Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Collection


We try so many hair products that’s it’s pretty hard for me to be blown away by any. I was already a huge fan of Shu Uemura, so I had fairly high expectation for my first time trying one of their hair lines. Ultimate Remedy is for ultra-damaged hair, so winter is probably the best time to try it. My fine, wavy, frizzy, highlighted hair gets pretty dried out in winter and definitely needs some extra help. Unfortunately most extreme hydration lines also weigh my hair down a lot. We received the shampoo, conditioner and duo-serum and there’s also an extreme restoration treatment (hair masque).

The entire line has a lotus infusion and the scent of the collection is peppermint. I honestly don’t smell mint and didn’t really like the scent at first but the more I use the line, the more I love it. The bottles are a really pretty green but the shampoo bottle is a little hard to squeeze due to the shape and how heavy the plastic is. I love that the conditioner is a pump though. The shampoo is a really interesting consistency. It’s kind of a gel-oil texture and doesn’t get a huge lather but enough that you know it’s there. I have to say, to me, this is the hero product of the collection. The shampoo feels so silky and nourishing and I’ve even thought about not using conditioner after it because I think I could get away with it. I’m used to loving conditioners or styling treatments but this is the first time I seriously love a shampoo.

The conditioner is a little on the thinner side and you feel like it’s not doing much until you rinse it out but it’s made my hair really manageable and hydrated. The duo-serum is an interesting styling product. One side is a texture-oil and the other is a cream. You have to pump the bottle just right to get both at the same time but it’s great for detangling and getting frizz out. Once it dries, you don’t even know it’s there. I find that I have to use quite a bit of it though and at a $56 CDN price tag, that’s a little bit of a bummer.

I really like the Ultimate Remedy collection as a whole but I love, love, love the shampoo and if I’m going to buy anything once I run out, it’s that.

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.

Most Wanted Winter Skin Relief

My skin takes a serious beating in the winter. All the forced heat indoors and extreme dryness outside, I get extremely dry, cracked skin. Even the combination skin on my face dries out completely during winter. These products have saved my skin this year and given me some major relief from dryness.

Dr. Roebuck’s Ultimate Hydrating Serum
Dr. Roebuck's Ultimate Hydrating Serum
This serum has an almost gel-like texture and a few drops goes a long way. It absorbs into your skin instantly and doesn’t leave you with that greasy feel that you can get from some serums. I definitely feel a moisture boost when I use this one and when you add your moisturizer on top of it, it’s amazing. This is the only Dr. Roebuck’s product I’ve tried but I like it enough that I want to try more.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm
When this first showed up, I was convinced it would be too strong for my combination skin. I mean, the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial was almost too strong for me and this sounded much richer. But I had a week where my skin was so dry, nothing I had was helping, so I tried this out and it worked. The texture is a little like butter, fairly thick and spreadable. But it absorbs much quicker than I expected. Plus the moisture lasted hours and hours. I don’t need to use anything else for a full 24 hours when I use this. I also didn’t have any issues with my sensitive skin and it didn’t make me break out, but if you’re concerned, get a sample first.
Aveeno Gentle Scent Skin Relief Body Wash and Lotion in Chamomile
Aveeno Gentle Scent Skin Relief Body Wash Chamomile
The skin on my body gets much more dry than the skin on my face and I’ve used numerous things over the years that didn’t really help. Aveeno’s Gentle Scents line comes in Chamomile and Coconut options and the Chamomile smells amazing. It’s not a strong scent but it’s really fresh. The body wash doesn’t make my skin feel stripped of moisture and is soap and dye free and allergy tested, so it doesn’t irritate my skin. The addition of Colloidal Oatmeal gives you a boost of moisture. The matching lotion has the same scent and absorbs quickly and isn’t greasy. The combination leaves my skin feeling hydrated and way less itchy.
L’Occitane Intensive Hand Balm
L'Occitane Intensive Hand Balm
I honestly don’t know how many L’Occitane hand creams I’ve gone through over the years and I was convinced that nothing would work better on my dry, cracked hands than their classic Shea Hand Cream. Well when this hand balm arrived, it was clear I was wrong. This is quite a bit stronger than the hand cream but not much thicker. It takes a little longer to absorb but in under a minute, I can go back to whatever I was doing. I find if I use this before I go to bed, I don’t have to use hand cream until the next afternoon and it’s healed the cracked skin in my hands and cuticles. It might be a couple dollars more than the regular hand cream but if winter is killing the skin on your hands, it’s worth the money. I would actually go so far as to say, if you only buy one thing for winter skin, L’Occitane’s Intensive Hand Balm is what you need.

