It has only been a week, but I already cannot live without this blush. I bought it thinking I would only take the time to contour my nose and cheekbones for special occasions. Well, this product is so easy to use and foolproof that I have been applying it on a daily basis. The colour payoff is a lot less than I expected from looking at the pan. This is GREAT because it's why it works so well for people of different skin colours. I use NYX HD Foundation and Concealer in a Pot in 'medium', and Taupe is a perfect contouring shade. I use an angled eyeshadow brush and do 2 swipes over the pan (1 each side) before applying. I do one line on either side of my nose, and one under each cheekbone. The angled brush lets me get a fine line in the nose area (to be blended out later). I do 2 applications per area: the first application is faint on my darker skin, but is still visible, so I can see if I don't like where I've put it! The second application intensifies the colour to the point where it would be noticeable if I don't blend it out. I use the same brush to blend outward in 4 or 5 quick swipes. I am a very lazy person when it comes to makeup in the morning, but this blush is so foolproof, it adds seconds to my morning routine. The colour doesn't fade throughout the day, and I am careful to pat and not swipe with my touch-up powder throughout the day. By the end of a 14-hour day, the edges of the contour lines may have "bled" a little to be less defined, but nothing a quick finger swipe wouldn't fix! I ordered this off Cherry Culture for $4.50 CAD (doesn't include shipping). This is much cheaper than the $8.99 CAD local drugstores and grocery stores were going to charge me! Even with the addition of shipping, it comes out to be more economical to order it online (unless you get a lucky customs check!). However, Canadians looking for the product to swatch can find it at select Save-on-Foods and London Drugs. Lastly, NYX doesn't test on animals - a final plus!
Lip Treatments -Burt's Bees - Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter
cindy604 11/9/2012 3:17:00 PM
This product came with the pomegranate and original Burt's Bees balms in a cute little tin for $10.99CAD at Save-on-Foods. To be honest, the tin was really what convinced me to buy the set more than anything. I am a big fan of the original balm, and just lukewarm about the pomegranate version. Turns out the mango butter version is also just average for me. It does what a lip balm should: moisturize the lips. It's soft and melts on your lips upon application. Even in the dead of Canadian winters, I've never had an issue with it not gliding easily. The smell is absolutely delicious and is the main reason I reach for it over the pomegranate balm. However, it doesn't last very long on my lips, and in harsh winters I need something waxier to protect them from wind chap (Burt's Bees original). It also doesn't really rehydrate dry lips, more just coat them in a bit of mango-flavoured oil. It disappears after I eat or drink anything since it's quite thin in texture, but that's also part of the reason as to why it applies like a dream. On its own, the balm is $4.50CAD before tax, and can be found in any drugstore. I won't repurchase on its own, but if it came as part of a set I would use it up before buying anything else. It's not a bad product, just not quite hefty enough to justify the high price tag. The smell is truly divine, and the product is cruelty-free!
Primer/ Corrector -Unlisted Brand - Milk of Magnesia
cindy604 11/9/2012 3:06:00 PM
I use the Phillips brand of MoM in original with no extra flavours. Like most reviewers, I have been searching high and low for something to help keep my oily skin under control. My issues are mainly in the T-zone with a forehead and nose so shiny and reflective on their own, I recently had to have my passport picture taken 5 times before it was accepted. But that's just how shiny my skin is even without the help of oil which comes on usually an hour after I've washed my face. I apply the MoM only in the AM after my face moisturizer and acne spot treatment. Shake the MoM well before applying it to your face or else you'll get a lot of supernatant (clear, separated liquid) and little magnesium hydroxide (white powdery stuff that absorbs the oil). I press a cotton pad to the mouth of the Phillip's bottle and tip it on its head for a second so I don't get too much of it on the pad. Then, I dab it across my forehead, down my nose, and on my chin. I then go back and start patting the MoM in where I've dabbed. I let everything dry for 30 seconds or so before applying my sunscreen and makeup. Sometimes, if I overload the MoM or don't pat it in well enough, I will notice some white streaks. This isn't usually an issue as it gets blended out by the sunscreen and makeup after. The finish is quite satiny, and my makeup does glide over the areas where I've applied MoM much easier. As for the mattifying aspect of this product, it is amazing. I didn't expect it to keep my quite so shine-free for an entire day (and it doesn't), but it does well enough into hour 6. I don't even use powder to touch up anymore - just blot with a tissue and I'm good again for another 4 or so hours. The product is alkali (basic) in nature, so I don't lather it on like I would with silicone-based primers. In fact, I only focus it on my T-zone where I do notice a drying effect after many days of usage in a row. So, I make sure I exfoliate regularly and I have no issues with flakes or breakouts. I paid $5.99CAD for 500mL of Phillip's original MoM at Walmart. At the rate that I'm going at, the bottle will probably last me 10 years. I won't complain about that!
