Friday, 24 June 2011

Product Review: Lorac Tantalizer Body Bronzing Makeup

This review is going to be fawning over Tantalizer like 13 year old girls fawn over Justin Bieber, so bear with me please. I've been using Tantalizer for years now and I have my best friend to thank for introducing me to it. Though I loved the idea of a body bronzer (more tan AND coverage of flaws, sign me up) I had negative initial experiences with products like Nars Body Glow and the Scott Barnes one that he apparently uses on J-Lo (in general I tend to obsessively try to look like that woman, so it's easy to sell me something if I believe I will achieve her look). Basically all the body bronzers I had tried before tantalizer were basically body lotion with color, and wound up transfering to all my clothes, leading my perfect applications to look streaky and my clothes to look muddy.

One particular day, my best friend had insisted on going out and I tried to back out due to not being tan enough (I had been testing a gradual self tan product). Mind you in my books, it really is a valid excuse not to leave the house if I'm looking too pale, such is the extent of my tanorexia. She didn't let me off that easy though, she gave me some of her tantalizer and I lamented that those products always sweat off. There it was, though I was skeptical at first, I perused the ingredients list and saw that the top few ingredients were of the blend and evaporate rather than the emollient type, so I decided to try. Let me tell you, after an entire night of dancing and sweating, my tan was still perfect. This stuff is nearly waterproof, although stepping in the shower, yes, does remove it. The texture is super thin, silky and blendable, and within a few minutes of application it's dry and you're ready to be dressed. There is a strong scent of vanilla (and it does slightly sting the skin on my legs if I've just shaved, but that's worth it) which is generally a well liked scent, but there are a lot of girls that aren't fans so by all means consider that prior to purchasing.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Product Review: Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil Treatment

Well, the day had to come: After years of thoroughly understanding cosmetic ingredients and avoiding wasting money, I found myself duped by a product's marketing. A recent post on another Canadian beauty blog prompted me to respond with my personal experience using this product, which got me thinking if I should post something more detailed on here. To clarify, I barely ever read cosmetic claims or reviews anymore, because I've amassed and memorized so much knowledge about the multitude of ingredients usually found in products that I can usually deduce how a product will perform just by skimming over the ingredient list (the amount of money, time, frustration and skin irritation this has saved me, I could never quantify).

So I guess I thought myself invincible, that no cosmetic company trickery could possibly get past my razor sharp "BS detection skillz". But my how the mighty fall.....

On a recent expedition to stock up on products, I took a quick look at the Live Clean Argain Oil treatment, which billed itself as a silicone free and lower priced version of Moroccan Oil. After a momentary perusal of the top few ingredients and mild shock at how low the price was (approx. 12~ CDN), in my basket it went. Should have known it was too good to be true.... Pure Argan Oil is incredibly expensive, and had Live Clean actually included the amount that it seems like they included, they would likely barely profit on each unit sold. One thing that is absolutely unheard of in the cosmetics industry is low returns on ingredient costs. They will find a way to do it cheap and sell it for more if their life depends on it.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Product Review: Lubriderm Advanced Moisture Therapy Body Lotion with AHA

I know I've mentioned this before, but my skin leaves me no choice: it demands attention on a daily basis. Not only am I an absolutely undeniable self tanner addict, but my skin also hyper-reproduces itself, so I start to get a new layer within days. If only, if only that was as great as it sounds, but the process of getting the new layer is troublesome to say the least. My skin sticks to itself very well too, which was the impetus for a lifelong addiction to exfoliation on top of self tanner, hair products, get the point. On the portions which rub together while I exist, such as inner elbow and knees, cleavage, armpits and inner thighs, the skin simply sloughs itself off and shows nice new skin every few days. The rest, if God forbid a nuclear holocaust occured and I neglected to exfoliate, would feel like dry-patchy-are-you-1/4lizard skin (and during my acne prone days, all that unexfoliated and exfoliated skin would be breaking out. head. to. toe.). 

Needless to say, my skin is demanding finicky and picky (did I mention how sensitive it was too? Quite!). Raise your hands, how many people can say they've been using AHA's since the age of 12?...I thought so. Early on I learned that you can get great AHA products from the drugstore if you know how to a) troll makeup alley for hours upon hours looking for reviews or b) read ingredient lists.

So even though I have a never ending obsession with body scrubs and loofahs (one of the only ways to get instant results in skin care, and for the impatient, a miracle), I've also gona through my fair share of AHA body lotions. Which brings me to the subject of this particular post. My all time favorite (so far) cheapie AHA body lotion. There are things I tend to adore in body lotions: Pump packaging, bulk sizes available, high glycerin content, a light film left on the skin, fragrance free or low fragrance.....this Lubriderm one has all of those plus an effective Alpha Hydroxy content and pH.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Product Review: MAC Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balm in Pink Tinge

Isn't it almost a job prerequisite for a beauty blogger to be obsessed with MAC? Yes, yes, I fit that stereotype too. I don't quite worship at the altar like many, but if its any indicator of how much I spend there, I finished makeup school exclusively in order to be able to get the 40% discount at the Pro Stores.....

