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.

Tata Harper Top 8


One of my all time favourite skincare products definitely hit me like a bus… I discovered this brand in 2016 and now I incorporate this in my daily routine. If you haven’t yet figured this out, I’m talking about Tata Harper. I’m very lucky that the brand sent me some products for review, but most of my Tata products I purchased with my own money. I’ve tried a large number of the collection, so now I’m here sharing with you my top eight favourite Tata Harper products. Why eight? Because I couldn’t narrow it down to five.

If you click through this link, you get a code for $25 off your $100 purchase! I don’t earn commission, but I can also get $25 off my next purchase (I don’t get anything  unless I purchase anything, and most of their stuff is over $25!).

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser review

1. Regenerating Cleanser

I previously reviewed this here, and my thoughts are still the same. This is one of my favourite physical exfoliators. I have the 50mL version and because I only use this about once a week, it’s lasted me forever.

2. Honey Blossom Mask

I didn’t like the original Resurfacing Mask because I felt like it didn’t do much on my skin (except when paired with the Regenerating Cleanser for some deeper enzyme power), but the Honey Blossom version is seriously true love. It has everything in the Resurfacing Mask, with the addition of raw honey. For some reason, the honey makes all the difference, and this mask leaves my skin feeling so much smoother, firmer, brighter, and hydrated after every use. It is crazy expensive, priced at US$65 for just a measly 30mL jar, but I couldn’t help but get a back-up because it’s just so lovely, plus it’s limited edition!

3. Purifying Cleanser

My second favourite cleanser by Tata Harper is more of a daily cleanser. The Purifying Cleanser works to deep cleanse your pores and flush out any toxins, pollutants, and anything else nasty that resides in your pores. It’s ultra creamy, and despite it having a clay base, it’s gentle and leaves my skin feeling soft and cleansed, without being stripped.

4. Repairative Moisturizer

I love this deeply moisturizing creamy lotion from Tata Harper. It’s her one moisturizer designed for dry/mature skin, and my skin just soaks it up. I love using this in the winter – it doesn’t absorb immediately so I can do a nice facial massage with it. It contains honey, mango seed butter, and lots of other seriously nourishing ingredients to help soothe winter-dried skin. I only use this at night though because it does take a while to absorb. Reviewed here.

5. Replenishing Nutrient Complex

I brought a small 3mL rollerball bottle of this to Asia with me last fall, and I can say that this cult favourite Tata Harper facial oil is seriously the bomb. I have very dry and dehydrated skin, which is worsened on travels because of the dry airplane air and stress. I rolled this all over my face and neck and then massaged it in. Not only does it smell so heavenly, it completely rid my skin of flakes, dryness, and any other signs of dehydration, while adding glow and a healthy look to my face. While it is expensive (a 10mL rollerball bottle is US$48, while the full size 30mL is US$125), a little goes a long way. I’ve you can also use this as a spot treatment over acne, or a general spot treatment over dry spots. I haven’t tried it as an acne treatment, but it works wonders if you have any dry spots during the day, just dab and go! Also did I mention it smells so incredibly, I just want a little bottle to carry around with me so I can take a whiff anytime I want…

Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence and Concentrated Brightening Serum review

6 + 7. Concentrated Brightening Essence and Concentrated Brightening Serum

I’ve reviewed this combo here. I can only recommend this as a combo because I didn’t use this separately. It gave me truly radiant skin… go read the full review for details!

8. Restorative Eye Creme

My first foray into natural eye cream was thanks to a few small Restorative Eye Cream sample sachets. The tiny 1mL sachet lasted me WEEKS, no joke. I have very dry undereyes, and this eye cream really helped to alleviate any dryness and fine lines that were caused by dryness. It does smell very strongly of florals, which isn’t perfume but just Tata’s proprietary blend of essential oils, so if you are sensitive to smells, I wouldn’t recommend this, but otherwise it’s great for anyone with dry skin around their eyes.

If you order directly from the Tata Harper website, you can get $25 off your order just by using this link here. Also you can get a deluxe sample of some of her products with your first purchase if you sign up to her newsletter. I’m signed up and she doesn’t send many e-mails, only to notify you of special deals and sales, which don’t even happen often!

First thoughts – Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series

Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series review

Naruko is a Taiwanese brand created by famed Taiwanese skincare connoisseur and talk show host, Niu Er. I had a period in my youth where I was OBSESSED with Asian skincare (I still am, but less so mostly because Western skincare has really caught up to the technology of Asian skincare), so I watched his shows religiously. A lot of my skincare tips and tricks, I learned through watching his segments. That was also around the same time he launched his brand, which is what I am very happy to share with you today. Naruko is available in Canada through their website, which to be completely honest is actually not that great, but the pretty amazing prices make up for lack of website user-friendliness.

Today I’m sharing with you my thoughts on the first part of products sent to me by Naruko Canada’s PR team. The Rose & Botanic line is formulated with hyaluronic acid to boost the skin’s hydration level, increase collagen production, and prevent the first signs of aging. This line is perfect for those in their early to late 20s, or if you are just starting out in the anti-aging arena.

Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series review

Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Jelly Lotion (C$25 for 120mL) is a jelly-like softening lotion, applied using a cotton pad over cleansed skin. This is very heavily scented with rose. I actually didn’t find this to be super hydrating, sadly. It dries down to almost a matte finish, whereas I prefer something that stays tacky for a while, which helps my other products absorb better. While I was really looking forward to trying this, I was sadly a bit let down.

Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Complex EX (C$29 for 30mL) is a hydrating serum, applied after the lotion and before moisturizer. This rose hydrating serum is only slightly hydrating and not really that plumping on my dehydrated skin. I feel like this Rose and Botanic line was created for Taiwanese weather, which is significantly more humid than it is in Canada, so while I only felt a temporary relief from dryness, I much prefer my other hydrating serums that just inject my skin with so much water.

Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series review

Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Hydrating Mask (C$24 for 10 pieces) is a hydrating mask that you can use to supplement your existing skincare routine. I received two pieces of this, which I used once a week. Each mask is drenched in 25mL of hydrating serum – one of the first things I learned from Niu Er was to never waste any of that serum inside a mask sachet, and instead apply it over your body so your body can receive the same treatment. I quite like this mask, it’s lightly hydrating and also very cooling and soothing. I would take this on vacation with me to Mexico when I need to cool down my skin after spending the day in the sun.

I also received a sample of the Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Night Gelly EX (C$24 for 80mL), which is a night-time moisturizing gel. I wear this in place of my night time moisturizer and so far I’ve been pretty happy with it. It’s lightly hydrating, and perfect for those hot summer nights when you want to stay away from anything oily.

Naruko Facial SPA Massage Cotton Pads review

Lastly, I was very excited to receive a box of the Facial SPA Massage Cotton Pads (C$5.50). You might be wondering, who cares, it’s just cotton pads, but if you’ve ever tried premium cotton pads, you will know what I am talking about. Good quality cotton pads truly elevates your skincare experience, and as the fibres are more refined, it is gentler on your skin too. I really love these cotton pads, they are super soft and glide over my skin very nicely without dragging or pilling. The cotton is high quality and doesn’t leave behind fibres or lint when you’re using it. Each cotton pad is thicker, so you tend to use more toner / lotion. I’ve used this with both hydrating and exfoliating toners and both work very well.

If you have very dry skin, I’m not sure that the Rose & Botanic line will be a be-all-end-all solution for you. The products are relatively inexpensive though, so it isn’t much risk if you wanted to try it out. Naruko also sent me some products from their Jing Cheng collection, which I’ve had much better luck with (review coming soon!). I definitely recommend picking up a box of the Facial SPA Massage Cotton Pads, just to see the difference between your generic cotton pads and these ones that are a bit more of an upgrade. You can purchase Naruko on their website.

Ingredients of Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Jelly Lotion and Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Complex EX

Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series review

Ingredients of Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Hydrating Mask

Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series review

Ingredients of Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Night Gelly EX

Naruko Rose & Botanic Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Series review

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

My Blend and Boost journey – a review of my custom blend!

Blend and Boost review

Blend and Boost is a Canadian company founded by Canadian pharmaceutical compounding company Medisca. Based in Montreal, Blend and Boost specializes in creating custom blend skincare for customers through a specialist skin doctor or medical skin centre. There are five base creams for sensitive skin, anti-aging, oily skin, and dehydration, as well as various boosters that get added into the base creams to create your special blend of cream which is designed to address all of your skin concerns in one convenient bottle. There are over 90 different combinations of creams that you can end up with, and all of the end creams are blended by pharmacists who ensure that the concentration of the ingredients, and the combination of ingredients can work well together without clashing.

A few months ago, I met with Dr. Nicole at Vancouver medical skin clinic Skin Method, where I had a skin consultation and she prescribed what she believed to be the best for my skin. I was also told to change up some of my current skin habits, for example not cleansing or exfoliating as much, as it strips your skin of its natural oils. Specifically, they said no to double cleansing, and no cleanser in the morning. I didn’t agree with everything they said, so as much as I tried to follow some of their tips, I incorporated my Blend and Boost cream in my routine in a way that worked best for me.

The one thing that frustrated me a bit was that because I had a fresh mango allergy (only when eating fresh mangoes), it eliminated the Rich Anti-Aging Base cream for me because it contained mango butter. While I appreciated that they were being extra diligent with avoiding anything that may cause allergic reactions, it did eliminate a lot of options for me. I was left with only three base cream options, which when blended with the boosters, only addressed some, but not all of my skin concerns. If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while, then you know that my primary skin concern is dryness and dehydration, my secondary concern is hyperpigmentation and sun spots, and my third concern is preventative anti-aging. The two ideal Blend and Boost options that I was presented with was either using the Sensitive Skin base with hydrating boosters, or using the Oily Skin base with brightening and anti-aging boosters. As summer was coming, I opted for the second option which could include more brightening and anti-aging boosters.

Blend and Boost review

Round 1

The Oily Skin base is described as an “Ultra-lightweight purifying lotion that leaves a refreshing and matte after-feel. Infused with a unique combination of skin-balancing ingredients. Fragrance-free, paraben-free.” The three boosters that I got were:

  • CM Glucan H – Cosmetic Beta-Glucans which helps skin recover from external environmental stressors. Improves appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Ac.Net – Multifunctional cosmetic blend that helps to reduce skin shininess and improve appearance of blemishes.
  • Niacinamide PC – Vitamin B3 which helps improve appearance of pores, soothes skin, and evens skin tone.