Cleansers -Olay - Sensitive Skin Foaming Face Wash
cindy604 11/8/2012 1:53:00 AM
This was my second ever facial cleanser when I was around 10 years old and just starting to venture into the world of skincare. After a terrible experience with the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne wash, I turned to this to help calm my skin. The product does not foam easily, but a dime-sized amount with some work between the palms will generate enough coverage for my face. I didn't wear makeup at the time, so I can't speak on its removal abilities. After splashing with warm water, my face was clean but not too tight. I still felt the need for a facial moisturizer (Olay sensitive at the time), but it wasn't unbearable like the Neutrogena was. This product didn't help to reduce my breakouts, but it didn't do anything to aggravate it either. Thinking back to how it felt, I doubt it would remove my makeup without the help of toner today. However, I can't deny that it would be a solid staple for those without major acne issues and for those who wear minimal makeup. It's a good, clean-cut cleanser that does what it claims to do without breaking the bank. I won't repurchase, but will recommend to friends who fit the above description. Also, Olay is unfortunately not cruelty-free. This plays into my non-repurchasing decision, but not into the product rating itself (I believe the product performance is a separate item from the company policy).
This was my first face wash when I was 10 years old or so and starting to find a need for a skincare regime (puberty break-outs, anyone?). It's still around after so many years, and I expect it will be for many more to come. The product itself is a liquid dispensed in a pump. A dime-sized amount foams up enough to cover my whole face. Some work is required to get the foam to pop up - you definitely want to do this between your hands rather than on your face where you will likely end up with little foam and a lot of slime. Even without any other cleansers to compare it to at the time, I knew that I really disliked this cleanser. It was incredibly drying and my skin had hundreds of dry, white lines after rinsing. It was what drove me to need a facial moisturizer in the first place. However, I might have put up with all this, or at least thought it was the norm, if it had taken care of my breakouts at the time. I went through an entire bottle with no improvements. I can see that this will be a first-time cleanser for many teenagers to come, and I really hope it works for many of them. It was just terrible for myself, and I now compare every other cleanser I ever touch to my face to this one as the bottom standard. Also, Neutrogena is unfortunately not cruelty-free, but I don't include that as part of my rating as the product performance is a separate item from the company's policies.
I have this concealer in medium for my Asian, tanned skin with yellow undertones. The colour match is perfect, and I can wear it on its own without powder or foundation to alter its hue. On most days I set it with a translucent powder (needed for my oily face in general), and on days when I wear foundation, I apply the concealer after foundation so I don't rub it off applying the foundation. The perfect colour match makes this doable. The product is easily blended into the skin with a satin (neither cakey or matte or sparkly) finish. I apply it with an Ecotools concealer brush. I just do 2 to 3 swipes on the product and that's good enough for dabbing under one eye and on one or two imperfections (so about 6 swipes for both sides of my face). That may sound like a lot, but the product is fairly firm in consistency, and after a month of steady use, I've barely scratched the top. At this rate I estimate the jar will last me a minimum of 6 months (probably closer to 10). The best part about this concealer is that it does not slide around or fade after a long day. I have oily skin with very oily eye lids and concealer usually shifts or fades to an extent. Living in harsh Canadian winters, it also endures a lot of transitions from the freezing outdoors to heated indoors. Even after a workout, this stuff stays on! I remove it simply with my Dr. Bronner's dilution and water with no extra tugging needed. I paid $4.13 CAD (regular $5.50 CAD) for 7g (0.25oz) before shipping on Cherry Culture. That is infinitely cheaper than the $9.99 CAD drugstores were going to charge me, even after shipping! For over 6 months of use, the price is amazing. For Canadians looking to buy or swatch in-store, only select Save-on-Foods and London Drugs carry NYX. Best part of all: it carries the bunny-stamp of approval for cruelty-free beauty! Happy shopping!
