NEW IN SKINCARE | Elizabeth Arden Retinol Capsules, StriVectin Retinol Oil, NeoStrata Brightening Peel, Vichy Aqualia, Clinique Hydrating Jelly, Clarins Pore Control Serum, Bioderma Atoderm Spray

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If you were following along on my Instagram Stories a while back, I joined London Drugs at their annual LD Beauty media event in Whistler. This is my sixth or seventh year attending, ever since the inaugural one. I’ve cherished my relationship working with the London Drugs team, and I always look forward to seeing what’s new at London Drugs every year. You know me, I absolutely love skincare, so when we were at the event, there were several skincare items that really caught my eye.

First, the Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Night Serum (C$106 for 60 capsules) is something I’ve been dying to get my hands on. This is an upgraded version of their Ceramide Capsules, and they’ve included retinol in it for maximum anti-aging. The delivery system is still the same as the original version – you use one capsule per application. I love retinol so I was super excited to get to try this. I’m not a huge fan of the texture, it’s quite silicone-y, but I have confidence that over time, the retinol will help smooth my skin.

If you’re not a fan of the silicone-y texture, StriVectin has a new STAR Light Retinol Night Oil that is launching soon in Canada. You can use this as the last step of your night time skincare routine, either mixing it in with your moisturizer or on its own. I haven’t used this yet because I’m still in the process of finishing up another retinol product. I love Sunday Riley Luna, which is a retinoate night oil. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this product will improve my skin texture. Honestly, retinol is one of my favourite ingredients right now to use on my skin because I am trying to prevent aging – I do believe that prevention is key when it comes to lines and wrinkles.

NeoStrata recently revamped their entire line, categorizing their products neatly into different skin concerns, and repackaging everything in colour-coded packaging. I received a bottle of the Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel (C$80 for 50mL) to try out. This product is super easy to use, just use the dropper to apply some product on a cotton pad, swipe over skin, wait 5-20 minutes (depending on how tolerant your skin is to acids) and then rinse off. I literally ripped this one out of its packaging when I first got home, and I have to say it is super easy to use. My skin likes acids (I love the Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial mask that is 25% glycolic), and it loves the 20% AHA/PHA formula of this one. If you’re not used to strong acids, your skin might tingle a bit, but mine was fine. I started only by leaving this on for 5 minutes, and then increased it to 20 minutes after a few uses. Honestly, I love it. Since we don’t have the Drunk Elephant glycolic mask here, this is a perfectly fine substitute, and is actually easier to apply and rinse off compared to the DE one. My skin feels softer and smoother the next morning. I haven’t noticed any brightening benefits yet, but I’m addicted even just for the line-smoothing benefits. It also comes in a Clarifying formula, for pore and oil reduction; as well as Anti-aging, for pure anti-aging benefits.

Vichy Aqualia (C$40 for 50mL) was one of the first moisturizers I purchased for myself in university. They recently reformulated the entire line such that it contains more natural ingredients. They also repackaged so it looks more streamlined and sleek. Almost 10 years later, I still love Aqualia. It is honestly the perfect moisturizer for young, or moisture-lacking skin. The Aqualia Thermal moisturizer comes in light cream, gel cream, and rich cream formulas, so you can choose the one that works the best for your skin. In the winter and at night, I love the rich cream formula. During the day and in the warmer months, I prefer the light cream. Both give me amazing hydration that lasts all day. I also love using this with my Vichy Mineral 89, which is my #1 favourite product from Vichy as it is fantastic at keeping my skin nicely balanced and hydrated, as well as acting as a good base for other skincare products to layer on top.

Similarly, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel was something that I used in university. I loved this lighter version over the original Lotion. Earlier this year, Clinique launched the Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly (C$36 for 125mL), a 100% transparent clear gel that can be used as a moisturizer for oily / combination skin, or as a serum for those with more dehydrated or dry skin types. This has a very similar texture to Vichy Mineral 89, where it feels almost like a water gel applied on your skin. When I played with this on my hand, it felt pretty hydrating and very light. I personally will use this as a hydrating serum; it layers pretty well over / under other products. Not to mention this is such incredible value – you get 125mL of product for just $36.

