Happy Canada Day from theNotice!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Neutrogena Canada Day

I HOPE YOU’RE WEARING SUNSCREEN! (Because skin cancer is really scary.)

I’m writing this post on the very last day of June, so I’m going to tell you about all of the not-gross sunscreen that I’m wearing right now. Sunscreen is hard to do when you’re silicone-free; the least I can do is offer some recommendations for the good stuff!

On my face, I have the Aveeno Active Naturals SPF 30 moisturizer blended with that Rodial foundation that I’ve been super into recently. (The Aveeno stuff smells like Toronto to me, and I miss it so much it hurts.) It’s a thick moisturizer, but I like it well enough with a bit of powder overtop–I just opened my second bottle.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer stick SPF 50

On my body, I have the Neutrogena Beach Defence SPF 60 spray, which is lovely and super affordable and, as long as you’re remembering to re-spray, really effective. (I can spend all day outside with it on and not pick up a tan). On my feet, though, I’m using the new Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick SPF 50 – it’s easier to apply without getting it on your shoes by mistake! ;)

Neutrogena sunscreen stick review

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re having an awesome (and sun-safe) Canada Day!

Additional photos & more »

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting reviews: Rust, Brown Black swatches, review, photos

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting review photos brow lip

The products: Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow in 50 Brown Black and Pro Sculpting Lip in 11 Rust

You know what sucks? Suckerfish. And leeches. And probably also being so excited about how many magical ends there are to a 3-in-1 sculpting pen (three! The pen has three ends!!) that you get overwhelmed and can’t find the third end for days.

I mean, I’m guessing. I wouldn’t know firsthand whether or not that sucked.

Make up for ever brown black swatch review pro sculpting brow

Pro Sculpting Brow ($27 USD/$32 CAD)

The Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow pencil (I don’t care how many times they call these pens; they’re pencils) features a spoolie, a soft angled brow pencil, and a twist-out brow highlighter. 

I’ve struggled to put this review together over the past few months, and I hate to say it, but the brow pencil is totally to blame. On one hand, three features! How cool is that? But on the other hand, the brow pencil formula is super soft, and the colour (which looks quite grey in the tube) is still too orange for my brows.

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting brow brown black

MUFE Pro Sculpting Brow

The formula: The Pro Sculpting Brow texture is perfect for soft, diffused brow looks, but it’s not without its issues. For starters, the buttery pencil formula makes it hard to get a precise brow even if you try; I have to clean up around my brows with a cotton bud before even thinking about leaving the house, which doesn’t say “sculpted” to me at all.

The wear: It’s also one of the only brow products to have ever worn off on me throughout the day; I texted it a good half-dozen times in disbelief, but the formula just will not stay on my brows for more than eight hours without going patchy.

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow swatch brown black review

Bare brows / Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting unblended / Blended

The content: I have personally had zero issues with breakage when it comes to the Pro Sculpting Brow, but reviews on Sephora mention a lot of breaking–and not just a little bit, either. There are numerous comments mentioning packaging that breaks and pencils that crumble and snap, sometimes more than once, which I think are problems that should have been fixed in quality control.

mufe pro sculpting review brow highlighter review swatches

MUFE Pro Sculpting Brow – highlighter

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting review photos

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Lip

Pro Sculpting Lip ($27 USD/$32 CAD)

Phew! Now that that’s out of the way, I get to talk about the Pro Sculpting product that I loooooved. (In case you’re wondering: yes. When asked if I want the bad news or the good news first, I do always say “bad news” and then try to avoid hearing the bad news altogether by covering my ears and screaming the names of my favourite carbs at the top of my lungs.)

(PIEROGIES. PASTA. BREAD. MANTOU. NOODLES.)

