Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick review, swatches, photos, comparisons | #24Days of TwistUp

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick review

The product: Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick… in all 24 shades!

   ↳ See all 24 shades swatched here.

The formula: Your average TwistUp is creamy, comfortable, and very well pigmented — so much so, in fact, that they’ve quickly become not only one of my favourite drugstore lipsticks, but one of my favourite lipstick formulas overall. They apply with a nice sheen, settling into a lovely cream finish, and fading down nicely into a stain. I get 3-4 hours of wear out of the average TwistUp before I need to reapply (less if I eat or drink anything).

The TwistUp Retractable Lipstick formula is also scent-free, which gets it big points in my books, and applies without any catching or tugging. I didn’t notice any settling into dry bits or lip lines, despite how creamy the formula is upon application.

Annabelle Vamp swatch TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Day 24′s (that’s today!) #24Days TwistUp: Vamp. See the other shades here!

Compared to other lip crayons: Okay, so hopefully someone has wondered how these compare to the Clinique Chubby Sticks by now. (Someone? Anyone?? Helloooo?)

Annabelle’s TwistUps are most similar to the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms ($17 USD/$19 CAD), and I would definitely recommend both ranges. I find that the Chubby Stick Intense formula is more slippery at first, but wears for a smidgen longer once it sets (an extra hour or so). I also find that the Clinique lipsticks are a hair less comfortable; however, the two products weren’t wear-tested during the same season.

It may be helpful to note, for some, that the Clinique formula is quite a bit more simple and far more natural — these two lipsticks feel and perform very similarly, but the formulas couldn’t look less alike. (Full ingredients for the TwistUps at the bottom of this post.)

Best lipstick pencil review Annabelle TwistUp Canadian

The variation: Quite a few brands nowadays are doing split ranges (e.g. MAC Amplified/Lustre/Matte, YSL Rouge Pur/Rouge Pur Couture/Rouge Pur Couture The Mats/Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre), but the TwistUps are all sorted into one category. It not a bad thing by far, but it does mean that you can’t know what to expect from a stock photo! 

This will be discussed further in tomorrow’s post, but in general, most of the line is similar to the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense range: high coverage, creamy, and comfortable. However, a few of the TwistUps are more like NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils (Fizz) or the original Chubby Sticks (Tease, Absolute), and a couple are more dry than the rest (Havana, Naked, Cherry).

Annabelle TwistUp review Fizz

The verdict?

Honestly, I cannot recommend these enough. Not only are the Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipsticks impressively pigmented (in general) and wonderfully scent-free, but they’re also very portable, well-priced, and comfortable to wear. Annabelle has done a wonderful job with both the finish and (lack of a) scent with these, and the shade range is fantastic.

My personal favourites from this range are Cherry and Naked. For individual shade descriptions, swatches (arm and full-face photos), and overall recommendations, check back tomorrow!

Availability: $9.95 CAD online and in Canadian drugstores across the country. (On sale for $7.25 CAD each at the Annabelle.ca site as I write this!)

Don’t miss seeing seeing all 24 of these TwistUps swatched, together and individually!

Keep reading! »

100 Pumps of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk | A question asked, answered.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

100 pumps of Marcelle Cleansing Milk

Have you ever wondered what a hundred pumps of your favourite product would look like?

I have. This is it, emblazoned by the sun — one hundred evenings’ worth of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk ($14.50 CAD), the one cleanser I just can’t quit. It’s perfect for balancing out my dry, dehydrated skin, and cleanses away the day’s detritus without stripping out an ounce of moisture.

I’m borderline fanatical about Marcelle, and I think this cleanser has a lot to do with it. I can’t find anything else (at any price point) that ticks all the boxes I’m looking for: scent-free, non-stripping, gentle, balancing, comforting.

Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk review holy grail

Marcelle Cleansing Milk on steroids. Available in-stores now (and at a great price)!

Cleansing milks take a little getting used to, sure, but I think they’re worthwhile for anyone with dry or combination-dehydrated skin. Even my [very dry] complexion will overproduce oil if it’s being overcleansed, and this cleansing milk absolutely helps keep my skin from getting oily throughout the day – with the help of a heavy moisturizer and my Marcelle Face Powder ($14.50 CAD), of course.

You could almost say that it’s… Essential. (I’m sorry! I couldn’t pass on such a terrible pun.)

Best cleansing milk - Marcelle Essentials old packaging

My first bottle of this stuff (long since repackaged). We’ve been through a lot!

The ingredients:

Water, Carbomer, Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Cucumber Extract, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Aroma, Glycerin, Methylparaben, Polysorbate 60, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Peach Fruit Extract, Sorbitan Stearate, Triethanolamine.

P.S. I love the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water ($14.50 CAD), too!

P.P.S. It’s kind of weird that all of my Marcelle favourites are the exact same price. Clearly, what we can learn from this is that all $14.50 Marcelle products are cosmetic gold!

