Haulage! The Ordinary by Deciem, Part I (March 2017)

DECIEM — The Ordinary “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum Review

This review is a long time coming! I’ve had a bit of a skincare misadventure over the summer, but now, I’ve finally used DECIEM’s popular “Buffet” peptide serum for several months and feel that I can give it a more detailed review.

Earlier this year, I was looking to overhaul my fairly basic skincare routine and picked up several skincare products from DECIEM’s The Ordinary, a line of pared-down products. I was never much of a serum-user, as my routine pretty much consisted of cleanser plus moisturizer, but having read a lot about serums—and about the Korean 10-step skincare routine, in particular—I was determined to expand my skincare horizons.

The first product from The Ordinary that I worked into a routine was the much talked-about “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum, which retails at a quite low price of CA$14.80. Other peptide serums can cost upwards of a couple hundred dollars, for the same 30 mL, so I was both very curious to see how effective The Ordinary’s product could be.

DECIEM The Ordinary Buffet Multi-Technology Peptide Serum

Peptide Serum Price Comparison Chart

For reference, here are some prices of peptide serums on beautyBOUTIQUE/Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora Canada, and Well.ca. All prices are in Canadian dollars. For products available in multiple sizes, I used the largest, most cost-effective size.

Before I started, I didn’t realize there were so many! But hey, gotta add them all.

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Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

Revlon — Mega Multiplier Mascara Review

I recently received Revlon’s new Mega Multiplier Mascara for review, and I was both excited and unsure what to expect, because throughout my twenty years of using mascara, I’ve somehow managed to have never tried a Revlon mascara. Ever.

It’s pretty odd, because I’m definitely a fan of some Revlon products. I can only assume it’s because Maybelline, L’Oréal, and CoverGirl take most of the drugstore mascara glory, and Revlon mascaras are never quite cheap enough for me to just toss in my shopping basket on a whim (like I’ve done with Annabelle, Essence, and Wet N Wild).

Anyway, their new mascara is actually a combination fiber and tubing mascara. I’ve used fiber mascaras in the past, but I don’t think I’ve tried a tubing one before. According to a cosmetics chemist: “Instead of the traditional oils and waxes used in mascaras, tubing formulas use a flexible polymer that is an excellent film former”, and works to thicken and lengthen eyelashes.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara info card

Mega Multiplier Mascara combines fibers and tube technology in one mascara, so it’s meant to seriously lengthen and thicken the eyelashes. Perfect, because my lashes are short and thin!

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fivezero's Topbox, July 2017, plus $10 Beauty Surprise

Topbox — July 2017

I recently resubscribed to Topbox (referral link), a Canadian beauty subscription that costs CA$12/month (shipping included!) for four beauty products. I had originally canceled it back in December 2015 because I felt I was getting too many of the same repeated items—Cake Beauty lotion, in particular. I chose to resubscribe last month because I’d been checking out some of the recent Topboxes and they looked pretty nice. Plus, $12 is really quite cheap considering it includes shipping.

Topbox offers a couple of different options each month. You can create a box wishlist from a list of “Privé” boxes, which typically consist of 1 or more items from a single brand (this month I recall seeing Privé options for Bobbi Brown, Dr Belmeur—there were quite a lot to choose from! I am just drawing a blank). You can wish for the Privé boxes that interest you, and depending on your luck, you might receive that box instead of the general Topbox. I’ve never personally wished for a Privé box—for whatever reason none of them has ever piqued my interest enough to forgo the regular box. I guess I just like getting a selection of brands!

Another option is the $10 Beauty Surprise, which you can add to your monthly Topbox. I believe I’ve only done it once (possibly twice?) and I remember receiving a full-size Teeez lipstick, which was awesome, except that it was red and I honestly have enough red lipstick. Nevertheless, I thought I’d do the Beauty Surprise this month—go all in!

