Guerlain Boutique & Institute Toronto photos, Complete Facial review | BEAUTY DESTINATIONS

Monday, August 10, 2015

Guerlain Yorkville Toronto Boutique and Institute review

The most unexpected adventure I’ve taken so far this year was a trek into the gorgeous, glossy depths into Toronto’s Guerlain Boutique & Institute at 110 Bloor Street West.

I wandered in one fine Tuesday, expecting to just take a quick sniff of Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille–could it really be as gorgeous as I remembered? (Spoiler: it is, and then some.)–and walked out with some seriously sharp bronzer and a facial appointment for that Friday.

Guerlain Boutique Toronto tour review

The Boutique 

As a fragrance junkie, the only thing you need to know about Guerlain boutiques is this: there is only one in Canada, and it contains all of the brand’s current fragrances…

Les Exclusifs and all.

Guerlain les exclusifs perfumes

From bee bottles to tailor-made fragrances (you know, if you have a year, time for a trip to Paris, and a spare $75 000 lying around), this is the place to be. The staff here know everything there is to know about Guerlain’s recent launches as well as their classics, and can tell you about everything from Guerlinade to Theirry Wasser (Guerlain’s in-house perfumer).

Scents you must try while you’re there:

Guerlain Boutique Toronto Yorkville review

Guerlain exclusifs perfumes boutique

The Institute

Tucked discreetly in the back of the boutique is a small treatment room and all the necessarily amenities — a gorgeous glass shower, a mirrored change room, and the boutique’s secret weapon: a petite esthetician named Sakien Teymouri who, I swear, has magic hands.

Guerlain Institute Spa facial review Toronto Bloor

Guerlain facial review Toronto Yorkville

I was lucky enough to experience a complimentary Complete Facial ($170 CAD), which is a 1h30 treatment that can be customized to match your skin’s needs.

As someone with extremely touchy skin, facials aren’t usually something I can indulge in, but the boutique’s manager took the time to double-check ingredients lists and customize a gentle, silicone-free regimen just for me. (Thank you so much, Jamielee — your kindness and attention to detail really made my day!)

Continue the adventure!! »

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


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, 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


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.

Wantable Beauty Box review (AKA the ONE beauty box you should be subscribed to)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wantable Beauty Box review contents october

The product: Wantable Makeup Collection Beauty Box

A long time ago, a reader told me that what they loved about theNotice was that it always features something different — a product that no one else is talking about, or a brand that they’d never heard of before.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get back into that “something different” mentality, and I’m going to keep at it over the coming months. So, today, while everyone else is reviewing Memeboxes and Julep Maven subscriptions…. here’s the one beauty box that you haven’t heard of, but totally need to buy. 

Wantable Beauty Box review

The process

This Wantable box is from about a year ago (oops), which was both intentional and not: for a beauty box, I think part of what you pay for is the surprise. (But seriously, sorry that it took me SO LONG to finish this review). So, when you order yours, the selection of products will be different — but hopefully no less great.

Wantable review - subscription beauty makeup box

Wantable subscription review questionnaire

Parts of the Wantable customization process

Wantable boxes are a little more expensive than others, but they’re curated with 4-5 full-sized products for you. When you sign up, you complete a questionnaire about what products and shades you do and don’t like, and the box that you receive will contain plenty of what you tell them you want, and none of what you tell them you don’t. 

This, if you ask me, is the big difference between Wantable and other beauty boxes: the value of the box is actually relevant to you, and isn’t just a large price tag attached to a bunch of crap that you don’t care about.

Susan Posnick Colour Eye Define review swatch Copper Bronze

Susan Posnick Color Eye Define in Bronze/Copper (bronze liner end shown)

The box

My box came with five full-sized products and one sample (that, honestly, I didn’t care for). But the full-sized products were all products I never would have bought but loved anyways, including an angled liner that is altogether unique in my collection, a lipgloss in one of my favourite formulas, and a beautiful, vintage-y lipstick that I have lusted after for years.