Coming from Prestige's My Biggest Lashes, I was looking for a product that gave me similar definition with marginally less smudging. The NYX Doll Eye Long Lash mascara is it. Depending on how long the tube lasts, the rating may be upped to 5 lippies. The product itself has a thinner formula than most mascaras, but that lends itself to really finely coating each lash and extending it to the skies. This mascara doesn't give extreme, thick, full volume even with multiple (4+) coats, but the separation and definition you get makes it look like you've doubled the number of lashes anyway. It holds a curl until the end of the day for me, and gives you 'doll-like' fluttery lashes. It's harder to remove at the end of the day than Prestige's MBL, but that's why it doesn't smudge at all for me even through harsh Canadian winters where my eyes are watering in the wind and I'm constantly going from the freezing outdoors to heated indoors. I just use a bit of coconut oil on a cotton pad and swipe to remove any my Dr. Bronner's dilution missed. The price is fair. I got mine online at Cherry Culture for $6.75 USD. The regular price is $9.00 USD, but it's constantly on sale. Without customs tax and shipping charges, it's a much better deal than buying it at Save-on-Foods in Canada which charges $10.99 CAD. As a plus (and a must for myself), NYX is cruelty-free and bears the rabbit symbol on all their products. A repurchase for me!
Update: I had to remove a lippy as I noticed the liner was slightly fading by the end of a 10+ hour day (5 lippies reserved for HG status). However, note that there is still no smudging at the corners of my eyes! It's still the best liner I've found to date, and I stand by all my other original comments below. I will be happy to repurchase until (if) I find anything better. ------------------------- This liner applies like a dream - it doesn't skip or drag across my eyelid. The colour payoff is great, and I don't have to go back and forth to get a solid line. What I am most impressed with is its ability to hold a point and how little I need per application. Usually with such soft liners I have to sharpen every 3 or 4 days to get the fine line I want, but with the Smoothliner, I don't see a need to sharpen even in 1 to 2 weeks! It's almost gel-like in its consistency and less soft and buttery. The wear is impressive. I line close to my lash line on my top lid, but have yet to try the waterline. Typically, I notice a tiny bit of smudging in the bottom corners of my eyes at the end of the day. It's not a big deal since I have very oily skin, but with the Annabelle liner, there is no transfer, no smudge, and no fading at the end of my days. I usually have it on for 12 to 14 hours a day, and I put it through harsh northern Canadian winds, hours of school, and 2-hour workouts at the gym (I am usually dripping sweat by the end). It's easily removed with water and my Dr. Bronner's soap mix at the end of the day with no extra rubbing or tugging. The liner was $6.99 at Superstore, and it will last me over 6 months with daily application easily. I am looking forward to trying other colours, and the fact that the company is Canadian and cruelty-free (owned by the Marcelle Group) is just an added bonus! I am happy to repurchase in the future.
Update: I've moved onto using coconut oil for under my eyes as well as for my body (more cost effective reasons than anything). I still stand by my original review for this product, though, and won't hesitate to repurchase during emergencies. The little blue tins are staying with me for hand cream during harsh Canadian winters! ----------------------------------- The texture of this creme is very thick, and it has the classic floral Nivea smell. I use it on my body and it does require some warming up between the hands or elbow grease to work in into your skin. It doesn't spread as well as the thinner lotions on the market, but that's what gives it such a moisturizing effect. If you apply too much, it will feel oily and your skin will have a slight sheen to it. However, since I've moved further north in Canada, nothing else will keep my skin moisturized. I make sure to apply after shaving to keep my sensitive skin protected, and I also dab it under my eyes as an intensive moisturizer. I used it on my acne-prone, combination skin as well for over 6 months with no issues, but I prefer the Nivea Soft for this ultimately as it is lighter for under makeup application. I carry a little tin of this around as hand creme as well, and it has done wonders for an eczema patch that has been cropping up in times of stress/weather changes. This creme can be found at any drugstore or grocery store. The lowest regular price I've seen it retail for is $10.99CAD at Superstore. However, it goes on sale quite regularly for about $8. One 400mL tin will last me well over 10 months will daily application on the arms, legs, and under my eyes. Nivea's parent company Beiersdorf is bound by the European animal testing ban law soon to go into effect. However, their policy has been to not test for years, so it's a definite bonus and repurchase criteria for myself. You can't go wrong with a staple such as this creme - at $0.99 for a trial tin, what is there to lose?
