Milestones, Makeovers, and the Matrix Color Lounge app | WIN a $250 gift basket from Matrix Canada!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Matrix Color Lounge app 3VR

*sponsored post

Happy Wednesday, folks! I’m writing this at one in the morning, and I just noticed the coolest thing while moderating a few late-night comments: theNotice passed 20 000 comments this week!

(Yes, really, twenty THOUSAND. For all of you wondering why it’s been three years and I still haven’t managed to switch over to Disqus successfully… well, that’s why. The importer keeps panicking and crying and breaking.)

So, to everyone who’s ever left a comment, thank you. Thank you so, so much. You guys are the bread and butter of theNotice, and I’m so happy to be able to share each and every day with you!

Matrix Color Lounge app UL-A+

image

But back to the topic at hand: the new Matrix Color Lounge. You know those makeover websites that you used to be able to go to to put fake blush and blonde wigs on your picture? Well, the Color Lounge is like that, but it’s the next generation of makeover apps.

It uses colour filters to let you try on a new colour on your actual hair, and gives you the option of adding things like highlights, ombré, and colour blocking to your new look, too. I gave the Color Lounge a go to try on grey, violet, and red hair, and I was really happy with my results — it lets you highlight what is and isn’t your hair, and even works on dark hair.

Matrix Color Lounge app 6RV+

Matrix giveaway

To celebrate the launch of this app, I’m giving away a big prize package from Matrix Canada (worth $250 — see above!!) The giveaway will run until 11:59 MST on Sunday, February 28th, and is open to all Canadian residents.

You can use the widget below to enter, or (for all of you guys who aren’t in Canada), you can download the Matrix Color Lounge app for free through the App Store or Google Play. Happy colouring!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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LUSH Valentine’s Day 2016 reviews, photos: The Kiss, Prince Charming, Unicorn Horn

Monday, February 8, 2016

LUSH Valentine's Day 2016 review

The products: LUSH The Kiss Lip Gloss and Lip Scrub, Prince Charming Shower Cream, and Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar

Lush has six pretty-in-pink, limited edition launches out for Valentine’s Day this year, and like they did with their fruity holiday releases, they’ve subverted expectations juuust a little bit with pomegranate and mandarin scented products. (Don’t worry, there are a few rose-scented ones as well, for all of us traditionalists.)

I tried out three of them and photographed one more, but I have to admit: my heart’s just not in it this year.

LUSH The Kiss Lipgloss swatch review

The Kiss Lip Gloss ($8.95 CAD) and Lip Scrub ($9.95 CAD)

Lush’s product page for The Kiss Lip Gloss leads you to believe that it’ll leave your lips shiny and pink, but while I do actually like this balm, it’s just that: a balm. It’s relatively hydrating and completely transparent, with a sheer, frosty shimmer finish and a scent that reminds me (and the others that I’ve asked) more of bubblegum than citrus. It’s not shiny, and it’s not pigmented, much less glossy and opaque (as it’s swatched on the Lush site.)

LUSH The Kiss Lip Scrub review

The Kiss comes in Lip Scrub format as well, and its twinkling pink sugar bits and edible red hearts had my hopes up high. But, like the last Lush scrub I tried, this one left my skin over-scrubbed and raw, and even though it’s described clearly as a “caster sugar scrub,” it’s half salt sea salt — so when you take Lush’s advice and lick up the excess, you end up with a very literal bitter, salty mouthful of disappointment. 

I have loved Lush’s lip products in the past, but these ones just aren’t working for me at all.

LUSH Prince Charming, The Kiss review swatches

The Kiss Lip Gloss swatch (yes, really), The Kiss Lip Scrub, and Prince Charming Shower Cream x2

LUSH Prince Charming Shower Cream review stain

Prince Charming Shower Cream ($9.95 CAD)

You’re killin’ me, Lush. You guys make some seriously awesome products (I’ve got, like, two measly uses of Gorgeous left and it makes me want to cry), and then there’s… this business.

For a company that prides itself on its natural, eco-friendly image, it’s weird to me that Lush keeps making all of these practically fluorescent Shower Creams. Like Lord of Misrule, Prince Charming can and will stain you and your shower, so watch out.

I get synthetic pomegranate & vanilla notes from this one, and while it does leave my skin feeling lovely and soft, that’s no excuse for staining. It performs more ore less okay under the spray of the shower, but if you apply this to dry skin, it WILL stain you pink with a vengeance.

So stop it, Lush. Seriously. No one else ever even has this problem.

