Wantable Beauty Box review (AKA the ONE beauty box you should be subscribed to)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wantable Beauty Box review contents october

The product: Wantable Makeup Collection Beauty Box

A long time ago, a reader told me that what they loved about theNotice was that it always features something different — a product that no one else is talking about, or a brand that they’d never heard of before.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get back into that “something different” mentality, and I’m going to keep at it over the coming months. So, today, while everyone else is reviewing Memeboxes and Julep Maven subscriptions…. here’s the one beauty box that you haven’t heard of, but totally need to buy. 

Wantable Beauty Box review

The process

This Wantable box is from about a year ago (oops), which was both intentional and not: for a beauty box, I think part of what you pay for is the surprise. (But seriously, sorry that it took me SO LONG to finish this review). So, when you order yours, the selection of products will be different — but hopefully no less great.

Wantable review - subscription beauty makeup box

Wantable subscription review questionnaire

Parts of the Wantable customization process

Wantable boxes are a little more expensive than others, but they’re curated with 4-5 full-sized products for you. When you sign up, you complete a questionnaire about what products and shades you do and don’t like, and the box that you receive will contain plenty of what you tell them you want, and none of what you tell them you don’t. 

This, if you ask me, is the big difference between Wantable and other beauty boxes: the value of the box is actually relevant to you, and isn’t just a large price tag attached to a bunch of crap that you don’t care about.

Susan Posnick Colour Eye Define review swatch Copper Bronze

Susan Posnick Color Eye Define in Bronze/Copper (bronze liner end shown)

The box

My box came with five full-sized products and one sample (that, honestly, I didn’t care for). But the full-sized products were all products I never would have bought but loved anyways, including an angled liner that is altogether unique in my collection, a lipgloss in one of my favourite formulas, and a beautiful, vintage-y lipstick that I have lusted after for years.

The box also introduced me to two new brands, Mia Bellezza and Susan Posnick, with a lip pencil EDIT: JUST KIDDING THAT IS AN EYESHADOW; OOPS; EMBARASSING and a gorgeous brown angled liner. (Edited again: HOLY CRAP, that’s not a liner, that’s a liner-and-shadow and I feel like such a fool right now.)

Lise Watier Rouge Catwalk Haute Couleur gloss review swatch

Lise Watier Haute Couleur High Coverage Lip Colour in Rouge Catwalk, Echo Vie All Natural Lip Balm free sample

The contents of this particular box:

  • Echo Vie All Natural Lip Balm ($16 USD; sample shown, not swatched)
  • Susan Posnick Colour Eye Define in Bronze/Copper ($26 USD) – beautiful bronze-browns with gold shimmer. Only the liner (Bronze) end is swatched here, because I was an idiot and didn’t even realize there was a pigment (Copper) on the other end until after I took these photos! (The pigment is, if possible, even more gorgeous than the liner, and much more densely pigmented.)
  • Cailyn Shimmer Powder Eyeshadow in Charming ($12 loose) - beautiful periwinkle with pink shimmer; sub-par formula. (This swatch was layered five or six times with a damp brush!)

Susan Posnick Copper Bronze liner shadow review swatches

Susan Posnick Bronze/Copper Eye Define – eyeshadow end (aka my “holy crap” moment)

Lise Watier Rouge Catwalk, Susan Posnick Copper Bronze swatch review

Swatched L-R: Susan Posnick Copper/Bronze (Bronze liner end only) x 2 , Cailyn Charming, MiA BelleZZa Argento, Lise Watier Rouge Catwalk, Besamé Noir Red

  • MiA BelleZZa Color Stick Eyes in Argento (?) - non-greasy cream-to-powder formula. Pinky-peach with a beautiful golden sheen à la NARS Orgasm or MAC Nymphette.
  • Lise Watier Haute Couleur High Coverage Lip Colour in Rouge Catwalk ($23 CAD) – perfect. Perfect. Fruity scent and just a gorgeous, juicy red shade with subtle shimmer.
  • Besamé Classic Color Lipstick in Noir Red ($22 USD) - enough said. Vanilla-scented, bullet-shaped, and incredibly dense with pigment. An exquisitely executed semi-matte deep plum.

Besame Noir Red swatch Classic Color Lipstick review

Besamé Classic Color Lipstick in Noir RedBesame Classic Color Lipstick review swatches

*quiet whimpers*

The verdict?

If you’re looking for more than just a cheap thrill, then yes: I would absolutely, 100% recommend Wantable. It’s a great way to discover new brands and actually get your money’s worth out of a beauty box with value that’s actually relevant to you (not just a dollar sign), and I definitely want another one! My box contained about $90 worth of makeup, and three of them were products that I already wanted but would never have let myself indulge in on my own.