Because there are no parabens or other preservatives in here, they recommend that you finish a bottle within three months of its preparation date.

In terms of the product itself, the texture is a very light, liquid, milky gel.  It’s ultra lightweight, and sinks in pretty much right away. It really truly dries down to a matte look, as in super mattifying primer type of matte. It doesn’t feel matte, as in it’s still a little bit tacky, so your sunscreen and foundation shouldn’t have any issues adhering. It truly does blur all of my fine lines, pores, and skin texture, and smooths everything to look as if I applied a filter on top. Because my feels nicely hydrated, it also looks brighter. Lastly, good news for sensitive nose folks, it doesn’t have a fragrance, and smells like any usual fragrance-free cream.

In terms of my experience using the Oily Skin base, it was a complete disaster. It ended up being way too drying for my skin, and it actually caused my skin to be even more dehydrated than I started with. It also made my skin extremely congested, itchy, and blotchy. Overall it was not good. BUT, I reached out to the Blend and Boost team to let them know about my experience, and within a few days, they had taken my feedback into consideration, and re-blended something for me using the Light Anti-Aging base.

Round 2

During the second time around, my blend was created using the Light Anti-Aging base, with ET-VC (vitamin C), which will target my skin lightening concerns, it will help with reducing dark spots and overall lightening of the skin, also it helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The second Booster was CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) which is an antioxidant, it helps reduce collagen breakdown, helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and protects skin against oxidative stress.

The cream itself has an orange tint and is thicker than the Oily Skin base, with a slight metallic scent. It smooths easily over the skin, and absorbs within 30 seconds with some light massage. It is significantly more hydrating than the Oily Skin base, but still isn’t as hydrating as I generally prefer my moisturizers, so I usually layer a hydrating serum or oil underneath. During the day, it absorbs well enough that I can apply makeup pretty much right on top, even with an additional SPF 40+ layered in between (because of the vitamin C, but also because I do that everyday anyways). I have found that my skin is smoother, slightly more even toned, and generally healthier looking. I still go through periods of dryness, just because my skin is finnicky like that and because for the majority of the time I was using this blend, the weather and climate in Vancouver were going nuts and my skin went along with it. I was significantly happier with the Light Anti-Aging base, and I did notice that over time, my skin looked smoother and brighter.


The packaging, for a $200 product, is a bit disappointing. While I understand that they probably invest all of the cost into the quality ingredients, but I don’t think people would mind if they paid an extra $10 to get a packaging upgrade. The first time I tried using it, the vacuum seal part of the bottle (where the cream is kept) came apart from the rest of the bottle. Thankfully I could just screw it back on, but for a $200 product, this really shouldn’t be happening.

My end conclusion was that if I were a paying customer, I probably wouldn’t get the Blend and Boost, but not because the product doesn’t work, my mango allergy really eliminated most of the viable and ideal options for me in terms of which base cream I can use. I would have loved to get a cream that had the anti-aging, hydrating, and brightening properties, but sadly the formulations just didn’t hit on 100% of my concerns (for a product that is advertised to be an all-in-one solution). Obviously this isn’t going to be the case for everyone, so if you are having issues locating a moisturizer that addresses your needs, are looking to simplify your skincare routine, and don’t mind the price tag, then obviously Blend and Boost may be a good alternative to off-the-rack products for you.

I am thankful that the Blend and Boost team will work really hard to make sure your custom blend works for you. I received my product from their PR, and even then they took my first blend back and reformulated so that I got something that was more suited for my skin type. If you are a paying customer and your blend doesn’t work for you, they will 100% take it back and reformulate until you get the perfect blend. That is a true sign that they stand behind their products and its efficacy.

In terms of pricing and availability, the Blend and Boost skin consultation takes place at medical skin centres, and the consultation fee is $100, which goes towards the purchase of a Blend and Boost cream. The cream itself is $200, so you end up just paying $200 for the product if you decide to purchase the product, or $100 for the consultation alone. The locations in Vancouver where this is available include:

Skin Method
#103-853 Richards St
Vancouver, BC V6B 3B4
Vancouver Laser & Skin Care Centre
309-750 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1H2
Ageless Radiance Med Spa
1196 Lansdowne Dr #307
Coquitlam, BC V3E 1J7

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

Review – For Beloved One Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalene collection and comparison with Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Aging Smoothing Treatment

For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Moisturizing Cream review

Ceramide is a naturally-occurring element in the skin. At age 31, your skin’s ceramide levels decrease to 63% (if you started out at 100%), and by age 41, it will have reached 37%. For Beloved One‘s new Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalene line combines the ultra-moisturizing properties of squalane with the ultra-firming ceramide to give you a global anti-aging solution.

Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Moisturizing Cream (C$99 for 32mL) is the all-in-one moisturizer for those looking for preventative care and treatment. In addition to ceramide, which smoothes skin’s outermost layer while also enhancing its self-defense ability for an ageless, youthful look, and squalane, which provides additional nourishment for a supple and firm appearance, it also contains red tourmaline, which activates microcirculation for elastic and nourished skin; vitamin E and natural oat kernel extract, which helps to regenerate skin for a flawless and luminous complexion. It has a beautiful almost whipped gel formula that is thick, but spreads easily and also absorbs quickly.

For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Moisturizing Cream review

I seriously LOVE THIS CREAM. The effects aren’t super noticeable, but I’ve been using this both morning and night and I feel like my skin has been super supple and smooth ever since I started using this. During the day, my foundation stays on beautifully and even after I come home after a 12-hour day, my skin looks looks radiant and balanced. When used at night, I wake up to balanced, hydrated, and soothed skin. I normally have a lot of redness in my skin but I’ve noticed that it’s been significantly reduced since I started using this. While I can’t speak of the long-term anti-aging properties (I’m in my late 20s right now), I believe that preventative care is the best anti-aging solution, so I will keep using this. My biggest dislike, though, is the price. It’s probably the smallest full size cream I’ve ever come across, and it’s not cheap. If this came in a 50mL size, like normal creams, it’d cost $155, which is pretty steep. The jar is deceivingly big as well, since it looks like a 50mL cream but the insert only carries 32mL.

For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Bio-Cellulose Mask and Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Aging Smoothing Treatment Mask review

For Beloved One’s Bio-Cellulose mask is one of my favourite sheet mask formulas. I previously reviewed the background behind the mask here. Now, it’s available in the Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Bio-Cellulose Mask (C$62.99 for 3 pieces), which contains Matrixyl® 3000 to help restore firmness and plumpness to the skin. So far, I’ve been a fan of all of the Bio-Cellulose masks that I’ve tried, and this one is no different. After 20-30 minutes, my skin feels super plumped and hydrated. I also feel like it’s smoother, redness is decreased, and overall it’s more bouncy. Again the price is a big deterrent for me as it is quite pricey for each treatment, which is why I tend to leave my mask on for longer than the recommended time (oops).

It’s one of the most pricey masks out there on the market, so I wanted to also compare it with a more affordable drugstore mask. The Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Aging Smoothing Treatment Mask (C$19.99 for 8 treatments) comes in eight individually packaged masks. At first, I thought these were also sheet masks, but they are actually 10-minute cream masks that you apply and then tissue or wash off. Each individual package is filled with the mask, and I actually found that you can get two uses out of each sachet instead of just one. The texture is very thick and creamy, almost like a thick gel body cream. It smooths on easily, and has a slight tingling / astringent feel. I found this mask to be very firming, and my skin is left feeling taut. I don’t have many wrinkles so I don’t know how wrinkle-smoothing it is. The only drawback is that it might be too sting-y for those with more sensitive skin types.

Both the Moisturizing Cream and Mask are high performers, but of course the drawback is the price. If you are not too price sensitive, then I’d highly recommend you pick up the cream to try, and if you are ready to splurge then the mask is also great. If you are more on a budget, then the Nivea mask is also a good anti-aging alternative.

The For Beloved One Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalene range is available now at T&T Supermarket locations across Canada, as well as online at Nivea is available at most drugstores across Canada.

For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Bio-Cellulose Mask and Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Aging Smoothing Treatment Mask review
For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Bio-Cellulose Mask and Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Aging Smoothing Treatment Mask review

Moisturizing Cream ingredients:
For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Moisturizing Cream ingredients

Ceramide Squalane Bio-Cellulose Mask ingredients:
For Beloved One Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalane Bio-Cellulose Mask ingredients

Nivea Q10 mask ingredients:
Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Aging Smoothing Treatment Mask ingredients

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

Feature – Sunday Riley Luna vs. The Ordinary Retinoid 2%

I’ve recently been OBSESSED with retinol / retinoids. My friend Angela uses retinol on a regular basis and she has the most amazing, poreless skin that’s babysoft and SO GLOWY. Much jelly. Anyways, I purchased the Sunday Riley Squad Goals kit last December, and I’ve been using the Luna Sleeping Night Oil every few nights, and so far I’ve been loving it. What I’m not loving so much is the price… at C$131 for 30mL, it’s pretty splurgy. That’s when I came across The Ordinary Retinoid 2%. It has the same active retinoid ingredient as Luna – Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate – but priced at only C$9.80. Do they have the same effect on me though? Read on…

I used both the Sunday Riley and The Ordinary on separate occasions 2-3 times a week, and for at least a month. P.S. Sorry for the lack of custom photo, by the time I wrote this blog post, I already gave away one of the two bottles (no spoilers here! read on to find out), so there was no point in taking a photo of just the leftover bottle.


Sunday Riley Luna is $131 and The Ordinary Retinoid 2% is $9.80, both for 1 oz / 30 mL of product. Pretty clear who the winner is here…

Winner: The Ordinary Retinoid 2%

Texture & scent

Sunday Riley Luna is a light oil product that takes a few minutes to absorb. It smells SO good, like a powdery light floral and ultra soothing. The Ordinary Retinoid 2% is a milky emulsion (oil suspended in water) that is very lightweight and absorbs pretty much immediately. It smells… kind of weird to describe, but it’s like a milky chemical scent that isn’t terrible but not fantastic.

