Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lush Henna Hair Dyes - Caca Brun Mama

So I finally got around to trying Lush henna hair dye. I have a lot of grays, lucky genetic streak plus stress adds to it as well. I took picture of the product but not the actual process because it's a mess, however I'll describe it... get ready it's a long post.

First why I decided to go with henna... well I'm a sucker for a good sales pitch:
- fantastic conditioning properties of cocoa butter
- henna smooths cuticles and protects them from damage
- imparts a glossy finish
- makes your hair strong

Lush has 4 different henna dye shades to choose from:
1. Caca Rouge Mama - for those who love red
2. Caca Brun Mama - for those who like me favor browns
3. Caca Noir Mama - for those who can pull of luscious black locks
4. Caca Marron Mama - chestnut lovers this one is for you

Each 325g 6 piece block retails for $20.95 CAD and comes with an instruction sheet but I should have checked Lush website because online instructions are a lot more informative. I used the whole thing... it was way too much. If like me you have short hair (like a boy) or fine hair, you might want to use half or a third.
You should cut your block into chunks (I didn't and dropped the whole chunk into a stainless steel bowl). Pour hot water over it and let it melt. The consistency should be that of yogurt once it's ready (mine was more a hummus dip because I didn't pay attention:)) Melting a whole chunk just took a bit longer, didn't affect the product negatively at all. It was an ugly dark green color, and I mean ugly. Didn't smell that great either, but it wasn't offensive... kind of like a strong green tea... or lets just say herbal...

Lush recommends doing a strand test. For two reasons:
1. if you have gray hair, henna'd gray strands will show up red... so if you're 40% or more gray you might end up looking very bright... I have grays but not that much I thought I'd see highlights if anything...
2. bleached, sun-lightened, permed, chemically straightened or colored hair might not get the results expected and a strand test is ESSENTIAL
I decided to take my chances and skipped the strand test.

Cover the area where you'll be working with newspaper or towels you won't miss. Don't wear anything you'd hate to have dyed. Around your hairline, ears, and neck apply a thick layer of rich cream, Vaseline, or like me Ultrabalm. Wear plastic gloves, or you'll end up with colored hands.

Then apply. Instructions suggest working from back to front, roots to tips. Seriously I don't know how someone with shoulder length hair and longer will manage. But that maybe just my clumsiness. Jason stepped in and helped me with the back of my head. This ended up all over the place, including my mirror. I'm glad I followed the precautions and covered my surfaces.

Once you're done leave the product on for 1 to 6 hours. Wrap your head in saran wrap or a shower cap you won't miss if  you want reddish tones to pop (that's what the site says). I put on a shower cap, because I didn't want chunks of henna to dry and break off all over my floor.

When ready, shampoo, condition, enjoy.... sigh...

I left it on for 4 hours. Should have taken my cap off in the shower, instead I littered my washroom floor with henna pieces. Lush uses dried Persian henna leaves which are ground into a powder. Well this powder feels very grainy when rinsing out. I thought I'd never get all of it out... once again I don't know how people with long hair would manage. I was also worried it would clog my drain. Shampooed 3 times... then conditioned. My shower was a mess, such a mess... I rinsed it clean, but once done I had to do a through cleaning, because the tub had a heavy henna ring around it.

My hair... dark, practically black... and I see grays. I don't know if it's my shoddy application job, or the fact that the product was the wrong consistency. Even-though I shampooed 3 times and conditioned for good 10 minutes I could still smell the herbal henna scent. One plus, my hair was fluffy once it dried... lol... but that happens after every shampoo... No crazy red streaks... the gray that I did cover turned a dark reddish-brown.

