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) »

Annabelle TwistUp Retractable Lipstick swatches, descriptions, and recommendations

Friday, October 25, 2013

To wrap up our #24Days of TwistUp series, here are arm and full-face lip swatches of all twenty-four shades, as well as some pretty wordy descriptions of each.

The lip swatches have been going up every day this month through theNotice’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts, but I wanted to gather them all up & put them into a post for future reference (and for those of you who aren’t into social media! I feel you, ladybro.) Enjoy the swatches!

More TwistUps: Annabelle TwistUp reviewCanadian & international giveaways, {shop}

Nudes & Browns

Annabelle TwistUp in Naked - swatched on lips

Naked is a little drier than most of the TwistUps, but goes on without settling into lines. It’s surprisingly peachy, and looks incredibly natural on fair to light-medium skintones. It’s lighter, peachier, less pink, and more neutral than Havana.

Annabelle Havana swatch - TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Havana is noticeably drier than many of the other TwistUps. Darker than Naked, it’s fairly neutral with both brown and pink undertones. It looks a little obvious on me, but would be lovely on light to medium-dark skintones.

Annabelle Absolute swatch - TwistUp Retractable  Lipstick

Absolute is a cream-finish warm pink with yellow undertones. It’s a on the sheerer side, making it a pink-nude that’s a little (okay, maybe a lot) easier to wear.

Annabelle TwistUp in Tease swatch

Tease is another sheer TwistUp, this time with strong orange undertones and plenty of shimmer.

Annabelle Romance swatch TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Romance is a gorgeous nude with mauvey-brown undertones. It looks incredibly natural on my fair yellow-olive skin, but might look a little chalky on darker skintones.

Annabelle Divine swatch - TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Divine is a… I want to say “tomato nude,” but I don’t know if that’ll make sense to anyone. It made me think of a slightly redder version of Eva’s Nude, which leads me to believe it would make a gorgeous nude on darker olive skintones — but on my complexion (in real life), it wasn’t a hit.

Annabelle Vamp swatch TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Vamp pulls surprisingly brown on me (I was expecting more of a rich purple), and doesn’t read quite as red in real life as it appears on film. It’s not quite opaque, shimmer-free, and very bold. Vamp is the greyed brown-purple to Cherry’s red-purple, and it’s definitely more of an oxblood than a berry or red.

Keep reading — we’re not even halfway done yet! »

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

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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