IT COSMETICS | Confidence Skincare

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

IT Cosmetics is founded on the idea that your beauty deserves hard working, scientifically researched and results based ingredients. You’ll often find owner Jamie doing amazing on-air demonstrations on QVC (I’m completely a closet addict) and I see the brand as a more modern, green juice drinking version of Clinique. I’ve recently had the opportunity to try out the set of their Confidence Skincare* which boasts their clinically researched Anti-Aging Armour Rejuvenating Concentrate which contains a variety of collagen, peptides, oils and vitamins across all their products.

CONFIDENCE IN A CLEANSER* 
$36 CAD | SHOP HERE

IT Cosmetics says: A skin transforming hydrating cleansing serum which contains hyaluronic acid to sooth and moisturize but will also take off your waterproof makeup in a pinch
A very likeable non-foaming / very light foaming cleanser that I prefer to use in the morning because it feels comfortable and easy on the skin. While I don’t find it drying, I also don’t find it particularly hydrating but this may vary depending on your skin type. Running through all three products is a light citrus scent which is evident by the various natural oils in this concoction. I do think it leaves my skin clean although I still don’t feel completely assured using this to remove my makeup. The effect and after-feel is comparable to something like Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel – well balanced and comfortable. Now the real question is, do we really need such an expansive ingredients list for a cleanser when most people only spend 30 seconds washing their face? You decide.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua/Water/Eau, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, 1,2-Hexanediol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Arginine Cocoate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Coco-Glucoside, Citric Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Sinensis Peel Oil Expressed, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Ethylhexylglycerin, Niacinamide, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Colloidal Oatmeal, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Ceramide Np, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Citrate/Lactate/Linoleate/Oleate, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide Mea, Glycosphingolipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Meadowfoam Estolide, Ceramide Ap, Ethylhexyl Isonanoate, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Steareth-20, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Disodium EDTA, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, FD&C Yellow No. 5 (CI 19140).
CONFIDENCE IN A CREAM* 
$62 CAD | SHOP HERE
IT Cosmetics says: Transforming moisturizing super cream for rejuvenating skin everywhere
Having used face creams from a wide range of brands and price points, I can say straight away that I think this formulation is very reasonable value for money when factoring in ingredients and the overall feel of the product. This, in short, is what IT Cosmetics considers its do-it-all super cream that took 7 years to bring out. The application and texture reminds me of the Fresh Crème Ancienne in the sense it was thick and dense in the jar yet sat comfortable and non-greasy on the skin. The dry down is great for smoothing out the skin for foundation and I suspect that it’ll still be fresh enough for summer so I plan on finishing up the jar. If you have combination skin this would be very ideal. When it comes down to the boasted skincare effects, I must say that I don’t think I am the best person to test its results as anti-aging isn’t my major concern at the moment. While preventative care is always recommended, my major skin struggles are still large pores and skin texture issues more so than wrinkles. I can say that when used consistently, I found my skin to look plump and refreshed even when I definitely don’t feel that way on the inside. 
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water, Eau), Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate / Dicaprate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Caprylic / Capric / Myristic / Stearic Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG – 100 Stearate, Polyglyceryl – 3 Methylglucose Distearate, Stearyl Behenate, Dimethicone, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Biosaccharide Gum – 1, Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Polyethylene, PEG / PPG – 20 / 15 Dimethicone, Phenyl Methicone, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polyquaternium – 51, Niacinamide, Hydrolyzed Col
lagen, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, PEG – 150 Distearate, Ceramide Ap, Glycosphingolipids, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Meadowfoam Estolide, Sorbitan Isostearate, Squalane, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide – 4, Polysorbate 20, Steareth – 20, N – Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide – 1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide – 7, Polysorbate 60, Aleuritic Acid, Yeast Extract, Glycoproteins, Betaine, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Ceramide NP, Allantoin, Colloidal Oatmeal, Retinyl Retinoate, Polylactic Acid, Canola Oil, Cholesteryl Nonanoate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Eruca Sativa Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Citrate / Lactate/Linoleate / Oleate, Ceteareth – 20, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide Mea, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glucose, Stearyl Stearate, Tromethamine, Citric Acid, 1, 2 – Hexanediol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Potassium Sorbate, Dipropylene Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Cymbopogon Citratus Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caramel, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Limonene, Linalool.
CONFIDENCE IN AN EYE CREAM*  
$48 CAD | SHOP HERE
IT Cosmetics says: Brightens, repairs and transforms, this day to night eye cream will do it all from minimizing darkness to banishing wrinkles.
As with the moisturizer, the texture of this eye cream is a big winner for me. Its very lightweight and silky plus leaves a slight sheen on the skin which I believe is what the brand claims as “brightening”. While I don’t think this would be sufficient moisture for the winter season, it’s perfectly balanced for summer and simply feels weightless on the skin. Results wise, I haven’t noticed any major improvement in undereye puffiness (which is my main concern) but it does seem to minimize fine dehydration lines at the outer corners. It’s definitely too soon for me to decide if this is a must-have product especially since I’m not a religious eye cream user so this is one that probably needs a second opinion.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua/Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, PEG-40 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Polyacrylate-13, Polysilicone-11, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Polyisobutene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Sorbitan Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Chlorphenesin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Alkanna Tinctoria Root Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Benzophenone-5, Tin Oxide, Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Colloidal Oatmeal, Caffeine, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Squalane, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Royal Jelly Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Cholesteryl Nonanoate, Cholesteryl Chloride, Cholesteryl Isostearate, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Lecithin, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Steareth-20, Creatine, Maris Aqua/Sea Water/Eau De Mer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ceramide NP, Panthenol, Polyglutamic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Ceramide Ap, Tocopheryl Acetate, Arginine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine, Threonine, Methionine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Cholesterol, Histidine, Saccharide Isomerate, Xanthan Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Retinol, Collagen, Copper Gluconate, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate, Potassium Sorbate, Copper Tripeptide-1, Magnesium Aspartate, Biotin, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Ceramide Eop, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).
THE FINAL VERDICT
Test period: 3 weeks