Clarins makes one of my favourite face serums – the Clarins Double Serum (reviewed here). Recently they reformulated their Pore Control Serum (C$58 for 30mL), a skin-perfecting serum designed to reduce the look of pores. I understand that the newly reformulated product is good on all skin types, and isn’t particularly mattifying. They wanted to recreate this so that all skin types can use this because not just those with oily skin have concerns with the appearance of pores, so this product was created to be gentler for even the driest or most sensitive skins. My pores aren’t a huge concern of mine, so I haven’t personally tried this product on me. But I did play with it a bit and I like the texture – its very light and isn’t super mattifying, so if I do decide one day that pores are a concern, I could use this.

Lastly, Bioderma is launching a new Atoderm SOS Spray later this year. This product is so interesting because it is an Anti-Itch spray that can be used on dry spots, eczema, insect bites, basically anything that will cause itchiness. I tried this on my boyfriend’s eczema and he is already liking it. If you’re going on a tropical vacation, this is a must have because it will prevent insect bites as well as hydrate the skin.

Which of these products would you want to try?

Everything with the exception of the Clarins Pore Control Serum were provided as gifts from a London Drugs media event. The Clarins Pore Control Serum was provided by their PR for review consideration. all opinions are my own.

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NEW IN SKIN | French-Korean skincare brand JOWAÉ, now available in Canada

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I have a new product launch to tell you guys about today. The French-Korean brand JOWAÉ is launching exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca soon. French pharmacy skincare is legendary, and JOWAÉ is created in collaboration with a Korean pharma lab which specializes in ancient Korean ingredients such as tea and ginger extracts. I love both French and Korean skincare, so this is a match made in heaven for me.

While I haven’t played with these products long enough to give a full review, I did want to write about these as soon as possible because they are launching at Shoppers soon. We in Canada are the first market in North American to be getting it, which is super exciting. JOWAÉ is a pharma-skincare brand, so you’ll find it along with other French pharma brands such as La Roche-Posay, Vichy, and Bioderma.

The star ingredient in JOWAÉ is Lumiphenols from succulents. This ingredient is antioxidant ingredients that help to brighten and prevent aging. Patent-pending to JOWAÉ, this ingredient is in every product released by the brand, from face care to body care.

In addition to the high functioning ingredients, the line is also formulated for the most sensitive of skins, and is also vegan. The only thing that concern me a bit is that fragrance is pretty high on the ingredients list, but I was assured that whatever fragrance in the products come from natural sources. The products in this brand all contain 80%+ ingredients from natural origins, which is promising.

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Korean skincare routines usually are very long and elaborate, with each step fulfilling a specific purpose. For the modern woman who may not have a lot of time on their hands to do the full routine, JOWAÉ has narrowed it down into just four simple steps.

1. Cleanse – depending on your skin type, there are two different cleansers available. There is a Soothing Cleansing Milk (C$21) for dry to normal skin types, or a Purifying Cleansing Gel (C$20.50) for combination to oily skin types.

2. Tone – there is an incredibly soothing and plumping Hydrating Water Mist (C$19), containing sakura water blossom. This contains 97% ingredients of natural origin, and comes in a convenient continuous spray. It is a fantastic product to help tone your skin, set your makeup, or for touch-ups during the day. The bottle is huge, so it’s not great for travel. I’ve really enjoyed using this, over the Evian water sprays, since this contains way more hydrating ingredients in the same convenient packaging with a super fine mist nozzle. I can see this being a fantastic product to take on the go with you, so I really wish they would eventually release a smaller size!

