Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution review, photos | A makeup remover to love (even more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution paraben-free makeup remover

The product: Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution

My love for the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water is long and well-documented one, and today, I am happy to share with you that this fan favourite has been re-packaged and re-named in the best way possible. 

I am a little late with this news (the changeover occurred during the fall), but cleansing water addicts across Canada can now easily get their hands on this awesome piece of innovation!

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution flip-top packaging

New Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution flip-top cap

As I mentioned in my original review, the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water (now called the Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution, but I promise that it’s the same stuff) is gentle and super-effective, removing makeup easily without drying out your skin or leaving an oily residue behind. It uses little micelles–an actually legit science thing–which “trap” makeup in little micro-capsules of makeup remover.

I know, the whole thing sounds like a total hoax, but micellar solutions are a real, big thing in the skincare industry right now — and they work really, really well. I find that this one isn’t quite as effective as scrubbing down your whole face with cleansing oil, but it works better for me than any other oil-free makeup remover that I’ve tried.

(It’s more effective than a lot of the bi-phase ones that I’ve used over the years, too. Plus: no mess, and no stinging.)

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution review makeup remover

The verdict?

You need this. I mean, you needed it before, but the new Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution is actually cheaper per ounce than the original and features a very awesome blue flip-top cap, which makes it super easy to soak a cotton pad one-handed.

Also, the new packaging is super pretty, and we all know that that’s the real game, here.

Availability: $19.95 CAD/10 fl oz at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada (or online at Marcelle.com with shipping to the US & Canada).

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Annabelle Blushon Spring 2015 swatches, review, photos | Cheek-chic, indeed

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Annabelle Blushon review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Blushon Powder Blush (new permanent shades)

↳ in Lotus, Rosebud, Peony, Spring Petal, and Hibiscus

There are five new shades being added to Annabelle’s Blushon range this spring, and they are fantastic. I haven’t been this excited about the expansion of a range since MAC came out with Full of Joy (which, yes, I know, I still haven’t featured on the blog), but ugh, these are all so pretty!

Annabelle Lotus Blushon review swatches photos

Lotus

Annabelle Rosebud Blushon review swatches photos

Rosebud

Annabelle Peony Blushon review swatches photos

Peony

The formula: These are actually the very first Annabelle Blushon blushes that I’ve tried, and can I just say: I really regret not buying some sooner! The formula in these is just gorgeous — really finely milled and velvety, and not too solid in the pan, either. They kind of remind me of the Clinique Cheek Pops (you know, creamy), but they get their smoothness from non-chalky talc and mineral oil, not dimethicone and bismuth oxychloride.

You get great pigmentation with each swipe, but not so much that you’re going to end up with crazy cheeks if you’re not careful, you know? We’re talking medium-layerable pigmentation, not sudden attacks of rouge.

Annabelle Blushon swatches review - Lotus Rosebud Peony

Annabelle Blushon swatches: Lotus, Rosebud, Peony, Spring Petal, and Hibiscus

The shades: On one hand, I kind of wish that I had tried these sooner, because they’re lovely — but on the other hand, I don’t. This range expansion includes five new (and totally not-brown) shades, and each shade is more my style than the last.

There are three pinks: Lotus (matte; similar to Lancôme Rose Fresque), a purpley light pink, Rosebud, and Peony. Rosebud looks softer than Peony in the pan, but actually swatches more strongly; Peony has more shimmer in it, as well as more coral. Lotus (my favourite) works very well on fair skin, Rosebud is the best “true” pink, and Peony will be gorgeous on warm and medium-toned complexions.

Annabelle Blushon swatches review Spring Petal Hibiscus

Annabelle Blushon swatches: Lotus, Rosebud, Peony, Spring Petal, and Hibiscus (blended)

I was particularly smitten with the pinks, of course (especially the matte Lotus, which pulls a little bit lilac and just seems more velvety than the rest), but there are also two orange/coral blushes: Spring Petal, which leans a little bit more pink, and Hibiscus, which is noticeably more metallic.

Spring Petal will quench your coral cravings — especially if you, like me, love the idea of coral but really do look better in pinks. If you want a true orange blush, though, go for Hibiscus!

Annabelle Spring Petal Blushon review swatches photos

Spring Petal

Annabelle Hibiscus Blushon review swatches photos

Hibiscus

The verdict?

If you like perfectly-pigmented, non-dusty blushes, then definitely check these out. The new shades really remind me a lot of the MAC Très Chic collection (bright, pretty, and springy), and the formula feels very Clinique Cheek Pops-y!

Plus, at $7.95, you don’t have to pick between the lilac pink, the shimmering orange, and the bright coral — for the price of just one MAC or Clinique blush, you can get all three.

Availability: $7.95 CAD at online at Annabelle.ca & in drugstores and mass-market retailers across Canada.