Also worth noting is that, for $36/month, you get 4-5 full-sized products of about a $20 value each — which I think is better than spending $15 on five deluxe samples or minis. It’s comparable to buying a set of beauty crackers for the holidays, except it’s not going to cost you $120 for six products, and none of them will be another !)@#%#^ sample-sized mascara.

Availability: $40 USD for one box, or $36 per month if you’re subscribed. Boxes ship for free to the US or for $6-10 to Canada, the UK, and Australia, and customs fees are charged at checkout if applicable, not at your door. Get it now at Wantable.com.

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Bio Beauté (by Nuxe) review: Detox Mask, Deodorant, Eye Cream, & Lip Balm | French luxury (and natural ingredients) on a budget

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bio Beaute by Nuxe review

The products: Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Vitamin Rich Detox Mask, 24hr Refreshing Deodorant, Eye Contour Care, and Tinted Replenishing Lip Balm

Have you heard of Bio-Beauté? Because until this package arrived on my desk, I hadn’t. But this affordable, Écocert-approved range (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) has some products–one in particular–that are really worth a look.

⇒ All Bio-Beauté products are free of parabens & mineral oil and are comprised of at least 95% ingredients of natural origin — so they’re non 100% from the earth, but they’re pretty natural. All four products featured here are also silicone-free!

Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Orange Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask

The showstopper: a mask, in gel form

Ladies and gents, it is difficult for me to tell you how much I LOVE this mask. (A lot. I love it a lot.) It is the first and only mask that I have ever loved, and boy: do I ever love it.

To start off, Bio-Beauté’s Vitamin Rich Detox Mask with orange water ($27 CAD/50 ml) feels nothing like you would expect it to in the jar —  in fact, it is so weightless that I thought perhaps my jar was empty. But, upon opening, it presents as a stiff, translucent gel; perfectly wobbly and smelling divinely of juicy mandarin oranges.

(And yes, okay, sometimes I open it just to smell it. But only sometimes. Not like, every time I pass by it or anything like that.) (Twice a day, at most.)

Bio Beaute Detox Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (AKA ORANGE JELLY GOODNESS)

99% natural, Bio-Beauté’s Detox Mask is a treat to use: once a week, you simply slather on a fingerful (1/2 tsp is plenty for your whole face, so one jar will last a very long time), wait five minutes, massage it in (it’ll turn to an oil), and then rinse off with warm water. I don’t need a lot of detoxifying or clarifying, but I definitely found that this left my face feeling smoother right after I used it — just make sure not to wash it off with soap.

This mask is meant to be used once or twice per week on any skin type, but I like to use it just whenever I feel like my skin could use some extra smoothness. It’s perfect for facial massage, a morning mask, or “small event prep”: that is, before a meeting or date night or even just lunch with your friends. It’ll give you that extra boost, but it’s affordable enough that you don’t need to ration it out!

Bio Beaute Tinted Lip Balm Raspberry review

Bio-Beauté Tinted Repairing Lip Balm – Raspberry

Everything else: eyes, lips, and underarms

I wasn’t super enamoured with any of these, so I’ll go over them really quickly.

First, there’s the Tinted Repairing Lip Balm with raspberry pulp ($14 CAD/15 ml; 100% natural), which I hated. It smells kind of gross (not like vanilla, peach, pear, and raspberry, as promised) and separates quite badly in the tube.

Bio Beaute Aluminum Free Deodorant review

Bio-Beauté Aluminum and Alcohol-Free Deodorant

Then there’s the Energizing, Anti-Puffiness, Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care with clementine cells ($25 CAD/15 ml; yes, that really is its whole name), which is 98.7% natural. It seemed quite basic to me; scent-free and fast-absorbing, but with no major de-puffing effects.

Finally, there’s the 24 hr Refreshing Deodorant alcohol-free, no aluminum salts ($12 CAD/50 ml), which is 98.9% natural and does seem to keep odour at bay. However, it smells really weird – exactly like those mall candies with the bananas. (Edited to add: Wonka Runts). Which isn’t necessarily bad, I guess? But it’s… not what you’d expect from the brand that does Huile Prodigieuse.

Maybe M will want it. He’s weirdly fixated on candy — like a very tall, very handsome, very-not-orange Oompa Loompa.

Bio Beaute Anti-Ageing Eye Care cream review

Bio-Beauté Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care

The verdict?

I didn’t love the Bio-Beauté lip balm, but aside from that, I was pretty impressed with the line — especially at its price point. I’d say it’s comparable to The Body Shop, but more natural and aimed at a slightly older or more reserved clientele.

