Oh Look A Sunscreen I Don’t Despise! x Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen

Creams, scrubs, powders, glosses… If you couldn’t already tell, I love beauty products.  A serum promising more radiant skin? I’m all over that.  A deep conditioner that will rehydrate fried strands? Sign me up.  A cream that gives you instantly firmer skin? Okay, kind of skeptical… but in it goes to my basket!

One product, however, sticks out in my mind as abhorrent no matter what I do or which ones I try…sunscreen.  I loathe everything about it from its smell, stickiness, the oily looking finish, the horrid white sheen…and that you need to go through it all over again every 2 hours.  Ugh.

My detestation for the white gloop means I don’t wear it nearly as much as I should, which is embarrassing since the importance of sun protection has been drilled into our heads in the same way that we have been taught to floss as kids.  But if the threat of skin cancer isn’t enough,  I’ll make a plea to your vanity and remind you that the sun WILL cause pre-mature aging in ways that no serum or cream can completely reverse.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and staying in the shade or throwing on a hat isn’t enough.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration

Before a recent trip to a music festival, I stumbled upon a jewel in the form of the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen.  I was going to pick up a spray sunscreen, but I’ve always hated how expensive they end up being since I can whip through one can over a long weekend—even less if you have to share.  I’m obsessed with moisturizing, as you may know, so it intrigued me that this product does double duty as both a sunscreen and lotion.

PACKAGING

It comes in an upside-down squeeze bottle, which attractively displays the swirls of cream and light brown while indicating how much product you have left.  The product isn’t sticky which makes it very easy to dispense and although I usually prefer pumps for lotions and creams, I appreciate that the flip top cap ensures a secure seal when tossed into your beach bag.

WHAT’S IN IT?

The “ultra-luxurious hydrating silk ribbons” don’t just refer to the swirls of sunscreen and lotion because the cream contains silk proteins, which are used in cosmetics to prevent the dehydration of skin.  I was skeptical of its claims of containing “nourishing antioxidants” and “exotic botanicals”, but a look at the ingredient list reveals the use of shea butter, mango seed butter and aloe vera leaf juice as well as papaya, taro root, mango, purple passionflower, plumeria and guava extracts.

APPLICATION / FINISH

This is where the product impressed me most.  It isn’t overwhelmingly thick or too runny (it’s about the consistency of a thick cream) and the fact that it isn’t at all sticky makes application a breeze.  It spreads easy and absorbs rapidly, melting into your skin as an ordinary moisturizer would.  There is no tacky or greasy residue and you’ll find zero evidence of that shiny, white layer sitting atop your skin.

SCENT

I really like the smell of this and would say that company’s description of it as a “warm tropical fragrance” is pretty accurate.  It doesn’t have the overpowering and artificial smell of coconuts found in other sunscreens, but instead has a milder coconut scent with some tropical and floral notes.  The effect is light and pretty, and it won’t overpower any fragrances you decide to wear that day.

Silk Hydration Swatch

It is broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB) and is available in SPF 12, 30 and 50.  Its active ingredients are Avobenzone (3%), Octocrylene (6%), Oxybenzone (4%) and it is water resistant for 80 minutes.  Though it’s perfect for lounging on the beach, my only gripe with this would be that it’s not completely waterproof.  I’d be very diligent about applying every 2 hours if you’re swimming or doing water sports, but its easy application means this isn’t that much of a hassle.

I would definitely recommend this to all my fellow sunscreen haters out there because this is what I’ll be reaching for whenever I plan to spend time under the sun!

Check out my handy dandy image below to find out how much to use.  For easy application of all sunscreens, rub the lotion between your hands and pat each area to disperse the product before spreading.  Reapply every 2 hours and remember that we should be wearing a minimum of SPF 30 everyday, even when cloudy!

How Much Sunscreen

Have you come across any fantastic or horrible sun protection products?  I’d love to hear about them so leave a comment below!

