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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August Beauty Picks


This summer my beauty routine has centered almost entirely around my complexion. Vancouver has been going through a major heat wave for the last few weeks. That combined with pollutants and toxins from forest fires have left my skin dry and irritated skin very prone to breakouts. Luckily, I have come across a handful of products that have kept my face free of congestion and glowy. From a deep cleansing mask that makes me look like an extra from Avatar, to the prettiest lip gloss I have worn since the eighth grade, here are my five favorite beauty finds this month.

1 // LUSH – Don’t Look At Me Fresh Face Mask

Behold, the delightfully scrubby antidote to oily, sunparched summer skin. Loaded with cleansing lemon juice, brightening neroli and exfoliating ground rice, this bright turquoise mask will make you look like a smurf when you first put it on, but after ten minutes you will be left with matte, baby soft skin that is as clear as the summer sky (not to be overly poetic). Plus, it smells like a lemon tart which is always a bonus.

2 // Organik Botanik – Brown Sugar Face Scrub

If you love DIYing your own beauty products, then prepare to fall in love with this sweet smelling scrub. Organic Botanik is an Australian brand that champions all natural ingredients and simple formulas that are effective and earth-friendly. This scrub is made primarily with, you guessed it, brown sugar, and polishes away blockages and dead cells for a complexion that is hydrated and glowing. You’ll be forgoing your tinted moisturizer after one use, because who needs makeup with a face this fresh?

3 // Benefit Cosmetics – The Porefessional Face Primer

I rarely use foundation, primer, or any other skin of face makeup, other than a touch of concealer and bronzer. Although this silky potion is technically a primer, I like to wear it and nothing else on my face. It glides on like whipped air and blurs everything from pores to imperfections. Seriously, my complexion looks like that of a China doll when I use this (which is quite frequently). It doesn’t provide a lot of coverage, but is great for hot, humid days when the last thing you want to do is layer on foundation.

4 // Urban Decay – Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in Streak

Let’s face it – Urban Decay can do no wrong. Although I am normally a lipstick kind of gal, this punchy coral gloss is too fun to resist. I love it because it deeply hydrates my chapped lips like a balm while providing a sexy, I-just-licked-my-lips sheen. This colour is also gorgeous – not too orange and not too pink. It absolutely pops against a (obviously faux – no skin damage here) tan.

5 // Hikari Cosmetics – Shimmer Bronzer in Flush

If you’re anything like me and have a naturally pasty complexion that you drench  in SPF from May through September, than an authentic sun-kissed glow is kind of a far-fetched fantasy. Enter, bronzer. This multitasking compact can be swept across your forehead, cheeks and nose for an all over glow, or used to contour and sculpt your face for a more polished look. I also love the hint of shimmer it gives. It’s not so much sparkle that I look like a disco queen, but is just enough to give my face a lit from within glow.

What are your favorite summer beauty products? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

november-beauty-picks

November Beauty Picks

Although I love to experiment with my makeup and play with different hairstyles, the foundation of my beauty routine is a solid skincare system. This hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger I was quite rough with my skin – I would go to bed without taking my makeup off, I’d pick at pimples, I’d scrub my face with harsh, sandpaper like formulas (St. Ives Shards of Glass Apricot Scrub, I’m looking at you), I would always forego SPF. When it comes to universally known skincare sins, you name it, I did it. In my late teens I began to develop more of an interest in skincare and sought out help from estheticians and facialists to give me a better sense of how to take care of my complexion. What did I learn? Less is generally more and to exfoliate and moisturize regularly, albeit gently (there is no reason to rub sharp, overly abrasive scrubs into your skin, unless you are trying to remove calluses from the soles of your feet). In the winter, when the air is cold, dry, and unforgiving, my skincare routine becomes a little more indulgent – think masks, serums, oils, etc. I keep my makeup simple, focusing instead on keeping a glowing complexion. Behold, my five favorite beauty products this month.


1 // Lush – Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

LUSH has become a favorite brand of mine over the years. Why? Their products are often vegan, are ethically produced, and are handcrafted using nourishing, organic ingredients. Ocean Salt is a tried and true classic and is one of the brand’s most popular products. I can totally see why. First, it smells like a margarita thanks to its clarifying blend of vodka, salt, and lime. Second, it manages to deeply cleanse and exfoliate my skin without making it break out – this is no easy feat. It’s not a scrub I use everyday (it’s quite stimulating), but it’s great for giving my skin a rosy glow and keeping my complexion free of blackheads and flakes. I use it about once a week.

2 // Lush – Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser

Ahh. This may have taken Angels on Bare Skin’s place as my all-time favorite cleanser. With hydrating corn oil, maize flour, warming cinnamon, and exfoliating cornmeal, this moisturizing cleanser makes my face feel like silk. Plus it smells absolutely amazing – like sweet caramel corn or buttery pancakes. The texture is a little bit gritty but isn’t too abrasive. I use it everyday and it’s like a gentle polish for my skin.

