Review: Caudalie Vinoperfect

As I’ve mentioned in other skincare reviews that I’ve done, my skin is a rather tricky thing. More recently my skincare routine has graduated from a mediocre and lazy 2-step wash and moisturize system to a more advanced regime of makeup removal, cleanse, tone/peel, and moisturize. So things are looking up. But just when I thought I had finally mastered the art of skincare, things like essence and serum were thrown into the mix.

I discovered that a Korean skincare routine could involve anywhere from 10 to 30 products (which is completely mind boggling to me because who on earth has that much spare time to wash their face). Anyway, most North Americans, including myself, are accustomed to a 3-step “cleanse, treat, and moisturize” system. Simple. It only begins to get complicated when there is an attempt to throw in a few Korean skincare steps, particularly the essence and serum part.

Let me break it down for you in the simplest of terms. An essence is a highly enriched, lightweight formula to be applied to the entire face, traditionally after washing and toning, to prepare the skin for oncoming products such as a serum. A serum is a concentration of nutrients to be applied for a particular purpose such as brightening, anti-aging, or to combat specific problem areas of the face like dark spots or acne.

Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

To be completely and 100% honest, I had no idea what an essence was when I started using this product. Is it a toner? Micellar water? Cleansing milk? Serum? Do I drink it? Pour it on my face? What? I didn’t understand. Essence is a somewhat vague and pretentious word to describe skincare if you ask me. Once I did some research and discovered what I was supposed to do with it, it began to make more sense to me.

This stuff is like citrusy, magic water for your skin. Applying it feels like you’re infusing your face with refreshing spa water. The soothing formula includes white peony to brighten and grape water to moisturize. Don’t worry, it’s not another product that feels good but does nothing for you. The Glycolic acid gently exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells without the need for rough cleansers or harsh deep cleaning face masks. Did I mention it smells incredible?

Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

I’ve used a couple of serums in the past and they never really made a huge difference to my skin, so I kind of lost faith in the power of serums. I think the combination of the essence with the radiance serum is what restored my faith. If this product is used solo, the results take longer to show, and the effects are less noticeable. I think that to really notice the benefits it should be used consistently and hand-in-hand with the essence. This product is great for help correcting dark spots and evening out your overall complexion to give your face a more healthy and glowy appearance if it is used after the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence.

Final Thoughts

I don’t have a lot to say. This stuff is like my new skin care crack. I’m addicted. I can visibly see and feel the difference in my skin’s tone and texture. My face looks healthier and glowy, and because of this I feel more confident not wearing makeup. If you’re going to add any of these Asian inspired skin care steps into your routine, I recommend adding the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence. It is definitely worth a try if you’re struggling to get rid of your dull, vitamin deprived skin.

Continue following our beauty and lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Review: True Glow by Conair

Shedding your dry winter skin in exchange for soft and supple summer skin can be a challenge. I’ve heard of skin brushing before, but never once have I ever thought to give it a try myself. To be honest, I always viewed it as an additional, and rather unnecessary, part of a beauty routine. My skin has always had a dry and uneven texture to it. And up until recently I also believed that my skin was too dry and sensitive to use a skin brush to exfoliate my face. As it turns out, skin brushing has been proven to have many positive health benefits like increasing circulation, eliminating waste and toxins, reducing fat deposits, and even tightening the skin and toning muscles.

True Glow from Conair is an excellent way to rejuvenate yourself for the summer months and buff away your drab winter skin. True Glow has various attachments to help exfoliate and eliminate dead skin, leaving your skin incredibly soft and refreshed. It also uses Sonic technology, which means there is not just a rotation but also a pulsation to lift dirt from the skin and help to cleanse clogged pores. The device also has a high, medium, and low settings, which makes it perfect for people with different skin types. It is rechargeable, waterproof, and relatively compact, which makes it ideal for storage purposes and traveling.

My Experience

After my very first time using True Glow by Conair, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I had waited all this time to try skin brushing. The first thing I noticed immediately after using it was the difference in my skin’s texture. I suffer from rough, dry, uneven texture and it has been nearly impossible for me to find something that was consistently benefiting my skin. The first time I used it was in the evening as a part of my bedtime skincare routine. I had removed my makeup before using it, and I decided to use the lowest power setting since it was my first time using the device. Afterward, my face felt successfully cleaned and exfoliated without feeling tight or irritated. It removed all the excess dirt and makeup that was left behind by my makeup remover. Honestly, I also feel like it’s the best way to get the most out of your facial cleanser and skin care routine. The benefits of a facial cleanser are enhanced with the help of skin brushing. After about a week of consistent use, I genuinely believe my skin has never looked or felt better. It looks clearer, healthier, and more toned. I am so happy I jumped on the skin brushing bandwagon, and I can’t see myself ever jumping off! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend giving skin brushing a chance.