Make Up For Ever rosewood lip matte swatch review brow

Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting swatches: Rust (highlighter, pencil), Brown Black (matte highlighter, pencil x3)

The formula: While the Pro Sculpting Brow formula didn’t get along with my brows at all, the Pro Sculpting Lip formula got along with my lips like they were two irresponsible young adults with a full tank of gas and a hankering to get married in Vegas.

This lip formula is the best thing to happen to matte lipsticks since they were invented. I never wear matte lips unless I’m testing something for a review, because no matter what, they make my lips feel pinched and parched in no time flat. But this pencil? Well…

Make Up For Ever pro sculpting 10 Rosewood lip swatch review

Make Up For Ever Rust lip swatch

The wear: Not only is this Pro Sculpting pencil insanely easy to apply, it is SO comfortable. Despite having a true matte finish from application to finish, it’s more hydrating than even some of the cream lipsticks in my stash, and it doesn’t settle into fine lines at all.

I’ve been wear testing this for about 3 hours (plus a snack!) before I have to take it off to consume a real meal, and it holds up through all of it. No bleeding, almost no fading (just a very minimal amount in the centre of the lip), and most importantly, no drying out!

Make Up For Ever Rosewood swatch review photos

The shade: I have the Pro Sculpting pencil in Rust, and ugh, it’s gorgeous. It’s a colour that I don’t have a lot of in my stash, but it looks completely at home on my face. I get major Samantha Ravndahl vibes from this one (although I can only dream of one day being as dangerously hot as she is), and weirdly enough, I totally think that Rust makes my lips look fuller. 

I don’t know how. Science or magic; take your pick.

make up for ever pro sculpting brow

The verdict?

While I think the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow pencil is an easy one to skip, the Pro Sculpting Lip formula is really awesome.

It breaks my heart that it’s $32 CAD (that’s more expensive than the new Burberry lipsticks!!) but the pencil is insanely creamy for a matte lipstick. It’s the easiest, most comfortable lipstick matte lipstick I’ve ever tried, and if that’s the price, then (gulp) so be it.

Availability: $32 CAD each at makeupforever.ca and Sephora.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Or, & Shower Oil review, swatches, photos

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nuxe Huille Prodigieuse range review photos swatches

The products: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil, Huile Prodigieuse OR Dry Oil, and Prodigieux Shower Oil

Along with their Rêve de Miel, Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse is the brand’s golden (sometimes literally) star. So, today, I have not one, not two, but three Huile Prodigieuse reviews to share with you–and strangely enough, I have vastly different opinions about all three.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse review paris edition

The original Huile Prodigieuse ($45 CAD): Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it. While I have a lot of love for the Nuxe and Bio Beauté by Nuxe labels on the whole… I just don’t like the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the classic packaging (that alone is worth half the cult following) and I love that it comes out in limited edition prints each year. I love that its formula is 97.8% natural and contains six botanical oils as its base–macadamia, hazelnut, borage, sweet almond, camellia, and St. John’s Wort.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or review. Look at all of that beautiful, cloud-like shimmer!

I love that it’s enriched with vitamin E and is silicone- and preservative-free, and I love the heady, addictive Huile Prodigieuse fragrance: it smells like summer to me, with its big floral notes and coconut & vanilla base. And, of course, I love that it’s marketed as a multi-use oil; light enough to add shine to your hair, moisturizing enough for the body, and delicate enough to be mixed into your facial moisturizer.

My ex used her Huile Prodigieuse for everything, and it worked amazingly well for her. She always smelled delicious and soft, and her hair (also done up with this oil, of course) was always super gorgeous. But on my skin and hair, it just feels like such a dry dry oil, as if I’ll never feel hydrated and non-staticky ever again.

(Nuxe’s offshoot brand, Bio Beauté, makes a body oil that I much prefer to this one.)

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse OR review swatches photos

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or “swatch” (artificial lighting)

The Huile Prodigieuse Or ($45 CAD): While the original does nothing for me, I have formed a certain fondness for the golden shimmer version of this Nuxe cult classic. It’s extremely glittery and glamorous, and while Nuxe is full of lies when they say that it can be used on your face, but on the body, it’s a lot of fun.