With love,
Veronique♥

Disclosure:  I purchased this item on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my own opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thank you for your support! ♥

2 week wear and TWO sets of manicures from 1 box of Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips

I’ve always thought that nothing could ruin even the most perfect outfit faster than half-chipped off nail polish (ugh tacky!).  With this in mind, I splurged on a salon-quality gel polish kit a couple years ago when the at-home sets sold in drugstores didn’t exist and most salons hadn’t even offered the service yet.  It was well worth the price for glossy, chip-free lacquer and zero dry-time—Hallelujah!—but eventually the huge time commitment for nail prep, precise application and soak-off removal began to drive me INSANE!!

To give myself a break, I picked up a few of the supposedly “easy to apply” nail strips/stickers/wrap and can happily say that the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips have been my favorite so far!  They’re so much easier to apply than the Nail Rock Wraps found on ASOS and I wasn’t really interested in any of the prints currently offered by Essie.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects

I resisted trying these for so long mainly because: 1) a single printed manicure costs as much as buying a whole new bottle of good nail polish and 2) I was skeptical of the 10 day wear time for something advertised as “real nail polish”.  Now that I’ve tried them out though, if I had to choose the one product that impressed me most as of recently, it’s these Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips.  WOW, the hype around these is completely justified!

These Sally Hansen strips claim to last up to 10 days and fit all nail sizes.  Each box contains a cuticle stick, a multi-sided mini file (for shaping, buffing and filing the edge of the strip off) and 16 double-edged nail strips of differing widths.  They are “Big 3 Free” (no DBP, Toluene or Formaldehyde!) and boast being easy to use with no dry time—just peel, apply and shape.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Contents

I tweaked the instructions a bit since I’m quite familiar with nail strips.  I got chip-free nails for TWO WEEKS and was able to get TWO FULL SETS out of each box—with some left over!! 

THIS IS HOW I APPLIED THEM:

  • Push cuticles back and buff nails
  • Remove the excess oil from your nail (I used the nail dehydrator from my gel kit but acetone works too)
  • Apply the nail strips starting in the middle and working outwards
  • Leave a little space (no larger than half a mm) around the edge of the strip and use a cuticle nipper to trim the strip as needed
  • Use the nail file to trim the excess strip off
  • Seal with a quick drying clear coat (coincidentally, I used the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in “Clearly Quick”), making sure to wrap the tips and cover the little gap around the edges for a more secure seal
  • Let this dry and wrap the tips again with more clear polish

Out of Line

TIPS TO GET 2 FULL SETS OUT OF EACH BOX:

  • Note that you can only get 2 applications with shorter nails.  I prefer to trim my nails anyway before applying strip-type manicures so that they don’t get too long for the duration of wear and also because I think that prints can look a little overwhelming on longer nails.
  • Peel off the clear sheet on top of the strip before using a scissor to cut it in half.
  • Don’t open the other package containing the strips for the second hand!  Since these are real nail polish strips, they will supposedly dry out.
  • You’ll have more than enough strips to work with since the package for each hand contains 8 strips (cut in half = 16 strips) for only 10 fingers.  This is made easier because each strip is rounded on both ends to fit different types of cuticles, but any imperfect fits can be easily trimmed with a cuticle nipper.

Despite their claim to last only up to 10 days, the image below shows that with my tweaked application I have gotten 2 weeks of wear with no major chips and only a little fading around the tips.  Unfortunately, growth is inevitable!  Between constantly typing at work and a long weekend vacation including packing and zipping/unzipping luggage, my nails still look fantastic!  Wear-time will depend on the individual, but I am very hard on my nails since I am used to wearing things like Gelish and Shellac.

Salon Effects after 2 weeks

My only gripe with these strips is that unlike gels, they don’t stay glossy till the very end.  But that’s still not too bad considering the fast application and minimal nail damage!  Regular nail polish remover takes them off with more effort than I would have liked, so I recommend using 100% acetone, which swipes them off as easily as regular polish.

I’ve been won over and highly recommend giving these a try!!  In addition to tweaks allowing longer wear and 2 full applications per box, I love that patterned nails make chips even less noticeable.  “Out of Line” is perfect for the summer and although I wouldn’t bother with the glittery ones—stick to regular glitter polish since it already dries super fast—I hope to try “Laced Up” (a black floral lace) once fall rolls around.

