Monday, March 27, 2017

Gliss by Schwarzkopf Ultimate Repair & Ultra+ Moisture Hair Care Review

A few weeks ago I attended the Canadian launch of Gliss Hair Repair – a popular European brand that is now available at Shoppers Drug Mart. As I entered the warm loft decorated with colorful bottles of shampoo and conditioner, I also noticed a hand painted caricature of myself on the wall which fittingly captures my long, thick mane. As the night progressed I learned more about these fantastic smelling products and heard positive feedback from other beauty gurus who can’t seem to get enough of these effective formulas.

I decided to test two collections suited to my hair type – Ultimate Repair to mend damage and Ultra+ Moisture which hydrates dry, unruly strands. The other choices include: Color Guard (with 12 weeks of color protection), Oil Nutritive and Ultra Volume.

Ultimate Repair is formulated with 3X liquid keratin to help reinforce and rebuild weak hair fibers that have been damaged from things like heat styling, coloring, weather, pollution and daily stress. It is formulated to boost shine up to 90% while restoring health and improving texture. The range has a nice scent (not heavily perfumed, yet strong enough to pleasantly fragrance) with jojoba and castor oil so hair feels clean and fresh instead of stripped and brittle. It also removes build-up, excess oil and impurities while preparing your locks to absorb more moisture.

Since I have long thick hair, the consistency of the conditioner is a bit thin for deep hydration but it is light enough to detangle or co-wash frequently without the formation of heavy residue. I have to use a generous amount to evenly coat and saturate my lengths but once combed through and left on for a few minutes, my hair feels soft, smooth and replenished. In order to get the most from this line I definitely need a deep conditioner at least once a week and although the collection does come with one I don’t think it is currently available at local drugstores.

The Leave-in spray is a light treatment that helps fortify with a final blast of liquid keratin before styling. Although it does not seem to offer thermal protection, it does help eliminate lingering tangles and create a sleek finish.

Since I didn’t get quite enough hydration from the Repair line I decided to try the Ultra+ Moisture Collection which replenishes from the inside out with 19 key ingredients. The shampoo (like most shampoos) basically works the same - it cleanses from root to tip and foams away dirt, oil and other gunk to unblock hair follicles and purify the scalp. This blend also contains sulfate but it isn’t particularly harsh and I like the scent.

The Conditioner contains ginseng root and protein (among other things) to reduce breakage by up to 85%. Although I find the formula quite thin for my hair type, it did provide a bit more moisture than the Repair line and sometimes I mix both conditioners to form the perfect rejuvenating treatment. For best results I leave the conditioner on while showering (approximately 10-15 mins) which allows the steam to enhance penetration. My hair feels soft, bouncy, light and smooth with a little extra body and shine.

The Express Repair Leave-in Spray separates into an orange liquid and a milky conditioner so make sure to shake well before use. I love how silky this makes my hair feel and when I wear my hair curly (instead of flat ironing it straight) it meshes well with my other leave-ins to rejuvenate my curls and keep them neat. This collection may also be beneficial for preventing split-ends, frizz and roughness.

These products retail for $9.99 each at Shoppers Drug Mart

Monday, March 20, 2017

L’Oreal Hydra Genius Skincare Review & New Micellar Water

It’s the time of year when most of us are trying to manage dry skin and maintain a healthy glow despite harsh weather, indoor heating and odd temperature fluctuations as we move into spring. L’Oreal’s new skincare range is light enough for all seasons and formulated with 3 types of Hyaluronic Acid to reduce water loss, plump, smooth and improve skin’s natural moisture barrier.

The products are inspired by Korean skincare and have a light water base that penetrates fast with an invigorating sensation and continuous hydration. The liquid care for oily and normal/dry skin comes in bottles with a rejuvenating gel-serum consistency. One formula mattfies to control shine and smooth skin texture while the other has a radiant, supple finish for a youthful glow. The soothing aloe and cool water infusion feels like a refreshing drink for the skin as it revives parched areas and absorbs quickly with no residue. Once set the hydration is very light so I usually apply more or layer with moisturizer. Since the texture isn’t creamy, I barely notice it on my skin and both formulas help create an even canvass for makeup application without becoming greasy during the day. The Liquid Care retails for $23.99 each.

If you need even more hydration (which I do) I layer the liquid care with the 72 hour comforting cream which has a richer texture and the same cool alleviation for dryness relief. The cream seeps in instantly and nourishes with layers of velvety moisture while protecting against pollution, UV rays and dehydration. Skin feels soft, resilient and silky with a luminous finish and adding a lush oil creates a revitalizing night treatment to lock in moisture. The cream retails for $23.99.