OPI Infinite Shine PROSTAY + New Iconic Shades

OPI Infinite Shine PROSTAY System
I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not a fan of OPI’s Infinite Shade base and top coats. So when the reformulated versions arrived at my door, I was definitely ready to test them out. The new PROSTAY system comes with a primer (base coat) and gloss (top coat). These new formulas are supposed to give you up to 11 days of gel-like wear and shine. I can’t even tell you how much better they work than the original formula. I would use both of these with any polish. The primer is really smooth and dries quickly but is also a little sticky which makes polish stay put. The gloss dries your polish in minutes and gives off serious shine. I had zero problems with these while I was testing out six of the new Infinite Shine Iconic shades.

OPI has added 30 new shades to the collection this month, and while we only got six, I had never tried any of them in the regular formulas before but there are definitely more I want to try. The formulas are pretty fantastic and I had multiple one-coaters, which is pretty exciting for OPI polish.

Sweet Heart
OPI Infinite Shine Sweet Heart Swatch
The sweetest, softest pale pink
This delicate blush pink is so pretty. Two coats went on pretty well and while it was a touch patchy and chalky, the overall result was a really classy nail.

Got The Blues For Red
OPI Infinite Shine Got The Blues For Red Swatch
A melodious blue-red that hits all the right notes
This dark red verges into burgundy territory depending on how many coats you do. 1 coat looked good and was a lot brighter but two coats just looked so much better. The photo is with two. I love this shade a lot.

Do You Lilac It?
OPI Infinite Shine Don't You Lilac It Swatch
Light purple with attitude
This pretty lilac shade is one-coater and look at that depth. It’s so, so pretty and was a dream to work with.

That’s Hula-rious
OPI Infinite Shine That's Hula-rious Swatch

This pastel mint green makes me dance with joy!
I like the colour of this one a lot and two coats went on pretty well but this was the only one where I had tip wear almost immediately and it chipped as well. Considering I only wore it for about twenty minutes, that’s saying something.

Cosmo-Not Tonight Honey
OPI Infinite Shine Cosmo-Not Tonight Honey! Swatch
Make “space” for this pale gold touch of star shine.
I’m really not a fan of these champagne shades but I know a lot of people who love them. This formula was pretty runny but two coats were good. My biggest issue was getting the top coat on it. You really have to have a lot on the brush and barely let the brush touch your nail or you’ll get big drag marks.

OPI Red
OPI Infinite Shine OPI Red Swatch
The shade that started it all.
I don’t buy a lot of red polish, which is really the only excuse I have for never trying this cult red classic. This kind of red is perfect for my skin tone and I was thrilled that it went on in one perfect coat. I seriously love this polish and I can understand why it’s loved by so many. Iconic indeed. This is my favourite of the six.

I’m so happy OPI redid the Infinite Shine system, it really works so much better now. I can’t wait to try it with some of the older shades IS shades I have.