The IT Cosmetics Confidence Skincare range is a beautifully textured, easy to use collection that I would recommend if you are looking for powered up version of a minimal routine. Best suited for combination, slightly oily or slightly dry skin of any age range, there’s some impressive ingredients in each formulation with a focus on natural additives so do have a read if you know you’re reactive to anything specific. I haven’t experienced any sensitivity or negative reactions. For the money, I think the range is well priced and certainly more promisingly than a lot of other higher end and fancier packaged options. I personally didn’t see a huge anti-aging improvement but I also don’t have a lot of visible signs to treat in the first place and it’s not my current main skin concern. It would be something I’d consider as preventive skincare if you’re similar to my skin age.

Chat soon,

Shu Uemura and the cleansing oils

AFFILIATE LINKS | PRESS SAMPLES*

When I say Shu Uemura, two things probably comes to mind – eyelash curler and the Shu cleansing oils*. The latter is celebrating a 50 year birthday this year and can really be counted as one of the iconic products in modern beauty history. In fact, for decades this was the only product of its kind that you can get your hands on in the western market and continues to gather a cult following. Rewind to 1950s Hollywood and Mr. Shu Uemura used a first version of his cleansing oil to take off the heavy pancake makeup favoured for film and movie sets. Today, the Shu Uemura brand offers various formulas and textures for different skin types and needs. There are currently 7 listed on their website that range from anti-pollution to large pore challenges.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil
SHOP SHU UEMURA | Sephora | Shu Online ($42-93CAD size & formula depending) 
Cleansing oils became a big part of my beauty routine when I first delved into Asian skincare and learned the importance of double cleansing – first wash to take off makeup and second wash to cleanse the skin –  something that I still preach today whenever the topic of face washing arises. Shu oils have entered my routine only within the past few years partially due to its price point but also that they had previously often included mineral oil in their formulas – thankfully this is being phased out! What I can appreciate about these cleansing oils in particular is how well they emulsify and wash away fuss free. All the fears about a sticky oily residue is not a problem as long as you use the right method. I’m extra excited to try out the new emulsion formula which not only seems like a great texture but also adverts the dripping-all-over-the-sink scenario.
Got a favourite cleansing oil brand? Share the deets!
Chat soon,

