NSPA Hot Cloth Polish, Melting Cleansing Gel review + giveaway! | New & noteworthy at the drugstore

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hot Cloth Polish cleans exfoliate review budget

The products: NSPA Hot Cloth Polish & Melting Cleansing Gel

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL this week, dear readers! But I plan on making it up to you today with a double-review of two rather unique new products and a giveaway, so… please don’t be mad.

» I already know I want these. Cut to the chase; take me to the giveaway! «

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ($15.97 CAD/150 ml)

NPSA Hot Cloth Polish reiew

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish

This Hot Cloth Polish was the thing that made NSPA, a cruelty-free British brand that’s new to Canada, stand out to me. I’ve wanted to try one of these since the Liz Earle hype blew up, and I gotta say: NSPA makes it worth the wait. 

Past the perfect scent (this is exactly what my brain thinks the archetypal cold cream would smell like), it’s a really interesting experience: a finely-woven muslin cloth (included), a very thick, white cleansing butter, and an exfoliation experience that removes your makeup without totally stripping your skin. 

NSPA Hot Cloth Polish review photos comparison

I wasn’t expecting the product to be as hard as it was (think very frozen ice cream, not summer soft serve), but it did spread nicely, and the thickness helps turn the Hot Cloth Polish into a spa-like, luxurious experience. The muslin cloth feels a little cheap, but the cloth-polish duo is $15 and full of good stuff like cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil – I think I can handle a flimsy seam for all of that.

Compared to the iconic Liz Earle at $36.75/100 ml, which I will admittedly likely now never try, NSPA’s Hot Cloth Polish is a steal at $15.75/100 ml. And hey, you won’t even need to pay import fees on it.

The NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ingredients: 

Aqua, Cocoa Seed Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Esters, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Beeswax, Sweet Almond Oil, Parfum, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Neroli Oil, Vitamin E, Pro-Vitamin B5, Sodium Benzoate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Linalool, Limonene.

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel ($15.97 CAD/125 ml)

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel review photos

I also tried out NSPA’s Melting Cleansing Gel, because I’d never used a melting gel before and I like new stuff. (What? Who doesn’t like new textures and technologies?) And, to my surprise… I liked this one even more than the Hot Cloth Polish.

Keep reading! »

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 Wantable.com.

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Bio Beauté (by Nuxe) review: Detox Mask, Deodorant, Eye Cream, & Lip Balm | French luxury (and natural ingredients) on a budget

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bio Beaute by Nuxe review

The products: Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Vitamin Rich Detox Mask, 24hr Refreshing Deodorant, Eye Contour Care, and Tinted Replenishing Lip Balm

Have you heard of Bio-Beauté? Because until this package arrived on my desk, I hadn’t. But this affordable, Écocert-approved range (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) has some products–one in particular–that are really worth a look.

⇒ All Bio-Beauté products are free of parabens & mineral oil and are comprised of at least 95% ingredients of natural origin — so they’re non 100% from the earth, but they’re pretty natural. All four products featured here are also silicone-free!

Bio Beaute Vitamin Rich Orange Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask

The showstopper: a mask, in gel form

Ladies and gents, it is difficult for me to tell you how much I LOVE this mask. (A lot. I love it a lot.) It is the first and only mask that I have ever loved, and boy: do I ever love it.

To start off, Bio-Beauté’s Vitamin Rich Detox Mask with orange water ($27 CAD/50 ml) feels nothing like you would expect it to in the jar —  in fact, it is so weightless that I thought perhaps my jar was empty. But, upon opening, it presents as a stiff, translucent gel; perfectly wobbly and smelling divinely of juicy mandarin oranges.

(And yes, okay, sometimes I open it just to smell it. But only sometimes. Not like, every time I pass by it or anything like that.) (Twice a day, at most.)

Bio Beaute Detox Mask review

Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (AKA ORANGE JELLY GOODNESS)

99% natural, Bio-Beauté’s Detox Mask is a treat to use: once a week, you simply slather on a fingerful (1/2 tsp is plenty for your whole face, so one jar will last a very long time), wait five minutes, massage it in (it’ll turn to an oil), and then rinse off with warm water. I don’t need a lot of detoxifying or clarifying, but I definitely found that this left my face feeling smoother right after I used it — just make sure not to wash it off with soap.

This mask is meant to be used once or twice per week on any skin type, but I like to use it just whenever I feel like my skin could use some extra smoothness. It’s perfect for facial massage, a morning mask, or “small event prep”: that is, before a meeting or date night or even just lunch with your friends. It’ll give you that extra boost, but it’s affordable enough that you don’t need to ration it out!

Bio Beaute Tinted Lip Balm Raspberry review

Bio-Beauté Tinted Repairing Lip Balm – Raspberry

Everything else: eyes, lips, and underarms

I wasn’t super enamoured with any of these, so I’ll go over them really quickly.

First, there’s the Tinted Repairing Lip Balm with raspberry pulp ($14 CAD/15 ml; 100% natural), which I hated. It smells kind of gross (not like vanilla, peach, pear, and raspberry, as promised) and separates quite badly in the tube.

Bio Beaute Aluminum Free Deodorant review

Bio-Beauté Aluminum and Alcohol-Free Deodorant

Then there’s the Energizing, Anti-Puffiness, Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care with clementine cells ($25 CAD/15 ml; yes, that really is its whole name), which is 98.7% natural. It seemed quite basic to me; scent-free and fast-absorbing, but with no major de-puffing effects.

Finally, there’s the 24 hr Refreshing Deodorant alcohol-free, no aluminum salts ($12 CAD/50 ml), which is 98.9% natural and does seem to keep odour at bay. However, it smells really weird – exactly like those mall candies with the bananas. (Edited to add: Wonka Runts). Which isn’t necessarily bad, I guess? But it’s… not what you’d expect from the brand that does Huile Prodigieuse.

