A Lovely Allure

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Review

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) is an acne treatment that has been recommended by skincare experts and bloggers for years, but has recently re-launched and slightly re-formulated as Effaclar Duo (+) and replaced Effaclar Duo. It comes in the same size 40ml tube and the gel-cream claims to provide a 24hr hydration, absorbs quickly, and has a non-oily finish.

Effaclar Duo (+) is also non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, has no parabens, and developed for those sensitive to products containing nickel. It is most beneficial to those with acne-prone skin, clogged pores, and/or excess sebum.

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

Key Ingredients:
Procerad: A patented ceramide helps protect against the appearance of red or brown marks.
Niacinamide: The reference anti-inflammatory active ingredient for intensive soothing.
Piroctone  Olamine: To combat bacterial proliferation.
LHA & Salicylic Acid: For their complementary keratolytic actions.
Targeted Linoleic Acid: To regulate keratinocytes, plus target the follicle.

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

After attending La Roche Posay's Acne Beauty School and getting educated on the most common causes and effects of acne, I took home to test out the Effaclar Duo (+) and have been using it nightly for months now. I was sceptical at first because acne products don't typically get along with my skin and usually just end up drying out my pimple. The formula of the Effaclar Duo (+) is light and similar to the original 'Duo' having the same scent, but the consistency is more creamy. The major difference is that the Duo (+) is intended for full face use along with spot treatment, as it has additional hydration and skin improving properties. It dries quickly and feels absorbed into the skin. It is wearable under makeup however I prefer to use the Effaclar Mat in the daytime just because it's a bit lighter and cooling on the face.

My skin thankfully did not react badly to the salicylic acid and it probably took longer than a week to notice any improvement in my skin's condition. When I started using this it was actually during the beginning stages of what seemed to be a bit of a breakout. It cleared up my skin, the bumps felt minimized and I noticed that pimples that were rapidly appearing before were now beginning to disappear. I have been using the Effaclar Duo (+) everyday and while it doesn't prevent the odd huge pimple from popping up, it prevented many emerging pimples from getting worse or scarring. Even with the odd pimple, the redness during, and scarring afterwards is minimal.

la roche posay effaclar duo + plus review

It did not dry out my skin at all, but I'd suggest only using it as a spot treatment if you don't need it for the full face. I use it with a moisturizer at night but I've used it alone as well. I do like to quickly massage it into my skin to have it better absorbed. Hopefully, it won't dry out the skin during the colder months, but I will have to report back on that. This is the first La Roche Posay product I have tried and it has left me with a very good impression. I would definitely pick this up again as it has really reduced the amount of acne and scarring that I have been getting. I also appreciate the affordable pricing for a higher-end product.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+) is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, and select Pharma Plus's in Canada for $25, it can also be found at Ulta in the US (has benzyl peroxide rather than salicylic acid), or online at Feel Unique internationally.

This product was received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.

Smashbox Camera Ready Bb Cream Eyes Review

Friday, September 26, 2014

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review concealer

Smashbox Camera Ready Bb Cream Eyes is "a 5-in-1 beauty balm that: hydrates, protects, perfects, corrects, and illuminates the under-eye area while instantly reducing the appearance of dark circles instantly and over time." This all sounds perfect, right!? It sounded very ideal to me, and after seeing a few positive reviews on it I decided to pick one up for a pricey $29 cad for 3.5 ml.

It comes in 5 shades; fair, light, light/medium, medium, and dark. I chose the shade 'light' although it still seemed slightly too dark for my fair skin tone, however, 'fair' was too light and the pink undertones seemed too strong. The bb eye cream also claims to "reduce the appearance of puffiness, visibly smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and improve firmness."

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review concealer

Now, the BB Eyes is actually listed as a primer on the Smashbox website, although it is pigmented enough to use it as a daily concealer for those who want a natural look, or don't have terrible dark circles. I personally haven't really had luck in the past with under-eye specific concealers. Sure, they all do the job but typically are either too cakey, not the right shade, or dry too fast.