LUSH Unicorn Horn Bath Bomb review photos

Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar ($7.95 CAD)

It turns out I still hate baths, so I can’t really tell you anything about the Lush Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar except LOOK, YOU GUYS. IT IS A RAINBOW UNICORN HORN AND IT IS COVERED IN GLITTER.

You need. Hell, I need, and I already have one. I wonder if I could tolerate a bath if I could convince boyfriend to sterilize the tub for me beforehand…

(Good for foaming up two baths, or for a single evening of super-plush lavender, ylang ylang, and neroli dreams.)

LUSH Unicorn Horn review photos

The verdict?

I loved that LUSH gave us something a little different this year, with pink products that don’t smell like roses, cocoa, or vanilla, but honestly… I’m a fan of the classics.

None of these products really “spoke” to me (well, aside from the unicorn horn, but who doesn’t that speak to), and love the idea of gifting your darling a bar of Roses All the Way Soap, or surprising them with a massage with of Lush’s classic massage bars. (I have Tender is the Night, which by some miracle still hasn’t gone bad, and I LOVE it.) I say skip the Lush Valentine’s Day launches this year, folks, and go with a tried-and-true from the brand instead.

Available: Limited edition at Lush stores and Lush.ca while supplies last!

Ivory Avenue Art | Small Business Saturdays

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ivory Avenue Valentine's Day

One of the things that I get excited about, like most beauty writers, is when beauty bloggers branch out. Sometimes they branch out by starting their own beauty brand (hello, MIYU), but sometimes it’s not quite as beauty-related, as is the case with Natalie of Ivory Avenue.

I’ve been a fan of Ivory Avenue for a while, and there’s no question as to why: Natalie is kind and funny, with a great eye for design and a frankly adorable obsession with her puppy. So when Natalie announced that she was planning on opening her own Etsy shop full of original watercolour paintings… well, I knew it was going to be something pretty special.

Small Business Saturdays Ivory Avenue Art

Rosie and painting No. 1 from the Valentine’s Day collection

Ivory Avenue Art

Natalie started painting to express her feelings and stay positive, and she decided to open her Etsy shop in order to share that happiness with others — something that I find to be particularly beautiful. There are a lot of us in the beauty community who struggle with mental illness and physical limitations, and I like to think that each of us feels a little less alone knowing how many of our friends and favourite bloggers experience similar struggles.

Ivory Avenue Art showcases one collection of six paintings every month, and a different charity is chosen for each collection to receive 10% of the sale price of each order. Available right now are the Winter’s Morn and Valentine’s Day collections (in green & grey and coral-pink, respectively,) and the current Ivory Avenue charity is the Samaritan’s Purse!

Natalie Heather Ivory Avenue Art Etsy

I’m particularly fond of Natalie’s Valentine’s Day Collection Painting No. 1, with its beautiful gold detailing and coral-pink ombré (directly above), but honestly, her entire shop is just gorgeous.

If you want to support a small business (and a local Canadian blogger!) this Valentine’s Day, make sure to check out Ivory Avenue Art — and use code LOVEYOU until February 29th for a whopping $30 off your order! 

All images are from Natalie’s Etsy shop and Instagram

Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil review & giveaway

Friday, February 5, 2016

Palmer's giveaway trio

The products: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil, Soothing Oil for Dry, Itchy Skin, and… like, maybe the Daily Skin Therapy?

Finding an afforadable body moisturizer that’s silicone-free can be a really hard task, so when Palmer’s offered to send me a few of their products to try, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t end up being able to use the spray-oil or lotion (both contain ‘cones), but it was nice to see such a cohesive line of products!

The oil for expectant mothers, which is made with cocoa butter, Vitamin E, Collagen, and Lecithin, is designed to soothe dry, itchy skin. It comes in a spray format, which I think is great — if you’re carrying around an entire little human being in your body, companies SHOULD be making easy-application products for you!

Palmer's Soothing Body Oil pregnancy review

Palmer's cocoa butter lotion review

The thing about Palmer’s names: The lotion was the other product that I couldn’t use, but what really cracks me up about it is how HARD it is to figure out what this product actually is.

The packaging has ten million descriptors on it (24 hour moisture, for softening and smoothing, contains vitamin E…), but I tried my best to find a concrete product name on it, and I couldn’t find one for the life of me!

Palmer's Moisturizing Body Oil review

Palmer’s Moisturizing Body Oil: Finally, the product that I did get to fall in love with was the brand’s Moisturizing Body Oil. It’s scented of cocoa butter, but it’s the Palmer’s cocoa butter scent, so it’s a little bit powdery and very recognizable (in a gold way!)