There aren’t a lot of shimmering body products that you can use if you’re silicone-free, so this one is a treat to find. It’s no more expensive than the original, but it can be used more easily as an adjunct product: I can moisturize normally, then apply this sparingly as a bronze shimmer and summer fragrance. 

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse golden shower oil review

The Prodigieux Shower Oil ($16 CAD): The Huile Prodigieuse line is an expensive one (body oils frequently are, as they’re completely undiluted with water or fillers), so I was very happy to see the brand introduce a full-sized product at a lower price point. The brand new Prodigieux huile de douche is gorgeous to use and feels every bit as luxurious as the original oil, if not more.

A rich, thick shower gel, this shower “oil” is woven through with golden pearl and features a brighter version of the summery Prodigieux fragrance. It’s nicely hydrating (though not as moisturizing as those new Aveeno shower gels), and while I was hoping it would act more like an in-shower moisturizer, it’s a great way to add a dose of gold to your shower routine without being scented or shimmery all day long.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse shower oil gel review swatches

The verdict?

As someone with dry skin, none of these products are must-haves for me. However, they make lovely gifts, and the shower gel and gold oil have secured themselves a permanent place in my summer cabinet!

Availability: $45 CAD for the oil (limited edition 2016) and Huile Prodigieuse Or; $16 CAD for the Prodigieux Shower Oil. Available at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Murale, and Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow, Instant Light Lip Protector reviews, swatches, photos | Summer 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Clarins summer 2016

The products: Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow in Golden Sand & Golden Peach, Instant Light Lip Protector in Pink Shimmer

With my finicky eyelids, I spend a loooot of time waiting for brands to release really great, long-wearing eyeshadows that a) won’t need a primer to not crease and b) aren’t too shimmery. For some reason, they seem to be few and far between, and more often than not they’re limited edition releases (like these two, which I adored and miss every time I put on eyeshadow.)

Clarins’ new summer collection includes one such eyeshadow formula, and I’m absolutely smitten with both it and the collection’s LE-packaged Instant Light lipgloss–which, yes, okay, I hadn’t tried until now.

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow Shimmering Cream Colour ($24 CAD)

The limited edition Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadows come in little tubes (my favourite kind of eyeshadow packaging; it’s hygienic and makes me feel far more artsy than I actually am) and are available in four shades. The formula contains orange blossom wax to help create a protective waterproof film, and it’s so good.

While I know that cream eyeshadow formulas can be a little finicky, this formula is really worth the effort. These eyeshadows wear literally all day on my oily lids with zero creasing, and I don’t need a primer underneath. My longest wear test was a whopping 10 hours long and saw no creasing and only a tiny bit of fading, and I bet I could have made it to a full 15 had I not then needed to go to bed and actually get some sleep for once.

Clarins golden peach golden sand swatches review photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

I tested out Golden Sand and Golden Peach, which are both sheer, warm, summery shades. They’re shimmery without being gaudy (something that Clarins excels at), and while I found them to be a little too warm for my skintone, they still looked beautiful on their own.

The formula does dry down fairly quickly, but it blends well both with a fingertip or with a brush. And, once dry, it’s totally set: there’s no stickiness or smudging, and you’ll need to take a makeup remover to your eyelid to get it off.

As a result, I find that these shadows perform best on their own, but they’ll serve as an oil-absorbing base if you’re willing to foil any subsequent powder eyeshadows. The dry finish doesn’t lend itself to acting as a primer, though, so opt for a cream eyeshadow base instead if you’re willing to exchange flawless wear for a sticky base.

Clarins waterproof eyeshadow cream review swatches photos

Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadow swatches in 02 Golden Sand, 01 Golden Peach

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector ($25 USD/$20 CAD)

Clarins’ Instant Light glosses are one of their most popular products, so I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t tried them until just now! (I was busy being distracted by their other lip products.)