First Aid Beauty | Coconut Skin Priming Moisturizer

REIVEW | AFFILIATE LINK


Coconuts. It seems to have firmly established itself in our regular beauty vocabulary and has become synonymous with hydration, moisture and maybe even a side of pina colada – hey, it’s brilliant for marketing after all. Among higher end options in Sephora, I decided to try my luck with the First Aid Beauty version which is oil-free, non-comedogenic and appears to be silicone free. It’s marketed as a moisturizer with added primer qualities.
Brand: First Aid Beauty
Product: Coconut Skin Primer
Size: 50ml
Price: 35 CAD
Would I repurchase: Probably yes.
Availability: Sephora, First Aid Beauty (online)
Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice, Glucose, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Maltodextrin, Aqua (Water, Eau), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mica, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Selaginella Lepidophylla Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isohexadecane, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 80, Lactobacillus Ferment, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Tin Oxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides).
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I’ve always liked the fact that FAB markets itself as a no-fuss but still bright and cheery kind of aesthetic and this primer follows the same easy to use packaging as the rest of its line. The plastic tube is sturdy, easy for traveling, holds a lot of product and dispenses easily via simple twist off cap. The overall vibe feels happy but nonchalant and looks right on any makeup table.
APPLICATION & TEXTURE
Scented like a coconut smoothie, this primer has a creamy consistency similar to a moisturizing cream and definitely denser to the touch than I expected. While it’s advertised to be silicone free unlike more traditional primers, it still has a smoothing touch once applied on the skin and the extra silky effect is helps to minimize dehydration lines and some minor pore texture. On the skin, its slightly slick but not tacky. In comparison, it’s closer to the feel of the Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer* but much more emollient than the Shu Uemura Stage Performing Primer*. There is a hint of shimmer mixed into primer but it’s essentially negligible once a medium coverage foundation is applied on top.
FOUNDATION COMPATIBILITY
One of the things I loved about this primer over others is how it manages to work well with a variety of my foundations. Though I do tend to only use primers over thicker, higher coverage liquids or powder foundations in other to smooth my skin texture, this hasn’t had any trouble with all I’ve thrown at it so far. It helps to minimize that odd patchiness when on my nose and it does a good job at keeping my skin plump. I don’t think it necessarily makes my foundation last any longer than usual so I see it more as a prep product rather than a wear extending one.
SKIN FRIENDLINESS
Here’s where things get a little undecided because while I wouldn’t say this clogged my pores or caused any direct breakouts, I do think this might be too heavy to use on my skin everyday. It can make my skin feel a little heavy and loaded when paired with other products on top so I prefer to use this intermittently and more in the winter rather than summer. Granted, I do use a light moisturize
r underneath this instead of replacing my face cream so that could be a factor. For those with dry to super dry skin, this might be just what you need however, it’s not a year round pairing for my combination skin-type.

THE FINAL VERDICT

First Aid Beauty’s Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer is a rich, emollient two in one cream that helps to soften skin texture while allowing foundation to blend and sit smoother. Worn alone, the slight shimmer is visible though not overbearing and under a medium coverage foundation, it’s nearly undetectable. I love the use of natural ingredients, the affordability and how it helps to prevent matte products from clinging to dry patches which is really important in my beauty routine. The texture, while great for winter time, may be too heavy for those with oilier skin. While I will be trying out other similar coconut based primers from other brands, I can see this as being a solid stand by for many people -worth a try!

Chat soon,

The Ordinary | Alpha Arbutin + HA

REVIEW

Canadian brand The Ordinary lit an instant frenzy amount beauty enthusiasts by giving use what we’ve been asking for all these years. Simple, ingredient based products focuses on the science of what works and scrapping all the fillers…all with a shockingly low price point. After a good decade experimenting with my own skin concerns, I felt relatively confident in knowing the handful of ingredients seemed to be the most effective and was thrilled to see two of my favourite things arbutin and hyaluronic acid mixed into one bottle.

According to The Ordinary…

Alpha Arbutin reduces the looks of spots and hyper-pigmentation. It’s used at a high 2% concentration versus a standard concentration of 1% and supported with a next-generation form of Hyaluronic Acid for enhanced delivery. Alpha Arbutin is much stronger in effect than Arbutin or Beta Arbutin.

THE BASICS
Brand: The Ordinary
Product: Alpha Arbutin 2% HA
Size: 30ml
Price: $8.99CAD
Availability: The Ordinary online
Would I (re)purchase: Probably not.
Website: http://www.theordinary.com

INGREDIENTS
Aqua (Water), Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

MY SKIN CONCERNS
I’ve long struggled with uneven skin texture, uneven skin tone and large pores. Though I’m naturally light skinned, I scar and mark easily which is evident on my forehead and some pigmentation spots scattered throughout.

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
Dispensed from a dropper style lid, this arbutin treatment has a clear but slightly viscous consistency and beads on the skin almost like a fluid gel. It spreads easily, dries quickly and appears to form a very thin film over the skin which isn’t noticeable at first but is certainly obvious when a sticky layer starts to form on the neck of the bottle. Only about 3 drops is necessary to cover my entire face generously. There is a slight bit of tackiness but it shouldn’t be a problem after adding a moisturizer.

EFFECTIVENESS
Having used this consistently twice a day for about 5 weeks as my sole treatment product I did notice some slight overall evening in my skin tone. I wouldn’t say it effectively treated any dark marks I had but it was just as effective as many of the higher end products I’ve used, some even at up to 10x the price of The Ordinary so that’s definitely a win in itself!

SENSITIVITY
I had started to experience minor red spots and increased clogged pores but can not be 100% certain if it’s due to this treatment or the moisturizer I had been using. While there was nothing in the ingredients list that looked like an alarming red flag, the fact that this forms a film over the skin raised some doubts. I’ve since discontinued both and may try reintroducing this treatment back into my routine to see if it’s the real culprit. I did not otherwise notice any other redness or sensitivity. There is no fragrance in this product.

