Clarins “Rosewood” 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette review, swatches | 2016 vs Eye Quartet Mineral formula

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clarins Rosewood old vs new review swatches

The product: Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette Smoothing & Long-Lasting in 02 Rosewood

When I found out that Clarins’ Eye Quartet Mineral Palettes were being reformulated and relaunched as 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palettes, I was heartbroken. They’ve been my go-to eyeshadow range for half a decade, and I loved the old quads so much that they even had their own tag here on theNotice – something that I reserve only for my very favourite products.

Rosewood in particular was one of my favourites, so much so that I bequeathed my original to my sister and caved not three months later to re-buy one for myself. So, when I found out that it would be in the new range as well but that the shades themselves wouldn’t be duplicated, I was furious.

Until I tried it.

Clarins Rosewood neutral eyeshadow palette review swatches

The shades: Frustratingly enough, the old 03 Rosewood and the new 02 Rosewood are entirely different palettes. They’re just similar enough to be confusing, but different enough that I would have appreciated Clarins giving the new palette a distinct (and far less confusing) name.

The old 03 Rosewood contained 1) a transparent white shimmer, 2) a light, satiny salmon pink, 3) a warm, taupey brown frost, and 4) a dry, subtly shimmery chocolate brown. It’s a much warmer palette, and it’s an excellent representation of what Clarins quartets used to be: one sparse shimmer, a colourful satin, an easy-to-wear frost, and a sooty liner shade.

Clarins 4 colour eyeshadow palette rosewood swatches review photos labelled

(L) old Clarins 03 Rosewood Ombre Minérale / (R) new Clarins 02 Rosewood Palette 4 Couleurs

The new 02 Rosewood, contains 1) a sheer white satin with a pink duochrome, 2) a much more intense orange frost, 3) a cooler taupe frost, and 4) a dark, matte mauve. The taupes (#3) of the new and old palettes are the most similar; the newer version is just a bit more purple/less orange.

The new 02 Rosewood is cooler and less natural-looking overall, with stronger pigmentation and plummier tones.

Clarins Rosewood swatches old vs new eye quartet palette

Clarins 03 Rosewood Eye Quartet Mineral Palette (Ombre Minérale 4 Couleurs) / Clarins 02 Rosewood 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette (Palette 4 Couleurs)

Clarins Rosewood 4 colour eyeshadow palette 2016

The formula: The updated Clarins quartet formula is even better than the original, too. I’ve always loved Clarins palettes for the way that their super-smooth finishes blend seamlessly into the lid, and these new shades do the exact same thing–but better.

They’re less dry and more pigmented, so you can easily buff in each eyeshadow until it looks seamless with your skin OR apply them over a sticky primer for a really intense look. (Like the old palettes, the new ones can also be used wet.)

They also have better wear than the originals; I’ve never had a problem with creasing with these palettes, but the new formula looks a little more intense at the end of the day.

Clarins 4 couleur minerale review vs comparison 4 colour eyeshadow palette - packaging

Packaging update: old on left, new on right

The verdict?

I have mixed feelings about these new Clarins palettes. They lack the magic of the old ones (those transparent shimmers are basically the light of my makeup collection), but at the same time, I think they’re better palettes overall. The updated formula is butterier and more pigmented, and even the shape of each eyeshadow pan is easier to work with.

Regardless of the comparison between the old and new, the Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palettes are excellent quads to add to your makeup collection. They’re beautifully formulated, pretty stunning, and altogether just very chic!

Availability: $43 USD/$43 CAD at department stores and online.

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Sunshine Tonic: My Demeter Blending Trio review | Gin & Tonic, Clean Skin, and Sunshine

Friday, August 19, 2016

Demeter Custom Blending Kit review photos

The products: Demeter Fragrance Library Gin & Tonic, Clean Skin, and Sunshine Cologne Sprays

You know when there’s something that’s so exciting that you want to share it with all of your friends right away? For me, this Demeter post is just that. (You guys are the friends, in case that part wasn’t clear.)

I very recently received a personalized Demeter Foolproof Blending Trio from their Classic Catalogue thanks to a collaboration that I’m doing with the CBB, and I’m feeling pretty ready to review the trio. Demeter’s single-note fragrances are all pretty comprehensible, so it wasn’t too big of a task to get to know these three in depth.

