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! »

Duckish Lotion Stick, Body Butter, Bath Salts review, photos | DIY Pedicure Kit

Monday, July 25, 2016

Duckish canadian pedicure kit review photos

The product: Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit (customized) – Duckish Mint Bath Salts, Pink Grapefruit Body Butter, and Lavender Lotion Stick

Okay, so I really wanted to feature Duckish as part of my Small Business Saturdays series, but things keep coming up on Friday nights and I really didn’t want to wait any longer. So we’ll call this one Small Business Mondays instead, I guess!

Duckish is an all-natural Canadian beauty brand with just the absolute cutest packaging. (I want to own basically everything they make.) Their products are all cruelty-free, handmade, and free of icky things like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and silicones.

Duckish mint bath salts review photos

Mint Bath Salts ($9.99 CAD)

I wanted to focus my review on Duckish’s body butter and lotion stick, because I’ve been dying to try them out for what feels like forever–but this kit includes bath salts and a pumice stone on a rock, too. The pumice stone is pretty standard fare, but the bath salts are more then just plain ‘ol rock salt.

They’re a blend of Dead Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and Epsom salts, with sweet almond oil and organic coconut oil to add a bit of hydration to your bath or foot soak. Each scent comes with a unique blend of essential oils, too; the Mint one is made with eucalyptus and peppermint (two of my all-time favourite oils.)

Duckish pink grapefruit body butter review

Pink Grapefruit Body Butter ($11.99 CAD)

Funnily enough, I was most excited for the Duckish Body Butter, but their lotion stick stole the show for me. The Body Butters, I think, are best for those with dry or weathered skin – not so much for Sahara-like dehydration.

The Duckish Body Butter formula is definitely a classic one, with a thick, creamy formula that’s heavy on the shea, and honestly… I didn’t like it. It’s surprisingly creamy for an indie body butter, but non-“mainstream” (The Body Shop, L’Occitane, Bliss, etc.) butters just don’t seem to be hydrating enough for me – this one just kinda sits on my skin, leaving hands feeling both vaguely greasy and so dry that they’re itchy.

Some people love these kinds of body butters, though, so just keep it in mind when ordering! Oh, and a warning for all my fellow crazy cat ladies: there’s just enough citrus oil in Pink Grapefruit to scare Tunakitten away from me when I’m using this, but not quite enough to make the olive oil in the formula palatable to my nose. :(

Duckish lavender lotion stick review

Lavender Mini Lotion Stick ($6.99 CAD)

Duckish’s description for their lotion sticks is:

“Lotion? In a stick? Is this real life? Yes, yes it is!”

And you know what? They couldn’t have been more accurate with that statement. These lotion sticks are crazily good – the mini one is perfect for mess-free application on the go, and the formula is spot-on.

I have really dehydrated skin, and the Duckish lotion stick definitely works better for me than their body butter. It melts immediately upon contact, basically turning into a light oil that absorbs immediately into the skin, and it feels so lovely – not greasy at all.
Duckish DIY Pedicure Kit review

The verdict?

I love buying Canadian when I can, and Duckish makes that really easy. You’re not sacrificing packaging or price, and my only two reservations about the line are small ones: I’d have liked to see a bit more fragrance in their EO and a wider online availability, but both of these are things that will be remediated naturally, as the brand grows.

If bought separately, the three Duckish products in this kit come out to $28.97, so buying the kit essentially gets you a free pumice stone. If I was re-ordering for myself, though, I’d take all $29.99 and put it toward a hoard of lotion sticks!!

Availability: $29.99 CAD. Duckish just recently began shipping to the US in addition to Canada, so use code DUCKISHUSA to get $5 off all US orders over $20 until the end of the month.

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Scarlet & Julia review: Living Proof PhD Night Cap, Lavanila Passion Fruit Deodorant

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Scarlet Julia free sample

The products: Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Healthy Deodorant, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in Medium

It can be really tough to pick what to review when you haven’t done it in a while (okay, like, a week), but today, I was hit by a little bout of inspiration as I was getting out of the shower: why not review my Scarlet & Julia haul from last year?