HOW I USED IT
After my wash routine and before my moisturizer.

OTHER PRODUCTS USED
Sekkisei Foaming Wash*, Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream*

THE FINAL VERDICT

The Alpha Arbutin 2% HA treatment by The Ordinary is a lightweight, fragrance free treatment that rivals many of the higher end skin tone enhancing products on the market. The texture should be comfortable enough for most skin types yet despite containing hyaluronic acid, I did not find this very hydrating and I recommend an additional layering serum if moisture is a concern. My main disappointment was not seeing the great results I had with other arbutin based Asian products but I can say this is as good as other effective western brands I’ve used to date. I’m also not a fan of the texture and sensorial experience. The Ordinary does recommend combining this with other products and many people choose to couple this with an exfoliator. Given the price point however, I would suggest you try this first if arbutin is what you are looking for and I do think it trumps most of what you can find at the drugstore level.

Chat soon,

BIOTHERM | Aquasource Ever Plump Night (Sleeping Mask)

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

As one of Biotherm’s cornerstone range of skincare, Aquasource had expanded earlier this year to include a new night time offering. Following the popularity of night masks and nightly restorative products recently hitting the Western beauty market, Ever Plump Night* is a duo use moisturizer and sleeping mask formulated to replenish, moisturize and restore skin’s balance.
THE BASICS
Brand: Biotherm
Product: Aquasource Ever Plump Night*
Size: 75ml
Price: $65 CAD
Availability: The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Biotherm counters worldwide
Would I (re)purchase: Probably yes.

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
Gorgeously packaged in am ombre glass jar, Ever Plump Night* boasts dark cultivated algae extract as it’s highlight ingredient and has a marine fragrance similar to the Life Plankton Essence. In the jar, the product behaves like a semi-solid jelly but transforms into a smooth gel once applied to the skin and has a soothing cooling effect on initial contact. While Biotherm describes this as a night time barrier that feels like a second skin, this is something that you can and will feel as a slight film since it doesn’t absolutely absorb like a regular moisturizer. I don’t find it particularity bothersome but it’s probably a texture that’s better suited to the cooler season. Although blue in colour, the gel won’t turn your face blue nor will it leave any residue on your pillow give you apply the appropriate amount. A small nail sized amount is plenty. As it doesn’t quite fully absorb, I’d categorize this more as a mask product.

EFFECTIVENESS
I found this to be a great overnight plumper just like it’s namesake and there was a noticeable difference the first morning after. Biotherm is really only marketing this as an overnight moisturizer so for all its intentions I was very satisfied with the results. My skin was smooth, felt refreshed, plumped up and… dare I even say… juicy. My pores and skin texture were temporarily smoothed over and in the mirror my morning face looked well rested. There is some slightly shine since the gel is still sitting as a second layer so I do recommend you rinse off during your am routine. 
SENSITIVITY
The fragrance here while not an issue for me personally, can feel slightly overwhelming if you are new to Biotherm’s products. It does linger for about 10 minutes after application. I did not experience any breakouts or sensitive reactions but I would not layer thing over super nourishing products, especially in humid / summer seasons as it can be too heavy and potentially be pore clogging. Rinsing off the morning after is recommended.

HOW I USED IT
After my wash routine, toner, essence and in place of my moisturizer.

OTHER PRODUCTS USED
Omorovicza Mud Cleanser*, Sulwhasoo First Care Essence, MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair

THE FINAL VERDICT

Biotherm’s Aquasource Ever Plump Night* is a great pick me up product to keep by your bedside. Whether you choose to use it nightly as a regular moisturizer or occasionally as a sleeping mask, it plumps up the skin after a hard days work and temporarily smooths over skin texture and fine lines. The gel like texture covers like a thin mask so it is something that takes getting used to but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable to use. The large format of the jar slightly offsets the price point compared to other Aquasource products. I would recommend this to those with dehydrated, combination or dry skin types and those in all age groups. The neutral scent and texture of Ever Plump Night lends itself as an inviting unisex product so do share this jar!

Chat soon,
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Mineral sunscreens this summer

FLASH REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

As someone with reactive skin, sunscreen shopping is not fun every summer. While my body can handle a wide variety of options, my face is very selective about what its willing to settle with but in recent years I’m excited to see more choices for mineral products as brands diversify their sun lineup. With the exception of Alumiere MD, all the other products here are new for this summer which seems like a bright outlook! 

