Annabelle & Marcelle Holiday 2016 giveaway | 30 items worth over $340!

Friday, December 2, 2016

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All year, I’ve toyed with the idea of running four giveaways throughout the month of December. But this fall, an even better opportunity fell into my lap: the chance to host a giveaway of the ENTIRE Annabelle and Marcelle Fall 2016 makeup collections, plus a few of Marcelle’s latest and greatest new skincare innovations.

I am a huge Annabelle/Marcelle fan, and I could not be more psyched to get to share this incredible volume of products with you guys. Even more, I’m shipping this straight to one lucky reader from theNotice HQ, so it’s open internationally for all of my readers who have been tempted by my Annabelle posts for years (but haven’t been able to order themselves!)

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How to enter

The list of items included in this prize is freakin’ LONG, so I figured I’d put the “how to enter” ahead of it – save us all a little bit of scrolling. To enter, use the widget below! (And let me know if you have a Gleam/Rafflecopter preference! I’ve enjoyed using Gleam as a reader, but this is the first time I’m running a giveaway using it.)

This giveaway is open internationally and will close on December 25th at 11:59 PM (MST)… so some lucky reader will probably be waking up to a particularly lovely Christmas present on Boxing Day!

Annabelle & Marcelle Holiday Giveaway

What’s in the prize…

In this prize are over 30 different products, including the entire Annabelle mascara lineup and ALL of the new TwistUp Metallic lip colours and BigShow Gel Lipliners.

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This big gift basket has a value of $349.50 CAD altogether, and it comes with a few awesome perks, too: not only are Annabelle and Marcelle Canadian-owned, but all of their products are cruelty-free from start to finish.

Skincare products marked * contain silicones, and products in bold are a few of my all-time favourites!

Annabelle BigShow Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Waterproof Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Expandable Mascara ($10.95 CAD)

Annabelle Outlash Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Lash Launcher Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Blast Off Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Supernova Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Heartbreaker ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Purple Panache ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Heavy Petal ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Nude of Fame ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Crazy Coral ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Rock & Rose ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Red is Love ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Nude Attitude ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Fall for Fuchsia ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Call Me Pinky ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Royal Purple ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Meet Rosie ($8.95 CAD)

Marcelle New-Age LumiPower* ($24.95 CAD)

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Gel Eye Make-Up Remover ($13.95 CAD)

Marcelle Hydra-C Eye Contour Gel Cream* ($24.95 CAD)

Marcelle Ultimate Fringe Effect Mascara ($12.95 CAD)

Marcelle Ultimate Easy Lash Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Marcelle Face Powder in Translucent Medium ($14.95 CAD)

Marcelle Flawless Compact Foundation* ($17.95 CAD)

Marcelle Flawless Skin-Fusion Concealer in Light to Medium* ($10.95 CAD)

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 840 Pink Lace ($11.95 CAD)

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 875 Berry Blossom ($11.95 CAD)

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 960 Show of Pink ($11.95 CAD)

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A few more snapshots of the prize bundle! 

Lise Watier Arabesque Holiday 2016 collection

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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Lise Watier Baiser Velours in Swan Kiss swatch & review (after 3 hours’ wear!)

The products: Lise Watier Arabesque collection (Holiday 2016)

Inspired by the ballet, the Lise Watier Arabesque collection is full of see-through foils and sultry burgundies. This review covers the collection’s highs and lows–and you might be surprised which is which.

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Lise Watier Arabesque review – Coppélia

What to save your pennies on 

Lise Watier’s holiday eye palettes are usually the strongest point of their holiday showing, but I found this year’s Lise Watier Arabesque 5-Colour Eyeshadows (limited edition, $42 CAD) to be lacking. I haven’t swatched them for this review, but for good reason: though they look pretty when swatched, their formula totally pulls one over on you. 

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Lise Watier Arabesque review – Isadora

I’m used to seeing really vivid, buttery shades from Lise Watier’s holiday collection, and these palettes just didn’t have it. Even when applied over primer, they blended away quickly to nothingness, leaving not even a hint of colour behind.

I adore flakey shimmers, so I was psyched when I swatched the middle shades of each palette, but I felt like I had been tricked when I tried to use them. I literally could not make these shadows show up on my lids. Zilch, nada, nothing. I’d apply, and then the second I would go to blend, they would just disappear into nothingness, like last season’s booty call.

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Index finger: Lise Watier Arabesque Nail Varnish swatch (2 coats) / Middle finger: Lise Watier Cerise Noir swatch (2 coats) / See this post for that gorgeous glitter!

Similarly, I was really let down by the Arabesque Nail Varnish (both limited edition, $9 CAD). Unlike Cerise Noir, which applied with breathtaking ease and opacity (it almost reminded me of a YSL nail varnish – not quite, but almost), Arabesque is too sheer for its own good.