3 // ModelCo- Contour Stick

I used to be a little bit hesitant about applying contour during the day. It felt too extreme and getting it juust right can be very challenging. Enter this delightful gem from ModelCo. I simply draw a little line under my cheekbones and along the sides of my nose before blending it well with a sponge. I then dust a little bit of bronzer on top. Bam! A natural, glowy, sculpted look that looks anything but clownish. I love how blendable this product is and the creamy formula lends a slight dewiness to my complexion.

4 // Naked Cosmetics – Advanced Skin Cream

Next to exfoliating, moisturizing regularly has made the biggest difference in my skin. I can be a little bit high-maintenance with my routine (I have night creams, day creams, serums, oils, and eye-creams) but this is the moisturizer I keep in my purse for when I’m on the go and I use it more than any other moisturizer. With light yet hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, and algae, it never fails me and consistently leaves my skin feeling supple with a dewy glow.

5 // Too Faced – Better Than Sex Mascara

Better than sex? That’s a tall order for a mascara to deliver on. Still, this tried and true fan favorite lives up to its name. With plenty of collagen in its formula, it lifts, lengthens, and thickens my lashes in only a couple of swoops. Truly, I look like Bambi when I use this bad boy. Only sultrier. This is an expensive formula but it is one that I like to treat myself to. Try it. When you see your long, lush, fluttery lashes you will agree that it is worth every single penny.

xoxo,

Alicia

January Beauty Picks

January Beauty Picks

January Beauty Picks

From an incredibly moisturizing shampoo that smells like a Caribbean vacation, to the perfect crimson lip stain, here are the five products that I have become obsessed with this month.

1 // Dermalogica – Gentle Cream Exfoliant

I am a little bit high maintenance when it comes to my skin care routine. My bedroom looks like a chemist’s lab with pots and potions covering the majority of my dresser. Whether my complexion is calling for a deep cleanse one day or extra hydration the next, I like to have a variety of cleansers, moisturizers, masks, serums, oils, and exfoliants to use depending on my skin’s behavior on any given day. One step I never skip is exfoliation. People underestimate how powerful the effects of exfoliation are, but by scrubbing (or dissolving) away dead skin once or twice a week, the skin glows and is able to breathe, free of dead cells and debris. This very gentle exfoliating cream from Dermalogica (one of my absolute favorite skin care brands) uses lactic acid and hydroxy acid to loosen and detach dead skin cells. It goes on like a light mask, is non abrasive and is scent free. For those who find scrubs and mechanical exfoliants to be irritating, this gentle but powerful product will transform your complexion.

2 // The Body Shop – Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil

Some people are reluctant about applying oil to their skin for fear of causing breakouts. I used to have that concern but now I can’t get enough of oils, whether I am using coconut oil to deep cleanse my face or this delightful antioxidant packed oil-in-serum to replenish the moisture in my parched skin. With wheatgerm, jojoba, sunflower, marula, sesame and soya oils, this is like a vitamin enriched smoothie for your skin. Designed to heal and rejuvenate the skin, it gives the skin a rested and glowy look that can normally only be achieved with 8 hours or more of sleep. It’s also non-greasy and smells delightful.

3 // TONYMOLY – Delight Tony Tint in Red

While normally I am a lipstick gal, I really love the natural, just bitten look of a lip stain. This formula by TONYMOLY is fantastic. While the texture is very runny and can be a bit dangerous (apply with a mirror; I tried to put this on while riding the skytrain and it dripped and my boyfriend thought my lips were bleeding and looked horrified) it stays put all day once it dries. Use a little for a natural, “I just ate a popsicle” look or apply more for a vivid, ruby red pout. It has a nice, subtly fruity scent and is chock full of vitamins and nourishing ingredients such as aragan and rose hip oil. The only drawback is that it is not very moisturizing, not that anyone should expect a matte lip stain to be moisturizing.

4 // Lush – Curly Wurly Coconut Shampoo

Since I have stopped using foaming, sulfate laden shampoos, I have seen a huge difference in my very curly, very dry hair. I am a huge fan of nearly every Lush product I have tried and this all-natural shampoo is no exception. Made with creamed coconut, coconut oil, avocado butter and eggs, Curly Wurly is richly moisturizing and very nourishing for dry, damaged hair. I would not recommend this shampoo for everyone as it is extremely hydrating and heavy. A little bit of this goes a very long way when it comes to cleansing. It has completely transformed my hair and I am amazed at how much healthier my hair has become. While it still tends to be a bit dry, it is a lot softer and more manageable with very few split ends. This is a game-changing product for anyone with dry, curly, or chemical treated hair.