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review swatched example
Click photo to enlarge, (photos are unedited)

But.. I do like the Smashbox Bb Eyes even though it has its flaws. It is thick enough to conceal dark circles, but doesn't dry super instantly so you have time to blend it in without feeling like you are damaging the eye area. It works well with or without primer, doesn't typically look cakey, and easily hides my imperfections and pores along the sides of my nose as well. But it CAN be cakey, if you so desire.. or if you have a very dry under-eye area. I did notice a slight reduction in puffiness but it is not effective enough to reduce puffiness, only to hide it. I didn't notice any hydration, but I do typically use an eye cream/primer underneath so I wasn't worried about that. It also has an SPF of 15, which is great for those of you who forget to wear facial sunscreen (myself included). The lack of shades might be a problem for those in between colours, but although 'light' was a bit too dark for me when swatched, after applying it it blended nicely with my skin tone and reduced dark circles and redness as well.

It can easily be applied with a finger, brush, or sponge applicator. My favourite way is to use a sponge applicator just because it is clean and fast. Sometimes going in with a finger afterwards is helpful however. It blends well with all of the foundations I have tried with it, and I've even used it to concealer redness on my nose and forehead.

However a huge dislike I have is the click-pen applicator. It isn't anything new in the cosmetic world but I have never been a fan. It is prone to breakage (at least when I use them :p) and I never know how much product I have left and it is hard to control how much product you are dispensing out. Also in regards to fine lines and wrinkles, I found that it did accentuate them if I didn't give it time to dry or didn't apply a setting powder on top. I compensated for this by just blending out the product whenever I noticed it creasing there, or applying less product. It wasn't a noticeable problem for me in comparison to some other concealers I have tried, however, it might not be ideal for those with a very dry under-eye area.

smashbox camera ready bb cream eyes review concealer swatched example
Smashbox BB Eyes with finished face

Overall, despite a few flaws mentioned above, I have been enjoying the Smashbox Bb Eyes and may think about repurchasing if I have not yet found a cheaper drugstore dupe. Most people are much of a fan of the click-pen, so hopefully they will think about changing that in the future.

What do you think about the Smashbox Bb Cream Eyes, would you try it? Do you dislike click-pens as much as I do?

Amie Skincare Review

Friday, September 12, 2014

amie skincare moisturizer daily wash and mask review

Amie Skincare is a natural British skincare brand that has recently stepped foot into Canada, available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart locations.  I was kindly sent four products of theirs to incorporate into my skincare routine and provide a few thoughts on the line.

Amie Skincare was founded by Fiona Parkhouse (not by an Amie or Amy, despite what you may have assumed!) to provide us all with skincare products containing natural plant and botanical extracts, ideal for all skin types for especially for sensitive skin. The entire line is said to be completely free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, or animal extracts. Amie is actually french for 'friend', for those of you, like me, who barely passed french class.

First impressions of the line was obviously that the packaging is too cute. If I were to spot this in a store, I would definitely pick it up and examine. Definitely the pastel colours, and matte finish tubes that do it for me.. it is all just very girly! I would assume it would attract more of a younger crowd, but the line is suitable for women of all ages. I understand that natural products don't always mean 'breakout free', but I am happy to report that none of the products I tried here broke me out or negatively affected my skin, yay.

amie skincare radiant dawn exfoliating daily wash review

Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash ($10):
This daily wash claims to deep cleanse pores and exfoliate for clear and radiant skin. It is 'pH balanced and has a gentle foam with natural blueberry seeds to help unblock pores, lift away dead skin cells, dirt and oil, and green apple & lemon extracts to refine and tone skin keeping oiliness at bay.' 
The cleanser has a light, earthy scent, and the exfoliating beads are light and minimal. I had no idea they were natural blueberry seeds and thought that was pretty cool. My skin was left feeling clean but not stripped or dry. Due to the exfoliating properties, I prefer to use this a few times a week rather than every day, or if it is to be used everyday I would only use it during the mornings. It was gentle and pleasant to use but not strong enough to remove much makeup or residue after a long day.