So will I ever dye my hair with Lush henna?  First reaction ABSOLUTELY NOT! The hassle, mess, and time involved just did not seem worth it. I was going back to my 10 min Garnier fix. But then a week or so after I dyed my hair, I saw my sister  and she commented how healthy and shiny my hair looked. And the next day I saw my stylist and she commented how much thicker and fuller my hair felt and looked. So on second thought ABSOLUTELY YES! The rewards are worth the hassle, mess, and time involved :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Just like MB Buffering Lotion, this stuff works often but not always. The Drying Lotion is formulated to target whiteheads. An overnight solution to make them disappear before you have to resort to heavy camouflage.
Also like Buffering Lotion, this concoction is split between liquid and sediment at the bottom of the bottle (pink instead of white). Unlike the Buffering Lotion do not shake it or mix it. The liquid is there to keep the sediment from drying out and solidifying. If you run out of liquid before you run out of the pink stuff, simply top off with rubbing alcohol.

To use, dip a clean cotton swab into the bottle and pick up some of the pink sediment, then dot accordingly on your face where you have an imperfection. This does not absorb, but dries on your skin, so expect to look spotty :) Go to bed, try not to rub your face all over your pillow, and wake up to a flawless new day :)
First, as I said it works often. Second, no one looks good with light pink spots on their face :), but it's a lot better than the alternative. Third this lotion is also great for taking the mosquito bite itch away :)

Overall, definitely worth having in your medicine cabinet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lancôme Ô d'Azur

This was also part of the 'haul' (are you getting tired of hearing that word yet?) A gorgeous bottle of a limited edition Lancôme perfume called Ô d'Azur. Last time I was in Shoppers Drug Mart I checked the price and it retails for $54 CAD.

All I can say about it is that I really, really like it… summer in a bottle. So I went online and found a more sophisticated and informative description. From

"Od`Azur is a luminous, fresh floral-fruity fragrance composed of elegant, spicy aromas of pink pepper on a gentle base of warm, woody notes and musk.

Top notes of the new edition O d' Azur will refresh you with zests and pulp of Calabrian lemon and bergamot aromas. A heart is feminine and gentle, created of peony and Turkish rose petals, decorated with pink pepper, while a base includes a warm embrace of woody notes, ambrette seed and sensual musk."

and here is a total opposite take on this scent… lol.. ouch… seems I am confused and Ô d'Azur is perfume world equivalent to wearing your underwear as outerwear…hahahaha…  :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion

This is MBs most popular product I think, and many a person refers to it as their holy grail. Specifically formulated for deep cystic acne that never come to a head, but cause discomfort, unsightly bumps and redness. This is one of the best products out there for it (that doesn't require a prescription). It doesn't totally wipe the inconvenience off but it greatly reduces the time one has to suffer it. And if applied right at the onset of ugliness usually all I have to deal with is a red mark, but not always, sometimes I get to 'enjoy' it all.
I'm not sure why it's called a lotion, because it's not. There is white sediment at the bottom of the bottle. You have to shake it up and incorporate it into the liquid before using (I think that's the stuff that actually does anything). It's runny like water. The bottle is shaped like a dropper so that you can squeeze out just a drop at a time on your finger and quickly apply onto your face before it runs off. It dries clear. MB recommends using every other day, but in time of need I used it every day sometimes several times a day, and it didn't dry out my skin. I've had this for about 6 months now, I'm almost halfway through the bottle... and unless something miraculous happens to my face I will most likely be repurchasing...
This is not very effective on whiteheads... and does absolutely nothing for blackheads... so if that's your only issue don't bother wasting your money on this product.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl in Black Coffee

The 'haul' continues. It included one eyeliner pencil. I like Lancôme pencils have one in black, this is my second one. They are pretty long, and the gold cap just stands out in my pencil cup collection.
 A few points on why I enjoy Lancôme pencils:
- they glide on quite easily; lovely formulation
- nice deep pigmentation
- they smudge nicely too for a smokey look if you prefer
- they last but do come off quite easily at the end of the day

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum

 A clear non-greasy, non-sticky, fast absorbing, unscented  gel. It's salicylic acid based, and recommended for usage on acne prone or broken-out areas.
 It has a lovely cooling effect, but did absolutely nothing for me. I think my skin is too problematic for this lightweight to have any effect on it... It it ever gets better I'll give this another try as a preventative measure..

