From the Editor’s Desk: Summer 2018 Beauty Empties

Happy Fall! This post is a couple weeks late, but I’m proud to share how much progress I’ve made this quarter. I’ve been using up my stash and avoiding buying new products to whittle the collection down. Below you’ll find my quick, always honest impressions on items I’ve entirely used up or decluttered this summer. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.

Hair

Hair Empties Summer 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • Philosophy Sparkling Hollyberries Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($14*, received as gift): I love to use these when I travel because they cut down on how much I have to pack. They work beautifully as shampoo and body wash, with a fun fruity scent and hint of gold shimmers. WR
  • Philosophy Melon Daiquiri Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($22*, received in gratis): Another good one! This has a thicker texture than the above, but still works beautifully as shampoo. Also liked it to wash my makeup brushes. WR
  • Moroccan Oil Treatment ($17*, redeemed from Sephora’s Beauty Insider Bazaar): I think the hype for this product has definitely come and gone, but I was happy to finally try it. This hair oil isn’t so unique among the category, especially because it’s made with less argan oil than dimethicone. If this product wasn’t made in Israel, I probably wouldn’t even have remorse not caring much for it. It doesn’t moisturize exceptionally well, and the smell isn’t crave-inducing. I would pass on this and try something different. WNR
  • Aveda Men Pure Performance Pomade ($38*): For as expensive as this hair pomade is, it does not live up to its claims. “Strong hold” and “excellent control”? I don’t think so! The only thing this pomade does successfully is smell good. It remains tacky throughout the day, not holding hair so much as coating it. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. WNR
  • Philosophy Twinkling Starlight Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath (received as gift): Remember me raving about these items up a few bullets? Yeah, scratch that with this one. This is the first time I used a Philosophy shower gel/shampoo combo and didn’t love it. I found that it made my hair feel stripped and tangled, and it didn’t lather enough for my taste. Maybe I got a bad batch? Wouldn’t get this one again. WNR
  • Schwarzkopf got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel ($6.46*): This does exactly what it says, which is gives you immovable, cement-like hold and shine. It is able to tame my curly hair and is not sticky or flaky. WR
  • Ion Effective Care Treatment ($8.59*): This conditioner smells really nice and has a solid consistency. It coats hair nicely yet washes off without much of a struggle. It leaves hair softer than if you don’t use it, but the effects are not the longest lasting. If you have only moderately dry hair this should be enough, but my bleach-treated hair needs more. WNR
  • Philosophy Shimmering Snowlace Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($19.24*, received as gift): Another dud! This made my hair uber tangled and dry. Still loved it to wash brushes but wouldn’t repurchase. WNR