What do you think of the Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips?  Has anyone else able to get 2 full manicures from a single box?

With love,
Veronique♥

Disclosure:  I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my own opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥

And I thought the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler couldn’t get any better!

Karl for Shu box

As a little bit of background to this particular situation, I had been using the iconic Shu Uemura eyelash curler for years and can say that it did live up to the hype.  Consistently awarded best in its class by beauty editors from magazines like Allure and InStyle, this tool is easy to use, fits all eye shapes and legitimately curls lashes rather than merely crimping or bending them.

Now imagine my disappointment when I lost it.  At $24 it wasn’t incredibly expensive, but I used curling mascaras for a while and hoped that I would eventually stumble upon it (it just wasn’t the same!).  Now take that disappointment and multiply that by 10 when I discovered that Shu Uemura stopped most of their distribution within North America—Sephora, Nordstrom, Saks… no one was carrying it!**  (I’m convinced someone took it from my makeup bag while at the gym because they knew getting a hold of one would be super tough!  Hmph!  Or maybe I just lost it…haha) 

Karl For Shu Close Up

Although the Shu Uemura curler is still at the top of InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys list, it was bumped off of Allure’s Best of Beauty List by Kevyn Aucoin’s “The Eyelash Curler” which features a red pad.  The shift from a normal pad to a bright red one makes it easier to ensure even placement along the lash roots and helps to point out any stray lashes left out when curling.

So despite being knocked out of Allure’s #1 spot, the Shu Uemura curler was my Holy Grail eyelash curler, I decided to repurchase it again.  Upon visiting the Shu Uemura website I noticed that there were selling a limited edition Karl Lagerfeld version (Karl for Shu) which came with a cute charm and…a BRIGHT RED PAD!  I couldn’t have been happier!!

Karl for Shu Eyelash Curler

A couple notes for anyone interested in buying this:

  • Reviews on Amazon indicated that a few of the sellers were actually peddling fakes, so I recommend buying from an authorized reseller
  • A comparison of the Canadian/US site shows that the Canadian site was retailing the Karl for Shu curler for $24 while the American site has it listed on sale for $18 (Do you see my frustration with shopping in Canada? Our dollar is practically at par!!)
  • You can get FREE SHIPPING if you register with Shu Uemura for emails (if you’re lazy, the code is “REGISTER1”)
  • I’m happy with the Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil (20ml) which I selected as my free sample because it feels really luxurious!

Karl For Shu Contents

So this baby is now all mine, and for 25% less than what I would have paid in Canada!  It works just as well as the original, but I’ve really been liking the new red pad.  There’s no more need to re-curl uneven lashes because it very obviously indicates if your curler is not perfectly aligned with your lash line.  The charm is cute but tends to get caught on things in my makeup bag (as if eyelash curlers don’t do that enough!), but if it hassles you too much you can always remove it.

The Karl for Shu eyelash curler is limited edition so if you’re looking to pick up an eyelash curler, I recommend getting this one soon!

What are some of your favorite holy grail beauty tools?  I’m always on the lookout so I’d love some recommendations! 

With love,
Veronique♥

**Between the time that I ordered it and wrote this post, Sephora seems to have started selling Shu Uemura again.  Both Sephora websites for the USA & Canada still indicate that they do not carry the brand, but I walked into a store at some point in the past couple weeks and located a Shu Uemura display.  They did not carry the limited edition Karl for Shu eyelash curler, but they did have some of the original ones in stock.   

 

 

Disclosure:  I purchased this item on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my own opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter

Revlon Lip Butters

Lipsticks tend to be one of those things that I could go with or without. I only have a few lipsticks that I’d be truly devastated to lose since I gravitate towards tinted balms, lip stains or highly pigmented glosses, but last fall/winter’s matte red pout and this summer’s bright bold lip have renewed my interest in this makeup staple.