Winner: Luna for texture and scent, Retinoid 2% for how fast it sinks in.


Due to Luna’s oil formula, I find it significantly more moisturizing than Retinoid 2%. My skin does have an affinity for oil products though, so I am slightly biased. Retinoid 2% is milky but it’s not nearly as moisturizing as Luna. Since it is winter though, my skin favours Luna more, but I can see it being a bit too heavy on those hot summer nights. Retinoid 2% is definitely more flexible in that most skin types can use it, and on most evening conditions. You can easily layer it under other hydrating products, or other oils.

Winner: Luna as my personal love in colder winter climate, Retinoid 2% for being more versatile and better for all skin types


Yes I know it is impossible to have permanent pore shrinkage unless you go through cosmetic surgery or something. In terms of a product’s ability to temporarily shrink the look of the size of my pores, Luna wins hands down because I have not seen any pore shrinkage from Retinoid 2%. My skin texture is so smooth after a night of Luna that it’s really hard to argue against that.

Winner: Luna

Skin smoothing

Again, Luna wins on this front because I wake up with incredibly smooth and supple skin, even after just one night of using this. Retinoid 2% honestly didn’t do much for my skin in this area.

Winner: Luna

Overall I wasn’t super impressed with The Ordinary Retinoid. I really hoped to see results, any kind of results, but I didn’t see anything. It honestly didn’t do much, if anything, for my skin. I was hoping it’d be mildly hydrating, but it wasn’t even that. Compared to Sunday Riley Luna, where I saw results pretty much overnight. My skin was definitely smoother, more glowy, more hydrated, and just generally looked better when I was using Luna. Honestly, though, Luna is pretty expensive so I doubt I will be repurchasing (unless there’s some kind of promotion). I recently purchased an Eve Lom retinol serum to try as well, so I will be adding that into my skin routine any day now. I ended up passing off my The Ordinary Retinoid to my friend Angela, who I hope has better luck with it.

Have you tried either of these?


Sunday Riley Luna: Persea Gratissima (Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Organic, Cold Pressed Concord Grape) Seed Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Cold Pressed Blackberry) Seed Oil, Salvia Hispanica (Cold Pressed Chia) Oil, Dimethyl Isosorbide (and) Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Tanecetum annuum (Blue Tansy) oil, Anthemis nobilis (English Chamomile) oil, Eriocephalus punctulatus (Cape Chamomile) oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Blood Orange) oil, Cananga Odorata Flower (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Vetivera zizanoides (Vetiver) oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (and) Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, CI 61565 (Green 6), CI 60725 (Violet 2).

The Ordinary Retinoid 2%: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Review: Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask, and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask, and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme review

Dior Hydra LIFE Fresh Hydration Sorbet was one of the first high end moisturizers that I bought for myself almost 10 years ago when I was still a poor university student. I had grown up with my mom using exclusively Dior skincare and she has the most incredible skin. She always preached the importance of using quality skincare, so it was natural for me to look to Dior. Nearly 10 years later, for Spring 2017, Dior is revamping the Hydra LIFE line, including the introduction of a few brand new products. Today I have a few products from the line to share with you.

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask, and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme review

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser (C$49) is an oil-based cleanser and makeup remover. Anyone with any skin type can benefit from this. It contains sweet almond extract to soften and moisturize the skin. You massage this into dry skin, dissolving makeup, pollution, and dirt on the skin. You apply a bit of warm water to emulsify the oil, creating a creamy milk which will rise away everything. You can use this on its own, or as a first step in a double cleanse routine.

Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser (C$49) is a foaming cleanser, appropriate for all skin types. It comes in a liquid, but comes with a foaming pump (similar to one you’d see in a foaming hand soap), so foam is dispensed out of the bottle. It is infused with white tea leaf extract, it’s a great cleanser to use as a second cleanse after the Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser. It’s lightweight, and leaves skin feeling clean and supple.

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask, and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme review

Hydra LIFE Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask (C$79) is a balmy 3-minute rescue mask. It contains glycerin, jojoba, shea butter, white pine oil, hyaluronic acid and other nourishing botanical ingredients to intensely plump the skin, delivering moisture deep within the skin layers. The balmy texture makes it perfect for dry, normal, and combination skin types. You can massage this into the skin in the morning, or right before a big event for a quick skin pick-me-up.

Hydra LIFE Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme (C$82) is a lightweight gel creme that can benefit any skin type, including the most sensitive. It contains haberlea leaf extract, a humectant, and french mallow, which is has anti-inflammatory properties. I have very dehydrated skin, yet this sorbet is perfect for my skin during the day (I do wear a hydrating serum though, but I wear that with even the most hydrating of moisturizers). It feels really refreshing and lightweight, and absorbs almost instantly without any residue. It reminds me a bit of the Belif moisturizers, but slightly more refined.

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask, and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme review

Dior Hydra LIFE is definitely worthy of everyone taking a look. This line is perfect for anyone in their teens to their mid-30s, or if as a transition from anti-acne products to anti-aging products. You can find Hydra LIFE products now at Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, The Bay, Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutique, and other Dior counters across Canada.

