Monday, 27 February 2012

Diamonds are a girls best friend..



For those of us who can't afford to splurge on diamonds, there are always alternatives :) I recently purchased a gorgeous pair of swarovski crystal earrings, named Emma for $85.00 . These are perfect for me because they add a touch of class for the day-to-day without being too flashy.

February Use-It-Up

February is almost at an end- we get an extra day this Wednesday as it is a leap year :) Are any of you doing something special to mark the day? I will be working and that's about it.
I didn't use up too many items this month. However, it is always fun to save the empty bottles/containers and see just what got used month to month, as well as what will be re-purchased or never purchased again!

Here is my February use-it-up:
The products I used up in Feb '12
From left to right--
ThalySPA Anti-Aging Silky Emulsion by Dr. Renaud. This body cream is by a great Canadian brand, Dr. Renaud. This brand focuses primarily on anti-aging and apparently the products are very effective. I obviously do not focus too much on anti-aging as my skin is still acne-prone, but I used this cream on my hands and legs for an extra little oomph. It was not really scented, and it was not very thick, but rather runny. I had a sample size, 30 ml. I would not repurchase this product as Dr. Renaud is really pricey and anti-aging isn't a concern for me yet, but I would definitely recommend this brand to anyone who is trying to fight wrinkles and lines!

Shiseido Pureness blemish clearing gel (15ml) is one of my go-to spot treatments for acne. With 0.5% salicyclic acid, it is not as strong as some of the other ones I use, but it goes on as a clear gel that leaves no residue behind, so it is GREAT for day application. You can literally use this, and wait a minute for it to soak in before applying makeup, whereas many other spot treatments leave behind a residue, peel-ys, film or even colour. I always have one of these on hand, and I've already repurchased another bottle. It looks small but you only need a dab, so one bottle could last you 6-12 months.

Cosmetic Warrior fresh face mask (60g) by LUSH. One of LUSH's many fresh face masks, these can only be purchased in-store because they need to be kept refrigerated. LUSH face masks have a short shelf-life (around 3 weeks) and as such, need to be used up quickly! If you save up 5 empty LUSH black pots, you can return them to your local shop and get a free fresh face mask! That is how I got Costmetic Warrior. I usually buy Catastrophe Cosmetic but I wanted to try something different. This one stunk of garlic and tea tree, and it didn't work any better for my breakouts than Catastrophe, which smells of blueberries. I think I'll switch back to Catastrophe, and therefore would not re-purchase this mask.

Finally, Buche De Noel (100g) is a holiday facial cleanser by LUSH. It is described as an edible smelling, nourishing facial scrub. It smells like something you could eat, as its made with almonds, cranberries, brandy and cocoa butter! This product is only for sale at Christmas time and therefore I couldn't re-purchase it even if I wanted to. They have a similar facial cleanser called Angels on Bare Skin that is available all year round, but I would not re-purchase that as I am now using a different facial cleanser, Tea Tree Cleanser by Body Shop!

So there you have it! My February Use-It-Up. I am excited for March because it is my birthday month, as well as my mom, dad and sisters birthday month! Lots of excitement coming up soon :)
--S

TOPBOX Contest!

Follow the link to win a 3-month complimentary Topbox subscription! Canada residents only. Contest ends on March 5, 2012, 12PM.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

LUSH 30 DAY CHALLENGE in one day: part two




Lush Cosmetics 30 Day Challenge created by LushiesUnite

16. Favorite Gorilla perfume that you’ve tried? I am not a huge fan of LUSH scents. I own a full-sized Twilight that I am not really using. I like the newest scent, 25:43 and vanillary is nice, too.

17. What areas of the products available that you haven’t dived into at all? (Example – you haven’t tried any of the skincare, etc.) What’s holding you back? I haven't tried their colour supplement makeup because it doesn't interest me. I also don't use their hair care, nor their foot care.

18. Lush is extremely notorious for being a very ethical company in terms of their sourcing and campaigning, as well as all the green initiatives they take for packaging. The fact that all products are 100% vegetarian and 80% are vegan, plus all solid products don’t have a preservative attracts many as well. Are Lush’s ethics a reason why you use Lush products? YES! I love LUSH for their ethical stances. It is amazing and it is a huge reason I support their company.

19. What’s your go-to bath cocktail? I don't do baths ;)

20. Do you typically get your products in-store or through mail-order? Which do you prefer, and why? Both! I like in-store because I don't have to pay $8 for shipping. Online is nice though, as you can get web-exclusive products. My nearest LUSH is a 40 minute drive away so sometimes I will just pay the $8 shipping cost out of convenience.

21. Favorite limited edition holiday product? (Can be from any Lush holiday line!) Oooh tough one. I would have to say Snow Fairy but I honestly love ALL Christmas limited edition products. Who am I kidding? I love all holiday limited edition products!! (Halloween, Easter, etc)

22. If someone was to buy you a wrapped gift tomorrow, which one would you want? Get creative (– which one OTHER than Lush Legends, or any of the awesomely big holiday gifts would you want?) My Fair Lady, without a doubt.

