lush-cosmetics-best-and-worst

Best & Worst Of LUSH

If you’ve read a few of my Beauty Picks posts, you know that I love LUSH Cosmetics – I mean, I feature a LUSH gem in almost every one of those roundups! I know a few of you are as obsessed as me (I love when you guys comment – please, keep them coming!), so I wanted to do an official ranking of my favourite and least favourite LUSH products. From my favourite cleanser of all time (it’s been my holy grail for the last four years) to a shampoo that literally makes me look like I have extreme dandruff due to an inexplicable addition of shredded coconut to its formula (why though?), these are the best and worst LUSH products according to me.

THE BEST

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1 // Angels On Bare Skin Face & Body Cleanser

Unlike other scrubby exfoliants that can create micro tears, irritating skin and kicking your complexion’s oil production into overdrive, Angels ever-so-gently polishes away dead skin and blockages using ground almonds, lavender buds and kaolin clay. It leaves my face feeling like silk and is gentle enough to use everyday. Also, its heavenly blend of lavender and rose essential oils do more than smell amazing – they also soothe your skin while reducing redness. Truly a skincare elixir sent from above!

2 // R&B Hair Moisturizer

My hair is very curly and thick and so all of my hair products are about hydration. I swear, I could saturate my hair in straight up oil and my strands would just slurp it up and be frizzy a few hours later. This incredibly luxe cream is chock full of delish ingredients like cupuacu butter, avocado butter, olive oil and oat milk and makes my hair shiny and soft for at least an entire day. Also, the fact that is smells like orange blossom – one of my favourite flowers – is an added bonus. A little bit goes a long way and this stuff really works.

3 // The Comforter Bubble Bar

I’ve tried a bunch of bubble bars from LUSH but none come close to this gem. It smells like pure heaven – like cassis and cream to be exact. I also love that a bar lasts way longer than conventional bubble bath. Simply break off a piece and crumble it into running water for rich, luxurious black currant scented bubbles. If these are ever pulled from the shelves I am going to straight up weep.

4 // The American Cream Conditioner

The conundrum I always face is that I want a conditioner that hydrates my unruly curls without leaving my hair limp and greasy. This balance is tough to find but The American Cream has it nailed. It smells like a comforting bowl of strawberries and cream (my mom used to give me cut up strawberries with milk and a sprinkle of sugar as a child) and deeply nourishes each strand leaving your hair shiny and healthy looking but still light and bouncy.

5 // Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask

If you have sensitive skin that is prone to redness and irritation like mine, then this rose-scented creamy mask will be your new best friend. I love it because it has the texture and absorbency of a clay mask with the soothing benefits of calamine and rose petal infusion. On days when I am breaking out or my face is dull and splotchy, this is a miracle worker. Also, because it’s fresh it has to be kept in the fridge which makes putting it on such a refreshing, luxurious experience.

THE WORST

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1 // Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask

Now discontinued, Love Lettuce used to be one of LUSH’s best selling masks. At first glance, it’s not hard to see why. It smells like lavender, it has an absorbent clay texture and it goes on looking like a classic green face mask from an old-school slumber party. Some people love it but I am not one of those people. While I can get behind the seaweed, lavender and kaolin that is packed into this formula, its the ultra-abrasive crushed almond shells that rub me the wrong way – literally. I mean, think about it. Those pieces are sharp! If you crushed an almond shell, would you rub that on your face? The jagged edges create micro-tears in the skin, making your face a breeding ground for bacteria. Think acne, discolouration, redness – all things we are trying to avoid. If the exfoliant was a little more gentle, I would like this product. But I just can’t get behind sand papering my face with sharp nut shells.

2 // Curly Wurly Shampoo

Riddle me this – in what world is it necessary or beneficial to have clumps of shredded coconut in your shampoo? Not only does it do nothing but get tangled up in my curls and clog my drain, but it is damn near impossible to rinse out and makes it look I have extreme dandruff. The proof was on my boyfriend’s horrified face when I got out of the shower and he wordlessly pointed at my head. And why wouldn’t he look shocked? There were literal chunks of coconut in my hair. It looked like I had suddenly sprouted rampant scalp fungus. Yes this smells good and yes it has a bunch of great ingredients (coconut oil, shea butter, avocado oil, papaya and jojoba oil), but that shredded coconut ruins the party in a big way. Unless you want to look like your scalp is flaking off your skull, I would give this a seriously hard pass.

