Category: Skin Care

Makeup Most Wanted April 2017 – Alyssa’s Picks

Thanks to going on vacation and Passover, I’m super behind on a lot of my posts but now that things have slowed down, I have a lot of new products that I’m using on a regular basis and in April, these ones were used more than most.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Lotus

Before I cut my hair in March, using a dry shampoo was a tricky thing for me but if I used one, it was generally Batiste related. We received a couple new scents just in time for me to start using dry shampoo on a regular basis and Lotus is hands down my favourite Batiste dry shampoo yet. The description is pretty and opulent but all I can say is that it smells completely amazing. It’s a little fruity, a little floral and I really want to use it as a room spray (but I won’t waste it). It also works at giving me major volume, while freshening up my roots.

Vichy Idéalia Smoothness & Glow Mattifying Sorbet-Cream

I loved the original Idéalia line, but Vichy recently reformulated and added new products to it. While, I’ve noticed most people pick the Night Peeling as their favourite, mine is this lightweight moisturizer. Smoothness & Glow Mattifying Sorbet-Cream is pretty much the perfect description for it. It comes out really soft and refreshing like a sorbet, melts into your skin instantly and keeps me pretty matte. It also gives me a really nice, subtle glow and has the same gorgeous almost raspberry like scent that I associate with the Idéalia line. This is going to be a great moisturizer for my combination skin this summer.

Garnier Fructis Moisture Lock 10-In-1 Rescue Leave-In Detangler

Now that my hair is shorter, it’s much easier to style, especially since I generally let it air dry. But it’s still curly and frizzy and this leave-in treatment from Garnier Fructis helps me detangle it gently and starts to minimize frizz. I do use other styling products with it but I can use it on it’s own and still like how my hair looks. The matching Moisture Lock shampoo and conditioner are good too but I like this detangler the most of the three. Using it on dry hair to refresh my curls also works, but if it’s too close to when I have to wash my hair, it gets a touch greasy.

Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Blush Duo Stick in From Prude To Nude

I’m really a big fan of multi-tasking makeup and the Kiss & Blush Duo Stick from YSL gives you a ton of options. The YSL website alone has twelve suggestions for cheeks and lips, not to mention you could totally use this as eyeshadow in a pinch. From Prude to Nude is a rose nude/mocha nude combo that combined gives me both a nice blush shade and a great nude lip for my complexion but I generally use it as a blush. It’s super tiny but you really don’t need to use a lot and it’s so easy to throw in your purse for touchups. And you’ll probably need a couple touchups in the summer because of the super creamy formula. The price is a little steep at $40, but not surprising considering it’s YSL, but you can get a ton of uses out of it, so it might actually save you from buying a couple other things in the long run.

Tarte TarteGuard Tinted Moisturizer

It’s been a long time that I have loved a product as much as I love this new Tarte Tinted Moisturizer. Unlike a lot of products, it literally does everything that I want it to and it arrived on beauty shelves just in time for summer.

Once you start using Tarteguard Tinted Moisturizer, you will be protecting your skin on so many levels. First as a moisturizer, it keeps your skin moisturized without getting oily. It absorbs quickly leaving your skin glowing, but not moist. It has very little scent, which is nice for those of us who hate perfumed moisturizers.  It’s also packed full of great ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin E and apple extract, all protecting your face from the day.

As a tinted face product, this has just the right amount of coverage. I am a solid foundation lover. I usually avoid tinted moisturizer because it leaves me wanting more. This one has the perfect amount of sheer coverage. Pair it with a dab of concealer on those problem areas and you are ready to go. It gives a nice even look that lasts all day. The light-medium tone was good for winter, but as I have been getting more sun lately, I am going to move up to the medium. I am surprised there isn’t a darker option for people with darker skin, who still want a Tarte Tined Moisturizer. I think that’s a huge miss from Tarte, that should be addressed.

Finally, since it’s a part of the TarteGuard collection, this also has SPF 20 Sunscreen included. You might think that’s nothing, but as far as tinted moisturizers from makeup companies go, this one is pretty good. I took this on vacation to Miami with me this spring and didn’t get a burn on my face at all. Usually my face is the first place to show colour.