23. Do you use any of the knot-wraps? Which design has been your favorite? I don't have one but I like the idea of them.

24. Congratulations! You’ve won a trip to visit the factory, and part of your prize includes you getting to create and design your own personal product with your favorite compounder! What would your product be? (Type, scent, purpose, etc.) Who do you choose to make your product with? Waah I am not creative enough for this question. I would probably make twilight scented lotion, comforter scented shower gel, that type of thing.

25. Are you a soap fanatic or a shower gel junkie? If you could use only three soaps or shower gels for the rest of your life, which would you pick? (Because what avid Lushie could only pick one?) Oh my gosh I am a SOAP and SHOWERGEL junkie!! I love both. If I had to pick three, it'd be snow fairy, snow cake and sultana of soap. But that was really hard to do. I love a ton of LUSH soaps.

26. What’s your must-have body lotion/moisturizer/body butter/smoothie/etc? Lemony-flutter, dream cream and ultra balm.

27. Have you attended any of the forum or chat parties? If so, which (if any) limited edition products did you order? I have attended chat parties in NA. I never win anything- I don't know how people are so fast at typing the answers!

28. Do you use the Henna hair dye? If so, what enticed you to try it? If not, would you ever consider it? I wouldn't consider it. It sounds messy and I am too klutzy to dye my own hair.

29. What’s your go-to exfoliant – body or face? Face- ocean salt! So worth the price. Body- I love rub rub rub! But also sandstone, porridge, I should coco soap.

30. Uh-oh. The world pretty much ended and you’re all alone on a deserted island and you don’t have your Lush stash (if the world hadn’t ended yet, it has now!). You get to have a unlimited supply of ONE (that is a very clear rule: one) Lush product for the rest of your lonely life on this island. You do have access to a shower/bath/whatever you need to use the product. What ONE product do you choose to be the only product you ever use again during the rest of your miserable, lonely life? OCEAN SALT!

LUSH 30 DAY CHALLENGE in one day :)


 Lush Cosmetics 30 Day Challenge created by LushiesUnite:

  1. 1. How did you find/get introduced to Lush products? How long ago was that? What was the first product you ever used?
  2. My sisters have been using LUSH for years. I received a 100ml bottle of snow fairy for Christmas 2 years ago, and that was the first LUSH product I ever used. Shamefully, I didn't even use it for well over a year after I received it because I was turned off by the glitter in it. Now I know that the glitter all sinks to the bottom of the shower gel and doesn't really stick to the skin at all. I had been in a LUSH shop with my mom/sisters probably 5+ years ago, but I thought the prices were ridiculous so I didn't purchase anything. 

  3. 2. Top 3 favorite bath products? (Bath bombs, bubble bars, bath melts)
  4. I do not take baths. I like to buy bubble bars and use them in my shower puff to wash with. I also have a twilight bath bomb that I keep in my sock/underwear drawer to keep them smelling amazing. My favourites would be: twilight (for the amazing smell), creamy candy bb/candy mountain bb (same thing: amazing smell) and the magic wand! for its prettiness/fun/scent. 

  5. 3. What’s one product that you REALLY want to try but just haven’t gotten around to yet?
  6. Hmm that's a hard one. I basically try everything. I guess I want to get into the haircare since it is the only area I haven't really bought into yet. I love the idea of their solid shampoo bars. 

  7. 4. Do you use Lush skincare? What are your favorite products for your skin, and why do you love them so much?
YES! I have a ton of LUSH skincare. I've tried basically all of their cleansers and none worked for me. I use their tea tree toner on a daily basis. I use their moisturizers currently (imperialis, enzymion and vanishing cream) but they're not my favourite and I am contemplating switching brands when they're all used up. I also don't like that they do not have SPF in them. I use honey trap lip tint every day on my lips to keep them soft- best lip balm ever in my opinion. 

  1. 5. Aren’t the massage bars AMAZING?! Which is your favorite?
  2. I am not a huge massage bar fan. I own their love potion bar and their therapy massage bar. Therapy smells gross to me so I double wrapped it in a bag and its just laying around. Love potion isn't my favourite scent but it is relaxing to use as a body moisturizer before bed.

  3. 6. Do you have a discontinued or Retro product that you miss more than anything?! (Not holiday!)
  4. The only retro product that I really adore/have owned is Smitten because I love the snowcake scent. I also own Narcotic shower gel, iced wine shower jellie and some I should coco soap which were retro/disconned. 

     
  1. 7. If you could give your best friend(s) just one Lush product, which would you pick for them?
  2. I would give them snow fairy shower gel because that is what hooked me! Or maybe the coconut deodorant powder because it is a versatile product that smells amazing!

  3. 8. Lush blogs do you check frequently? Do other Lush blogger’s opinions on products effect your decision making when choosing what you get for yourself?
  4. I am on some LUSH private groups on facebook, the LUSH facebook page (NA and UK) and the NA forum. I also check the LUSH tag on tumblr but I am not a tumblr user. I blog about LUSH on my own blog and follow many beauty bloggers who sometimes review LUSH. I definitely place value on other LUSHies opinions of new products. 

