MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi, De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence & Tea reviews | Canadian beauty at its best

Thursday, September 11, 2014

miyu beauty essence tea review

The products: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence and De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence

A lot of blogs work on deadlines; SEO; what’s-new-now. But on theNotice, as you may have (heh) noticed, I work on a different metric: the product itself.

When I received these Beauty Essences (and their tea pairings), just hammering out a review on them didn’t feel right. So, even though I had waited long months for their launch, I kept waiting: an entire year past their initial release. But, finally, I feel like I know exactly what I want to say about these delicate, one-of-a-kind serum mists, and I’m beyond excited to finally be able to share my thoughts with all of you!

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea

MIYU Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea

What exactly is a beauty essence? The long and short of it is simple: beauty essences are a cross between a facial mist and a serum. They were formulated by Connie Tai, cosmetic chemist and founder of MIYU Beauty, who has both the extensive industry background and approachable-but-no-nonsense chicness that make you want to trust her products… and buy everything she tells you to.

I had a chance to meet with Connie while she was still developing these beauty essences, and even in rudimentary sample packaging, these mists and teas still made me go, “oh.”

A misting tip from Connie: if you’re going to do it, do it. The packaging she chose for the MIYU Essences works beautifully, delivering an unusually full, diffuse mist — but only if it’s sprayed with conviction. Half-depressing a mister won’t just deliver half the product, it’ll make the spray weak and uneven!

MIYU Beauty essence reviews - spray serum

The beauty essence formula

As someone who loves only the idea of facial mists, I was surprised to find that these beauty essences didn’t ever irritate my skin or break me out, even with repeated use. Instead, they have consistently helped to add hydration both under my moisturizer and overtop my makeup, and they do so with packaging that’s both luxurious and lightweight.

The magic, I think, lies in the formula: these alcohol, paraben, and silicone-free mists are comprised not only of water and glycerine, but also include large amounts of pentylene glycol (a humectant with anti-microbial properties) and sodium hyaluronate (think of this one as a more effective hyaluronic acid). As a result, the formula of MIYU’s mists is just as hydrating as other facial mists–if not more hydrating,–but leaves behind a smooth, silky finish with no stickiness at all.

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence review spray serum

Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence & Tea ($42 CAD/$42 USD for both)

I reach for Hydrate Mi most often, which uses extracts of wild pansy, goji berries, and mangosteen to boost water transport and retention in the epidermis. It smells sweetly floral, like a rosewater facial mist, and is optimized for dehydrated skin, frequent travellers, and dry climates.

I wasn’t crazy about the Hydrate Mi tea, but then again, I don’t like sweet teas! It’s definitely one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen, however, and contains green rooibos, goji berries, white pear essence, and candied pearls. (My mom keeps trying to get me to eat goji berries; we have some in our garden. I hate them.)

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence ingredients:

Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Pearl Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Lycium Chinese Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Peel Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Proline, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin.

MIYU Beauty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence review serum mist

De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence & Tea ($42 CAD/$45 USD pairing)

I reach for the minty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence less often, but I do still really enjoy using it — the peppermint extract can be quite refreshing, especially in the summer.

De-Stress Mi is packed full of good stuff (even more so than the Hydrate Mi essence), including peppermint leaf, licorice, ginger, honeysuckle, and dandelion root extracts, as well as skin-conditioning aloe vera and a number of newfangled yeast/iron ferments that are said to have antioxidant properties. All in all, De-Stress Mi targets strained skin and targets inflammation, and would be great if you’re worried about pollutants in the air.

Like the Hydrate Mi tea, the De-Stress Mi blend is a little bit sweet, too — so skip it if you’re a peppermint-spearmint purist like myself. It contains organic peppermint, licorice root, chamomile blossoms, and candied pearls.

MIYU Beauty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence ingredients:

Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Pearl Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Peppermint Leaf Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Ginger Root Extract, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Dandelion Rhizome/Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Proline, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin.