Teeez Fashion Vendetta Collection

Teeez Fashion Vendetta Collection
Since European makeup company Teeez launched in Canada, I’ve really wanted to try their products. The extremely fashionable company does things a little differently when it comes to their collections. Each one has a theme and from what I can tell, none of the products cross over. We had a chance to try out a few things from their Fashion Vendetta line; the To Die For eyeshadow quad in Cinnamon Revolution and two of the Serial lip stains, in Radical and Faux Pas.
Teeez To Die For Quad
The inside of the eyeshadow quad has a lot of shiny, mirror parts, which made photographing it really difficult. But it’s set up like pretty much every other quad I’ve used. Two lighter shades on top and darker ones on the bottom. Cinnamon Revolution’s shades are pretty much exactly what you’d expect. All neutral, they range from a light pearl to a deep brown.
Teeez Serial Lip Stains
There are five other quads to choose from in the collection and this one is probably the best one for a subtle day look. The shadows themselves are pretty good. I had zero fallout to deal with and the darker shades are extremely pigmented. They blend pretty well and lasted all day on me without a primer. I also loved the darkest shade as a liner.
Teeez To Die For Cinnamon Revolution SwatchesThen came the lip stains. The word serial makes me think of things that go on for a while and honestly, these stains last forever. Radical is a really pretty red and Faux Pas is a chocolate brown. There are six other shades to choose from but I’m really happy I got these two although I’m eyeing a couple more.
Teeez Serial Lip Stain Radical & Faux Pas Swatches
When people complain about liquid lipstick not drying fast enough or coming off too quickly, they clearly haven’t tried Serial. These dry in seconds, you’ll want to keep your mouth open for a bit because they gets sticky before they’re completely dry, but once they’re dry, they’re not budging. Like, at all. It takes me forever to get these off my lips. Teeez calls it ‘an indelible film that feels like a second skin on your lips,’ and they’re partly right. If you use a lip balm before you apply, the dryness isn’t bad and it feels like nothing. If you don’t add a balm, your lips will feel like every ounce of moisture has been pulled out of your face. I do love these though, the matte finish is gorgeous and I’ve never had to reapply. I just wish they weren’t so drying and I could get a more precise line with the brush.

The other products in the Fashion Vendetta collection are a highlighter, two different kinds of lipsticks and a couple mascaras. I can’t wait to try more makeup from Teeez and I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve used so far.

2016 Most Wanted: Alyssa’s Picks

2016 didn’t have me branching out a lot makeup wise. I found some favourites and stuck with them and found some new loves along the way.

Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Oil-Free Oxygenating Gel Cream
Philosophy-Take-A-Deep-Breath Oil-free oxygenating gel cream

Finding a good moisturizer that works on my combination skin can be a bit difficult and I was hooked on this one the first time I tried it. It balances out my oily and dry areas and keeps my skin really soft. I’ve taken the travel size with me on vacation and it works for me every season except winter, when I need to reach for something a little stronger. This is quite possibly my favourite launch of the year.

Clinique Super City BB Cushion Compact
Clinique Super City BB Cushion Compact
I don’t wear a lot of foundation and when I do, I’m really picky. I’m really pale so I have a hard time finding foundations light enough for my skin tone that also work with my combination skin. This little cushion is amazing. I can build up to whatever coverage I want, don’t have to use my fingers or a brush and I can take it with me anywhere. I recently cleaned out my foundation drawer and this was pretty much the only one I kept. Clinique is a frequent addition to my Most Wanted lists and there’s clearly a reason for that.

MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Chili
MAC Chili
Last year I went on a hunt for my perfect red lipstick and I finally found it in MAC’s Chili. It’s not a true red, more of a brown-orange brick red but with my complexion, it’s absolutely perfect. The fact that it’s matte is an added bonus and when I thought I had lost it, I replaced it, found the original one and now both my bathroom and purse have one so I can always have it with me.

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in Rock Chick
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette The Rock Chick

I don’t think there’s a Charlotte Tilbury product I haven’t loved. But there’s something special about the Luxury Palettes. I have three and any one of them could be on my list but Rock Chick is the one I really wanted and bought. The grey-toned shades are great with my blue eyes and my go-to night time smokey look. The combination of both powder and cream shadows in one palette is such a great idea and I have a feeling I’ll end up with all the Luxury Palettes by the time I’m done.