  5. 9. Where/how do you store your Lush “stash”?
  6. EVERY WHERE! I have some in my bathroom (shower gels, cleansers/toners, soap), some in my bed side table (soap), sock drawer (bubble bars/bath bombs), mini fridge (cleansers and solid deodorant stash), vanity table (lip tints, moisturizers, hand/body creams, perfumes) and beauty storage area (deodorants, shower products, body products, lip products etc etc). 

  7. 10. What haircare products do you love? Do you use Lush haircare in your daily routine?
  8. I don't really use LUSH hair care. I've sampled some but I am turned off by their ridiculously high prices.

  9. 11. If you’ve had a terrible day, what Lush product do you use for a pick-me-up?
  10. I love exfoliating products to scrub away the negativity! Rub rub rub, I should coco, sandstone, ocean salt, porridge. 

  11. 12. What issue of the Lush Times has been your favorite so far? Do you keep all of your old issues?
  12. I don't keep old issues. I recycle them. I am not a pack rat at all, except when it comes to LUSH hoarding ;)

  13. 13. Do you use hair masks, foot treatment products or face masks regularly? What’s your ultimate at-home Lush spa night?
  14. I have never used a LUSH hair mask or foot treatment. I use lemony flutter on my feet to soften them. I like the face masks- I've tried cupcake, cosmetic warrior and catastrophe cosmetic (my favourite!)

  15. 14. Do you use the designated Lush tins to store any of your products? (Massage bars, solid shampoos, body butters, etc.)
  16. I think the tins suck to be honest. I have one solid shampoo tin that my mom gave me. I keep my jungle (which I use as a shave bar) in there. They are poorly designed as they are very hard to get open, especially if you have wet or recently moisturized hands!!

  17. 15. What’s your must-have-on-hand-at-all-times product that you might die without? (Okay, dramatic, but not really for Lushies ;D)
  18. Hmmm probably honey trap. But I love a lot of LUSH products. When it comes to showering, I couldn't enjoy myself without at least one LUSH soap and shower gel on hand. 

I will post the next 15 questions in the next post :)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

smelling good is nice, right? -- perfume post


I'm sure you may have heard this fun fact before: SCENT is the strongest sense tied to memory. This fits into our lives in many ways. You might smell something that you hadn't experienced since childhood, taking you back to a long-forgotten occasion. Perhaps the smell of an ex-boyfriends cologne is a no-go for future boyfriends. You know what your grandma smells like, what your mom smells like and what your boss at work smells like! 
Anyway, I did have a point to this: perfume! If you wear the same perfume on a daily basis it is likely that many close friends and family will associate you with that scent, most likely unconsciously. If the scent is more robust, it might be consciously ;) Subtly is key in pulling off perfume in my opinion. Less is usually more. You also have to be thoughtful of others who may have sensitivities to strong scents, so a spritz (maybe two) on your wrists, dabbed onto your neck, should leave you good to go! 
I have a few perfumes; I am by no means a collector! I wear Candy by Prada on the daily. You can buy this fragrance from your local Shoppers Drugmart, department store (i.e. the Bay) or Sephora. It comes in  a few sizes. It is officially described as smelling like: "an elegant mix of musks in the top, a sensual balsamic vanillic accord of benzoin in the heart and sweet modern caramel in the base of the fragrance."
Candy by Prada
I find the scent to be very sweet and musky in an amazing way. This perfume is very subtle. It is not one where people will smell you coming in. However, it lasts all day on me and changes throughout the day to be less sweet and more musky. I am absolutely in love with this fragrance. As it is not overly dramatic, I would suggest this as an every-day perfume. For something with a bit more flair, I have BCBGirls Sexy perfume by Max Azria (50ml). I was surprised this scent (released in 2001) was still for sale online! As you can see in my photo, it is well used. I have had it for a very long while. It is officially described as smelling like: "spicy mandarin, red berry, bigarade, jasmine, clove, lily of the valley, rose, amber, incense, vanilla, tonka bean, sandalwood, musk."

That is a LOT of scents to go into one fragrance! Once again, it has musk and vanilla, which must be two of my favourite ingredients in perfume! To me, this perfume has a spicier note to it- I still smell the musk and the vanilla, but with a spicy floral undertone. Sexy is a strong scent- one spritz goes a long way and therefore I consider this bold scent to be more of a night-time fragrance. Sometimes I will wear it during the day if I am feeling ~sexy~.