MIYU Beauty De-Strees Mi Beauty Tea

MIYU De-Stress Mi Beauty Tea

The verdict?

I waited an entire year until I could tell you this with utmost confidence in what I was saying, but at long last: if you’re looking for gentle, effective hydration, the MIYU Beauty Essences are my No. 1 recommendation for a facial mist or serum. They’re beautifully formulated, wonderfully packaged, and a great way to buy Canadian.

I am usually loathe to recommend a facial mist for more than $20 (after all, they’re usually sticky messes of glycerine and water), but at $34 CAD, I think you’ll find these to be worth each and every penny.

Availability: The MIYU Beauty Essences are available for $34 CAD; the teas are $16 CAD. Get them at MIYU Beauty, Birchbox, Gloss48, and Anthropologie.

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Marcelle Lux Gloss & Lux Gloss Sheer swatches, and a sort-of review | Canadian beauty

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Marcelle Lux Gloss swatches review

The product: Marcelle Lux Gloss & Lux Gloss Sheer (the entire range of each!)

It really, really bugs me that it’s so hard to find swatches of Canadian products online.

So, while I’m not in love with these glosses (they’re a little dated, no?), here are swatches of the Marcelle Lux Gloss & Lux Gloss Sheer ranges! Hopefully they’ll help some poor soul out there, and in exchange, I get to take a little break from the photograph-test-review-new-stuff routine. (I may be burning out a little, oops.)

Marcelle Lux Gloss Sheer review

Marcelle Lux Gloss Sheer in 51 Chic Bronze, 62 Sorbet, 63 Passion, and 80 Nectar

(I am so sorry; these photos were taken years ago under an overcast sky. At sundown. Not my brightest moment.)

Marcelle Lux gloss review

Marcelle Lux Gloss in 10 Whisper, 20 Starlet, and 21 Muse

Marcelle says that their Lux Gloss formula is plumping and long-lasting, with a metallic finish, and that their Lux Gloss Sheer formula is sheer and shimmery, with a wet-look finish. I’ve never found their glosses to be plumping, but the description is otherwise quite accurate.

On the whole, I find the Lux Gloss range to be a little too sticky, and a little boring. They’re not bad by any means, but… they’re just not exciting, you know? I’d love to see Marcelle update their gloss range past their new black lids; maybe focus more on the creme finishes, or try a less-sticky formula. (The now-discontinued Vita-Lip Plumping Glosses were a favourite of mine – I just pulled Rio Rose out again for the spring!)

Marcelle Lux Gloss swatches, sans creme

Swatched L-R: Marcelle Lux Gloss in Magic (Sheer), Whisper, Chic Bronze (S), Starlet, Sorbet (S), Passion (S), Serenade (S), Mousseline (S), Nectar (S), and Muse

Marcelle Lux Gloss Sheer swatches

Marcelle Lux Gloss in Magic (Sheer), Whisper, Chic Bronze (S), Starlet, Sorbet (S), Passion (S), Serenade (S), Mousseline (S), Nectar (S), and Muse, swatched L-R. 

Availability & recommendations

Along with a shimmer-free Lux Gloss Creme finish, the Marcelle Lux Gloss and Lux Gloss Sheer ranges can be found on the Marcelle website (US & Canada shipping), and at drugstores throughout Canada. They retail for $10.95 CAD and are fragrance-free.

My top picks from this range are Sorbet and Nectar, with honourable mentions going out to Chic Bronze and Mousseline. The shimmer in Magic is also quite lovely in person, if you haven’t a shimmery topcoat in your collection yet!

Numbered swatches & ingredients »

Annabelle Expandable Mascara Review, Photos, Swatches | Not a gimmick, but a gold mine

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Annabelle Expandable mascara review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Expandable Mascara

I mentioned taking sixteen months to review a product a couple of weeks ago (this one!), but I’ve been testing Annabelle Expandable for even longer — yes, really, much to my shame.

