MUFE Graphic Liner, Marcelle Double Precision Liner reviews, swatches, photos | High vs. Low: Two pen-tipped liners you need to know

Monday, January 26, 2015

Marcelle Double Precision pen liner review MUFE Graphic Liner

When it comes to makeup, I sometimes find it helpful to think of things in context of “generations” — like, different generations of eye primers (pre-Urban Decay tone eveners vs post-Urban Decay longevity-improving creams), lip stains (thin liquids vs YSL-type gloss-stains), eyeliner pencils (hard kohls vs waxy gel-creams) and now, liquid eyeliner pens.

These, ladies and gents, are not your mother’s pen liners. They apply like liquid liners rather than markers, they dry down to wonderfully glossy finishes, and–most importantly–they wear absolutely flawlessly all. day. long. with no staining.

PS: Neither of these liners contain silicones, so they’re a great choice if you’re trying to go ‘cone-free but still want something with great opacity and wear time!

Marcelle Liquid Eyeliner Pen review swatches photos

Marcelle Double Precision Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Intense Black ($14.95 CAD)

This dual-ended liner was the very first pen-style liner that I ever fell in love with, and I fell hard. The two tips moderate product flow so that you never end up with tons of liner on your lashes (as you might with a liquid liner), but it wears without smudging or budging for a good 12+ hours — maybe more, but I’ve never needed to test it for any longer.

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches review

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches

I like this one for its wear, which I find to be just the smallest bit better than the Make Up For Ever Liner, but I think that its dual-ended design has a pretty big pull, too. The felt tip is smaller than that on the Make Up For Ever, and is just firm enough to line the eyes with ease (yes, even for winged liner), while the brush tip is very fine and looks like a delicate paintbrush.

Of the two brush ends, I mainly use the felt end — the brush tip doesn’t dispense quite enough product to deliver a really solid-looking wing, though it is excellent at getting the very point at the end of your liner and fading it into nothingness. Occasionally, I need to make two passes with this liner (either end) to achieve full opacity.

» See it worn here!

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip liner review

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

MUFE Graphic Liner swatches review, Marcelle Double Precision

MUFE Graphic Liner (thin/thick), Marcelle Double Precision felt tip (thick/thin), Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner ($24 USD/29 CAD)

This liner has a significantly firmer felt tip than the Marcelle, which means that it delivers a much more consistent result: the line, no matter how fine, is always the same amount of pigmented and opaque.

On the flip side of that equation, however, is the fact that the Marcelle can achieve lines that are both thicker and thinner than those within the Graphic Liner’s range (even with just its felt end), so you have to choose which is more important to you: width or opacity. (There is no wrong answer!)

MUFE Graphic Liner vinyl pen review swatches

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner

I do think this liner is ever so slightly better than the Marcelle, but (and this is a big but) I have two problems with it. One, the cap doesn’t click on; it just slides into place, and I constantly worry that it’s drying out. And two: the formula smells really toxic. Which is dumb, right? Like, logically, I know that something smelling bad does NOT equal toxic, and vice-versa.

But it smells really bad, like a paint or a Sharpie or something, and I’m not gonna lie, it freaks me out a little.

» See it worn here!

Marcelle vs MUFE liquid liner pen comparison review

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner vs Marcelle Double Precision felt tips

The verdict?

I really love both these liners, so I’m going to leave the final verdict up to you (and possibly where you happen to live), but I think beginners and casual makeup wearers will appreciate the brush tip on the Marcelle, while makeup pros will prefer the Instagram-perfect opacity of the Make Up For Ever.

Whichever one you buy, remember that BOTH are very good — you really can’t go wrong here! Instinctually, I think I like the Make Up For Ever more (for its opacity and firm tip), but the scent-free Marcelle liner freaks me out way less.

Availability: The Marcelle liner is available at drugstores & mass market retailers across Canada or online at marcelle.ca ($14.95 CAD); the Make Up For Ever liner is available at Sephora ($24 USD/$29 CAD) and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Keep reading! »

Burt’s Bees x Bellavance Tinted Lip Balms & Lip Shimmers reviews, swatches

Friday, January 23, 2015

Burt's Bees Bellavance lip set kit

The product: Burt’s Bees x Bellavance Limited Edition Lip Collection & Holster

↳ Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in HibiscusBlush Orchid and Lip Shimmers in ApricotGrapefruit

I’m suffering from a major case of blogging burnout this week, so today, I have a couple old favourites to share with you in new shades.