The new Micellar Water removes long wear makeup (including waterproof formulas) and lifts away impurities, dirt and excess oil with no harsh rubbing. It is also gentle enough to use on the eyes and lips without irritation or stinging. The entire bottle is equal to 200 makeup wipes and the solution is free of oil, fragrance, alcohol and soap so it leaves skin clean and fresh instead of dry and tight. Although I still recommend washing your face with cleanser, the Micellar Water is an excellent first step and helps loosen stubborn mascara, heavy foundation and faint lipstick stains. Although I didn’t notice a substantial difference between this formula and a few others I’ve tried, it is quite effective. 

L'Oreal is available at drugstores nationwide

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quo Cosmetics 2017 Limited Edition Spring Collection Review

Quo’s new spring collection features colorful marbled packaging and fresh, uplifting shades inspired by a mellow color palette.

From highlighter, blush, bronzer, shadow and lip crayons, the range includes some of the season’s softest hues contrasted with bright pops of color and warm summery tints.

The Down To Earth Face Palette contains 3 highlighters, 2 bronzers and a peachy-pink blush that is perfect for the season. With the exception of the bottom right bronzer which has a beautiful orange undertone that can also be used as blush, all the powders have subtle pigmentation. The highlighter at the top right has a beautiful luminous finish for a natural glow while the other two are sheer and pale. Although the silky texture is easy to blend, the formula lacks intensity and isn't very buildable. On fair skin these mild shades may work but I prefer richer pigment.

The Heat It Up Palette contains light pastel hues and a pink blush that transmits sheer and vibrant. The shimmery hues (top right and bottom left) provide a lovely sheen but the beige bronzer disappears on my skin tone and the lightest powders are a bit bland and chalky. It’s a shame that the color payoff isn’t better because the packaging is gorgeous! The face palettes retail for $20.00 each.

The Eye Shadow Palettes ($18.00) are a bit better in terms of pigmentation but you still need a good primer and some layering to achieve anything close to full-coverage saturation. No Pressure contains smokey plum and 3 iridescent hues that appear sheer and almost identical on the skin. Although the mint, pink and yellow tints are overshadowed by a strong silver undertone, the frosty finishes can be used to highlight the face.

Rock It includes navy, brown, peach and cream with sheer color payoff. The blue adds more depth for crease shaping and definition but you still need to pack on the pigment and maybe pair these shadows with others in your collection to enhance their effect.

The Brow Palette comes with 2 powders, 1 highlighter, eyebrow cream and a double-sided applicator. The deepest brown is a bit ashy but still rich enough to fill in sparse areas so brows appear natural and full. The sheer highlighter provides just enough coverage to help accentuate the shape of your brows and the cream helps tame unruly hairs to keep everything neat. For just $12.00 the palette is handy for travel and quite stylish!

I didn’t have great results with some of the face powders but I love the Matte Lip Crayons! The slender shape is perfect for outlining and filling in color and the creamy, lightweight texture feels soft and comfortable without drying out the lips. The bright red is stunning and the smooth, velvety texture glides across the skin effortlessly to provide vivid color that can be layered and intensified. The crayons retail for $12.00 each and twist-up for easy access (no sharpening required).

Quo Cosmetics is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dior Addict Lacquer Stick Review

Dior is a trendsetter when it comes to revolutionizing style and the new Lacquer Sticks are effortlessly chic. Inspired by fearless young women who like to experiment with makeup, this unique lipstick-lacquer hybrid combines rich pigment, comfort and liquid shine in one easy to use formula.

Available in 18 show-stopping shades the lacquers are sheathed in elegant plum tubes and the slender sticks are perfect for maneuvering around the lip contour.

The texture is smooth and ultra hydrating with a blend of 5 lightweight, nourishing oils chosen for their radiance boosting abilities. The vibrant color glides across the lips with a fondant-like effect and melts to form a lush, reflective finish. The brightest and deepest shades seem to emit the most color payoff and each lacquer is 44% more transparent than a classic lipstick resulting in sheer to full coverage with the versatility to be enhanced or blurred.

The striking pureness of the richest hues is definitely comparable to a lacquer but the finish is light and moist, similar to a balm with the vividness of a lip cream. The luminosity creates a beautiful, volumizing sheen and the spectrum showcases the coolest trends of the season including: pastel, neon, classic and wild.