I have absolutely no good excuse for why it’s taken me so long to review a product that I’ve had since it was a lab sample in a small, un-labeled black tube, but without further adieu, may I please introduce you to Annabelle Expandable: a drugstore mascara that I’ve loved since the very first time I tried it.

Annabelle Expandable swatches review photos

Annabelle Expandable – short and long wand results, no lash comb

The “gimmick”: What makes the Annabelle Expandable mascara special is that, well, it really is expandable. The wand handle twists at the base, allowing the plastic bristles to expand or contract — not with each bristle getting longer or shorter, but with each bristle getting closer or farther from its neighbour. 

What looks like a gimmick is, in this case, actually really awesome. I love the formula of this mascara, but for those who don’t struggle as much as I do with smudging, this may well be Expandable’s biggest pull. It allows you to have just one mascara that can deliver dramatically different effects: lots of separation and length at the (-) end, or lots of product and volume at the (+) end.

Annabelle expandable short wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara – short wand (separation)

Annabelle expandable long wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara – long wand (volume)

The curl and wear: Like most “wet” mascaras (though Expandable isn’t super wet — it’s just not super dry, either), this mascara drops the curl of my lashes only when I apply it. It’s just enough to give them a bit of a droop, so I tend to apply a quick coat or two of mascara, then “push” the lashes toward my face with my fingertip and hold for a few seconds. This helps the lash to set into a nice curl, and once dry, Expandable holds the curl in place for the rest of the day.

Where Annabelle’s Expandable mascara really excels, though, is in its wear. I get maybe 3-4 hours wear without smudging with your average mascara, but Expandable wears like a champ: I can make it 8 hours without any smudging, and over 10 hours with very minimal smudging. This is the longest-wearing non-tubing mascara that I’ve tried so far, and it comes with a mere $10 price tag.

Annabelle Expandable mascara review swatches

Annabelle Expandable mascara – one light coat short wand, second coat short wand, third coat long wand

Annabelle expandable long wand swatch

Annabelle Expandable mascara – one heavy coat, long wand

The verdict?

Annabelle claims that their Expandable mascara is volumizing, lengthening, anti-clumping, and easy to remove — and you know what? I’d agree with all of these claims.

Expandable is my go-to mascara for both natural, everyday lashes and high-impact volume (it’s outclassed very slightly for photos by Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill mascara, which is gorgeous but not $30 USD worth of gorgeous), and I would absolutely recommend it to a friend. It gives me both better wear and more believable volume than Le Big Show, and I’ll be frank with you: the awesome, unique wand certainly isn’t doing it any harm.

5/5 would-buy-again, Annabelle.

Availability: $10.95 CAD at Annabelle.ca (ships to Canada & the US), or in-store at most major drugstores throughout Canada.

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Another Canadian sale: Lise Watier Private Sale at up to 60% off

Friday, March 14, 2014

I hadn’t planned for this at all, but it seems we’re having a bit of an accidental “Canadian week” at theNotice! From today until the 16th (that’s Sunday), Lise Watier will have an expanded, online-only sale section with 150 products at up to 60% off. 

There are tons of really great deals in there, but here are my top picks (click to shop).

» Shop the sale here.

Additional photos & swatches »

My Marcelle recommendations & must-haves (and a 40% off code)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marcelle annabelle 40 off free shipping

With Marcelle and Annabelle featuring 40% off until the 13th to celebrate International Women’s Day, I thought I’d take a minute to go over a few of my must-have from their lines. I’ve linked to full reviews wherever possible, but I’ll do my best to tell you why I love each & every one of these within this post, too.

» Shop Annabelle.ca & Marcelle.com at 40% off with the code WOMEN

As with the Annabelle site, shipping is free on all Canadian orders, and is calculated by weight for all US ones. If you do live in the US, now might be a good time to stock up anyways — 40% off goes a long way in negating the cost of shipping!

My Marcelle favourites & recommendations (see my Annabelle picks here)

Marcelle Essentials 400ml

Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk { review | buy }

Marcelle’s Cleansing Milk was both the first Marcelle product and the first skincare product that I truly fell head over heels for. Sure, there are products that I like more, but so far, I have yet to find anything I love more.