My love for Burts’ Tinted Lip Balms and Lip Shimmers is a long and sordid one, stretching through the years and through numerous incidents of Rae cheating on Burts’ balms with Clinique simple definitely mutual infidelity, but alas! It does persist.

Burt's Bees Hibiscus, Blush Orchid, Apricot, Grapefruit review

Burt's Bees Hibiscus, Blush Orchid, Apricot, Grapefruit swatches

Burt’s Bees swatches, L-R: Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus and Blush Orchid; Lip Shimmer in Apricot and Grapefruit

100% of the proceeds from this Bellavance-designed holster will go to Pollinator Partnership Canada, a non-profit that supports lost and solitary pollinator bees by building sustainable bee hotels (direct quote!) throughout Canada.

The holster itself is made from 100% organic cotton and contains four elasticized spots for your favourite lipsticks or Burt’s Bees lip balms. It’s available at burtsbees.ca and boutiques where Bellavance is sold, and contains two Tinted Lip Balms from Burt’s permanent line, Hibiscus and Blush Orchid, plus two Lip Shimmers in Grapefruit and Apricot, which both debut in this set.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm, Lip Shimmer reviews

Keep reading! »

BPAL x Pretty Indulgent review: Hochelaga, Black Silk, Une Folle Entreprise, Ville-Marie, and Halloween in Montreal

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Pheonix Alchemy Lab Pretty Indulgent review collection

If you haven’t heard of them before, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is one of those alt/hippie companies with a crazy-wonderful following (think Fyrinnae and LUSH) — and I mean this in the most amazing way possible. They’re a small company with an enormous library of super-concentrated fragrance oils that seems to produce one cult hit after another, and after seven years of beauty blogging, I have finally had the chance to try a few of their scents.

Today, I’m covering five fragrances exclusive to Pretty Indulgent, an online store run by Maggie of Maggie’s Makeup (who I have the biggest girlcrush on, but shhh.) These tiny–but potent, seriously–little bottles retail for a mere $23 each, and each scent in this limited run celebrates the rich culture and history of Quebec and Montreal. 

BPAL Black Silk Hochelaga review Pretty Indulgent

The first scent I tried on was Hochelaga, which features dry, warm woods and musk alongside elegant threads of buttery old herbs, spices and wildflowers. It smells like walking into an antiques/thrift store in the winter, surrounded by knitted blankets and knick-knacks in old wooden cabinets that once held metal pots for stew.

Next, I tried Black Silkwhich seems to have been the big hit of the collection — it sold out in less than a day! Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be a second run (one of its ingredients is very difficult to source), but it smells absolutely incredible. While sharp in the bottle, it rounds itself out beautifully on the skin and the tobacco absolute/bourbon vanilla cream notes blend together to create a boozy, almost nutty animalic sweetness unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. Think smokey, smooooth benzoin-tobacco overtones with just a whisper of patchouli for this one.

BPAL Ville-Marie Une Folle Entreprise review Pretty Indulgent

Then came Une Folle Entreprise, which I wasn’t crazy about — but WOW does it ever last. I got a drop (and I mean a literal drop) of this on my sweater, and the base notes stuck around for a week. Thanks to the violet note, it’s sweet like a chocolate martini; sharp but cloying with patchouli, licorice root, and tonka bean.

Next is Ville-Mariewhich was just a treat to experience. It’s bright and sugary (there are so many different kinds of sweetness in this post!), and yet again, I’ve smelled nothing like it before. The cream soda opening lifts within minutes, and the scent blooms on the skin to reveal a lemony bouquet of orchids, lilies, and a whopping five different varieties of lilac, ending in a creamy vanilla-musk.

And, finally, we end with Halloween in Montreal, which covers the final corner of the sweetness spectrum. This one really does smell like Halloween, as promised — it’s bottled-up leaves, snowflakes, chimney smoke, and candy, and you can smell it all by simply closing your eyes. (Weirdly, it also smells like walking into a Pier 1 Imports or something, open-top candles everywhere).

BPAL Halloween in Montreal review Pretty Indulgent

Buying guide

This is a lot to take in, so here’s your SparkNotes version!

