Friday, November 30, 2012

Sample Month Day 30

I celebrate the end of Sample Month by giving you some Bill and Ted...

Source

... and nothing more!

Well, I meant to have one last sample review but it didn't happen for various reasons. I have a very long couple of days ahead of me and have been operating on very little or poor quality of sleep. After some long overdue self-pampering this evening, I'm feeling really sleepy and decided to take advantage of it by retiring early instead of wracking my brain for a post.

We made it to December, you guys! (Suck it, November.) I have a lot of things to talk about in the coming month, but posts will reduce in frequency to 2-4 a week and posted spontaneously when time allows. Sample Month was a nice experiment and I didn't go through as many as I wanted to, but it did give me something to work with during a busy and boring month. As Bill and Ted would say,

"EXCELLENT!"


Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sample Month Day 29: Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder

Tatcha has been garnering a bit of attention among beauty bloggers lately, so I was thrilled when Mary gave me some of their famous Rice Enzyme Powder samples. This one is the Classic version, and it's the only one I've tried so I can't tell you the difference between this, the Gentle and the Deep. Yep, this review is off to a great start...


I couldn't hold the fine white powdery substance in wet hands AND hold a camera at the same time, so no demo pictures for you - but I will try with the next one! In any case, picture something that looks a lot like the MUFE HD Powder and imagine rubbing that into your wet face with wet hands. It becomes a white paste that you rub gently over your face for a very mild exfoliation experience with zero irritation.

Unfortunately with my Hulk-like tendencies, I splashed too much water into the mixture and the paste became super runny. It didn't feel like I was exfoliating at all, but by the time I rinsed and dried, my face felt soft and smooth and I could see why this product was sending people into delighted frenzy. I've been giving the Clarisonic Mia a break and using this to gently exfoliate while washing your face at the same time is kind of a winning combination.


For more info on the brand and on the product (because this was kind of a crap review), see Dovey and Xiao's posts on Tatcha and go lemming your heart out.

Sample received as gift. (Thanks, Mary!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sample Month Day 28: Shiseido Hydro Nourishing Softener

Or, alternately called The Skincare Hydro-Balancing Softener.

What is a "softener", anyway? You'll notice that it's always included in an Asian skin care kit/regimen as a mandatory middle step. It's sort of what we North Americans refer to generally as toner. But I always feel that the Asians mean for it to act as a pre-step to moisturizing, not to "balance" the skin to accept moisture better, but rather to pre-moisturize for additional moisturizing. It's essentially a sort of a liquid moisturizer, which is why they sometimes call it a "lotion" as well. I could be wrong about all this, but there's a Korean phrase that's always flouted when it comes to skin care ("chok chok") and it indicates dewiness and moisture.


Well, I'm an abomination and a disgrace when it comes to the chok-chok level of my skin, because I rarely moisturize properly if at all. Like the day I tested this "softener" - I simply used it as a moisturizer and skipped a heavier lotion/cream completely, except for the small areas around my eyes and mouth. The instruction says to use a cotton pad to gently wipe over face as you would a regular toner, but I just slapped half the content of the sachet over my face and let it soak it in.


And I must say that the result wasn't bad at all. I wouldn't recommend that others do as I do, unless you are extremely oily like I am and don't care about wrinkles and things. It's winter now and this isn't anywhere near enough for a regular face when it comes to moisture level. But my face felt smooth and plump and didn't break out or react badly to it.

Still, I am not spending CAD$36 on a softener. If I am to use a middle step routine to eliminate further moisturizing, I would go for a more effective treatment/serum instead. I would so love to be that woman who can cleanse, tone, pre-treat, serumize, moisturize, balm and drift off into a rich, deep sleep... but my face would turn into a giant pimple by morning and nobody needs that.

Sample received as gift. (Thanks, Mary!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sample Month Day 27: Shiseido Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam

A long time ago, I watched an older girl wash her face with extreme diligence and care, and she happened to have been using Shiseido at the time. It reminded me a lot of those old Noxzema commercials in which girls look really, really happy washing and splashing at the sink. Face-washing was never that sort of ritual for me until recently when I decided to go makeup-free on do-nothing days. After trying this cleanser, I can see why I was reminded of those things. When they call this a cleansing foam, they're not kidding. It's really, really FOAMY.