While not flawless (my skin is still not 100%), this cleansing milk made a huge impact on my skin. Because it doesn’t strip my skin of all of its natural oils, it leaves my face feeling less tight and dry than other cleansers (even other cream cleansers that I’ve tried), and it keeps my skin from overproducing oil during the day.

Formulated for normal to dry skintypes, it’s also scent-free and sensitive-skin friendly.

 Marcelle Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water review

Marcelle Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water review | buy }

If there was one “hit product” in the Marcelle skincare line, I think this one would be it. I’ve gone through an entire bottle (which doesn’t sound like much, but this is literally the only makeup remover I’ve ever finished), and I have two more as backups already.

Also scent-free and sensitive-skin-friendly, the Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water does an amazing job at removing makeup without leaving your skin greasy or raw. It’s great for removing eyeliner from the waterline, and while it’s not as hydrating as a straight-up oil (and really, why would you even expect it to be?), it removes makeup beautifully and quite gently.

Marcelle Light to Medium BB cream review

Marcelle BB Cream (original) review | buy }

This isn’t a product that I use in my daily makeup repertoire (it’s full of ‘cones), but I tested it out when it launched & loved it so much that I bought a tube for my mom. It’s great at evening out the skin while still looking like skin, and wears well throughout the day.

Where the Marcelle BB Cream really excels, though, is in covering up large pores. I’m not sure how it does it (magic!), but it makes the pores on my mom’s nose disappear. I basically think that my mom is the prettiest human to ever exist–who doesn’t think that of their mothers, though, really?–but I’m not looking forward to getting her pores when my skin ages!

Marcelle Face Powder review | buy }

An oldie but goodie. Marcelle’s Face Powder is a classic, both in its utilitarian packaging and its velvety-soft finish. It holds up well throughout the day, disappears into the skin while giving it a beautiful satin-matte finish, and keeps a pretty short, ‘cone-free ingredients list.

I’ve had my tub of Marcelle Face Powder for years (at least three, if not four), and I’ve barely made a dent in it despite dropping it all the time. This, along with Marcelle’s original pressed powder (now available as their Monochromatic Pressed Powder ($15.95 CAD)) is all I will use for powder — nothing else measures up!

IMG_9438-1

Marcelle Lux Eye Dust in Go-Violet buy }

Okay, so this one is kind of cheating. It’s not one of my must-haves, but I posted about Annabelle’s Violet Vibe pigment many years ago, and it apparently resonated with a lot of you! I still have readers writing in and telling me that they bought Violet Vibe, and think of theNotice every time they use it.

Go-Violet is essentially the same as Violet Vibe, but I’m recommending it as an upgrade for one simple reason: the packaging is a lot better. And, with 40% off, you have no reason not to buy the slightly more expensive but far better-packaged version!

Marcelle Lux Diamond Eyeliner in Pure Gold see itbuy }

I don’t even have odes left to talk about this one, I write about it so much. Marcelle’s Lux Diamond liners are the same as the Annabelle Glitterama liners that I love, but the Annabelle ones don’t come in this beautiful, beautiful gold. It’s perfect during the holidays, for a dinner date, for an effortless summer evening eye — I could even see excelling at office wear.

It’s beautiful, beautifully packaged, and beautifully subtle. There’s nothing not to love.

Marcelle Lux Metallic, Diamond liquid liners glitter

Marcelle Lux Metallic Eyeliners review | buy }

Finally, I wanted to wrap up with Marcelle’s Lux Metallic Eyeliners. Housed in the same packaging as their Diamond counterparts, the Lux Metallic liquid liners are quite unique: they deliver translucent metallic colour, for a very interesting, almost watercolour effect. They can be layered for more impact, but they hold up well, and make it easy to create an ombré effect from one liner to the next, as well.

What are your Marcelle skincare and makeup favourites?

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