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lancôme Ultra Lavande Eye Shadow Quad in Warm Harmony

Spring 2011 limited edition quad from Lancôme that was part of the 'haul'. I've been using it, and forgot to take a picture before I rubbed off the Lancôme rose logo. The compact which I also forgot to photograph, is classic shiny black plastic with embossed black matte ribbon and gold butterflies (you can just google it :))
daylight (shade)
 The dark purple has lovely fine gold shimmer/glitter in it. The other two lavender shades are pretty as well. The white/silver shade annoys me. The consistency feels all wrong... too powdery, gets all over everything.
daylight (sunshine)
daylight (shade)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer Spf 30

I purchased it after reading the MB description online, key points that sold me on it:
- it contains green tea which provides anti-aging protection
- lightweight and easily absorbed
- non-pore clogging, paraben-free
- aloe vera: hydrates, soothes
- St. John's Wort: helps in repairing of the skin tissue
- recommended for combination, sensitive, oily, or acne-prone skin
- protects skin against side effects of acne medications
- prevents acne scarring
My bottle looks a bit beat up. The print wears of quite easily.
 and from the very beginning I wasn't won over by this moisturizer. Unless I remember to shake the bottle each morning, it comes out split. Below you're looking at a little pool of oil and some moisturizer. It also felt a bit greasy and heavy on my skin. It did not absorb quickly, but just kind of sat there making me look all shiny and I felt sticky.
So I'm a fan of Mario Badescu products, but this one does not make the list. I'll use it up as a body moisturizer, but this no longer comes anywhere near my face.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lancôme Color Desing Ombre Mono Effects Sensationnel Effects Eye Shadow

Another item from the 'haul', a Lancôme quad.
 in the palette four pretty shades
Top right: Honeymoon - a white cream
Top left: Daylight - soft soft gold, that barely picks up on my skin
Bottom right: Kitten Heel - metallic peach
Bottom left: Guest List - dark chocolate (love to line my eyes with this one)
daylight (overcast)
This quad is pretty, but I wouldn't purchase it because I don't find it's anything special, and I actually have a Lancôme palette that I received as part of gift with purchase that has a three of these shades in it (just smaller)...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

I was curious about it so I purchased it. This is my night time cleanser. After a day of stress, pollution, and makeup I want something that can deal with it all. I use my Dermalogica pre-cleanse first then I follow with this.

It contains Aloe Vera and Chamomile to soothe and calm; and salicylic acid to combat current and future imperfections. It's a clear gel that does not foam. Not a holy grail product by any means, but my skin feels clean after using it and it has not caused any irritations or adverse reactions.

The scent isn't my favorite. Kind of strong, a bit chemical, but since it's doing it's job I'm getting over it. I'm still on the fence about a future repurchase.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pür Minerals Get a Little Self-Tanning Lotion

I avoid sun. I don't tan on purpose, and I have never used a tanning bed.  I've got my fill of sun rays as a kid who did not use spf, now it's all about preventative measures before the damage starts to show.

Having said that, my pasty legs can burn your retinas out, and there are events this summer I want to attend in a skirt or a dress, so I decided to give fake tan a go.

First test is on my legs (capris are my summer uniform), i don't know if it will go further than than. Wearing short sleeves ensures I get a bit of color even when I slather spf 60 on.

Once again the Shopping Chanel suggested a product I should give a try. I liked the before and after shots, but we have a very old TV and I mean old. This behemoth is from the 80's. I love it because it works (and I'm not throwing it out until it breathes its last), but I don't trust its color depiction anymore :)

Still the reviews were great, so I ventured to a Pür Minerals counter nearby and swatched a bit of their Get a Little Self-Tanning Lotion on the back of my hand. It smelled awesome! Citrusy in a sweet way… and I liked the consistency as well so I snagged the last bottle.
This product contains aloe and Vitamin E to condition and moisturize your skin; and it's free of nasty chemical dyes and formaldehyde.