I'm not one to go crazy about foam in cleansers, but they really do give you the illusion that something exciting and wonderful is happening to the face. I've tried Shiseido in the past but only the Pureness line for the oily/acne-prone skin. I remember this cleanser and series being really popular with some girls claiming they would only use this and nothing else. Personally, I don't find it to be as gentle as it claims, because the result is a very squeaky clean skin that feels a little too squeaky for my liking -- but it sets you up for the rest of the products in the range which includes a softening emulsion and moisturizer. The scent is that generic, unoffensive and rather appealing "fresh" type that the East Asians have become masters at.

Personally, I don't feel the need to dish out USD$30.50/CAD$38 for it, but there are those who swear by it. For that price, I'd rather go back to Philosophy Purity which acts as an excellent makeup remover and an extra gentle face cleanser.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, PEG 6, PEG 32, Lauric Acid, Polyethylene, Potassium Hydroxide, Sorbitol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, PEG 60 Glyceryl Isostearate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance (Parfum), Disodium EDTA, Citronellol, Linalool, Trehalose, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol

Sample received as gift. (Thanks, Mary!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sample Month Day 26: LORAC Behind The Scenes Eye Primer

I'll just admit right now that I don't know THAT much about eye primers. Face primers, yes. Eye primers, no. Eyeliners that don't run on hooded eyes, yes. Eyelining techniques, no. And so on. We all have our little niches, don't we?


It so turns out that I was in the market for an eye primer when I made an online Sephora order for the LORAC PRO Palette (CAD$55). I wanted a neutral eye palette with a little more variety than theBalm Nude 'tude without falling back into the black hole of Urban Decay Nakeds. I'm very pleased with the LORAC Pro Palette so far and just as pleased with the cute little primer sample.


I think for an item like an eye primer, you want something fuss-free and ready to swipe and go. Minutes spent labouring should be done over the shadow application, not the priming, right? (Assuming that we generally take good care of our skin, moisturizing properly, and so on.) I find the tube packaging to be the perfect fit for that. Open, squeeze and dab. No silly bent wands or massive doe foots drizzling product on your vanity.

The texture of the primer is similar to the Urban Decay primer: slightly thick and instantly smoothing. Not as thick as MAC Paint Pots and not as runny as Benefit Stay Don't Stray or Essence I <3 Stage (review forthcoming).


The shade is much paler than my NC30ish skin but eventually blends out to an invisible finish.



As for its performance, I'm quite happy with it. Like all primers should do, it enhances the pigmentation of the eye shadow and increases longevity of wear. I'd say the LORAC Behind The Scenes Eye Primer is on par with all the middle range brands. Personally, I feel that LORAC is a solid brand that produces good quality products. It was taken out of the Toronto Sephoras a while back and I miss seeing it around. I suppose this PRO Palette purchase was a sort of one last LORAC hurrah for me.

The regular size stands at 14 ml / 0.47 oz for CAD$27. To me that's quite pricey for an eye primer, and many claim that the NARS primer is the best, which is similarly priced. (I don't know - still haven't tried that yet.) I couldn't resist springing for a cheap drugstore eye primer to see if I can skirt my way around that particular expense in the future, so we'll see if expensive eye primers are worth shelling out for. In offline life, I don't even know people who use eye primers who aren't MUAs or in the industry. Granted, most of them do a crap job on their eye shadow application, but I don't really see it interfering with their lives, ya know? As for me, I get compliments all the time on my good taste in nail polish and that sort of thing, but this winter I'm working two jobs and doing my best to keep from exploding into a million pieces until 2013. If a good shadow primer will help keep me keep my shit together, that's what's going to happen. Makeup is literally glue at this point. (Remember that and forgive me when I finally showcase my out of control November haul later on!)

Purchased from Sephora online.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sample Month Day 25: Break

This is where I've run out of time to try new samples and out of energy to post an actual review. Maybe I can squeeze in a double decker post to make up for it later. For now, let's talk about ice cream.

Did you know there were THIS MANY Haagen Dazs flavours?


And did you know that the ones with red squares are the flavours I've tried, the yellow stars are the flavours I would love to try, and the black arrows are the flavours I detest?


Another one that I love is the Bailey's Irish Cream flavour, which wasn't featured on the website for some reason.

God, I'm tired. What's everyone up to this weekend?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sample Month Day 24: Borghese Tono Body Lotion

For the longest time, Borghese to me was just a nail polish line that went sadly ignored in Shoppers Drug Mart. It wasn't until I received a lovely package from Portugal last spring that I realized they were more than nail polish. Body lotion? International? Why was I not aware of this earlier??