This is for the Natural Anticavity Fluoride toothpaste in Spearmint - an HG for life unless dental professionals somehow say this is an inadequate toothpaste for my needs. I have been using this for over 3 years now, and my dentist has never had any complaints about the general well-being of my teeth and mouth. I originally started using this as it was the only toothpaste that did not test on animals and contained fluoride. The taste does take some getting used to, but within a week I realized how much more refreshing brushing my teeth was without the heavily sweetened flavour of normal toothpastes. There is a healthy amount of foam, and I only need a tiny, dime-sized blob for thorough brushing for minutes on end. Since 3 years ago, Tom's of Maine has been partially bought out and owned by Colgate-Palmolive. While they own the majority share now (about 80%), the company stipulates its dedication to maintaining the natural, animal testing-free policies of the original owners (who now own the remaining 20%). I continue to buy this brand because of that dedication, and I completely understand the need for a major company to widen the market. Since Colgate-Palmolive acquired Tom's of Maine, this toothpaste and other products can be found in every Shopper's, London Drugs, and grocery store in Canada. Before, I had to make special trips out to Capers or Whole Foods. Now, their prices are slowly coming down to meet normal toothpastes at $5 CAD a tube, which I find more than fair for the quality. One tube will typically last me 3 months. I can't say enough about how amazing this toothpaste is. Once you use it for a week, you'll realize how unnecessary a lot of additives in common toothpastes are, and you'll thank Tom's of Maine for making such a functional, refreshing product!
This is my HG lip balm that I will repurchase until the end of time. Despite its slightly higher price than most drugstore lip balms, about $5 CAD per tube, it is perfect for my dehydrated but not cracked and dry lips. The texture of this balm is very waxy, but it's not difficult to apply and extra elbow grease is definitely not required. I do 2 swipes on the upper and lower lips, and I'm set for at least 3 hours of the day. This to me is amazing as I usually re-apply lip balm every hour or so. However, the Burt's Bees balm forms a barrier over my lips so I don't feel the need to re-apply as often. I even find myself "craving" lip balm less and less, to the point where there are nights when I forget to put it on before bed! The scent is perfect: minty, light, and does not linger at all. It's kiss-proof, ladies and gents, and is so neutral that your partner can't complain about you having it on your lips! The packaging is simple and functional. I don't have problems with it breaking or failing on me, and I keep the tube in my pants pocket at all times (trust me, it sees its share of abuse). On a few occasions I have had the balm twist down or up while it was in my pocket, but never have I had the lid fall off, or the balm be mashed inside the cap. This stuff doesn't melt and disintegrate if you're in hot hot (and I'm talking 40oC plus) weather. The quality never changes even when you're down to the last bits. Best of all, BB doesn't test on animals - I will repurchase for life!
Lip Treatments -Burt's Bees - Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil
cindy604 1/3/2012 3:14:00 AM
Update: I've removed a lippie from the ratings because after my second tube, I realize that it was prone to leaving the white marks on the corners of my lips from time to time. The product itself is still luxurious to put on, and the faint tint of colour is lovely, but I wouldn't repurchase as the "white lips check" is just another thing on my mind. -------------------- I finally picked up this lip balm after a year of using the original Burt's Bees balm. The hint of colour intrigued me along with the added benefits (however minor) of pomegranate oil. And while I do like this balm, I won't repurchase in comparison to the original. The texture of the balm is thinner than the original BB balm, but it glides on much easier as it's not as waxy. There is a tiny tiny tiny hint of red colour, but on my naturally red lips, it doesn't show up at all. In fact, the colour is so faint, there's no need for clean-up if I swipe a bit outside my lips. It melts onto the lips upon application, but doesn't ever completely sink in. That being said, it's such a fine texture that I don't believe anyone would ever really feel it "sitting" on their lips. I have very dehydrated lips that the original balm has really helped with due to the protective barrier it leaves, and for that reason the pomegranate version is just less moisturizing for me. However, it should be more than enough for most people. The smell is lovely, more of a rose than sweet pomegranate smell, and it doesn't linger in the very least. The price is about $4.50 CAD per tube, and will last ages (i.e. at least 4 months) with daily application.