My first Topbox, now that I’m back, is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, I got some great stuff that I will definitely use. The bag is well worth the $12+$10 I spent. On the other hand, I did get some repeat items!

What I Received as a $10 Beauty Surprise

  • Cake Beauty🇨🇦 Delectable Skin Perfecting Bronzing Body Lotion in Sweet Cream (100 mL full size) [value: CA$18]
  • Cake Beauty🇨🇦 Delectable Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Coconut & Cream (60 mL travel size) [value: CA$6]

Great, more Cake stuff! That was my first reaction, because I was already annoyed about receiving Cake lotion upon Cake lotion from both Topbox and their other subscription box, Luxe Box. I was initially also annoyed about getting a full sized bronzing lotion, since that isn’t something I normally use. But upon giving it a try on my skin, it turns out that it’s super subtle despite the way it looks in the bottle—and it smells awesome! I’ve never tried the Sweet Cream scent before, and it smells lovely and milky. So this is a reasonable win.
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Lumene Blueberry Curl Waterproof Mascara

Lumene — Blueberry Curl Waterproof Mascara (Rich Black) Review

As someone with short and stubbornly straight eyelashes, I’m always on the lookout for the next best waterproof mascara. For the record, my longtime favorites are CoverGirl Professional Waterproof and Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Waterproof (which is inexplicably no longer available on the Canadian market).

A year or two ago, I happened to see a waterproof mascara recommendation for lashes like mine, by a Finnish company called Lumene. I haven’t tried much in the way of Scandinavian cosmetics (just GOSH, H&M, and IsaDora, I think), and it seemed interesting enough to try out. It was available on Amazon to US addresses, so I had it mailed to family who brought it up for me.

I finally got around to trying this mascara last month—actually it looks like I waited too long, because Lumene have now revamped their lineup, and the closest product to this Blueberry Curl Waterproof Mascara is the new Blueberry Wild Curl Waterproof Mascara. The packaging kind of looks the same, so I’m hoping it’s just been renamed and is basically the same product.

Lumene Blueberry Curl Waterproof Mascara in Rich Black

  • The flexible plastic brush thickens and curls the lashes perfectly with no clumps
  • 100 percent organic arctic blueberry seed oil nourishes lashes and helps to keep them strong and conditioned
  • The flat brush with rounded sides lifts the lashes and gives a curled and curved result
  • The cone shaped soft and flexible plastic bristles grip the lashes and give them color from root to tip while efficiently separating them

Here are the ingredient lists from my old version and the new version. It looks like there are only minor differences in ingredient order (and a fixed typo).

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Mont Bleu nail care tools, 2017

Mont Bleu — Manicure Tools Review

This spring, I was contacted by Mont Bleu, a Czech manufacturer of manicure tools—many decorated with Swarovski crystals.

The company has been around for ten years, and alongside their specialty glass nail files and nail tools. As a sometime beader who often uses Swarovski (Austrian) and Czech glass beads, I was aware that the Czech Republic has a long and fine history in Bohemian glass manufacturing. Mont Bleu do their glass file manufacturing and decoration in-house, in the Czech Republic:

Mont Bleu Glass File production and decoration, Czech Republic

Mont Bleu Glass File production and decoration, Czech Republic.
Image via Mont Bleu

All these years Mont Bleu has been delivering only the best. Mont Bleu is a manufacturer of Czech made glass nail files, and a Design Atelier who make bijoux, and decorates beauty products, and gifts with SWAROVSKI® ELEMENTS.

Mont Bleu delivers its products all over the world, which is why clients from USA, Canada, from all over the EU, and Asia are buying our products with great pleasure.
Our company offers to your attention only quality production approved with quality certificates of the Czech Republic and European Union. Our glass nail files were tested and approved by Czech institute of health.