Body

Body Empties Summer 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • Degree Men Fresh Deodorant Cool Impact 24H Deodorant ($4.99*): I think it’s a little too ambitious to say a deodorant stick can have a 24 hour impact, but I certainly didn’t hold it up to this standard anyways. This deodorant glides on the underarms without pulling or leaving white residue, and has an inoffensive fresh scent that I liked. Unless you have exceptionally active pits, this should do nicely. WR
  • Banana Boat SunComfort Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ ($9.47*): This is excellent, goes on totally clear and feels weightless. No strong smell or stickiness. WR
  • Careline Skin Gard SPF 50 Clear Sunscreen Spray ($18*): I liked this sunscreen less, it has a stronger smell and feels like a layer on the skin. WNR
  • Clarins After Sun Gel Ultra-Soothing ($34*): Total game changer! Summer vacation will never be the same. This is a must have for sunny weather. After any sun exposure (beach, hike, etc.) wash and then use this like a lotion over any skin that was exposed. Instantly soothes and hydrates the skin with a light texture and herbal scent, and turns ugly burns to lovely tans. So good, will never be without. WR
  • Mark Rebel+Ice Body Wash ($10*, received in PR): A decent formula with a nondescript sandalwood scent. WNR
  • Vita Liberata Ten Minute Tan mini ($49*, received as gift with purchase): It’s funny to be putting this mini in here because it was only large enough for one application, but it was free so I guess I can’t complain. This self tanner gives results far too subtle to be worth nearly $50. I left it on for twice as long as the recommended time (Sephora’s page says this is how you get a deeper tan), but I saw nearly no change to the colour of my skin. What I did see what somewhat patchy, and I couldn’t get past the savory scent of the lotion. I haven’t yet found a self tanner I enjoy, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop looking! WNR
  • LUSH Tender is the Night Naked Shower Cream ($24.95*): You might think that at some point I would get over LUSH’s constant attempts to reinvent soap, yet here I am, forking over $25 for just that. I had honestly forgotten how expensive this was, and am a little mad at myself for falling for that one. For all their valiant efforts at reducing waste, LUSH needs to reconsider the selling price. Anyways, the solid shower cream is literally just a chunk of soap, albeit somewhat squishier than most. It smells lovely, lathers well, and leaves my skin clean but not stripped. Slash the price in half and you’ve got a really good soap, but presently it’s just too pricey for me (it lasted about a month of usage). WNR
  • Soap and Glory The Scrub Of Your Life ($16*): This was the third scrub I’ve used from Soap & Glory’s range, and I have to admit I enjoyed pretty much all of them. This is the only one so far that comes in a tube, not a tub, which helped with portioning and making it last a loooooong time. It has a light citrus perfume, and unlike the others, this one lathers a bit after giving a good ol’ scrub. The beads don’t disintegrate right away on wet skin, giving a thorough exfoliation without being too harsh. I would enjoy this again! WR
  • Avon Skin So Soft Comforting Shea Creamy Body Wash ($10*, received in PR): True to its name, this is a very creamy body wash. The texture glides onto the skin smoothly and lathers softly. What I disliked was the high contents of mineral oil and the soapy smell, which irritated my nose. WNR
  • Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish ($45*): A pricey body scrub for the amount you get, but so decadent and luxurious. The scrub is very dense and gives a true polish to the skin, balanced with hydrating oils that make you feel super soft. Smells lightly like coconut and rose, beautiful packaging and love that this is a family owned company. WR
  • LUSH Carrot Soap: This was the 2018 version, which I understand has a different scent from the same soap from previous years. It looked like an adorable slice of pie made of orange and brown soap, and smelled sweetly fruity. In the shower it gave off a ton of color, making the water run orange. It lathered nicely and didn’t dry out my skin. Very enjoyable! WR
  • Cannabio CBD Skincare Dead Sea Face & Body Mud Mask ($19.50*): Phew, where do I begin? First, this “face and body mask” has a strict warning to avoid the facial area, so there’s that. The 400g package is easily enough for 2 whole-body uses, however you can’t seal it up once it’s open so I was forced to waste half the content. The mud inside smells like a swamp, and makes a giant (though not surprising) mess upon application and washing off. What I will say is that my muscles felt relaxed and soothed after using the mask, but I would never go through all this trouble and expense for that. If you want Dead Sea mud, go to the Dead Sea and save yourself having to clean up after this mess of a product. WNR
  • LUSH Moustachio Soap ($5.95*): I was surprised to learn that LUSH’s famous Dirty soap has been retired, and that this limited-edition bar shares its scent was a small comfort. The Dirty fragrance is actually a sweet minty scent that smells delightful on men in particular. I can’t help but wonder why LUSH did away with it, but I’m happy to report this was a good alternative to ponder over in the meantime. Even though the charcoal ‘mustache’ shape in the center made the whole bar wither away in record time, I enjoyed the smell so much and the blue suds were lovely. I’ve noticed newer LUSH soaps give off way more color than they used to, but I don’t seem to mind so much. WR