The line’s eye cream is rather basic and utilitarian, but their orange water mask is absolutely divine. It’s the one beauty product that I’m absolutely crazy about right now, and I would literally recommend it to anyone who likes citrus or just very cool beauty products — men and women alike! (But especially men: it’s cool enough that they’ll want to use it, and quick enough that they’ll keep doing so.)

Availability: The Bio-Beauté range is available at most Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada starting at $12 CAD.

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Sephora Bulls Eye Lash Applicator review, photos | Finally, innovation!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sephora Bulls Eye Lash Applicator review

The product: Sephora Collection Bulls Eye Lash applicator

Today I have a cool little tool to share with you — Sephora’s Bulls Eye Lash Applicator. I’ve had it for ages but have only just gotten around to trying it this month (I very rarely wear false lashes!), but I’m kind of bummed that it took me this long to give it a go…

Because it’s a little bit awesome.

How to apply false lashes trick

The lash applicator is pretty simple: it has a set of soft, silicone-covered grips on one end to grab and place your lashes without pinching them into a new shape, and a flexible point-tip at the other end to allow you to easily re-glue a lash that’s beginning to come off at the corner.

The instruction manual that comes with the applicator (“tweezers”) has directions on how to use the clamps to set and remove your false lashes, as well as how to use the tip (“spatula”) to apply glue. And it promises something that I think hits the nail right on the head: not that these will help you apply lashes more safely or precisely than normal tweezers, but that you’ll feel safer using them.

False Lash glue applicator review

And you know what? I do feel a lot safer with these near my eyeball than my super-sharp Tweezermans. I think it’s easier for me to use traditional tweezers to apply my false lashes, but these hit the great middle ground of “easier than fingers” and “less permanently scarring than tweezers” — which makes them a hit in my books.

False lash applicator review

The verdict?

If you’re new to false lashes, or you’re just scared of stabbing yourself with your tweezers and ending up as That Girl with the Eyepatch, then this is an awesome tool to have on hand — honestly, I don’t know why no one thought of it before now!

Availability: $12 USD/$14 CAD at Sephora.

Keep reading! »

Shu Uemura Brave Beauty Pink, Green, & Orange Palette Swatches, Reviews, Photos | Perfectly curated eyeshadows for Turkey Day and beyond

Monday, October 13, 2014

shu uemura green brave beauty palette

The products: shu uemura Brave Beauty PinkGreen, and Orange Pressed Eyeshadow Palettes

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and what better a time than turkey day to talk about shades of orange? (And, you know, also green and purple.)

I may not be crazy about yellows and oranges on a day-to-day basis, but even I was pulled toward the Orange Brave Beauty palette, and that’s where we start off today. My favourite thing about the Brave Beauty collection is that the eye palettes are so perfectly composed; coherent, but not at all dupeable, and the Orange palette is no exception to this rule.

Fall colours, all grown up

shu uemura brave beauty orange eyeshadow palette review

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette review

All of the eyeshadows in the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Orange ($90 CAD) are cohesively warm and a little bit red, but I found that the formulas were quite varied. While the matte orange is beautifully smooth, layerable, and intense, not all of the shimmery shades are formulated as well – and at $90, you really shouldn’t have any letdowns. (The darker beige is chunky and a little dry, and the salmon pink applies very sheerly).

The rest of the shimmery shades, however, have a smooth texture with intense colour payoff, and each has a slightly different frost finish — the light beige is particularly metallic. I found that the dark brown applies a shade more bronze than you’d expect, and the purple-red appears as a cranberry-red with almost no purple tones on the skin.

shu uemura orange eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette swatches

Forest-free greens and golds

For those looking for a unique palette that isn’t quite so bold, Shu’s Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green ($90 CAD) is the one you want to be looking toward. Described as “a tribe of forest inspired hues,” this is anything but your typical forest palette.

For starters, there’s only one brown eyeshadow in here, and it’s more of a deep yellow gold, not a… tree-moss brown. But beyond that, there’s a pearly light gold with subtle green undertones, a glowing pale green, and an unexpected lime-chartreuse that’s so unique that even I can’t help but stare. The final dark green shadow in the palette looks like a less-glowy MAC Humid, but does its job of adding depth despite its more boring characteristics.

shu uemura green eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – green palette swatches

What really takes the Green palette to the next level, however, is that amazing matte green. I don’t even know how to describe it — it’s too saturated and bright to just be called “teal,” but it’s not really blue and not really green, either.

Check out the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green in this { green-and-gold makeup look } !

imaginary shu palette

I think a proper forest palette would look a little bit like… this. (This is not a real palette.)