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser, Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask, and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme review


Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser and Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser

Dior Hydra LIFE Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser and Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser ignredients

Hydra LIFE Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask and Hydra LIFE Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme

Dior Hydra LIFE Extra Plump Smooth Balm Mask and Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme ingredients

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

Review: Pixi Beauty Rose Oil Blend, Vitamin Wake Up Mist, and 24K Eye Elixir

Pixi Beauty Rose Oil Blend, Vitamin Wake Up Mist, and 24K Eye Elixir review

I’m back with some more Pixi Beauty reviews! You can see my last set of reviews here, where I talk about the Pixi Glow Tonic, the Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse, and a few mask options. Today, I want to share with you a few other Pixi products that I’ve recently had the pleasure of trying. So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality, price, and value of these products. While they aren’t the cheapest out there, they are quite affordable considering you get quality, active ingredients that truly work to make a difference on the skin.

The first product I wanted to talk about today was the Pixi Rose Oil Blend (C$34). As you know, I am a huge fan of anything oil, so this was one product that stood out at me quite a bit at the Pixi launch event. It contains sweet almond oil, rosehip oil (rosa canina), jojoba oil, pomegranate oil, damascus rose oil, geranium oil, and orange peel oil. My first impression is that it smells very fresh, not that old lady rose scent a lot of companies put out (I love old lady rose too, but this is lighter). The texture is quite fluid and lightweight, and absorbs easily into the skin. Despite it being so lightweight, I find this to be quite hydrating, as it contains a heavy dose of sweet almond and jojoba oils. On my driest of nights, though, I do like to layer a moisturizer on top just to seal it in. You can also add a drop or two in your foundation to boost the glow!

It claims to improve skin elasticity and glow. I still have relatively young skin (late 20s) so my skin is still pretty elastic, thus I didn’t notice any improvements while using this oil. As with most botanical oils, I did notice that this boosted my skin’s glow with long term use. Overall, it’s an A+.

Pixi Beauty Rose Oil Blend, Vitamin Wake Up Mist, and 24K Eye Elixir review

Next, I have the Vitamin Wakeup Mist (C$20). It contains orange flower water, as well as a blend of grapefruit peel oil, lavendar oil, orange peel oil, lime oil, and licorice root extract. All of these citrus oils are great a revitalizing tired skin. I use this in the morning and it helps to awaken my skin, and making it ready for another long day at work. It smells incredibly fresh, but unfortunately I didn’t find it super hydrating. It’s a good balancing essence spray, but if you have very dehydrated or dry skin, you may want to consider picking up the Hydrating Milky Mist or the Glow Mist (C$20 each), which contains a higher concentration of essential oils.

Pixi Beauty Rose Oil Blend, Vitamin Wake Up Mist, and 24K Eye Elixir review

The last product I wanted to share with you today is the 24K Eye Elixir (C$28). This product is a lightweight eye serum that you can apply alone, or under a more emollient eye cream. It contains cucumber fruit extract, raspberry fruit extract, and real gold. This is probably one of the more disappointing Pixi products I’ve tried. The Elixir is ultra lightweight, so it doesn’t actually feel like anything on the eyes. While the cucumber extract helps make it feel soothing and cooling, the effects are quite temporary. I didn’t notice a boost in hydration while using this on its own. For the price, I think you can find an eye cream that is good enough standalone without having to invest in this. I would probably skip.blueberry

You can find Pixi Beauty products at Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada.

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

Celebrating the opening of Skinceuticals by Project Skin, and multi-masking with Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, Phyto Corrective Masque, and Hydrating B5 Gel

Skinceuticals by Project Skin MD opening review

Last month, I was invited to the grand opening of the Skinceuticals by Project Skin, the first freestanding Skinceuticals boutique in Canada, as well as a Project Skin MD treatment centre, located at Richmond Centre in the Greater Vancouver Area in B.C., Canada.

The new state-of-the-art skin boutique and facial centre offers a variety of specialized facials that are designed for those who are looking for express services, as well as full service offerings, to complement the complete service offerings at the original Project Skin MD location in Vancouver.


Skinceuticals by Project Skin MD opening reviewSkinceuticals by Project Skin MD opening review

Sample full services include complimentary skin consultations, the Signature Customized Glow Facial (60 min for $150), Dermaplanning (60 min for $150), or their MAX+ Customized Facial (75 min for $255), which includes a MAX+ LED light therapy treatment which helps to target skin concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma, rosacea and other common skin problems. Express services include various peels and mask treatments, customized for your skin type for just $85 for 30 minutes. You can find out more about the treatments and services here.

Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, Phyto Corrective Masque, and Hydrating B5 Gel review

I took home from the event a multi-masking facial set, which contained three Skinceuticals masks: Clarifying Clay Masque, Phyto Corrective Masque, and Hydrating B5 Gel, as well as a mixing bowl and Skinceuticals mask brush (not pictured).

The Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque contains active cleansing ingredients such as kaolin, bentonite, as well as various fruit enzymes and extracts to help faciliate a deeper exfoliating action. It also contains aloe leaf juice to help hydrate. I was surprised to see titanium dioxide so high up on the ingredients list, as I understand this ingredient helps to cosmetically improve and brighten the appearance of the skin, but this is not a long-term benefit. This is a very mild clay mask; I didn’t feel like it was too drying, and unlike other clay masks, it doesn’t suck the life out of my skin. I ended up using more than usual to get decent coverage, but once on my face, it felt very soothing. I also like that despite it drying down completely, I didn’t get that “I can’t move my face” type thing happening.

The Phyto Corrective Masque is a cooling, hydrating botanical gel mask that works great on all skin types. I normally use this on its own, or as a quick pick-me-up after the Clarifying Clay Masque. I love the cooling sensation, and most importantly that the cooling sensation doesn’t appear to come from some kind of mint or peppermint oil. You get a nice 60mL of product, which is enough for several months. A little bit goes a long way, and I don’t find that it dries down too quickly so you can keep masking for longer compared to other gel masks. While I was kinda meh about it initially after using it, I did notice that the next morning, my skin was significantly softer, more plump, and more hydrated. I didn’t leave it on as an overnight mask, and I washed it off in the shower before bed, but the benefits were definitely enhanced overnight. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great mask to use before a big event to help re-hydrate your skin.

Lastly, the Hydrating B5 Gel (C$86) is a hyaluronic acid gel serum. It’s very lightweight, absorbs very quickly (under a few seconds) and does noticeably improve the hydration levels of my skin. I love using this in the mornings over my spray essence, and under moisturizer. It’s also fantastic mixed into the Clarifying Clay Masque to reduce how drying it may be, for the driest of skin types. My biggest qualm about this product is the price. It’s hyaluronic acid, nothing new, nothing groundbreaking, so I’m not sure why it’s $86… If you are looking for a good hyaluronic acid serum, Deciem makes a few in their various product lines, so I would suggest checking those out instead.

You can pick up these and other Skinceuticals products at Skinceuticals x Project Skin boutique.

Visit SkinCeuticals by Project Skin:
6551 No 3 Rd
Richmond, BC
V6Y 2B6
Phone: 604.285.8115

Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, Phyto Corrective Masque, and Hydrating B5 Gel review
Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, Phyto Corrective Masque, and Hydrating B5 Gel review

Skinceuticals by Project Skin MD opening reviewSkinceuticals by Project Skin MD opening review

Clarifying Clay Masque ingredients: aqua / water / eau, kaolin, bentonite, aloe barbadensis / aloe barbadensis leaf juice, propylene glycol, glycerin, ci 77891 / titanium dioxide, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl alcohol, dimethicone, lithium magnesium sodium silicate, phenoxyethanol ceteareth-20, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, caprylyl glycol, helianthus annuus seed oil / sunflower seed oil, saccharum officinarum extract / sugar cane extract / extrait de canne a sucre, sodium hydroxide, citrus aurantium dulcis fruit water / orange fruit water, citrus limon fruit extract / lemon fruit extract, acer saccharinum extract / sugar maple extract, chamomilla recutita extract / matricaria flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil / rosemary leaf oil, cucumis sativus fruit extract / cucumber fruit extract, pelargonium graveolens flower oil, lavandula hybrida oil, curcuma longa extract / turmeric root extract, sclareolide, rosa spp / rose flower oil, jasminum officinale extract / jasmine extract

Phyto Corrective Masque ingredients: aqua / water/ glycerin/ alcohol denat./ dipropylene glycol/ dimethicone/ butylene glycol/ propylene glycol/ peg-8/ peg/ppg/polybutylene glycol-8/5/3 glycerin/ ammonium polyacryloyldimethyl/taurate/ phenoxyethanol/ carbomer/ dimethiconol/ sodium hyaluronate/ olea europaea leaf extract / olive leaf extract/ sodium hydroxide/ tetrasodium edta/ sodium citrate/ parfum / fragrance/ acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester/ cucumis sativus fruit extract / cucumber fruit extract/ t-butyl alcohol/ sodium benzoate/ thymus vulgaris flower/leaf extract – thyme/ flower/leaf extract/ citrus grandis extract / grapefruit fruit extract/ toluene sulfonic acid/ benzyl benzoate/ cellulose acetate butyrate/ benzyl alcohol/ alpha-isomethyl ionone polyphosphorylcholine glycol acrylate/ linalool/ morus alba root extract/ polyvinyl alcohol/ caprylyl glycol/ citronellol/ ci 19140 / yellow 5/ ci 42090 / blue 1/ sodium chloride

Hydrating B5 Gel ingredients: aqua / water / eau, phenoxyethanol, calcium pantothenate, sodium hyaluronate

Thank you for Project Skin MD for inviting me to the event, and for gifting me the products.

Products that did not do it for me, featuring Estee Lauder, Sally Hansen, Live Clean, and NARS

I think a lot of bloggers get a lot of flack for always loving products, or never having anything negative to say about products, especially ones that they get from PR. A lot of times, I do get products I dislike, but I only have so much time on my hands so I try to only share the ones that I recommend to my readers. That being said, there have been a few big releases recently that just haven’t earned my stamp of approval. I went into trying these products being hopeful, as usual, that I found the next HG products, but sadly they failed to performed, and were even downright bad on some levels. So… read on for some of the products that I’ve disliked recently.