amie skincare morning light hydrating daily moisturizer review

Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturizer ($12):
The hydrating daily moisturizer is 'rich in rose extract, rose hip oil, and mallow to help keep the skin soft and hydrated.' 
I know it says daily moisturizer, but I prefer to use this at night, at least for now during this September weather. I need something very light during the daytime that will dry quickly, and I found this took a bit longer than the matte-finish moisturizer (below). It would likely be great during the winter-time for daily use. I found that a little bit went a long way and it was easy to apply and spread throughout my face.

amie skincare morning dew matte finish moisturizer review

Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturizer ($12):
This light moisturizer 'contains natural plant sugars to hydrate the skin while rosehip and bilberry nourish and soften. Excess oil and shine are controlled.'  
I love a good moisturizer that claims to control oil and shine. I have issues with that in my t-zone and I also hate daily moisturizers that take excessively long to dry. This moisturizer absorbed quickly into my skin in just a matter of a few minutes. Much quicker than the hydrating daily moisturizer so I prefer to use this during the daytime. It made for a good canvas for applying makeup afterwards, but I would suggest a light primer over top of this as well. It is light and feels cooling on the skin with a bit of an earthy scent. I'm not sure how well this would hydrate during the cold winter months but it has been great for the past few warm weeks.

amie skincare spring clean deep cleansing mask review

Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask ($12):  
The deep cleansing mask works 'pore-deep to draw out dirt and impurities, soak up excess oil, and prevent blemishes. Peppermint and lime extracts, purifies, and cools.'
I was a little afraid when applying this at first because it felt very tingly like it was burning my skin. The mask was a bit too strong for my sensitive eyes so they watered a bit, and it had quite a strong scent. I left it on for 15 minutes (instructions say 10). It didn't dry very hard or tight like most of my clay masks do. The mask is a bit thick so I'd suggest applying a thinner layer so you will have an easier time washing it off. I applied a bit too thick of a layer and it took longer than expected when rinsing. After washing it off I realized it did not burn or cause any redness to my skin which is good. I kind of like when I can feel a mask on my skin, it makes me think it's doing its job and working at those pores. My skin felt smooth and cleansed afterwards but I didn't see any noticeable difference otherwise. I will likely have to do a bit more testing to come to a more detailed conclusion!

Swatches Top to Bottom: Exfoliating Daily Wash, Deep Cleansing Mask, Hydrating Daily Moisturizer, Matte-Finish Moisturizer

There are also a few more products in the line that might be of interest, such as Amie's cleansing wipes and toner. I find the sizing of the products to be very decent and suitable for drugstore. I would definitely recommend Amie Skincare to those who want natural skincare that isn't harsh on the skin, affordable and readily available. Out of the products I tried, my favourite is probably the matte-finish moisturizer, and I would be most likely to repurchase this one in the future! Amie Skincare is available at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada. You can read more about the brand Amie, why it was created, and where to buy online and internationally here

These products were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.

eos Visibly Soft Lip Balm Review

Monday, September 01, 2014

eos visibly soft lip balm review vanilla mint and coconut milk

eos has recently introduced a new line of lip balms called Visibly Soft. There are 2 lip balms that have launched to start off this collection; Vanilla Mint and Coconut Milk. I'm not sure if they will come out with more, but I'd definitely be interested in seeing the new flavours they come up with. The balms are in their usual fun sphere shape, but with a slightly different design. The casing has swirls designed to mimic the 'buttery richness' of the Visibly Soft formula. It is nice to see eos bring out some new designs to compliment their new Visibly Soft line, and in my opinion, a bit overdue!