I had my doubts at first, as the lotion seemed very watery and I prefer thicker creams and butters. Since I was out of hand cream at the time of its arrival, I've been carrying it around and using it as a hand cream. And I actually really like it!


The runny, milky texture absorbs nicely into the skin with minimal effort, and the dominant lavender scent is something I find very soothing and comforting as of late, despite not being a big lavender fan to begin with. The skin feels soft and hydrated without feeling greasy or smothered.

After taking a look at the Borghese website, I'm interested to see that there's a body cream version of this. The prices are much higher than what I thought they would be, which leads me to believe that the brand was either very popular at one time or is currently popular in an area outside North America. I'd be interested to hear about your experience with Borghese if you have any. I don't see it carried in Shoppers as much now, but I have noticed it occupying a new section in Sears. It requires some investigation the next time I walk by the area.

I don't have an ingredient list for this, but the website FAQ states that Borghese products are not tested on animals, which is always a plus.

Received as gift.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sample Month Day 23: Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple

Honestly, I don't mean to be a perpetual naysayer and party pooper, but today I give you reasons why I will never purchase another Revlon Lip Butter again.


The idea behind this product is that it's a balm that deposits shiny colour, ranging from sheer at one swipe to almost full opacity with multiple layers. I broke my lippies ban last year and bought three on sale: Candy Apple (displayed), Tutti Frutti and Sugar Plum (sent to lovely Amy because it's her fave and I didn't like the colour on me).

Initially, I loved how Candy Apple paved the way for me to finally wear opaque red lips, which I was scared of for the longest time. Although I didn't really find it to be as deeply moisturizing as sometimes it was made out to be, the soft, balmy texture worked well with my dry lips that are prone to peeling (and subsequently picking as a way of stress relief).

THEN THIS HAPPENED.


The slanted part of the tube and the lipstick failed to align, leading to TERROR, DEVASTATION AND CONFUSION.

Undaunted, I tried to go on using it. But it smashed itself up inside the tube, outside it, over it, and finally refused to wind back down. Lately I am having some very long and tiring days on less than five hours of sleep. I needed this to perk up a wan and fatigued face. Terrible were the afternoons when I couldn't get my red lips fix.

And now this is the only face I'm making when it comes to these Revlon Lip Butters.


Yeah, some of you have tweeted me that this hasn't happened to your tubes. Others have said theirs was not all that, either. Since Tutti Frutti is showing the same disturbing symptoms as Candy Apple, I'm inclined to believe that the Lip Butters are prone to this deviant behaviour. No matter how good a product is, I won't put up with packaging flaws. And these Lip Butters were supposed to be easy to tote and reapply. There's no way I'm going to go through the trouble of depotting this and trying to use it up that way. TO THE EMPTIES - BE GONE.

Sigh. I'm sad. :-(

Purchased at Rexall.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sample Month Day 22: Becca Resurfacing Primer

Sample Month is rapidly turning into "What Liz hauled in November" series, but nonetheless, you get a concise review on a new product out of it, so we're good, right? (How many frickin' commas did I use in that sentence???)

I ran out of my beloved Hourglass Veil Mineral and decided to be brave and try a new primer. Sephora was offering a pretty sweet gift with a purchase online, so I made my first online Sephora purchase at last. Reason for buying this? Becca is a brand that I never see in the stores, the Resurfacing Primer has decent reviews, and it costs CAD$48 instead of Hourglass's CAD$60.


The Claim: "This invisible primer creates an instant 'resurfacing effect' on the skin, visibly smoothing open pores and fine lines for a flawlessly even finish. Applied underneath foundation, the velvety-matt formulation helps to control shine and create a refined base for make-up that will last all day."


I find the 40 ml tube to be a good size. Definitely finishable (yep, that's a real word around here) and a good size for toting around also if you absolutely must. It's sealed under the cap for additional protection of product, which I always appreciate.

The product is a strange texture that feels immediately velvety and matte without feeling drying or overly silicon-y. I like this a lot better than all the other primers I've been testing out so far, with the exception of Hourglass products. It spreads nicely over skin without a problem, even over slightly dry areas.



I expected the primer to feel or look chalky on the skin but it doesn't. It creates a soft and smooth canvas for the foundation, and I've worn it under both the By Terry liquid foundation and the SilkyGirl BB Powder Foundation. It performs equally well under both, keeping the shine at bay from my nose for about 3-4 hours, which is pretty good for a mattifying primer. All others aside from Hourglass are shiny within an hour. I'm guessing that this should keep the normal skin types shine-free all day long!