Overall, since the first time I used this Tarte moisturizer I have been hooked. Now I just have to make it last all summer.

March Makeup Most Wanted

Spring into a new season with these March makeup products that I have been obsessed with this month.

Covergirl Outlast All-Day Custom Reds Lip Color – I have tried a lot of lipsticks that said they were going to last a long time, but Covergirl has finally done it. This two-step lip color is the longest lasting lipstick that I’ve ever tried. It’s really simple, you just apply the colour first, wait a minute and then apply the clear coat over top. Boom! You have lipstick that will last all day. I even had a hard time getting it off of my lips. I fell asleep with lipstick on one night and it was still on the next morning! This lipstick is UNREAL! The red shades that I tried were quiet bold, but really beautiful.

Rodial Baking Powder – I’m not going to lie, I don’t really get the idea of baking. I also don’t have time to bake my makeup before leaving the house. That doesn’t make my love of this powder any less. Instead of baking my makeup and dusting it off later, I have been using it as a finishing powder. I just dust a light layer over my foundation before I leave the house for a minor bake. Forget the long lasting powder of the bake, I love the matte finish that my skin gets when I use it. Clearly this powder is super versatile, making it key in my makeup bag.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream – Finally, a super moisturizing gel cream for extra dry skin that doesn’t feel heavy on my face. I fell in love with gel moisturizers because it is perfect for my skin. I get dry skin, but I also have acne. I need all the same anti-aging and boosting properties, but my skin can’t handle heavy thick moisturizers. I get greasy very easily. Neutrogena lets me get a major moisture boost without that issue. It absorbs into my skin leaving it feeling dry and matte, but also soft. This one is for anyone who is sick of fighting with moisturizers and their skin. Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost is the saving grace this winter.

Sebastian Volupt Spray High Impact Volume – I used to love spray gel in high school. It was probably the only product that I used, and I used it every day. Since then I’ve moved on to other products, but getting this newer product was like meeting an old friend. I love this product because it gives you hold without making my hair stiff. It’s really nice on curls or beach waves to get a hold without the crunch of mousse.

Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Shampoo & Conditioner – Herbal Essences new hair care collection Bio:Renew sounds very fancy in the description. It’s made with a special blend of antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp. It’s supposed to bring your hair back to life in 21 days (although it doesn’t say how many washes that is). I love it because, while it has all of those great properties, it still feels like classic Herbal Essences. The Coconut Milk scent smells amazing. My hair looks great, it’s shiny and easy to manage. I can’t ask for anything else!

Brompton & Langley Hand Cream: Quick Review

If you are looking for a fun imported product that isn’t going to break the bank. Check out Brompton & Langley. I tried their Hand Cream and Body Wash with equally lovely results. This UK brand comes in soft scents like Sweet Pea Jasmine, Almond Milk and Vanilla Honeysuckle. The scents are really subtle, but leave your skin feeling soft and lush. They make a great Mother’s Day gift.

At-Home Spa Day Most Wanted

Sometimes a girl just needs an at-home spa day for a little pampering with all of your favourite new bath, body and beauty products, candles and a glass of wine. Here are a few products to add to your supple for the perfect spa day at home:

Live Clean Dead Sea Salts – Soothe tired muscles on your at-home spa day with a long bath with these Live Clean Dead Sea Salts. They have Epsom salts, green tea extracts, aloe vera, Eucalyptus essential oils and Ginger. All of this combines for soothed muscles. The scent is strong, but really relaxing at the same time. It’s perfect for helping you forget that busy week.

Avon Foot Works Clay Mask – A spa day wouldn’t be complete without a little foot pampering. Short of having someone to give you a pedicure in your living room, this foot clay mask is the best thing to do. I’ve tried lots of clay masks for my face, but never for my feet. The feeling is pretty similar. Be sure that you are sitting somewhere good, because you won’t be able to walk around. You will need to clean your feet off wherever you are. The lavender smell is nice and relaxing while you wait. I didn’t expect much in the way of results, but my feet were very soft after just 10 minutes or so with this on.