A few of the drugstore makeup lines have released light-weight formulas of lipstick/lip balm hybrids, such as L’Oreal’s Color Riche Caresse Stick Lipstick, Maybelline’s ColorSensational Color Whisper and Revlon’s ColorBurst Lip Butter. I was very excited to try out some of these since my main concern is that lipsticks tend to dry out my lips. Let’s just put it out there that chapped lips are never a good look and as far as lips go, they’re pretty much as anti-sexy as you can get.

Lip Butter Labels

Shoppers Drug Mart had the Revlon Lip Butters on sale so I stopped in to pick up one or two and instantly fell in love!! The consistency and color selection were so fantastic that I snapped up a total of 7 of them, even driving to another location to pick up the shades that I apparently needed to have but were currently out of stock. The colors I purchased were: 010 Raspberry Pie, 015 Tutti Frutti, 025 Peach Parfait, 030 Fig Jam, 070 Cherry Tart, 090 Sweet Tart and 095 Crème Brule.

Revlon Lip Butter Swatches 1

True to its name, Raspberry Pie (010) is a deep raspberry-toned hue. The consistency of this gorgeous fuchsia is the smoothest and creamiest of all the Lip Butters I own, and it packs a big punch with the highest color payoff by far. Revlon Lip Butters are advertised as sheer to medium coverage, but I’m not complaining that this one definitely over delivers with creamy, full coverage. I bought this on a whim to experiment with the fuchsia lip I’ve been seeing everywhere and I’m happy to report that this is the Lip Butter that I’ve reached for the most.

Tutti Frutti (015) is a bright tangerine, which although not nearly as pigmented as Raspberry Pie, delivers a bright pop of color that is perfect for summer. Swiping this once over your bare lip will deposit a slightly sheer orange that gives your natural lip color more of a coral tone. The color is somewhat buildable, but no matter how much you apply the sheer texture prevents it from showing up like the shocking orange seen in the tube.

Revlon Lip Butter Swatches 2

Cherry Tart (070) is a glossy, sheer red with barely visible shimmers. Despite how strong the color looks in the tube, this Lip Butter applies surprisingly sheer with a very moist consistency that is reminiscent of a tinted balm. This cherry hue contains blue (rather than orange) undertones—which with a red lipstick is always a good thing as it makes your teeth appear whiter.

Peach Parfait (025) is a pretty, peachy pink filled with gold-toned sparkles. This Lip Butter is very sheer and quite sparkly, which although looked nice when swatched on my arm, didn’t work well with my skin tone when applied to my lips due to its cooler undertones. Peach Parfait is by far the sparkliest of all these lipstick/lip balm hybrids and would be my recommendation for younger girls looking to experiment with makeup.

Black Honey Dupe

DUPE ALERT!

I was really excited when I swatched Fig Jam (030), because I instantly knew it was a dupe for one of my all time favourites, the Clinique Almost Lipstick (also a lipstick/lip balm hybrid) in Black Honey. Black Honey has become a cult-classic with its sheer formula that although intimidatingly dark in the tube, actually applies as a universally flattering sheer, berry tint. As you can see from the swatches above, I would definitely consider Fig Jam to be an affordable dupe!! Just like its department store counterpart, Fig Jam appears deceptively dark but glides on very sheer tinting lips in the perfect my-lips-but-better kind of way.

Revlon Lip Butter Swatches 4

Sweet Tart (090) applies on lips as a simple bright pink that is much more wearable than the vibrant, almost neon pink seen in the tube. This would be the pink-hued equivalent of Tutti Frutti in terms of both consistency and color payoff. Sweet Tart paired with a similar toned lip liner has been my go-to product for this summer’s bright pink lip.

I had hoped that Crème Brule (095), a sheer nude with fine silver shimmer, would create the perfect nude lip to pair with a smoky eye. While it had a lovely, slightly peach tone (similar to the lid) when swatched on my arm, the silver shimmers lighted the color too much for my skin tone and looked too frosted on my lips. The end result seemed to cancel out any reddish tones in my lips, resulting in the unflattering bluish-purple your lips turn when you are freezing cold. I would have preferred this shade with no shimmer at all, or at least with a gold or bronze shimmer that could warm up this nude tone. This one is by far my least favourite and will sadly be tossed out.