Continue following our beauty & lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Graydon Skincare Review

Lately, my top concerns in skincare are the following: moisturizing, damage recovery (i.e. from wearing makeup, sun, harsh acne treatments), and knowing what ingredients are in the products. These are, I believe, essentials for being kind to your skin — especially during the winter when it’s freezing outside with biting winds and mainly cloudy days, and when the sun does come out, it reflects off of everything and blinds you/gives you a weird sunburn.

Winter is downright rude to our faces, and when I had the opportunity to try out some of Graydon’s luxury skincare products, I was looking for things that would combat the harsh elements. Every product I tried was not only super moisturizing and luxurious, but also made with plant-base in mind.

Here’s the low-down on Graydon Skincare: the (Canadian!) brand was started by Graydon — I’m aways surprised when this happens even though I know the name has to come from somewhere — and founded on the philosophy that effective and nourishing skincare products can be made from “plant-powered” ingredients, sometimes things you might even eat, such as berries, avocado, and broccoli.

I’ve definitely used a home-made avocado and honey face mask before, so the idea of using natural ingredients on the face is not a new one to me, but I was curious about a brand that seems so committed to it.

The ones I was able to get my hands on are: the Keto Cleanse, Berry Rich Cream, Aloe Milk Cleanser and  All-Over Elixir. After three weeks of using these products, I can say I was wholly impressed by their quality and the effect they had on my skin — keeping it soft and moisturized even when it feels like the entire world outside is drying out and freezing up.

But let’s go into a more thorough breakdown of the products. Keep in mind I did use all of these together and created a nighttime routine out of the process, but I’m sure the products could all be used on their own depending what you’re looking for.

Keto Cleanse

Key ingredients: coconut oil and ghee.

The Keto Cleanse was definitely the most interesting product for me, but not my favourite. Of course, I’ve seen the micellar water cleansers and whatnot on the market: one-step makeup and dirt removers that can simply be massaged into the skin. The Keto is different from those products because it does recommend using a cleanser afterwards, but it also promises to get rid of makeup and grime on your face from the day. The label recommends using one drop of the product on the entire face, which I did every night.

I will say that for the amount of makeup I wear, using a different makeup remover for my mascara was necessary, but the Keto drew all of the foundation out of my skin no problem. It smells like coconut and wears like an oil. Not an unpleasant experience, and it’s nice to feel like you’re putting moisture back into the face when you take off your makeup.

The product comes in a small bottle, but even after using it every night for weeks, I didn’t make much of a dent as very little is needed to cover the entire face. This is a great product for anyone who needs that extra cleansing step in their routine.

Aloe Milk Cleanser

Key ingredients: aloe vera, rosemary extract, vitamin oil, grapefruit oil.

The Aloe Milk Cleanser might be the favourite product that I tried. It’s just really pleasant to use. That sounds weird, but it’s the best way I can describe it. Pleasant because it has a very subtle scent, which I prefer in cleansers, and it feels cleansing without feeling drying. Your skin doesn’t have the supercharged clean feeling you might get from an Oxy cleanser, but it also doesn’t feel like you need to dunk your head in olive oil for ten minutes after using it.

What I liked the most about this cleanser was how gentle it was on the skin. Not to say it isn’t effective — it was able to remove any oil left over from the Keto Cleanse — but it didn’t irritate my skin, which has a love/hate relationship with most cleaners.

All-Over Elixir

Key ingredients: sunflower oil, rice bran oil, camelina seed oil, grapeseed oil.

The elixir is a good product and that’s where I’ll leave it. It’s good. It does everything it says it will: it hydrates the skin and doubles as a pretty nice aromatic massage for the face and neck. With chamomile and sandalwood elements, it smells like a massage parlour, and I mean that in the best possible way.

After putting on the elixir, my skin was always left feeling super moisturized and glow-y — and a little oily, but that was always absorbed by the skin. Here’s where I run into a slight problem. The elixir may have caused my skin to break out, but that’s difficult to confirm. Due to the fact that the elixir is made with plant oils, it’s definitely possible, as my skin got a little shinier and I had a slight increase in number of pimples. This could also have been caused by a number of factors such as stress or hormones, so I have yet to confirm causation.

Even though the products are recommended for all skin types, I will say, if you have acne-prone skin like mine, maybe give the elixir a small test run before using it on the entire face. If you have dry skin, then this bad boy is about to become your holy grail.

Berry Rich Face + Eye Cream

Key ingredients: strawberry fruit water, yoghurt extract, jojoba seed oil, cranberry, blueberry and raspberry seed oil.

In terms of moisturizers, my criteria are as follows: I want my face moisturized without being clogged and I want it to smell good. That’s right, I want my face to smell good, mainly because I’ve had lotions on before where I didn’t like the scent and it drove me nuts.