Arbonne Tahitian Coconut Lip Therapy Set – You don’t usually get to pamper your lips, but it feels so good when you do. The Lip Smoother is a coconut exfoliator that will help clean up all of that dead skin from winter. The Lip Salve is an oil based balm that softens and moisturizes. It’s a nice treat for your lips to feel soften and fresh.

Claus Porto Soap Gift Box – This is the MOST beautiful soap that I’ve ever owned. The white box with the art deco logo is the first signal that you are in for a treat. No matter how many times I opened it to see the three soaps inside, I was never not in awe. The packaging for each of these German soaps is a work of art in itself. Almost too beautiful to use. When you have had your time with the box, be ready for a nice treat with this soft smelling soap in the tub. Spoil yourself, or someone that you love a lot, with these soaps for every occasion.

Skyn Iceland All Eyes On You Treatments – Skyn Iceland has some of my favourite eye products. They always make them nice and cooling and soothing so that my eyes feel relaxed. This set includes an Icelandic Relief Eye Pen, Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels and Glacial Cleansing Cloths. This means you can pamper yourself with the gels now and have the cloths and pen for your regular everyday use.

StriVectin Spring Most Wanted

There are very few products I’ve tried from StriVectin that I didn’t automatically love but the combination of their newest products is pretty fantastic. The Multi-Action Active Infusion You Serum combined with the Multi-Action Stress Defense Water Gel did things for my skin pretty much immediately.

The Youth Serum has has encapsulated NIA (StriVectin’s propietary technology) spheres that release into a thin serum. I find it a little sticky until it dries, which isn’t long at all, but once it absorbs you really can’t feel anything on your skin. This serum is supposed to smooth lines, firm, strengthen the skin barrier and give you instant luminosity. I don’t have a lot of lines on my face but I can definitely say that my skin is definitely luminous. Of course after any serum you need a good moisturizer.

The Water Gel was definitely nothing like I was expecting. It literally looks like a gel made of water and absorbs so quickly, sometimes I wonder if I ever got it on my face. Luckily it smells so good that I can tell. I find I need a little bit more than I usually apply for a moisturizer but considering it starts working within seconds, I’m ok with that. The Water Gel leaves my skin feeling fresh and hydrated and it seriously glows. If you have extremely dry skin though, this might not be strong enough for you. On my drier days, I find I have to use a much stronger moisturizer at night but I have a feeling this will be perfect for spring and summer.

It’s really the combination of the two products that I love. When I use the Youth Serum before the Water Gel, my skin just looks incredible. I’ve noticed dry patches disappearing and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on my skin. I really love when skincare does what it says it will and so far StriVectin has kept their promise with everything. If you’re looking for some freshness in your skin for spring, this might be the duo for you.

L’Occitane Solidarity Balm 2017


Today is International Women’s Day and just like last year, L’Occitane has released another Solidarity Balm that goes right along with it. This year’s balm is Shea Butter Violet and it smells amazing. I was first introduced to the yearly Solidarity Balms last year with the rose scent. I literally use this stuff for everything; lips, cuticles, scrapes, chapped and broken skin. I haven’t found a limit to what I can use it for and I still haven’t finished last years. I love nearly anything rose scented so for me to love this violet scent even more in unprecedented.

What I love even more about the actual balm is that L’Occitane will use 100% of the profits to fund NGO’s projects to support women’s leadership in the world in partnership with UN Women and the L’Occitane Foundation. Not all of us can or will participate in women’s marches around the world but we can all try and spend $6 on this balm to try and support other women.

You’ll probably want to pick up more than one though because the Solidarity Balms are amazing and you’ll feel like you’ve contributed a little.

You can find the Solidarity Balms on sale on the L’Occitane website.

Volition Ultimate Anti-Aging Trio

If you are serious about moisturizer, I think that I’ve found the product for you. Volition has created a 3-piece moisturizing set that works year round, from day to night.

It all starts with the Dual Cream Base. This is their standard moisturizer. It makes for a nice and simple moisturizer. It isn’t scented. The texture and thickness is right in the middle. It’s moisturizing enough for the winter, but also thin enough to wear in the summer. It absorbs very quickly with a matte finish.