Clarisonic Aria Mia 3
Clarisonic Aria Mia 3

I’ve tried a lot of facial cleansing products over the years, but somehow, never a Clarisonic. I honestly don’t know how I ever lived without it. I don’t use it every day but when my skin feels icky or dried out or just not clean, I use my Aria and my skin ends up feeling amazingly clean but not irritated. I’m still playing around with different brushes but I’ve been pretty happy with the couple I’ve tried.

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade Quickie Review

anastasia-dipbrow-pomade

Have you ever feared that it was so hot you would lose your eyebrows? If yes, then this is the investment that you need. I am not Anastasia’s audience for this product. I might use a little touch up for my brows sometimes, but nothing serious. Anastasia’s  Dipbrow Pomade is serious brow colour! This cream comes in a variety of colours to match your brows. It helps to really define, sculpt and create the perfect brows that aren’t going anywhere. On me, it looked crazy. But the waterproof formula can give those in need what they are looking for.

Winter Hair Most Wanted

These winter hair most wanted products will help you say goodbye to frizz, get smoother hair and manage those locks this winter.

l-oreal-professionnel-mythic-oil-shampoo

L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil Hair Collection – You’ve probably already tried, or at least heard of, the original Mythic Oil for hair. I didn’t know that there was a whole line of Mythic Oil products just waiting for my hair. I tried the Shampoo, Masque and Oil Detangling Spray all with the same Mythic Oil care for my locks. I found the whole collection very soft and moisturizing on my hair. After using the collection my hair looked because and was really easy to manage.

pureology-style-care-smooth-perfection-infusion

Pureology Style & Care Smooth Perfection Infusion – Lately I haven’t had great luck with pre-blow dry frizz products. It took my a long time to dare to use this product. I love that it’s a gel and cream combo – a styler and a leave-in conditioner. I think it’s that combination that helped it work to keep my hair looking great for longer. I did find that it made me have to wash my hair sooner than usual, because it got greasy faster. But that said it was great from wash to wash.

redken-pillow-proof-blow-dry-collection

Redken Pillow Proof Blow-Dry Collection – Redken wants to help keep your blow out for a few days longer with their new Pillow Proof collection. I tried the combo of the Express Treatment Primer and the Two Day Extender Dry Shampoo. The primer was supposed to help your hair blow dry faster than usual. I’m not entirely sure that it worked, because I don’t blow dry my hair enough to know the regular amount of time. But my hair did feel and look great afterwards, so I will call that a win. The dry shampoo is your average dry shampoo. It left my hair looking good for at least two more days. It’s also nice and cool and smells good! Bonus!

pantene-pro-v-intense-repair-collection

Pantene Pro-V Intense Repair Collection – I don’t really think that my hair is damaged, but you can never protect your hair too much can you? It smells and feels like something that you would get in a salon. It’s luxurious feeling and leaves your hair very soft. I don’t know about the damage, but I definitely have less frizz and more silky hair that i don’t have to throw in a ponytail to hide. It will be perfect for protecting my hair from those sub-zero temperatures.

invisibobble-hair-ring

Invisibobble Hair Ring – These little spiral hair ties have an interesting back story. They were inspired by phone cords, back in the day when people had home phones. They are meant to give you less headaches, stop that annoying hair crimp and be simple to use. I find them a bit clunky, but they are definitely softer on my hair. They don’t feel like they are hold my hair so tight it hurts. I kept thinking that they were falling out. It’s a weird feeling to get used to, but you just have to trust the Invisibobble. It could change your ponytails forever.

Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes Quickie Review

pinkgrapefruit_cleansing_towelettes

I have loved a lot of face cleansers in my time, but none as much as these from Burt’s Bees. The grapefruit scent is so refreshing. My face feels just as clean as if I had used a regular face wash. Since it’s for normal to oily skin, it leaves my face feeling nice and dry. There is no residue or moisture leftover to clog my pores. My face is just dry and clean. The cleanser can’t stand up to strong waterproof makup, but it will remove any normal makeup and dirt from your average day.