eos visibly soft lip balm review

So what is different about the new Visibly Soft balms? The new formula of the Visibly Soft balms contain hyaluronic acid (which can be seen in a lot of new skincare products), and it is said to increase moisture, hydration, and softness in the lips. The formula is also enriched with Vitamin C, said to stimulate the lip's rate of natural exfoliation and improve collagen production. The balms are 99% natural, petrolatum-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free. All eos balms also contain natural conditioning oils, shea butter, and Vitamin E.

eos visibly soft lip balm review vanilla mint and coconut milk

Coconut Milk didn't smell at all to me like coconuts, but it still has a light and pleasing scent. Vanilla Mint didn't have the 'minty' flavour I was expecting, but it does feel slightly cool on the lips. It kind of reminds me of white chocolate and is similar to Nivea's Lip Butter in Vanilla & Macadamia Kiss. Actually, both of these scents smell a bit artificial to me but are still light and sweet. Sorry that I am terrible at describing scents.. Anyways, I'd prefer the Vanilla Mint if I had to choose one. 

The Visibly Soft balms glide on the lips a bit easier, and the formula seems more delicate. I actually dropped the Vanilla Mint while it was open and put a pretty large dent in it. They are completely non-sticky on the lips. I also noticed that the colour of the Vanilla Mint was slightly darker than the Coconut Milk. I found them to be a bit moisturizing and longer lasting than the original balms, likely due to the hyaluronic acid. The one thing I don't like about eos balms is that they are not compact and difficult to fit into small pockets of the purse. But I guess an upside to their larger size is that they're easier to find. They are also fun to play with!

eos visibly soft lip balm review

I would definitely choose these balms over the regular balms if I had to, just because they are softer, feel more hydrating, and glide on the lips much easier. The packaging is also fun and nice to see something different from the original balms. I'd love to see more variety of scents from the Visibly Soft line in the future. 

The balms have launched August 2014 and should be available at your local drugstore or superstore already for $3.99. If you can't find them in store, you might have some luck online, you can view online retailers here and even purchase at evolutionofsmooth.com directly.

These products were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.

Olay Eye Brightening CC Cream Review

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

olay eye brightening cc cream review

Olay Eye Brightening CC Cream promises skin perfecting coverage that will also help to fight the 7 signs of aging around the eyes; dullness, fine lines, dark circles, puffiness, uneven tone, provides gentle exfoliation, and a moisture barrier. It contains ingredients such as aloe vera, vitamin B3, B5, and E, as well as green tea. 

olay eye brightening cc cream review

The cream is very light and has shimmer throughout which is used to brighten up the eye area. It glides onto the skin and dries completely within a few minutes but will still have a shine to it. On the shelf it may come across as a potential concealer but there is absolutely no colour or concealing once rubbed into the skin, and you will definitely need to use a concealer on top of this.

Total Effects 7-in-1 promises: 
1. Dullness; brightens the eye area
2. Fine Lines; reduces the appearance of eye wrinkles
3. Dark Circles; reduces appearance of dark circles
4. Puffiness; massage to reduce the look of puffiness
5. Uneven Tone; balances and helps even out skin tone
6. Gentle Exfoliation; improves surface skin turnover
7. Moisture Barrier; strengthens skin's natural defences against moisture loss

I have enjoyed using this as a primer and found that it works great as a base for my under eye concealer. It did not sting my eyes, and has the texture of a light eye cream. To get down to business, I didn't notice it correcting any skin tone, nor did I see a reduction in dark circles. It did slightly help with puffiness, especially on the day I was bawling my eyes out the night before (boy problems). #6 promises gentle exfoliation, however I wish more of an explanation were provided to explain how this works! The shimmer in the cream worked well to brighten up the eye area. I wouldn't use this at night, just because I am looking for something a bit healthier for your skin while I get my beauty sleep, and I associate anything CC cream with something that should only be for daytime use. 