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Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium serum oil review, photos | How one skincare brand changed my view on oils for good

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium serum oil review

The product: Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Facial Serum Concentrate

I’m not a facial oil kind of girl. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried any before (I have; recently, L’Occitane and Marie Veronique come to mind), but… I’ve never loved one before, you know? They always just feel too thin, or too greasy, or they don’t to enough for my dryness. I’ve always loved the idea of them, but we’ve never gotten along.

Until now.

Odacite skincare review The Detox Market

About Odacité

That in mind, I didn’t have very high hopes for this range, but Odacité proved me wrong in every way possible. Unlike other brands, Odacité focuses on freshness and ingredients, and their range of 18 oils are all super-potent, super-targeted, and made to compliment your skincare regimen, not replace it.

Perhaps coolest of all, Odacité labels feature an easy-to-reference “table of pure elements that tells you about your product in detail.

Odacité Table of Pure Elements

Po + R has an origin number of #CVG12GSa, which translates into: cold pressed virgin first ingredient (pomegranate oil) grown in Europe, specifically Germany; and a second ingredient (rose geranium) that’s grown without chemicals in South Africa.

The brand is also vegan and cruelty-free, and you won’t find any silicones, parabens, or artificial fragrances in any of their products.

Odacite Po + R facial serum concentrate oil review

Po + R = HG

I don’t toss the H-word (holy grail) around lightly, but guys, this stuff is amazing. It’s a super-thick oil that mixes into your regular moisturizer like a dream, and it’s insanely effective.

» At $27 & up, Odacité oils are a fantastic way to increase the efficacy of your fancy moisturizer while also stretching out its life by half!

If you’ve ever tried to mix anything into a heavy creme like German Nivea, you’ll know that it’s virtually impossible — the water-repellent cream just kind of slicks away the second ingredient. But, because this serum isn’t diluted with anything, it mixes easily into any type of moisturizer. I find what works best is cutting my regular amount of moisturizer in half, then adding 1-2 drops of Po + R.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

The resulting cream is rich, emollient, and super luxurious. I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have serious dehydration (Odacité makes 17 other oils that’ll be better suited to your skin type!), but for those looking for dry skin relief, this is a must-have.

I saw results with this oil literally within 24 hours, and they stick around. After a few days of constant use, stubborn dry patches will disappear, and your foundation will start applying like a dream — this stuff is so smooth and hydrating that it almost seems to prime your skin at the same time.

Full disclosure: I am possibly developing an allergy to something in this oil, so I’m not using it right now. The super-hydrating effects lasted for around 7-10 days before diminishing, though, which is crazy impressive!

Odacite facial serum concentrate review

The verdict?

I didn’t think I’d ever be a facial oil kind of gal, and to be honest, I’m still not — but I am now a HUGE fan of Odacité serum concentrates.

If you have tight skin and dry patches that you can’t seem to shake, you need this oil in your life. Pomegranate + Rose Geranium pairs heavy comfort with great hydration better than any product I’ve ever tried before, and it’ll “beef up” whatever moisturizer you’re currently using, be it high-end or budget. (It pairs well with Odacité’s own moisturizers, too!)

Availability: Po+R is $43 USD/$49 CAD at Odacité, The Detox Market CA (you can get these in person in Toronto), or The Detox Market US. The Facial Serum Concentrate range starts at $27 USD.

Keep reading! »

Kiss InstaWave Automatic Curler review, before & after, and photos | Hair curling for dummies (with no risk of being eaten)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kiss Instawave Automatic Curler review

The product: Kiss InstaWave automatic curler

To all of you out there who are bad at curling your hair: you’ve heard of automatic curlers, right? The Conair Curl Secret (which I reviewed here for the Best Buy VIVA Blog) and the BaByliss Miracurl?

Well, this is like the lovechild of the creepy turtle-curler and the clamp-less curling wand, and it is beautiful.

Kiss Instawave review

How it works: The KISS InstaWave (yes, KISS like the nail brand) is the only product that I know of that functions quite like this, and it works by using a rotating base to feed your hair around a wand instead of using hidden mechanics to suck your hair into a Terror Shell™ of tangles.

Like the $200 BaByliss Miracurl, it can curl in either direction (the Curl Dial switch is also the “on” button, and will rotate the base when you press it), and you can switch directions without having to reload your hair onto the wand — you just grab some hair, put it by the base of the InstaWave, and let the iron do its thing.

Kiss InstaWave how to

Kiss InstaWave Automatic Curler how to use

What’s really awesome about the InstaWave, though, is that its totally terror-free — and I tried my hardest to make it mess up. Because it curls everything around a curling wand instead of wrapping it up inside of a Cave of Doom, hairs going in the wrong direction will just get mussed up, instead of devoured and solidly knotted, and you can start your curl anywhere with zero risk of fish hooking.