It's a very decent primer and I like it a lot. I think it should be fine for me all throughout winter so long as I keep my skin properly balanced and not completely dehydrated. But it feels pretty gentle, so I'm not really worried that its performance will change with the weather/climate. However, I need to finish using it by spring/summer so that I can go back to Hourglass Veil Mineral.

Ingredients:

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Hydrogenated Didecene, Tribehenin, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Glycerin, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Phenoxyethanol, Tropolone, Butylene Glycole, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Silica, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Disodium EDTA, Retinyl Pamitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Oleanolic Acid.C1268

Purchased from Sephora online.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sample Month Day 21: Sephora by OPI Only Gold For Me

As promised, here's the dead-on dupe for Deborah Lippmann's Cleopatra In New York.


Lay down a base of any black nail polish. The one I happen to have is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out, which goes for about CAD$2-5 at drugstores. Then layer a glittery gold top coat such as Sephora by OPI Only Gold For Me (CAD$12). The glitters are different sizes, just like Cleopatra, so the effect will be completely the same by the end. Forgive the lack of pictures as I'm experiencing some technical difficulties tonight. Once that's sorted, I'll update the post with more pictures to prove this claim.

[Edited to add this link to an ancient post from this blog displaying the effects of Only Gold For Me layered over a dark burgundy shade.]

[Edited to add photo]


I actually prefer using a black polish + Only Gold For Me over Cleopatra because you end up having to lay down a base of black polish before applying Cleopatra for opacity anyway. And of course, the money-saving factor only works if you have a black polish and gold coat to begin with... which I totally did and now makes Cleopatra merely a pretty vanity piece to stand among my Lippmann collection.

All products were purchased by me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sample Month Day 20: Deborah Lippmann Cleopatra In New York

There's a new flashy polish in town and her name is Cleopatra In New York. I love it when the name matches the shade perfectly.




I purchased this during a promotion at Holt Renfrew and got back 15% of that day's total beauty purchase in the form of a gift card. I had been circling the Lippmann counter for weeks after seeing the shade emerge on the Lippmann website, intrigued by the masterful mix of glitter swirling in an inky base. When I finally spotted it, I may or may not have let out a yelp of joy.

The following are pictures of one layer of Cleopatra over one layer of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Black Out. (As usual, base coat is Essie Protein and top coat is OPI RapiDry.) These pictures were also taken after seven days of straight wear and you'll notice there are very few signs of wear and tear.




I really like the result of Cleopatra, but it's not a must-have, which is crushing since it cost CAD$22. In my next post, I'll demonstrate the exact same results with different (and cheaper) products. But boy, is she pretty in the bottle or what? If you must have it, it's now available at Holt Renfrew and Nail Polish Canada.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sample Month Day 19: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

It's the lauded favourite of many. I finished using a travel size of it and liked it so much that when I received an offer to get 15% off at a local store event, I practically ran there during a lunch hour. At CAD$30, can it be justified?


According to L'Occitane:

Enriched with 20% Shea Butter, this hand cream penetrates quickly to protect, nourish and moisturize* your hands. Rapidly absorbed with no oily traces, this hand cream doesn't need to be reapplied even after frequent hand washing. The minimal scent makes it suitable for men and women. Invites even the most hard-working hands to a fresh beginning!


The cream is very thick and initially feels greasy, but that's how I prefer my hand creams. I spend long minutes massaging them into the skin and around the cuticles, which is about the only cuticle care I give to my poor nails. As far as hand creams go, this is my current favourite. In the past I have been satisfied with using thick body butters instead, but I happen to be out of that sort of product at the moment. My skin absorbs the cream well with just a touch of slickness on the surface, which does protect the hand from a light brush with water at the kitchen sink. 


My favourite part about this hand cream is the scent. It's the scent that I wanted Cake Milk Made to smell like. Fresh and clean without being citrusy or soapy; milky and creamy without being sweet or powdery. It just stops short of smelling like Johnson's baby products (which I actually kind of enjoy sometimes) and imparts a sense of richness and decadence as an overall experience.

Whether the price is worth it is debatable. I consider it a winter indulgence and some will consider it an all-year necessity. It hasn't even snowed yet but I'm heading into a rather rough winter. It's kind of silly, but little things like a nice hand cream helps lull me into a false sense of security and ease now and then. I need to hang on to those moments, because right now, whatever helps wins the day. So this hand cream? It's full of win.

