Latest Reviews

Sunscreen -Paula's Choice -Hydralight Mineral Complex

on 9/13/2018 1:07:00 PM

I have used this sunscreen forever and it is truly a good product. It is a mineral sunscreen that isn't too heavy or too light.
It is a medium weight sunscreen that provides moisture and sun protection. It does not contain fragrance or irritating ingredients. The price is about $29 for 2 ounces and a tube lasts me about one month. There is no tint and although I am very fair, I do not notice a white cast. I have very sensitive skin and this does not irritate me. This is an excellent product however, the manufacturer of this product, Paula's Choice, has recently been sending me older tubes that are about to expire. This makes me wonder if they are getting ready to discontinue the product. I have ordered three times and each time I receive a product that is weeks away from expiring. This is the only sunscreen that my skin can tolerate and I would like to continue ordering it if I can get a tube that is not old.

Hair Treatments -Paul Mitchell -Tea Tree Scalp Care Anti-Thinning Regimen


Recommended to me by the salon I usually go to, I tried the full line up that comes in the handy 'take home kit': shampoo, conditioner, and tonic. Shampoo and conditioner I used 2-3 times weekly, and the tonic twice daily. Although I'm not that big on the PM brand, I was quite eager to try these mainly because of the ingredients in them (full of good botanicals) more than anything else.

So how effective did I find this? Remarkably good! There was a definite improvement in hair volume and the amount of my hair shedding within just the first 3 weeks of usage, although slightly at the expense of what I'm used to from shampoos and conditioners - shine, softness that kind of thing. The shampoo, creamy in texture and scented like tea tree which I love, cleared build-up from my scalp, as promised and didn't strip my hair color, although I did find it slightly drying - in itself not a problem as the conditioner used straight after balanced out the effect. Usually I find it difficult to find an effective shampoo to clear build-up but this one actually did it. As a bonus I also found it helped keep my scalp clear of the psoriasis that flares up every now and again, possibly due to the inclusion of tea tree. The foam I found slightly sticky although good at giving instant volume to my roots.

If I had one gripe it would have to be that I need to use the foam twice a day, every day. I'm more accustomed to using hair loss products that only require twice weekly or so application, this twice daily routine was quite time consuming for me. However if you want results you definitely need to put in the time and effort.

Verdict: A good product range that's worth trying out!

Selena x

~ My HG list ~

(As I've sampled many 100s of skin, hair and m/u products over the last decade and a half, I thought it might be useful to share my top 10 must-have products, subject to change if and when I come across something more effective. I love constantly trying out new stuff - usually sample sizes via e-bay, also plenty courtesy of a friend who works at Sephora)

1. Hair Loss Treatment: ‘Divine Herbal’ - Hair Oil
2. Lip Balm: 'Nuxe' - Reve De Miel Lip Balm
3. Pigmentation + Anti-Ageing Treatment: ‘Divine Herbal’ - Facial Treatment Serum
4. Cleanser: 'Paula's Choice' - Skin Balancing Cleanser
5. Concealer: ‘Mac’ - Studio Finish Concealer
6. Lash Growth Serum: ‘Divine Herbal’ - Divinelash
7. Foundation/SPF: ‘Juice Beauty’ - Stem Cellular Repair (warm glow)
8. Face Scrub: ‘Sisley' - Botanical Gentle Buffing Cream
9. Moisturizer: ‘Antipodes' - Rejoice Light Day Cream
10. Hand Cream: 'Origins' - Make A Difference Rejuvenating Hand Treatment

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Mascara -Pacifica -Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara

on 9/13/2018 12:38:00 PM


I have to echo almost everything Tovah said in her review. Loving this mascara! I’m on my 2nd tube of Stellar Gaze length & strength. It gives very nice length, volume, and is EASILY buildable from a day-look to VAVAVOOM lashes (NO spider lashes). What I do NOT love is the brush. It’s like a HUGE spikey Xmas tree from a model train set. During application I MUST be careful to avoid getting it all over my lids. But, it performs so well, I’m willing to work around that. On a day when absolute total perfection was needed, I might chose Lancôme because inevitably, I have to scrape some Pacifica off my lid. But, all other days, I choose Stellar Gaze because I can QUICKLY achieve lovely, long, voluminous lashes that hold curl, feel soft, do not smudge or flake (unless I use eye drops with mineral oil in them). Fairly easy to remove at night. For under $15US, that’s a win!

