Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Jergens BB Hand Cream

Quick, take a peek at your current collection of hand creams. How many of them come with sun protection? Even though I think I have a pretty extensive hoard, I recently realized none of them include SPF! I think a lot of people, including myself, forget about applying sunscreen to hands. Unfortunately, unless it's the dead of winter, hands are frequently exposed to sun, which can cause hands to look aged. There's a reason why people say you can tell a person's real age by looking at their hands!

Jergens BB Hand Cream review
This is why I was pretty excited to try the new Jergens BB Hand Cream. I'm always posting close-up photos of my hands/nails, so I really want to take good care of my hands and protect them from sun damage. On top of the SPF 20, this hand cream promises to hydrate and soften, diminish the appearance of dark spots, even skin tone, and smooth uneven texture.

The consistency is like your average hand cream (medium, kinda like The Body Shop Almond Hand Cream)--not as thick as L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream and not nearly as runny as La Roche Posay Lipikar Xerand. It has a slightly powdery like you'd imagine a typical drugstore body/hand lotion, but isn't too strong.

Jergens BB Hand Cream review
Honestly, this cream performed better than I expected. I typically use Kiehl's, TBS, and L'Occitane on my hands and generally don't look at hand creams at the drugstore. However, I was surprised to find that Jergens BB Hand Cream absorbed well, left my hands feeling soft, and wasn't too greasy. I can't confirm how good it is at getting rid of dark spots and uneven skin tone, but I do think it's pretty solid if you're looking for something to moisturize and soften, with the bonus of sun protection.

Yes, you can apply regular sunscreen to your hands, but I struggle as it is remembering to apply a separate sunscreen to my face! Plus with all the hand washing that happens throughout a day, I'd rather have a product that both hydrates and reapplies sunscreen. I'm not aware of many hand creams that offer SPF, and those that do come to mind are in the $15+ range (Clinique, L'Occitane). At about $7 CAD, Jergens BB Hand Cream has both 2-in-1 convenience and a budget-friendly price point.

How many hand creams are in your stash? Do you use sun protection on your hands?

Medicinal ingredients: avobenzone 1.25%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 1.1%
Non-medicinal ingredients: aqua, propylene glycol, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, stearic acid, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, tapioca starch, niacinamide, hydrogenated polydecene, petrolatum, dimethicone, ceteareth-20, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, laureth-3, glyceryl dilaurate, methylparaben, betaine, diethylhexyl 2,6-naphthalate, phenoxyethanol, parfum, arginine, sodium hydroxide, PEG-12 dimethicone, carbomer, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, sodium PCA, disodium EDTA, pearl powder, Ananas sativus, Citrus grandis, Citrus medica limonum, pentylene glycol, lecithin, alcohol, ascorbyl palmitate, tocopherol, yellow 5, red 33

Widely available at retailers such as London Drugs: ~$7 CAD / 90 ml

Saturday, March 28, 2015

PFW Nail Art: Cédric Charlier Fall 2015

More fashion-inspired nail art today, this time from Belgian designer Cédric Charlier at Paris Fashion Week. There was a lot of colour blocking in rich shades, but this super-graphic stripe/colour block dress caught my attention:

Paris Fashion Week nail art: Cédric Charlier RTW
Image source: Style
I don't feel like I interpreted it all that successfully, but here's my take:

Paris Fashion Week nail art: Cédric Charlier RTW
It's a bit uneven because I free-handed the stripes before realizing I could have just used tape for cleaner lines =___=

Polishes used:
  • OPI Alpine Snow (white base)
  • Metropolis at Metrotown orange polish
  • China Glaze Up All Night
  • Layla Pro N.15 Purple Vamp
  • black liquid acrylic paint

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jealous Body Scrub

As I've said often, I struggle with extremely dry skin, especially on my arms and legs. I love a really abrasive body scrub to slough off every last flake and crocodile scale, and recently turned to Jealous Body Scrub to get the job done. Bonus: they're Vancouver-based and I always love featuring local brands/stores/scenery when I can.

Jealous Body Scrub review
Jealous Body Scrub uses coffee grounds, brown sugar, and sea salt to exfoliate, with coconut oil and vitamin E added to hydrate and repair skin. If you are a "the fewer the ingredients, the better" type, you'll love this because I just listed the entire ingredients list ;)

The scrub comes packaged in resealable, reinforced brown paper. I have had it in my shower for a couple weeks now, and the packaging stands up fine to a little moisture and heat without breaking down. It's stored on the top shelf of a shower caddy, so it gets a little incidental exposure to water, but it's not in the direct path of the shower spray.

