Thursday, December 25, 2014
The best thing I did all year was get an IUD
and play hide and go seek with my mom, so today, I’m here to tell you all about it — the IUD, not hide and seek. Today’s post covers my entire IUD experience over the past six months, and I truly hope that you’ll find it helpful.
I’m going to take the next couple of days off and just leave this up here at the top of theNotice, but I’ll be back shortly. I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season so far, dear reader.
PS: YES I DID TAG THIS AS HOLY GRAIL.
This is the stuff that you can find anywhere on the internet, so I’m going to gloss over it. Here are the basics on IUDs, as compared to each other and the pill — I’m reviewing the Mirena (hormonal) IUD today, but the insertion process of a copper IUD is the same.
As with any kind of birth control, IUDs don’t come without risks — and some of the rare side effects, like perforation or ovarian cysts, are very serious. So if you’re thinking about getting one, talk to your doctor and do a little bit of research on your own. I’m an undergrad, for god’s sake. Don’t just take my word for it.
Why I chose the IUD
Simply put: I really trust my OBGYN. I have had awful periods for most of my life, and oral contraceptives weren’t working out for me — I couldn’t do continuous birth control, and it totally killed my sex drive. (Plus, I have vestibulodynia, which is sometimes linked to the pill.)
(PS: if you experience pain when inserting a menstrual cup–and I know many of you do–you probably have vestibulodynia to some degree. Talk to your gynecologist; it’s usually very easy to treat!)
Anyhow. My doc thought I’d do a lot better with an IUD, and he’s amazing at his job, so I said okay. Most of the serious risks of an IUD occur during insertion, and this guy has done thousands without a single perforation or expulsion. I figured that a few weeks of cramps was a good trade-off for five worry-free years of birth control, and I was reassured by the fact that if my body didn’t like it, I could have it taken out whenever — removal is easier and faster than insertion.
The size of a Mirena (from their site)
What it’s like to have an IUD put in
NOT SO GREAT, YOU GUYS. I’m going to be totally honest here, because it wasn’t comfortable, and the fear of not knowing was even worse than the insertion itself.
Everyone says that getting an IUD is like a really bad period cramp, but everyone is LYING. It’s like a very sharp muscle knotting deep in your gut, and it feels really bad — but it’s definitely not the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I’d say it’s like stubbing your toe really hard, except instead of a toe it’s your cervix. So… worse than most things, but extremely localized and very short-lived.
Annabelle Muddy, Glitzy Black Smudge Paint Gel Eyeliner swatches, review | The best gel liners in the drugstore
Monday, September 29, 2014
The product: Annabelle SmudgePaint Creamy Gel Shadow + Liner in Glitzy Black and Muddy
I’ve been falling pretty behind on theNotice these past few weeks, so let me make it up to you. Here’s a gel liner that I’ve had for years, but has only stuck a chord with me recently — Annabelle’s SmudgePaint liners.
Designed to be used both as an intense cream eyeshadow & gel liner, these guys were some of the first on the market to feature this all-in-one packaging. More importantly, though, they’re still creamy and soft, even after three years of sitting in my drawer. If that doesn’t sell you on a drugstore gel liner, I don’t know what will.
The formula: Light, soft, and easy to blend, I think the SmudgePaint formula is absolutely perfect for its intended use. It takes a while to dry down, so it’s not a great pick if you’re in a hurry, but that makes the formula really easy to smudge and blend — but it’s moussey rather than slippery, so it does pinpoint precision just as well as a smokey haze.
What I like most about this formula, however, is that it really lasts. Aside from Annabelle Black Spark and Lancome’s Artliners, there isn’t a single other eyeliner in my collection that lasts as well on me as Glitzy Black does — with a bit of silica powder through the lid, I get zero smudging and very minimal creasing over 10 hours.
Annabelle SmudgePaint in Glitzy Black
Annabelle SmudgePaint in Muddy
The shades: I’m not a brown eyeliner fan, but I think Muddy has its appeal as a soft, natural liner or a heavier all-over base. (See it in a makeup look here!) It’s a pretty bronze-brown, with plenty of gold shimmer and no red undertones. (I think red-browns are far more interesting than yellow-browns, but I do admit that they’re harder to pull off.)
While I think Muddy is a little boring, however, I adore the admittedly-dupeable Glitzy Black. It’s quite an intense black, like most gel liners, and it has just enough silver shimmer to give my eyes a bit of a — but the stray glitter particles never irritate my sensitive eyes, and any travelling they do is done completely separate from the base shade. I think it was limited edition, but if they still do a similar shade, be sure to snap it up!
I wish the opening of these pots was a little wider, but honestly… that’s the only complaint I have for them. With a good eye base, a smudgy wing of Glitzy Black lasts well into the evening on me, which is more than I can say of any other gel liner I’ve tried so far — and it’s very well pigmented, to boot.
The handy packaging and great price are just the cherry on top when it comes to these liners, so if you can find them — buy them.
Availability: $10.95 CAD at drugstores across Canada. Maybe. I don’t know. I could have sworn I just saw these in-store, but now I can’t find them on the Annabelle site and I’m kind of panicking.
theBalm timeBalm review, swatches – Lighter Than Light, Light, Light/Medium | My staple silicone-free concealer
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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.
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 in Lighter Than Light
theBalm timeBalm in Light
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 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.
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!
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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 – 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 mascara – short wand (separation)
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 – one light coat short wand, second coat short wand, third coat long wand
Annabelle Expandable mascara – one heavy coat, long wand
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.