If you love smelling things but you’ve never tried a BPAL creation before… you owe it to yourself to experience these beauties. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if you like any of them; they’re an olfactory experience like no other, and that makes them fascinating. Unlike mainstream scents, which tend to be identifiably “perfumey”, these fragrances smell like Things – places, times, memories. Order yourself a few Imps (samples) to get started, and go from there.

And to pick your perfect Pretty Indulgent exclusive ($23 CAD each, and yes, the site takes Paypal), here they are in order of must-haveability!

  1. Try Ville-Marie if you like happy summer days and evenings on the pier. It’s a complete chameleon, starting out so bright and uplifting that it makes me want to giggle, and transforming completely into a musk so soft and vanilla-tinged that I can’t help but go “mmmm.”
  2. Try Black Silk if there is any way you could possibly get your hands on it, because it’s amazing.
  3. Try Hochelaga if you’re secretly a super-cool hippie/alt girl/vegan, but you daylight as the Regular Girl at the office.
  4. Try Halloween in Montreal if you like the way home-store candle aisles smell, because I swear to god, this smells EXACTLY like that. I feel like I’m picking out throw pillows in my office right now; it’s uncanny.
  5. Try Une Folle Entreprise to pair with your flavoured martini and slit-back dress. I both envy and fear your ability to wear four-inch heels.

Happy sniffing, scoundrels!

BPAL fragrance review intro for beginners

Clinique The Nutcracker Suite Act I Palette & Powder swatches, review, photos

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Clinique The Nutcracker Plie Pink review palette

The product: Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette and Blended Face Powder & Brush in Snowflake Dreams

» Inspired by “the tulles and velvet fabrics in vivid pinks, glittering whites and vibrant purples” in The Nutcracker.

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette ($36 USD/$46 CAD)

The pink Nutcracker Act I Palette (not to be confused with the purple-themed Act II) contains an All About Shadow Snowflake Suite quad in the shades Sugar Cane (available as a single), Crystal PinkMushroom (also in Clinique’s Greys 8-Pan Palette), and Boron, as well as a Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Plié Pink.

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Snowflake Suite review

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette

The shadows were much dustier than I’m used to seeing from Clinique, and apply fairly sheerly but with little fallout. I adored the taupey Mushroom and the Blushing Powder Blush in Plié Pink, which gave my cheeks a seriously gorgeous pink glow, but the other three shades in the palette (a boring shimmery white, a super-sheer pink heaped with silver glitter, and a boring sparkly black) were a big letdown for me.

At $46 CAD, I think this palette is worth it if you really adore those two top performers (all five pans are of middling-to-good quality), but it’s not getting a standing ovation from me. While it’s not like, the worst, I know that Clinique can do a lot better than this in terms of quality — and knowing that, it’s hard not to expect more from the brand.

Clinique Snowflake Suite Plie Pink swatches review The Nutcracker

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette swatches: Blushing Powder Blush in Plié Pink (heavy/light), All About Shadow Quad in Snowflake Suite (Sugar Cane, Crystal Pink, Mushroom, Boron).

Blended Face Powder & Brush in Snowflake Dreams ($24 USD/$29 CAD)

Okay, so this one was another pretty-but-nonsensical letdown. Who, in their right of mind, needs ANOTHER shimmery powder?! I see at least five of these come out each holiday season from brands high and low, so someone must be buying, but this kind of product is just not up my alley.

Clinique Snowflake Dreams review Blended Face Powder

Clinique Blended Face Powder in Snowflake Dreams

Snowflake Dreams, which comes with a non-optional scratchy brush, is intended to add shimmer to the shoulders, neck, and chest, but the glitter is just too big and unidimensional — it’s just chunks of silver glitter in a crazy-sheer pink base. This Blended Face Powder would be great for an actual performance of The Nutcracker (theatre makeup, after all, has to be extremely obvious for the audience to see it), but in real life, it’s way too much.

Unless you were putting on some sort of crazy, Nutcracker-themed party with strobe lights and strippers, I guess? In which case this would probably be an awesome product to dust all over your body. I wouldn’t know; raves aren’t really my thing. (But I bet a Nutcracker-themed one would somehow manage to be really, really cool.)

Clinique Snowflake Dreams swatch Blended Face Powder review

Clinique Blended Face Powder swatch in Snowflake Dreams (brushed on below/patted on heavily over primer above).

The verdict?

As much as I love Clinique, this collection is an act that I would not like to see again. (Aside: what’s the best theatre performance you’ve ever gotten to experience? For me, it was a four-hour-long production of Pride and Prejudice. Worth every damn minute – to this day, I regret not seeing it again before it closed.)