3. Serum – The Youth Concentrate Complexion Correcting (C$52) serum is a youth-boosting, brightening serum that is great for all skin types. Most brightening products don’t work well on sensitive skin types but even those with the most sensitive skin can use this. It contains white tea extracts to help protect against daily skin aggressors and also treat dark spots.

4. Moisturize – Depending on your skin type, there are three different moisturizers to choose from. The Moisturizing Light Cream (C$30) is a simple hydrating moisturizer that is great for young people who are just starting to get into skincare. The Moisturizing Light Cream contains sakura blossom water to hydrate the skin. There are two Wrinkle Smoothing Creams (C$42), one Light Cream and one Rich Cream. The Wrinkle Smoothing Cream is great for those starting out an anti-aging skin routine, and contains red ginseng, a traditional Korean skincare ingredient. I love the rich, smooth texture of the Rich Cream, and this will probably be the one I will use during the winter months.

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In addition to the four basic skincare products, there is also a Wrinkle Smoothing Eye Serum (C$37), which also contains red ginseng. This eye serum is lightweight and a fantastic starter eye cream to prevent future fine lines and wrinkles. It is great under makeup during the day, as well as in the evenings. I honestly think that everyone should start using eye creams early on because you can’t fix wrinkles once they develop. Especially now in the age of computer and phone screens, your eye area will be more prone to lines.

There are two body care products launching in Canada, the Hand & Nail Nourishing Cream (C$10), which contains camellia oil and 96% ingredients from natural ingredients, as well as a supersized Revitalizing Moisturizing Lotion (C$28) that comes in a massive 400mL bottle with bamboo water and 97% ingredients from natural origins. I tested both of these out at the launch event, and I’m impressed with them. The Revitalizing Moisturizing Lotion is super hydrating, and I can see myself keeping this on my office desk as a hand lotion – I wash my hands nonstop at work so I always love a huge bottle of lotion. The Hand & Nourishing Cream is fantastic for keeping in my handbag. It’s a great size to keep on the go, and I actually really look forward to taking this with me on my next travels.

JOWAÉ is launching exclusively in North America at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca with these ten products. If the launch does well, we may be seeing more products from the brand very soon.

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

BODYCARE REVIEW | North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion

North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion review

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

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

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

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

Ingredients:

North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion review

Product provided by PR; all opinions are my own.

NEW SKINCARE | Anti-aging serums and moisturizers from Estee Lauder, Dior and Clarins

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I am totally obsessed with anti-aging products right now. I’ve getting more and more fine lines under my eyes so I’m really conscious about trying to prevent them from spreading to the rest of my face. Today I have a few brand new anti-aging products to share with you, including four new serums and two new moisturizers. Serums are my favourite part of my skincare routine because you can mix and match your serum to target certain concern areas. Moisturizers are also fun to use because it helps to seal off your serum underneath, and applying that moisturizer can also be a very therapeutic experience as you press and massage the product into your skin.

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The Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment (C$100 for 30mL) is a patented serum from Estee Lauder that targets your entire face – lifting and firming the jawline, cheeks, and laugh lines. It contains AHAs to help exfoliate your skin, as well as an exclusive peptide Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 that helps to boost the skin’s collagen and elastin production. It has a very light fluid milky gel texture that absorbs really quickly and will immediately smooth the look of fine lines on the skin’s surface. It does have some silicones in its ingredients list, so that it has that immediate smoothing effect. In addition, it contains some ingredients that give you an immediate “glow,” i.e. subtle shimmers, so I’ve been enjoying this more-so during the day than at night.

I really like this serum for its smoothing effect. I have also noticed a bit of firming around my jawline. That being said, I don’t particularly enjoy silicones in my skincare, especially at the serum step, because I find that other products don’t penetrate my skin as well. If you have combination or oily skin, I can actually see this as being a great moisturizer / last step before sunscreen. It is lightly hydrating and is a great option for a daytime summer hydrator for those who don’t need as much hydration.