The summer Sunkissed Summer 2016 collection showcases three brand new Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector shades (Pink Shimmer, Orange Shimmer, and Red Shimmer), each with a sheer tint and “soft gel texture” (hella accurate.) The 3D shimmer that’s mentioned all over their product page is negligible; Pink Shimmer is a beautiful, milky coral pink with shimmer that’s literally invisible unless you hold a swatch right up to your eye in direct lighting.

These glosses are vanilla scented and taste sweet, and the summer shades come packaged in a beautiful white & floral box with and white petals adoring the simple coloured tubes.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector review

I really like this kind of applicator (think the celebrated child borne from an illicit affair between a doe foot applicator and a squeeze tube), and the plush texture of the gloss formula is really nice. It’s not as moisturizing as I had expected, though–everyone always refers to these as a lip gloss crossed with a balm, but my lips just weren’t feeling it.

They contain shea butter, wild mango, and vitamins A & E to repair and soften the lips, but with continued use, my lips were left feeling a little dry. For a lipgloss, they’re pretty moisturizing; if you need a lip balm throughout the day, though, these aren’t a two birds/one stone kind of deal.

Clarins xx Instant Light lip swatches review

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector swatch in Pink Shimmer (artificial lighting)

The verdict?

I really liked the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Pink Shimmer as an easy, tasty summer gloss, but I looooved the new Waterproof Eyeshadows. They’re perfect for beach days and afternoons at the pool, and will deliver a flawless shimmery eyelid that won’t smudge or crease no matter how hard you run and play and sweat.

The formula of the new eyeshadows is really waterproof, too, which is awesome to see. My swatches didn’t budge at all with water or hand soap and furious rubbing, but they came off easily with just a touch of cleansing oil, and when worn, they last all day and still look great at the end of it.

Availability: Available at department stores, pharmacies, and online at Clarins.com. Both formulas are silicone-free!

Thursday Plantation essential oils review, DIY ideas, & giveaway

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thursday Plantation essential oils review

The products: Thursday Plantation 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Lavender Oil

I like to go the natural route whenever I can, so I’ve been playing around a lot with essential oils this year. In a rather fortuitous turn of events, I was sent this lovely kit from Thursday Plantation just weeks after I fell in love with tea tree oil, and I’ve been using it non-stop in all sorts of ways ever since!

Thursday Plantation is an Australian company that sells essential oils (these three key oils, plus smaller aromatherapy oils like rosewood and patchouli), ready-made products (mostly things with tea tree and aloe), and facial oils. I’m just focusing on these three for the moment, but I’m excited to branch out someday… maybe when I’m braver.

Lavener oil diy beauty

The one thing that always kills me about essential oils is how expensive they can be, so it was awesome to see how affordable and high-quality these oils are. They’re 100% pure and packaged in amber glass, and they come in a range of sizes. The eucalyptus oil, which is great for sanitizing things around the house, comes in 100 and 200ml versions as well; the tea tree comes in smaller sizes (perfect if you’re just going to be using it as an acne treatment); and the lavender oil comes in a 50 ml for those of you who want to get really soothed.

(Not me. I’m not here for the soothing at allll.)

Thursday Plantation essential oils review sizing

Overall, the Thursday Plantation range is more affordable than something like Aura Cacia and more expensive than NOW Solutions, but I prefer it over both: Aura Cacia sells some excellent organic oils, but I find they have trouble with quality control, and NOW Solutions sells really affordable carrier oils, but their more delicate oils can be questionable–their rosehip oil, for instance, is utter crap. Again, I haven’t tried the full Thursday Plantation lineup so my opinion may change someday, but I was very happy with the quality of these!