Makeup

Makeup Empties Summer 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • Make Up For Ever Diamond Crystal Strass ($26*): I can’t honestly say that cosmetic strass is somehow different from the craft store variety. Therefore, even though these crystals are beautiful accents for a look, I can’t see myself spending the extra money on them again. WNR
  • Clinique Bodacious Black Honey Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara ($22*, received in gratis): Fabulous mascara, and what a lovely shade of burgundy for highlighting green eyes. Not too dramatic, doesn’t flake or smudge, and easy enough to remove. Great stuff. WR
  • Marc Jacobs Blacquer Highlighner Gel Crayon Eyeliner ($31*, received as gift): This was the third of these liners that I’ve owned, and the second I’ve had to toss because it had dried out prematurely. When this product is fresh, it is the best; opaque black, smooth, and incredibly long lasting. But when there’s a 66% chance that it’ll go bad before I finish it (with more than half remaining, specifically), I have a hard time justifying it. I am still interested in some of the more colourful options from the range, but I think I’m done with Blacquer for now. WNR
  • BareMinerals bareSkin Sheer Sun Bronzer Serum ($37*, received in gratis): Such a shame that this product has been discontinued. Used alone or over foundation, this gives a beautifully sheer bronzed look that’s perfect for “no makeup” makeup. The formula is enriched with lots of lovely skincare ingredients, making this a top option in my eyes. WR
  • NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray ($10*): This product is made with a ton of alcohol, a a known skin-damaging ingredient. Even for the low price I can’t recommend it, though it is good at what it does. WNR
  • Marcelle Makeup Removing Cleansing Cloths ($9.97*): Decent cloths, one typically removes all. Stayed moist until the bitter end. WR
  • Benefit Watt’s Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter ($40*, received in gratis): This is an underrated classic. If you’ve got a medium-dark complexion and like a subtle cream highlight that really shines in the light, this is exactly what you need. The 10 mL tube lasts ages, and includes a tiny sponge to blend the product into cream foundation or bare skin. Can even be used on eyes and lips. Not greasy, long-lasting, and makes an excellent base for powder highlighter. Wish it came in more colours. WR
  • Avon Light Brown True Color Fiber Full Eyebrow Gel ($10*, received in PR): This is a bizarre product with a bizarre applicator. The “brush” tip is more comb than brush, making it difficult to evenly distribute the product. The gel comes out clear, with brown fibers separated on top. The fibers don’t really do much to fill in the brow, and the gel isn’t very effective at keeping them in place. WNR
  • Clarins Odyssey Face Palette ($49.90*, received in PR): I can’t imagine who the exec was that signed off on this product. This is nothing more than a regular old face powder, and a good one at that. It has good coverage and lasts all day without getting too shiny. What frustrates me is that it’s marketed as a palette when it’s a single pan of one uniform colour, and that it is available in only one shade. I was lucky to get dark enough in the summer to match it, but what about the hundreds of other skin tones out there that this wouldn’t work for? I also didn’t care for the gold over-spray, it serves no purposes other than to fool you into thinking this might be more than it is. To end my rant, there are definitely better powders out there, even if you can still find this (limited edition from 2012). WNR
  • Benefit The POREfessional Matte Rescue Invisible Finish Mattifying Gel ($38*, received in gratis): This primer’s name is a problem, because it doesn’t describe the product at all. First, it has no relation whatsoever to the POREfessional, a classic product with a thick silicone texture that blurs and smooths (this is thin and clear). Second, rather than mattifying, the gel gives skin a luminous, hydrated glow. And third, the only rescuing this is doing is for Benefit’s bottom line, who is laughing all the way to the bank that they got you to spend your cash on this mediocre product. As mentioned, it feels more like a lightweight gel moisturizer than a primer, and besides providing a somewhat tacky base for makeup, it does little else to help pores, lines, redness, or any other common skin issues. There are better products even within the same range, so I wouldn’t recommend this one bit. WNR
  • MAC Cosmetics Pinklite Strobe Cream ($40*, received as gift with purchase): I was kinda shook to read on MAC’s official site that this is, in fact, a moisturizer! I had absolutely no idea that this was the intended usage, and actually used it up as a primer. As a primer it does a good job at hydrating (duh!) and giving the skin a pearly, glass-like shine. I know artists also use this as liquid highlighter, but it’s not pigmented enough for me to use it that way. I would probably enjoy having this again, though maybe in one of the different shades available! WR