Ingredients:  Water**, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)**, Glycerin**, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol**, Glyceryl Stearate**, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract**, Mel Extract/Honey Extract**, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract**, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract**, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil**, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols**, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract**, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil**, Xanthan Gum**, Parfum/Fragrance, Polyacrylamide, Peg-100 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ceteareth-33, Alcohol Denat**, Laureth-7, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Linalool, Citronellol**, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Coumarin, Alpha, Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene**, Geraniol. 

**Natural origin ingredients

Purchased at L'Occitane.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sample Month Day 18: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

After hearing Mary and Denise rave about the wonders of this "magical" soap, I was moved enough to haul FIVE bottles of it. One is for me to try, four are to give out as Xmas gifts. The one I have for you here is the Citrus Orange scented soap.


You look at this bottle and it has every tag available on it. Fair Trade! Organic! Biodegradable! Vegetable based! No synthetic foaming agents! Bottle made from recycled matter! There's also additional hokey words all over the sides of the bottle about pseudo-religious stuff which totally turns me off, but it's the product that we're here to discuss.

The idea of this concentrated liquid soap is that it's all-purpose. You can dilute it with water for face, body, hair, laundry, dishes -- you name it.

*Ingredients: Aqua, Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Lime Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

(*Scientific names listed on the bottle - I shortened it to simple names.)

Click here for a PDF of the label. I'm not going to link to the website or anything like that because I find Dr. Bronner to be kind of creepy looking and sounding, but I have to admit that this all-purpose liquid soap is working out for me. The only problem was I needed a bottle to dilute with. So I went to Winners where you can find all sorts of strange stuff. And... tada! 


It kind of looks like a genie's bottle, which is rather appropriate for a "magic" soap. First, I tried using 1/2 soap + 1/2 water to use as facial cleanser. The mixture bubbles up right away when you shake it, but the liquid content was still quite slick on the fingers and face -- so I added a bit more tap water in my hands to wash my face. It rinses away super cleanly and squeaky clean -- but not in a harsh and uncomfortable way. The lemon scent is a bit too much like a surface cleaner for me to get totally on board with, but it can also smell refreshing and uplifting. (I also have trouble drinking limoncello because of it.)

Tonight (as I'm typing this), I tried using it as shampoo and all-over body wash. Remembering my dilemma with the water content the first time, I tried making the solution 1/3 soap + 2/3 water. It worked fine for the body but didn't lather enough for the hair. I ended up adding a bit of my regular shampoo to finish off the hair. I think the 1/2 soap + 1/2 water formula was the right amount to use as shampoo. As for the body, I was too tired to apply moisturizer, but it's not as dry as it normally is and almost feels rather soft and silky.

Some more experimentation and continual usage is required for a definitive statement on it, but for now, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap is getting a tentative thumbs up from me.

Purchased from American Apparel at 30% off regular price.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sample Month Day 17: Lancome LA BASE Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer

I really dislike one-time use sachets. Usually there's enough product sealed in there for 2-5 uses but once it's unsealed, the rest will dry up or go bad or congeal and become useless. If I'm not impressed with the product, I swear from now on that these sachets get the toss after exactly one use.


Primers. I love 'em when they're done well. This one is just like any other out there. Smooth and silicon-y sort of feel, which can be nice depending on who you are and how much makeup you like to layer on as base. But ultimately, this one went shiny on me in a span of two hours, which counts as no good in my book. This one also caused my liquid foundation to pill when I was trying to do some spot concealing. Definitely not good.



The full size will set you back CAD$46. I think you can pick up any drugstore primer for equivalent performance for much less $$$. Me, I'm tempted yet again to pay the full CAD$60 for my beloved Hourglass Veil Mineral. So far nothing has compared. [I have nothing - nothing - nothiiiiiiiiiing! if I don't... have... yooooou....]

Sample with purchase from Sephora.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sample Month Day 16: Caudalie Divine Oil

Again, not really a "sample" - but whatever.

Thanks to the extremely talented Nav of Beauty Huile, my interest in body oils only grows with time. Because I still feel like I can't slather decadent moisturizers to my oil slick of a face, sometimes I indulge in what I can put on my body which is on the slightly dry side. I've been a fan of Caudalie for a while and have yet to come across a product of theirs that I don't like. When they came out with the Divine Oil, it went straight to my wish list without even a test.