3 // Lust Perfume

I like jasmine but it’s a perfume note that I prefer in small quantities. It is a very strong white floral scent and too much of it can be incredibly overpowering and heavy. Lust is centred around ‘carnal’ jasmine and, ahem, it smells toooo carnal for me, Like, it has an almost salty, body-odour smell that I am just not down for. I have never smelled a jasmine perfume that has reminded me of sweat before, but that’s what I get from this. If smelling like sweaty sex in a seventies night club bathroom is your jam, then have at it. This is just not my cup of tea.

4 // Any Of The Lip Scrubs

Okay, so it’s not like there is anything really wrong with these scrubs per-se, I just think they are a total waste of money. These scrubs are comprised of sugar and oil – two ingredients most people already have in their pantries. And why do we need to scrub our lips with sugar? It’s a lot easier to smooth chapped lips with a damp wash cloth or tooth brush. Also, the description for these scrubs encourage the user to ‘lick off the excess sugar’. MMM – dead skin and dyed sugar. Colour me grossed out.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

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Scent Saturday | Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Toilette By Chanel

COMPANY | Chanel

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Toilette

NOTES | Sicilian Orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Litchi, Italian Jasmine, Rose, Patchouli, Tahitian Vetiver, Bourbon Vanilla, White Musk

It’s strange, but when I first smelled Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum a few years ago I was not a fan. I liked its initial citrusy burst but as is developed on my skin, it changed into a heavy, thick floriental that I did not appreciate. Cut to testing this Eau De Toilette version last fall and I fell madly in love. It’s zesty and bright with a sharpness that reminds me of men’s cologne. It’s my absolute favourite office fragrance (it makes me feel powerful and pulled together) and has become a signature scent for me.

If you, like me, don’t like the Eau De Parfum version of Coco Mademoiselle, don’t let that stop you from giving this a test. It’s much fresher with a barely there sweetness that makes it modern and sparkling. This spectacle opens with bright citruses (grapefruit, Sicilian orange and Bergamot) and it’s like a refreshing slap in the face. It really wakes me up in the morning but doesn’t smell like straight up lemon peel or a basket of oranges like other citrus scents do. After about 20 minutes the zingy top softens and the romantic floral heart reveals itself. Dreamy jasmine, opulent rose and juicy litchi dance together creating a well-blended accord that is feminine without being overly sweet or flowery. It’s the olfactory equivalent of a Chanel LBD – it’s classic yet sexy. It’s feminine and sensual but still powerful. Like I said, it’s my favourite office scent but it’s really perfect for any occasion.

What really saves this from being just another girly floral is the base. A heady combination of Tahitian vetiver, patchouli, bourbon vanilla and musk, it’s a dusky accord reminiscent of cigar smoke filled lounges, leather and aged wood. It’s subtle but it makes the scent the sexy oriental it is. If you’re on the hunt for an everyday perfume that is sexy and fresh with a masculine edge, this is one you will love.

xoxo,

Alicia

Autumn Candles To Give You All The Cozy Feels

Scent style your space with sumptuous fall fragrances that will make your inner basic squee with glee! I’m a huge candle addict. I’m currently sitting in my living room which contains no less than 13 candles. Do I have a problem? Forget switching up your wardrobe from season to season. I like to switch up my candles. Fall calls for warm and cozy scents like baked apples, smoky woods and sweet spices. And maybe a touch of whiskey if you’re feeling saucy. Read on for a rundown of my favorite fall candles. You’re bound to find at least one (or six) that tickle your fancy.


1 // Bath & Bodyworks – Balsam 3-Wick Candle

Notes: Pine, Cedarwood, Eucalyptus

This smells like a crisp walk in the woods on a sunny day. Balsam smells exactly (and I do mean exactly) like the needles of a Christmas tree mixed with cool morning air. As a Pacific-northwest dwelling gal, there’s nothing more comforting than the spicy-fresh smell of a coniferous forest.

2 // Diptyque – Thé Candle

Notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Thyme, Sage

This gorgeous candle is the olfactory equivalent of a steaming hot cup of fragrant black tea. Spicy and herbal with just a touch of sweetness, it’s as comforting as your favourite brew.

3 // Byredo – Peyote Poem

Notes: Clove Bud, Juniper Berries, Fir, Hyacinth, Tonka Bean, Black Amber, Patchouli, Vanilla

As if we needed any more proof that Byredo is the bougie candle boss, this stunning blend is everything you could want in a fall candle and more. It’s sweet with notes of tonka bean and vanilla with a touch of forest-inspired greenness and bakery spices. Light it and enjoy being wrapped in a blanket of cuddly autumn deliciousness.