Jealous Body Scrub review
Coffee lovers will fall head over heels for the intense coffee smell of this scrub. What I like is that it's part coffee grounds, part brown sugar, part sea salt. In other scrubs that are salt/sugar-based only, the crystals start to dissolve from the heat and moisture of the shower, forcing me to apply more product if I'm not done scrubbing yet. The coffee grounds don't dissolve, so you can scrub away all day if you wanted to. And maybe because of that, it's the most satisfying scrub-down I've had ever. It's deliciously super-abrasive (nothing uncomfortable about it) and I love it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

And now, a special guest

Hello! It was all quiet last week here while I was busy cramming diligently studying for exams. I am still struggling with a massive sleep debt, so for today, enjoy some photos of bf's cat, Tuff Guy. I will have skin care and nail posts later this week :>

It's been a while since his last appearance on my blog. Bf and I were testing out our new-ish telephoto lens on him. He's such a handsome cat but clearly a little camera shy.

Despite how he looks in this photo, he is so sweet. He flops over readily for belly rubs and purrs like nobody's business. (Also, he seems to have figured out I spoil him with the milk more than everybody else. He beelines for me when he wants some.)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

NYFW Nail Art: Lela Rose Fall 2015 RTW

More NYFW nail art for you today - this time it's Lela Rose ready-to-wear. This collection is full of gorgeous pieces, a lot of muted greys and creams with splashes of bold colour. This dress really caught my eye though:

image source: Vogue UK
SO PRETTY. Here's my interpretation (all in natural light, yay!)

NYFW Nail Art: Lela Rose Fall 2015 RTW
And it is crazy easy to do. Apply a black polish base, then randomly dot on your three colours (let one colour dry before you start the next!) Seriously, just slap it on with any small art brush you have lying around.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nivea Nourishing In-Shower Body Milk

Right now you're thinking, "ah okay, another new bath product" but wait! What's cool about Nivea's new Nourishing In-Shower Body Milk and what piqued my interest is that it isn't a creamy cleansing shower lotion, it's a moisturizer you apply in the shower. Formulated for dry to very dry skin with almond oil, it promises to moisturize instantly for over 24 hours with no stickiness.

Nivea In-Shower Body Milk review
At first, I wasn't sure how this is supposed to work--these are some pretty impressive claims, and isn't moisturizer is supposed to stay on your skin to be effective? This body milk is applied after your usual soap/shower gel and then rinsed off immediately. No waiting around, slathered up, for the ingredients to sink in. But you know what's freaky? It actually works.

The first time, I applied it to only one side of my body, rinsed immediately, and then skipped moisturizing post-shower. The difference between my left and right legs and arms was clear: the side that got the body milk was much smoother, softer, and less dry. Even a day or two after using it (with a shower in between without use), my legs feel smoother than if I had never used it at all, so it definitely ticks the 24h+ box for me.

Nivea In-Shower Body Milk review
I'm not a cosmetic chemist, so I want to just call this product witchcraft, but the moisturizing effects probably have something to do with the heavy-duty emollients and occlusives in this product (microcrystalline wax, mineral oil, glycerin, almond oil). It sometimes feels a little bit sticky immediately after the shower, but then fully absorbs (or maybe rubs off on my clothes) and I'm just left with moisturized skin. For reference, I use roughly a nickel for the left and right side of my body each. My advice would be to start with less than you think you need. I got overzealous once and applied a lot, and my legs felt really greasy. The bottle also warns that this product may make shower floors slippery; I haven't had any problems with this, and it leaves no residue.

It has a slightly citrusy, typical clean-soap scent, but it doesn't linger or interfere with any scented lotions I layer on afterwards. I was worried that the occlusive mineral oil might prevent post-shower lotions from absorbing, but my skin had no problem absorbing the extra hit of moisture from my LUSH massage bar.

It's definitely something that is best suited to only the most alligator-skinned of us--it might be too heavy if you don't have very dry skin. Nivea has lighter options for dry skin (Smooth Replenishing In-Shower Body Lotion) and normal to dry skin (Hydrating In-Shower Body Lotion).

I'm loving Nivea Nourishing In-Shower Body Milk because it's a very quick extra step with a big moisturization payoff. Bonus: you get a huge bottle for about $7 (less if you catch it on sale!) It's really improved the look and feel of my arms and legs, which I've always been self-conscious about baring because my skin is so dry. I'll definitely be purchasing a new bottle when I run out and recommend it for anyone else with very dry skin and/or a laziness problem with applying body lotion after a shower.

Ingredients: water, microcrystalline wax, mineral oil, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, hydrogenated coco-glycerides, stearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, fragrance, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, sodium carbomer, sodium acrylates/C10-30 alkl acrylate crosspolymer, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, phenoxyethanol

Available at London Drugs, similar retailers: ~$6.99 CAD / 400 ml

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss Trio

So did anyone else use that Sephora sale-on-top-of-a-sale event a few months ago to just buy all the things? That 15% (or was it 20%?) extra on sale items was enough to convince me to pick up the OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss Trio (still on sale for $30 CAD). I've been meaning to try OCC Lip Tars for a while; although I would have preferred Lip Tars with the classic full-coverage formulation, I chose this set because I really liked the colours (okay, we both know that the purple sealed the deal for me.)

OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss Trio
The three shades, Androgyne (orange), New Wave (hot pink), and Dekadent (purple) are packaged with OCC's #010 Precision Lip Brush in a clear, thick plastic zip-top. At $30, you're getting 3 full-sized Lip Tar glosses (available separately for $22 each)--see why I couldn't resist buying this trio?

OCC Lip Tars are formulated with peppermint oil, which I suspect is added as a preservative to make a paraben-free product. A lot of people love the minty feeling of peppermint oil, but it can be irritating to my lips if I'm having a bad eczema day. I took kind of a risk trying these (I like to live dangerously) but luckily didn't have any problems with it.

OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss Trio
The #010 Precision Lip Brush is pretty good! I don't use lip brushes often but usually prefer a short-bristled lip brush. #010 has longer bristles, but they're firm enough to distribute product over the lips well without being too floppy or scratchy. I also like that it's full-size, compared to the individually-sold Lip Tars, which I think come with a mini-sized brush.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

L'Occitane Ultra Soft Balm for International Women's Day

March 8th marks International Women's Day, a day to recognize the achievements and progress women have made and, at least for me, how much further women have to go. In recognition of this day and the Burkinabé women L'Occitane has been working with for over 30 years, L'Occitane is offering the limited edition Ultra Soft Balm. What makes this balm special is that 100% of the profits (that's retail price less taxes and transport and production costs) from Ultra Soft Balm sales will go directly to organizations that promote women's entrepreneurship in Burkina Faso. L'Occitane's projects include literacy programs, as well as providing financing through microcredit programs to enable women to start their own businesses and become financially independent.

L'Occitane Ultra Soft Balm for International Women's Day
Production of shea butter is generally women's work in Burkina Faso, and due to international demand, shea butter has become a major export for Burkina Faso's economy. A little Googling revealed that men take a significant cut of profits from acting as middlemen in the export market (source). I was genuinely impressed to learn that with help from UNIFEM, L'Occitane chose to cut out the middlemen to buy directly from shea group networks at fair trade prices, thus putting a greater share of profits back in the women's pockets (source; source).

L'Occitane Ultra Soft Balm for International Women's Day
Okay, on to the actual review. I love Ultra Soft Balm's delicate, apricot scent; I seriously could not stop sticking my nose in it. I couldn't pin it down as apricot without help from press materials though, I just knew it smelled gooood. It's a floral, fruity, and a little sweet, but not so heavily scented that people who don't like fragranced products would definitely avoid it.

Because of the 96% shea butter content, the balm is solid and may require a little warming up to be able to pick up any product with just your fingertip. I love that it's super multi-talented for anywhere you need hydration: I have been using it the most on my lips--it's incredibly softening--but also on my cuticles, on flyaway hairs, and even massaging it on to my eczema. Bonus: the small orange tin fits easily into a purse as a beauty staple (for reference, it's basically identical in dimensions to a Smith's Rosebud Salve tin.)

L'Occitane Ultra Soft Balm for International Women's Day
Ultra Soft Balm (also called Shea Apricot Solidarity Balm) is limited edition and the particular formulation is unique in L'Occitane's current lineup. Although the Ultra Soft Creams are packaged in similar tins, they are totally different products: the creams come in much larger 100 ml format, and have the creamy, whipped texture of a traditional body moisturizer or butter with 10% shea butter content.

Overall, I absolutely recommend checking this out before it's sold out. Portable, super moisturizing, multi-purpose, lovely scent, costs less than 2 coffees, and profits support a good cause? I'm going out today to buy another one or two of them.

Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, cera alba (beeswax), Helianthus annus (sunflower) seed oil, tocopherol, parfum/fragrance, linalool, limonene, citronellol

Available at L'Occitane: $6 CAD / 20g

Thursday, March 5, 2015

NYFW Nail Art: Oscar de la Renta Fall 2015 RTW

I love that everything from nature to cute packaging to fashion can inspire my nail art. New York Fashion Week had been popping up on my feeds lately, so I couldn't help but pick out a few looks to translate onto my nails. This post marks the first in a couple NYFW-inspired nail art posts coming up :> Today's inspiration is from Oscar de la Renta fall 2015 ready-to-wear:
NYFW nail art: Oscar de la Renta Fall 2015 RTW
images source: Vogue
I fell in love with this ladylike print of blue flowers on soft beige. Here's what I did with it:

NYFW nail art: Oscar de la Renta Fall 2015 RTW
This post is a bit pic-heavy. The design took up the better part of my night to complete, so you can bet I took a million photos (okay, more like 50) to make sure I wouldn't have to do them again. That left me with a lot of photos to choose from and edit, and in the end I just couldn't cut it down to my usual 3-4.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Steveston in January

One grey, late January afternoon, I set out with MizzJ and Sheila to photograph Steveston with my shiny new telephoto lens. Steveston is a small community in Metro Vancouver with a history as a fishing and canning village. The quaint, small village vibe and fresh seafood sold on the docks has made it pretty touristy, but overcast, cold weather on that day probably kept a lot of would-be visitors away.

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