Just a caveat though – these are products that I personally dislike because I have a different skin type, or general preferences as you. If you like any of these products, please continue to use them. I’m not trying to dissuade you from using them, I’m just saying they did not work for me personally.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules review

I was introduced to this product when I was going through a really rough time in my life – I was really sick for over 3 weeks, I was stressed out over the closing of my first apartment, I was busy planning a three-week trip to Asia, AND my day job was crazy busy – so I was really looking forward to trying this product. Basically it is a oil concentrate contained in individual ampoules, which is designed to calm and repair the look of over-stressed skin. Even though the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair line is designed to be anti-aging, this product was created for those with dry, combination, and stressed skin, as well as those with sensitivity. You would use this as a skin “reset,” applying one ampoule each evening for a two week period at a time.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules review

I have to say it smells so warm and inviting, and the ingredients list looks very promising. Unfortunately, this product failed to absorb in my skin, and left a greasy mess every time I used it. I even tried using it over wet skin, which is how most oils absorb into my skin, but still this was stubborn and just stayed on the top layer. It also broke me out, and left congested pores on my cheeks, temple, and chin. Despite it being so “oily,” I actually woke up with dry patches all over my face, I have no idea how that happens. I tried using it alone, over hydrating serum, under moisturizer, with both hydrating serum and under moisturizer, and I just couldn’t get it to work. My suspicion is that the oil is too thick and not refined enough, so you’ll probably need to be someone who has very dry skin in order to enjoy this.

You get 60 ampoules though, for C$135 (ouch), which is enough for just over four treatments.

Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish (with Argan Oil)

Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish review

I was really excited to try this Color Therapy polish formula from Sally Hansen because it contains an infusion of argan oil, which sounded so promising since my nails are super dry and brittle. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst nail polish formulas I’ve ever used… the instructions say that you don’t need a base coat, but I used a red shade (not the one pictured) which then stained my nails. The worst thing wasn’t even that, it was when I applied the specifically designed top coat on already-dried colour, there was a ton of colour transfer onto the brush of the top coat which then dyed my top coat red. I tried a different shade on my ring fingers, and due the red colour bleed, my ring finger ended up with streaks of red on it as well.

Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish review

The only good thing I can think about for this formula is that it doesn’t smell as foul, but if it’s not effective as a polish, I don’t really care how it smells because I just won’t be using it. Wear time was average, maybe 5 days on me before it chipped substantially, but then it got another week’s wear out of it, so even though it does start chipping quickly, the entire nail doesn’t chip off that quickly, which I guess can be another good thing. Maybe.

The argan oil cuticle oil is okay, but not amazing. It smells pretty fragranced (powdery floral) and does temporarily hydrate my nails, but it’s nowhere as good as my CND Solar Oil (which I carry around with me everywhere).

Live Clean Exotic Silk Keratin Oil Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner

Live Clean Exotic Silk Keratin Oil Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner review

The Live Clean Exotic Silk Keratin Oil Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner was my first foray into Live Clean hair care. I’ve previously tried their body care products and I’m a fan of the natural, SLS/sulfate-free, phthalate-free and paraben-free formulas. Sadly, the Keratin Oil Smoothing Shampoo was probably one of the worst shampoo / conditioner combos I’ve ever used. My beef is mostly with the shampoo – it suds up nicely but it refuses to rinse out completely so it leaves a thick layer of reside on my hair, making it heavy, limp, and also very greasy looking. The shampoo, together with the conditioner made my hair look and feel kinda gross, which is unfortunate.

I stopped using the shampoo after about 2-3 weeks, but I continued to use the conditioner. I don’t have ultra damaged hair but it can get frizzy, especially with the cold dry winter air. This conditioner is very nourishing, but also heavy so that you aren’t able to style your hair with a lot of volume. It’s not amazing enough for me to recommend, but it does its job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Live Clean products, but the Keratin Oil line is not great.

NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo

NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo review and swatches

I was really looking forward to these NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos. Dior had previously released similar (but limited edition) contouring duos so I was interested to see how this performed. The Dior and NARS sculpting duos are both priced similarly, the Dior is C$48 and NARS is C$52 (I was surprised too that Dior was cheaper than NARS). That’s kind of where the similarities ended – the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos are very dry, much dryer and waxier than the Dior duos, and also sheerer. The two variations I have are Copacabana – Sidari Beach (swatched on the left) and Hot Sand – Laguna (swatched on the right).

NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo review and swatches
NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo review and swatches

As you can see, the highlighter shades are pretty patchy, and don’t blend out very well. The contouring shades are slightly better, but they end up blending out so naturally that it doesn’t look quite contour-y. I was hoping that despite it not being intense contours, you can still get a nice bronzed look with highlight, but again the highlights continue to blend patchy, rendering them basically useless. Lastly, the tubes are quite large, my face isn’t that wide so when I swipe this down my cheek, it covers too much area so I have to be careful when I apply and blend. I like NARS regular Multiples way better, and I think you might get better results purchasing the highlight and contour shades separately, or instead get powder contour products that apply better.


All products featured in this post were provided by PR; opinions are my own.