Keep reading! »

Argentum La Potion Infinie Anti-Age Cream review, photos, results | What makes a $225 moisturizer?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Argentum La Potion Infinie review

The product: Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age (face and eye) Cream

What makes as $200 moisturizer? 

I didn’t know the answer to this question (unicorn pee?) three months ago, but when Argentum asked me if I wanted to give their Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP anti-ageing moisturizer a try, I decided that it was time to find out. And now, months later, here is my answer.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie

The science behind Argentum: As you may have guessed from the name, Argentum Apothecary’s thing is silver hydrosol, which they use to promote cell regeneration. It’s paired with hydrating DNA HP (petri dish science?) as well as a few more-recognizable ingredients, like shea butter, sweet almond oil, and caffeine.

This cruelty-free cream comes from 99.5% natural origins, and Argentum says that it targets wrinkles, blemishes, and oxidative stress, with an emphasis on firming and tightening. For the hefty price of $225, they also promise long-lasting hydration with no greasy residue, and (pay attention to this one) plumped skin “without any uncomfortable ‘tightness’.” 

Argentum Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP moisturizer review

The scent: La Potion Infinie is highly fragranced, with a scent that smelled offensively masculine to my nose… at first. After wearing it around for the first day or two, something rather magical happened: I’m not sure what changed, but I am obsessed with this scent now. Formulated by Delphine Thierry, it’s spicy, masculine, and woody, and it smells just as delicious on my boyfriend as it does on me.

The packaging: Packaged in a rather stately glass jar, La Potion is understated but luxe. I was surprised to read that the jar’s base is made from a very dark violet glass (I thought it was black) that helps to prolong the life of the ingredients, but all in all, it’s a pleasure to hold.

[ It kind of makes me feel like a potions master. ]

Argentum La Potion Infinie review, results

Potions Master Rae Chen, reporting for duty

So… how did La Potion Infinie perform?

In short: both very poorly and exceptionally well.

La Potion Infinie is very liquidy and emollient, and it applies comfortably with a soft, velvety finish. For something without silicones, it does an amazing job of feeling luxurious and not at all greasy, and you need only very little for each application – adding more doesn’t seem to make a difference except to leave you massaging it in for longer.

Argentum Hydrating Restorative Anti-Age Cream review

The issue I have with this moisturizer (sorry, “hydrating restorative anti-age cream”) is that it leaves my skin feeling extremely tight and uncomfortable, which it promises not to do — and at this price, I think a moisturizer had better perform to spec. Because I have extremely dry skin to begin with, this left my face feeling so dehydrated that it was actually painful – I couldn’t last more than a few hours before adding another moisturizer on top.

That said, if you have normal skin or oilier, and especially if you live in a country where it’s more humid, I think that this texture would actually be quite lovely.

Argentum anti-ageing cream review

On the anti-ageing front, however… that’s where things do a drastic 180. While I can’t evaluate this for its effect on wrinkles or fine lines, I can tell you that it’s the only anti-ageing product I have ever tried, in seven years of beauty blogging, that has had a noticeable effect on my skin. 

My skin doesn’t look significantly better following application, because quite frankly I’m still practically a baby as far as skin goes, but it is immediately tightened and plumped – literally within 15 minutes. When I gently prod at my face with my fingertips (ever so scientifically), there is more resistance when I use La Potion Infinie, and my face feels fuller to my fingers; more firm and elastic than it’s been in years.

I don’t have noticeable wrinkles in the eye area yet, but La Potion is safe to use there, and it never stings or burns my eyes. Of the handful of eye creams and gels that I already own, this one is my favourite of the bunch, and I plan to continue using it in my eye area until it’s finished.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie review

The verdict?

As with any skincare product this expensive, I don’t want to tell you to run out and buy it immediately, because whether or not it’s worth it is such an individual thing. But if you do have the budget for high-end skincare, I would absolutely recommend this one over anything else I’ve tried so far.

My favourite thing about this cream is the beautiful, high-sillage scent, but the thin, velvety texture is a dream as well. I’d hesitate to recommend it to anyone with dry skin, but I’m using mine like a serum (with another moisturizer layered on top), and its impressive firming and tightening effects don’t seem to be lessened.

All in all, yes, I do think this is substantially better than a $50 or even your average $100 anti-ageing moisturizer, but it’s definitely not as effective as a cosmetic treatment. (As a price comparison, Restylane treatments tend to be about $1000). I’m personally happy with my skin, so this price tag is far more than I’d be willing to pay, but I did find it to be surprisingly effective – if uncomfortable.

Availability: $225 USD/£147 from Net-A-Porter, Cult Beauty, or Argentum Apothecary (UK).

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