4 // Whiskey Wicks – Apple Pickin’ Wood Wick Candle

Notes: Apples, Spice

I mean, it’s impossible to go wrong with the smell of just-baked apples and cinnamon. It smells like home, pie and comfort. It’s not basic, it’s beautifully classic and is a must-have as soon as the leaves start to change! This handmade gem lasts for ages so your home can smell like a spicy apple tart through until December.

5 // Bath & Bodyworks – Maple Cinnamon Pancakes

Notes: Nutmeg, Maple, Buttermilk Pancake Accord

There’s quite frankly nothing more decadent than a late-morning breakfast of sumptuous buttermilk pancakes smothered in sticky maple syrup. This fall-addition from Bath & Bodyworks captures the essence of your favourite breakfast treat and leaves your home smelling warm, sweet and delicious!

6 // Makers Of Wax Goods – Bourbon Candle

Notes: Oaked Bourbon, Brandied Fruit, Raisins, Smoked Spices, Amber, Woods

Light this bad boy and you’ll feel like a badass detective in a black and white movie, smoking a luxury cigar while sitting in a leather armchair and sipping a glass of top-shelf bourbon. This smoky, woodsy aroma is unique and sultry. It’s utterly intoxicating and always puts me in the mood. Plus how cool is the outer design?

See? There are other fall smells besides pumpkin spice! Which one of these appeals to you the most?

xoxo,

Alicia

Scent Saturday | Ayalitta By Ayala Moriel

COMPANY | Ayala Moriel Parfums

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Ayalitta

NOTES | Galbanum, Sage, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Labdanum

Soft and earthy with a delicate innocence, Ayalitta was the first perfume by indie perfumer Ayala Moriel I ever owned, and to this day, is one my all time favourites. I have always had a soft spot for chypres, a fact that surprised Ayala when I first met her. I was seventeen at the time and I think she expected me to prefer sugary gourmands or saccharine fruity-florals like most young girls do (no judgements towards those who love sweet scents – there are a few that I enjoy too!). After learning that I loved earthy, green fragrances, Ayala so kindly gifted me with a bottle of Ayalitta. Not to be cliché, but it truly was love at first sniff. It’s everything I love in a perfume. It’s soft yet enchanting. It creates an impression that is at once familiar yet totally unusual. I could bathe in Ayalitta’s elegant composition of earthy oakmoss, sweet neroli and intoxicating galbanum.

Like a playful woodland pixie, Ayalitta lightly traipses onto the scene with notes that evoke images of a damp forest floor, strewn with sweetly smelling fallen leaves. Galbanum, sage and neroli create this impression, immediately revealing Ayalitta as a stunning chypre. There’s something about the opening of this scent that almost smells aldehydic, reminding me briefly of other iconic perfumes like Chanel Nº 19 or Oscar by Oscar De La Renta. That being said, because Ayalitta is comprised only of all natural essences, there’s nothing about it that smells heavy or artificial. It’s got a vintage quality but still smells current.

The heart of Ayalitta is when it really begins to bloom into something breathtaking – no pun intended. Opulent rose dances with the rich, almost carnal aroma of jasmine before collapsing on a soft bed of clary sage. It reminds me of sunbaked earth and wet wildflowers, soaked by autumn rain. It smells comforting and it soothes me when I’m having a stressful day. It recreates the feeling I get when I’m in nature – sometimes just a sniff of the bottle is enough to lift up my spirits when I’m feeling down. Ayala was right on the money when she picked this scent for me. There are a lot of perfumes I love from her collection, but there’s something truly special about Ayalitta.

Like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and Ayalitta does so beautifully. Oakmoss, labdanum, and patchouli are all that’s left on the skin at the fragrance’s conclusion. Patchouli has a soil-like scent that pairs perfectly with damp, green oakmoss before fading into the sweet, slightly spicy scent of labdanum. From start to finish, Ayalitta is a magical experience. It’s sensual and soothing. It’s honestly perfect for any season, but there is something about its fresh green notes and earthiness that feels especially at home in the fall. I’m wearing it right now and am cocooned in a beautiful blanket of delicate flowers and dewy leaves. Like all things of quality and beauty, Ayalitta just gets better with time.

xoxo,

Alicia

spring-scents-perfume-shallow-materialistic

Six Stunning Scents For Spring

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In the same way that people like to update their wardrobe from season to season with a few key pieces, I like to refresh my perfume arsenal. As the chillier months melt away, I am looking forward to a lighter, more romantic scent wardrobe, filled with bright fruits, feminine florals, and earthy aromas that bring me closer to nature. With this in mind, I have curated a short and sweet list of six stunning scents that absolutely scream ‘spring is here!’. Keep scrolling to check them out!