Marcelle Essentials 400ml

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense: review, swatches, & overall thoughts | Part 2/2

Friday, March 15, 2013

Jumbo lip pencil colour balm review - Clinique Chubby Stick Intense

The product: Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

 in 01 Curviest Caramel, 02 Chunkiest Chili, 03 Mightiest Maraschino, 04 Heftiest Hibiscus, 05 Plushest Punch, 06 Roomiest Rose, 07 Broadest Berry, and 08 Grandest Grape.

Psst: before you start in on this one, have you read our Chubby Stick Intense posts with full-face swatches & shade name mockery coverage?

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Fall 2012 review

The formula

Now, the shades and packaging of these are super-cute (of course), but what actually has me head over heels for them is the formula.

Rich, moisturizing, and shockingly pigmented, the Intenses apply with buildable colour and settle well into the lips — I find the colour “sets” once applied, going on a little slippery but wearing with more of a satin-gloss finish (and without any colour displacement!) after 5-10 minutes.

(Ingredients behind the cut.)

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense review

Clinique Chubby Stick tinted lip color balm review

The wear

I do find the formula of these varies a bit by shade, but not enough that I’d recommend some wholeheartedly and others not at all. Chunkiest Chili is a little gritty, for instance, and Grandest Grape is a little more slippery — I prefer a drier formula, which I found in Curviest Caramel, Heftiest Hibiscus, and Plushest Punch. (The latter two have much more opaque colour).

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense shade range

On the whole, however, the Clinique Chubby Stick Intenses last much longer than the original Chubby Sticks, starting off glossier and wearing into more of a stain, visually. I don’t find they really stain the lips, though — a bonus, if you want to be able to switch between colours through the day.

I would put the wear time of these at 3-5 hours; I can make it to five with most of these as long as I’m not eating or drinking (or talking a lot), but I prefer to touch up around the three hour mark for more even colour and added moisture.

The shades

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense review swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense swatches – hover for shade name labels

I’ve been getting the most wear out of 01 Curviest Caramel, a cream-finish natural lip shade with the perfect yellow-pink balance. It pairs well with both everyday makeup and a smokey eye (the sign of a truly great nude!) 02 Chunkiest Chili, on the other hand, gets almost no love; the the silver glitter adds a frosty finish to this understated, reddish base.

Next, 03 Mightiest Maraschino is a bright, shimmer-free red leaning more strawberry than vamp — perfect for both a lively holiday lip and a carefree summer pout. The real showstopper here, though, is 04 Heftiest Hibiscus. I hate most orange hues, but the pink-touched tangerine-hibiscus hues coming off on this one are so undeniable that I can’t help but pull it out again & again.

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm swatches

Clinique Chubby Stick Intenses, swatched L-R: 01 Curviest Caramel,  02 Chunkiest Chili, 03 Mightiest Maraschino, 04 Heftiest Hibiscus, 05 Plushest Punch, 06 Roomiest Rose, 07 Broadest Berry, 08 Grandest Grape

I think 05 Plushest Punch is going to fly off the shelves; a bright bold pink, it’s a vibrant shade that’s still easy to pull off, grabbing attention without verging on “obnoxious”. 06 Roomiest Rose is more subdued; darker, but still bright, it’s shot through with subtle shimmer that gives lovely depth (minus the frostiness of Chunkiest Chili).

For a much more subdued (but still very noticeable) shade, 07 Broadest Berry is the Curviest Caramel version of a lip with colour: with brownish berry undertones, it’s very wearable, but still gives a lovely, defined lip.

Finally, I found 08 Grandest Grape to be a little slippery at first (though, like the others, it does settle into the lips!), but it’s absolutely lovely — still very wearable; more of a crushed-berry stain than a theatrically purple lipstick.

Don’t miss this post for full-face & lip swatches of the Intense lineup!

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense packaging - twist-up pencil

Tinted lip color balm - full coverage - review

The verdict?

The press materials for the Chubby Stick Intenses promise “the perfect marriage between a moisturizing lip balm and a full coverage lip colour,” and I think they absolutely deliver. Silly names aside, the shade range offers a gorgeous mix of brights with a couple great “everyday” shades to fall back on, and the formula is both intensely comfortable and high-impact.

(What, did you seriously think I was going to make it through this entire review without using the word “intense”?)

A few other things I love about these: the twist-up packaging (no product is lost to sharpening) and the scent-free, paraben-free formula.

Availability: $16 USD/$19 CAD at Clinique (US), SephoraNordstrom, & Clinique counters.

Additional photos, ingredients, & more »

A brush set that’s blowing my mind (and a great Shiseido Perfect Fundation Brush substitute!) | Sephora Luxe Face Brush Set review

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sephora Luxe Face Brush set

The product: SEPHORA COLLECTION Luxe Face Brush Set

I haven’t written a review on a Sunday (to go up on a Monday) in ages, but this week, I just had to. We’re quickly running out of time before Christmas, for starters, but more importantly — I bloody love this brush set, you guys.