Treatments -Burt's Bees - Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
cindy604 1/3/2012 3:04:00 AM
I know there's been a reformulation, and just to clarify, this review is for the 95% natural formula in a yellow tin. The texture of this "cream" is more of a hard wax that easily gives way upon a finger swipe. I find the hardness perfect as it prevents me from gouging too much product out in one go. I've also never had issues with the product melting in hot (I'm talking 40oC plus) weather. I love rubbing this on when I'm bored in class and right before bed. I've never had serious dryness issues around my nails before, but now the skin and cuticle (and even the nail itself) is healthier as a whole. My fingers are soft and nails naturally glossy. Did I mention that the smell is absolutely divine? The packaging is simple and really the only way to hold a waxy product like this one. It may seem pricey at $8 CAD per tin, but I can't stress how little each application requires. I'm still on my first tin from over a year ago! As a final added bonus, Burt's Bees does not test on animals. I'm apprehensive about the new formulation, but if it's anywhere as good as the original, I'm a customer for life!
This is without a doubt my HG antiperspirant. After a brief stint in Europe, I discovered this little gem and was ecstatic when Nivea decided to bring it to Canada. It is now as widely available as Lady Speed Stick and Dove antiperspirants. I have tried the Calm and Care, and Happy Time versions, and have loved both. My armpits were always a little dark and unsightly, even with regular shaving. I also apply deodorant immediately after getting out of the shower which can sometimes irritate my skin. Not to mention, I also sweat quite a bit throughout the day. All those problems are now gone with the Nivea line. Both deodorants control sweat very well and lasts through a 12-hour day. They smell excellent, although it doesn't linger which is fantastic because I generally don't like scents on my person. Even after an intense gym workout, I don't reek as I would without antiperspirant. The biggest selling point by far though is the gentle nature of these deodorants. My armpits are now much lighter and not at all irritated. I never thought deodorants would make a huge difference in this respect, but Nivea has completely changed my mind. I would repurchase the Calm and Care one over the Happy Time and other versions purely because it feels the most gentle out of the bunch. It has a light, refreshing scent that is hard to describe, and really makes my underarms feel almost "moisturized" if you know what I mean. The skin there is definitely calmer after prolonged use! The price is more than fair at about $5 CAD per stick. One stick usually lasts me about 4 months, and the quality of the stick doesn't disintegrate or change towards the end. As a final plus, Nivea doesn't test on animals. A definitely staple for life!
Edit: Hawaiian Tropic does indeed test on animals. They belong to the Energizer Group who also distributes Banana Boat. I am saddened by this, and won't repurchase, but still stand by my original review of the product itself with the exception of one more thing: in recent days the harsh Canadian winters have left my face a little more sensitive than usual. I'm finding that this sunscreen (which I'm using up) stings and turns my face a little red upon application. It goes away within 5 minutes, and I have not noticed breakouts, but maybe something to keep in mind for people in similar environments. I've removed 2 lippies for this. ----------------- This is my HG sunscreen for face and body. I have this in SPF 45, but have tried every SPF from 30 to 50 to even 70. None of them are heavy or greasy beyond reason. I regularly use the SPF 45 one as I find it more than sufficient. I am terrified of tanning as I am already naturally fairly dark. The lotion itself is white and goes on perfectly colourless. I put a layer on after moisturizing and before foundation every morning. It takes one minute or so to sink in and then my face is primed for foundation. Its smooth finish is part of the reason as to why I love this so much! Makeup applies better and looks more polished when I use this sunscreen. I have never had problems with breakouts or burns in the summer. It's fairly waterproof as I have found less of a need for re-application during beach days. And as others have already mentioned, the smell (coconut) is absolutely delicious! The price is higher than some drugstore sunscreen brands at about $14 for a 240mL bottle. However, it lasts forever since it spreads so easily, and its dependability cannot be disputed. I have been on the same bottle for over a year now. Also, Hawaiian Tropic does not test on animals, just another plus!