My third perfume is Pink Sugar by Aquolina (30ml). Similar to Prada's offering, it is described: "stylish and lively, Pink Sugar takes you on a journey through the pleasures and flavours of childhood with vanilla and caramel." I find this perfume to be very sweet; perhaps a touch too sweet because I rarely wear it. I like sweet perfumes, absolutely! But my other perfumes offer something beyond the sickly sweet smell, whereas this one does not. It is VERY vanilla-based. Many people say it smells like cotton candy when I wear it. I put this on every once in a while if I am in a mood to smell different. I wouldn't want to wear it in the summer time because I think the bugs/wasps/mosquitoes would go after me like mad ! 
LUSH Gorilla Perfumes
Last but not least, my LUSH perfumes. Did you know LUSH has an entire sub-section of fragrances under their "Gorilla Perfume" range? They offer very unique scents. I have LOVE in a 2ml sample vial and TWILIGHT in a 30ml spritzer.
LOVE has fresh apple, cinnamon, lemongrass, bergamot, cassia, jasmine, rose and ylang ylang. It is very spicy, and I am not a fan of hugely spicy scents. I wore this one day and it literally bothered me for the entirety of the day that I had it on. It is not my personal taste. 
TWILIGHT is meant to smell of LUSH's amazing bath bomb of the same name. I keep twilight bath bombs in my sock and underwear drawers to keep them smelling amazing. When this perfume went on sale I felt compelled to purchase it. Unfortunately, it was another miss for me. It is supposed to smell of lavender, malt and tonka. I personally get a lot of ylang ylang and a woodsy scent- almost sandalwood. It is too woodsy and masculine to me. My friends seem to like it, but once again- I wear it and all day I wonder why I am wearing it! I will hold onto this fragrance because I hope it will grow on me.

Tell me ladies, what is your every day scent? Do you have a night-time scent? 
--S

Monday, 13 February 2012

Natural Deodorant by LUSH

Last year I did some research on antiperspirant deodorants. I had heard here and there from random sources that commercialized deodorants are bad for you. They apparently increase the risk of breast cancer in women. I did a bit of research, and I was shocked with what I found.
Regular antiperspirant deodorant that you buy at the drug store is filled with chemicals and aluminum. These chemicals seep through your skin and into the soft tissues of your breast area. If you check your antiperspirant deodorant, it even warns you not to apply on broken skin -- this is because the ingredients are harmful to your body. 
Statistics show that if you develop breast cancer, there is a 50% chance the tumor will appear in the area closest to your under arms. There is only a 6% chance that the cancer will appear in the area farthest from your under arms. This means you are 8 times more likely to develop breast cancer next to the area where you apply your deodorant. Doctors will not outright state that antiperspirants increase your risk of cancer; the usual "more tests need to be done" statement is often toted. However, many health advocates do state that antiperspirants can increase your chances of developing cancer. 
Aluminum has been linked to other health issues too, namely Alzheimer's disease. 
Now I am not here to lecture you all, or to fear-monger. I did the research, and I decided to go natural with my deodorant choices. If you decide that you're interested in following suit, LUSH cosmetics has some great options that will keep you smelling great in a much healthier way. If LUSH isn't your thing, there are a TON of natural and organic deodorants at your local health and supplement store. Go in and ask about them. 
What is LUSH's take on deodorant? 
"We're meant to sweat to rid our body of toxins and to regulate our temperatures. Our deodorants won't stop you from sweating but they will help to balance perspiration and keep you smelling fresh. We think it's better to smell of lovely fruits and flowers than to smell of ... well, you know. We like to be healthy and we like to smell good so we made these for ourselves and you can have some too if you like."

LUSH coconut deodorant powder

LUSH has two main types of deodorant: the powders and the solids. I have some of both. Pictured above is the coconut deodorant powder by LUSH ($7.95/50g). It smells DIVINE. Like, good enough to eat. This awesome powder has powdered coconut milk, creamed and desiccated coconut and coconut oils in it! It also has tapioca, cornstarch and natural mineral magnesium carbonate in it to keep underarms soft, smooth and dry.
To use: tap some powder directly onto your hand, then rub onto your armpits! It can get messy and takes a bit of practice. I also use this yummy powder as a dusting powder and dry shampoo! Gotta love multi-purpose products!
Aromarant deodorant by LUSH

Recently discontinued, Aromarant ($6.95/100gis one of LUSH's solid deodorant options. They also have another one that is similar in make, but different in smell, Aromaco.
I was sad to hear of the discontinuation of Aromarant. I have just the two pieces pictured here, but they'll last me at least a year. This bar has lemon, cleavers infusion, and sandalwood to combat body stench and soothe and moisturize. There is also microfine sodium bicarbonate and witch hazel to absorb sweat. I like this bar because it goes on smooth. I literally just rub it onto my armpits like you would a traditional deodorant. It melts at my body temperature and glides on. Then, I will layer the coconut deodorant right on top. I find this solid deo to have little to no smell. The coconut makes me smell great, and it sticks well to the Aromarant.
I find the combination of Aromarant and coconut to work well for the winter time, and any time I won't be sweating a lot. However, if things are going to get hot and sweaty I prefer:

T'EO!!!