Did you know that… Demeter is a family owned business? It’s true! All of their products are also cruelty-free, and 95% of them are derived from natural or renewable resources.

Demeter custom blending trio review classic kit

The scents on their own 

My kit included three bright, clean fragrances that were all a little sharp to my nose. They’re not austere like the CB I Hate Perfume line is (fun fact, Christopher Brosius’ first perfume line was actually Demeter), but they’re fun. They’re good for the price, and they’re nice if you want a scent to briefly amuse your nose and then leave you alone.

(But for real: is this a thing that other people want? Because it’s a thing that I want sometimes.)

Demeter clean skin review

Clean Skin ($18 USD/1 oz), one of Demeter’s most popular scents, smells remarkably different on the skin than it does on paper. I’m not a fan of the “floral candy” scent itself, but this is exactly how I love to wear my fragrances: in many spots, but very, very sparsely. It would be a lovely fragrance for someone just finding their olfactory footing.

After the first fifteen minutes, Clean Skin smells like a nice fabric softener. No complaints or judgement–a great fabric softener scent is super tough to find–but take from that what you may.

Demeter Gin and Tonic cologne review

I was incredibly excited to try Gin & Tonic ($18 USD), and I liked it well enough – but it can be a bit obnoxious. It smells a bit like a drugstore shower product, sweet and tangy with plenty of citrus, but it’s just not boozy at all on my skin.

Like most of the Demeter line, Gin & Tonic is fun to throw on but lacks any real longevity. It too plays much better on my skin than it does on paper (where it smells kind of like sticky booze), though, so your mileage may vary. On a hot day or with the right skin chemistry, this is a real treat!

Demeter sunshine review

Finally, I spent some quality time with Sunshine ($18 USD), which had the most lasting power by far. It smells like the summer, not sunshine: warm and sweet and a little chemical-y.

I am loathe to say this about anything, but I hated it. I hated it all around. I’d rather smell like a chic robot than a human being with an urge to go to the exhibition, but if that’s your thing… hey, maybe you could love this as much as I don’t. Balance the scales for me.

Demeter custom blend

My custom-blended Sunshine Tonic

Is a Sunshine Tonic a drink, a cure for the blues, or a 9 AM shot of gin on the morning after?

I honestly have no idea, so I’ll tell you what a Sunshine Tonic feels like instead. It’s mostly Gin & Tonic with just a tenth of Sunshine, and it feels like summer afternoons. It feels like running in a grassy field slathered in mosquito repellant, water in the distance, cold feet and a chilly wind cutting the summer day. It’s simple and heavy-handed, but just made of pure joy.

The sweetness of Sunshine is overpowering, and just a touch turns Gin & Tonic into a family-friendly affair. It’s a weekend at the lake as kids, you know? Not something that you’d want to do every day, but something that makes you smile when you think of it. 

Demeter custom blending trio review

The verdict?

If you’re going to love the Demeter line, you totally already know that you will. It contains an astoundingly wide range of very simple scents, and it gets you because they’re just so easy to mix together.

I didn’t love any of these scents on their own, but you know what? This fragrance blending kit is FUN. It’s some of the most fun that I’ve had all month, and I would do it again at the drop of a hat.

So the scents smell a little cheap and don’t have a lot of lasting power – it’s not about starting a niche perfume business. It’s about having fun; it’s a Paint Nite for your nose, except it’s easier to hide any botched projects and you don’t have to desecrate the word “night” to do it.

Availability: $45 USD for the trio and blending kit. ($59.40 USD if bought separately).

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CalExotics Inspire Kegel Exerciser, Dilator Kit, Flickering Arouser reviews & giveaway!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit review

The products: CalExotics Inspire Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser, Silicone Dilator Kit, and Flickering Intimate Arouser

This spring, CalExotics released a range of products in collaboration with Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The range, labelled Inspire, aims to raise awareness of the sexual side effects of breast cancer treatments and includes products that are actually designed for those experiencing things like decreased libido and difficulties having sex, like breast massagers, vibrators, and “teasers”.