Lip Butter Arm Swatches

Other than Peach Parfait and Crème Brule—which could be nice on those with lighter complexions but don’t really work with my skin tone—I couldn’t be happier with these Lip Butters! The name sounds as luxurious as the product feels and with a formula containing mango, shea and coconut butter for moisture and I am happy to report that I have yet to find that my lips become dry from putting these on. The cute, quilted packaging so chic and the translucent colored caps (with a clear top window) make it easy to find the color you need, regardless of whether you store your lipsticks upright or on their side.

These Lip Butters don’t have that regular lipstick smell and actually, I could barely detect much of any scent from them at all. The consistency is exactly what you would expect from something that is half-lipstick/half-balm and although the top of the product appears to be the consistency of an ordinary lipstick, rubbing the first millimetre or two off will reveal a moister and glossier stick underneath.

Revlon Lip Butter Circle

Revlon Lip Butters come in a total of 20 colors featuring a variety of both matte/crème and shimmery finishes. The colour payoff varied according to the shade, with most of lighter colors having sheer coverage and the bolder colors containing enough pigment for solid, medium coverage.

I also adore how truly versatile this product is! One swipe over bare lips provides a sheer and moisturizing hint of color that I now opt for instead of my usual lip balm. The sheer but buildable nature makes it perfect for experimenting with bolder shades that you wouldn’t normally wear, and layering it over a matching lip liner provides a strong pop of lustrous color. None of the shades are fully opaque, but unlike other lipsticks, the balm portion ensures that the color wears off evenly and naturally. I definitely get the hype surrounding the Revlon Lip Butters and I can’t recommend them enough!

What do you think of the Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters? How do you think they compare to the other drugstore lipstick/lip balm hybrids?

With love,

Veronique♥
[Disclosure: I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post. These are my own opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support! ♥]

Addicted x Beauty Hauls

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about (yes, you dad!)…

  • Haul Video: the beauty/fashion blogger’s version of the “unboxing” videos so popular in the tech-gadget industry, described on Wikipedia as “a video recording, posted to the Internet, which displays items recently purchased, including product details or even the price. The posting of haul videos (or hauls) has been a growing trend, during 2007-2010.”

I love watching haul videos and reading blog posts showcasing the recent acquisitions of my favourite beauty bloggers. It’s about more than shopping vicariously through them or coveting the items that they reveal, because beauty bloggers approach these products and tools in a completely different way than everyone else.

shopping bags research

We’re perpetually on the hunt for that “HG” (holy grail) hair/lip/face/cheek/nail product that we simply can’t live without. We are also willing to put in the time and effort to do the necessary research and will comb through review after review find out which products really live up to their claims and which ones simply fall flat. We reveal which products give you the most bang for your buck and which products are truly worth the splurge. We assess every single aspect of these items taking into consideration how it smells, what the consistency is like, how the product feels when it’s on, if it lasts, if it is worth the money, who it should use it, when to use it, what is the best method of application, if improvements could be made to the packaging… and a myriad of other things that could make any boy’s head spin.

I think beauty hauls should be less about “Oooh look what I got!” and more along the lines of “This is what I purchased, these are the reasons why and this is what I think about it so far”. Good hauls are often a compilation of mini-reviews for each product—often for items that bloggers can’t film a whole video for or write an entire post about but still deem worthy of mentioning. They’ll often swatch it or describe the product’s smell/consistency/feel and mention if it’s a new product that they’re excited to try or a repurchased item for something they love and have already used up. It is really interesting to see which items these beauty product junkies (who are often sent oodles of things to test and review) actually purchase and use on themselves.

Beauty bloggers are also always willing to try new products. This makes hauls famous for revealing items that you never knew existed but may have been exactly what you were looking for. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with a few beauty bloggers (or vloggers!), you’ll figure out whose opinions and taste preferences you value enough to purchase products based on their recommendation alone.

It may all sound a bit frivolous to those unfamiliar with the process, but the number of hits proves that they must be doing something right! Plus, let’s just admit it… they’re super, super fun to watch!! And for all you non-believers, just give it a try, because if you are able to find that one serum that erases all signs of hyper pigmentation or that perfect deep conditioner that transforms your straw-like hair to lush, commercial-worthy tresses, it may change your life!