First of all, Berry Rich cream smells like berries, which is just fantastic. In terms of its moisture capabilities, I was really impressed with it. The cream feels thin when you have it on your fingers, but it leaves the skin soft and smooth. In the name of science, I tried it without using the elixir first and was just as impressed with how light it felt while also effectively moisturizing the skin. The cream also works for the under-eye areas, which was a bonus as I am unfortunately already thinking about that area of skincare. But I mean, anytime is a good time to start, right?

You can learn more about Graydon and find their products here.

Continue following our arts and culture coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Review: L’Occitane en Provence’s Harmonie Divine

With the dawn of a new year comes the inclination towards change. Maybe you’re looking for a new hairstyle, maybe a new wardrobe, a different apartment or a new daily routine. We often associate a new year with starting over and starting fresh. We want to rejuvenate ourselves.

I feel the same way. Every early January, I’m swept up in the craze of resolutions and a “moving on, moving forward” mentality. While I do have a rather lengthy list of resolutions this year, one of them in particular is to take better care of my skin.

I’m 22 years old now, and while that’s still awfully young, I am beginning to see early signs of aging on my skin. My concerns aren’t strictly about wrinkles or laugh lines. They’re about sun damage, clogged pores from makeup, and general wear and tear from being too harsh on my face.

As it is, I wear sunscreen every day, but also I wear makeup almost every day, roughly scrub it to get the makeup off, and have a history of using harsh acne treatments to get the most effective result in the shortest amount of time. But this year I made a few decisions. First, I am going to begin to be kind to my skin. Second, I am going to look into high-quality items to help heal my skin and keep it healthy for the long run.

What better place to start than L’Occitane en Provence? I’ve wanted to try their products for years but haven’t been able to until now. Recently though, I was able to get a hold of their Harmonie Divine line, a new two-part skincare system.

I’m going to start this review by laying down the bottom line: these are excellent, high quality products. That’s more or less what we can expect from L’Occitane, based on brand reputation and average price point alone. What I found interesting were the two main ingredients: Imortelle Millésimée and Jania Rubens. These are very fancy names for what are, respectively, a flower and an algae. Extracts from the plants supposedly have potent anti-aging and restorative properties.

According to research conducted by the brand, they do actually work. Of the women who were evaluated after using the product for three months, 92% saw an improvement in skin texture, 84% saw a brighter complexion, and 79% claimed their visible wrinkles became less pronounced.

After reading these stats, I thought, Yeah, alright let’s try this out for real.

Long story short, I tried these products and I love them.

But if we’re getting into the long story, here’s what you need to know. A quick breakdown of my skin: early laugh lines around my eyes, uneven skin tone and texture as well as acne scars from back in the day.

The ideal time frame to see results for these products would begin after a full month of use, but even after using these products for only three weeks, I’ve noticed some changes. For these last few weeks, I’ve been using the Harmonie Divine products in my nighttime routine. I take my makeup off, wash my face, and apply the serum and moisturizer.

My initial impressions of the products were good. The packaging is gorgeous, the products smell amazing, and feel super luxe on the skin. I had to don my silk robe — (ill-fitting, cheap) — just to match the mood set by using such nice products on my skin before bed. I had my Zsa Zsa Gabor moment.

The serum is made with 5,000 micro-drops of Imortelle Millésimée (I tried to picture what that looked like and could not) and a gel infused with Jania Rubens. The serum’s focus is on facial volumes and contours, and I had to look up what they meant by that because I had no idea. Basically, it’s made to help with skin elasticity, overall texture, and plumpness.

The cream is a combination of water and oils. It initially applies as a cream with Jana Rubens extract, and, as it sets, the oils penetrate the skin. It’s made to help with brightness, clarity, and smoothness of skin.

Having used the products together for the last few weeks, I can truly say they’re some of my favourite skincare products I’ve ever tried. It’s a bit hard to describe, but my skin just looks brighter and healthier. You know it’s working when you see a friend you haven’t met with for a while and one of the first things out of her mouth is, “Your skin looks so good!”

So, maybe my walk home from that lunch was a little smug. And it should be kept in mind that I was also wearing makeup when I saw her. Even when I wake up in the morning, though, I love how my skin looks and how darn soft my face is. I need to draw the line at asking people to feel it, but I’ve definitely been close to asking.

These are really good products if you’re looking for the same things in your skincare as I am right now. If acne isn’t high on your list of priorities, then I would highly recommend them. They are, after all, not made for combating spots. They’re meant for anti-aging. I would also only recommend them if you’re willing to splurge a bit. I’ll hold off on the usual recommendation of, “You can find products that do the same thing for less,” because I personally have never found products like these before. But then again, I don’t know everything.

I don’t think these products are going to magically balance and bring harmony to my life. If they could somehow work magic on my work and love life that would be great, but, for right now, I’m happy with my skin being in order.

Find more information about the Harmonie Divine line here.

Continue following our fashion & lifestyle coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.