After several weeks of busyness, I’m back with more mini-reviews on products I finished during the #MissionEmpties challenge! This challenge was so much fun and was such a great idea that I have decided to keep the spirit of it alive, and will be posting more product reviews after this post goes live, and in the future as well.
1. Clarins – MULTI-ACTIVE DAY (EARLY WRINKLE CORRECTION CREAM)
Clarins calls this product a “day cream”, but since it does not contain SPF the name of the product does not make sense. This is an “any time” cream. It’s rich, feels silky on the skin, and smells beautiful. If you do choose to use it in the daytime only, make sure you use a product with SPF over top of it! All things considered, it’s an excellent complement to their Multi-Active Night cream, which is one of my all-time favourites.
2. Neal’s Yard Remedies – NOURISHING ORANGE FLOWER TONER
This toner contains alcohol (second ingredient), but I didn’t find it to be drying at all. It has a cooling feel on the skin, which I found particularly refreshing on the beard area after shaving. Sadly, I think the lotion cleanser from this line is superior to the toner, but even the cleanser didn’t blow my mind. They were just okay. Average to above average. My next skincare purchase from Neal’s Yard will include products from their frankincense line.
3. Neal’s Yard Remedies – NYR MEN – CLOSE SHAVE CREAM
The major ingredients in this shaving cream are interesting, but interesting doesn’t always guarantee a slam dunk product… and compared to other similarly-priced shaving creams, this one really fell short for me. The cream contains red clay, apple juice, and olive oil. When I first purchased it I thought it would smell amazing, given that lavender and balsam are also on the INCI list, but blah… it smells gross – imagine taking a whiff of a mixing bowl that has wet clay, apple cider vinegar, and olive brine in it. The texture is chunky when it’s squeezed from the tube. The chunks disappear as it’s massaged into the beard area, but the looks of it still made me uncomfortable (pink chunky cream = unappealing). The first time I shaved with it I thought it was okay-ish, but the next day I had a really irritated chin and neck, so that was enough for me to relegate it to the task of body shaving only! Will not be repurchasing…
4. Guerlain – ORCHIDÉE IMPÉRIALE LE CONCENTRÉ ANTI-ÂGE ÉCLAT
Yay! A $500 serum! It smelled incredible and felt incredible… but what was in the sample was only enough for two uses, so who knows if it works in the long-term?
5. LUSH – TOOTHY TAB (BREATH OF GOD)
Filth. What a horrid idea! If you like chewing your toothpaste and having a mouth full of chalky foam with literally no breath-freshening ability or guarantee that you’re protecting your teeth from cavity, decay, etc., then you’ll probably like these. They have a few different flavours. How fun.
6. Ojon – RARE HARVEST TAWAKA – ANCIENT TRIBAL REJUVENATING CLEANSER
I was savouring this shampoo until the bitter end (I used this bottle on and off for several years… thankfully it didn’t make me lose all of my hair or grow a third arm or something, as it was well past the expiration date. I literally couldn’t let it go). This gem used to exist back when Ojon wasn’t owned by Estée Lauder (Origins). It had several rare harvested oils and extracts in it that Ojon couldn’t source fast enough to satisfy the demand at the time. This line was discontinued almost immediately after it launched. What can I say about this shampoo? First of all, the smell, which was intoxicating and would linger not only in your hair but in the bathroom as well. It smelled like a campfire and dark chocolate. I haven’t smelled anything like it to this day. It was gently foaming, but cleansed well. It also made your hair grow like crazy (probably from all the wildcrafted oils – this line was named after a tribe known for their long and beautiful hair, after all). It ticked all the boxes… and I am ticked that it’s gone, frankly. The conditioner was also incredible. *sigh*
7. RéVive – INTENSITÉ – MOISTURE SERUM EXTRÊME
This one gets the same review as the Guerlain serum above. It’s pricey – duh, it’s RéVive – some people will think it’s worth it, some won’t. It’s so hard to tell if a product is any good in the long run based on a sample! And when we’re talking almost $400, it’s a risky buy.
8. Melvita – ROSE EXTRAORDINARY WATER
I love a bit of Melvita, and I love rose-scented skincare products. I’m going to call this an essence rather than a water or a toner. It has the consistency of runny snot (yes, I went there). It sinks into the skin almost instantaneously and has a wicked tightening effect. This product isn’t available in Canada, but I wouldn’t hesitate ordering it from overseas if I was looking to fill a specific void in my routine/collection. Also, the scent is PROPER rose. Nothing artificial about Melvita products ever.
9. NARS – NARSkin RESTORATIVE NIGHT TREATMENT
It’s a gel. Gels are disgusting (in my opinion). Moving swiftly along.
10. Clarins – EXTRA-FIRMING TIGHTENING LIFT BOTANICAL SERUM
Smells great, but it’s a gel, and it peels, like most gels do. *grinds teeth* Always be wary of products that claim to be tightening, lifting, mattifying, and/or firming, because they often have film-formers or a shitload of different silicones, which tend not to play nicely with anything that goes over them. Even just agitating the product slightly as it’s absorbing will cause it to peel. Ugh. Sorry, Clarins!