The box also introduced me to two new brands, Mia Bellezza and Susan Posnick, with a lip pencil EDIT: JUST KIDDING THAT IS AN EYESHADOW; OOPS; EMBARASSING and a gorgeous brown angled liner. (Edited again: HOLY CRAP, that’s not a liner, that’s a liner-and-shadow and I feel like such a fool right now.)

Lise Watier Rouge Catwalk Haute Couleur gloss review swatch

Lise Watier Haute Couleur High Coverage Lip Colour in Rouge Catwalk, Echo Vie All Natural Lip Balm free sample

The contents of this particular box:

  • Echo Vie All Natural Lip Balm ($16 USD; sample shown, not swatched)
  • Susan Posnick Colour Eye Define in Bronze/Copper ($26 USD) – beautiful bronze-browns with gold shimmer. Only the liner (Bronze) end is swatched here, because I was an idiot and didn’t even realize there was a pigment (Copper) on the other end until after I took these photos! (The pigment is, if possible, even more gorgeous than the liner, and much more densely pigmented.)
  • Cailyn Shimmer Powder Eyeshadow in Charming ($12 loose) – beautiful periwinkle with pink shimmer; sub-par formula. (This swatch was layered five or six times with a damp brush!)

Susan Posnick Copper Bronze liner shadow review swatches

Susan Posnick Bronze/Copper Eye Define – eyeshadow end (aka my “holy crap” moment)

Lise Watier Rouge Catwalk, Susan Posnick Copper Bronze swatch review

Swatched L-R: Susan Posnick Copper/Bronze (Bronze liner end only) x 2 , Cailyn Charming, MiA BelleZZa Argento, Lise Watier Rouge Catwalk, Besamé Noir Red

  • MiA BelleZZa Color Stick Eyes in Argento (?) – non-greasy cream-to-powder formula. Pinky-peach with a beautiful golden sheen à la NARS Orgasm or MAC Nymphette.
  • Lise Watier Haute Couleur High Coverage Lip Colour in Rouge Catwalk ($23 CAD) – perfect. Perfect. Fruity scent and just a gorgeous, juicy red shade with subtle shimmer.
  • Besamé Classic Color Lipstick in Noir Red ($22 USD) – enough said. Vanilla-scented, bullet-shaped, and incredibly dense with pigment. An exquisitely executed semi-matte deep plum.

Besame Noir Red swatch Classic Color Lipstick review

Besamé Classic Color Lipstick in Noir RedBesame Classic Color Lipstick review swatches

*quiet whimpers*

The verdict?

If you’re looking for more than just a cheap thrill, then yes: I would absolutely, 100% recommend Wantable. It’s a great way to discover new brands and actually get your money’s worth out of a beauty box with value that’s actually relevant to you (not just a dollar sign), and I definitely want another one! My box contained about $90 worth of makeup, and three of them were products that I already wanted but would never have let myself indulge in on my own.

Also worth noting is that, for $36/month, you get 4-5 full-sized products of about a $20 value each — which I think is better than spending $15 on five deluxe samples or minis. It’s comparable to buying a set of beauty crackers for the holidays, except it’s not going to cost you $120 for six products, and none of them will be another !)@#%#^ sample-sized mascara.

Availability: $40 USD for one box, or $36 per month if you’re subscribed. Boxes ship for free to the US or for $6-10 to Canada, the UK, and Australia, and customs fees are charged at checkout if applicable, not at your door. Get it now at


Good customer service isn’t dead: an Opulent Alchemy review

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

About the seller

Nicholette, the blending brains behind this whole op (har har, Opulent… sorry. I’ll stop.) is such a wonderful seller — the customer service is great, she’s really accommodating, and the samples all look divine! You can really tell that everything’s been filled, labelled, and packed with care; my samples came super-full and carefully labelled. Plus, they arrived bundled safety in four or five perfectly-wrapped pieces of tissue and a bubble mailer. No cracks, leaks, or other packaging mishaps here!

