Matchmaker, Matchmaker, I’ll bring the veil | Physicians Formula pH Matchmaker Blush in Natural: review, photos, swatches

Friday, June 22, 2012

The product: Physicians Formula pH Matchmaker pH Powered Blush in Natural

The blush: This review goes into some pretty dark (read: critical) places, so I thought we’d start off on a bright note: the blush itself. I find I’m always nicely surprised by Physicians Formula products, and this one’s no exception.

For a shade called Natural, this blush is actually quite rosy. It’s a bright, warm medium-pink with a bit of shimmer; the chunky silver overspray on the dots wears off, but–despite what the internet may tell you–the blush itself does have some finely-milled shimmer as well.

(It’s possible that the overspray is just extremely reluctant to leave, but I really doubt it, seeing as some of the shimmer is fuchsia.)

Anyhow; the super-tiny silver and fuchsia reflects are visible mainly in the pan, but do make an appearance on the cheeks if you look closely. The blush itself is more than decently pigmented for a drugstore product, and should work just fine on most light, medium, and medium-dark skintones, though I’m guessing it’ll really shine on warm and olive skintones, specifically.

As the cherry on top, this blendable blusher layers well, too, so you can wear just a light dusting of powder for a really fresh, glowy look, or blend in a bit more for a full-on flush.

The packaging: Oh, pH Matchmaker products, you kill me. While I’ve been loving the blush itself, this packaging is way more clunky than it needs to be! The lid itself is the height of an entire Senna blusher, and it’s only a third of the height of the whole contraption.

In theory, I’m actually okay with this packaging. An LED-lit mirror and a cute brush tucked under the blush… it sounds good, right? But the thing is, the LEDs aren’t bright enough to apply blush by, and (after having them on for about ten minutes to photograph,) they’ve already burned out.

And then there’s the brush. I actually like thin brushes for certain products, and this one’s included in that statement — the blush itself is more than decently pigmented, and a thin, flat brush is a great way to get just a small amount of product at a time.

This brush, though? It sheds like crazy, which is always a pain, and after just a few weeks, it’s already starting to feel floppy and sparse as a result.

The kitsch: I’m not crazy about this whole “pH powered!” concept that Physicians Formula has going on, either. Photochromic powders, okay, kind of cool — having your blush look the same both indoors and outdoors is definitely a plus. (If it works, that is; I haven’t tested. I’m not even sure how I would, to be honest.)

pH-adjusting fluorescein-based dyes, though? Um, fluoresceins are typically involved in like, microscopy and blood stain detection, neither of which are particularly appealing concepts to your average consumer. Plus, acidity-fitted colour cosmetics don’t actually make sense — I mean, I could be an NW30 with a skin pH of 5.3, or I could be an NC15 (actually, I think I am; I can never remember) with the same skin pH.

The verdict?

Despite the fact that the last… five paragraphs solid were rife with criticism, I’m actually pretty fond of this blush. The packaging and marketing are awful, as far as I’m concerned, but the product itself — it’s worth a second look. It’s quite pigmented, really blendable, and the shimmer is surprisingly finely-milled, particularly for a drugstore product.

That said, I wouldn’t pay $15.99 for something this clunky. If you can find the pH Matchmaster blushers at 20-40% off, which Physicians Formula often is at Shopper’s or Rexall, then definitely pick one up; at full price, though, I think this one’s a pass.

Keep reading! »

Don’t miss this | A soft, effortless Spring look

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I’ve been doing about a look a week the last little while, but most of them have been for the purpose of, well, the look. Which is to say, the concept of the makeup came first, and was then followed by the selection of products — which is how things usually go, if I’m not mistaken.

This week, though, I set out with only two things in mind: one, create something that would more or less realize the idea of a staple Spring makeup look, and two, feature a number of the products I’ve reviewed recently, so that you lot can see what they look like in an actual look, instead of just on my arms.

You can read the She Said Beauty post here, but just keep on scrolling if it’s the product babbling (and not the tutorial) you’re here for.

(Note: all the product links in this post go to reviews on theNotice!)

The cheeks

Ah, Senna. Quite a few comments were left asking to see these on my cheeks, and I’ve been using them in various FOTD photo sets since they came across my desk. This look happens to include the Senna Sheer Face Color Powder Blush in Clarity and Face and Eye Color in Enlighten, as blush and highlight, respectively.