CalExotics didn’t just throw in on an awareness campaign; they actually designed and produced niche products to help specific individuals who may be struggling to have sex (but want to) to do so – and that’s pretty cool of them.

A portion of each sale goes to Living Beyond Breast Cancer (unfortunately, the exact figure or percentage is undisclosed,) and the prices range from $78.99 – $136.99 USD.

Updated 22/08/16: 5% of the proceeds from the CalExotics Inspire line are donated to LBBC! 

CalExotics Inspire Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser

Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser

The CalExotic Inspire Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser is a fairly standard product done well – but it has its flaws. I will start, however, with the good stuff.

It’s moderately strong with nice, rumbly vibrations (3 speeds, 7 patterns), a plush, waterproof silicone covering, and a squishy tip. It charges via USB and runs for 30 minutes on high/1.5 hours on low on a 2.5 hour charge. It has a long cord for easy retrieval and and makes a great clit vibrator, too.

CalExotics Inspire review Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser

CalExotics Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser review

However, I wasn’t able to get the full use out of this product. The remote that came with the product refuses to pair with it, and even without the remote, it has one big problem: it turns on, and I don’t mean intentionally. This little guy will start rumbling away like a jackhammer in the middle of the day when it’s charging; in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping; during dinner, when drilling sounds suddenly start emanating from the bedroom.

It is, to say the least, undesirable. My product may just be faulty, and I hope that it’s alone in this regard, because the vibrator itself is excellent (if a little short-lived).

Availability: $129.99 CAD at Well.ca, $99.99 CAD at PinkCherry.ca, and $79.99 USD at PinkCherry.com. (Free shipping on all 3 sites, plus an extra 30% off at PinkCherry right now with code DEAL30.)

CalExotics Inspire Flickering Intimate Arouser review, photos

Flickering Intimate Arouser

I have some pretty mixed feelings about the CalExotics Inspire Flickering Intimate Arouser. On one hand, it is a pretty darn unique product – similar, I’m guessing, to something like the Squeel, but definitely not something that I’ve ever seen before. It too is completely waterproof, and the useable portion of this toy is completely made from silicone, featuring a “tongue” that really does vibrate and flicker rapidly.

It is, however, HELLA LOUD. I did not know that sex toys could be this loud. It feels great and (for me) produces a very drawn-out, intense orgasm, but good lord, it sounds like a blender. On high, it is SO UNBELIEVABLY LOUD that if I’m watching or listening to something, I cannot make out the words.

(I tested this theory by parking the arouser next to a Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, of course. Because reasons.)

If you’ve always wanted a flickering toy, then I suppose this is worth the investment – it’s pretty cool. But for most of you out there, I’m not recommending this one. It’s so clunky and so loud that it’s not even just an inconvenience; it’s an actual turn off.

Availability: $59.99 USD at PinkCherry.com

CalExotics Inspire Flickering Intimate Arouser review

CalExotics Inspire Silicone Dilator Kit review photos

Silicone Dilator Kit (and giveaway!) 

Aaand finally, we have the last Inspire item that I received for review – and it’s so good that CalExotics and I are giving a free set away to one reader! 

I have vestibulodynia (a condition that as many as 1 in 4 women experiences), so I’ve owned a number of dilator sets throughout my life so far. This one is by far my favourite. Unlike the cylindrical plastic sets of yesteryear, it contains five gently curved, slowly tapered dilators of 0.5″ to 1.25″ in diameter, and each one has a ring on the end rather than an awkward, popsicle-style handle.

CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit review photos size CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit giveaway review

Dilators are a pretty simple product, so I don’t think I really need to say more than that. These ones are really easy and comfortable to use, and while I don’t typically experience vestibulodynia symptoms anymore (thanks to feedback training, lidocaine, and my great OBGYN), I use them frequently to do internal stretches or warm up my muscles before sex. They make a big impact on how active my pelvic floor pain is, and I couldn’t recommend them more wholeheartedly.

So, if you want to win your very own set of Inspire Silicone Dilators, just enter using the widget below. While best used in conjunction with treatment from your gynecologist, they’re a great tool for anyone with pelvic floor pain, vestibulodynia, or even just anxiety about sex! 