  • Avon Neutral True Color Ideal Nude Cream Concealer ($12*, received in PR): I was pretty surprised by how much I like this concealer. True to its name, despite the flawless full coverage it provides it never seems heavy or cake-y. The formula holds up the entire day without breaking down or creasing. Neutral was a bit of a strange colour, it leans yellow-green but blends out fine. I have another tube of a different colour, looking forward to seeing how it’ll match my skin. WR
  • Bourjois Sponge (received as gift with purchase): I can’t find this sponge online, so I’m guessing this promo wasn’t international. This is an exact copy of Real Technique’s sponge shape, which has a flat edge and a pointed edge. I like to use the former for foundation and the latter for concealer (I toss these whenever I switch concealers). This sponge was made from sort sort of nearly nonporous material, which made product drag around a lot instead of blending. It was also impossible to clean, which was frustrating. Even if I could find this again I wouldn’t purchase it. WNR
  • Wet n Wild 805 Call Me Maple MegaGlo Makeup Stick Contour ($5.97*, received in PR): Wet n Wild continues to impress me with their high quality makeup at ridiculously affordable prices. This cream bronzer was pigmented, long-lasting and easy to blend. On top of liquid foundation or alone on bare skin, it gives the perfect reddish tint for that out-of-the-sun look. The stick format made it easy to chisel out the cheeks and jaw. WR
  • Avene Eau Thermale Spring Water ($16.50*): Kudos to Avene for making me spend over $15 on water in a spray can… I’ve heard such hype about this product for years that I eventually broke down and got it. It’s been said to heal damaged skin, sooth irritation and of course hydrate, so I took it for a whirl. On its own or as part of my skin routine I didn’t find it does much because its effects are too short lived. However, to set makeup – WOW! My skin has never looked so good. The light mist does a great job melting together layers of cream and powder for a natural finish. I also liked using it to wet my hair before styling. I think it’s overpriced, but I would buy it again for that magical nozzle to drench me in H2O. WR
  • Sephora Collection The Mascara (received in gratis): It would appear this has been discontinued, which is not surprising because Sephora Collection is notorious for slashing prices and putting their wares on clearance before they even make it off the “new” section of the site. This mascara was not a favourite of mine, it gives natural looking lashes with more definition than volume or length. My bigger issue was that it was the least durable mascara I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a few. With the slightest humidity or teary eyes it smudged everywhere, leaving black marks on top of and underneath the eyes. The formula is also very wet, which meant I always got it on my lid during application and had to wait to scrape it off. I would definitely not recommend this. WNR
  • NARS Orgasm/Laguna Blush/Bronzer Duo ($54*, received in gratis): I am so relieved to finally be done with this compact, which has been sitting (broken!) in my caddy for over a year. Everyone loves NARS packaging, but I found the rubber casing gets dirty quickly and isn’t great to look at. This compact features a mini of both the Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer, two of NARS’s bestsellers. I have to say, I didn’t like either! They are pressed too hard in the pan, making them hard to pick up on a brush. The colour payoff was dollar store quality, and impossible to build up. They also didn’t last very long on the skin. For all these reasons, I wouldn’t recommend either and won’t be trying this formula again. WNR
  • Laura Mercier Seashell Caviar Stick Eye Color ($35*, received in gratis): This particular shade has been discontinued, but the formula is still available. I used this cream shadow as a highlighter for the face, which is probably why I ended up breezing through it in slightly over a month. It had a white base with a strong yellow-green shift, which was really pretty. However, it blended away into almost nothing, and it wasn’t tacky enough to be a good base for powder highlighter. WNR
  • Annabelle Lime Lipsies Lip Balm ($4.95*): It appears this shade was discontinued too, although I’ve seen it kicking with other colours in 2-for-1 duo sets on shelves recently. This balm was clear and glossy with a subtle sweet lime scent, moisturizing and so fun to apply from the vibrant green tube. WR
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($44*, received in gratis): I caved in and tried this cult-classic at last, and was pleasantly surprised. This gel-like primer smooths texture and adds a layer of hydration. It’s pretty good, but I think it should be cheaper. WR
  • Paul & Joe Protecting Pressed Powder: This was a limited-edition compact from several years ago, which I bought mostly for the adorable cat design. The powder is very fine and has a brightening effect on the skin. It prevents creasing, smooths texture and gives a satin finish to the face. Worth noting the strong floral fragrance. WR
  • Avon Light True Color Transforming Contour Stick ($18*, received in PR): I thought this was a brilliant product, it has a grey-toned cream contour stick on one end and a concealer on the other. Both were creamy, pigmented and easy to blend. They are long lasting and do not fade or crease. Great 2-in-1 item! WR