11. Sunday Riley – LUNA SLEEPING NIGHT OIL
It’s the small sample pot if you’re trying to locate it in the picture! Okay, I’m going to have to eat my hat on this one… In my Q&A post, I used this product as an example in a horror story scenario. And it totally was… until it wasn’t. I don’t know what happened, to be honest. The retinol in this product isn’t particularly strong or concentrated, but it really gave me horrible flaking skin every time I used it. I’ve (recklessly) gone the whole hog with products containing retinol in a powerful % w/w and didn’t experience any sort of adverse reaction. Not sure why this one was different. Anyway, just as I was about to give up, I used it one last time and it was actually really good. Don’t you just love when that happens?! I also think it smells like those chalky Flintstone’s chewable vitamins from when we were kids, mixed with a hint of birdseed! My friend thinks it smells like crayons. 😉
12. Ojon – RESTORATIVE LEAVE-IN TREATMENT
Another discontinued product. Damnit, Ojon! And this was a good’un. It had the classic Ojon smell, was quite similar to their regular hair treatment balm that comes in a tub, but a much thinner texture. A small amount applied to damp hair would make it shiny as all hell and leave it smelling incredible all day. Seriously. I used to get compliments on how good my hair smelled. And I have short hair. And I’m a male. Don’t ask.
13. The Body Shop – HONEY & OAT 3-IN-1 SCRUB MASK
Um, yeah. “Scrub” is a misnomer. This couldn’t scrub dust off glass. It is such a classic product, though. It’s a clay mask that has bits of oatmeal in it. It smells great, feels nice and cold as it’s applied, and if you’re not an idiot rule-breaker like me and only leave it on for 10 minutes as recommended, it rinses off well, too! Even though it’s a clay mask, it leaves the skin calm and hydrated. I would buy it again, if only for the nostalgia hit. I’d call it the poor man’s version of the Diptyque Multi-Use Exfoliating Clay.
14. Caudalíe – PURIFYING MASK
A proper clay mask. It looks, feels, and smells super old-school. The plus side to this one is that it dries powdery rather than hard. I love it when clay masks do that. Ain’t nobody have time to sit there chipping a hardened mask off bit by bit! It’s expensive for what it is, though. And even though I’m usually enamoured by Caudalíe, I’m not going to rush out to repurchase this. It’s a plain clay mask at the end of the day.
15. Kalaya – RELIEF ULTIMATE PAIN RUB
I’m pretty sure the packaging on this stuff has changed… heck, the name might have changed, too! Oops. As far as I know, this is a Canadian brand, so oops again! If you’re a gym-goer, this is good stuff. Icy burn wherever it’s applied. I’ve been known to slather my feet and shins in this stuff after a night of cutting rugs. Smells very strongly of mint and eucalyptus.
16. The Body Shop – SHEA LIP BUTTER
I wasn’t wowed by this. I got it as a gift, though, so I’m not too bothered. I don’t think the smell and texture of their shea body butter belongs in a lip balm form. The watermelon one is my favourite, and is so much better!
17. Smith’s – ROSEBUD SALVE (MINTED ROSE)
I prefer this one to the original because it has a lovely minty burn. None of their lip balms do much for hydration, though… They feel substantial when first applied, but then they evaporate away into nothing and you find yourself reapplying. And that’s really annoying when reapplication involves dipping your finger into a difficult-to-open aluminum tin.
18. Burt’s Bees – BABY BEE DUSTING POWDER
Ugh, I’m pretty sure this one is discontinued, too. It may not be in other regions, but I’m almost positive it is in Canada! I’m working on my last of three containers I bought a while back. [Sidebar: I bought it for the scent, not because I knew it was going to be discontinued.] If you’ve ever had Rockets (Canada) slash Smarties (USA) or Sweet Tarts, then you’ll know exactly what this powder will smell like. Dusty honeyed apricot! My only gripe with this powder is that it’s not as finely milled as it could be… it does take effort to rub in. Also, “for babies”? I think not.
19. Melvita – PURIFYING DEODORANT (PEPPERMINT + THYME + SANTAL)
I’m partial to a roll-on deodorant every now and then… the only thing that’s annoying is the extra drying time, which is not required with stick deodorants for the most part. This one is great – it smells like sweet mint and sage. Yay for gender-neutral! I’m not a sweaty person – I literally never sweat, which is probably not ideal, but you take the good with the bad, right? This is adequate protection in terms of underarm odour for non-sweaty people. Being a natural product, it’s not as strong as your run-of-the-mill stick deodorant, but I don’t have a problem with that. It’s also fun to do the chicken dance in the bathroom as you’re waiting for it to dry. If the opportunity to repurchase it comes along, I will. In the interim, the Clarins roll-on deodorant is my holy grail.
[Sidebar: if you’ve ever smelled the Deep Steep Rosemary + Mint Hand Cream, the scent is identical.]