Nevermind my personal spendiness issues, I'm here to tell you about the Suntints. As many other reviewers have noted, these lip balms are extremely sticky (stickier and thicker than lipglasses, so that's really saying something) and contain almost no pigment. I mean barely anything. They do however provide three benefits which in my mind outshine all of that:
  1. An SPF of 20, with UVA protection. I have searched high and low and have only found a handful of lip products with adequate UVA protection and believe me it's important. If you worry about thinning of lips, vertical lines, freckles, overall pigment darkening (or God forbid, skin cancer on one of the most sun sensitive spots on the body) and you aren't applying and constantly reapplying UVB and UVA protective products on a constant basis, you are shortchanging yourself. Those pesky UVA rays cause the majority of the trouble and as we all know, prevention is always better than correction.
  2. A long lasting formulation: The ingredient breakdown will contain more details on the specific agents which create the semi-waterproof almost shellac-like texture of these balms. So not only does the product stay on the lips even after ingestion of some food/drink, but that means that your sunscreen isn't rubbing away either. In addition, it means that less moisture evaporates from the lip and for those of us with insane lip balm addictions, well we all know what that means.
  3. High wattage shine: I am a lover of pigment, so I prefer to put on traditional cream lipsticks and then top them with this for that "porn-pout" look, which some of us against all sanity continue to love. I find it also helps lock in lipstick color, so there's less reapplication of that too.
If it isn't abundantly obvious by now, I will be buying more. To be incredibly honest, I'll probably just buy the other shades for fun, but my natural lip color is so intensely pigmented that the three colors show absolutely no difference. If you have the same issue, don't worry about choosing a shade, they're all ok.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Product Review: Victoria's Secret Instant Self Tan Lotion

Full disclosure: I am an absolute self tanner junkie. I mean obscenelyjunkie. The more tan I am, the better I feel about myself and though I've completely boycotted tanning beds and the sun for 3 years, my tanorexia has still proven incurable. Now there are a lot of girls that like to add a little color, and have a few tubes of things in their bathroom. My impetus for shilling for the Victoria's Secret Instant Self Tan Lotion with tint is that I like many practicing tanorexics would give almost anything to get that VS Angel Glow. So even though I try to resist marketing, I was weak in the knees for the idea of using the products they use.

I run a constant rotation of about 5-10 different products at a time, often buying two tubes of my favorites when they're on sale. My skin exfoliates itself at an extremely rapid rate, to all those who constantly scrub and AHA in order to increase their skin cell turnover, that might seem like an epic miracle to be faced with, but to someone who insists on being tan at all times, it's an epic hassle. I usually get a new layer every 4-5 days, instead of the 28 day average. Therefore my tan doesn't gradually fade into oblivion, it comes off in rough, thick patches that make it look like I have vitiligo, so I am constantly obsessing about my skin. See self tanner reacts with proteins present in our skin to change the color of the upper layers only, leading to it fading as soon as new skin comes in. Most people see a tan fade within a week to two weeks, that's how long it takes to see a visible new layer of skin reaching the top. If I don't exfoliate and reapply my self tanner every single day, I start to get the patches by the next morning and within days they're obscenely noticeable.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Product Review: Moroccan Oil, Original oil treatment

I tried Moroccan Oil years ago, when the buzz initially began, because I'm usually the first to get on any hair smoothing bandwagon. Over the years as all the beauty bloggers and youtube gurus began to get more popular and become more of a "thing", so did many of the brands that relied on them for supposed grassroots marketing. What seemed like a beautiful thing: a beauty addicted girl sharing her likes, dislikes and tips with the world, in order to help everyone else choose more wisely - quickly became no different from getting beauty tips from Vogue.

I've toyed with the idea of starting a blog which centred on product reviews not sponsored by anyone, but figured the market was overcrowded and I wouldn't want to get drowned in a sea of voices. But the idea wouldn't leave my head so here I am. I'm going to review one of the products that almost every single beauty blog has reviewed, but I'll do it my way: sharing my knowledge of the science behind the product formulations and how they interact with our hair and skin.

1. Cyclomethicone - clear odorless silicone, it serves as a carrier for other oils onto surfaces and quickly evaporates after application. This is part of why a lot of people report that Moroccan oil feels light. There's an incredibly high concentration of cyclomethicone, so the initial heaviness evaporates while a lot of the moisture stays.
2. Dimethicone - this is the one that actually stays on the hair, due to a much lower volatility than cyclomethicone. the reason dimethicone has revolutionized haircare (and skincare) is that it provides a smooth, glossy coating which helps temporarily mask raised cuticles and split ends, while preventing moisture from inside the strand from evaporating while simultaneously preventing gaseous atmospheric moisture (humidity) from entering the hair shaft; the anti-frizz properties are incredible and due to the smoothing of the cuticle layer, hair is also easier to comb, leading to less mechanical damage and split ends. most miraculously, and for reasons not fully understood yet, dimethicone speeds drying time of hair, which means less heat damage while it also insulates the inner cortex from overheating. this is why its found in almost every hair product on the market, including moroccan oil, the incredible effectiveness.