Pretty In Bronze: reviews
Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts

Monday, March 30, 2020

Winter Empties Mini Reviews - Would I Repurchase?
March 30, 20200 Comments
Hello!

I thought I'd do a beauty/lifestyle related post rather than talking about wedding things, even though I have an update post surrounding that, which will likely be up next or in two posts! Today I wanted to share my empties from the past few months. There aren't many as I've rarely been wearing makeup and even more rarely buying new things. I want most of my content to be on this blog and Instagram since during this time I won't have easy access to my camera (self-isolation and all that) and this is much more manageable for me.

My first category is makeup + tools



The Beauty Blender makeup sponge is my favourite sponge that I've used so far. I've tried sponges from Quo, Real Techniques, and a few other affordable ones and they just don't compare to the Beauty Blender in my opinion. The BeautyBlender Pro is my favourite and I've used this one for a bit more than two years (I know, that's crazy!) I clean mine really well and have never had a problem with them growing any mold. Even when I used the pink original ones, I made sure to check and would normally keep one for an entire year and cut it open when throwing it out. Never any mold, but the sponge itself would start to disintegrate and leave little pieces all over my face.

The L'Oreal Bambi mascara was really nice for an everyday mascara when not wearing a full face. It definitely gave a doe eye effect and was really good at separating my lashes. I received that one for free to test out, which was also the case for the Revlon brow pencil. I really like the Revlon pencils and so far it's my favourite from the drugstore. This was the thin pencil one (I'm not a fan of their chubbier one), but I wasn't a fan of the powder portion that  is easy to miss. That's a bit too messy for me. The spooley works, but nothing compares to my ABH eyebrow brush spooley.

Now for the lips!


 I go through lip-balms quite quickly and rarely lose them anymore. Out of these three there's only one that I would re-purchase and that's the Cuter Cuticles lip balm. I have two more of these in different flavours. This was the watermelon flavour, which wasn't my favourite in terms of scent since it's a natural watermelon scent instead of the fake candy scent that I love. The lip balm itself is amazing and I bought it at the 2019 Indie Expo. I'm on the vanilla one now!

The Laneige sleeping mask is nice, but I don't understand all of the hype around it. I personally don't think the price tag is worth it at all, and much prefer my Catrice Shea Butter lip treatment, at a fraction of the price with MUCh nicer packaging. It just works way better. The scent is nice and I might consider purchasing if it was in the $5 range, but it's not so I wouldn't recommend this one.

The Softlips lipbalm is really old, but I decided to finish it up. It's nice and smells really good and at one point was a favourite, but it doesn't compare to my Cuter Cuticles and especially not to my favourite lip balm of all time from Surya Brasil. Natural lip balms work way better for me, which isn't a big shocker.

Face and body moisturizers


These were all samples, which makes it difficult to give a proper review. Out of these three, the Caudalie (which I got as a Sephora Birthday Gift a few years back) is my favourite. It was great for the daytime and I kept it in my bag for days that I forgot to moisturize, or needed extra hydration.

The North American Hemp Co face cream was good for night time, but the sample was too small for me to be able to tell if it actually helped much with lines. As a regular moisturizer it's nice, but I don't love it as much as my The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors (which is super affordable too). I got this one for free in an old Blogger Box that I received for consideration.

The Renewed Hope moisturizer was all right, but nothing special. It was super small so I think I only got a handful of uses out of it, only using it on trips where I brought my travel skincare bag. It was so small that I can't recommend or not recommend it.


I've purchased and have been sent so many moisturizers these past few years, but my favourite has always been Cetaphil. I know there are mixed opinions on the brand. Some people absolutely love and swear by it and I fall into that category as it's great for my sensitive skin, doesn't contain added fragrance and their face care products have helped majorly with my acne issues. Some people hate it because of their parent brand (not cruelty free I'm pretty sure), the higher price tag and it doesn't seem to work the same for them. I love it and will always recommend it, but like with everything else, do your own research!

The North American Hemp Co. body lotion is the same size as the face cream sample I reviewed above. I maybe got two uses out of this so it definitely wasn't enough for me to give a review. It didn't irritate my skin, likely because it doesn't have added fragrance. I can't tell you much else so I'll end it on that note.


Face and body wash!



