theNotice’s favourite products of 2013 | New Year, New Loves… but here are my favourites from the last one

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes 2013

Laura Mercier Artist Palette

First off: sorry again for the radio silence. I had hoped to get a few more posts up before the end of the year (Laura Mercier Artist Palette, Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair, and Marc Jacobs Showstopper Lip Gel), but, well — you know how it is. I was hardly the only person who got sick this winter, so for all of you who are still battling colds and the flu: I hope you feel better soon! 

(And for all of you who haven’t gotten sick yet: you are the worst. Yes, you. I can’t even believe your gall, coming over here, all — sturdy. And vertical. And lucid; how terribly unfair!)

theNotice’s must-have products of 2013

These are the ones that I reached for again and again in 2013. They weren’t just the ones that I tried, tested, and loved — they were the ones that I used on a regular basis, even when I had other things (prettier, shinier, newer things) that I really should have been testing instead. They’re the apple of my eye, not the cream of the crop — I’ve chosen them based on both quality and how well they fit into my life.

Senna Cosmetics Ultra Last Eyeliner - Ultra Black, Brown

Senna Cosmetics Ultra Last Eyeliners

To start off, the Senna Cosmetics Ultra Last Eyeliner in Ultra Black. I’ve tried a lot of black eyeliners in my time (I think at last count I had over twenty in my stash), but this one really is the best. I push black liner into my upper lashline every morning–it really wakes my face up–and this one has wear time like nobody’s business. It’s not totally bulletproof, but it’s very pigmented, very black, and wears better than any other black pencil eyeliner I’ve ever tried, whether it’s on my waterline, in my lashline, or on the lid.

The other eye product that I can’t live without is the Dejavu Fiberwig Extra Long Mascara — a long-time favourite of mine. It never drops a curl, flakes, or smudges, and removes so easily with warm water. That said, it gives a very natural, lengthening lash, with great separation: if I want more volume, I need to layer it overtop another mascara. (See honourable mentions).

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Next up is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which makes blending out cream products both fast and easy. At a crazy-cheap $9 USD, it’s dense and soft, and has completely ousted the Sephora/Shiseido flat-top brush as my favourite brush for foundation or concealer. This is my only “best of 2013” tool or face product — there isn’t anything else that both I use every single day and adore. (Canucks can order online at Farleyco, with free expedited shipping over $50.)

I don’t have anywhere better in this review to put a fragrance, so: Serge Lutens Chergui, I still adore you. Chergui is such a beauty — amazing for the winter, and sexy in a very cozy way, without using vanilla as a shortcut-to-sexiness crutch. (Ugh, vanilla). loves this; it’s the only scent that he tells me smells “really good,” eyes dilated, every single time I wear it. I’m actually cheating on Serge with Etsy dupes (there’s just something about the warmth and depth of Chergui that makes it seem more appropriate as an oil), but must-have status is applied to both the dupes & the original!

Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 review

Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 from this very old post, plus buckets of Photoshop. I am equal parts proud and horrified at myself.

Finally, a bit of skincare. I discovered the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion this year during the worst breakout of my life (I tried sunflower oil and my skin lost it), and haven’t looked back since. It’s amazing at treating cystic acne in particular, and still incredible at treating everything else — whether that means preventing them from coming to a head altogether or encouraging my skin to clean up shop without ever needing to “purge”.

I’m still loving the Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15, which hydrates my lips like no other, and the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, which removes makeup & pollutants without drying. They were holy grail products for me last year, and continue to be — with skin as dry as mine, I can’t imagine life without them.

(Okay, that’s a lie. I can imagine it, and it’s horrible. If you have dry skin, you need these.)

The honourable mentions

Osmia Organics perfume concentrate review Juniper Fire

To keep this at a moderate length: here is, simply, a list of the other products that I really loved this year. They’re all ones that I was still really impressed with, and that I would absolutely take on a desert island with me, but for one reason or another, they weren’t as essential for me. In most cases, it was simply because I don’t wear a lot of colour on a daily basis, or because they were only really suited to one or two seasons of the year!

Note: brands are a where-to-buy; product names link to reviews. 


Annabelle Smoothie Eyeshadow Pencils

Makeup (basics)

  • Annabelle Expandable Mascara – beautiful for everyday; if tubing formulas didn’t exist, I would live off this stuff.
  • Annabelle Smoothie Eyeshadow Pencil in Licoriche – through my lashline and brows, when I wanted something less bulletproof than the Senna
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara – amazing, but only a hair better than Annabelle’s. If you can get your hands on Expandable, I don’t really see the need to spend $30+ on a tube of Armani.
  • Marcelle Face Powder in Translucent (loose) – this is very, very good, but their old pressed powders used to be even better!
  • NYX Mosaic Powder in 01 Highlighter – beautifully subtle when worn and so pretty in the pan.
  • theBalm timeBalm concealer – I used this every single day, but it’s not without its flaws.