I’ve been using the two Senna blushers (not including, of course, the hilighter) for a good few weeks now, and I have to say — not loving them any less, even after all this time. I thought some of their appeal might wear off, as it does, but Senna products tend to stick around for me. What can I say? The colours are just that good!

(Or my frontal lobe is just that fixated; really, it’s a toss-up between the two.)

The eyes

To start, I used Vasanti Mount Rushmore through the whole lid – just the shimmery taupe, though, mind. For a touch more definition, I added a few of the Sephora Moonshadow In the Light shadows; lighter in the inner corner and a hint darker on the outer third.

Then, to finish things up, I added two pencils to the look. First, the black eyeliner from Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips in Nude Eyes along the upper lashline — I’ve yet to review this eyeliner trio, but I keep reaching for the black. It’s got a bit of shimmer in it, which makes it a bit more interesting than a solid black).

And, finally, a whisper of Marcelle Accent Brow Pencil in Granite through the brows. I’m not crazy about Granite, but it’ll do, you know? I tend to fill my brows sort of (okay, extremely) lightly, so it doesn’t really matter what I use as long as it’s sheer and grey(ish).

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but: grey eyebrow products really do work wonders for cool skintones + black hair! It’s a makeup secret ;)

The lips

Last but not least, two products from a little farther back: L’Occitane Lipstick in Pivoine Délicate and L’Occitane Lipgloss in Rose Frémissant. I photographed this look with both lips; though it’s a small change, I couldn’t decide if I preferred the bare look of the lipstick or the light, playful edge that the gloss gives.

Anyhow; the photo above is the only one with the gloss layered on top. Feel free to decide which version you prefer on your own, because I haven’t any help to give!

A little bit sweet on you | Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in Sweet Papaya review, photos, swatches

Monday, June 18, 2012

The product: Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in 06 Sweet Papaya

After last Friday’s Lise Watier Tangerine review, I pulled Sweet Papya from my drawers for a quick comparison. Save for the fact the slim, slant-tip packaging and the fact that they’re both somewhere in the vicinity of “orange,” the two shades aren’t all that similar – but that’s reason enough to see how they measure up, if you ask me.

The shade: While Tangerine is a bright, clear orange heavy yellow undertones, Sweet Papaya is a slightly milky red-orange with finely-milled gold shimmer - enough so that, while there is plenty of shimmer, it’s hard to discern once on the lips both visually and tactually.

What makes it worth talking about now, though, is the opacity. It’s still sheer, but while the “translucent” Tangerine was really just clear, Clarins’ product actually fits the bill for translucent. It won’t give you bright, defined lips, but it’s just tinted enough to deliver a sheer layer of colour and shimmer. 

“Papaya orange” is an iteration of the colour family that I feel like I don’t see very often in lip glosses or balms, but I actually really like it. At this level of pigmentation, the different hue doesn’t make an enormous difference, but it’s a great alternative if you want a more demure version of the orange colour family.

The scent: One of the main reasons why I wasn’t crazy about Tangerine was strong floral scent – it’s a dead ringer for a bouquet of lilies, a scent that would theoretically be fine, but which I’m not actually fond of. At all. (I don’t know; maybe it’ll grow on me?) I typically enjoy the fragrances of Clarins products, though, and the Colour Quench balms are no exception.

Sweet Papaya smells sweet and fruity (I’ve seen it described as a light cherry fragrance), and while it’s not my favourite scent, it’s not too cloying — more like you’ve just eaten a few sweets than like you’ve been frontally assaulted by an angry swarm of chemicals.

The formula: Sort of like the shade, the Colour Quench formula isn’t one of my favourites – but I still do like it. I’d have liked to see it marketed as a sheer lipgloss rather than a long-lasting lip balm, though, because it fits the bill for a good gloss. While not stripping, I don’t find this formula particularly hydrating, but it is both non-sticky and shiny.

If you pick up a Colour Quench balm, go into it expecting a comfortable, sheer, fun summer gloss, rather than a super-hydrating, long-wearing balm.

The verdict

Sweet Papaya isn’t a must-have in my books, but if I absolutely had to wear a sheer orange shade, it would probably be my top pick. I really like that Clarins has gone with a red-based, papaya-inspired shade rather than an orange or tangerine one, because (with fair olive skin and cool undertones,) it makes the orange hue easy to wear.

As I mentioned earlier, though, I think calling this a “Colour Quench Lip Balm” that will deliver “long-lasting moisture & shine” really misconstrues the product. Think of it as a sheer, comfortable gloss, and you won’t be disappointed; expect a hydrating, long-wearing lip balm, and you probably will be.