T'eo ($7.95/90g) is a solid powder deodorant. See the link for what it looks like whole. I dropped mine on the floor, and now it lives in an air-tight plastic container looking like that ^^^.
T'eo has magnesium carbonate, juniper berry, tea tree and lemon essential oils to combat bacteria, keeping you smelling great and feeling dry all day long.
This is a 'hard core' natural deodorant that I can use in the summer to keep myself smelling fab while outdoors. As it has lemon in it, I would NEVER apply this to freshly shaven arm pits- it'll sting like mad! The same goes for Aromarant. To use T'eo, I just rub it onto my armpits like I would the coconut powder.

If you choose to go with any of these LUSH deodorants, do not store them in your washroom. Similar to dry shampoo, their job is to absorb excess moisture so you will want to keep them in a cool, dry place.

Check out the LUSH page to see all their deodorants- they have a few more that I did not go over in my post. These three are my personal faves, and like most LUSH products, a little goes a long way and they last FOREVER! A little note on switching from aluminum deodorants to non-aluminum deodorants: most sources suggest that you need a two week adjustment period to cleanse all the junk out of your underarms, so the natural deodorants might appear to not work as well at first. Give your body two weeks to cleanse itself and you will notice your underarm funk to drastically decrease :)
--S

Friday, 10 February 2012

LUSH UK LIMITED EDITION RETRO is out!

Hello my lovely blogger friends :)
I know you know I love LUSH cosmetics. It is my favourite beauty brand! I had mentioned in a few posts about the forum party they hosted back on Feb 8th. The limited edition retro releases are now available for sale on the UK website! I am really tempted by the massage bar and the jelly, but I am holding off on ordering for now.
However, I thought I'd share the product information with you in case any of you were thinking of making a little retro order for yourself as a V-day treat :)
Party On shower jelly (£6.85/250g) is a bright and breezy jelly with lime oil, rosemary infusion, mint and juniper. It is meant in invigorate you in the early mornings, or get you pumped up for a night out on the town with its refreshing scent and colour!
Nutts massage bar (£5.95 each) sounds like my dream massage bar! It is something I am really eyeing. It is coconutty, with vetivert (smoky), vanilla, tonka and sandalwood. It is described by LUSH as sweet, smoky, nutty and cakey. Can you say YUM? 
Hot Milk bubble bar (£3.20 each) is a bath time treat scented of coconut  milk, orange and patchouli. It is supposed to be a soothing scent meant to induce calm bathing. I personally cannot stomach patchouli in any format, so this would be a pass for me.

Uluru bath bomb (£3.50 each) is fragranced with lemon myrtle, sandalwood and rosewood, alongside orange oil. This bomb is described as sweet, cheering and relaxing; apparently it makes for beautiful bath water!
And finally, Canadian Maple soap (£4.50/100g) caught my eye because it gave mention of Canada. And who doesn't love maple syrup, honestly? This soap is supposed to smell sweet and delicious, as it's made with actual maple syrup! LUSH says it has a nutty-toffee aroma with a touch of tangerine oil for a citrus uplift. It hasn't got such rave reviews from other LUSHies online though, who say it smells very bland.

What do you all think of the limited edition LUSH UK retro items? If any of you are planning on getting something, share the deetz!
--S

Google will cancel Google Friend Connect (Subscriber Widget) for All Non-Blogger Platforms in March 2012

A fabulous fellow blogger of mine, valentinadang just posted about how google will be cancelling google friend connect in March of this year! Read up on it in her well written post here.

As another option for my non-blogger friends, please follow me on Bloglovin:

GLOSSYBOX - February 2012

Canada has seen an exciting development in the beauty game over the past year- monthly subscription boxes. Companies like Glymm, Luxe box and Topbox charge a monthly fee (usually around $12/month) and send to your door a box filled with 'premium' or 'deluxe' beauty samples. It is expected that you will usually receive at least one full-sized product in your monthly box, and that you will receive a mixture of lotions, makeup, nail care and skin care items.
Glossybox is a new-comer to Canada, and their inaugural box was sent out this February. Glossybox is well known across Europe as an excellent beauty box subscription, and I decided to enroll for a box. I have been on the waiting list for a Topbox (which I won't get until May). I have closely studied the contents of Glymm and Luxe boxes and in my opinion, neither are worth the money. If I am going to shell out $12 for samples, I want samples of things I will actually use. Topbox seems to offer the best samples for my interests and age-range, and obviously other people agree as they are now sold out until June '12! Sign up here to get on the Topbox waiting list.
Glossybox was founded in Germany, and this year they are expanding to 20 new countries, including Canada. Glossybox is the most expensive of all the Canadian beauty box subscriptions available currently: it is $15 a month all in. However, it promises a minimum of 5 beauty samples per box, where the other brands only promise 4 (although it is common to get more than 4 per box).
My well-packaged Glossybox!
Upon opening my first ever Glossybox, I was initially very impressed with the packaging. The box itself is very sturdy, and pale pink in colour. It is something I will definitely re-use as storage or to give a gift in. On the very top of my box was a little envelope with my name on it. I was impressed with this personal touch.
Underneath the envelope I found the goodies! Carefully packaged in a ribbon. Glossybox absolutely did not disappoint on the packaging; they outshine some of their competitors (Glymm specifically) in this regard.
The contents of my envelope included a welcome letter that outlined my box contents, some label stickers, and some product information for two of the samples I received.