Clarins Spring 2013 Iris Blossom quad

Makeup (colour)

  • Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palettes – they’re not for everyone, but damn. That mix of finishes!
  • Clinique Chubby Sticks – the originals, of course!
  • Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Rosé – a not-quite-perfect-but-still-pretty-good handbag staple
  • Sephora + Pantone Light Storm Liquid Shadow in Smoky Grape – for its duochrome finish and brilliantly longwearing formula.

Fresh Sugar lip balm review


  • Mario Badescu Drying Lotion – great nighttime treatment for bringing non-cystic acne to a head
  • Nivea Creme (German) – no longer perfect (my skin is getting drier as time progresses), but still the best thing I’ve ever found.

And last but not least, my favourite ad of the year…

Tom Ford Skincare and Grooming

from this Tom Ford post

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  • Reply Vanessa

    Did you review nyx mosaic? I'd new interested. :-)

    January 9, 2014 at 6:35 AM
  • Reply stephanie

    The LM palette looks nice! And i hope i get a chance to try the Sugar lipbalms one day :)
    xx Stephanie

    January 9, 2014 at 6:39 AM
  • Reply Lily @ChloeAsh

    Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is awesome! Great picks you have here Rae :-)

    My recent post My First Diptyque Candle Experience

    January 9, 2014 at 7:39 AM
  • Reply Ana Leote

    Great post!

    January 9, 2014 at 7:42 AM
  • Reply Rocaille

    Lots and lots of great favorites, Rae-whale! I love Sugar Rose too… mine's sadly all gone now :(
    My recent post Winter Flush: Tarte LipSurgence Skintuitive Tint

    January 9, 2014 at 11:02 AM
  • Reply Vesna

    This Laura Mercier palette looks stunning! Also, I see you've included Clarins palette, gorgeous, love it! <3

    My recent post MAC pigment Naked (review, photos, swatches)

    January 9, 2014 at 2:25 PM
  • Reply stephanie

    can’t wait to go to the US in september and go sephore OMG I AM GONNA HOARD!!!

    January 9, 2014 at 4:06 PM
  • Reply Miss Louise

    That clarins quad!! AHH SO PRETTY!! Great post :)
    My recent post Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Review

    January 10, 2014 at 3:27 AM
  • Reply Kiss & Make-up

    Haha, yeah, that ad! Oh to the em gee… :-) Great selection, you really picked some great products.
    My recent post Make-up tutorial | Get the perfect black smokey eyes in 5 easy steps

    January 10, 2014 at 6:35 AM
  • Reply Jennifer

    Hey rae! do you know if Senna has any stockists in Canada? Shipping is more expensive than the eyeliner :$

    January 12, 2014 at 12:13 AM
  • Reply Bonnie

    Would you mind posting the Chergui dupes you like? I tried searching with no luck. Thanks!

    January 12, 2014 at 2:42 PM
  • Reply murt

    Just curious about what made the RT expert facebrush overtake the sephora flat topped brush? I'm not sure but I think I remember a while ago that you had mentioned the RT brush eats foundation a bit.

    January 15, 2014 at 3:08 PM
  • Reply annabelle807

    Hi Rae!

    Thanks for the recs, I'm always looking for a good eyeliner to try out! Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be getting the Senna eyeliner because shipping to Canada is so expensive :( Have you tried out the Waterliner eyeliners by the Em Michelle Phan line? I know that's not available for shipping to Canada yet, but I would love to hear your thoughts on it, it's supposed to be incredibly budge-proof as well!



    January 18, 2014 at 9:01 PM
  • Reply 18. 01. 2014 Beauty Blog Link Love | Fleurissante

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    January 19, 2014 at 4:41 AM
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    January 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM
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  • Reply BooBooNinja

    Hi Rae! I've been curious about the difference between the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and the RT Buffing Brush. I think you have both… am I right? The EFB seems so much more dense and shorter than the BB. Does the EFB pull at your skin more than the BB? I have the BB but wonder if I should try the EFB. Then again, I don't wear foundation. Yet.

    January 25, 2014 at 10:40 PM
  • Reply glambunctious

    ZOMG, thank you so much for ending this amazing post with that hilairs advertisement!! Fist bumps 'cross the continent. B)

    January 26, 2014 at 6:01 PM
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