olay eye brightening cc cream review

Water/Eau, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Isostearate, Isohexadecane, Niacinamide**, Ppg-15 Stearyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimenthicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract++, Tocopheryl Acetate^, Panthenol***, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit, Allatoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Benzyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Peg-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Disodium Edta, Silica, Dimethiconol, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Laureth-7, Citric Acid, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane. *Aloe Vera/Aloès, **Vitamin/Vitamine B3, *** Pro-Vitamin/Provitamine B5, ^Vitamin/Vitamine E, ++Green Tea/Thé Vert

Overall, the Olay Eye Brightening CC Cream was enjoyable for me to use, helped slightly with puffiness, and illuminating the under eye. It did not show any noticeable evening of the skin tone, fine line improvement, or exfoliation. It seems to be a bit of a dupe to Estee Lauder's Cooling Eye Illuminator, minus the cooling tip. The packaging is cute but the fact that it is in a tub is a bit of a bummer for sanitary reasons. I think I would purchase it again, because I enjoy the consistency, it's actually addicting for me to use, I don't know why.. oh and it works well under my Smashbox BB Eyes concealer. 

The eye brightening cream comes in a 13ml little jar and is available for $24.99 on Amazon.ca, with a retail price of $22.99, however I think I've seen it for around $21 at Walmart's in Canada.

Disclosure: I am a #BeautyUnited blogger. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events, but the opinions on my blog are always 100% my own.

So...? Fragrance So Sexy Review

Friday, August 22, 2014

so fragrance so sexy review

So...? Fragrance (also known as So...? With Attitude) has been focused on fragrances for girls and younger women since the 90's. They are easily available at your local drugstore and very reasonably priced. They are a UK brand however, they are available in Canada and I've spotted them at select Walmart's and Shoppers Drug Mart's. Now, I'm not sure if any of you had the same experiences I had when I was younger, but me and my friends used to love and be obsessed with the So...? line back in grade school. I remember seeing one girl with the So...? Sinful and I went out to buy it right away, but of course, as with everything, I've moved on to trying different perfumes since then. So when I was contacted by this company to test out one of their scents, I was curious to see how well it would bring back old memories!

So Fragrance, So Sexy scent description (from website):
Top Notes: Mandarin, Blackcurrant
Heart Notes: Rose, Jasmine
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Musk

so fragrance so sexy eau de toilette perfume review

The So...? Sexy Eau De Toilette is 30ml or 1 fl.oz and small enough to carry in a regular or large sized purse if you wanted to. It was hard to choose a scent through the computer but I chose the So Sexy because of the base note musk. I love my Rihanna Rebelle perfume which is a musky scent and a bit different, so I decided to try something that would hopefully be similar. This is comparable, but much sweeter and less spicy. It is bearable for me to wear all day, doesn't get annoying, and I find it very subtle. It has more of a mature scent, so if you are looking for something fruity, this scent isn't it, but it does smell sexy to me and I much prefer it because it makes me feel mature.

so fragrance so sexy body mist review

The So...? Sexy Body Fragrance contains 75ml or 2.5 fl.oz. I like that the body spray is a bit easier to travel with because it is lighter and not in a glass container. I don't really use body sprays for the body.. I typically spray them over my clothes. The scent doesn't seem to be any different from the perfume and I guess it is just a better alternative for on-the-go, or for when you would like a much lighter scent. 

I'm glad I gave a product from the So...? Fragrance line a go because I haven't had am impression of their products since grade school. I do think that many of their scents are directed towards younger girls and teens, however, this is a different scent that might attract a bit of an older crowd, or someone who is looking for a mature scent.

So...? Fragrance Eau De Toilette is available in a 30ml size for $9.99. The Body Fragrance is available in 75ml for $4.99. They can be found at select Walmarts and Shoppers Drug Marts in Canada, Brunet and Uniprix in Quebec.

These products were received for consideration. All opinions stated are my own and are not influenced by any affiliates.
PS. Sorry for the lack of posts for August. Busy with end of the semester, and other regular life problems for the typical girl. >.< I hope to begin posting more often, and getting caught up on reviews!