Skincare

Skin Empties Summer 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Instant Refinishing Facial ($68* – received in PR): This is more like a gentle cream cleanser than a scrub, with an incredible aroma and very luxurious texture. For me it was simply too gentle, it didn’t remove dead skin as well as I would want, but I would definitely recommend it for more sensitive or mature skin. WNR
  • Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Eye Power Treatment ($72* – received in gratis): I used this under a secondary eye cream as a serum. It is designed to help with fine lines, but I didn’t notice any improvement after over a month of twice-a-day usage. If anything, the retinol in the formula made my eyes drier and more sensitive, often resulting in a burning sensation and tight, parched skin. I didn’t think the applicator was innovative or useful, it pushes product around more than it helps with de-puffing and drainage. WNR
  • KORRES Greek Yoghurt Cleansing and Make-Up Removing Wipes ($20*): I purchased these because for years they were featured on the Shoppers Drug Mart “little wonders” stands and I wanted to see if they were worth the hype. My verdict is, no, they’re not. Though they remove makeup very effectively, the wipes are not as saturated as I want them to be and I therefore blew through the package in record time. WNR
  • Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask ($39*, received in gratis): I brought this with me to a group trip and it became THE hottest thing. This 10 minute clay mask features physically exfoliating beads that give oily complexions baby-soft skin. Everyone loved it, but my dry skin wouldn’t fare well with all that drying clay. WNR
  • Vichy LiftActiv Supreme ($49.95*, received as gift): Vichy continues to impress me with every new product I try from them. I sampled this cream in winter, and back then it wasn’t rich enough. However, using it in the summer months made all the difference. This scientifically advanced formula hydrates deeply and continuously through the night or day. It smells good and has a pleasing creamy texture. WR
  • Sun Bum Face Cream SPF 50 ($12.99*): Move over, affordable skincare – there’s a new sheriff in town. This piña-colada scented cream has natural ingredients to hydrate and SPF 50 to protect. It rubs in clear and lasts all day, and I never got burned when I used it. Even better, the packaging is recyclable and sooo cute! WR
  • Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel ($19.95*, received as gift): Great cleanser for oily complexions. Removes most makeup gently, smells good. Too drying for my skin type. WNR
  • Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix Lip Serum Stick ($32*, received in gratis): This is a great lip balm, but I wouldn’t call it a “serum.” Fun click-pen design, leaves lips conditioned with a nice shine. WR
  • Avon Vitamin C Brightening Serum ($32*, received in PR): This serum smells and feels like pure alcohol, and feels like it does more damage than good to skin. I forced myself to finish the bottle, but I never enjoyed it. It does nothing to brighten, lighten, or tighten skin. I also want to point out a big problem with the official advertising, which claims this serum protects skin from the sun. Vitamin C is a brightening and antioxidant agent, which serves to make skin more sensitive to the sun, not protect it. Sun protection requires an adequate amount of SPF, which this serum lacks. This is misleading and potentially harmful misinformation. WNR
  • Fresh Black Tea Corset Cream Firming Moisturizer ($122*): I love me a good neck cream, and this is one of the best out there. The Fresh Black Tea line really acts to firm skin, giving it a healthy suppleness and hydration. I wish there was more product in the pot, but I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless. WR
  • Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream ($33*, received in gratis): You might as well not use an eye cream if this is what you’re going to use… This cream does absolutely nothing for my skin, it is not hydrating enough and it certainly doesn’t help with puffiness or brightness, as advertised. I also thought the ball-shaped applicator was useless. WNR
  • Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash ($20*, received in gratis): I like this reformulated version more than the older formula. This is gentle enough for everyday use, including around the eyes. It smells fresh and gives skin some needed scrubbing. Wish it came in a pump. WR
  • Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream ($44*, received as gift): A really nice cleansing cream, lathers well but respects skin’s moisture barrier. Removes impurities well yet gentle, smells nice. Like the detoxifying ingredients. WR
  • Pixi Glow Tonic ($20*): I finally jumped on this bandwagon, and I have to admit that the hype is real with this toner. Besides the usual balancing and hydrating benefits, this toner features 5% glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin. The result is a smoother, brighter complexion, and I really noticed a difference when I used it. If you’re still new to the world of skincare and want to try an effective, clean formula, this is an excellent place to start. WR
  • Avon Planet Spa Pampering Chocolate Face Mask ($10*, received in PR): Had I realized this product has been discontinued, I would have perhaps used it more sparingly. This is the grownup version of spreading chocolate frosting across your face at a birthday party. It smells and feels like the most decadent buttercream frosting, absolutely delicious and luxurious feeling. I would pay so much more for this mask! Really pampering and hydrating. Wish I could find. WR
  • L’Occitane Cade Shaving Cream ($29*): I liked this more at first than by the end. The biggest issue is the metal tube that this shaving cream comes in, it’s too hard to squeeze for someone with painful/weak hands. I imagine that there’s at least a quarter of the product still stuck inside the mangled tube, but without a tool it is impossible to press out. The cream itself is decent, better if used with a brush than lathered by hand. I am interested in the “rich” version of this cream, which comes in a tub instead. WNR