Thursday Plantation has a 100 Uses for TP campaign going on that’s pretty cool–as you might have guessed, it’s a list of 100 things that you can use these three oils for (sadly not a list of 100 uses for toilet paper), but here are some of my favourites.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil review

Tea tree oil ($23.99 CAD/50 ml) 

Tea tree oil is Thursday Plantation’s big thing, and they do it very well. It’s 100% pure and contains at least 30% more terpinen-4-ol (the part of tea tree oil that makes it germicidal) than is required by international standards, so even a single drop is a very effective antiseptic.

According to Thursday Plantation, tea tree oil “inhibits a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi […] and does not inhibit normal cell growth,” so it’s safe to use on small cuts and stuff to clean the area without a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

  • Great for treating pimples and bug bites
  • Treating infections like athlete’s foot or boils
  • Used as a household cleaner
  • When diluted (I used 3 drops in 1 cup of filtered water), tea tree makes a very effective alcohol- and mint-free mouthwash. Beware, however: it’s very bitter and not for internal use, so swish and spit!
  • Helps deodorize things like shoes and surfaces when mixed with a few tablespoons of baking soda
  • Natural analgesic (like a mild clove oil)
  • And, finally… I’m NOT a doctor, but I get recurrent yeast infections and the antifungals my doctor was giving me were messing up my gut flora without helping my yeast infections one bit. I’ve been using tea tree oil (1 drop diluted in 1 ml virgin coconut oil to make 3 small suppositories) to treat my yeast infections, and it literally cleared up my season-long yeast infection overnight. If you’re having trouble too, do a little research–for me, using a natural antifungal was a far better option than pharmaceuticals, but I’m just one example!

Thursday Platnation eucalyptus oil review

Eucalyptus oil ($9.99 CAD/50 ml)

I love the scent of eucalyptus oil, so when I found out that it kills 99.9% of household germs and helps relieve cold symptoms, I was pretty thrilled.

  • Making use of those 99.9% germ killer properties & cleaning countertops, spills, floors, and sinks in lieu of chemical cleaners with artificial fragrances!
  • A couple drops in a bottle of distilled water as a tasty mouth rinse
  • Used diluted as an oil rub for muscle aches or colds
  • Used in a diffuser or humidifier for a cold
  • I haven’t tried these yet, but I’ve heard that eucalyptus oil can remove grease and tar stains, and is great added to the wash to freshen up your clothes!

Thursday Plantation lavender oil review

Lavender oil ($19.99 CAD/25 ml)

Thursday Plantation lavender oil is distilled only from Lavandula angustifolia flowering herb tops, and it smells lovely.

  • Used diluted or in a bath to help treat eczema or psoriasis
  • Dabbed onto insect bites to help soothe them
  • A few drops on a felt dryer ball to freshen laundry!

The verdict + a giveaway!!

I haven’t tried the more delicate oils from the Thursday Plantation range yet, but I was very happy with these three. The quality is great and the brand’s pricing is on par with something like Desert Essence, and I love that Thursday Plantation uses amber glass to keep their oils safe & sound.

In fact, I’ve been getting such great use out of these oils that I wanted to share the love with YOU, so I reached out to Thursday Plantation’s PR firm here in Canada to ask if they had an extra Essentials kit to share with a lucky reader. And guess what? They did!

So, if you want to get your inner DIY maven on, enter using the widget below. This giveaway will be open to Canadian residents over the age of majority (or with parental consent) for two weeks and close at 11:59 PM MST on July 3rd. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rodial Airbrush foundation & concealer review, swatches, photos | The perfect, sculpted base

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rodial Airbrush Make-up heavy duty foundation paste review

The products: Rodial Airbrush Make-Up in 01 and Airbrush Concealer in 01 Aspen

I know it’s only been a few days, but I feel like I haven’t blogged in ages. So today, I’m bringin’ the blog back with a couple of new products that I’ve been super smitten with this month!

I get a lot of requests for silicone-free foundations (even though I’ve talked about my other two top recs, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer and Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup, at length), so for those of you still looking: these two new products from Rodial are definitely ones that I’d recommend.