According to the Sephora website:

What it does:
This multi-use miracle oil is ideal for hair, nails, bath, and massages. Divine Oil is a unique alchemy of four extremely fine and evanescent vegetable oils (60 percent of the formula). To ensure that the benefits are truly complete, Divine Oil also features patented antioxidant grape-seed polyphenols and fair trade shea butter.

A subtle fragrance that will make you swoon as it caresses your skin. For the signature note of the fragrance Jacques Cavallier chose the rose, both the Moroccan rose and the Bulgarian rose. A burst of grapefruit and sparkling spicy pink pepper add a freshness to the fragrance while cedar, vanilla, and white musk base notes offer warmth. The composition is modern and infinitely desirable.



First, there isn't anything I don't love about this product, from the bottle to the texture to the scent to the results. The one you see here is the largest size that is offered, which is CAD$48 for 3.4 oz / 100 ml. It was the VIB 20% discount that gave me the push. I felt indulgent just thinking about it and ignored the option of a tiny 1 oz bottle for CAD$18. I also ignored the Divine Oil Set, which contains a 1.7 oz bottle of the oil plus a candle and a body scrub. My focus was on THE OIL.

All three sizes of the oil are packaged in a thick glass bottles with sturdy wooden caps and spray nozzles. It makes no difference to the quality of the product but I love its weightiness. It merely added to my irrational confidence in the oil.

On my first try, I used it as a post-shower body moisturizer at night. I woke up with silky skin, smelling decadently of warm floral that somehow reminded me of the MoroccanOil scent (which I loooove). On my second try, I was brave enough to test it on the face and was rewarded the morning after with plumped, moisturized and glowy skin. And on my third try (today), I used it on my hair which was left looking rather greasy unfortunately, but it's probably due to the concentration of the spray which doesn't produce a fine mist unless you can spray it from three arms' length away. Actually, the spray is a bit of a problem because while I was spraying my body with it on the first night, I missed a few times and some of the oil landed on the bathroom floor. My siblings complained about "Liz's fancy products" messing up the floor but I don't care because it's one of their turn to clean the damn washroom and they haven't done it for almost a month now. Ew.

Anyway, despite the greasy hair fail, I loved how whenever I got up from my desk at work, I got a whiff of the heady and delicious scent of this oil to the point that perfume didn't seem necessary. It's early on in the relationship but for now it seems like the beginning of a road that's leading to an empty and a repurchase.

Purchased from Sephora.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sample Month Day 15: Bath and Body Works French Baguette Candle

I said I would haul 4-8 of these but wimped out and got only 2 TO MY GREAT REGRET. The nearest B&BW is completely sold out of the 3-wicks and I am super upset. Apparently it's coming back in a repackaged form at some point, but the 200 sales associates in my face at the store today didn't know for sure and kept trying to get me to buy the little ones. Honestly, I try to be nice because I know they're just doing their jobs, but how can they "help" me when they can't answer any of my questions??????


When I first sniffed it at the store, I wasn't sure that it really translated to that heavenly freshly baked bread smell. Upon lighting it, I have to say that it definitely doesn't. However, it has a buttery-toasty scent that warms the air and I just love to burn it for hours while catching up on my escapist TV shows, tucked in bed in PJs with fluffy socks and a giant mug of Forever Nuts Tea. Here's the Reductionista Household assessment on French Baguette:

MOM: POPCORN THEATRE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!

BROTHER: Uhhhh... why does it smell like popcorn?

SISTER: Your popcorn candle! So cute!

(See why I need this blog? You people keep me sane.)


I did my best to be a trooper through October but November has been a particularly difficult month. This candle has been a big part of my stress relief process and I've already burned through one and a half candles. BELIEVE YOU ME, I WILL BE STOCKING UP... if I can find a store that still carries the 3-wicks. On that note, please excuse my absence in comments and the blogosphere in general for a while. I'm poor company lately and about to get 200% busier. The daily sample posts will continue because having a project is good for the distracted soul. It's either that or get drunk and cry every night. I think we all prefer the former. I never thought that I would say this, but thank goodness for Bath & Body Works and Davids Tea.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sample Month Day 14: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle

For years I heard a lot of good things about the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle but never could find it. When I found it at a Zellers near my house (now closed and to be reopened as a Target next year - YAY), I snatched it up with high hopes.