  • Philosophy Purity Made Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($15*, received in gratis): This would be really good for somebody that wears light makeup and wants to avoid using wipes. Even though it cut through my heavy makeup well enough, it had trouble with mascara (even the not waterproof kind) and getting in around my facial hairs. It’s good, but it’s not for me. WNR
  • Vichy Mineral 89 Fortifying & Hydrating Daily Skin Booster with Hyaluronic Acid ($39.95*): This is a very high quality product for a relatively affordable price. The heavy glass packaging (with pump, thank the Lord) contains a simple, clean, and effective serum that rehydrates the skin and gives it a plumping boost. It can be used on the face, eyes, and lips underneath your regular skincare, though I recon you could conceivably get away with only this and some sunscreen if you are very oily. The texture is like a lightweight jelly, completely clear and odorless. I truly enjoyed using this in my routine and will do so again. WR
  • Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Eye ($52*, received in gratis): This is the textbook definition of an eye cream. It has some algae, berries, and yeast extracts that claim to work on darkness and texture, but the main benefit by far is comfortable hydration. If you’ve got very dry eyes and you need something lighter underneath your makeup, this is a good option at a reasonable price. This is the second tub I’ve used, and though I wouldn’t call this my favorite, I would enjoy it again. WR
  • Sephora Collection Rose Face Mask ($8*, received as gift with purchase): I couldn’t imagine paying $8 for one of these, so the only reason it’s on here is because I got it free during a promotion. These masks are nothing more than an overpriced subordinate serum, which feels cooling on the skin while it’s on but isn’t hydrating enough afterwards. I would need to follow this with a full skincare routine, which defeats the purpose of a treatment in my eyes. I would much rather buy a potted mask than use one of these ever again. WNR
  • Christian Dior Hydra Life Jelly Sleeping Mask ($85*, received in gratis): This is such a hidden gem within Dior’s entry-level range. I call this mask “sunscreen for the night,” because it protects the skin while you sleep from moisture loss. It’s not exactly a night cream, because it doesn’t just sink into the skin and disappear. Instead, it forms a protective cocoon that envelopes the skin in deep, lasting hydration. It goes on as a final step at night over your serum, cream and oil, and washes off in the morning. The jelly texture is not greasy, doesn’t smear onto linens, and smells absolutely divine. I found it really good on sun-burnt skin, because it has additional healing properties. I already have a replacement and will continue to use this every day year round. WR
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II ($88*, received in PR): This was my fourth bottle of ANR this year, and I can easily see why people are hooked on this stuff. It features a lightweight consistency, smooth texture, yummy smell, and powerful antioxidant ingredients to protect the skin during the day and night. I wish it came with a pump, because I always find myself keeping my bottles upside-down to get the last drops out. Would purchase in the larger sizes. WR
  • Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream ($135*, received in gratis): This is an outrageously expensive cream, but I really liked it regardless (keep in mind this is also 60 mL). The jelly-like texture melts beautifully into the skin, and the smell reminds me of cocoa. The formula features alguronic acid, plant collagen and microalgae oil, as well as shea butter and other plant extracts. Such a good cream for the night! WR
  • Christian Dior Hydra Life Time To Glow Ultra Fine Exfoliating Powder ($52*, received in gratis): I feel the first thing I must clarify is that this is NOT a scrub, but a cleanser. The product is actually a dry powder that you mix with a drop of water to create a lather, which then massages beautifully onto skin and eyes to remove impurities. I felt that it had no exfoliating benefits at all, and used it twice a day. My skin really liked this product because besides the pleasing smell and creamy bubbles, the cleanser respects the skin’s moisture barrier and doesn’t dry it out. One of my favourite cleansers to date! WR
  • Dr. Fisher Genesis Tri-Moist Nourishing Day Cream ($22*): I bought this in Israel based on endless TV commercials and my grandmother’s recommendation. This day cream proved excellent for the summer months, with a light, quick to absorb texture coupled with high SPF protection. My skin always felt hydrated but not oily, and it smelled really nice. Such a good product for such an affordable price, wish this was easier to get in North America! WR
  • Avon Anew Clinical Extra Strength Retexturizing Peel ($32*, received in PR): This peel was ridiculously aggressive, and my skin had to build up tolerance to it over several months. Even in the end it irritated me, especially around my facial hair. The tingling did go away eventually, but for all the trouble I didn’t see any difference to my skin texture, radiance or pigmentation. WNR
  • Guerlain Abeille Royale Neck & Decollete Intense Restoring Lift SPF 15: I wish I could find this (long discontinued – we’re talking 2012, people) item online or even simply remember how much it costs in order to demonstrate the absurdness of its price – it was something ridiculous, I’m sure. That said, WOW! This neck cream is fantastic. It gives a supple, firm feeling to the skin. The smell wasn’t that amazing, but it didn’t bother me. The packaging really sold me, I thought it was the most elegant jar ever. I know this is still available in a few scattered Shoppers Drug Mart locations, and if I run out of neck creams to try in the near future I imagine I would stock up on them. WR