Now I will admit: I had already read multiple reviews of other peoples Canadian Glossyboxes. Many bloggers had been sent out 'press boxes' that contained what I assumed I would also receive. Unfortunately, that was incorrect and probably increased my levels of disappointment when I got my box. 
The press boxes contained a full-sized Essie polish and a 50ml bottle of Oscar de la Renta Live in Love Body Lotion. My box was missing these attractive items.


I received:
AHAVA Mineral Body Cream (40 ml) (full sized retails for $28.00/250ml)
Skin Care Moisturizing Stick by Elizabeth Grant (3.5 g) (full size retails for $12.00/5g)
WELLA Brilliance Shampoo (50 ml) (full sized retails for $13.99/300ml)
Oscar de la Renta Live in Love perfume sample (4ml) (full sized retails for $62.00/30ml)
Prevage Intensive Anti-Aging moisture cream (7 ml) (full sized retails for $160/50ml)
+ a bonus item: Beauty So Clean sanitizing wipes and mist - 4 wipes, 8ml mist 

Compared to press boxes, I was given the shampoo sample instead of a full-sized Essie polish, and the teeny tiny Oscar de le Renta perfume sampler instead of a 50ml lotion. This is obviously disappointing. I think it was a bad PR move for Glossybox to send out ~amazing~ press boxes to get subscribers excited about their own boxes, only to send out a much less amazing box to the 'regular people' who are actually their majority of clientele. I already expressed my disappointment on the Glossybox facebook page and I was surprised to get 11 (and counting) comments from other people who felt similarly to me. 

So, overall I would say I am disappointed with my first Glossybox. Anti-aging products? Whats the point in filling out a beauty profile describing my likes and dislikes if it is ignored? The only thing I am certain I will use in this box is the bonus item! I might as well use the shampoo sample, but let's be honest: I could easily get a shampoo sample like that in the mail from any hair company. The same goes for the perfume sample: it is so small. I could get a sampler this size at any department store. The true value of this box comes from the  lip care item, which I have no need for because I already love my own lip care staples by LUSH. The anti-aging cream sample is valued at $22.50 making the box worth well over the $15 I paid for it, but it is just not well-matched to my wants and needs.

I intend to give Glossybox one more month to redeem themselves. If they do not, I will sadly cancel my subscription. I was ever-so excited to see what they brought to the table, and I was dismayed by their lack of ANY make up or nail care items in their inaugural box. If Glossybox wants to charge $3 more a month compared to its competitors, it has to be willing to live up to high expectations. That being stated, the box itself was lovely, I adore the packaging and the prompt shipping was appreciated. If you wish to sign up for Glossybox, click here to sign up for next months. 

Tell me ladies: what did YOU think of the Glossybox debut? Did you get any variations on what I received? 
--S

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Do you like SMASHBOX? Do you like free stuff?

My friends over at Beauty Crazed in Canada  are giving away a ton of SMASHBOX cosmetics! You just have to follow them and comment to enter. Get on over there and enter if you feel like taking a chance at winning! 
They are giving away:  Photo Finish Primer, Photo Finish Hydrating Primer, Photo Op Eye Enhancing Palette in Brown Eyes, Photo Op Eye Shadow Trio in Aperture, Limitless Eye Liner in Java, HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder & Brush Set in Medium, Photo Finish Lid Primer, Hyperlash Mascara in Black & Reflection High Shine Lip Gloss. 
Also, my Glossybox is here. However, it's not really here. It's at the post office. And I can't get it 'til after 5pm. The mail man couldn't be bothered to ring my doorbell! I was home all day! He just left a slip saying I had to go pick it up at the post office. HOW RUDE, right? I am going to complain when I get there but I am guessing it'll fall on deaf ears. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

LUSH moisturizers

First off, I would like to let you all know that the ~new retro~ items from LUSH UK will be available for sale coming this weekend in case you are interested. The forum party was today, but the only forum specials were a massage bar that is still available to us in Canada, and a fragrance that was of no interest to me. Sadly, none of the new retro items have intrigued me enough to make an overseas order.

My first Glossybox should be arriving soon! They were sent out today. I have checked out some beauty blogs and know what to expect in my first box, but I will blog about my initial reactions to the products and box when it arrives in a post for you all.