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1 // Pop By Stella McCartney

Notes: Tomato Leaf, Violet Leaf, Green Mandarin, Violet, Frangipani, Tuberose, Sandalwood, Cedar, Musk

When you look at the notes for Pop by Stella McCartney, you don’t really get a strong impression of what this scent will smell like. Despite its predominantly floral, herbaceous ingredients, Pop is bright, flirty and optimistic. If it was a colour, it would be shocking pink. It has a sweet, almost edible aroma that is accented with ultra-feminine floral aromas. Wear it on those sunny spring days when you want to be dancing through your 9-to-5.

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2 // Marche au Fleurs By Fragonard

Notes: Melon, Black Currant, Sweet Pea, Lily-Of-The-Valley, Peach, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Musk

Fresh and almost watery in it’s opening, Marche aux Fleurs truly does smell like a walk through a rain-soaked French garden. Juicy black currant and ripe melon add a touch of sweetness to a dewy bouquet of white florals.

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3 // White Potion By Ayala Moriel

Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Grapefruit, Rosewood, Tuberose, Jasmine, Gardenia, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Coconut

Tuberose is the sultry vamp of the flower world. It’s not shy and it doesn’t hold back. It’s the star of the show in indie-perfumer Ayala Moriel’s decadent confection. White Potion is unapologetically sexy with sweet, almost carnal tuberose combined with juicy grapefruit, creamy sandalwood and beachy coconut. It’s a creamy, romantic fragrance that softens throughout the day, leaving a rich, floral trail that will intoxicate those around you all day long.

 

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4 // Baiser Volé By Cartier

Note: Lily Pistil, Citrus, Lily Petals, Lily Leaves, Green Notes

If spring could be incapsulated in a singular fragrance, it would be the delicate, powdery aroma of a fresh-cut bouquet of lilies. This ingenious cocktail by Cartier captures this timeless scent, surrounding all parts of the lily – the pistil, petals and leaves. I love spritzing this on when I leave the house on a spring day. Its bright and joyful, with an aroma that garners compliments from ladies and gentlemen alike.

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5 // Curious By Britney Spears

Notes: Louisiana Magnolia, Anjou Pear, Lotus, Tuberose, Cyclamen, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Musk, White Woods, Vanilla

What?! A celebrity scent?! No seriously, Curious by Britney Spears is simply gorgeous and so ‘spring’ that it had to be included on this list. It opens with a refreshing, watery burst of juicy pear, Louisiana magnolia and lotus. As it continues to bloom, the intensive floral heart is enveloped in a warm, sultry blanket of sandalwood, musk, vanilla and precious woods. This fragrance has been flying off its shelf since 2004 and it’s not a surprise why. Curious may be a celebrity-endorsed scent but it’s effortlessly elegant, feminine and timeless.

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6 // Wisteria Blue By Nest Fragrances

Notes: French Wisteria, Bulgarian Rose, Imperial Jasmine

Romantic and regal are the two words that could best describe Wisteria Blue. Its simple composition proves that a complicated array of notes doesn’t always mean that a scent is more interesting. The three distinctive but complimentary notes blend together perfectly, creating a soft, velvety scent that is perfect for everyday (even office!) wear. It’s the kind of airy spring scent that you won’t want to start your day without!

Have you tried any of these fragrances? What is your spring signature?

xoxo,

Alicia

 

Fragrance Friday | Oh Lola! By Marc Jacobs

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Oh Lola! By Marc Jacobs

NOTES | Wild Strawberry, Raspberry, Pear, Magnolia, Peony, Cyclamen, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

VIBE | Youthful, Playful, Flirty, Refreshing, Exuberant, Sweet

Launched in 2011, Oh Lola! is the much fruitier flanker to Marc Jacobs’ Lola. While the latter is richly floral with romantic notes of rose, musk and pink pepper, Oh Lola! is a juicy treat, with the welcomed addition of wild strawberry, raspberry and creamy sandalwood. The fragrance world is completely saturated with fruity florals and while this crowd-pleasing blend isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it’s refreshing and yummy – like a raspberry Bellini. It’s the kind of scent you could give any girl as a gift and they would most likely enjoy it. So what does it actually smell like? Let’s get right into it.

