DECIEM Toronto HQ Tour | Beauty behind the scenes

Monday, July 27, 2015

DECIEM review

The energy at DECIEM is really infectious, and it (along with the rest of my Toronto experiences) really has me re-thinking the way that I approach beauty blogging. Like a lot of other bloggers, I’ve been struggling to find my–for lack of a better word–muse over the past few years, and I think it’s been hurting the quality of the content here at theNotice.

Entering the Deciem front doors feels kind of like getting punched in the face by Regina George. (I hear she does car commercials… IN JAPAN.) You step in and you’re immediately hit a wall of great smells and good vibes — it’s a really collaborative, creative space full of people who love what they do.

DECIEM ten brands

DECIEM HQ

Hair is Fabric DECIEM

The table in the lobby area is topped with artfully squished Hair is Fabric tubes, matte black candles burn along one wall, and everything is open-concept — I don’t think I saw a single solid wall in the entire building. The guy who makes videos for all of the Deciem brands sits just down from the girl who packs and ships everything; the chemists who formulate products in the lab are (literally) within spitballing distance from the factory area, where you’ll find workers bickering and tinkering.

BEAUTY FOR EVERYONE [HERE] – Deciem products are tested on people, not animals, and can be purchased online at deciem.com, where full ingredients lists are available for every product! Express shipping is FREE within Canada (or worldwide, depending on the product) and you have a year to return anything that doesn’t work for you, but you can find in-store locations here if you must.

DECIEM Mira and Eric

The lovely Eric & Mira (who spearhead Deciem’s social media and PR, respectively)

DECIEM Toronto lab

I think everyone dreams of having an in-house lab, no?

DECIEM factory tour

Production, packaging, and storage happens just around the corner!

Hylamide Eye Serum DECIEM review

Lookit all the tiny little SubQ Eye Serums waiting to be packaged!

It’s clear that the people here love what they do, which I’m crazy about — they have a lot of freedom to experiment and try out different things (there was literally a tiny explosion in the lab while I was there; apparently someone was playing with a morsel of magnesium that should not have gone poof but totally went poof anyways), and it’s reflected strongly in the products they create. Their goal was to make 10 products to change the face of beauty, and barely two years in, they’re currently working on their 11th brand.

What I really want to do is take a little bit of that energy with me. I want to work with other bloggers who love what they do; I want to get excited again about taking pictures and tweaking them juuuust until I feel that little rush of ooh, that actually looks really good.

Hand Chemistry review

The brand’s [first] big hit

DECIEM--13

Hand Chemistry on Mira’s model-hands

Inhibitif DECIEM

Yes. They are absolutely making the joke you think they are.

I want to have new sensory experiences — for me, that involves a lot of smelling fragrances that are really well-composed and complex (thank you, Frederic Malle), but it’s also things like eating an entirely new-to-you food (this year: foie gras) or taking in that first breath of clean, crisp air after a rainstorm. It’s about what will expand the way you process information, but I think fresh experiences play a big role in that. (Why else would so many people feel the constant pull of wanderlust! Nothing expands like your metacognitive abilities like culture shock. Or psychedelics.)

But back on topic.

DECIEM assortment

What am I crazy about from DECIEM?

Well, I’m going to be posting reviews as I finish testing products (of course), but if you need a teaser, I’m really excited about:

  • Hand Chemistry Hyaluronic Body Mist ($20 CAD) – This is my favourite Deciem product right now, hands down. Over the past 24 hours, I’ve told four different people about it in person, and three of them immediately went, “oh my god, where can I get that.” (The third doesn’t even own a cleanser, so really, a mist was never going to happen.) It sprays a fine, dense mist, is powered by air (not CFCs), and penetrates really far into your dermal layers — even in areas that are callused or chronically dehydrated.

Hand Chemistry Hyaluronic Body Mist DECIEM review

NIOD Copper Amino Isolate review DECIEM

  • NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 1.00% ($60 CAD) – Because how cool is having to mix a fresh product that’s 100x more potent than what you usually get in consumer serums?
  • NOID Photography Fluid, Opacity 12% ($30 CAD) (and Hylamide Photography Foundation ($20 CAD), which provides a little more coverage) – This stuff is SO good. It’s a foundation that isn’t a foundation; think Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders to the nth degree. Photography Fluid goes green and then disappears into the skin, leaving you with less redness and with a really gorgeous, photo-ready glow. (It’s apparently particularly great under natural sunlight!)