This oil is great because it’s so lightweight and fast-absorbing. I need to alternate with something a little heavier in the winter, but it’s wonderfully easy to apply and doesn’t leave your hands or clothes greasy at all! And I mean, okay, so it’s not the only lightweight body oil out there — but it’s definitely the only super fast absorbing one under $20 that I’ve ever tried.

Which, well. ‘Cone-free stuff can be seriously expensive, you guys, and bodies are so big. You’ve gotta pinch pennies where you can!

Palmer's cocoa butter review giveaway

The giveaway

I absolutely love my bottle of Moisturizing Body Oil (it’s the most economical “finished” oil that I own, and definitely the least greasy), so I’m super excited to be giving away a Palmer’s trio to one lucky reader!

To enter, just click on the widget below. This giveaway is open to all Canadian residents (yes, even if you live in Quebec!) and will close on February 14th at 11:59 PM MST. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ColourPop Meow, So Quiche, I ♥ This, Pop Rocks swatches, reviews, photos

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ColorPop eyeshadow review

The products: ColourPop Cosmetics Super Shock Shadows in Pop Rocks (Tie Dye), So Quiche (Metallic), I ♥ This (Metallic), and Meow (Tie Dye)

In the world of Instagram beauty brands, there’s no one bigger than ColourPop. Their products are cheap ($5 each!!), high-intensity, and super-hyped by heavy-hitting makeup aficionados, and the brand’s founders rarely give out interviews — which media publications like Fashionista are so completely dumbfounded by that they’ve decided there’s some sort of weird conspiracy going on.

I made a tiny little ColourPop haul a year or two ago, but I’ve been campaigning hard for the title of Tardiest Blogger Ever, so obviously I had to drag my heels on this one for as long as I could.

ColorPop eyeshadow review packaging

ColorPop eyeshadow review packaging label

The formula: The ColourPop Super Shock Shadows are the product that really put ColourPop on the map, but they’re not actually the brand’s biggest seller anymore — that title now belongs to the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip Creams (which I haven’t tried yet). The Super Shock formula is a moist-pressed-eyeshadow one, with lots of cyclopentasiloxane (which will evaporate out) and dimethicone to give smoothness to some seriously high-intensity shadows.

Because of this, the Super Shock Shadows will slowly dry out over time (hence the twist-cap pots). It’s a formula that I happen to really like, however — the dampness means that each swipe of eyeshadow applies as if it’s been foiled, whether you apply with a finger or an eyeshadow brush.

Colorpop So Quiche Super Shock review swatches photos

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in So Quiche (Metallic)

Colorpop I Heart This Super Shock swatch review photos

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in I <3 This (Metallic)

Colorpop Super Shock Shadow review texture

All four of these eyeshadows (post-swatch brush cleaning). See those little flakes?

What I will say about the Super Shock formula, however, is that some of the shades can be a little too glittery/chunky. I had this problem with Meow in particular, so it’s probably a good thing that the Tie Dies were discontinued (see below), but I saw more chunkiness in all of these than I’d have liked. I’ve always been more of a smooth satins + separate fairy glitter kind of gal, though (thank you, Shu Uemura and Clarins)!

If you loved the original Urban Decay eyeshadow range (AKA glitter, fallout, and colour central), then you are going to LOVE the ColourPop Metallics. For a “nothing” look, though, you’re going to have to go with ColourPop’s Mattes — the Metallics look super-smooth when swatched, but they won’t buff down the way you’d expect them to. (Instead, you’ll just see a lot of wishy-washy colour speckled with lots of chunky shimmer, so go with the shade you want, not the shade you want to blend out!)

Colorpop Meow Super Shock swatch review photos

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Meow (Tie Die)

Colorpop Pop Rocks Super Shock swatch review photos

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Pop Rocks (Tie Die)

The shades: I ordered two neutral Metallic Super Shock Eyeshadows and two Tie Dye Super Shock Eyeshadows, but the Tie Die line (I’M SO SORRY) has been discontinued since I made my order. I’m glad that I have them, though, and I still wanted to share them with you guys! Tie dye products get me every. damn. time.

Pop Rocks, the blue and purple Tie Die shadow that was the whole reason behind my order, is a periwinkle blue with plenty of blue, white, and violet glitter. Meow, the pink, white, and black Tie Die shadow, is a medium-toned grey with white and pink glitter. And you know what? Swatching each shade for the first time made the whole order worth it, even though they’re discontinued now and I rarely wear either. That’s how much I absolutely adore multicolour products.