Unlike a lot of sellers who promise “carefully chosen” extra samples “if available,” Nicholette actually pays attention to her customers. I had asked her to switch out L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two for a sample of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie at the last moment, and was disappointed when I opened up the package to find Tea For Two… until I saw that she had included both! My other surprise sample was a dupe of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, and I’m guessing it’s because (even I had to sort through old emails to figure this one out,) I had mentioned my budding vanilla addiction when I first asked about samples.

Now that, my dears, is dedication.

About the dupes

This section is long. I know, and I’m sorry. The really important stuff’s bolded, though, so you could always just read those bits!

Coco (Chanel) smells absolutely nothing like Coco, if you ask me! This was the first dupe I tried on, and I was horrified — it’s not sophisticated, and it’s not spicy. Which is not to say that some people wouldn’t like it, but on my skin, at least, it just smelled like a mess of soapy essential oils! It was far enough off the mark that I almost burst into tears. What can I say: I had my hopes up, and I was having a really awful day!

Chinatown (Bond No. 9). Everyone describes Chinatown as one of the most entrancing things they’ve ever tried; something that never gets boring. Now, I haven’t smelled the Bond No. 9, but this was pretty much what I was expecting. It opens as a very sweet, very bold “big white flor(ient)al,” and while it is definitely not a scent for the timid, it’s quite well-blended. The first few minutes are a bit overwhelming for me, but would be heaven for a lover of white florals and warm, sweet scents! As the top notes evaporate, Chinatown’s peach blossom accords, smooth, woody notes, and light spiciness are revealed. However, as to the claim that it is one of the most complex, fascinating scents around? For this dupe, at least: it isn’t, in my opinion.

(Also, it makes me think of an Anthropologie shop. I think it might be the bergamot-sandalwood blend, which is common in a lot of the candles and body lotions throughout the store. *shrugs* I don’t know. It kinda smells like a really pretty room spray or something, rather than a perfume.)

Un Bois Vanille (Serge Lutens) was a sample I didn’t end up ordering, because I thought I’d hate it! (Hint:  I did not.) I’ve sampled the actual Serge UBV before, and it has a very specific note that I don’t care for — “animalic” would be the proper term to use, but honestly, it’s just icky and body-odour-ish. (Most people don’t find a lot of b.o. in UBV, but even the smallest amounts of it drive my sensitive nose nuts.) Opulent Alchemy’s dupe, however, has much less of an animalic note, delivering instead a very smooth, carmelized vanilla — incredibly sweet, yes, but if you’re a lover of sweet vanillas (and especially if you love Serge’s Un Bois Vanille,) this is a great one!


Cozzette brush review roundup

Friday, December 3, 2010

  • Reviews of the D225 and D230 {here}
  • Reviews of the S125, S135, and S175 {here}
  • Review of the P350 {here}

I know, I’ve kind of OD’ed on Cozzette over the last little while… but I have some serious love for these brushes, ladies. I may stop writing theNotice just so I can spend all my time with my S125.

(Kidding! Calm down. It’s going to be okay).

Anyhow, I did want to wrap this up with a bit more info about the Cozzette line (aside from the fact that all of the brushes feature gorgeous purple handles). There are some things inherent to the Divinity collection, so I didn’t bother to mention them in every single review!

Things to remember…

  • These brushes run at about the same price (or less) as MAC brushes, so while they may be a bit of an investment, the prices aren’t too bad. (Plus, they’re totally worth it if you ask me!)
  • I’ve washed these numerous times already (I try to make sure to wash brushes at least 3-4 times before reviewing them), and I haven’t had a single problem with shedding — of any of the brushes. Gotta say; I’m impressed.
  • Cozzette brushes are all cruelty-free, and they’re made out of the *softest* synthetic ever. I challenge you to find a softer one, seriously. And you can’t be on hallucinogenic substances when you find it.
  • The line is independent. In other words, a really cool makeup artist is profiting from your purchase, not a huge multinational corporation. For some reason, that makes me really happy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...