It’s a bonus that this formula is vegan, GF, cruelty free, and uses more natural ingredients. Tovah mentioned it was hydrating. That made me realize that lately I’ve had less lash loss, therefore longer length in my own lashes lately. Nothing else in my routine has changed so, it’s very possible this is an added benefit of the Pacifica mascara. YMMV

(Supernova is black, Stardust is brown.) Often found in Target stores. Check for sales and Cartwheel.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Fragrances -Unlisted Brand -By Rosie Jane James EDP


This is phenomenal. I have long wanted to try the By Rosie Jane line, as I had seem them on Beautyhabit, but no one had them in stock near me. Now Sephora carries a few of the line (Tilly, James, Rosie) and I was able to test these ultra affordable niche scents out for myself. The 4 scents are based on Rosie's interpretation of the seasons, and James is the Autumn one (but I feel could be worn year round). The notes are simple but delicious: fig, gardenia, amber. It is unisex (and I have tried it out on SO as well as myself) and it is glorious. Definitely in my top ten best scents. The fig is warm and earthy, the gardenia is sweet and buttery, and the amber envelops it all in a cozy cashmere sweater. This is not an overly heavy fragrance--I did find myself respraying before I left the house this morning. Not because it had faded, but because I wanted to smell that dry fig opening one more time. Even with the gardenia I can see why this is the embodiment of Fall. So gorgeous, and the travel spray is only $20.
Side note: I did enjoy Rosie (Winter) and Tilly (Summer) as well, and wish I could find Leila Lou to try (Spring) ---but I may just buy the travel oil set of all 4 on Beautyhabit so that I may review them all properly. James, though, is definitely a winner.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Cleansers -Soap & Glory -Peaches And Clean Wash-Off Deep Cleansing Milk

on 9/13/2018 12:03:00 PM


I really wanted to love this cleanser. The scent is absolutely amazing (peachy-mint), and the milky consistency left my skin feeling clean and soft but not stripped. However, it also seemed to aggravate my skin. Every time I used it, my face would turn blotchy and irritated. I have very sensitive skin though, so it’s possible someone with a less reactive complexion would love this cleanser.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Cleansers -No Brand (DIY or homemade) -Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

on 9/13/2018 12:01:00 PM


Run!!! Months ago I used grapeseed oil for my moisturizer.. it was working for a few weeks, my skin was soft and even, even my under eye circles were gone.. after a few weeks my skin became dry/dehydrated.. was not moisturizing at all..

One month ago I started using it for ocm and I would do anything I could to go back in time and say “stay away”!! The first few weeks my skin looked healthy and glowing.. two weeks in, I was developing under the skin bumps around my cheek, some come to a head while others stayed under the skin.. it eventually went to my other cheek and temples..

i stopped after one month of usage.. stopping definitely helped a little but I noticed the under the skin bumps were still spreading. Bacteria was feasting on the oil.. I got Persa gel 10 which is BP and spread it all over the areas. At bedtime and during the day under makeup.. after only 3 days of BP I can tell it’s helping with the Hyperpigmentation, and clearing it up.. at this rate I expect it to be gone in a week.. if you have sensitive skin, you may want to try a lower BP%. Persa gel was slightly drying but I didn’t mind. I’m alo on antibiotics for 1.5 months (doxy) to rid the infection.

Hopefully this helps with those who have had similar experiences. I will never go near an oil again for my face. This is not the only time I’ve used products with oil and broke out. (The other products weren’t natural products either). My skin can’t handle oil or any heavy moisturizers, even oils with high Linoleic acid.. my skin always has been flawless with minimal skin care treatments.. it was at its best with washing with cool water in the shower and using non Comedogenic makeup. I’m done trying to find skincare products that work for me.. going back to water only after I eradicate my acne..

2 of 3 people found this helpful.

Makeup Brushes -Hakuhodo -J5523 Eyeshadow Brush

on 9/13/2018 11:47:00 AM


The fact that this brand was difficult for me to obtain (small town in Canada) had me waiting a long time before making an order, after I missed out in finding the shop in Tokyo... turns out, yes, I did get hit with custom fees when ordering from Hakuhodo, on top of the shipping fee. Still, it was an experience like never before with saikoho!

I used to use brushes mainly available to me without being ordered online because I like to see/touch the brushes prior to purchasing, but I was glad I took a leap of faith (am I sounding dramatic yet) but these are honestly the softest goat hair brushes I have felt, and at such a reasonable price point! I can't believe how many backups of the MAC 217 I used to purchase before finding this gem. Honestly, there is no other way to describe it other than ':|' (Granted Mac does have one soft goat brushe prior to going synthetic with the MAC 222.)

I would purchase these again but the custom fees do make me cringe. I am definitely going to try to find the Hakuhodo shop next time I am in Japan as there is no IMATS that comes near me.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Lipstick -NARS Cosmetics -Casablanca

on 9/13/2018 11:46:00 AM


This is a unique peach shade I ordered from the Nars site since I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I am a sucker for peach lipsticks and I have yet to find one that doesn’t read as nude, pastel, bright, or coral, and Casablanca totally fits that bill. It’s almost straight up medium orange (with a tinge of pink/coral) but is so well balanced that it looks great on my cool-leaning olive skin tone.