Sephora Collection Luxe Face Brush set

This is the third brush set I’ve reviewed since the summer, but the Luxe Face Brush Set is by far my favourite. While the Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set was a great buy for the price, and the Enchanting Brush Set was a definite “nice to have,” this one is an absolute “you need this” — praise that I honestly don’t even give to all of the Chubby Sticks.

(And I love me a Clinique Chubby Stick.)

Sephora Luxe face brush set - flat top foundation brush favourite

At $48 USD/$58 CAD, five brushes and a clutch isn’t a bad deal — particularly when you take into consideration how ridiculously chic each piece is. Unlike a gift with purchase bag, or even a lot of other brush set bags, this one is actually wearable for a night out, which is a really nice deviation from the norm.

(Do you even say “wear” when it comes to bags? Carryable? Holdable? Acceptable?)

Despite having more brushes than I know what to do with, I’ve used the concealer & flat top foundation brushes in this set every single (makeup) day since first trying them out. I have honestly applied concealer just for the sheer joy of using the flat-top brush to buff it in, and I regret absolutely nothing.

Sephora Collection Luxe Brush Set(face)

Oh, and I guess the other brushes are lovely, too. (You probably wanted to hear that, right?)

The powder brush is fine; it’s a little small & loose, and despite not being rough, it’s not particularly soft, either. I could definitely live without it, but at the same time, it doesn’t pain me terribly to use it. The eye brushes more than make up for it, at least — small blending brushes and all-over eye brushes are two of my go-to eye brush staples, and it’s fantastic to see something other than a flimsy placement brush & lash comb in a set.

(The rounded eye brush is actually a “precision crease brush,” but my fellow monolidded lovelies will know how useful they can be for fine-detail blending, too!)

Shiseido perfect foundation brush dupe

The verdict?

I very rarely lose it over makeup tools, but the flat-top brush in this set is so excellent — I’ve been meaning to pick up the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush ($30 USD) for months, but at just $8 ($48 over 6 pieces), this more than suffices. Sephora’s version is densely packed, incredibly soft, and does a phenomenal job of blending in both foundation and concealer to a picture-perfect finish.

Honestly, I’d happily fork over $48 just for the concealer and foundation brushes in this set. The fact that they’re paired with a cute clutch, a decent powder brush, and two great eye brushes makes the Sephora Luxe Face Brush Set a can’t-miss.

Availability: Find it here at Sephora before it sells out!

Keep reading! »

You need this! | Marcelle Revival Firming + Brightening Cream Serum: review, photos, swatches

Friday, November 30, 2012

The product: Marcelle Revival Firming + Brightening Cream Serum

I’m not usually one for the brightening serums, but I’ll make an exception for Marcelle for a lot of things. (And, from micellar waters to cleaning milks, they haven’t let me down yet.)

The Revival Firming + Brightening Cream Serum is aimed at menopausal and post-menopausal women, but I honestly think it’s a great find for any age group. Sure, I don’t really need the wrinkle-reducing properties, but it scores top points for evening out tone without whitening it! 

The product: The Firming + Brightening Cream Serum is a cream-serum hybrid, formulated to deliver the results of a serum with the comfort of a cream. You will still need to follow up with moisturizer, but it’s a great “disappearing act” all around: not only does it work to fade uneven pigmentation, but the product itself seems to disappear from the skin, too.

The cream-serum is easy to control coming out of the packaging, applies smoothly, and sinks in quickly. It doesn’t leave my skin any more oily or dry than it would be without, doesn’t have a long-lasting scent (or any artificial fragrances at all), and won’t make foundation catch or ball up.

The results: The Revival serum is made to firm, lift, protect against the formation of new wrinkles, reduce the appearance of brown spots, even tone, clarify the complexion, and improve the skin’s elasticity. (Quite a mouthful!)

I’ve just been using it to help fade scars left behind by blemishes, but it’s been going really well. Scars will stick around on my skin for a good 8-10 months, but the difference I’ve seen with this serum has just been enormous. The patch I’ve been targeting hasn’t faded completely, of course, but I’d peg it at 3-4 months of fading (visually), rather than the 2-3 weeks I’ve actually been using it for.

The verdict?

As the title says: you need this!! $35.95 is a price I know many will flinch at in the drugstore, but when you put it into perspective, it’s nothing at all — it works out to just $21.27 CAD per oz, while most dark spot correctors sit around $60-$90/oz.

I don’t want to promise miracles with the Revival Firming + Brightening Cream Serum, because I know all skins will respond differently to different products, but I honestly think Marcelle hit gold with this formula. It’s not going to give you laser-resurfacing results, but it’ll give any department store brightening serum a run for its money! My skin is particularly sensitive, and so far I’ve had no breakouts, irritation, or stickiness.

All in all, I am very, very pleased with this one. It’s rare that I try out a product that I can’t find a flaw in, but this is one of the few.

Keep reading! »

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