NIOD Photography Fluid review DECIEM

NIOD Photography Fluid swatch review

Photography Fluid (magic in action)

Fountain The Green Molecule review DECIEM

  • Fountain 03 The Super Green Molecule ($28 CAD) – Contains kelp, alfalfa chlorophyll, and hyaluronic acid. 1 teaspoon is equal to 6 bowls of dark, organic leafy greens. See all of the molecules here.

DECIEM A Tannery in Tuscany

Something lovely is inside.

Skincare travel essentials | Currently in my bag (literally)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel essentials and must haves
So, for all of you who don’t follow me on social media (and why aren’t you? Twitter/Instagram), I’m currently in Toronto visiting friends, seeing family, and checking out what’s new and exciting for Fall 2015.

I’ve been living out of a suitcase for about a week and I have one more left to go, so my travel essentials right now are actually what I have with me — they’re not some theoretical “oh, I’d totally take this with me.” Here’s what I can’t go without… and what I totally should have done differently.

Aveeno fresh essentials moisturizer SPF 30 review

FACE

Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 15 ($19.99 CAD) – this is a recent acquisition, but so far, I’m liking it! It’s silicone-free but with a chemical sunscreen component, and while it’s a little heavy (not a problem for my dry skin) and smells quite sunscreen-y, it gets the job done without breaking me out or breaking the bank.

bioderma sensibio tolerance plus review

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance+ Skin Care ($26.95 CAD) – I reviewed this just this month, and I’m still using it every single day. It’s been doing a great job of minimizing my skin’s reactiveness, and provides the perfect “neutral” base for serums and foundations. Which brings us to…

Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in 02 – I haven’t really talked about this yet, but I’m a total SSE convert. This silicone-free foundation is a good match for my skintone, and I love how pigmented it is — I mix a little bit (just enough to cover my fingertip) into my Bioderma or Aveeno, add a drop of Odacité serum if I’m feeling dry, and apply to my full face for an even, sheer glow.

Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($43 USD/$49 CAD) – yup, still totally loving this one. I’ve actually almost finished my bottle — and will be buying a new one this week at The Detox Market! (Hopefully the King Street location, because I’m dying for a Greenhouse Juice. It’s been like a week since I last ate a vegetable.)

Odacite PoR, Kevin Aucoin SSE review

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion – Always a must-have, whether or not I’m travelling. This is the best thing for treating small spots, small about-to-be-spots, and big AHH! blemishes.

AWW, CRAP – CLEANSERS

Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water ($19.95 CAD) – I totally should have brought more of both of these, because I’m only at the halfway point of my work-cation and I’m almost all out. HALP.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Pads ($14.95 CAD) – same with these. I absolutely LOVE the Dragon’s Blood cleansing pads, and I find that they’re particularly strong performers while travelling — they make removing all of my eye and face makeup (including waterproof) a seconds-long process, and I love not having to use an additional cleanser afterwards. I find that I use these a lot when I’m worried that I’m about to break out, and they always get my face super-clean and ready for moisturizer in a snap.

Clarins tonic oil Mario badescu buffering lotion review

HAIR AND BODY

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – a mini size! Because oils are a wonderfully compact way to moisturize (no fillers), and this little guy travels like a champ. I’ve been using it every day for the past seven days and I’ve barely made it to the 1/3 point.

Schick Quattro razor – I’ve actually been using Quattro razors since I started shaving, but I bought this one recently for travel/staying over and I love it! Something about the design gives me a much closer shape than the older models (even though I have brand-new cartridges on both), and I think I might replace my at-home razor when I get back. My favourite thing about Schick razors? The fine bars that run perpendicular to the blades — I’ve never cut myself shaving, not even at the very beginning.

And, finally…

Schick Quattro razor Best review

Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Protective Leave-In Spray – I’ve almost used this one all the way up! It’s silicone-free, practically unscented, and does a great job both of protecting my hair from the heat of my flat iron and moisturizing it so I don’t get fly-aways or dry-looking ends. I probably should have brought the inch of product that I have left in smaller spray bottle, but once this is used up, I will definitely be re-buying it, too.

What are your travel essentials? Are they day-to-day products, or things you only take on trips?