I exfoliate every other day. For an even beautiful fake tan proper exfoliation is a must. Pur minerals promised "natural, bronzed look—never orange or streaky" in 3 applications.
Now I thought about taking a before and after picture to note the difference. However I got to thinking that pictures will be from different days, different light conditions, and well might not be very reliable. So out of my own curiosity I decided to try this product on only one leg first. If you think having two different shade legs would bother me, you'd be wrong… :)

And here we are 3 days 4 applications later…

A gorgeous, streak free, bronzed not orange leg and its pale mate… this was worth it… The shade change is definitely noticeable but it's not extremely drastic. It looks natural. It wasn't easy to capture with the camera... but I did my best..
There is only one drawback to this product, I wish there was more of it for the money. A 4oz tube set me back $24 CAD… still worth repurchasing I think.

Pür Minerals says this fake tan can be used on your whole body, including your face, but I would run out of it too fast. For now I'll concentrate on getting my legs to be of the same shade :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion

This is my MB toner. Recommended for oily/combination skin types. It claims to dry up existing acne and prevent new problems from occurring. It contains sulfur which is great for problem skin, and cucumber extract which supposedly soothes irritated areas.

I like it. Currently I'm on my second bottle. It does not irritate my skin, and it doesn't dry it out either. It has a light scent that doesn't linger.

I use it once a day, first thing in the morning after cleansing my face. It just perks me up.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lancôme Desert Rose Subtle Shimmering Blush in Island Horizon

Continuing with the 'haul'. Summer 2011 blush called Island Horizon from Lancôme. Sleek black compact with the rose logo in the corner...
 love this design... hate the tiny brush... seriously that thing is ridiculous... waste of prime blush real estate space...
daylight (overcast)
 there is the word "subtle" in the name of this blush... and it is... it is subtle... it was a bit hard to get a good swatch of the four individual colors... working your way from inside out in the compact below corresponding shades from left to right
daylight (overcast)
 now all blended together... it is a very soft summery blush... definitely for the pale ones out there to get any color payoff... those with a tan or naturally darker skin tones would only get some highlighting benefits but I don't think they'd see it as a blush... just see below
daylight (overcast)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mario Badescu A.H.A Botanical Body Soap

I like testing out body washes, so it was natural that I give MB a try as well. A clear orange gel cleanser that smells absolutely lovely; a gentle slightly citrus refreshing scent.

Main components:
Papaya and Grapefruit Extracts - for sloughing away dead dull skin
Ginseng - supposedly rejuvenates
Oat protein - soothes sensitive and irritated areas

MB claims that this is great for anyone suffering from body acne or keratosis pilaris. Hmmmmm I don't know those are some high claims. I think for acne you need an actual topical or internal medicine, and for KP something with more exfoliation.

However I'm on my second bottle and already have a third as a backup. I love it. Love the way it smells, love the way it cleanses, love the way it doesn't dry out my skin... don't see myself trying anything new anytime soon... and at $14.00 USD for 16oz I like the price too...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lancôme Denis Gagnon lipstick in Pale Lip (cream)

This is another item from the 'haul'. I believe this is a part of Lancôme's fall-winter 2011 limited edition by Denis Gagnon. Love the packaging... I would describe the tube as gunmetal gray, with a lovely Lancôme rose detail.
 This collection will have 4 shades of lipstick... but I have only one Pale Lip (01).
 I like Lancôme lipsticks a lot. They are odorless and flavorless, moisturizing, and creamy, and feel lovely on.
Plus this shade is soooo something I would have chosen myself. Soft, girly, pink, delicate, wearable.
daylight (overcast)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Mario Badescu Collection and Enzyme Cleansing Gel Review

I've been planning to start posting and reviewing my Mario Badescu products for a while now. Finally I got around to it. Pictured below my whole collection. I won't go through all the products in this post, that would be too much, but I do plan to have them up regularly every other day or so. To be reviewed: face washes, body wash, 5 face masks (I rotate them and use one every 2-3 days), face creams and treatments.