I think I've reviewed this on this blog (and if not, I have a review on my Instagram page), but this is a huge favourite for both myself and especially my Fiancé Steven. I love this for when my skin is extra greasy, sometimes after a bigger workout or on a heavy makeup day (which are rare). It's a bit too drying for every day use, but Steven loves it because he believes drying your skin out is better for acne, despite my years of begging him to moisturize (he absolutely refuses).  This smells nice, foams up a lot (so a little goes a long way) and I repurchased one to put in Steven's stocking before this one ran out. We're staying at his parent's house as during this self-isolation period since I've been working from home (a week or two before it even started) and Steven ended up taking vacation days before finally being given a laptop to work from home as well. We live in a condo building, so it isn't as safe considering we have to leave to walk the dogs a few times a day, and this is the only face wash we brought since it's less bulky. I've been putting on more moisturizer to combat it, but it's been nice because my skin has been a huge break-out filled mess from all the stress of re-scheduling our wedding and being on my period, etc. This is also affordable so we highly recommend it!


I got this body wash for free either from Influenster or from Topbox a long time ago. I used to be bad about using body wash and would just use whatever bar soap was nearby, but this winter I was good about it and finally went through this big boy. Steven uses his own body washes so this large one took me a while to go through myself. I LOVE how this one smells and it's not only fairly affordable but it's very natural, cruelty free and vegan! If we hadn't bought a costco-sized package of a different body wash months ago (on sale) I would've likely purchased a new one of this, or one of their other scents. It'll probably be another year or so before I go through all of the bodywash I currently own, but when I do I'll be sure to look out for this. I highly highly recommend it and I'm curious about their other products!


Haircare


One of the products I've most been sent to review has been Shampoos and Conditioners. This is great for me because I don't use regular drug-store shampoos on my hair since it's been very damaged in the past, and it's naturally curly. I also only wash my hair once a week to keep it as healthy as possible, so I need a good shampoo to do its job. I was originally sent a set of Saryna Key haircare products a few years back, but I loved them so much that I repurchased the Shampoo, which I'm already halfway through as I've exclusively used it for the rest of the winter since finishing this one up. This is hands down my all-time favourite shampoo and likely the one I'll use on my wedding day because I know it'll make my hair look and feel its best. There are many others I love, and my hair is the type where it needs to switch products every once in a while so for self-isolation I brought a different set to give my hair a break from this one, but once the wedding is near I'll definitely switch back to this one a week or two before so my hair is ready to look its best! This is very natural and is great for damaged hair and even though it's not drug-store priced, it's 100% worth it. I highly recommend and will continue to repurchase!

Deodorant/Anti-Perspirant


Ok this is a bit of a weird category, but recently I've seen a lot of people talking about these types of products again. The Secret gel antiperspirants are my favourites for how it feels and smells. They don't make the underarms of my clothes go all weird and they feel fresh (with many different available scents. Whenever they're on sale I'll buy them because I'm a super sweaty girl.

The Degree motion sense aerosol antiperspirant was really good, but I almost choked every time I sprayed it. It worked really really well, but I know aerosols are bad for the environment, and getting it in my lungs at a time like this isn't the best idea so I likely won't repurchase. I hope they can make a stick or gel version of this that works the same way because I'd definitely purchase it myself for workout days. I'm currently using a completely different brand I've never tried before so we'll see how that one goes.

I'm excessively sweaty so I NEED an antiperspirant to keep my clothes from not being completely drenched, so simply using a natural-deodorant isn't an option for me unfortunately. However, do your research into it. Some people say they're deadly and others say they're completely safe. Look into actual scientific data so you can make the best decision for you!


That's all for this empties review / would I (re)purchase. I hope you enjoyed and will stick around to see my future posts!

See you soon!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Shea Noir Natural Ivory Shea Butter Review
February 20, 20200 Comments
Hello!

Several weeks ago I received a package from Shea Noir, a family owned local brand (a mother and her sons) that sells completely natural shea butter. I love being able to promote local brands because they're normally very good, but are underestimated because we're used to buying products from out of country here in Canada. I often find that the products are more natural and work way better and it's great being able to support local businesses, especially as a woman who is also an immigrant here in Canada!

I've never tried pure shea butter before this product and have always heard positive things since there are so many benefits to using it, so when Shea Noir reached out to me on Instagram, I was interested in giving it a go!


The package was very well protected and is much larger than I imagined. Because it's natural, the shea butter is kind of like a soft brick that crumbles, but if you warm it up with your hands it melts. Some of the claims on the packaging and on the brand's Instagram and Facebook page include that the product can help with acne and blemishes (mainly for lowering redness), reduce the look of wrinkles and other signs of aging as well as reduce itchy/peeling skin. I'm not surprised since shea butter is very moisturizing, so it makes perfect sense to me that those would all be true. This particular brand of shea butter is also very natural so it is chemical, preservative, paraben, phthalate and sulfate free, which makes it even better for sensitive skin! The brand is also cruelty free, so that's always nice.