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

– – – – – – – – – – 

While we all love the fluid textures of chemical sun filters, I do think the physical products are the safer and more universal way to do sun protection and it seems like brands are exploring that route especially with the expansion of the green beauty realm. If we did a blind fold test, I’m certain you wouldn’t be able to guess that the Darphin is a 100% mineral product. Now all I’m wishing for is a great well edited skin tone tint SPF and I wouldn’t have to be hiding indoors all the time. I’d love to hear about what you’ve been using this summer so chatter away down below!

Chat soon,

ESTEE LAUDER | Advanced Night Repair Complex II & Mask In Oil

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

In the beauty world there are cult favourites but then there are the products that seem to have existed since the dawn of time. As teenager fawning over glossy magazine pages, I looked up to Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair like a right of passage into adult hood when one is finally old enough to this serious amber bottle on their vanity. In recent years, Estee Lauder has expanded the A.N.R. line to include a variety of add on products and even relaunched the much beloved serum as the Complex II formula.


ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR SYNCHRONIZED RECOVERY COMPLEX II* | Perhaps one of the most well known serums and likely a first for many people, the reincarnation of Advanced Night Repair is aimed at regenerating the skin through its nightly rest cycle, providing anti-aging benefits while smoothing and imparting a more radiant complexion. With 25+ patents and patents pending, this is marketed across all age groups and skin types. Housed in a light filtering amber bottle, the dropper dispensing format is easy to control and the serum itself has a slightly medicinal scent which doesn’t linger on the skin. The texture is beautifully silky yet without any silicone slip and leaves a non-sticky water light finish makes for a great layering product in all seasons. Ant-aging products are notorious for being heavy yet I was happy to find this so comfortable to use whilst being gentle enough to bring it all the way up near my eyes with no irritation. My nightly application uses 4 drops and it sits right between my toner and moisturizer. At times, I’ve also used my Sulwhasoo First Care Essence before putting on this serum.

NOTE: Oil-free, non-comedogenic, no added fragrance.

30ml @ $86CAD | 50ml @ $120CAD
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.

Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau; Bifida Ferment Lysate; Methyl Gluceth-20; Peg-75; Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane; Butylene Glycol; Propanediol; Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract; Hydrolyzed Algin; Pantethine; Caffeine; Lecithin; Tripeptide-32; Ethylhexylglycerin; Sodium Rna; Bisabolol; Glycereth-26; Squalane; Sodium Hyaluronate; Oleth-3 Phosphate; Caprylyl Glycol; Lactobacillus Ferment; Oleth-3; Oleth-5; Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile); Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure; Choleth-24; Hydrogenated Lecithin; Ceteth-24; Tocopheryl Acetate; Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate; Hexylene Glycol; Carbomer; Triethanolamine; Trisodium Edta; Bht; Xanthan Gum; Phenoxyethanol; Red 4 (Ci 14700); Yellow 5 (Ci 19140)

ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR RECOVERY MASK-IN-OIL* | One of their newer additions, this Mask-In-Oil had me intrigued at first sight. I’m no stranger to facial oils but I liked the concept of this being an oil based sleeping mask and thought it made sense to try it together with the A.N.R.. Housed in a miniature version of the amber bottle, it has the same slightly herbal scent as the serum but again does not linger. The oil is very lightweight and I found 3 drops to be sufficient for a full face application, first smoothing the product between my palms then pressing it into my skin. The oil absorbs quickly and leaves my skin with a satin sheen and feels moist to the touch. As I tested this during the warmer months, I did not find it necessary to use an additional moisturizer.

NOTE: Formulated for night time use.

30ml @$100CAD
Would I (re)purchase: No.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride; Squalane; Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil; Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil; Bisabolol; Vaccinium Myrtillus Seed Oil; Garcinia Mangostana Peel Extract; Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil; Salicornia Herbacea Extract; Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract; Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract; Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract; Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract; Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract; Cholesterol; Linoleic Acid; Tocopheryl Acetate; Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate; Bht


OVERALL RESULTS | 5 WEEKS
To say I had high hopes for this duo would be a complete understatement yet at the same time, I went into this without really knowing what the Advanced Nigh Repair system was actually supposed to do and I even doubted if my skin was ready (aka. mature enough) for it at all. First thing I noticed was the elegant yet lightweight formulation which is something many people overlook in skincare but I feel is part of what separates the high-low price spectrum. It didn’t feel heavy or greasy on my skin and I could easy layer these with other products which is more than what I can say for many other anti-aging lines. They were gentle and soothing, calmi
ng some redness from daily aggressors and did not clog my pores or cause any breakouts. 
The immediate noticeable changes in the first week applications was the overall smoothness of my skin in the morning after, followed by more balanced oil production for my combination skin and then some visible firmness and lift at the end of my 5th week. Switching it up being using the Complex II alone and in combination with the Mask-In-Oil, I didn’t find the oil to add to the benefits but simplely worked as a moisturizer. The serum did not help correct surface dehydration or fade any of my pre-existing dark spots and hyper-pigmentation. My skin looked less-fatigued and almost “reset” but I have not seen any dramatic results for now. I am looking forward to keeping this in my collection and seeing if the full bottle results would be any different.
ARE THEY STAYING IN MY PERSONAL COLLECTION: Yes, Advanced Night Repair Complex II but not the Mask-In-Oil.