Casablanca isn’t totally opaque (it’s not a sheer though, if you have Nars Niagara, it’s the same opacity/consistency) but a few extra swipes will achieve rich, dewy color that seems to melt into your lips. I have really pigmented lips though fyi.

This one of the original formula crème/satin Nars lipsticks, which is a formula I really love. I don’t find it drying at all, and it’s very comfortable to wear all day. It doesn’t emphasize texture, which can be an issue for me. It’s not bulletproof in the least but it fades evenly and is easy to reapply. I actually love the way it looks at the end of the day after a few reapplications.

Casablanca is making me feel ~philosophical~ about makeup. It’s a shade that’s been around for a minute but it doesn’t necessarily have a retro vibe…I guess it’s making me nostalgic for simpler makeup times. The formula of these older Nars lipsticks is so elegant; they don’t have that “newest greatest longest lasting fanciest” feel with the accompanying product turnaround and fatigue. They aren’t “perfect” by our modern makeup standards, but they have a certain mystery—the shades are inspired even if they seem standard. You can sense the artistry vs. the technology and industry that is so rampant these days. I can see someone, Francois Nars probably, sitting and thinking about the city of Casablanca (or even the movie, or any other source of inspiration), how it looks, how it feels, until the perfect shade comes to him. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but it’s how I feel. I do appreciate so many of today’s makeup innovations (my foundation would not stay on my face otherwise), and I do recognize there is a ton of creativity happening in the makeup world, but like I said, I do miss when it was simpler.

Anyway, great lipstick lol

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Lip Gloss -Smashbox -Be Legendary Liquid Lip Gloss in Rose B4 Bros

on 9/13/2018 11:15:00 AM


I'm pleasantly surprised by this. I bought it as part of a Sephora nude favorites lip kit, and Mauve Wife was the Smashbox included with it, which is kind of a medium nude mauve or a light to medium plum, I guess.

I am not always a fan of glosses and liquid lipsticks, and out of the kit I wasn't expecting to like this one so much, but it's my favorite of the six offerings (it also included Nars Orgasm lipstick, a Tarte matte lip paint, a Buxom gloss, an Urban Decay veil topper, and an Hourglass pencil). I thought for sure I'd like the Hourglass best, because it's closest to a lipstick, and while I do like it, I happen to love this.

For starters it applies very comfortably, and is very smooth and is a bit like vaseline, but sticks more, if that makes sense. It's more like it's got that comfy slip but still maintains a bit of grip. The color is pretty, and buildable. A swipe and it's more natural and sheer looking, but a bit more product and it's a full-on lip look. There's not any scent or flavor I can discern. Mainly I just check that it won't get on my teeth (by doing the finger in the mouth thing) and making sure it's applied neatly so there's no smudging. Once it's set I leave it alone, and I find it has really good staying power. I've even put it on before a workout, and while getting sweaty and sipping lots of water, I still felt this on my lips after the workout was done. It had faded some, but it I could still feel it on me, and my lips had that nice feel like I had a good balm on them.

Overall, a really good performer.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Lips -Tarte Cosmetics -Tartiest Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint

on 9/13/2018 10:52:00 AM


I have a mini of this from a Sephora nude lip kit, in Exposed, described as a rosy nude.

It's a pretty color, kind of a light warm nude that leans a bit pink. It's pretty pale, even on my light lips, but not so pale that it looks like I'm wearing concealer on them.

I'm not really a fan of matte liquid lipsticks, but this is pretty good. It applies well and sets quickly. I'm not sure if that quick-setting formula would work well with a really dark or vibrant shade, if you're not super accurate applying lipstick. Otherwise, keep a makeup wipe handy. For a quick-drying matte formula it's pretty comfortable, and there's a bit of give there, so my lips don't feel like they're shellacked in some flat adhesive. It's not drying in feel either, but on the flip, it's not moisturizing either. Staying power is decent. It does make my lips look a bit dry, so it's not a go-to for me, but it's the kind of thing you can put on before a meeting and sip coffee or nibble carefully on a bagel or something, and it won't let you down.

Would I buy it if I ran out? No. It's not a slam on the formula or anything. It's good and does what it is designed to do. I just personally prefer to put my money on something that feels more moisturizing and looks dewier on my lips, even if it means more frequent reapplications. But if you sought a matte lip that keeps you looking a bit polished throughout a morning of meetings or something comparable, this is does the job.

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