Check out some of the hauls videos I’ve linked below.  Let the coveting begin!

Fleur De Force’s (fleurdeforce) High End Beauty Haul

Ingrid Nilsen’s (missglamorazzi) Drugstore Beauty Haul

Elle Fowler’s (allthatglitters21) Summer Beauty Haul

Who are some of your favourite beauty bloggers?

With love,
Veronique♥

[Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies or people mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥]

A Love Affair x Body Shop Body Butters

Since I was a kid, I’ve had an on-again/off-again love affair with The Body Shop.  The love part being that their products smell yummy enough to eat—at 13, I jokingly convinced my friend that their mango body butter was edible (he was not impressed haha).  The hate part stemming from the fact that paying $20 per tub seems outrageous to a 13-year-old, and also because I shifted away from wanting to smell like a fruit and began to prefer more complex fragrances.

In my last post, I debated the merits of switching over to all natural beauty products.  While fully making the switch is not for me, I think that it is important to incorporate more all natural (or at least naturally based products) into my routine, as long as there is no sacrifice in effectiveness.  Lucky for me, I came to that conclusion the same day that I walked by a huge sale at The Body Shop!

Body Shop Love Affair

Out of sheer curiosity, I slathered a bit of mango body butter on the back of my hand and was instantly sold.  It has a light, clean scent that is very natural and quite different from the artificial and overly sweet fruit scents often found in other products.  The body butter is a rich, heavy cream that absorbs nicely, feels incredibly luxurious and most importantly, is not as greasy as I originally remembered it being.  The Body Shop apparently changed their formula in the years that I deigned to enter their stores, and now that I think of it, I remember their original formula as being more of a translucent, regular yellow salve as opposed to the current opaque, pale yellow cream.  While I’m sure some people hate the change, I personally adore the new, less greasy formula.

Suffering from perpetually dry skin, you should know that I take an obsession with moisturizing to a whole new level.  Not only does slathering on a good moisturizer have to happen immediately after stepping out of the shower, but the last thing I do before going to bed is lotion my hands and feet.  I’ve gone as far as using very moisturizing but horribly inconvenient products such as Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (so difficult to spread!) and even virgin coconut oil (so greasy!) all over.  As weird as this may sound, I’m kind of a lotion snob, which makes it all the more surprising that I’m so impressed with this body butter.  The scents are delicious and long lasting, but are never overpowering.  Although these body butters are not dirt cheap, they don’t break the bank either (Laura Mercier Soufflé Body Crème, I’m looking at you!).  Most importantly , they are one of the few products I’ve found that doesn’t leave oil stains everywhere and isn’t impossible to apply, while still managing to give me noticeably softer and suppler skin.

Body Shop Body Butter Haul

Here are the goodies that I walked out of the sale with… (and yes, there is probably enough body butter here to moisturize a small family for a year!)

Mango Body Butter

Mango Body Butter (Large Size) – I was looking for a fresh scent to use over the summer and this was my favourite of all the fruity ones.  The mango body butter captures the smell of a fresh mango without being artificial or overly sweet.  The scent is very noticeable at first, but not overpoweringly so, and is more fragrant when applied than it is in the tub.  Although it fades slightly throughout the day, it definitely lasts longer than many other body butters I’ve tried.  It’s a simple and sweet scent that can play well with other fragrances if you wish to layer it with another perfume or body spray.

Shea Body Butter

Shea Body Butter (Large Size) – The sale was just too good that I couldn’t resist getting another big one.  On sale for $15 each, both this and the mango were double the size, but $5 cheaper than the regular body butter tubs.  My workplace is “scent-safe” (we aren’t allowed to wear scented products to protect those with fragrance allergies), and this one seemed the least offensive while still managing to smell delicious.  It’s a very warm scent with some milder floral notes that will be lovely to use once summer is over and I either retire or finish my mango butter.  Shea butter is known for its cell regeneration and healing properties as well as the moisturizing and calming effect it has on skin.  This body butter formula features community trade shea butter and is thicker and less wet (more along the lines of a salve) than its mango counterpart.  Despite the product’s stiffer texture, it’s still as easy to apply and quickly absorbs into your skin without leaving behind a greasy residue.