Rodial Airbrush foundation paste review swatches

Rodial Airbrush Make-Up Heavy-Duty Foundation Paste review

The foundation 

Rodial is a brand that focuses on sculpted faces, so I was a little surprised that it took them this long to come out with base products. After trying them, though, I can appreciate why: they’ve been done just right, and they were worth the wait.

The Rodial Airbrush Make-Up Heavy Duty Foundation Paste ($45 USD/$50 CAD) is a gorgeous, old-timey foundation made in Italy. As described, it’s a paste, not a cream – it’s thick and a little grainy, but it applies beautifully.

Rodial Airbrush Makeup 01, Aspen concealer swatches review photos

Rodial Airbrush Make-Up in 01, Rodial Airbrush Concealer in Aspen 01 (indirect sunlight)

The formula: Like other “classic” cream makeup products, the new Rodial Airbrush foundation is silicone-free, so it can feel a little heavy on the skin. I love the way it performs, though: it wears all day long, blends seamlessly into the skin, and has a very natural-looking dewy/satin finish.

It reminds me of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, but despite its pastier texture, it catches less on fine lines when applied. Rodial’s Airbrush Make-up looks great even on my dry skin, and like the Kevyn Aucoin, it can double as a concealer or be mixed with an oil or makeup primer.

Rodial Airbrush Makeup, Concealer before after review

Rodial Airbrush foundation and concealer before (left) and after (right) – click to enlarge! 

Rodial airbrush base review before after

Rodial before & after (up close)

The packaging: The Rodial foundation paste is packaged in a sharp-edged, matte black plastic jar, and it’s as lightweight as it is slick. I love the aesthetic behind this foundation’s packaging, but it does have one problem: the formula separates in hot temperatures, and unfortunately, its oils do leak out of the jar.

Rodial Airbrush concealer aspen 01 swatches review

Rodial Airbrush Concealer review

The concealer 

The Rodial Airbrush Concealer Industrial-Strength Camouflage Cream in 01 Aspen ($39 USD/$44 CAD) has an even shorter ingredients list than their new foundation does, and it comes in only two shades.

The formula: The Airbrush Concealer is a product that I wasn’t very excited about, but having tried it, I really like it. It’s a super smooth concealer, both in texture and in finish, and it does an amazing job of colour-correcting and concealing my under eye circles.

Rodial Airbrush makeup review application

Rodial foundation & concealer application before blending

Rodial 01 aspen foundation concealer swatches comparisons

Comparison swatches L-R: theBalm Lighter Than Light, Cover FX G20, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Light, Rodial Airbrush Make-Up in 01, Rodial Airbrush Concealer in Aspen.

I’m lucky enough that Aspen more or less matches my skintone, so I can use it around my nose and on blemishes as well. It has a soft, waxy texture, and it keeps my dark circles looking bright (and crease-free!) all day long.

The formula is more lightweight than the Rodial Foundation Paste, which is a bit odd but is definitely worth keeping in mind if you’re trying to pick between the two.

Rodial Airbrush concealer aspen 01 review

The verdict?

I really, really like both of these new base products from Rodial, but I’d love to see a wider shade range become available soon–there are virtually no shades available for non-white skintones right now.

If you can find a shade to match your skintone, however, both of these products are really well-formulated. The concealer is a bit pricey (although it’s fabulous), but the foundation is a very reasonable price at $50 CAD/0.7 oz and will easily last through 1-2 years of daily use before running out.

To compare these two to other popular high-coverage options: if you can find your shade, I’d buy these before Kevyn Aucoin SSE, Cover FX anything, Bobbi Brown concealers, or Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in a heartbeat. The shade range is embarrassingly small, but they just work better. Respectively, they’re unscented and look better on dry skin; they have better coverage; they’re better priced; and they have a more flawless finish.

Availability: Select Shopper’s Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, Murale, and online at Rodial (US and UK)!

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