  • Philosophy Resurface – The Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel ($92*, received in gratis): This scrub is good, but not over $90 good. You first spread the scrub onto the face, then add a bit of the activating gel on top. It heats up slightly, letting you know it’s at work. The vitamin C acts to brighten, and the salicylic acid gently exfoliates. The results are incredibly smoothed skin, though the effects are short lived and the scrub needs to be reused 2-3 times a week. Despite the claims I noticed no improvement to pigmentation and brightness of the skin. For the price I can find other smoothing scrubs that are more effective. WNR
  • Ab Crew Shave Cream ($19*): This shaving cream was extremely irritating on my skin. It felt like it was burning my mustache area, and didn’t give much barrier or razor protection for the beard area. Disappointing. WNR
  • Christian Dior Gentle Toning Lotion (received in gratis): This discontinued toner was a real pleasure to use, and I now understand the devoted users who were frustrated when it was replaced. It’s incredibly gentle and soothing on dry, irritated skin, balancing the pH level and preparing the face to absorb advanced formulas. It smelled great and felt good both wiped on with a pad or splashed and patted on bare skin. WR
  • Christian Dior One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum ($130*, received in gratis): I’ve come back to my favourite booster after taking a break to try other things, and this is still king. Soothing, clearing and refreshing, it turns up the efficacy of your products by 4x. I will continue to use these until they are inevitably reformulated or discontinued. WR
  • Avon Anew Platinum Cream Cleanser ($12*, received in PR): Another big time hit from Avon, the oft-neglected and forgotten beauty brand that everyone needs to pay attention to. This cream cleanser is absolutely perfect, with a thick, rich texture that melts against the skin and rinses off cleanly. It’s heavily perfumed but I didn’t mind the scent, and the tube lasted about 40 generous washes (and it’s so affordable!). 100% would recommend and repurchase! WR
  • Korres Black Pine 3D Sculpting, Firming & Lifting Super Eye Serum ($84*): Calling anyone with droopy eyelids! This serum is designed specifically to lift and firm this area, and I really think it works. I love that this can be used right on the lid without irritating the eye. The dosage-controlled dispenser is a good idea but it starts coming out funny way before it’s finished. Would be better in a traditional pump. WR
  • Philosophy No Reason To Hide Multi-Imperfection Transforming Serum ($75*, received in gratis): This should, in theory, be the serum to end all serums. It claims to work on practically all visible imperfections and has the ingredients to back it up. But I have to be honest, the thing I liked best about the serum was not the formula but the way the pump jumps up every three pumps! Seriously, the formula was so lackluster. It smells like alcohol (second ingredient) and I never noticed any changes to my skin. I have another bottle to use up, so maybe I can still be convinced. WNR
  • Christian Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Eye Treatment ($130*, received in gratis): Dior knows how to do eye creams, and this is no exception. Incredibly velvety, hydrating, smoothing, plumping, and long lasting. Works well at night or under makeup in the day, on its own or over a serum. Firming and tightening hero in a stunning container. WR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow ($70*): This is a fantastic cream-gel cleanser. It doesn’t foam and has CT’s signature skincare scent (which I like). It’s thinner in consistency than a traditional cream cleanser but will still get you clean without a stripping lather. The gorgeous packaging is a little deceiving because you only get 100 mL in the massive tub, but I don’t care because it’s so good. Luxury at its prime. I especially liked it in the morning for a gentle cleanse, and it works beautifully with a Foreo Luna. WR
  • Clarins Multi Active Day Cream ($54*, received in gratis): Such an awesome day cream, it totally plumps up the skin and hydrates the whole day. Smells lovely and the glass jar is beautiful to look at. WR
  • Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($39*): This is an AMAZING makeup remover, it will take off all the heavy-duty adhesive and drag makeup you can throw at it. A tub will last you ages, and it smells great (not scent free as advertised, for sure). Gentle yet effective, washes off completely and leaves skin feeling clean yet not stripped. And best, not a drop of mineral oil to be seen. WR
  • Careline Multi Effect Night Cream ($19.92*): This Israeli cream caught my attention with its bright unit carton packaging and excellent ingredients deck for an unbeatable price. I enjoyed the fruity-gum scent and thought the packaging was luxurious enough, but didn’t love the cream to my dismay. The ultra thin texture may be ideal for Israel’s hot, humid climate, but my skin craved more hydration than this provided. It was fine, but not great. If I was spending a summer overseas I might like it better, but for home I need something a bit richer. WNR
  • Philosophy The Microdelivery Detoxifying Oxygen Peel ($92*, received in gratis): This is a mess of a product, quite literally. Between a mask, peel and exfoliant, it comes with a tube of a messy to use charcoal mask and one of an unnecessary oxygen boosting mask. Layered, they sorta foam up a little, but definitely not as much as advertised. They claim to brighten, de-congest, clarify and calm the complexion. However, the best benefit of the set is by far the tiny spatula included to “shave” the mask off after three minutes. That is the only part that actually exfoliates as the masks don’t contain any grains. I found it complicated to use (with all the layering and scraping), messy and ineffective. In the future I would definitely steer clear of this expensive dud. WNR