(I know. I’m the worst.)

Scarlet and Julia review

Scarlet & Julia is an awesome Canadian online shop that carries brands like St. Tropez, Stila, and Lise Watier, with a bonus members-only “Beauty Outlet” section. (Think HauteLook, but without the insane Canadian shipping and processing fees.) They sent me a gift card last year to check out the store, and I put it towards part of my order.

Personally, I really like it when stores send out gift cards instead of product samples, because you get to experience the actual store with no extra bells and whistles. And my experience was great: the site’s easy to navigate, the sale section is really good (that Stila brow colour was actually purchased as a backup because it was so cheap at S&J), and my order came with a free sample of Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner and a $10 off promo code.

Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant review

Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Healthy Deodorant ($17 CAD)

I really liked both of the new products that I ordered, too. The Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant was way more expensive than my usual deodorant choices (typically just a stick of men’s Axe or Degree), but it smells amazing and works really well. I liked that the stick felt like a “regular” deo, too – most silicone-free choices are all either gel-based or really pasty, but this was neither.

Lavanila’s passion fruit scent is surprisingly tart, which was a nice surprise. It’s light on the vanilla and heavy on the guava, too – think of it as more of an unsweetened fruit smoothie than a hearty dose of diabetes.

Living Proof PhD Night Cap overnight protector review

Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector ($34 CAD)

The biggest hit from my order, though, was the Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Perfector. This stuff is MAGIC. I have no idea how it works its magic, but you put a little bit into damp hair from roots to ends, sleep on it, and wake up with model hair. 

It gives just the right amount of conditioning and shape, holding in some slept-on shape while still feeling totally product-free and touchable. Plus, it’s so non-greasy that you can even work it into your roots and wake up with grease-free hair.

It’s silicone-free and smells a lot like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea (one of my guiltiest pleasures), so really: zero faults here.

Scarlet and Julia haul

The verdict?

I really liked ordering from Scarlet & Julia, and you know what? I’d do it again. I like that they’re Canadian, I love the way they package their orders, and they were probably the only online shop that I could have made this particular order at.

The Living Proof Night Cap is also available at Sephora, but had I ordered from there, I wouldn’t have gotten 40% off of my Stila Brow Color. I wouldn’t have been able to get that Lavanila Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Passion Fruit, either; for some reason, no one else seems to carry it here in Canada!

Additional photos & more »

Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner, Brow Liner review & giveaway! | Canadian beauty at its best

Monday, July 4, 2016

Amaterasu brunette liquid brow liner review swatches photos

The products: Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner in Espresso, Liquid Brow Liner in Brunette 

I love covering Canadian beauty products here on theNotice, and I loooove giving my favourite products a little extra screen time. Today, I get to do both!

Amaterasu liquid eyeliner giveaway canadian beauty

I’ve teamed up with the lovely folks at Amaterasu to bring you a pretty awesome giveaway: one lucky reader will win an Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner in Brunette and an Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner in a shade that’s picked out just for them.

I’m a big fan of the Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner ($29 CAD), and the great tone and sheer finish of the formula still wow me every time. The pen itself is pretty small, but it hasn’t dried up on me yet (which is a pretty tough feat to accomplish!)

Amaterasu liquid eyeliner espresso swatch review photos

The Amaterasu Liquid Eyeliner ($30 CAD) is new to me, and it’s definitely unlike all other liquid liners that I’ve tried before. The formula seems very similar to a liquid brow liner – it’s surprisingly sheer and sinks right into the skin instead of looking inky or painted on.

The liquid liner stays on incredibly well (no smudging or bleeding on my lids, even all day long!), but it rinses off easily and doesn’t stain the skin. If you like a really opaque line, I don’t think it’ll be for you, but for a natural look, it can’t be beat. There are very few liquid eyeliners that can pull of a tint, but this one does!