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac review, swatches, photos

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Eyeliner review

The product: Smashbox + Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac 

Earlier this year, I attended a Smashbox Photo Session in Edmonton that (as some of you may remember) I wasn’t particularly thrilled with. While there, however, I fell in love with a couple of their products — the Photo Angle Gel Liner pens in particular.

I’ve had the chance to test the liner more than a few times since then, so read on for my full thoughts!

Smashbox photo angle gel liner review

Smashbox + Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac 

Smashbox Photo Angle Gel Eyeliner review packaging

This clever twist-on cap keeps the product from drying out!

The packaging: The Photo Angle gel liners come in pen form with a soft silicone-slant tip, much like the Benefit Get Real! Push-Up Liners. After reading a lot of reviews for the Push-Up liners, I can definitely see what people don’t like about this kind of packaging, but I don’t know… I mean, I didn’t mind it.

If you’re really good at gel liner on your own, I think this kind of packaging is going to be frustrating for you. The pen tends to put a lot of product on the lashes themselves and makes it hard to get a super fine line right off the bat (as you have to push the product up by a full click each time), but on the flip side, it’s a one-handed application paired with a formula that wears really well.

For those who aren’t super good at gel liner to begin with, though, I think something like this could actually be quite helpful — just remember to wipe off any excess product first, and apply with a light hand so that the soft tip doesn’t turn into a thick brush.

Smashbox Lilac gel eyeliner pen review

The formula: I was able to wear this from 3:00 to 11:00 during testing with zero wear (I kept going to bed early the week I was wear testing this? I don’t even know), which for my un-primed lids is very impressive — but the product itself does feel a little thick and ungainly on the lids.

I think a lot of my love for this product comes from the excellent wear time (most gel liners only last about an hour on my lids before creasing), so if you really struggle with keeping your liner on all day long, take note of this one!

Smashbox Lilac Photo Angle gel liner swatches review

The shade: Okay, but like, let’s be honest: I really only like this product for the shade. For all of the Photo Angled liner’s faults, Lilac is both beautiful and unique; matte and vibrant with lots of cool blue overtones and vibrant red undertones.

I’ve never come across another liner quite like this one, and for that alone, I think this liner is worth taking note of. It looks a little weird along my lashline, honestly, but it is as of yet unparalleled in my stash!

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac swatches review

The verdict?

This liner format is a rather polarizing one, and if you know already that it doesn’t work well for you, I don’t think this formula will change your mind.

That said, for all of its faults, I really do like the Lilac Pure Pigment Gel Liner. It’s a very unique matte lilac shade, and unlike most non-liquid liners, it wears very well on me. I’d recommend getting it only if this is a colour that you just have to have — it’s a fantastic rendition of the shade, but I don’t think I’d have been as impressed had this liner been black or standard violet.

Availability: $24 USD/$29 CAD at Sephora and ULTA.

Keep reading! »

YSL Corail Incandescent Rouge Volupté Shine review, swatches, photos | The perfect summer lip

Monday, July 13, 2015

YSL Corail Incandescent Rouge Volupte Shine review swatches photos

The product: YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in no. 12 Corail Incandescent

There are a few products that really scream summer! to me, and Corail Incandescent (Coral Incandescent, depending on the seller/location) is one of them. It’s glossy, fruity, and coral, and there are few things more summery than that!

YSL Coral Incandescent review Rouge Volupte Shine

The formula: The Rouge Volupté Shine formula feels almost exactly like the YSL Volupté Sheer Candy formula, which is a feat in and of itself — the Sheer Candy balms are essentially clear lip balms, while the Volupté Shines pack quite a pigment punch. Both are lightweight and mango-scented (I get more of a fruit punch impression), and both apply really smoothly with YSL’s “melting formula,” which holds up to the heat but glides weightlessly onto the lips.

If you have dry lips and struggle to comfortably wear bold colours, note that this formula is lightly hydrating and very forgiving.

YSL Corail Incandescent review - Rouge Volupte Shine lipstick

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick in Corail Incandescent

YSL Corail Incandescent swatch review Rouge Volupte Shine

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick in Corail Incandescent swatched heavily, lightly

The shade: The Rouge Volupté Shine lipsticks are a great way to wear a glossy coat of intense colour, and this one is no exception. Corail Incancescent is vibrant and punchy, and can be worn sheerly for that Korean/popsicle-stained look or full-on for extra hydration and full opacity.