ColorPop I heart This Meow swatch review

ColourPop Super Shock Eyeshadow swatches: Pop Rocks, So Quiche, I <3 This, and Meow

ColorPop So Quiche Pop Rocks swatch review

ColourPop Super Shock Eyeshadow swatches: Pop Rocks, So Quiche, I <3 This, and Meow

I loved the novelty of the Tie Dies, but the Metallics really got me. While their finish is definitely still glitter on top of a smooth metallic base (rather than what I think of as a traditional metallic), they were easier to work with than the Tie Dies, and a little more wearable. 

I <3 This is a gorgeous, super casual light taupe (I like describing this kind of shade as a “wheat taupe,” if that makes sense), and So Quiche (still available!) has just the most stunning yellow-gold/pink duochrome finish on top of an olive-khaki base.

ColorPop I heart This Super Shock Eyeshadow swatch review

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow (Metallic) in So Quiche

ColorPop I heart This swatch review

Also ColourPop Super Shock Shadow (Metallic) in So Quiche. Look at that duochrome!!

The verdict?

At $5 per shadow, I would be tempted to recommend Super Shock Shadows as it was — but knowing just how well they work, I’m not just tempted to do so, but I’m happy to. They’re a great way to build up a starter eyeshadow collection, but they’re pigmented enough that they’d be a fun haul for someone with a huge makeup stash, too.

The one thing that I’d warn about ColourPop eyeshadows is that, while they’re great for $5, they don’t feel like a high-end eyeshadow. The shades with shimmer will look a little Instagram-y and will give you some glitter fallout, so if you prefer a “natural” makeup look, make sure you opt for their mattes instead. But, at $5, these guys are awesome! 

Availability: $5 each at ColourPop.com. (Yes, really, $5!)

Keep reading!

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean cleanser review, photos

Monday, February 1, 2016

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Cleanser

The product: SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Pore-Refining Gel Cleanser

The thing about SkinCeuticals’ Simply Clean cleanser is that it shouldn’t work for me… but it does. It’s everything that my skin usually hates, from the texture (gel instead of milk) to the target audience (oily instead of dry and sensitive).

But despite all that stuff, Simply Clean works wonders on my skin. I’m not sure how, but if I had to guess, I’d say probably magic. Maybe a crossroads deal; maybe a regular, ritualistic sacrifice. There are probably goats involved or something.

SkinCuticals square

The formula: SkinCeuticals’ products are all formulated with the philosophy of “prevention, protection, and correction,” (AKA science! Science! Science!) and their cleansers are no exception. Simply Clean is formulated with a hydroxy acid blend to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, smoothing out rough texture and removing excess oils.

It’s made for people with oily/combination skin and great for those with acne, but it was recommended as part of my skincare regimen because some of my pores can get a little clogged. My skin specialist told me that it (unlike the brand’s Purifying Cleanser) would help gently lift the dead skin cells from my skin without requiring more treatment products or physical exfoliation, which my super-dry skin often needs help with.

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Cleanser review oily skin

The results: My skin burns in response to a good 70% of the non-milk cleansers that I try, but this one caused no reaction, even after weeks of testing. It still delivers a totally makeup-free, squeaky-clean result, and I’ve been really happy with it so far.

I feel like I’ve seen less surprise breakouts and milia since I started using Simply Clean every night, and even though it isn’t the line’s gentlest cleanser, it’s really non-reactive. It’s my only squeaky-clean cleanser that I can comfortably use, and that’s honestly such a novelty for me that I look forward to using this stuff every night!

(Yeah, the Friday nights around here are really wild.)

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Cleanser combination gel skin review

The verdict?

Simply Clean is a simple, no-nonsense cleanser that will gently exfoliate while cleansing and removing makeup. It’s best for oilier skin types, but it works well for anyone with clogged pores — yes, even us dry-skinned folk.

I’d skip it if you want conditioning agents in your cleanser, or if you have sensitive skin that isn’t clogged (in which case, the SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser would probably suit your skin better.) Overall, however, I am very, very impressed with this little dude! I know that cleansers are kind of boring, but this one performs so well that it’s my favourite product from the line — and the SkinCeuticals range is far from underwhelming.

(Reviews of SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, Emollience Moisturizer, and Serum 10 upcoming.)

Availability: $34 USD/$39.50 CAD though dermatologist’s offices (see the SkinCeuticals site to find the one closest to you). Available online at SkinCeuticals, DermStore, SkinStore, and SkinCareRX!

Keep reading! »

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