Fossil's Maddox Satchel in Sea Green ($240) 
As I mentioned in a recent post, I got my Fossil handbag today! It is gorgeous! Pictured is the Maddox satchel in sea green. It is so beautiful! This was my Valentine's day gift to myself, just because I love me so much ;)

Now onto the main course: facial moisturizers ! Back in May '11 I decided I wanted to stop slathering synthetic and often poisonous creams and lotions all over my body. Most drug store branded moisturizers are loaded with crap that isn't meant for human consumption, and our skin is our largest organ! It absorbs what you slather all over it! So I bought some LUSH moisturizers and its been trial and error ever since.
I wouldn't say I've found my perfect match. I am considering other brands for moisturizers and would LOVE any feedback on natural(ish) brands. I was pondering Philosophy or Origins specifically

Vanishing Cream, Full of Grace serum, Imperialis Cream, Body Shop Tea Tree cream
I used to use Neutrogena or Aveeno moisturizers. I would just buy whichever of the two brands was on sale when I needed it at the time. I really liked the Aveeno brand. I am still considering switching back once I use up my LUSH, even though it is not the healthiest choice for my body. I currently own: Vanishing Cream by LUSH, Imperialis by LUSH, Full of Grace serum bar by LUSH, Enzymion by LUSH (not pictured) and a small sample size of the Body Shop tea tree moisturizer.

My first moisturizer purchase by LUSH was made in the summer time. I was still a little overwhelmed by the prices at LUSH- compared to my drug store brands, it was pretty pricey. I didn't want to dive head-on into their expensive moisturizers, as many ranged in price from $35+ for what seemed like a pretty small amount at a measly 45g. I bought my pot of Imperialis ($23.95/45g) because it was one of LUSH's 4 'cheap' moisturizers that seemed most correct for my acne-prone skin. As I've mentioned in the past, I have clear skin everywhere but my chin area, so I consider my skin to be 'combination' when asked. My past brands were always 'oil-free' and LUSH doesn't make 'oil-free' moisturizers which really concerned me. Imperialis is LUSH's answer to combo skin- it has lavender infusion to balance skins sebum production, tiger lily to tone, St. John's wort to soothe blemishes, as well as olive oil, shea butter and cocoa butter to moisturize. I found this moisturizer to be a bit heavy for my skin. I am using it now that it is winter much more frequently. As you can see, I still have some left from my first pot because a little really does got a LONG way with LUSH moisturizers. LUSH suggests you put just a dab on your fingertip, and rub onto your freshly cleaned and toned skin. I usually moisturize my face only once a day, in the evening. I will moisturize my chin in the mornings too, because my acne treatments leave it much dryer than the rest of my face.
I would suggest Imperialis if you have true combination skin: dry in some spots, greasy in others. A better match for me was Vanishing Cream ($39.95/45g), LUSH's lightest moisturizer. It is called Vanishing Cream because it is meant for acne prone skin. It has no cocoa butter, and uses shea butter and jojoba oils instead. It also has lavender honey water and rose water to sooth irritated skin. Vanishing Cream contains witch hazel to combat acne, and I would say that this moisturizer smells of witch hazel primarily. It is my favourite LUSH moisturizer, and if you suffer from acne, it might be your best LUSH bet as well.
I also have a pot of Enzymion ($37.95/45g) moisturizer because I read reviews and thought it might be even better than Vanishing Cream for me. This cream is meant for oily skin; it contains cleansing papaya, soothing aloe vera, and lemon, grape fruit and lime oils to tone and brighten the skin. It also contains cocoa butter and avocado oils. This cream smells very citrus-y and fresh. I honestly found Enzymion to be too light for me. It almost feels as if it doesn't moisturize at all, especially in the winter. I might save the remainder for the summer and see if I like it better then, because I purchased it around September of last year.
Finally, the Full of Grace serum bar ($13.95/20g) was something I picked up in December out of sheer curiosity. It is a solid bar that you rub between your hands; similar to a massage bar, it will melt from your body heat and then you rub it into your face. Made of murumuru butter, cupuacu butter, essential oils, mushrooms and calamine powder, this bar smells primarily like calamine. It features rose oil to sooth irritations, and portobello mushrooms to provide antioxidant properties and vitamins. Many LUSHies suggest this to be used as a night cream in the winter. It is much too heavy for my skin, except for my forehead, so I sometimes use it as a night cream for that area only. I also love using it to smooth out my eyebrows! If you have dry skin, or if you are worried about wrinkles, you should definitely purchase one of these little guys! For the price, you can't find better.

Remember how I said that LUSH moisturizers seemed over-priced for how little you got? I haven't used up a single pot yet! A little really does go a long way, so if you are interested in trying a LUSH moisturizer- go for it! They have a vast selection for all skin types, so if you are unsure go into a store and ask for a sample or even a consultation. Unfortunately I haven't fell in love with any of them; I think its mostly because they all contain oils and butters and my skin is still too temperamental for that. When my skin finally decides to grow up and stop acting like a teenager, I will definitely go back to LUSH moisturizers.

