatherapy experience, and adds to the overall feeling of the product. I highly recommend this for anyone ages 25+ who have dry, normal, or combo skin. It’s a great way to start your anti-aging journey.

Misses

Farmacy Honey Drop Moisturizer – If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am positively honey obsessed, so when I received this Farmacy Honey Drop Moisturizer, you know I was super excited about it. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great moisturizer – a super lightweight gel-creme formula, smells just slightly sweet like honey, and relatively hydrating. Sadly I didn’t find it moisturizing enough for my dry skin. Even though it is the summer and I don’t need as heavy of a moisturizer, we have been sleeping with the AC on every night because otherwise we will wake up at 5AM sweating (our apartment faces east). As such, my skin is still feeling pretty parched in the morning. I really do love this, but it just isn’t the best fit for my skin type right now. If you have normal, combination, or oily skin, definitely look this up!

ATTITUDE Dish Detergent – I previously wrote about my foray into ATTITUDE skincare and haircare products, which I was pretty impressed with. I was later sent some household items and sadly they’ve been a bit of a letdown. The Dish Detergent in particular was super meh, it didn’t suds up enough and I end up having to use a ton of product to get our dishes clean. We don’t eat super greasy either so I was surprised that this was the case. Compared to normal dish detergent, this is pretty pricey, so I won’t be repurchasing.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum – I am SO SAD as I am writing this because I’ve been wanting to try this serum for YEARS and now that I finally have, I’m disappointed by it. This serum is a complexion brightening serum that harnesses the powers of grapevine extract to help even out the skin tone. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find this serum very drying. It has a light milky texture, so it feels like it would be hydrating, but it just sinks into my skin into nothingness, and then my skin is left feeling super thirsty. For the first week, I wore this as my lone serum during the day, followed by moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation, but then my foundation would cling onto dry spots and it looked like my skin was flaking. I tried it with a few different moisturizers and the results varied in dryness but it was still dry. If I layer a hydrating serum on top, it would fix the issue, but I generally prefer a more simplified skincare routine in the morning. I will still use it, but it just doesn’t live up to the hype, IMO. I haven’t noticed much radiance either, but maybe I’ll need to use it for longer to see effects.

Masking with Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial and Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial and Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask review

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial review

The ultimate facial and exfoliator in one, the Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial is an amazing all-in-one pick-me-up to prepare for a special night out. It works fast to remove dead skin on the skin surface to create an instantly illuminated appearance. There are micro crystal exfoliants in the mask to also provide some physical scrubbing action. The micro crystals are very fine in texture and delivers even exfoliation all over my face. I have relatively sensitive cheeks and I find that the mask base, combined with the crystal scrub, are still gentle enough on my skin without creating irritation.

The main downside is that I feel the micro crystals leave shimmer or glitter on my skin even after washing off the mask, therefore I usually have to wash my face again with my usual face wash to get off all the shimmer.

The recommended “dosage” of this mask is twice a week, and I find that to definitely be enough to keep my skin looking bright and smooth. Definitely love!

Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask

Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask review

The Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask is a cream mask that you apply on your cleansed skin, leave on for 10-15 minutes, and then tissue off. I usually prefer to wash off because I like to use my normal night cream, but you can just tissue off, or tissue off and lightly wipe off with a moist towel. If I don’t wash off, it feels a bit sticky and heavy on my face, never really absorbing completely into my skin and then leaving a slight film on the surface. I’ve used this mask a few times I find that it doesn’t really deliver in terms of its brightening effect – at most it’s lightly hydrating, but not really groundbreaking in anyway.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out the Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial but skipping the Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask. You can find much better alternatives for brightening and/or moisturizing masks, but the Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial is an all-in-one cleansing, brightening, smoothing, and exfoliating mask that’s great for those short on time and in need of a quick pick-me-up.

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