Oh Lola! opens with a lively spectacle of succulent strawberry, zesty raspberry and juicy pear. It’s unabashedly fruity yet clean and refreshing. It has a soapy quality because of the florals in the heart and it’s this floral bouquet that keeps the top from being childish and saccharine. It smells like a fruity body wash but not as generic or abstract. I’ve got a bit of a crush on this scent at this point but I’m not yet in love.

Like most fruity-florals, the sweet berries and pear fade slightly and the flowers in the heart begin to reveal themselves in the heart. Peony, magnolia and cyclamen take centre stage but these are very soft flowers and they don’t smell opulently floral or perfumey like rose, gardenia or violet would. They are clean (almost watery) and they balance out the fruits in the top and the creamy notes in the base. For some reason the heart reminds me of pink champagne. It’s sparkling, light, and kind of intoxicating. Now I’m officially swooning.

And now for the final stages of Oh Lola!. The lights are dimming, the curtains are closing and the after-party is beginning to kick into gear. Luscious vanilla combines with rich tonka bean to create a mouthwatering impression reminiscent of creme brûlée. This is the most seductive aspect of the fragrance and is when Oh Lola! most closely resembles the original. Sandalwood also adds a sexy woodsy, smoky element that reminds me of roasting marshmallows over a fire. Five hours into wearing this fragrance the fruits are gone, the flowers have faded and all that’s left on my skin is a warm veil of decadent vanilla cream. It’s faint but oh-so sultry and is my favorite part of the composition.

From start to finish Oh Lola! is a playful and uplifting scent. It’s not too strong and is perfect for all kinds of situations, from casual days spent running errands to sparkling evenings out. If you like fruity fragrances and are looking for a fail-safe crowd pleaser for everyday, then I guarantee that Oh Lola! is a great bet.

Have you tried Oh Lola! and Lola by Marc Jacobs? What was your favorite? Give me your two scents.

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Fancy by Jessica Simpson

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Fancy by Jessica Simpson

NOTES | Pear, Apricot, Red Berries, Gardenia, Jasmine, Almond, Caramel, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber

VIBE | Romantic, Cozy, Cuddly, Feminine, Comforting

If perfumers had the ability to bottle up the exact essence of caramel drizzled creme brûlée, you would get Fancy by Jessica Simpson (her debut scent). It’s unabashedly sweet and decadent, and it’s exactly the kind of cuddly, cozy fragrance I want to wear on a chilly autumn day.

This gourmand treat opens with sweet pear, syrupy apricot and sugary red berries. The top notes may be purely fruity, but the rich, dessert-like notes in the base are already rising up at this point. My first impression of Fancy, when I initially sprayed it on, was that it was very, very sweet but not youthful. It doesn’t smell like the candied, cheap body sprays that young teens wear. It’s rich and creamy, and wraps around you like a soft cashmere sweater. It just radiates warmth and soft femininity.

As the fragrance evolves into the heart, the most prominent notes that give Fancy its main characteristics come into play. Voluptuous jasmine and gardenia are the only two flowers in the scent but they are barely detectable. They just add an underlying sexiness, an almost animalic quality that compliments the creamy caramel and sugared almonds perfectly. It’s in the heart of the fragrance where Fancy is truly at its best. At this point, I can hardly stop sniffing my wrist. Seriously, I could happily drown in Fancy.

Like a fairytale, Fancy is a romantic fragrance that ends as beautifully as it began. Staying true to the cuddly, gourmand nature of the scent, the three notes that are left on your skin are vanilla, amber and sandalwood. It’s slightly spicy, milky and sexy. It’s soft and delicate and is only strong enough to smell when leaning in for a hug. My boyfriend loves when I wear Fancy. Honestly, he rarely notices the perfumes I wear, so the fact that he actually verbalizes that he likes this scent, says it all. If you enjoy sweet, dessert-like scents and orientals, or are looking for a romantic scent for a date, then give Fancy a try. It’s super cheap (I got my 50ml bottle for $25) but stands up to more expensive designer juices. It’s one of my favorite fall scents and if you love vanilla, you are going to be obsessed with this yummy perfume.

Have you smelled Fancy before? What’s your favorite fall scent?

xoxo,

Alicia