theBalm timeBalm review, swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium | My staple silicone-free concealer

Thursday, June 5, 2014

theBalm timeBalm anti-ageing concealer review

The product: theBalm timeBalm Anti-Wrinkle Concealer in Lighter Than Light, Light, and Light/Medium

You see timeBalm all the time on theNotice. Every tutorial, every makeup look, every shade comparison — they all (or almost all) have one secret ingredient in common: timeBalm. It’s my old standby; the only silicone-free concealer I’ve tried so far that runs light enough for my skin.

A couple weeks ago, I finished off an entire pot of this concealer, right down to the last smudge. It took me five and a half years (during which time my timeBalm somehow managed not to go off at all), but as someone who has literally never finished off a makeup product before — it was a pretty big deal for me.

theBalm timeBalm concealers

theBalm timeBalm shade comparisons

L-R: theBalm timeBalm concealer in Lighter Than Light, Light, and Light/Medium

The formula: The beeswax-based timeBalm concealer is free of silicones, parabens, and fragrances, and enriched with Vitamins A, E, and C to help combat the signs of ageing. theBalm says it’s so good for your skin that you can wear it to sleep, and while I absolutely would not recommend  this, I have admittedly done it once or twice (by accident!) with no harm done.

theBalm timeBalm Anti-Ageing Concealer Ingredients: 

Tridecyl Trimellitate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Talc, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Isoeicosane, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Octyldodecanol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, C18-36 Acid Glycol Ester, Panthenol, Tribehenin, Ceresin, Lauroyl Lysine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Linoleic Acid, Soybean Sterols, Phospholipids, Silica, Propyl Gallate, Soybean Oil.

+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77007.

theBalm timeBalm Lighter Than Light swatch shade comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Lighter Than Light

theBalm timeBalm light medium swatch comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Light

theBalm timeBalm Light swatch comparison review

theBalm timeBalm in Light/Medium

The texture & wear (aka “what makes timeBalm so great”): I really love the timeBalm formula because, for a consumer product, it resembles theatre makeup quite closely. It’s a wonderfully creamy, high-coverage product, and works well for both concealing acne and covering dark circles (though it does struggle a bit with extremely dry patches and pronounced wrinkles). Because the formula blends out so beautifully, I use my timeBalm as both a foundation and a spot concealer, similarly to how something like the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer ($48 USD) would be used — but at a fraction of the cost.

I have extremely dry skin, and though timeBalm does catch on my really rough patches (I’ve yet to find anything that doesn’t), I get all day wear out of it as long as I follow up with powder. This includes morning-to-evening coverage of blemishes–I layer timeBalm with a mineral powder to cover up scars and acne–which is quite the feat!

theBalm timeBalm lighter than, light, medium swatches

theBalm timeBalm concealer comparison swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium

The shades: Lighter Than Light is yellower than MAC Studio Fix Concealer in NW15. It’s similar to NC20, but pinker, and its warm undertones run more peach than orange, unlike NC20. Light is similar to MAC NW20 but just a hair darker, and runs a touch more yellow-orange than pink-peach. If you match NW20, timeBalm in Light will definitely work for you. If you match MAC NW25, Light will by way too fair for you.

I can’t for the life of me find my pot of Light/Medium (and I literally searched for three hours yesterday), but if memory serves me right, it’s darker than Light and NW20 but not as dark or orange as NW25 — the NW20-NW25 shade jump seems particularly large to my eye for some reason. I’m pretty sure Light/Medium is a little more olive and more orange/saturated (but with less peach and pink) than Lighter Than Light and Light, too.

theBalm timeBalm concealer review

The verdict?

I really, really love timeBalm. It’s the only makeup product I’ve ever used up & re-purchased, and though I’m always on the lookout for something better (something that magically hides dry patches, perhaps), I’ve yet to find anything else that meets my criteria.

I use theBalm’s timeBalm concealer as both a concealer and a foundation, and it pulls off everything from spot concealing to sheer coverage without breaking a sweat. It’s also scent-free and silicone-free, and comes in seven shades.

Availability: $18 USD at Nordstrom; in Canada, you can find theBalm at many Rexall locations. timeBalm is also available in cream foundation and liquid forms, though I haven’t had the chance to try either!

Keep reading! »

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.

Keep reading! »

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?

My Annabelle Cosmetics favourites (plus 40% off + free shipping!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Annabelle 40 off free shipping

With two of my favourite brands both doing 40% off this week until the 13th for International Women’s Day, I thought I’d take a minute to go over a few of my favourites from their lines. While I haven’t gotten around to reviewing them all–I know, I know; I’m working on it!–I’ve linked to the reviews that I do have up, and I’m going to try and do my best to tell you why I love the other products featured here just as much.

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

Shipping is free on all Canadian orders, and is calculated by weight for all US ones. I know, I know — it sucks to pay shipping, but 40% off at least help to soften that blow (if not make up for it entirely!)

My Annabelle favourites & must-haves (Marcelle to come tomorrow!)

Annabelle Glitterama Eyeliners. All of them. review/posts | buy }

These were one of my first loves from Annabelle. They take a while to dry (don’t all glitter liners?), but once they’re on, they’re on. Annabelle offers a wonderful selection of glitters suspended in a clear gel, but my favourite is still my first — Plutonium.

Annabelle Smoothie Eyeshadow Pencil in Licoriche review | buy }

My skin’s really picky about high amounts of silicone, but I still cheat in the morning & do my brows with a tiny, tiny bit of black eyeliner. This pencil is my go-to for a black cream base, tightlining, and the tightline-followed-by-brow-filling (without picking up new product) that I do every morning. 

With my super-picky eyelids, I wasn’t a fan of these on my lids as shadows. They’re exact dupes of Urban Decay’s jumbo 24/7 pencil formula, though, so here are photos and swatches of some of their (rather lovely) neutrals if you’re interested!

Annabelle Liquid Eyeliner in Black Spark review | buy }

Like their glitter liners, this liquid liner never budges once it’s set. I have the most finicky eyelids I’ve ever even heard of, but this (like Lancome’s much pricier 24hr Artliners) clings to my lids until I wash it off with warm water at the end of the day — at which point it comes off neatly in little “pills,” sort of like a tubing mascara would.

I’m pretty sure I remember the matte Black Out smudging on me back in the day, so stick to Black Spark if you want a sure thing.

 Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick review

Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipsticks review | buy }

When I signed up to swatch all 24 of these in a month, I kind of freaked out. Now that it’s over, though, I’m pretty proud of how the series of photos turned out, and I’m incredibly glad that I did it.

The Annabelle TwistUps are portable, easy to apply, and scent-free (which is a big thing for me). Ranging from immediately opaque to sheer and shimmery, the range quite literally offers something for everyone — check out face swatches, arm swatches, and my full shade recommendations here.

In a nutshell, the two shades that really wowed me were Naked and Cherry. That said, though, I also really liked Fizz, Sorbet, and Kinky Pink!

Annabelle expandable short wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara { review to come | buy }

With its long-wearing (but easy to remove) formula and long-or-short wand, Annabelle’s Expandable mascara hits it out of the park for more than one kind of lash. Its twist-to-collapse bristles deliver product for either length or volume (or, in the middle, a bit of both), and it totally trounces Le Big Show for me.

I love this (on its shortest setting) for really voluminous but natural-looking lashes, but I do think it’ll be a big hit with those who like to wear a more noticeable mascara, too.

What are your Annabelle Cosmetics favourites?

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

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 (& best ad) »

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