Now here is where it becomes advanced. This luxury skin care set from Volition comes with two special “ampoule” or liquid to be mixed with the moisturizer for more advanced benefits. They look the same, but act different.

The Day Active is full of wine extract, which sounds like the start of a great day. It has anti-aging benefits, collagen and moisture that will help plump up dry skin. The Night Active has more soothing ingredients like chamomile, rose hips and vitamin C that will soothe skin and brighten your complexion while you sleep.

The little droppers allow you to add your chosen active formula to the base moisturizer when needed for added benefits. You can add this to any moisturizer if you want, but right now it is only sold as a set from Volition. You have to get all three things.

Personally, this moisturizing set is a bit too advanced for me. I like my skin care more simple. That doesn’t mean it’s not for you. This trio is perfect for someone looking for the next step in skin care. You can really customized what you use and when for the perfect match.

Body Lotion Head-To-Head Part Two

When I said we were serious about our body lotion and skin care in the winter, I mean it.

Yes To Coconuts Dry Skin Head-To-Toe Hydrating Balm

Yes To Coconuts Dry Skin Head-To-Toe Hydrating Balm

Description: Take moisturizing to the next level with a super moisturizing balm that is for the most extreme dry and cracked skin. The Yes To line creates products that are also natural on top of everything else using natural ingredients the way they were meant to.

Look: This package looks pretty boring and unassuming. The little bronze package doesn’t look very exciting. The balm looks like margarine or maybe coconut oil. It doesn’t look very appealing.

Scent: It does have a coconut scent, but since it is a balm there is also a kind of waxy scent to it. It doesn’t have an overwhelming scent, but it is noticeable.

Feel: This is similar to coconut oil. It looks like a solid, but melts with your body heat to turn into more of an oil consistency when you apply it to your skin. Because of that, we agree that you should use it on only your most dry parts. It can be a bit greasy and oily for the rest of your body. It feels amazing on my feet. I can just slip my socks on after applying to keep the moisture close.

Cost: This might be the strong moisturizer that you can get for under $10. I think this is an investment piece that you should always keep handy, especially in the winter.

Volition Illuminating Body Milk

Volition Illuminating Body Milk

Description: I thought this was a regular moisturizer, but this product has little particles that help to illuminate the skin with a pearly glow, leaving your skin not only moisturized, but shimmering in the light as well.

Look: This box is really pretty. The cream in the box has such a shimmery pearly shine to it. When you open the jar, the cream itself isn’t really that pretty. It’s smooth, but looks so thick and chunky.

Scent: Somehow Volition made a body milk with no scent at all. I am not joking. I can’t smell anything at all. It’s really surprising. I truly expected it to smell all light with flowers and roses because of how it looked.

Feel: In the container it feels somewhere between a paste and a gel. It’s really weird. If you can get over the strange feel, it does smooth quickly when you apply it. This milk almost completely disappears when you apply it. The shimmer quality is really subtle. It’s the adult version of those shimmer creams. It’s just a bit of a healthy glow, as opposed to a shimmer in the light. It leaves my skin feeling soft, but not really moisturized. This is definitely a luxury product, once you have an intense moisturizer worked out.

Cost: This luxe product costs $35 for one jar, but think of it more as a splurge. It’s also a great gift for the girl who has everything.

Nivea Creme

Nivea Crème

Description: This classic Crème has been around for over 100 years! I would bet that there is a whole generation of people who haven’t tried it yet. There are so many other options on the market that sometimes a classic is overlooked. Nivea’s Crème is perfect for all skin types, ages and any part of the body.

Look: The all new Nivea Crème now comes in a blue tin that feels really iconic. It’s a great look. The white cream inside looks a bit like a paste.

Scent: Nivea’s cream smells more medicinal or clinical. It’s not overwhelming. When you apply it to your skin, you can’t even smell it at all. Perfect for people who are sensitive to strong smells.

Feel: This is the one cream where I feel almost instant results. My rough dry spots feel smoother without any residue left behind. Sometimes, you can’t beat a classic. Theirs is a reason Nivea has been making this product for so long.