You can pick up Estee Lauder products at The Bay and Holt Renfrew.

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The Dior Capture Youth Lift Sculptor Age-Delay Lifting Serum (C$120 for 30mL) is one of five serums newly released with the new Capture Youth collection. You can use the Capture Youth Serums alone as a serum, mixed in with the Capture Youth moisturizer, or create your own serum cocktail by mixing and matching with other serums from the line.  The three that I have are the Plump Filler, Glow Booster, and Lift Sculptor.

  • The Lift Sculptor is rich in polyphenols derived from tea. The Lift Sculptor feels kind of like a liquid honey in my hands. It is lightweight but still rich. It feels slightly smoothing but I haven’t felt any obvious lifting.
  • The Plump Filler is a good-ish hyaluronic acid serum. It does its job, albeit with a bit of a silicone-y feel. For a hyaluronic acid serum, it is a bit on the pricey side so I’m not sure I would recommend it. There are many good hyaluronic acid serums on the market that won’t break the bank. That being said, if you are planning to create your own serum cocktail, it may be better to stick with the Capture Youth version because they have been formulated to complement each other.
  • The Glow Booster is pretty amazing – it’s very lightweight and fluid, almost like an essence serum. It soaks into my skin so quickly and doesn’t cause irritation, despite it being an exfoliating serum. I only use this at night, and it feels amazing layered underneath either the Plump Filler or the Lift Sculptor.

The other two serums are Matte Maximizer, a mattifying serum; and Redness Soother, a neutralizing serum for those with skin redness. I actually have quite a bit of redness in my cheeks so I would be interested in trying that one. The Matte Maximizer would be amazing for those with oily skin, or if you are going on vacation in the summer and don’t want to touch up your skincare!

You can pick up Dior products from The Bay and Holt Renfrew.

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Clarins Extra-Firming is one of the world’s top selling anti-aging moisturizers; three creams are sold every minute around the world! For Spring 2018, Clarins has reformulated this cult classic with the addition of the kangaroo flower, a groundbreaking ingredient that increase the skin’s regeneration capacity. The goal is skin that resists stretching, resists pressure, and bounces back into shape.

It comes in Day and Night Creams, each in two formulations – for all skin types or for very dry skin types. You can see below the different textures applied on the back of my hand, from top to bottom: day cream for all skin types, day cream for dry skin, night cream for dry skin, and then night cream for all skin types. The night cream for dry skin is incredibly nourishing and super rich, perfect for when you have heating or air conditioning on at night and need something that packs an extra punch.

I have the “all skin types” version and they work very well for me in this warmer climate. I layer these over a serum, such as one of the Dior Capture Youth Serum, and it gives my skin an amazing boost of hydration and lifting. My feels feels and looks glowy and more plump. I don’t think you necessarily have to purchase both the day and night versions, but of course if you are looking to give your skincare routine an overhaul, Clarins Extra-Firming could be a good option. Of the two, I prefer the Night Cream better in terms of texture because I do love thicker creams.

You can pick up Clarins Extra-Firming products at The Bay and Sephora.

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

SKINCARE | Three products to create the ultimate glowy skin base

6E669361-20E1-42F6-8A1A-85D5AC934052I’ve usually been a more satin-matte skin girl, but recently I’ve been completely obsessed with glowy skin. I’m talking about the lit-from-within healthy dewy, almost wet skin look. I’ve been powdering way less than I usually do, and I just feel like this type of skin makes me look healthier, especially because my skin can look quite sallow or dull from working in an office all day.

The first product is one of the OG products that got me hooked on the glowy skin look, which is the May Lindstrom The Youth Dew (US$140 for 30mL). I purchased this product around two years ago and only use it off and on when I need a boost of glow. Every time I use it, though, I forget how amazingly glowy my skin looks after. It is a golden oil created from a base of avocado oil as well as a blend of beautiful botanical oils, and Coenzyme Q10. Compared to the other facial oils in my rotation, this one is actually a bit heavier than the others, so it takes a few minutes to sink in (I give it a bit of help by spraying on some The Jasmine Garden before I apply the oil to my face). Once its sunk it, it does give my skin the most beautiful lit from within boost.