I would love to see Plié Pink released as a standalone blush, and if you can get your hands on Mushroom, absolutely do, but aside from that — skip The Nutcracker Suite, and save your pennies for one of Clinique’s 8-pan palettes instead.

Availability: Online at Clinique and exclusively at the Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

L’Occitane Shea review & free samples: Cleansing Oil, Light Comforting Cream (aka magic cream), and Gentle Toner

Monday, January 5, 2015

L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil review

The products: L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream, Shea Cleansing Oil, and Shea Gentle Toner

New year, new beginnings… new super-exciting giveaway that’ll put December to shame. (Keep reading or click here for the giving bit of this post.)

L’Occitane is one of my favourite brands to work with, and their French-made Shea Butter range plays a big part in that — each L’Occitane Shea product bought helps women in Burkina Faso achieve economic emancipation through sustainable, fair trade practices. So, today, I’m talking about three really affordable new silicone-free products in the range, and sharing one with you!

The L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil ($26 CAD) and Gentle Toner

L'Occitane Shea Gentle Toner review photos

The Cleansing Oil and Light Comforting Cream join L’Occitane’s Shea Gentle Toner in their permanent Shea Butter range this January, and I couldn’t be happier. Both carry the same scent as the moisturizer (though in much smaller amounts), and are just as gentle on my skin — even the toner.

I find the Shea Cleansing Oil to be quite a heavy oil, but it washes off with no residue and removes my makeup really easily. I like it a lot more than Shu Uemura’s Cleansing Oils, surprisingly enough, and it’s actually super-cheap – only $13/100 ml! (Tatcha’s Camellia Cleansing Oil is still better, but it’s a whopping $40/100 ml.)

L'Occitane Gentle Toner review

L’Occitane Gentle Toner

The L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream AKA MAGIC FAIRY-DUST CREAM* ($30 CAD)

This is L’Occitane’s big launch of the new year — a face cream that pairs shea butter (5%) with a creamy, lightweight texture. And, somehow, L’Occitane manages to pull it off beautifully.

I do find that the Light Comforting Cream leaves my skin feeling tight after I apply it (it’s targeted for normal/combination skin, but they also offer a 25% Shea Ultra Rich Face Cream; not silicone-free), but it seems to nourish my skin over time – unlike things like German Nivea or Weleda Skin Food. Rather than providing a thick, comforting layer off the bat, it sinks in quickly and works to hydrate over time and eliminate surface dehydration completely over the course of a few days, which is… kind of crazy-impressive, if we’re being honest.

L'Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream review

L’Occitane promises that their Ultra Rich Cream will sink into the skin with “an almost disconcerting ease,” which is freaking wonderful copy and totally applies here, too. My one complaint for this line is that it’s way more fragranced than it needs to be – the Light Comforting Cream smells good, and quite cozy, but the scent hangs around for so long that I can still smell it when I splash my face with water 12 hours later.

» Best for: silicone-free skincare regimens & regulating dehydrated skin! My skin has been crazy smooth and breakout-free since I started using this.

L'Occitane Shea Light Moisturizer review photos

L’Occitane Light Comforting Cream (5% shea)

Get your sample

And now, for the exciting part! I’m lucky enough to get to test out a lot of L’Occitane for theNotice, but this time, you guys get to be the testers. Just walk into any L’Occitane store in Canada and mention theNotice for a free 8 ml sample of the Light Comforting Cream (or use the code SHEAFACE online).

The promo expires at the end of January and only covers samples for 50 followers of the blog, so try to get to a L’Occitane boutique soon — and tell your friends! Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply outside of Canada, but think of it this way: it’s probably all you freezing, dry-skinned Canadians who really need it.

L'Occitane Cleansing Oil review budget buy shea butter

L’Occitane Cleansing Oil (5% shea)

The verdict?

L’Occitane has never really blown me away with their face care until this very moment, but blow me away they did. The Shea Butter range is incredibly well-priced and (now) comes with a bunch of great silicone-free options, so it definitely has my stamp of approval.

If you have dehydrated skin, check out the Shea Light Comforting Cream ASAP. The Gentle Toner is fine and the Cleansing Oil is quite good, but it’s this new moisturizer that really shines.

Availability: All three products are permanent products as of January 2015, and will be available online soon!

Ingredients »

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