As a topcoat, it’s passable, but on its own, it straight up just makes my nails look dirty around the edges. I did my toes in Arabesque last week, and I spent an entire morning this past weekend trying to confusedly scrub the dirt off of my feet. Eventually, I realized that my feet weren’t inexplicably dirty – that’s just what the polish looks like.

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I could go either way on the Lise Watier Twist and Sharp Eyeliner in Platine (new permanent, $23 CAD) and the Lise Watier Haute Lumiere Lipgloss in Gold Glory (limited edition, $24 CAD)Platine is a platinum eyeliner with metallic flakes of colour (it would be beautiful on darker skintones), but Gold Glory just boring. C’mon, guys; we’ve seen gold shimmer in clear gloss a million times!

I think that Lise Watier can do better, and they did–within this very collection, as a matter of fact.

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Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Lipstick in Cerise Noir review (left), Cerise Noir with Gold Glory Haute Lumiere Lipgloss on top (swatched at right)

What to buy immediately (in duplicate, even)

Where this collection really shines is in its matte and creme shades. I first swatched the Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Lipstick in Cerise Noir (new permanent, $25 CAD), which is a beautiful, glossy black cherry shade. Dark lipsticks tend to be a bit too high-maintenance for me, though, so I moved on from this fruity-scented lipstick pretty quickly.

The next product I tried–and the one that I fell completely in love with–was the Lise Watier Baiser Velours Liquid Lipstick in Swan Kiss (limited edition, $28 CAD). I reviewed the Baiser Velours formula originally in February, and I wasn’t impressed. But this time around, with a different shade, I could not have been more floored.

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Lise Watier Baiser Velours in Swan Kiss review, swatches

Swan Kiss is a flattering, sexy, brown-based lip shade. It makes my lips look enormous, and its matte formula was very comfortable to wear. I tested it out for four hours and ate an entire ice cream bar while wearing it, and it barely showed a single sign of wear.

There’s a major Kylie Jenner vibe to Swan Kiss, and it holds up better to kissing than you’d expect. I’m not usually a fan of the Kardashian/Jenner crowd, but if the trends they created are going to make my lips look this good, I’ll take it!

Keep reading! »

Deciem The Ordinary reviews: Rose Hip Seed Oil, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Thursday, October 6, 2016

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The products: DECIEM The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed OilNiacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

If you haven’t been introduced to The Ordinary yet, well, prepare to be floored. The Ordinary is Deciem’s brand new range of “clinical formulations with integrity,” and they’re anything but ordinary.

The line features incredibly affordable clinical products in order to bring communication and pricing integrity back to the skincare industry. Like any other Deciem product, they are Canadian, cruelty-free, and celebrate innovation and honesty.

» YES, REALLY: The Ordinary is priced at $4.90 CAD-$14.80 CAD for full-sized products. They ship for free, clearly display their ingredients and technologies online, and don’t skimp on the quality.

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The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil ($9.90 CAD)

This is my fourth rose hip seed oil of the year, and it is the only one that I’ll be repurchasing. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that this rose hip seed oil is $5.80/oz (Pai’s blend is $39.43/oz), but I’m beginning to be able to wrap my head around it.

Rosehip seed oil is a rather fragile oil, but it’s a marvel for the skin: it’s full of fatty acids, antioxidants, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and vitamins C and A. As a result, Deciem have sourced only cold-pressed rosehip oil for this product, and packaged it in UV-resistant amber glass.

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Depending on the source, crop, and processing, rosehip seed oil can vary greatly. The Ordinary’s rosehip seed oil has a rich, buttery yellow hue and an almost fish oil-like scent. It sinks right into my dry skin and is very hydrating without clogging my pores.

In short, it’s beautiful–and a total steal. I’ve been very disappointed in the other budget-friendly rosehip seed oils that I’ve tried, but my skin loves this one! I’ve been using it solo at night and blended with L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil during the day for the ultimate makeup base/nighttime glow combination.

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The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90 CAD)

My skin typically also adores niacinamide, so I knew I had to try this out as soon as I first read about it. I wanted to really put it through its paces for this review, though, so I had Boyfriend test it out.

He has oily skin that’s been hella breaking out recently, so I’ve been making him use this in place of his serum and moisturizer for the past two weeks. (For anyone with normal or dry skin, please make sure to layer this with a separate moisturizer!) Niacinamide and zinc PCA are not treatments for acne, as Deciem points out, but they reduce the look of blemishes and help balance sebaceous activity.

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Inflammation and redness play a big role in acne, which is why niacinamide works so well for many people. This 10% solution was no exception: within two weeks, I watched A’s hairline breakout go from an angry red patch to something almost invisible.