Amaterasu liquid brow, eyeliner swatches espesso, espresso

Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner in Brunette (the sheer one) & Liquid Eyeliner in Espresso (the chocolately one) swatches

What I think makes the Amaterasu liquid liner super special is its brush tip. Sure, a lot of other brands do a fibrous pen tip too, but this one just works. Because the formula is so liquidy, you can make full use of the brush from root to tip, getting a thick line that tapers into just a hair’s breadth in just one movement.

The giveaway

Amaterasu giveaway

If you’re excited about these two products now (and you should be), you can enter below for your chance to win a set! The prize ($59 CAD value) will include both an eyeliner in Espresso and a brow liner in a shade that’s handpicked just for you – the folks at Amaterasu will email the winner directly to figure out which of the shades will work best for them.

I’m super psyched about this giveaway, which is open to all US & Canadian residents of legal age and closes in two weeks, at 11:59 PM MST on July 17th. Happy entering!!

sheer anda Rafflecopter giveaway

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Ebony review, swatches, photos | One in, one out

Friday, June 10, 2016

Annabelle Skinny Brow Universal Ebony review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Ebony 

Okay, so this one is a bit of a “cheat post.” I haven’t finished my first Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner yet, but I’ve already bought another one because I’m weak of spirit and I literally could not handle not having one on me at all times.

Does that mean that it: 1) counts as a repurchase, 2) counts doubly as a repurchase, or 3) does not count as a repurchase because you still have your first one; seriously, Rae, what is wrong with you?

Annabelle Skinny Brow Universal Ebony empties

And now, for a quick recap of the week this liner: I recently reviewed the Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in my Annabelle brow breakdown post, but for those of you who missed it (or just need a quick refresher) – this thing is basically the shit. 

Universal Ebony the perfect shade for my Asian colouring, and it gives me hella flawless brows in just seconds. Nothing makes my face look as flawless as perfect brows (no, not even perfect foundation), and literally nothing beats this formula, except maybe liquid brow pens if the colour’s just right.

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner swatches before after tutorial

1. Bare brows: Milani Liquif’Eye liner, Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadows in 01 Golden Peach and 02 Golden Sand (review soon!) / 2. Outlined brows

What I missed in my initial review…

I, in my infinite wisdom, managed to forget to do a before & after for my initial review. Which obviously couldn’t be withheld for a product THIS good, so here you go!

I find that the best way to get perfect-for-me brows with this liner is to sketch the outline of my brows (bottom line first, then the top), fill them in (heavily throughout for “Instagram brows”/more faintly on the inner corners for everyday), and then finish by pulling a spoolie through my brows in an outward motion to blend.

This process is literally so easy that I can finish my brows in under 60 seconds, and they stay flawless and natural-looking all day (and night) long.

(58 seconds and 11 milliseconds, and I don’t even have to rush. I know because I TIMED IT.)

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner review tutorial

3. Filled in / 4. Finished! 

The verdict?

The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liners are literally so good that I couldn’t bear to be without, and dude, you need to give them a try. If my first review didn’t convince you, then please: let this one sway you in the direction of the light!

Availability: $8.95 CAD at Annabelle.com and at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada. (My advice? Get it through Annabelle. I bought my second one at Shoppers, and it was $10.49!)

Check out these silicone-free ingredients! »

Yasmine Jones from Bella Aura: creator interview | Small Business Saturdays

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Yasmine Jones Bella Aura

Right now, I’m testing out a new Canadian skincare range called Bella Aura. You may have heard of it already (a number of my blogger friends, like Tracy and Shireen, really love the line), but if you recognize the name, then you’ll definitely want to read on.

As I’m still working on testing this range, I reached out to Bella Aura to see if I could do an EXCLUSIVE interview with their founder, Yasmine Jones, to share before the review. Luckily for us, she said yes!!

Bella Aura skincare review, interview

 

The interview

Q: I am so exited to feature you on theNotice today, so I’m going to start out with a pretty broad question, if that’s okay! If you had to describe yourself to a stranger on the street, what would you tell them about yourself? 