With normal wear the lacquers hold up for a few hours but like most lip products they transfer during meals and fade with direct contact. Even as the color wears away, the formula continues to condition dry skin and keep your pout supple with no stickiness. Reapplication is easy and you can adjust the intensity to suit your needs.

The Lacquer Sticks retail for $43.00 each available at Dior counters nationwide including Sephora and Hudson’s Bay.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rodial Smokey Eye Sculpt Eyeshadow Palette & Suede Lip Crayon Review

You may be familiar with Rodial’s innovative skincare but the brand also makes impressive makeup for effortless everyday looks and glamorous occasions.

The new Smokey Eye Palette ($45.00) caters to my style perfectly because it includes flattering shades I wear on a daily basis. If you are looking for a travel-friendly collection of neutrals, deep hues and all your basics then this little compact is great!

I like that the central lid color is shimmery gold while the supporting colors for highlighting, contouring and creating definition are silky mattes. The shadows are well balanced and expertly matched to create depth and contrast with a nice range of crease and transition shades.

I use the deep brown to begin shaping my crease, smoke-out the outer corners and lower lash line with some black, apply the gold to my lids and inner tear ducts, transition upwards with the beige or caramel and highlight under the brows with the matte cream. With this palette you really can’t go wrong and the blendable texture provides long-lasting wear, buildable coverage and versatile saturation to adjust intensity. Slip it in your purse or weekend tote and you have a handy little palette for a night out.  

The Suede Lip Crayon ($30.00) is available in 3 beautiful shades with a full-coverage, creamy formula that saturates lips in intense matte pigment. Enriched with vitamin E for comfort and hydration, the rich color glides on smooth and consistent making it easy to shape and outline the lip contour. I would have preferred twist-up packaging since I don’t like sharpening but I love these crayons!

Rodial is available Murale

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Joe Fresh Beauty Review: 2017 Spring Collection & New Makeup

It has been a while since I featured anything new from Joe Fresh and along with their casual yet stylish fashion, the makeup is also quite trendy! I’ve been using the vibrant lip crèmes and luminous highlighters since the brand's last big product launch and today I’m excited to share some great items that have been released in time for spring.

The Single Eyeshadows Retail for $6.00 each or 2 for $10.00 and the silky shades range from neutrals to deep smoky hues in matte, subtle glitter and shimmer finishes. What I like most about these shadows is their simplicity. The colors are flattering, soft and effortless with the ability to be intensified and layered for more coverage.

The pigmentation is versatile with good color payoff and the formula is easy to work with. You can pick out a few favourites to mix and match or pair them with other shades in your collection. They also come in handy while traveling.

My top picks are Pretty Penny (shimmery gold) and Champagne which is a great neutral for everyday wear.

A pretty tinted balm on a warm spring day provides the perfect wash of complexion boosting color. The Joe Fresh Balms are available in 10 gorgeous shades loaded with antioxidants, shea butter, passion fruit oil, grapeseed, sunflower, rosehip and avocado to soften, hydrate, strengthen and repair damaged lips. I love the sweet fruity scent and the sheer, shiny color is revitalizing, lightweight, non-sticky and radiant. If you like tinted balms you should definitely give these a try, they retail for $12.00 each.

If you love a good highlighter (as most makeup junkies do) then you need to get the Pink Pearl luminizing stick! The smooth, velvety texture glides on evenly and dewy for perfect application exactly where you want it. The finish transforms from a lightweight cream to a satiny powder so it sets well and can be blended out with a finger or brush. The pigmentation is great so you can achieve a subtle glow or a dramatic effect and this shade is suitable for all skin tones. The Highlighter Stick retails for $10.00.

I wasn’t quite sure how The Universal Brow Crayon ($12.00) was going to work for everyone since the shade is light brown and doesn’t seem to adjust. As it turns out it didn’t match my hair color and left behind an ashy streak that wasn’t nearly dark enough. I like that pomade texture holds hairs in place but a few more shades would have been nice.

Joe Fresh beauty is available at Shoppers Drug Mart

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kérastase Nutritive Hair Care Review

When it comes to preventing dry hair it’s imperative to use products that retain moisture, repair and soften. Harsh weather can cause brittleness, split-ends or roughness and when you combine those factors with indoor heating systems, styling tools and dye, hair can become stripped and dull.

The Kérastase Nutritive Collection is designed to nourish severely dried out hair with a complex blend of protein and conditioners. It also protects against styling damage, environmental fluctuations and daily stress by fortifying and repairing.