Thanks for reading, and hello to my new followers :)
--S

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Body Shop Tea Tree Line

As a teenager, I shopped at the Body Shop. As I grew up and started university, I stopped shopping there. I was more interested in high end brands for lotions/skincare etc. I thought the Body Shop just seemed.. cheap. After Christmas '11 I stopped in one day because they were having a large sale. 
For the past year, I have been suffering from acne on my chin area. It is really frustrating because I have tried prescription medications, every LUSH related skin cleanser, department store and drug store brands of products and nothing has been able to help it. I have done research and I think it is hormonal, so my options are  limited unless I can find some herbal supplements or prescription drugs to regulate my hormones, and I don't even know which hormones are acting up, although research has pointed toward androgens. 
Anyway- I've gone off on a tangent! I noticed that the Body Shop had an entire skin care line geared toward acne prone skin, and I bought their little tester kit on sale for ten dollars off. It came with the tea tree cleanser, tea tree oil, tea tree moisturizer and tea tree toner. I have been using this line of products for the past month and a bit, and I have been VERY pleased with the results. I haven't used the moisturizer because I am using LUSH moisturizers right now. But everything else is AH-MAZ-ING! They are having a wicked sale right now, buy 3 get 2 free, so I made a little online order last week. Today, it arrived.

I got: tea tree skin clearing facial wash ($11.00/250 ml), tea tree cleansing wipes ($12.00 for 25) and three vials of tea tree oil ($9.00/10ml). This means I got 2 vials of tea tree oil free :D
Ta-da! My well packaged Body Shop order!
The tea tree oil is what has impressed me the most. I have tried topical prescription treatments, salicylic  acid, benzyl peroxide -- you name it! for over night treatments. This stuff works way better, and is way less irritating. It has diminished my inflammation wonderfully. It smells quite strong, but if you can get past that-- and trust me, you should-- it's so worth it. I will note that it is quite drying, as are most acne treatments. However, it is natural and it is fairly cheap! How I use it is: before bed, I dab it into my finger, and then slather it all over my chin. It just absorbs right in.

I also got another bottle of the cleansing facial wash because the one I got from my sample set is small. They offer a foaming cleanser too, but I find this one to last longer and therefore it is more economical. I got the cleansing wipes as a luxury-- at $12.00 for only 25, they are a bit pricey, but they are great for travelling or for a post-workout wash at the gym. The cleansing facial wash is fairly gentle on my skin and does a great job of washing off my make up. It is non-irritating. I follow up with the tea tree toner by LUSH afterwards to remove any excess cleanser.
The Body Shop has a whole line of tea tree offerings that you can check out-- if you have acne prone skin like me, it will be your life saver. Like I said, I've tried it all, and nothing has worked. I am using these products and while I am still getting acne, it is improving my skin.
--S

Sephora Shopping! bareMinerals

I went into Sephora the other day to use up a coupon I had for one full-sized BARE ESCENTUALS mineral foundation. I had purchased a gift set at Christmas time that came with bareMinerals primer, mineral veil, lip colour, mascara and an all-over face colour. I was pleased to find out it also came with a voucher for a foundation worth $35.00! The set itself was around fifty bucks, so it had great value. I love the bare escentuals brand because it is a natural line, and they tell you exactly what goes into their products. They make all sorts of makeup and skincare products, and they are definitely worth checking out if you would like to take care of your skin in a more natural way.
Before going into Sephora I did my research. I had already been using the pure radiance all over face colour ($19.00) as a blush for over a month. It is a soft peach colour with lots of lustre. I loved the way it made my skin look. However, I started developing acne around my cheek, forehead and eye area not long after I started to use it and I usually NEVER break out there (only on my chin usually, grrrr). After a quick web search I found out that one of the ingredients bareMinerals uses in its lustre makeup has been linked to breakouts amongst many women- it is called bismuth, or bismuth oxychloride. Assuming it was triggering my own break outs, I went back to my basic MAC blush and decided to only use this all-over colour as an eye shadow.
Luckily, bareMinerals offers a foundation line that does not contain bismuth- the matte line. So I got a colour match done at Sephora and ended up buying bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 foundation in fairly medium ($35 in Canada). I have to give huge thanks to the staff at my local Sephora- they were amazingly helpful and kind to me on my recent visit :) They even gave a sample to my shopping partner although she wasn't buying anything.
I have used it and it isn't a direct match to my skin tone so I can't use it as a concealer. I usually don't wear all over foundation because the only area of my face that needs it is my chin. I will keep experimenting to see if I can bring myself to like it.
Mini Sephora Haul! 
I also picked up one of Sephora by OPI's nail colours, called mermaid to order ($12.00). It is a greeny-blue shiny colour and very funky. I didn't want to spend twelve dollars on a nail colour but it is worth the money. I painted them on Saturday and didn't bother using a top coat or bottom coat. It is now Monday and they're magically chip free! I wash my hands a lot at my job, so that is very unusual. I am impressed.
Sephora always throws in a few samples, so I got a hair treatment for curly hair which I gave to my mom since my hair is straight. I also got a decent sized sample of Betsey Johnson perfume. It isn't my personal taste, but it isn't offensive either! 
I am getting a new handbag on Wednesday from Fossil. I've decided it will be my Valentine's day gift to myself since I am single for the first Valentine's day in 6 years. I deserve it, right? ;)
--S

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