Yasmine Jones: I’m not really so comfortable describing myself to others, what I can say is that I am real and what you see is what you get, which means that I can be direct some times. Probably the best way for me to answer the question is to tell you that my mom taught to be kind and generous to people, especially those less fortunate than I am. (Editor’s note: Bella Aura donates a portion of their proceeds to charity each month and engages in responsible sourcing.)

One thing that I’ll say is that I am a very spiritual person and I think that comes across in Bella Aura Skincare.

Q: One of the things that I love about Bella Aura is that the range is very edited. Do you plan on adding more products as time passes, or was this an intentional decision? 

YJ: This was an intentional decision for sure. The goal was to keep things simple and develop multifunctional natural products that can be used for all skin types. We have created 5 targeted skin care solutions that all work well together. Our formulas are called emulsions, which combine the best qualities of serums and creams. They absorb quickly while providing superior hydration to the skin to fight the signs of aging and make your skin look radiant.

For now we are focused on our existing product line, but I have some ideas for future products to compliment them!

Bella Aura skincare range review

Q: I am totally smitten with the Bella Aura packaging and design. Can you share some insights on why you chose these bottles and illustrations? 

YJ: Thank you Rae, I’m so happy that you like the packaging. My thoughts on packaging were part functional and part design. For the bottles, I wanted to use glass and not plastic. Natural skin care products should be stored in dark containers. This combined with the airless pump, which is designed to protect against bacteria that can contaminate product, increases shelf life by up to 15%. I chose black because it is elegant, I’ve always loved black packaging for this reason.

The logo is a droplet with a zelig (pronounced zel-eej) pattern which inspired by traditional Moroccan tiles. We us a different colour droplet for each product which represents a specific aura colour. As I mentioned, I am a spiritual person.

Q: What made you want to launch your own skincare range? 

YJ: It comes from personal struggles with my skin. I was dealing with the stress and sleepless nights of a personal family tragedy and experienced serious skin issue. I tried many different skin care products, some made it worse and nothing was able to bring back my normally healthy skin.

After about a year dealing my skin issues, I met a herbalist/chemist in Morocco who said that he had a natural remedy to fix my skin. I was skeptical, but I tried it and my skin gradually improved. Not being a patient person, I was inspired to research natural ingredients for skin care that really work. I wanted to create “Clean” skincare products based on natural ingredients to make people feel good about their skin.

After 3 years of scouring the world for an amazing formulation chemist, Bella Aura Skincare was born.

Bella Aura moroccan bath

Q: What are your 3 favourite skincare ingredients?

YJ: I actually have 4, based on an ancient Moroccan beauty formula (our exclusive Kamilah Blend) which I use in all of the products. They are Argan oil, Fig de Barbarie oil, Neroli, and Nigella oil. The reason I love these oils is that they work really well together and complement each other. Combined they are super rich in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, they also contain natural anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties all essential for healthy beautiful skin.

Q: What are your top 3 vacation destinations, and why? 

YJ: Morocco – Because of its great food, real people, diversity in geography, and subcultures. And it’s where I was born!

Maldives – I’ve only been there once, but it was amazing, exotic, and relaxing. Beautiful ocean and beaches, really out of this world.

Banff – Because of its natural beauty, fresh mountain air and wildlife, simply breathtaking.

Q: And, finally… If you had to choose only ONE Bella Aura product that you love the most, which one would it be? 

YJ: This is such a hard question for me to answer because I use the entire set of products in my skin care regime. I use the Gentle Purifying Cleanser morning and night, Daily Moisture Repair and Antioxidant Booster in the morning and during the day when the weather is dry. At night after cleansing I will use either the Instant Lifting Eye Contour or Night Cellular Renewal and quite often both, during the winter and when exposed to sun.

(Editor’s note: Yasmine totally cheated on that last question! ;) But if you want MY favourite product, it’s definitely the Bella Aura Gentle Purifying Cleanser… or maybe the Antioxidant Booster Emulsion. Thanks for reading, folks!)

 

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This interview with Yasmine Jones has been edited and condensed. Additional images of Yasmine and Morocco are c/o Bella Aura.

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