Macadamia Duo Body Butter

Macadamia Body Butter Duo – I love the ying yang swirl packaging and the way the tub is sectioned off into product for normal or dry skin areas.  To be frank, I wasn’t too sold on this one because the dry skin butter was a little too thick—even thicker than that of the shea body butter—but since it was on sale for only $5, I couldn’t resist.  Upon using it, however, I was pleased to find that it spreads and absorbs surprisingly easy with little to no greasy residue (macadamia nut oil is touted for not being too greasy).  The regular sized tub will be perfect to keep on my desk at work and once I finish it up, the split container will be great for taking longer trips as I often like to swap out scents according to my mood.  Some customers have commented that the corners of the ying yang container make it difficult to get the last bit of product out and also that the ratio of product should have been more along the lines of 75% body butter and 25% salve.  Neither of these issues bothers me too much since I don’t mind using a knife to get into the corners, and i’m more likely to use one side all over depending on the weather outside rather than each side for specific dry/normal body parts.  The scent is creamy and natural without being too earthy or  musky, and is probably the mildest of all the scents I purchased.

Sweet Lemon Body Butter

Sweet Lemon Body Butter (Travel Size) – I’m not usually a fan of citrus scents, but this one pulls it off quite nicely.  Rather than being overly tart, I find that it is nicely balanced and more along the lines of a sweet and creamy lemon scent.  This is probably my least favourite of the body butter scents, but it was the only travel sized scent on sale.  The container is the perfect size for carrying around with you or for weekend trips away, and the bright yellow makes it very easy to spot at the bottom of your handbag!

So would I recommend these?  Absolutely!  I can’t seem to get enough of these body butters because they smell delicious, are easily applied and absorbed, and most importantly, they work better than any product I’ve come across in a while!  I adore that they are a more natural—although not completely natural—beauty product, which works perfectly with my new goal of trying to incorporate more of these types of products into my routine.  I won’t make any promises that The Body Shop body butters are the only ones I’ll use from now on as the scent range is quite limited, but this is a fantastic product that will be a staple in this lotion addict’s beauty cupboard.

What is your favourite Body Shop Body Butter scent?  What do you think about the new formula? Love it? Hate it? 

With Love,
Veronique♥

 

[Disclosure:  I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥]

All Natural Beauty x Is it worth the switch?

all natural

For one reason or another, I’ve never seen much appeal in using all natural beauty products.  I love experimenting with this and that, but what matters most is whether or not I see results.  If I love a product that just so happens to be all natural, then that’s FANTASTIC, but I’ve never sought them out specifically for that reason.

In my experience, I’ve found that natural products are often more expensive, have a shorter shelf life (they often lack preservatives) and rarely result in dramatic improvements performance-wise when compared to their regular counterparts.  Between mashing an avocado to use as a hair mask or using an avocado based deep conditioner that has been specifically formulated to penetrate your hair shaft, I’ll take the more effective—albeit less natural—one every time.  While the reasoning behind switching to all natural products makes complete sense from a health perspective, I’ve always figured that it probably isn’t that worth it if I’m still willing to chow down on a McDonalds burger.

Avocado Hair Mask

Re-examining the Benefits

In a recent attempt to find a miracle cure for the bags luggage that has made a permanent home under my eyes, a little digging revealed that they might be excess fatty tissue.  While fat in the eye area is normal and helps to support the eye, the puffiness of my eye bags seemed excessive.  Regardless of how much sleep I get or how long I place cold compresses on them, they never fully go away (especially when I smile)!

I came across a few articles that indicated that the fat in this area—as well as the stubborn exercise/diet-resistant fat everywhere else—may be so difficult to shed because of the chemicals we consume daily and… wait for it… the “nasties” that are being absorbed into our skin through beauty products!  That got my attention.