The skin around his beard looks less red than usual and now has ZERO visible blemishes, and while the rosehip oil was enough to stop my breakout in its tracks (I was breaking out due to dryness), I’m looking forward to using this on my skin in the future, too.

Also: how good is the note in Deciem’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% description? I totally cracked up when I read it. I can totally see some crotchety young scientist furiously typing it out in the dark, and then passive-aggressively editing it the next morning! (You show ’em, Deciem.)

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The verdict?

I literally can’t believe that Deciem can buy glassware at these prices, much less full-on formulations… but they did, and they have. It’s frightening to see how much other companies mark up their skincare products, and I love Deciem all the more for making a statement with this range.

Even more than that, however, I love how accessible this makes good skincare. These are less than drugstore prices, but the products and development are of department-store quality. I would recommend both of these products in a heartbeat, and I will be purchasing additional products soon.

Availability: $4.90 CAD & up at Deciem. Shipping is free to Canada, the US, and the UK, with more locations coming this month.

Keep reading! »

TL Cares Box review, photos | A new twist on subscription beauty boxes

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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The product: T•LANGHANS•CARES Subscription Box (quarterly)

I’ve talked about subscription beauty boxes in the past (Wantable, Vegan Cuts, and Birchbox come to mind), but I was recently introduced to a company that does subscription boxes an entirely different way.

The T•LANGHANS•CARES Subscription Box is an eco-friendly Canadian beauty box that was developed by Tova Langhans. It’s designed to provide you with six full-sized essentials rather than introduce you to new products, and 9% of the proceeds from the boxes goes to charity. It’s delivered seasonally and runs at a cost of $148 CAD per box.

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Sink-side products 

The TLC Subscription box comes with three sink-side products: Liquid Castile Soap, Castile Bars, and a Hand & Body Cream.

I absolutely adored the T Langhans Hand & Body Cream, so we’ll start there. The formula is rich and creamy, and the House Blend scent smells fantastic. It contains lots of skin-friendly ingredients like olive oil and avocado oil, and a light layer keeps my dry skin moisturized all day long. It’s just as good on the hands as it is on the body–which is a very rare find–and the cream has a lemony, spa-like scent.

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I was less taken with the box’s Liquid Castile Soap and Castile Bars. The liquid soap leaked out of its pump every time I used it, and both the liquid and bar soaps left my skin feeling dry and itchy. 

Sold separately, the T Langhans bar soap is $12.38 per 100 grams, compared to Rocky Mountain Soap’s $5.25 or Osmia Organic’s $9.62 for the same amount. For double the industry’s average price, I think a bar of soap be twice as good, not twice as stripping!

EDIT 23/09/16: Tova emailed me to inform me that the price of her soap is higher than average because her Castile formulas feature only virgin olive oil, rather than a blend of olive oil along with cheaper oils. She also noted that they contain 15% un-saponified olive oil and sugar beet extract for extra moisture, so you may not have the same reaction to these soaps that I did!

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Shower products 

My friend Tracy LOVES Tova’s Cleansing Conditioner, but neither of these shower products worked well for me. I have a dry, flakey scalp (thanks, Alberta), and I just couldn’t wash out all of my flakes with this cleansing conditioner. It sounds like it’s excellent for fine or coloured hair, but it was a no-go for my dry scalp!

The Liquid Castile Shower Gel is just just a larger version of the Liquid Castile Soap, so it might work well for you if you have reactive skin. Tova’s soaps are all simple and are scented only with essential oils, so they’re perfect for allergies or reactivity, but they’re not so great for dry skin or eczema.

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Spa products

The final T Langhans products I got to try out in this box were the brand’s Sugar Polish and Cuticle Oil. I didn’t get a lot of use out of the cuticle oil, but I LOVED the Sugar Polish. 

It’s formulated with sugar, coconut oil, olive oil, and honey (full ingredients on their site), and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s so moisturizing that it can double as an in-shower moisturizer, and the sugar granules and oils work to lock in moisture and exfoliate the skin without irritating it in the slightest bit. There’s even a bit of glycolic acid in this polish, which provides a very mild chemical peel to pair alongside your gentle manual exfoliation!

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The verdict?

I like the concept of the TLC Subscription Box, and I think that Tova seems like a really wonderful, genuine human being. But the cost of the box ($24.60 per product, or $592 per year) is too steep for me to recommend it right now.

Tova’s House Blend Hand and Body Cream ($30 CAD) and Sugar Polish ($30 CADare absolutely beautiful products, and I would wholeheartedly recommend both. But for $148 CAD, I was disappointed to see the “Hotel Collection” soap slices instead of full-sized bars of soap, and I was turned off by just how stripping the cleansing products were. My hands got so dry that they bled when I started testing for this post, and I still have the scabs to prove it.