5 // Urban Decay – Naked Smokey Eye Shadow Palette

Urban Decay’s Naked Smokey eye shadow palette has earned itself a stellar reputation among beauty bloggers and aficionados and with good reason. These highly pigmented, silky shadows blend like no body’s business. With 12 colours (six metallic shades and six matte shades) the possibilities of looks, from a soft and natural neutral eye, to a smoldering smokey eye, are endless.

xoxo,

Alicia

August Beauty Picks

August Beauty Picks

August is usually the hottest month of the summer and because of this my beauty routine has begun to center around hydration of both my hair and skin. As glorious as days spent by the beach can be, all of the saltwater, sand and sun can really do a nasty number on one’s complexion and hair. With this in mind, here are five of my favorite products this month.

1. The Balm Cosmetics – Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush

As someone with a very fair, almost translucent complexion, bronzer is an absolute staple in my beauty arsenal. While there are a lot of great options out there, I am incredibly choosy when it comes to what I use on my face. Overly warm, orangey hues and glitter flecked, shimmery formulas are my biggest bronzer pet peeves. What I love about this product is that it does double duty as both a bronzer and blush creating a gorgeous, flushed glow that perfectly imitates a natural, sun-kissed complexion. It’s incredibly long lasting and neither sweat, sunblock nor sea spray will make it budge.

2. LUSH Cosmetics – The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask

I have been a fan of LUSH cosmetics for a while. I love that they use all natural, fresh ingredients and that everything is always created in an ethical and sustainable way (in fact a lot of LUSH products support various social causes around the world, such as their Charity Pot lotions which gives 100% of its proceeds to its designated cause). The first of their products that I have ever tried was one of their fresh face masks. Made with real fruits, vegetable, clays and oils, these masks have a short shelf-life of about two weeks and need to be refrigerated at all times. While some may find that to be inconvenient, I love the indulgent feeling of putting these cool masks on my face directly from the fridge. I have tried every single one of LUSH’s masks and most of them are very effective and create visible results. Sacred Truth is a very rich, moisturizing, nourishing mask made with ingredients such as papaya, wheat grass, matcha green tea and egg. It has recently been brought back onto the shelf after being pulled to be reformulated. This is an extremely hydrating, sweet smelling mask that gives the skin a healthy, bright glow. It’s a great mask to use all year round, to cool sun-burnt skin and to quench, parched winter complexions. This is one of my all time favorite LUSH masks, along with Catastrophe Cosmetic (the calamine, rose and blueberry laden holy grail of face masks).

3. Vasanti Cosmetics – BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

If there is one step in my skin care routine that I strive to be vigilant about, it’s regular, gentle exfoliation. As a teenager I had a terrible experience using St.Ives Apricot scrub. The ultra-abrasive, crushed walnut shells irritated my skin and created microscopic tears in my skin which led to an overgrowth of bacteria and an acne breakout like I had never had before and have never had since (I know that there are many people who love St.Ives Apricot scrub but I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy and no esthetician I have ever spoken to about it has ever had anything nice to say. One woman I spoke to said that it is so harsh of a scrub that the only appropriate way to use it is on one’s calloused feet).Because of this experience, for years I had avoided products that promised any kind of exfoliation like that plague. After being told by an esthetician that my skin was congested due to a lack of exfoliation, I began gently exfoliating with non-abrasive, enzymatic products. What I love about this one is that it is very gentle – the papaya enzymes loosen dead skin cells while the incredibly fine micro crystals delicately polish them away. It is also very effective when used two or three times a week and anytime I feel like my skin is getting a bit congested, this cleanser clears it right up, like a great smelling, soothing buffer for my face. It smooths away blackheads, flakes, and can even reduce the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores and an uneven skin tone. I discovered this in my Birchbox this month and have every intention of buying a full sized version. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially those with sensitive or blemish-prone skin.

4. Essie – Nail Lacquer in Peach Side Babe

There’s no better summer accessory than a glossy manicure and pedicure in a cheerful, tropical inspired colour. I love this new shade from Essie’s Summer 2015 collection. Its creamy, Georgia peach inspired shade will warm up any complexion and transitions easily from summer to fall, evoking images of fiery-hued, crunchy leaves, just as easily as it does sun-ripened fruit from a summer’s orchard. I will be donning this playful, yet sophisticated shade all the way through till September.

5. RUSK Hair Care Heatshift Re-Styling Cream

My hair is extremely curly and therefore constantly drenched in some sort of serum, gel, or cream just so that it is manageable and doesn’t become a complete ecosystem of its own. I love to straighten my hair, if not to get perfectly pin straight strands, but to turn my tight spiral curls into loose, beachy waves. Because of all of the heated torture that I put my hair through, I try to use products that are made from heat-styling and this is my favorite of all of the ones I have tried so far. It is hydrating without being heavy, light without being sticky and it keeps my hair from breaking. I have been able to see a visible improvement in the healthy of my hair (almost no breakage). The fact that this stuff smells absolutely delicious is the cherry on top.

Are there any products that you are particularly loving right now? I am always on the hunt for new lotions and potions so please feel free to let me know!

xoxo,

Alicia