It also shuts itself automatically after 90 minutes (you know, because house fires are scary) and has two heat settings, the highest being 420˚F. I use the lowest setting, and my hair takes 5-10 seconds per section to curl and the curl lasts all day.

Kiss Instawave review before after

The problem with the InstaWave: Okay, so here’s the deal. This baby is pretty much perfect, save for being a little heavy, but… it makes an audible, high-pitched squeal when plugged in. And the squealing only gets louder when you turn it on.*

So, you’re going to have to store this thing unplugged, and if you have auditory sensitivities (I do), it’s a bad choice for you right now. However, I’ve been assured that KISS Products is addressing this issue currently, so hopefully the InstaWaves will be properly silent by the end of the year!

Kiss InstaWave Automatic Curler

The verdict?

If you want to try out an automatic curler, KISS is pretty much the only brand you should be looking at. The InstaWave is very affordable (other automatic curlers run at $130-$250), relatively lightweight, and both more versatile and easier to use than the shell-type models. 

However–and this is a big however–the cheap price tag comes at a cost. You’ll need to unplug your InstaWave after every use, and the squealing noise (similar to the noise a cheap battery charger will make) is unavoidable, at least for now. I liked this curler a lot more than the Conair Curl Secret, but if you can wait for the second run (which should be quieter), do!

Availability: $69.96 CAD/$74.39 USD at Walmart (CA) and Target (US), in stores and online.

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Clinique Wear Everywhere Neutrals “Greys” 8-Pan Palette swatches, review, photos | Super sleek + super affordable, with a side of extra-super-awesome

Friday, February 13, 2015

Clinique Wear Everywhere Greys Palette review

The product: Clinique All About Shadow 8-Pan Palette in Wear Everywhere Greys

This palette, you guys, is everything.

“Pretty. Simple. Overstuffed makeup bags everywhere are rejoicing.

Life is complicated. With Clinique, pretty is easy. Mistake proof combinations exist within every palette. Go matte, go shimmery, and get creative. There are no wrong answers.”

-Clinique, preachin’ the truth

The shades: Clinique is always great at telling you which shadows are what, and this palette is no exception. In Wear Everywhere Greys, you’ll find Fawn Satin (Matte, from the Seashell Pink duo), a pinky satin-matte; High Tea (Matte, LE), a lovely purpley taupe; Mushroom (Super Shimmer LE), a gorgeous taupe that is not the same as the one in the Nutcracker Act I eyeshadow palette (see it worn here); and Grey Matters (Matte, LE), a dark grey-brown.

Clinique Nutcracker Mushroom swatch vs Wear Everywhere Greys Mushroom

Clinique The Nutcracker Suite’s Mushroom (L) vs. the Wear Everywhere Greys’ Mushroom (R). You could have used ANY OTHER NAME, Clinique. Why would you do this.

Fifth comes the bright, white Sugar Cane (Soft Shimmer, permanent), then the neutral Silver Lining (Super Shimmer, permanent; not too blue!), both from the regular line. The palette finishes off with two insanely buttery liner/crease shades: Stormy (Soft Shimmer, LE), a gorgeous neutral-warm brown, and Stroke of Midnight (Matte, permanent), your standard soft black.

The formula: Clinique has played around with a lot of different eyeshadow formulations over the past couple of years, and while this palette doesn’t represent the very, very best of them, it’s still really good. Some of the shades feel a little dry in the pan (keep that in mind if you look at these in-store), but when you actually use them, they work perfectly — zero fall-down, easy to blend, and really well-pigmented.

Clinique Wear Everywhere Greys review swatches 8 pan

Clinique Wear Everywhere Greys swatches

Clinique Greys 8 pan Neutrals palette review

With primer, I get all-day wear out of these (which is really rare for me). The buttery, pigmented Mattes and Soft Shimmers are the best performers in the palette, while the few Super Shimmers remind me a lot of Clinique’s old Colour Surge eyeshadows — they feel drier and almost gritty when swatched, but still apply really gently and smoothly to the lid.

Overall, this Wear Everywhere Neutrals palette is of excellent quality, and there are no poor performers in Greys that drag the rest down.

Clinique 8 pan palette Greys review Wear Everywhere Neutrals

Just the right size! And shades!

The verdict?

Okay, okay, okay: here is the most exciting part of this post. I don’t care if you wear a lot of eyeshadow or only very little, you need one of the Clinique Wear Everywhere Neutrals palettes, because they’re foolproof and only freakin’ $40!!!

Are these palettes perfect perfect? Eh, not technically — but if you want a monochromatic palette, these are your very best bet. They’ll leave you crease- and fallout-free, and strike the perfect balance between variety & simplicity. (Plus: $40!! And just as well-thought-out as the Shu Uemura Prêt-à-Palettes, which are more than twice the price!)

Availability: $36 USD/$40 CAD at Clinique counters & online.

Keep reading! »

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