OTHER SKINCARE USED DURING TESTING: Omorovicza Mud Cleanser*, Fresh Soy Cleanser, Origins Gen-zing Moisturizer*, Sulwhasoo First Care Essence

THE FINAL VERDICT

Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Sychronized Recovery Complex II works well as a daily skin maintenance, restorative and balancing serum. It’s light weight consistency will likely work for all skin types and I’d recommend this to those in their 20s and beyond. Despite being marketed as an anti-aging powerhouse, I found it mild and see it more as a preventative and early stage treatment. The corresponding Recovery Mask-In-Oil, while working great as an add on moisturizer, is overpriced for its lack of results and you’d be just as happy with many other lower priced oil options on the market. 

Chat soon,

VICHY | Idealia Peeling Lotion & Serum

REVIEW 

It might have something to do with the pretty pink bottles but when Vichy’s Idealia skincare range came out, I was quick to flock to the counter and check it out. Being in my late twenties, I still refuse to use consistent anti-aging skincare because most of them use big daunting adjectives that seem more fitting for those with a few more decades under their belt. The Idealia range is created for those who are looking to refresh and revive their skin but don’t quite need heavy anti-aging skincare just yet. Think of it as a transitional range for your in between skin.


IDEALIA OVERNIGHT PEELING LOTION* | While this was the single product that intrigued me the most, I opened the bottle thinking it was either going to freaking amazing or terribly awful – let’s face it, peeling lotion is not an easy category to get right. Vichy however, has done a commendable job formulating this to be mild (not single sting) yet leaves my skin feeling clean and with a noticeable morning after glow. The percentage of active ingredients isn’t explicit but it does advertise a cocktail of glycolic acid, antioxidant blueberry polyphenols along with fermented Black Tea extract. It contains a mild floral fragrance and has slightly thicker consistency than water but spreads easily on the skin. Skin is left lightly moist but not greasy.

Note: As with most Vichy products, alcohol is high on the list but despite using multiple products, I haven’t noticed any visible negative effects thus far. This is also not oil-free.

100ml @ $39.95 | Would I (re)purchase: Probably Yes.
SHOP | Idealia Overnight Peeling Lotion

INGREDIENTS: AQUA / WATER ALCOHOL DENAT. HYDROXYETHYLPIPERAZINE ETHANE SULFONIC ACID PROPYLENE GLYCOL GLYCOLIC ACID GLYCERIN SODIUM HYDROXIDE CITRIC ACID BHT BIS-PEG-18 METHYL ETHER DIMETHYL SILANE PPG-26-BUTETH-26 PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL CI 17200 / RED 33 POTASSIUM SORBATE SORBITOL SACCHAROMYCES/XYLINUM/BLACK TEA FERMENT VACCINIUM MYRTILLUS FRUIT EXTRACT SODIUM CITRATE PHENOXYETHANOL ASCORBYL GLUCOSIDE HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE BIOSACCHARIDE GUM-1 XANTHAN GUM PANTHENOL BIOTIN PARFUM / FRAGRANCE 


IDEALIA SERUM* | Vichy does mid-range serums really well and this one is no exception. It has the same mild fragrance as the peeling lotion and I immediately feel in love with the fluid, refreshing consistency that has almost a calming effect on the skin. It leaves my skin with light hydration and a soft matte finish that’s silky to the touch. It’s not quite as hydrating as their Aqualia Thermal Serum* (which I’ve also used) so I would categorize this as ideal for oily skin types who’ve been previously afraid of serums. It advertises ingredients of licorice root, adenosine, and antioxidants.

30ml @$49.95 | Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.
SHOP | Idealia Serum

INGREDIENTS : AQUA/WATER • GLYCERIN • CYCLOHEXASILOXANE • ISOPROPYL ISOSTEARATE • OCTYLDODECANOL • DICAPRYLYL ETHER • SODIUM TETRAHYDROJASMONATE • DIMETHICONE • DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL • POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE • CI 17200 • CI 15985 • CI 77891 • MICA • CARBOMER • SODIUM HYALURONATE • SODIUM HYDROXIDE • SILICA • PHENOXYETHANOL • ADENOSINE • POLOXAMER 338 • AMMONIUM POLYACRYLDIMETHYLTAURAMIDE • DISODIUM EDTA • CAPRYLOYL SALICYLIC ACID • POLYSILICONE-11 • PARFUM • CODE FIL : B160458/4 

OVERALL RESULTS | 8-10 days
Since the advertising claimed results in as little as 8 days, I thought it was fair to put it to its word. After about a week and a half of daily usage, I’m impressed to say that I did notice an overall clarity to my skin as well as evident smoothness. Note that I decided only to test theses two particular products from the range as the creams didn’t excite me and I made a logical deduction that the serum and peel would be the power players.