The picture below shows what the shea butter looks like when I rip a small chunk off before I melt it with my hands.


This can be used in SO many different ways. At first I was just using it all over my face. The day after I received this, we were working on cars all day out in the cold, which meant it was also very dry. Because of this, I wasn't going to spend time making myself look pretty, so I decided to slather it all over my face to see if it would keep my skin nourished. It did! I feel like it also helped calm my acne down a bit since it didn't get irritated from the dryness. I don't know that it really made it go away faster, but it definitely didn't allow it to become aggravated.

I also sometimes put a bunch in my hair 30–60 minutes before washing it. I only put it on my ends since I only wash my hair once a week so the roots don't really need help. This definitely made my ends feel less dead and I'm interested in using this in conjunction with a few other hair products to make a DIY treatment to wear in my hair prior to washing it.

I can see myself using this a lot so I was very pleased when I saw that the price is only $15.99 CAD! There's A LOT of product so you're definitely getting your money's worth. This is something I definitely see myself purchasing in the future, particularly for when I get pregnant so I can keep my bump super moisturized to attempt preventing stretch marks and the uncomfortable itchy feeling that comes along with the stretching.

Go check out the Shea Noir website as they have so much more information there, and even fun recipes you can make with your shea butter!

See you soon!


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Zoya Sensual 2019 Collection ~ Review
October 12, 20190 Comments
Hello!

Nail Polish Canada reached out to me several weeks ago asking if I would like to receive the new Zoya 2019 Sensual collection in exchange for a review. I was surprised that they remembered me and my past nail biting habit and chose to reach out to me specifically seeing as I'm not great at painting my nails. I really loved the colours in one of the sets and have also used Zoya nail polishes in the past so I know I like the formula. It was a no brainer to me so I said yes and that's what today's post is all about.

Since you already know that I enjoy the Zoya formula, this is mainly to review the colours so lets jump into it!


I chose the warmer set out of the two because I'm obsessed with warm tones, pinks and nudes. The three are my absolute favourite. I find that the colours work very well together, so I've swatched them together and wore the first three for a week to see how they would hold up.



These shades (from left to right) are: Joss, Kinsley and Foster If I had to pick my favourite it would be Kinsley because it's a great nude on my skin tone that still leans pink, which is my favourite colour.


These shades (Also from left to right) are: Briar, Margaret and Rashida.

I'm not the biggest fan of reds so obviously Briar is my favourite, but the reds are really pretty and I can definitely see myself wearing them on Christmas, Valentine's day, Canada day and any other day that makes sense to wear red nail polish.

Now onto the nail swatches! As I've mentioned before, I'm not great at painting my nails and am in no way a nail blogger, but hopefully that'll be useful for those of you who are like me and just want to paint your nails at home and aren't professionals.


I really should've prepped my nails (including my cuticles) beforehand, but this is just two layers of the polishes added to my nails, directly after removing my old polish. I didn't do buffing or anything so I think it looks pretty great considering the amount of bumps my nails have and how dry and uneven my cuticles are. This is my left hand and I am right handed, so I didn't struggle much with putting the polish on.



Here are the three darker shades. This is my right hand, which means I had to use my left hand to paint the nails. Obviously I suck at applying polish with my left hand, so please try to look past the questionable application and just look at the colours and how smooth they look.

After taking these pictures, I removed the nail polish from my right hand and re-painted it with the first three colours so I'd have matching nails for the week. I paint my nails once a week because they grow pretty quickly thanks to the multivitamin that I take daily. They look really bad if I don't redo them because of the gap, so even though the polish was still looking great, it grew out. This also helps keep me from biting my nails. It's very important to me that my polishes don't chip quickly because I will rip the rest off with my teeth, which will lead to me accidentally chipping a nail, which makes not biting them even harder.

I really love these colours and have kept them all while doing my nail polish declutter and can definitely see myself wearing them a lot. I'll definitely be wearing the first three a lot more, but that's ok because I have a lot of polishes to go through and have been making more of an effort to actually cycle through my polishes and make sure they're being worn.

Go check out the Sensual collection by Zoya on Nail Polish Canada if you want to purchase this set, individual colours or even the other set that they have available.

See you soon!





Friday, October 11, 2019

Does CBD Really Work? Calm By Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture + Bacon Dog Treats ~ Review
October 11, 20191 Comments
Hello!