I’d describe Corail Incandescent as almost a fluorescent coral; as orange blended with fuchsia-pink rather than orange blended with red. It’s extremely bright, but wearable even if you’re cool-toned. (I usually struggle with corals, but I can pull this one off without any effort!)

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine

Rouge Volupté Shine promo — the finish of this lipstick looks exactly like that!

The verdict?

I love this lipstick like I love all YSL lipsticks: carefully, but with gusto. The Rouge Volupté Shine range is just as fruity and smooth as the Volupté Sheer Candy lip balms that I love so much, but the Shines come with the added bonus of lightly hydrating, full intensity colour.

$39 CAD is quite a price tag to swallow, but these lipsticks are fantastic: they smell delicious, apply and wear gorgeously, and come in just the most divine packaging. I would absolutely recommend the range!

Availability: $36 USD/$39 CAD

Keep reading! »

Stila Waterproof Brow Colour review, swatches, & dupe (Marcelle Eyebrow Pen)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Best waterproof brow pens review

I’ve made a lot of big changes this year, but the most important of them all has been getting my brows in order. (Yes. Definitely.) For the longest time, I had to mix shades and layer powder and pencil products to get my brows just right, and for all of my efforts, the silicone content in the products would still leave me with awkward brow breakouts.

No longer.

At the start of the year, I found the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium, AKA my Holy Grail of brows… and then I found the Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark, which does everything the Stila does, except faster and for half the price.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour review swatches Medium

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium ($21 USD/$27 CAD)

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium (which has since been re-packaged) is pretty much perfect. It’s fine-tipped, sheer, and cool-toned, and I can finish my brows in under a minute using this pen.

The formula wears all day long and can be used to either create fine, hair-like lines or a brow “shadow” (my preferred method), and the shade itself is really well-suited to those with dark hair who don’t want warm “Instagram brows” for their everyday life.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour review Medium

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour brush tip

My only problem with the Stila brow pen is that it’s pretty expensive at $27 CAD, and while I’m not out of product yet, most reviewers say that it only lasts 1-3 months with regular use. Enter: the Marcelle Eyebrow Pens.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour ingredients:

Water, Acrylates Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Honey Extract, Propylene Glycol, Matricaria Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder. +/- Yellow 5, Red 33, Blue 1.

Marcelle Universal Light, Dark, Stila Medium Brow Pen swatches review

Swatched L-R: Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Light, Universal Dark; Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen review swatches Universal Dark

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark ($13.95 CAD)

It’s been a little while since I’ve fallen hard for a Marcelle makeup product, but these brow pens have me swooning. They’re half the price of Stila’s version and double the size, and because I always go for a “shadow” brow rather than drawn-in hairs, I can apply and smudge this one faster and more easily than I can with the Stila.

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen review swatches

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark felt tip

Universal Dark isn’t quite as perfect as Stila’s Medium, but the cost difference more than makes up for it. With the Marcelle brow pens, you still get easy application, a silicone-free formula, and all-day waterproof wear, but you trade off a small degree of control for a quicker application.

I think the felt tip is a more versatile format (the broad side for quick application & the tip for drawing hairs), but it really does just come down to personal preference!

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark ingredients: 

Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. +/- Red 40, Green 5, Black 2, Yellow 5 Lake

Stila Waterproof Brow Colour dupe

The verdict?

If you like a natural brow, these are the only brow game in town anymore. They’re essentially North American versions of the Suqqu Liquid Brow Pen that Lisa Eldridge loves so much, and they are perfect for anyone who finds most brow products too warm for them.

When I run out (and can I just mention that I went to an actual store and bought the products pictured here), I will definitely be re-buying the Marcelle. Which isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with the Stila; it’s just a little pricey to be re-buying every 3 months! (Assuming 0.02 fl oz will last you 3 months, the Stila comes out to $108 CAD/year; the Marcelle, just $27.90 CAD.)

Availability: Stila (0.7 ml) – $21 USD/$27 CAD at Shopper’s Beauty Boutiques and Murale. Marcelle (1.4 ml) – $13.95 CAD at Marcelle.com (US & Can shipping) and drugstores across Canada.

What’s your favourite brow product right now?

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