These nasties, as they referred to in the beauty industry, are supposedly also to blame for a lot of the skin ailments people are experiencing nowadays.  While the extent of that particular statement may be questionable, the David Suzuki Foundation took a look at the “Dirty Dozen“—a list of the 12 most often used chemicals in cosmetics and their effects when absorbed into our body.  According to the article, almost 80% of products contain one of these dozen toxic chemicals, which can include carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants.   Okay, so that got a little too depressing a little too fast (I actually had to stop reading articles because it made me want to purge every less than organic product I owned) but it did shed a new whole light on my natural vs. not natural product dilemma.

I have come to the conclusion that for me personally, it IS important to make a more conscious effort to use natural products regardless of the extra cost—but NOT at the expense of seeing results.  The good news is that although natural beauty products aren’t new, the resurgence of their popularity means that cosmetic companies have been forced to step up their game and create all natural products that are better and more effective than ever before.  There are also a few product lines that I’m also very interested in exploring further such as Ren Skin Care (found in Sephora), Michael Todd True Organics (bloggers have been raving about this), and of course, the always creative Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.

michael todd

Here are a few quick tips for purchasing natural beauty products:

♥ Be diligent about reading reviews!

The trend towards greener cosmetics means that a lot of new products that have come out aren’t tried, tested and true.  This should go unsaid, but I want to emphasize the importance on doing a little digging on new products to find out if they really work, if they smell funny, expire quickly, etc.  Avoid making the same mistakes as other consumers by reading up on what they have to say about each product.  A quick Google search of “[product] review” is all you need.

♥ Be aware of GREENWASHING!

If you’re going to go all natural then it’s important to do your homework because cosmetic companies have been heavily accused of greenwashing (claiming to be more natural or organic than they really are)!  If you’re simply working more all natural or naturally based products into your routine, then this step isn’t as critical, but is still something you should be aware of, especially if it’s the “natural” aspect that you’re paying premium prices for.

♥ Swap out when possible

Swapping products out is easiest with those where results aren’t as important—for example, swap out your heavily fragranced Bath and Body Works shower gel for a more natural one from The Body Shop.  Also, try to swap out some of the products that are the worst for you, like shampoos containing sulfates (sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES)).  I’ve used both of L’Oreal’s sulfate-free EverPure and EverCreme lines, which are easily found in drugstores and grew in popularity during the Brazilian Keratin Treatment trend as the sulfates in ordinary shampoos washed away the treatment’s smoothing effects.

♥ Purchase in smaller quantities + refrigerate when possible

This rule mostly refers to Lush products, because although I absolutely adore many of their items, I’m often put off by the extremely short shelf life (resulting from the lack of preservatives).  As a result, I always try to buy the smallest amount of product and keep items in the refrigerator whenever possible.  A week or so before a product’s expiration date, I separate the products into single uses and stick everything into the freezer, taking out only what I need for a week at a time.  I’ve heard that this is not recommended by the staff, but personally, I’d rather use the rest of the product up with lower expectations than toss something away that could still have some potential benefit.  I’m also more likely to keep purchasing from the store if I actually use up their products, rather than consider shopping there to be a waste of money by throwing half away each time.

Note: Whether or not you should freeze items will vary from product to product (e.g., freeze a face scrub or a cleanser but not the fresh face masks since freezing will kill the enzymes in certain ingredients)

lush-cosmetics-office

So even if going all natural isn’t for you, try working a few more natural products into your routine—it’s definitely not an all or nothing thing as I had previously thought.  There’s absolutely no harm in doing so, with a world of benefits to be gained if you’re able to find some good ones.  Don’t discount beauty products or makeup for being less effective just because they’re all natural.  There has been a dramatic increase in the quality and effectiveness of natural products in response to the growing market for this trend!

What are some natural beauty products that you have fallen in love with?  Are there any that you’ve tried that are absolutely terrible?  Share your recommendations below!

With Love,
Veronique♥

 

[Disclosure:  I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥]

Summer Braids.

Cute braid ideas to keep your hair in place during the hot summer weather!

 

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With love,

Veronique

 

Do you have any other pretty braid ideas? Link them below!