They offered to send me a selection of their products to try out. I simply let them know that I love glass nail files and use them exclusively, and they could select any other items they liked. Here’s what they sent me:

  • Set of 3 Rainbow Crystal Nail Files in Purple Pink
  • Mini Nail File in Waterfall (Tanzanite – Rose)
  • Original Foot Scraper & Callus Remover in Magenta
  • Two-in-One Nails & Cuticles Combination Scissors
  • Nail Cleaner
  • Cuticle Pusher

It was a lot more than I had expected to receive—many thanks to Mont Bleu!

They also included this postcard from beautiful Prague. I love postcards! Prague is on my list of places to go, one day. (Maybe I can visit their glass nail file factory!)

Mont Bleu, Postcard from Prague, Czech Republic

Postcard from Mont Bleu in Prague.

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Benton Papaya-D Sun Cream (SPF 38 / P+++)

Benton — Papaya-D Sun Cream (SPF38 / PA+++) Review

I’ve only just gotten into trying Asian sunscreens this summer (I dipped my toe in with Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream and Innisfree UV Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care, and have Missha All Around Safe Block sitting in my queue), and so far the Innisfree is doing very well, indeed. Recently, I also received the new Benton Papaya-D Sun Cream in exchange for an honest review, and was delighted to test it out!

Benton — Papaya-D Sun Cream (SPF38 / PA+++)

Seoul-based Benton Cosmetics was founded in 2011 by two brothers, JangWon and ChaeWon Lee. The company is perhaps best known for its Snail Bee skincare products. (There’s an amusing story behind the name: it’s a mispronunciation of the the titular, reverse-aging character’s name from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an entertaining F. Scott Fitzgerald short story—I haven’t seen the Brad Pitt film, but that version is specifically what the brothers reference.)

Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Surely it’s Cate’s skin we’re all coveting, and not Brad’s?
Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).

Benton is one of the smaller Korean brands—as it isn’t owned by one of the major conglomerates—and it is cruelty-free. Their main selling point is the use of natural ingredients and the freshness of their products due to Benton’s small-batch production.

The Papaya-D Sun Cream I received marks Benton’s first foray into suncare. It is a combination chemical-physical sunscreen: in order on ingredient list: titanium dioxide, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), isoamyl p-methoxycinnamate (amiloxate), and bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (bemotrizinol/Tinosorb S). Of the sunscreen ingredients, amiloxate and Tinosorb S are EU-approved and undergoing regulatory evaluation in the US. Benton is currently in the process of releasing a second, physical sunscreen containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Other beneficial ingredients include papaya fruit water and papaya fruit extract, which contain vitamins, polyphenols, minerals, and papainPapaya seed oil helps to keep the skin to retain moisture. Niacinamide and adenosine work to brighten the complexion and smooth the skin. The product aims to not only protect the skin from UV damage and other external stressors, but also to moisturize and improve the complexion at the same time.

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OUAI Haircare CLEAN Shampoo

OUAI — CLEAN Shampoo Review

I love my Ipsy subscription nowadays, even though most things I receive are just a “like” for me. Mostly I just enjoy trying a variety of products and brands, which is why I feel that the subscription is worth it for me.

But occasionally, I do come across an item in my Glam Bag that prompts me to get spendy. Trust Fund Beauty is one recent example (I now have quite a lot of these nail polishes!). Another is OUAI, whose Treatment Masque for hair was a product I really enjoyed, even though I preferred using it as a conditioner rather than as a mask.

I was tempted to pick up the full-sized Treatment Masque, but it comes in single-use foil packs rather than in a nice squeeze tube like my sample came in. Ugh. So, I thought I’d venture into the rest of their product line.

Normally, I’d have picked up one of their conditioners, since that’s how I was using the masque, but I had recently finished up a couple of shampoos.

I decided I’d go for the CLEAN Shampoo when Ebates Canada was offering 8% cashback at Sephora (and, ahem, there was a clearance on some Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadows). In hindsight, the VOLUME Shampoo would have made more sense due to my current postpartum hair loss, but summer is upon us and I like to use a clarifying shampoo more often when it’s hot out.

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