One thing about MB products that come bottled... wish most of them came with a pump.
 First up to be reviewed one of my faves MB Enzyme Cleansing Gel. 

I like this so much I have the industrial size bottle. Recommended for all skin types, this is a non foaming, pearl-green gel wash. It's quite luxurious feeling, non drying, and gentle. Main components of this wash are papaya extract and alpha hydroxy acid that have great exfoliating properties and prevent pore-clogging build-up.

I don't know if face washes live up to all these claims, I mean they spent just a couple of minutes (if even that) on your skin. But then again, I like how my skin feels after using this... and I quite like the non-foaming aspect of this cleanser.

I use if in the morning only. I can't speak to any of its claims at makeup removal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lancôme Color Design in Molten Shore

This is a limited edition Lancôme 2011 summer palette that I received from Jay. The packaging is not the usual black plastic but a pretty metallic turquoise square with magnetic closure.
 Inside: four goreous shades on one side, a great mirror on the other, and a puny little brush in the middle (I wish all companies would just stop including these... I have no use for them at all)
daylight (overcast)
 The shadows:
Top left: Flower (sheen) - this shadow is lovely light peach/oatmeal, great for all over the lid or as highlighter, nothing special, but it does work well with the other four...
Top right: Turquoise Blue (metallic) - loooooove it, the pigmentation rocks... I tend to wear it as a lower lash liner for a pop of color... turquoise is my fave this season...
Bottom left: Violet Heat (metallic) - the most unique of the 4, lots of glitter, very soft, needs more attention when applying because of the fall out, but gorgeous nevertheless... looks different in the pan than on the eye, lots of gold in this one...
Bottom right: Lava (shimmer) - deep dark chocolate brown with fine gold glitter... I think this one would make one heck of a great smokey eye...
daylight (overcast)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Muskoka Candle Co. 100% Soy Bean Wax Candle in Bergamont

Candles are one of my favorite things. Lately I've been switching from pillars to jars. I purchased this jar at Blue Banana in Kensington Market (Toronto). This 12oz container set me back $19.95 CAD, I thought if it lives up to all it's claims I'm willing to repurchase at this price.

So the claims:

1. Soot and Smoke Free - yup that's true, it has yet to smoke, this I like very much
2. Longer Burn Time - hmmm I haven't been timing it, but it does seem to burn more slowly than my Slatkin & Co. candles
3. Lower Melting Point and Scent Retention - if they say so
4. No Carcinogens or Toxins - the ingredient list seems to support this claim
5. Hypo-Allergenic - I don't have any respiratory problems... but it's nice to know
6. Safe and Easy Cleaning - haven't spilled melted wax yet... but this is also good to know

This company has quite a wide range of scents. I chose Bergamont because I just love it.  The scent isn't strong or overpowering, but I do wish it had a tad more ooomph... however I will purchase another flavor, because there is just something about candlelight and cute jars that I find irresistible.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

CHANEL Rouge Coco Shine - Rebelle 63

This was purchased for a gorgeous blonde as a backup gift because someone was second guessing his original purchase.  However, once his mind was made up I became the lucky beneficiary of the unwanted.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Rebelle looks quite intimidating, bright, and loud in the tube.
but it applies quite sheer, and I wear more like a lip stain that lipstick... if you're not afraid of bright red, or you wear bright red, this sheerness may be disappointing, but if like me you're testing the waters of bright bold colors you might find this shade a nice stepping stone... 

below the same shade but with several layers on the very left, a couple in the middle, and just one swipe on the very right...
daylight (overcast)