Hey guys, in case you weren't really clear on what this is, it's a deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep conditioner!


I don't know if it's because I'm completely exhausted as I'm typing this out, but suddenly every label on this product is downright hilarious. The diagram below makes the conditioner look like a mustard bottle.


I haven't come across many products with this sort of packaging, so I was slightly mystified upon trying to use it.

But it's pretty simple. All you have to do is turn it upright and squeeeeeeeeeeze. The product dispenses itself and I guess the idea is that you shouldn't have to screw around with caps on giant bottles while balancing precariously on wet tiles/tubs.


As for the product itself, it was just another regular conditioner for me. I left it on for longer than three minutes to really let it do its thing, but there was no discernible difference in texture or appearance. It only cost about CAD$3.99 so no one's crying over it, and it's certainly not a bad conditioner. It's just not the super duper deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep conditioner that they keep telling me that it is.

Product purchased at Zellers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sample Month Day 13: Benefit Bella Bamba Blush

Yep, it's another Benefit product. I began my Benefit journey with their adorable boxes of blushers as I'm sure many of you have. It all started with a salesgirl showing me Dandelion and Georgia Peach, both of which she said that I could work with. Since then, I've managed to snag Dallas and Coralista as well (I no longer have Dandelion or Georgia Peach). Bella Bamba was going to be the next purchase, but I got distracted and it never happened. When I saw the mini being offered as a 100 points perk at Sephora, I was ecstatic.


Bella Bamba is marketed as a "3D brightening pink face powder." The 3D bit is pretty silly since this is just another blush with a bit of shimmer. All blushes serve to add dimension to the face flattened by the coverage of foundations, powders and concealers.


As far as the pink shimmer is concerned, I liked it more than I thought I would. Its effect is rather subtle on the face. 


Ingredients: Talc, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Polyethylene, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dimethicone, Zinc Stearate, Magnesium Myristate, Fragrance (Parfum), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Aluminum Hydroxide (Ci 77002), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Boron Nitride, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Red 30 Lake (Ci 73360), Caprylyl Glycol, Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Tocopheryl Acetate, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Tin Oxide, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Limonene, Bht, Retinyl Palmitate, Carmine (Ci 75470). N° 05361/N.

I doubt I'd ever even finish this tiny sample. It's a sort of dream to hit pan on a blush though. If it's going to happen, it's gotta be on this, right? It's a perfect size to toss into a makeup bag for travel, but the flimsy plastic lid is going to tear eventually after multiple uses. At CAD$36, I doubt I'll buy the regular size, especially now that the boxes have been repackaged and are different size/shape from the ones I do own. Still, I can understand its appeal for those who like Benefit blushers and want to collect them all like Pokemon. I totally get it.

Sample from Sephora.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sample Month Day 12: Benefit Sun Beam

I used to be obsessed with Benefit Cosmetics and purchased almost everything they offered, back when the brand used to have a very simple lineup of products. I've moved on since those days, but I still can't resist their samples. Benefit releases a lot of mini-sized products in kits and collections, which I really like because you can test out a lot of their stuff without committing to giant bottles and compacts. I was provided with this sample for free, but it's not hard to get a hold of this in some kit or another.


Tiny sample but sealed for protection, which I really appreciate.


I expected a doe-foot applicator but it's a tiny brush. I'm not one to go crazy with highlighting, so I really like the teeny tiny brush because it would be damn near impossible to over-apply with it. 


Sun Beam is described as a "golden bronze" shade, which I think suits my yellow/olive tone skin much better than bright whites or pale pinks. In dim indoor lighting, it's almost indiscernible on the skin. But the warm golden shimmer is clearly evident in sunlight.



Under certain lights, it appears almost rose-gold rather than bronze-gold. But still pretty.



I followed the instructions and used three dots on the high points of my cheeks and one dot on each brow bone. It lasted the entire eight hours I left it on for, until I washed my face. Though highlighting is a step I often skip due to the oiliness of my skin, I really liked the effect of Sun Beam. The additional intentional glow was uplifting and gave my face radiance I did not expect.

The regular size in 0.45 oz bottle retails for CAD$30, which is reasonable. I'd never finish a whole bottle though. I'll see if I can actually finish the sample first, and if I still like it by the end, I'll aim to acquire a mini size in one of Benefit's many many sampler kits.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Dimethicone, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-21, Squalane, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Butylene Glycol, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Steareth-2, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 60, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hydroxide

Sample provided by Loose Button.