Fragrance:

Fragrance Empties Summer 2018

© Gil Segev 2018

  • YSL La Nuit De L’Homme ($120*, received in gratis): This is a classy men’s scent with a considerable presence in a given room. I know I can count on it to attract compliments. Definitely a “night out” type of scent for any age, but it requires a certain bold attitude to pull off. WR
  • Jul et Mad Paris Aqua Sextius ($224*, received in PR): This is still my favorite J&M scent so many years after I first raved about it on this blog. It’s a herbal citrus scent of the highest quality, comparable to Hermès’ Eau d’Orange Verte. This is both masculine and fresh, a lovely summer scent paired with white pants and a button-down. I also adore these travel bullets, so adorable and chic to pull out and apply. Need me a full size bottle. WR
  • Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Now ($39*): This is a potent beach scent that leans more fruity than sun lotion. Not bad, but not that amazing that I’ll crave it in the future. WNR
  • YSL Black Opium EDP ($34*, received in gratis): Love me some Black Opium! Coffee and vanilla meets rude bubblegum, a fragrance with a bad attitude and monstrous projection to match. If you like leather jackets, knee-high boots, and black bangs then you’ll love this. WR
  • Jul et Mad Paris Terrasse à St-Germain ($214*, received in PR): This sadly turned after many years in my collection, and had no resemblance to its memory. I remember loving it, so I need a fresh bottle to refresh my nose. WR
  • Puredistance Master Perfumes SHEIDUNA ($260*, received in PR): This house of fragrances is notoriously expensive but represents everything I love about the niche perfumery trend: lasting classics made from high quality ingredients by masters of their crafts. SHEIDUNA is one of those rare scents that becomes better after it dries down. It opens dry and spicy, but evolves into a sweet, smoky dry down that’s just stunning and lasts an entire day. Smells a bit like dried fruits, dates, honey, incense and smoke. Has a sort of Middle Eastern vibe, but distinctly romantic and clean. Would like a full sized bottle. WR

Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this season?


*Prices true at time of writing. Foreign currencies are converted to CAD and are approximate.


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