Now the results are a little complicated to explain and it’s one of those instances where I think the camera isn’t picking up the finer details. It’s not an anti-acne product but my pores looked clearer. It’s not a brightening product but my overall complexion looked more radiant. And while there’s still some visible redness and a few blemishes in my bare skin photo, my skin felt refreshed, clean and with a little extra pep. While it does do fulfill its purpose, I think there are other competitive products at a similar price point with more active ingredients though you might sacrifice the censorial experience, especially the serum. If you’re looking to treat hyper pigmentation, fading, sunspots or persistent fine lines this is not the right range for you.

If I wasn’t testing these products exclusively for review purposes, I think pairing them with an extra exfoliator (I didn’t use any during my trial) would make it even better. The textures are also great for combination skin and especially in warmer climates as it provides a boost without feeling heavy on the skin. They aren’t quite enough ooomph for me as a solo pair but I am keeping them to mix in with my other products and I think they will be a great fit this summer.

ARE THE STAYING IN MY PERSONAL COLLECTION: Yes.

OTHER SKINCARE USED DURING TESTING: Omorovicza Mud Cleanser*, Origins GinZing Cleanser, Clarins Hydra-Quench Moisturizer*, Omorovicza Illuminating Day Cream*

THE FINAL VERDICT

Vichy’s Idealia skincare range smartly fills the gap for those who have outgrown basic skincare yet aren’t ready to commit to serious anti-aging; think 20s-30 or those with generally normal, non fussy skin types. The overall user experience and textures are wonderful in both products not to mention I saw visible results in a just a week of usage. It felt gentle on my skin, didn’t cause breakouts or irritation and were a real pleasure to use. Between the purpose and pricing, I would recommend starting out with the Night Peeling Lotion first before
diving into the others.

Take care,

3 Things | Glycolic for congested skin

By now I’d like to think I have a somewhat decent handle on my temperamental skin; steer clear of mineral oil, pump up the hylauronic and stay faithful to my Clarisonic. Yet between daily pollutants and wearing makeup a few more times a week, my skin can still get the bumps…a sprinkling of clogged pores that threaten to turn into nastier things if left to their own devices. 
Hence the latest addition to my regular routine has been glycolic acid treatments; a type of fast acting exfoliating ingredient often used for those with acne scarring, congested skin and anti-aging. Neostrata is a Canadian brand known for their iconic glycolic range which comes in various strengths and textures. Their Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion 10%* has a light creamy consistency that absorbs quickly, looks matte on the skin, doubles up as a moisturizer and is the one I’ve been using the longest. It takes a good week or two to see visible results and while I wouldn’t call it drying, I certainly didn’t feel drying, it wasn’t the right texture for my winter needs.

My next try was the BLISS Incredi-Peel* resurfacing pads which I kept right by the bathroom sink so I can do a speedy wipe down treatment when I’m out of the shower. I love how quick they are to use and the water-like consistency means it feels like nothing once it dries and I appreciate the individual seals meaning not only does it stay fresh but it’s great for traveling. The results are pretty quick too so they’re great as a pick me up but I wouldn’t recommend using them on a daily basis as directed since I find it quite strong.

My latest experiment is Glycolic Laser 10* by Canadian skincare brand Jouviance, another name who’s built their reputation on anti-aging products. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth yet weightless this hydroxy acid blend felt on my skin and within two days the bumps were smoothed over and my pores looked clear as well. For the record, I wouldn’t recommend using any other scrubs or exfoliants at the same time that you are using glycolic unless you’ve carefully eased your skin into the routine and of course, don’t use everything all at once.

These days, with the deep pool of retinol, glycolic and enzyme options in skincare there’s no reason not to be exfoliating even if you have sensitive skin. So… how have you been shedding?
Chat soon,

OMOROVICZA | The Cleansing Trio

REVIEW

Water, a family legacy, a love story. This is the life of Omorovicza.

