Wednesday, January 29, 2014

LUSH Valentine's Day 2014

With just about two weeks to go until Valentine's Day, LUSH has rolled out a pretty, pink set of goodies for you (and maybe a special someone) to indulge in. Here's a quick recap of the six limited edition releases (clockwise, from top left):

Love Locket bath bomb ($10.95 CAD) - this heart-shaped bath bomb is scented with vanilla, jasmine, and neroli (also known as orange blossom or orange flower) for an uplifting and sensual fragrance. It splits easily into three parts (two outer halves and one inner heart) to stretch over a few baths. LUSH loves hiding little surprises in its bath bombs and this one is no different: the inner heart contains little red and pink hearts made of biodegradable agar seaweed.

The Kiss tinted lip balm ($9.25 CAD / 6g) - LUSH's lip balm gets a romantic pink tint with moisturizing and softening ingredients like shea butter, cupacu butter, and castor oil to get your lips kiss-ready. The lip balm formula seems to vary across their lip balm line; this one in particular features guarana seed powder as a natural lip plumper, and agave syrup for a high-shine finish.

Close To You massage bar ($7.95 / 43g) - this massage bar is one of the "smooshable" ones, meaning it will melt easily between your pressed palms and used up all in one incredibly moisturizing massage session. The shea butter, murumuru butter, olive oil, and almond oil base has a vanilla scent, similar to Creamy Candy bubble bar and Rock Star soap.

Prince Charming shower gel ($9.95 CAD / 100ml, $19.95 / 250ml, $29.95 / 500ml) - in contrast to the more musky, sensual Love Locket, Prince Charming features grapefruit and pomegranate for a cheerful, energizing scent promising to "sweep you off your feet!" If you love pomegranates, be sure to check this one out, as it's the first and only LUSH product with fresh pomegranate juice.

Tender is the Night massage bar ($11.95 CAD / 60g) - this super-hydrating massage bar is a Valentine's Day veteran, previously in a heart shape. Murumuru and shea butters are scented with jasmine, vanilla, and ylang ylang. If you can't find this one in stores, don't fret: it's sticking around in the permanent line-up.

Neon Love soap ($6.95 CAD / 100g) - LUSH whipped up a brand new fragrance just for this soap bar, which uses bergamot, rosewood, cinnamon leaf oil, and passion fruit juice. Nourishing soya yogurt was added to the usual moisturizing rapeseed and coconut oils soap formula for a bar that's extra nice to skin.

Naturally, LUSH also has a few limited edition, delightfully-pink gift sets for you to choose from too, which feature a mix of permanent and Valentine's Day-only products. See all three (Toucan Love, Lots of Love, and Neon Love) here.

I received a few press samples to try out and will be sure to report back on my findings! Which Valentine's Day product caught your eye?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

Confession: I've been hiding something from you all, and I hope everybody (especially my dry-skinned brethren) can forgive me for not getting around to sharing it sooner. It's Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, one of my skin care staples since I was introduced to it last year. I was using it throughout summer and fall, and it's become especially helpful now that my skin is suffering through winter.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask's tube dispenses an oil-free, pale pink cream with a slightly whipped texture. Although my skin feels a bit tacky after application, it isn't greasy. Clinique says it's intended to help "skin drink deep to replenish lost moisture, build reserves for tomorrow". Based on my experiences, this hit the bullseye.

The ingredients list is comprised of all the Good Stuff™ that I like to see in a moisturizer for dry skin, such as glycerin (humectant that attracts and binds water to the skin), shea butter (emollient), mango seed butter (emollient), aloe (skin conditioning), and sodium hyaluronate (natural moisturizing factor).

I prefer to slather it on at night after exfoliating so that all of that Good Stuff™ really sinks in, and then I wake up with such happy, plump skin! I loved the Moisture Surge Overnight Mask so much that I bought a backup after only a few weeks' use--a big deal if you're a blogger constantly testing the latest in beauty and a total product-commitment-phobe!

I have no explanation for why my fingers are lobster red
So why does Clinique call it an "overnight mask" rather than simply a "night cream"? Although Clinique says it can be used nightly, I find it a bit heavy to use night after night for me, even in the winter. Just like you probably don't use a LUSH Fresh Face mask or paper mask every night, I think it's perfect just on a weekly basis for a serious boost of hydration; "overnight mask" is pretty accurate.

As the product name suggests, it's best to use this at night. It's too heavy for day use for most people, especially if you're planning to wear makeup--your foundation may just slip right off your face! I would recommend this to pretty much anybody (particularly during winter), unless you're very very oily with zero dry patches that need extra love. Dry patches that need extra love pretty much describes my whole face, so I'm beyond happy to have this in my skin care arsenal.