Keep reading! Ingredients, additional photos, & more »

Sunday in France: a brief foray into the magical world of Sephora.fr

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Instead of the usual “New…” widget, I thought I’d do something a bit different this Sunday – a glance at a few new products in French Sephora stores, with a bit of babble about the site (and beauty market) enjoyed by our beauty-addict counterparts over there.

I have a soft spot for the Sephora.fr online shop, even more so now than I did a few months ago. Once the newness of the Sephora.com revamp wore off, I found that I… don’t really like it, to be honest. I’m quite fond of the aesthetic, but I’m a lot less crazy about the actual functionality. (That said, though; the Canada/US site has ingredients listed for more of the products, and I wouldn’t give that up for the world.)

The brands

As could be expected, Sephora shops in France carry a different product range than those in North America — more skincare, more fragrance; less makeup. They carry different brands, at times, too: they get Chanel, Serge Lutens, and La Prairie, for instance, (those lucky dogs), but miss out on Korres, Fresh, and a number of our newer brands, like Ellis Faas or Edward Bess.

Strangely enough, I spied a few North American drugstore brands on the French site; Sally Hansen and Hawaiian Tropic intermingled amongst the expensive skincare and impressive fragrance ranges.

The addiction

The last time I went through the Sephora.fr site this thoroughly (I think it was about a year ago), I noticed that they had a bit of an obsession with travelling beauty products. It wasn’t just a passing fancy, though, apparently, because there’s still a small-but-highly-visible section on airplane-appropriate products!

(I don’t know why, but I find that absolutely hilarious. I’m aware that, objectively, it isn’t funny at all. It doesn’t really seem to be making any difference in my reaction, though.)

The bestsellers

Of course, you can’t have a post about a foreign beauty site without going over the country’s bestsellers list. In France, 12 of the top 20 bestsellers are skincare, 3 are makeup, and 5 are fragrance; in Canada, only 8 are skincare, with 9 being makeup, and 3 being fragrance.

If you look at the products themselves, things get even more interesting. French women tend to focus their makeup purchases on mascara, while Canadians buy more base products. (Hey, maybe that focus on skincare is paying off, after all!) The Urban Decay Naked 2 palette is the only bestselling product the two sites have in common.

In skincare, the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is the only product to grace both bestseller lists. The Sephora.fr list is dominated by Clarins (which, as we all know, I have a soft spot a mile wide for), but the brand doesn’t appear in Canada’s top 20 at all. We’re apparently just running around buying tinted moisturizers and BB creams like crazy at the moment, apparently, which–I cannot tell a lie–actually sounds pretty accurate.

Different, too, are our tastes in fragrance – I’d say the French have more refined olfactory palettes, but that wouldn’t explain how (or why, or what?!) a Hello Kitty EdT made it onto their bestseller list and Balenciaga Paris didn’t. Again, there was only one product in common between the lists: the ever-classic Dior J’Adore. (Don’t you just love it when patterns keep up being all pattern-y?)

And, finally, the reason why I was nosing around Sephora.fr to begin with:

They’re just so cute! {1} {2} {3}

A crystal I’d probably be okay with dropping | Lise Watier Crystal Drops Lip Gloss in Tangerine: review, photos, swatches

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The product: Lise Watier Crystal Drops Ultra-Shine Lip Gloss in Tangerine 

[ Psst: I haven’t worn this one around a ton because I’m not crazy about orange, so this is going to be more of a “flash review” than a full-blown production. If you have any questions about the product that aren’t answered in this post, please feel free to ask them in the comments! ]

Lise Watier call their Crystal Drops formula a “wet look” lip gloss, made to “[bathe] lips in a translucent, glistening, ultra-shine.” They note that the glosses are non-sticky and won’t run, and the Drops come in three shades this summer: Tangerine (photographed here), Smoothie (a shimmering nude pink, and Dragon Fruit (a bright, punchy pink).

Lise Watier  Crystal Drops Lip Gloss in Tangerine – swatch

Lise Watier Tangerine lip swatch

This Crystal Drops lipgloss has a light floral fragrance that lingers; a negative in my books, but a plus in many others, I’m sure. The shade and shine, though, didn’t blow me away: Tangerine is super-sheer, almost more clear than translucent. And, while, I can definitely get it to deliver on the “wet-look” claims, I find I have to apply quite a bit to go from “shiny” to “ultra-shiny.”

It’s more of a… regular shine. An okay-shiny lipgloss.

Keep reading! »

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