The next product is an incredible cleanser that I use in the mornings – the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser* (C$105 for 120mL) is my favourite Tata Harper product and also one of my favourite all-time cleansers. It is kind of like a more sophisicated and more refined version of the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. It smells absolutely amazing and uses both chemical and physical exfoliants to rid my skin of dead skin cells, revealing refreshed skin. One extra step I’ve been taking is layering on a bit of the Resurfacing Mask* on top of the cleanser (don’t rinse in between), leave it on for 10-15 minutes until dry, and then rinse off to reveal even more glowy skin. I don’t particularly love the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask on its own, but with the Regenerating Cleanser it’s pretty amazing. I have repurchased this, so I’m not saying it just because I received it!

Last, and my newest discovery, is the By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum (C$115 for 30mL). I picked this up recently because it was promoted by Lydia Elise Millen in her Cult Beauty Box (which sadly sold out before I could check out), who uses it in place of foundation on weekends when she wants something to slightly smooth out her skin texture and tone without coverage. I’ve been using this both alone and under foundation, and I really love it. It comes in four different shades for different purposes – I picked up Apricot Glow, which is a peachy shade that is good for neutralizing redness. Alone, it does a great job at giving my skin just a bit of apricot tint and also a bit of glow, and underneath foundation it helps to give my skin more depth. For a cosmetic product, it is pretty expensive, but it does contain some rose extracts which is has skincare boosting properties. Also, I love roses and I love the fact that my skin smells like roses all day!

Are you more of a matte girl or glow girl? Which products do you use to help create that ultimate glow?

Products with a * were provided by PR, the rest were purchased by me.

NEW IN BEAUTY | Charlotte Tilbury Exagger-Eyes, L’Occitane en Provence Almond Delightful Body Balm, and Givenchy Le Rouge Liquid

Review of Charlotte Tilbury Exagger-Eyes, L'Occitane en Provence Almond Delightful Body Balm, and Givenchy Le Rouge Liquid

A few beauty products launched earlier this spring that I wanted to share with you guys! First up is the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eye Palette in Exagger-Eyes (C$66). When I heard that Charlotte Tilbury was bringing out additional Luxury Eye Palettes, I was absolutely elated. Charlotte Tilbury eye palettes are one of my absolute favourites; I take them with me everywhere I travel because I know I can rely on them for a beautiful, long lasting eye look. She released two new variations – Transform-Eyes and Exagger-Eyes – both aimed at creating bigger, brighter eyes. I received Exagger-Eyes from PR and I can’t be more happy about it.

Of the two new palettes, Exagger-Eyes is the more neutral one (Transform-Eyes is very warm-toned). It is a fantastic palette to create a subtle, natural eye look that still has a bit of pop. If you love neutral palettes, you gotta pick this one up. Charlotte’s palettes are also completely foolproof and can be used by anyone with any makeup skill, so even if you are a complete makeup newbie, you can create a beautiful look from this one. Including this one, I own five of Charlotte’s eyeshadows so you know that they are definitely good enough to collect.

Next is a luxurious body care product from L’Occitane’s almond range, one of my favourite body care collections. I LOVE the Almond Shower Oil and it is a constant staple in my shower, both at home and on travels. The new Almond Delightful Body Balm (C$44) is such a luxurious treat. It is incredibly moisturizing and great for those with dry, scaly skin. I use this all over my legs before bed and I wake up with super soft, silky skin. It is a bit heavy for the summer, so I only use a little bit, and it can also be used to boost the moisture properties of your other Almond body products. I can see myself really indulging in this during the colder months. For now though, I’m using it sparingly both because it is so effective and because it is such a treat for the skin.