Cost: A tin of Nivea’s Crème runs between $10 and $15, but this is kind of a household must have in my books. One tin will last a while, so it’s well worth the money.

Body Lotion Head-To-Head

In case you haven’t noticed, we are serious about winter skin care. On that note, we wanted to give you a deeper look at all of the body lotions, moisturizers and skin balms that have been making the rotation this winter to give you all the information that you need to make smart skin care decisions. From the packaging to the feel to the price, here is a look at some great body lotions for everyone any time of year!

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion

Description: This lightly scented lotion (which also comes in unscented) is ideal for the most sensitive of skin. It helps not only dry skin, but the driest, itchy skin. It’s made with their special oat formula that is meant especially for sensitive skin.

Look: It’s classically Aveeno. No surprises here. From the look of the bottle to the look of the cream.

Scent: I am surprised that this can be considered as gentle as a sensitive skin product, because the coconut smell is rich. If you love coconut, like me, then you will like it. But it’s not subtle.

Feel: This moisturizer is surprisingly thick when you spread it over your skin, because it doesn’t look any thicker than your regular moisturizer. It’s thick to spread and absorbs into the skin very slowly. It leaves my skin feeling still damp and a bit dewy for quite a long time after, which could be thought of as a curse or a blessing.

Cost: You can get a 354 mL bottle for about $10, which is a great deal when you think about how well this cream works. I used it on an itchy new tattoo and keep one on my desk at work, so it’s clearly a favourite!

Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

Description: This moisturizer has pretty standard description of soothing rough skin and restoring your glow. It’s a mixture of cocoa butter and Vitamin E that will restore your skin back to good health.

Look: The bottle that I have is huge. It’s actually a bit overwhelming. This could be a lifetime supply of moisturizer, which is a little unnecessary. The lotion itself looks a bit thin, but fairly standard.

Scent: The smell of cocoa butter is so soothing and nice, isn’t it? If you agree, then you will love it too.

Feel: This moisturizer doesn’t apply as thin as it looks at first. It could have been a fluke, but on my skin it was really cooling. It applies thin and moisturizing and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tacky at all. I like that I can’t really feel it at all. I am just left with nice skin.

Cost: This big 21.1 oz bottle is under $10 in stores, so you can’t find a place to get more for your money. Overall, it’s a pretty standard and straight forward  moisturizer, so you can’t go wrong at that price.

Live Clean Moisturizing Body Lotion

Live Clean Moisturizing Body Lotion

Description: Who doesn’t want to help the earth while helping their skin? Live Clean’s lotion is packed full of natural ingredients and organics and doesn’t have any of the additives most products have. They also come in great scents with little added benefits from different ingredients.

Look: The packaging is clean and simple. The lotion looks simple. No tricks here.

Scent: The scents of the Live Clean collection can be hit or miss. They seriously depend on your tastes. Choose your scent carefully based on what you are in the mood for.

Feel: Live Clean’s moisturizer feels nice and smooth. They are fairly standard as far as moisturizer go. It works great on dry skin, but doesn’t last for hours. I find myself reapplying often when I use Live Clean lotion only.

Cost: Live Clean is amazing value for the money. It’s one of my favourite brands. You can’t go wrong with it. This moisturizer is a steal at just $6.

Korres Body Butter

Korres Body Butter

Description: Korres uses beautiful natural ingredients to help soften the skin and moisturize. They also use special oils that help improve elasticity and give better long term effects on your skin.

Look: The bottles of these body butters are beautifully designed with different colours and styles for each scent. The cream itself looks thinner than some intense body butters.

Scent: My Korres Body Butter is a beautiful jasmine scent. It’s fairly strong, but it’s more like perfume than just a moisturizer. It’s an advanced and complex scent. This isn’t a cheap throwaway smell that will hurt your senses.

Feel: Sometimes body butter can be too thick. It can leave a film or texture on your skin. Korres has created a body butter that is surprisingly light. It’s soft and leaves my skin feeling pampered.

Cost: At about $30, this is a more luxury cream, but you will get a more luxurious result. Be sure to find the scent that is right for you first, because it’s a bigger commitment.