While skincare hype comes and pretty little jars come and go on the internet, my latest experience with Hungarian luxury brand Omorovicza caught me off guard. After experimenting for years, I’d like to think that I know what my skin likes, wants and needs but when a cleanser leaves your face glowing like a fresh facial, I think we’ve really hit on something fantastic. A wonderful marriage between nature’s healing waters of Budapest and a scientifically patented Hydro Mineral Transference system, in the past few weeks, I’ve grown rather smitten with this cleansing routine…

OMOROVICZA Thermal Cleansing Balm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

THERMAL CLEANSING BALM* | $135CAD
One of Omorovicza’s cornerstone products, the Thermal Cleansing Balm is a solid to liquid oil based cleanser that’s travel friendly, effective and calming. Mixed together with it’s sweet almond and beeswax base there’s a blend of detoxifying Moor mud which gives this cleanser its iconic charcoal hue. I’ve been using a pinky nail sized amount over the face to take off the days’ worth of face makeup and it’s always left my skin fresh and pampered. The fine particles of mud provides a gentle scrub but is wiped off easily with a warm damp cloth. Granted you will have to have an ongoing rotation of face clothes if you plan on using this regularly as the cleanser doesn’t simply rinse away with water. Though this doesn’t emulsify like regular cleansing oil, I didn’t have any issues nor has it caused any breakouts. I don’t recommend this as an eye makeup remover but for everything else, its been such a welcomed treat.

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Heptanoate, Squalane, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Polysorbate 20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Fragrance, Saccharomyces (Hungarian Thermal Water) Ferment Extract, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hungarian Thermal Water, Linalool, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Phospholipids. 

MOOR CREAM CLEANSER* | $80USD
I am hardly ever wow’d by a cleanser but like many things about this brand, the Moor Cream Cleanser has convinced me that washing your face can be something worth getting excited about. While I’m usually a fan of foaming cleansers, this Omorovicza version is a light cream that again contain a blend of healing Moor mud. I like to use this on wet skin and spend a good 2 minutes slowly and thoroughly massaging the product over my skin until most it begins to dry slightly. The rinse off is painless and you won’t need an extra towel to scrub off lingering mud patches because there are none. I am very impressed by the texture of this cleanser and how its both simple yet manages to leave my face with a noticeable invigorated glow. Watch out for the Eucalyptus and Peppermint oil at the end of the ingredients list, I had a feeling they were in the cleanser but it seemed to only provide a fresh scent and it has not irritated my skin. It feels so lightweight yet cleanses thoroughly so this is one for all skin types.

Aqua (Hungarian Thermal Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Silt (Hungarian Mud), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Saccharomyces Ferment Extract, Zinc Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Parfum (Fragrance), Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita(Peppermint) Oil, Phospholipids, Xanthan Gum

QUEEN OF HUNGARY MIST* | $110CAD
As a finish off step to my little mini facial, I’ve been toning and refreshing with the Queen of Hungary Mist. I would categorize this as an indulgent bonus because for me, it’s a nice pick me up but doesn’t have the same healing and treatment effects as the cleansers so for the price point this probably only something for the most dedicated of skincare enthusiasts. The overall design of the product is beautifully luxe and it also has a well engineered spray with a delicate yet full spray with each pump. If you adore something like the Caudalie mist, then this could be a worthwhile addition.

THINGS TO NOTE
Of course whenever we talk about luxury skincare, the main debate is always… is this worth the money? From my own experience I would say this is one of the rare occasions where a product has promised and delivered then exceeded my expectations. You can read more about the properties behind Omorovicza’s healing mineral waters (on their website) as it’s a little more science than I’m able to talk about eloquently but I can say that its been the most effective mineral water based skincare range I’ve used to date. Some of the products do contain essential oils which may be problematic for some people depending on your allergies but that’s a common precaution that should be taken with any product that contains natural based ingredients.

Pricing for Omorovicza does put this brand well in the mid range of the luxury skincare market so if this is within your budget, it’s definitely a worthwhile range to try and should be taken as a serious competitor amongst brands like Estee Lauder, Guerlain and Tatcha. The category itself does mean it will not be accessible to all consumers but I feel its worth saving up for.

SHOP OMOROVICZA | Sephora online, Omoro
vicza online

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THE FINAL VERDICT

If I ever get a chance to go there, Omorovicza‘s healing water based skincare has made me curious about what other treasures are hiding in Budapest. The Moor Cream Cleanser is currently my favourite go-to product both for morning cleansing and to revive my skin after a long work day. In fact, it has even made me look forward to washing up even when I’m tired and would secretly rather go for a face wipe. Together with the iconic Thermal Cleansing Balm which thoroughly melts away my face makeup, the two has left my skin glowing every single day since I’ve put them in my routine and dare I say it’s encouraged me to go a few days completely makeup free…and feel good about it. In a market saturated with options, it seems that Omorovicza is the real deal. 

Chat soon,