My final critique is that if a consumer is paying luxury prices, I think they deserve to have luxury packaging and branding, too – even if that means that the company has to spend a little more on packaging. The TLC Subscription Box is off to a great start, but it still has a lot of room to grow!

Availability: Get the products here and the box here. The box ships for free within Canada!

Keep reading! »

Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate review, before & after photos

Saturday, September 17, 2016

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The product: Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate

When I met with Deciem’s PR genius (and total #ladyboss) last summer, she mentioned offhandedly that she was using NIOD (Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science)’s Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate. She has one of the best pouts that I’ve seen in the biz, so I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on a bottle!

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The science behind the NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate: Deciem’s NIOD line is all about innovative technologies in skincare, and this lip plumper is no exception. It’s a very concentrated dry oil that is designed to “the looks of lip colour, volume, texture, softness and contour,” and it hits the mark on every point.

Just some of the ingredients used in NIOD’s Lip Bio-Lipid include an isolated sugarcane hemisqualane and sea buckthorn oil base, Lipid Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 Complex to mimic dermal elastin and increase firmness, and Nicotinic Acid Methyl Ester, a traditional muscle relief ointment that’s used here to redden the lips.

Deciem recommends that you use just a drop of this oil before bed and in the morning, but I’ve been using about a half-drop only in the mornings. It’s more than enough to plump my lips up, but doesn’t require any extra forethought!

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Niod Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate before / after

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Niod Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate before / after

But does it work? Like most lip plumpers, Lip Bio-Lipid burns – a lot. With that cinnamon-y feeling, however, comes a dramatic increase in both lip redness and lip volume. 

I don’t have the most defined lip line, so I find that the area around my lips becomes reddened for a few minutes as well. After the 5-minute initial discomfort, however, the redness around my lips returns to normal, while my lips themselves stay plump and pinked.

I haven’t used this consistently enough to garner long-term results, but I definitely see a difference immediately after using the Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate. My lips look fuller, redder, and smoother for the day, and they even look noticeably bigger with lipstick overtop. (This oil is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride-based, so it doesn’t make your lipstick slide off the way something like castor seed oil would!)

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The verdict?

I’ve never put a lot of faith into lip plumpers, but this stuff is seriously like a lip augmentation in a bottle. It’s spicy and effective, and you get a LOT for what you pay for. Per ounce, it’s less than half the price of the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme or comparable products, and it’s paraben- and silicone-free to boot.

NIOD’s Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate own’t give you quite as Instagrammable a pout as Mira’s, but it’ll push enough temporary volume into your lips that it’ll look like a light lip job. Check it out!

Availability: $60 CAD at Deciem online or in-store!

Keep reading! »

MIYU Hydrate Mi tea review, photos | The prettiest teas in Canada!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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The product: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea (Pairing No. 1)

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing MIYU’s original essences and tea pairings for you guys. Today, I have the chance to re-review their recently repackaged Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea , and I could not be more excited to share my thoughts!

» MIYU Beauty is a Canadian company founded by cosmetic chemist and former blogger Connie Tai. Connie and her husband Peter just welcomed their second little one into the world in August (hi, baby Christian!)

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The new packaging: The new MIYU packaging features premium loose leaf tea in eco-friendly packaging, and you guys, I am in love. The tins are gorgeous and totally gift-worthy, and they seal up quite tightly to keep your tea fresh for as long as possible!

Even the new labels are more eco-friendly – they’re printed on Forest Stewardship Certified paper.

The teas now come in refillable Deluxe Edition and Everyday Edition format, which feature tin canister and resealable foiled pouch packaging, respectively. MIYU is also now offering drawstring-style tea filters to pair with their loose leaf tea, which, again, somehow seem more luxe than the stuff you’d get at the grocery store. (They scrunch up nice and tightly!)

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Hydrate Mi vs De-Stress Mi: MIYU’s Hydrate Mi tea is now made without sugar pearls, and it features green rooibos with vitamin C-packed goji berries, rose petals, and notes of pear. I find the tea to be quite light and well-rounded, with floral and fruity notes.

The De-Stress Mi tea, now also free of sugar, blends peppermint tea, Chinese liquorice, and chamomile blossoms for an uplifting and anti-inflammatory blend.

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The verdict?

I’ve probably gone through a good four bottles of MIYU Beauty Essence since my original review, and I’m happy to start drinking the Hydrate Mi tea pairing again, too.

The MIYU teas really turn tea-drinking into an experience – you’re not just sitting down with a grey David’s Tea bag or an old box of Lipton’s. Instead, the MIYU teas feel like they could have just fallen off of a shelf in a Parisian boutique, and they’re feel-good teas all around: they’re made to be good for you, your skin, and the environment.

Availability: $14 CAD-$25 USD at MIYU Beauty.

Keep reading! »

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