Availability:$89.99 at Lovehoney (US/US/Can), $69.99 USD at PinkCherry.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit review photos giveaway

This giveaway will be open to US & Canadian residents over 18 until 11:59 PM MST on August 31st, 2016. For full rules, please read the terms included in the widget above. 

Olio E Osso, Vice lipsticks, Wildfox perfume, and more… | New 12/08/16

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I have no idea what’s going on at Saint Laurent right now, but I’m totally enamoured with the idea of these chic Yves Saint Laurent Le Vestaire Des Parfums collection. These five scents (Tuxedo, Caban, Saharienne, Trench, and Caftan) bring couture to the boudoir with classically cut square-cut glass and jewel caps. 

And then there’s this… For some reason, I couldn’t put it into the widget, but how lovely does this sound? A perfume oil with notes of absinthe, incense, honeysuckle, jasmine, and musk. (Wildfox Perfume Oil, $49 USD).

Wildfox Perfume Oil

How to set your sponsored content rates | The business of blogging

Thursday, August 11, 2016

As a blogger, one of the hardest things to figure out is how much you should be charging for your content. Companies are often unwilling to pay bloggers unless they set their own rates, and in an industry that’s very closed-doors about how much everyone is charging, it can be difficult to figure out where your ballpark should even be (much less the exact figure that you want to aim for).

Earlier this year, I surveyed a number of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers to anonymously find out how much they were charging. Here are those results.

how much to charge for a sponsored post

Montly unique visits average beauty blog

Average monthly visitors for the blogs surveyed.

Background information

First off, if you missed the rest of my Business of Blogging series, you can view the first few posts here, or at the links below!

How to start a beauty blog (and what to expect once you do!)

How to monetize your blog, partner with brands, & more: The do’s and don’t of blogging

Additionally, I wanted to share a bit of information about the bloggers who took this survey before we begin. Most of the respondents were beauty bloggers (84%), and on average, they posted 2-3 times each week. 

The number of unique visits and page views that these blogs saw varied greatly, but they averaged 14 000 monthly unique visitors and 29 000 monthly page views. 63% of bloggers mostly waited to be approached by brands, and there was no significant difference noted in the rates secured by bloggers who took the initiative to approach brands.

making money blogging tips

Sponsored posts

For a single sponsored post, most bloggers are charging about $250. A further breakdown follows:

  • 100 000+ monthly visitors: $1200-$1800 per post. Average $1500.
  • 10 k to 90 k monthly visitors: $60-$500 per post. Average: $280.
    • Instagram: $15-200 per post. Average: $100.
  • 50 to 9000 monthly visitors: $10-400 per post. Average: $125.
    • Instagram: $24-$150 per post. Average: $45.

Within each of these tiers, much of the discrepancies can be explained by bloggers’ Instagram follower counts. With almost no exceptions, those with over 15k followers on Instagram were the ones commanding the upper range of each spectrum, and those with under 10k followers were charging the lower end of each.

Blog stats aside, here’s how everyone’s Instagram numbers broke down when examined on their own:

  • Under 3k followers: $15-$100 per post. Average $30.
  • 3k to 50k followers: $25-$400 per post. Average $125. *Note: this category’s data set was all over the place. Outliers aside, most bloggers in this category charge $100 per post. 

How to set a sponsored post rate instagram

Sponsored content rates vs monthly visitors

Sponsored post rates vs. unique monthly visits. Note: outliers were excluded from this scatter plot because frankly, the rest of the data looked like one big lump with them included. For the full range of the survey, please read the textual content of this post.

Blog sponsorships and banner ads

Far fewer bloggers offered blog sponsorships and banner ads than sponsored posts, but there were more than I had expected! 26% of bloggers offered sponsorships and 34% of bloggers offered banner ads, with sponsorship fees being consistently higher than banner ads.

  • Over 10 000 monthly visitors: Average sponsorships $300/month, ads $50/month.
  • Under 10 000 monthly visitors: Average sponsorships $100/month, ads $35/month.

Event coverage

For event coverage, most bloggers either charged nothing or charged around $200. 