Lastly, we have something that I’ve been anticipating for a while – the Givenchy Le Rouge Liquide (C$44)! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Givenchy lipsticks. I own several of the Le Rouge lipsticks as they are one of my absolute favourites. They released a liquid version of this amazing formula that is housed in the same gorgeous leather case. At the media launch in Vancouver, received a PR sample of this lipstick in #412 Grenat Alpaga, which is a deep garnet red. I later went back a few days later and purchased the shade #101 Nude Cachemire, which is a gorgeous my-lips-but-better nude pink.

The formula of this is great – good coverage but still lightweight, and dries down to a powdery matte. It’s not drying at all, compared to other liquid lipsticks, and feels very comfortable on the lips. For a liquid lipstick, the applicator is great because the product twists up, but you can actually wipe clean the applicator so that it doesn’t get gunky. Overall recommend!

You can purchase Charlotte Tilbury and Givenchy at Holt Renfrew. L’Occitane products are available at their retail stores or online.

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

Essence lotions, what are they, how to fit them in your routine, and some recent discoveries from Tatcha, La Prairie, Sekkisei and Omorovicza

Essence lotions have been in Asian skincare for as long as I can remember. Back when Western skincare brands were heavy on the alcohol-rich astringent-type toners, Asian skincare was all about that enriched essence water. Long story short, an essence lotion (or essence water) is basically a supercharged, nutrient-dense watery serum. There are a ton of them on the market, but the most famous one is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. In recent years, a lot of Western brands have also started to release more of these essence lotions, or global brands have started to bring their previously Asia-exclusive essence lotion products to Western countries. What makes these different from an acidic toner (such as Pixi Glow Tonic), is that in general essence lotions tend to be more on the hydrating side, and you also are encouraged to apply this by patting it into your skin with your palms rather than using a cotton pad.

In terms of how to fit this into your usual skincare routine, generally you want to use the lightest/most watery products first in your routine. I use my essence lotion after cleansing and after my exfoliating toner (such as the Pixi Glow Tonic), or to replace my exfoliating toner. Then I apply my serums and moisturizers, and sunscreen during the day. You can use essence lotions during the day and at night, and I love it for both.

Tatcha The Essence (C$114 for 150mL) was probably one of the launches by the brand that I was the most excited about. It contains 98.7% of Tatcha’s proprietary blend of Japanese superfluid made with green tea, rice, and algae. It is marketed as a skin plumping skin softener, which is a very Japanese skincare concept. I’m not sure if it was the hype or how much I was looking forward to this, I was actually just okay about it. It is completely scent-free, which I appreciate in the morning when my senses are just waking up, and it does do a pretty decent job at hydrating and softening my skin, in preparation of the next steps. That being said, for something to be called an essence, I expected a bit more than just basic hydration. I didn’t notice that it did anything to help smooth fine lines or firm my skin over time. It’s decent, but didn’t blow my socks off.

The La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion ($330 for 150mL) contains primarily Caviar Water, which is active water infused with Caviar extracts. This is the thickest of all the essences here,it felt more like a light serum than a water essence. It used this on a trip to Toronto on a cold spell and I was very happy to say that it kept my skin feeling very hydrated, plump, and smooth. My skin was also smoother and more radiant after a few weeks of using this. That being said, it has a super strong scent that is very fragrant. I generally love La Prairie’s scents but this one seemed too potent and was a bit bothersome after a while. It does work, so if you are able to stomach the strong scent (and the price), then I would recommend this.

Newly released last year from Omorovicza is the Omoressence (C$150 for 100mL), a product developed in collaboration with a Hungarian Nobel-prize winning lab. This product contains primarily Hungarian Thermal Water, which will help to balance, hydrate, and prepare the skin for other products. It also helps to guard against environmental stress throughout the day. I love the way it smells, very fresh and energizing. I also love that it’s very nicely hydrating and helps to smooth my lines. It leaves my skin feeling moist, which is what I want after using an essence, and then other products cling onto it for better absorption. I’m a little bit disappointed that the bottle is a bit smaller than I was hoping – it comes in only a 100mL size, compared to other essence lotions which tend to come in bigger sizes.