Today's post is very exciting for me because I get to review something I've been wanting to buy for myself for months. Specifically I'm reviewing a few Calm By Wellness CBD products. They sent over a full size bottle of their Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture, a bag of their Hemp CBD Bacon Dog Treats and a sample packet with a few of their Hemp CBD Gummies. These were all sent to me for free in exchange for my honest opinion/review as well as a video so I'm going to link that at the end of this post in case you prefer watching rather than reading. The links to their products and website are affiliate links so I will make money if you purchase anything using them.

I also thought this fit perfectly because it's October, the month where we try to raise mental health awareness! I do recommend reading my review as I forgot to mention a few points in the video that could be useful.


I struggle with Anxiety, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I also have chronic joint pain all over my body, but the worst places are my right hip and my left knee. The only thing that these two things have in common other than existing for the bigger portion of my life is that they affect my sleep—specifically making it difficult for me to fall asleep at night.

I was at the point where I was going to make a visit to the clinic to be prescribed CBD that was THC free since none of the dispensaries (legal, because Canada) seem to carry anything with 0% THC. I also wanted to get CBD formulated for dogs because Chewy also suffers from anxiety and some joint pain (Like mother like son, am I right?) so I was very surprised when I received an email from the founder of Calm By Wellness, talking to me about their CBD products.

After a lovely video call (which is rare when dealing with companies I work with) all my questions had been answered about Help CBD Sleep Oil Tincture and I agreed to test the products out for a few weeks and providing a completely honest review. They threw in dog CBD treats for free, as well as a few surprise CBD gummies. I received the products on September 27th and have been using the Tincture every day since! I'm posting this review the same day that I finish it off to make sure I don't miss anything.

I kept track of everything on my period app (you can track everything, including key words) so I specifically looked at if I was having trouble falling asleep, having intense nightmares, waking up with joint pain, anxiety attacks, or anything new. The tincture contains several ingredients like lavender that are proven to improve sleep, so I wasn't surprised that I was falling asleep much quicker. For the first few nights, I was still waking up once or twice from my vivid dreams, but I was definitely having way less nightmares.

I also noticed that I wasn't waking up from joint pain, even though the weather has been all over the place. On the first week it literally jumped from 16 celcius on the Monday, to feeling like 36 on Tuesday, back to 12 on Wednesday. Weather changes always cause my pain to flare up so this was a big deal for me. The biggest thing I noted overall is that I wasn't waking up with strong heart palpitations.

Because the gummies came in a sample size packet (with three inside) I can't give a full review. What I will say from my experience is that I felt a bit less anxious while out in public and at lunch with family. I'm very picky about food and tastes and did not like it, but if I could guarantee that it would always keep me calm when I go to busy places (especially in crowds) I can 100% look past the taste. I think I'm more of an oil/tincture girl though.

Chewy is in love with his CBD treats so I'm pretty stoked about that. He's pretty much fully stopped trying to bite his dew claws off (a habit that his vet confirmed he's developed due to his anxiety)so I know they work for him. If you have a dog who might benefit, please talk to your vet and if they say it's ok, I HIGHLY recommend trying these ones because Chewy loves how they taste and they've really been helping him.









A post shared by Chewy (@chewythegriffonshire) on

I did try the tincture this (Friday October 11) morning, the same day I'm posting this review to see how it would work during the day, since it's specifically formulated to take before bed. Surprisingly, it didn't make me feel drowsy. It also didn't make me feel more awake, which makes sense since it's meant to help you relax. I'm sure some people may feel drowsy with it because it has a blend meant to help with sleep. I definitely felt more relaxed, but it's hard to tell based on today alone since I still have a cold (you can hear it in my voice in the video below) and it's the day before the long weekend so everyone seems more chill.

That's it for this review! These have definitely been working for me to help me sleep better so if you're interested I recommend trying the products out. If you really love them, you can save some money by picking the subscription option when checking a product out. Here's the video I filmed a few days ago providing a review (and showing how I take the tincture).



See you soon and if you're in Canada have a great long weekend!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Indie Expo Canada 2019 - My Experience, Press Products and What I Bought
September 13, 20190 Comments
Hello!

Last year was the first time I attended the Indie Expo in Toronto as a press member and it was pretty exciting! It was the second year that the event has been happening in Canada, but the first year it was in Toronto. I was invited back as press this year and I gladly agreed so this post is all about my experience there. I'll also be showing you what I got for free for being a press member, and what I purchased myself!