Ingredients: water, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, dimethicone, glyceryl polymethacrylate, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), cetyl ethylhexanoate, PEG-8, Glycereth-28, sucrose, sorbitan stearate, PEG-100 stearate, trehalose, Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, Hypnea musciformis (algae) extract, Gellidiela acerosa (algae) extract, Olea europaea (olive) fruit extract, Triticum vulgare (wheat bran) extract, Cladosiphon okamuranus extract, Astrocaryum murumuru seed butter, cetearyl alcohol, Aloe barbadensis leaf water, PEG-75, caffeine, pantethine, sorbitol, butylene glycol, oryzanol, bisabolol, panthenol, phytosterols, tocopheryl acetate, caprylyl glycol, sodium hyaluronate, hexylene glycol, carbomer, potassium hydroxide, dextrin, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, Red 4, Yellow 5

What are your winter skin care staples?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mint ruffian

Hello! Here's a quick post before I go off to start my weekend. This is a post that, like many, I meant to share a while ago but didn't get around to editing the photos until now.

I remember seeing the "ruffian mani" around a lot in early 2013; sister to the half-moon, it's a look that features a crescent of contrasting nail colour against the cuticle. I tried it for myself and was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out (slightly lumpy tips aside). I used Orly Dazzle as my crescent and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Mint Sprint to cover the rest of my nail. Mint Sprint leans a little too blue for me to call it mint, but "mint ruffian" kind of has a nice ring to it anyway.

I don't really have any tips or tricks because I did this freehand, but it's relatively easy as long as you are able to paint your nails without getting polish all over your cuticles. If paper hole reinforcements or other curved adhesives happen to match the size and shape of your cuticle, you can try using those as a guide. It's also best to use relatively opaque polishes to avoid having too many coats of polish, which can lead to easy chipping or an overly thick look; I used a coat of Orly Dazzle to cover the entire nail, and two coats of Mint Sprint (but I suspect one would have been enough).

For Mint Sprint, starting with the centre stroke, I touched the brush down a little further away than where I intended the polish to actually start, and pushed the brush slightly back towards the cuticle to create the rounded edge. I completed the stroke by pulling the polish to the nail tip. Then I just followed the rounded shape created to do the side strokes. You're sort of doing this as if your cuticle starts a bit further up than it really does, and yes, it's that simple.

Will you be trying the ruffian nail? What are you up to this weekend?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Maybelline Color Show Polka Dots in Drops of Jade

Drops of Jade is part of the Maybelline Color Show Polka Dots collection that came out this past summer, when people were all over the speckled nail look featured in other beauty brands such as Deborah Lippman, Illamasqua, Hard Candy, and Nails Inc. Personally, I loved Illamasqua's version, which had a mix of small and large black glitters in milky bases to imitate the look of speckled bird's eggs. What I didn't love as much was the $22 CAD price tag. I was super excited when Maybelline released Polka Dots, because its mix of small and large hexagonal black and white glitter made it very similar to the Illamasqua polishes.

The milky, slightly jelly jade green is so pretty, and perfect for creating that layered polka dot look. I used two coats of Drops of Jade over Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Mint Sprint on my little and ring fingers, and applied three coats of Drops of Jade on its own on my middle and index fingers. Most people I polled preferred it on its own, but I like it best layered on top of another polish because I felt like three coats' worth of polka dots looked a little crowded.

I was so worried about it going out of stock or getting discontinued that I picked it up right away! I guess it must have been pretty popular, because I still see this collection in stores (~$3-4 CAD).

How is your 2014 going so far? Which look do you prefer?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Hello and happy 2014! I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a 2013 recap post, partly because I realized I didn't even get around to posting about some of my absolute new favourite products. The new year is a good opportunity to reflect on what I've done and what I want to do, but sometimes I feel a little depressed because some aspects of my life are not quite where I'd hoped they would be by now. But after thinking about it a little more and I remembered some of the things I've accomplished in the past year: I had the learning experience of a lifetime planning Blog and the (Van)City, a fashion/beauty bloggers' mini-conference, with my amazing friends Sheila and MizzJ; my nail polish collection grew even bigger; I met more cool and talented Vancouver-based bloggers; I even taught a nail art workshop. So I feel a bit more confident about facing 2014, and becoming a better person, friend, and blogger. Thank you for reading my blog and my ramblings.

Revlon by Marchesa appliques in Crown Jewels over Layla Pro nail polish in Vamp
My favourite (posted) products of 2013:

Deep green gradient nails with OPI Live and Let Die and Essie Going Incognito
My favourite nail art posts of 2013:

I hope your 2014 is full of laughter, love, good food, and good makeup. Now to get back to my much-talked about, never-ending backlog of photos! ಠДಠ

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