An oldie but serious goodie is the Kose Sekkisei Lotion (C$57 for 200mL) and the Sekkisei Enriched Lotion (C$77 for 200mL). These were one of the first essence lotions that I was ever exposed to, so I’m very happy that they are now available in Canada through Shoppers Drug Mart. These lotions were designed by the Japanese to create luminous, smooth skin. I use this as a toner at night because its not the most hydrating of essences. It contains quite a bit of alcohol, which may not be great for sensitive skin folks. It does a fantastic job at keeping my skin clear, even-toned, and also improving brightness.

I’ve also previously reviewed the Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence, Pixi Glow Tonic, as well as some essences in spray form.

Do you use essence lotions in your routine? Which ones are your favourites?

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

Treat yourself with a Garnier SkinActive Sheet Mask… without breaking the bank!

Sheet masks are the fastest and easiest way to treat yourself to a salon-quality facial without leaving the comforts of your own home… and without breaking the bank! Today I want to share with you three sheet masks from Garnier SkinActive that I’ve recently been introduced to. At $3.99 a piece, these sheet masks are incredibly affordable, and still deliver fantastic results.

The first one is the Moisture Bomb Glow-Boosting Super Hydrating Mask with Sakura Flower Extract and Hyaluronic Acid. This incredibly juicy sheet mask is chock full of serum, so much so that after 15 minutes, the mask is still dripping wet. It smells very fresh, with a light floral scent that isn’t overpowering. The mask textile itself is nothing special, like a cotton-fibre weave, but the fit is perfect for my face. It sticks to the contours of my face very well, and I didn’t once have to adjust it. I can do stuff around the house without worrying about it falling off. The serum is very lightweight and super skin-plumping. After one 15 minute session, I felt like my skin indeed felt a bit brighter, and significantly more hydrated.

Next we have the Moisture Bomb Anti-Fatigue Super Hydrating Mask with Lavender Essential Oils and Hyaluronic Acid. This is such a wonderful face mask to relax in after a long day at work. Similar to the Glow-Boosting Mask, the mask fits very well to the contour of my face, and is also drenched in hydrating serum. Again, this is a great face mask to use if your skin is feeling dry or dull. The amount of serum in the pack also makes it a great mask to use on airplanes because it won’t dry up as fast.

Lastly, for those who are looking for some skin purification, the Super Purifying Charcoal Sheet Mask with Black Algae, LHA and Hyaluronic Acid is amazing for those living in the big city and are in need of deep detox. It contains charcoal powder, pineapple fruit extract, and papaya fruit extract to exfoliate and purify the skin. For regular use, I found this to be a bit too drying for my dehydrated / dry skin type. That being said, I can see this mask being amazing for those who live in Toronto / Montreal during the summer where it is very hot and humid and there is significant pollution. I would probably also take this on vacation with me if I were to visit China or somewhere else that has a hotter climate with elevated levels of pollution.

For just $3.99 per mask, you really can’t go wrong with any of these. My top pick out of these three is the Moisture Bomb Glow-Boosting Super Hydrating Mask – it really helped to brighten and plump my skin.  You can pick these up now at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada, including London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, and more.

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

Holy mother of serums – La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir

Honestly, if you had told me that I would be sitting at an exclusive banquet dinner to launch the new La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir, I would have said that you must be dreaming. But alas, this did come true and in February, 2018, I attended a launch event for this serum of serums – a C$1,555 night elixir that promises to encourage skin detox, improve skin respiration, provide life-infusing skin nutrients, and boost the skin’s self-defense capabilities as you sleep.