Because only 20% of respondents included data for this section, I will not be drawing any additional conclusions.

email newsletters

how to charge for event coverage blogging guide

Overall conclusions & tips for getting a better rate

I’m hoping that these averages will help provide you with a starting block for how much you can be charging if a brand requests specific content or coverage from you, but they’re not at all a definitive guide.

One of the things that I learned while going through these rates was that nowadays, sponsored content rates are no longer only set by page views. Social media is a key determining factors in rate-setting, and a while a difference of 10k page views has no impact on a blogger’s rate at all, a difference of 10k Instagram followers can change the rate that they command by hundreds of dollars.

Sponsored post rates beauty blog

Instagram stats had the most significant impact on how much bloggers were able to charge, and Bloglovin’ stats seemed to have no influence at all. However, there was one big predictor for who saw the most visitors and those who made the most cash: the top five bloggers surveyed all posted daily or multiple times a day.

In conclusion? If you’re looking to make blogging a living, focus on growing your social stats – primarily Instagram and YouTube; not so much Facebook or Twitter. From there, stay honest, and make sure to update your blog daily if possible!

What are your tips for rate-setting and sponsored content? Leave your do’s and don’ts in the comments below!

Image sources: (1) (2

Libertine Fragrance Soft Woods EdT review, photos

Monday, August 8, 2016

Libertine soft woods roll on review photos

The product: Libertine Fragrance Soft Woods Eau de Toilette Roll-On

One of my favourite fragrances got a bit of a facelift recently, so I thought I’d take a moment to share it with all of you while it was fresh in my mind. Soft Woods (like the rest of the Libertine line) now comes in clear glass and a beautiful white box, but the scent and formula remain the same.

Libertine fragrance Soft Woods review photos

A little bit about Libertine: I’ve been trying my best to support local and indie businesses over the past couple of years, and Libertine Fragrance is basically the pinnacle of that–especially for me, because they’re based right here in Edmonton. Josh, the brand’s founder, is a forester turned designer who got hooked on perfume, and he now blends unisex fragrances right from the cozy comfort of his home.

(And yes, he still has a very forest-y beard. Hipster boys would weep in its wake.)

All of Libertine’s products are made by hand in small batches, and Josh uses a mix of high-quality synthetic and natural ingredients diluted in fractionated coconut oil or perfumers alcohol. Their blends are 60%-80% natural and are vegan and cruelty free, and all of the brand’s printing is done locally by a family-owned Edmonton business!

Edmonton indie Libertine Fragrance review, photos

The scent itself: I sniffed my way through the entire Libertine range at last year’s winter Royal Bison, but Soft Woods was the one scent that really stuck with me. It has this really guttural, sexy vibe to it, and it just envelops you in scent with the slightest touch of the roll-on.

Key notes and origins: Natural balsam fir (Canada), juniper (Hungary), black pepper (India), rose de mai (Egypt), frankincense (Oman), and bourbon vanilla (India). Synthetic, cruelty-free musk.

Indie soft woods fragrance review

What makes Soft Woods so special is that it’s sultry in a really natural kind of way – like hi, hello, I sleep in a pile of moss and everything I own is encrusted in gold and rubies. Small birds help me get dressed in the morning and my best friend is a cheetah. It’s woody, sweet, and floral, with an almost acrid edge that makes it alluring and risqué instead of headache-inducing or overpowering.

Basically, Soft Woods smells like what Tom Ford Black Orchid would have smelled like if it had been made for hipsters instead of ladies of the night. Both are gorgeous; one has far more veneer.

Soft woods review - Libertine Fragrance, edmonton

The verdict?

Soft Woods is a beautiful blend of woods, rose, and vanilla, and it smells like crisp winter evenings in utter silence. It’s one of those rare fragrances that hits it out of the park in every category, with a really genuine founder, excellently sourced ingredients, and the sillage of the roll-on is perfect for catching one’s nose and encouraging them to lean in for the full effect (nudge nudge).

Availability: $48 CAD at Libertine Fragrance and through these Canadian stockists. Ships internationally.

PS: If you’re addicted to Rahua products and Palo Santo wood (and really, who wouldn’t be), you NEED to try Libertine’s Leche De Palo Santo Linen & Body Spray ($32) as well!

Keep reading! »

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