This event happens every summer at the Hyatt Regency hotel and is amazing for those of you who want to support indie brands that make great quality products. Nail polish is definitely the most popular product you will find from the brands so if you're into that, you need to check it out next year! You can't easily find products from most of these brands unless you're ordering online, so this event is a great chance to stock up on whatever you need and seeing it beforehand. Most booths had amazing deals running only for those making purchases at the event, so it's also a great way to save money.

If you're someone who likes to use natural products, or has a hard time finding cruelty free or vegan products, there's also a great variety of products across the brands that cater towards you. I personally prefer skincare to be as simple and natural as possible and indie brands are definitely the way to go. There are also many workshops you can attend before or after and you'll get to meet a lot of amazing people!

As Press, I got into the event about an hour before the doors opened to everyone who purchased a ticket. This allowed me to go around and take pictures of every booth and chat to those running the booths (often the owners or their employees) and ask whatever questions I had about particular products. Some of the booths had free gifts for press members so I got to bring a few goodies home with me aside from what I purchased.


These are all of the products I received for free as press this year! Last year the VIP bags were free for press so I had a lot more, but this year it was not and because my wedding is happening in the near future, I couldn't afford to purchase it. 

Cuter Cuticles has this new Cutie Care Cream for your cuticles that is similar to their Barrier Butter—I received one last year—and this new version does the same thing, but absorbs even faster! There is a non-scented version as well as a bunch of scents to pick from on their website!

Bees Knees Lacquer gave me a baggie with a lovely teal nail polish named 'Colossal Claude' as well as a sample of their Meringue in the scent 'Lure' and their Cuticle Butter in 'Sand Snakes.'


While at the Cuter Cuticles booth, I was raving to the owners about how much I loved the lip gloss and cuticle oil from the free pr samples from last year, but sadly learned that they no longer have the lip gloss available. I was very pleased that they located one of the old press bags and ran across the room to give it to me! It was very lovely so THANK YOU again if you're reading this. It was very sweet and I really appreciate it! Now I don't have to nurse that lip gloss and have tons of cuticle products to last me through the next few years.


Here's a pictures of all of the Bees Knees Lacquer goodies! The nail polish is in the shade 'Colossal Claude," that doesn't seem to exist on their website. I'm not sure if it was a special limited shade for the event or part of a previous or future collection, but if you like the look of it, 'No Gods No Kings' is the most similar one I could find on their site! Their polishes are 5 free, which means it's way better for your nails since they don't contain the normal harsh ingredients. I'm wearing the nail polish a few pics down so you can see how pretty it is! Their Cuticle Butter in 'Sand Snakes' has a very tropical scent, while 'Lure' is  a fresh scent is inspired by Sirens from Greek mythology. The cuticle butter also came with a nail polish applicator to make applying it easier and mess free.


Now for my purchases! My budget was very minimal ($30 at most) because of my crazy wedding saving so I knew I had to focus on things I really wanted to try and value. One thing I cannot go a day without is lip balm so I run out of them at an alarming rate. I also want to get into nail polish more and learning now to do designs and figured it was about time that I got myself a stamper.


When I saw these Cuter Cuticles lip balms were only $2 each and offered so many different flavours, I couldn't pass them up. I honestly thought about getting one of each flavour, but that would've placed me above budget so I restrained myself (it was hard) and only picked up my top three favourite scents for lip balms. I'm currently using the Watermelon one and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! The scent isn't like watermelon candy (one of my favourite smells), but it's still really nice and you get a tiny waft of it once in a while. These are SO nice and are just as good as my other favourite lip balms (which are all also natural). I figure the three will last me a year and then I'll have to buy more in other scents if they're still around! As of right now I can't find them on the website, but I'm holding out hope!


While I still don't own the other items required to do nail stamping art, I'm very happy I picked this stamper up from Hit the Bottle. This has two stampers in one, which means I saved money and it will last me a lot longer. I have yet to purchase stamping polishes or the little design thing that you put the nail polish on in the first place, but once I do I will jump into nail art and will hopefully learn quickly! This was under $15 and it seems like it's very good quality, but I haven't used it yet due to not having the other required materials. Once I do have them and start playing around with it, I'll let you know how good it is!


I posted stories on my Instagram the entire time showing every booth, some of the products and some great deals so head on over and watch my Indie Expo highlight on my page to see it all!


That's all I have to talk about for the 2019 Indie Expo Canada! Thanks again for inviting me to be part of the official press team again!

See you soon!

@beautybyamysousa