The Platinum Cellular Night Elixir is probably one of the most expensive skincare products on the market, containing the highest concentration of La Prairie’s exclusive Cellular Complex, combined with the Advanced Platinum Complex that is exclusive to La Prairie’s platinum line. Each bottle contains only 20mL, but a tiny bit goes a very very long way (thank goodness because this stuff is $78 per mL!!!). It comes in the most beautiful bottle – designed to look like a purple diamond, with a platinum-hued dropper.

I was sent home from the event with a 3mL sample bottle, which, to be honest, I haven’t opened. If this stuff is unicorn tears, then I will be saving it for a special occasion, like for my wedding or the month after I have my first child (and need my skin to bounce back despite lack of sleep).

If you have $1,750 to spare (after tax), then get yourself to a La Prairie counter. La Prairie also offers complimentary mini-facials where you can experience this magical elixir applied on your skin first before you make the investment. I’ve had amazing results with pretty much every La Prairie product I’ve used in the past, so I’m expecting that my socks will be blown off by this one as well.

The La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir is available now at Holt Renfrew Vancouver, as well as other La Prairie counters across Canada.

Thanks to the La Prairie team for inviting me to the dinner, and for gifting me with the product.

NEW at The Body Shop, featuring Roots of Strength, Drops of Youth, and Spa of the World!

A few years ago, The Body Shop released their Oils of Life collection and everything changed for them. The Intensely Revitalizing Cream was one of my go-to moisturizers for a while, and it was comparable to a lot of the high end moisturizers that I’ve used. At the time, I was really excited to see what The Body Shop will come out with in the years to come, and I haven’t been disappointed. I was recently invited to The Body Shop to check out some of their new collections in person, and I really have to say that a lot of these products are excellent.

The collection that I was most excited to see was Roots of Strength. This multi-step range of firming and lifting products that contains your core products – an Essence Lotion (C$22), a Shaping Serum (C$42), and a Day Cream (C$34). It harnesses the power of traditional Chinese medicinal concepts using ginger root and ginseng root to strengthen and lift your skin. This range is 100% vegan, is free of mineral oil, paraffins, and petrolatum, and the serum also contains 99% ingredients of natural origins. I really like the Essence Lotion; it’s lightweight and non-sticky, and really gives my skin a good dose of hydration.

Next we have Drops of Youth, which is not a new range but is introducing some new products. Namely, a Youth Bouncy Eye Mask (C$32) and a Youth Gentle Foaming Wash (C$20) to round out the collection. The cooling Bouncy Eye Mask contains cucumber extract which is refreshing and depuffing. It’s super light and silky, so you can apply this lightly during the day, or as an overnight night mask. The light texture actually feels okay over makeup too. The Gentle Foaming Wash isn’t something I’m super into as I don’t really like self-foaming cleansers anymore, but this would be a good product for someone with combination or oily skin and still want a bit of that anti-aging.

Lastly, we have Spa of the World, which is one of my favourite The Body Shop lines. For a relatively inexpensive brand, The Body Shop does luxury spa so well. Celebrating exotic ingredients and beauty traditions from around the world, Spa of the World released four new shower products – Tahitian Tiaré Bath & Shower Oil-In-Gel, Brittany Coast Algae Bath & Shower Gel, Balkan Juniper Bath & Shower Gel, Adriatic Peony Bath & Shower Cream (C$14 each). These amazing shower products are so luxurious, despite the completely reasonable price tag. I have the Tahitian Tiaré Bath & Shower Oil-In-Gel, which smells fresh and floral, and is super hydrating. It contains honey as well as coconut oil and other oil extracts, to keep your skin nice and supple in and out of the shower. From the same collection, I also have the Brazilian Cupuaçu Exfoliating Scrub-in-Oil (C$32) which is the most decadent body scrub but with the most reasonable price. Every time I smell these products, it brings me to somewhere warm and sunny.

These new The Body Shop products are available in stores and online now!

 

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