The Bain Magistral Shampoo ($43.00) smells amazing and gently removes build-up, oil and impurities with a rich, invigorating lather. Although the formula contains sulfate, it doesn’t make my hair feel dry, fragile or coarse. The shampoo purifies and balances from root to tip leaving hair fresh and silky without weighing it down. I also like that and it rinses clean without any film or grease and my long, thick hair feels completely revitalized.

The Fondant Magistral Conditioner ($48.00) is formulated for dry, thin hair and although my hair is far from thin, it still works as a light restorative treatment that hydrates and detangles. I usually apply a generous amount to create slip and use my Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash Brush to evenly distribute the product and coat each strand. I leave it on for about 10 minutes while in the shower which allows the steam to increase absorption, soften and create a smooth glossy finish.

If you have dry hair, one of the most effective products is a good deep conditioner so I use a masque at least once a week to reduce breakage, promote new growth and maintain a healthy mane. The Nutri-Thermique ($66.00) protects hair fibers, strengthens, intensely hydrates and rejuvenates. The recommended treatment time is 5-10 minutes but I leave it on for 30-40 minutes to smooth and completely revive parched ends. After use my hair is incredibly soft, sleek and lustrous for days!

Whether I’m flat ironing my hair straight or embracing my natural curls, a good leave-in is essential for maintaining moisture. The Crème Magistrale ($48.00) can be applied to damp, clean hair prior to styling or as a finishing product. The lush, fragrant formula works like a revitalizing lotion to hydrate, prevent breakage, tame frizz and flyaways, improve the appearance of split-ends, and instantly soften. Curls and waves appear neat, bouncy and well formed with added shine and body.

For more info or to find a list of salons for purchase click HERE

Friday, March 10, 2017

Clarins Spring 2017 Makeup Collection Review: Contouring Perfection

The Clarins Spring Collection is not your average range of pastels and florals. The brand has strayed from conventional color palettes and incorporated cool grey tones elegantly contrasted with fresh blush, subtle contouring and innovative multi-functional liners that are perfect for the modern woman.

The Face Contouring Palette includes a highlighter, shading powder and neutral blush in 3 universal, easy-to-use shades. All of the powders have a silky matte texture that is easy to blend, layer and enhance for seamless coverage. The highlighter seems to have a subtle pink undertone that makes it more flattering on the skin and although it starts off quite sheer, the formula is buildable for more illumination. At first glance I wasn’t convinced the contour shade would be deep enough on my complexion but I was pleasantly surprised! The pigment may seem a bit light but it can be intensified into a rich mid-tone brown that creates natural definition or deeper sculpting for a chiseled profile. The blush also appears darker on the skin and emits a gorgeous flush of soft pink and berry-bronze with a radiant finish. To fully appreciate these simple yet stunning pigments you may have to swatch them for yourself but the palette works wonders and is perfect for beginners learning to contour. It retails for $49.00 and also comes with a handy little brush.

The Jolie Rouge Brilliant Lipsticks ($29.00) are smooth, buttery and hydrating with 3 new shades to choose from. Tender Nude has a pearly pink undertone that enhances the natural shade of your lips and nourishes dry skin with mango seed oil. The sheer, luminous finish is beautiful and compliments most makeup looks effortlessly.

The 4-Color Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky is my favorite item in the collection. The range of grey tones with silver, platinum, and charcoal create a variety of stunning effects that can go from light and fresh to dark and sultry. The texture isn’t ultra creamy but the pigments have good color payoff and dampening them increases saturation. The deepest shade is great for crease definition and accentuating the lower lash line while the iridescent pearl highlights and brightens. The palette retails for $45.00.

The Ombre Iridescent Flash of Light Single Shadow in the shade Silver Grey is luxurious and reflective. The soft, creamy texture glides on rich and highly saturated for ultra shimmery, full-coverage color that lasts all day without fading or creasing. The dazzling micro-glitter particles reflect light to create mesmerizing metallic shine and paired with a deep crease shade like charcoal or navy, the effect is glamorous. The shadow retails for $26.00 and come in a variety of shades.

The 4-Color All-In-One Pen is one of the most innovative products to hit the beauty scene. It contains 3 eyeliners (dark brown, navy and black) plus one nude lip liner. 

To use simply push down on one of the interchanging colors, twist to reveal more of the pencil (no need to sharpen) and then click another color to snap it back up. This sleek pen is ideal for travel and the liners glide on smoothly with great pigmentation to outline, shape and define. Although the pencils don’t seem to be waterproof, they still hold up well and retail for $44.00.

Clarins is available at department stores nationwide, and Sephora
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