Maybe M will want it. He’s weirdly fixated on candy — like a very tall, very handsome, very-not-orange Oompa Loompa.

Bio Beaute Anti-Ageing Eye Care cream review

Bio-Beauté Anti-Ageing Eye Contour Care

The verdict?

I didn’t love the Bio-Beauté lip balm, but aside from that, I was pretty impressed with the line — especially at its price point. I’d say it’s comparable to The Body Shop, but more natural and aimed at a slightly older or more reserved clientele.

The line’s eye cream is rather basic and utilitarian, but their orange water mask is absolutely divine. It’s the one beauty product that I’m absolutely crazy about right now, and I would literally recommend it to anyone who likes citrus or just very cool beauty products — men and women alike! (But especially men: it’s cool enough that they’ll want to use it, and quick enough that they’ll keep doing so.)

Availability: The Bio-Beauté range is available at most Shopper’s Drug Mart locations across Canada starting at $12 CAD.

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Shu Uemura Brave Beauty Pink, Green, & Orange Palette Swatches, Reviews, Photos | Perfectly curated eyeshadows for Turkey Day and beyond

Monday, October 13, 2014

shu uemura green brave beauty palette

The products: shu uemura Brave Beauty PinkGreen, and Orange Pressed Eyeshadow Palettes

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and what better a time than turkey day to talk about shades of orange? (And, you know, also green and purple.)

I may not be crazy about yellows and oranges on a day-to-day basis, but even I was pulled toward the Orange Brave Beauty palette, and that’s where we start off today. My favourite thing about the Brave Beauty collection is that the eye palettes are so perfectly composed; coherent, but not at all dupeable, and the Orange palette is no exception to this rule.

Fall colours, all grown up

shu uemura brave beauty orange eyeshadow palette review

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette review

All of the eyeshadows in the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Orange ($90 CAD) are cohesively warm and a little bit red, but I found that the formulas were quite varied. While the matte orange is beautifully smooth, layerable, and intense, not all of the shimmery shades are formulated as well – and at $90, you really shouldn’t have any letdowns. (The darker beige is chunky and a little dry, and the salmon pink applies very sheerly).

The rest of the shimmery shades, however, have a smooth texture with intense colour payoff, and each has a slightly different frost finish — the light beige is particularly metallic. I found that the dark brown applies a shade more bronze than you’d expect, and the purple-red appears as a cranberry-red with almost no purple tones on the skin.

shu uemura orange eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – orange palette swatches

Forest-free greens and golds

For those looking for a unique palette that isn’t quite so bold, Shu’s Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green ($90 CAD) is the one you want to be looking toward. Described as “a tribe of forest inspired hues,” this is anything but your typical forest palette.

For starters, there’s only one brown eyeshadow in here, and it’s more of a deep yellow gold, not a… tree-moss brown. But beyond that, there’s a pearly light gold with subtle green undertones, a glowing pale green, and an unexpected lime-chartreuse that’s so unique that even I can’t help but stare. The final dark green shadow in the palette looks like a less-glowy MAC Humid, but does its job of adding depth despite its more boring characteristics.

shu uemura green eyeshadow palette swatches brave beauty

shu uemura brave beauty – green palette swatches

What really takes the Green palette to the next level, however, is that amazing matte green. I don’t even know how to describe it — it’s too saturated and bright to just be called “teal,” but it’s not really blue and not really green, either.

Check out the Brave Beauty Eye Palette Green in this { green-and-gold makeup look } !

imaginary shu palette

I think a proper forest palette would look a little bit like… this. (This is not a real palette.)

Keep reading! »

5 scents under $50 | Product closet excavation

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Five scents under $50

Let’s start this review off with a truth: I’m not a fan of celebrity fragrances. I’m like, really, really not. So, a lot of the time, I’ll receive one to review and it’ll just waste away in my product closet, waiting for its moment…

Today, that moment has finally come for these scents. Will I love them? Will I hate them? Only time (or simply skimming this review) will tell.

ck one shock for her him review

The couple’s duo: Calvin Klein CK One Shock EdT

Calvin Klein’s CK One Shock for Her is described as a “sensual floriental,” with notes like passion flower and poppy giving way to chocolate, blackberry, jasmine, and musk. It comes bottled in the iconic CK One flacon — but with an opaque white coating & the word “SHOCK” scribbled on in bright pink. (It’s meant to look like lipstick, which I think is silly — the guys get dripping spray paint!)

This design is echoed in the “bold oriental” for him version as well, which lists notes including clementine, cucumber, osmanthus, black pepper, tobacco, and patchouli. Both scents were created by Ann Gottleib and IFF, and retail for $45 CAD/50ml (100 ml bottles pictured here) at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix locations across Canada.

These come with both caps and atomizers, which I love — I always get too much perfume with a single spritz, and caps store better, too. CK One Shock for Her is sweeter than I had expected, and kind of makes me think of a clothing store – soft, powdery kind of sweet. But CK One Shock for Him is the one to watch: it’s peppery and masculine with modern-oriental undertones, and gives an interesting “suggestion” of fruitiness despite not containing any fruity notes (probably due to the osmanthus).

Vera Wang Lovestruck review EdP

The big, big box: Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush

My bottle of Floral Rush contains a mere 50 ml, but you’d never know it from the size of the box it came in. Lovestruck Floral Rush has a large plastic “bouquet” lid, and its box could easily contain four boxes of Heidi Klum Shine within its depths.

Created by Pascal Gaurin, Lovestruck Floral Rush is comprised of notes like champagne, apricot blossom, white freesia, and cashmere wood. It comes wrapped with a floral-print bow, which, well — it’s not a purple and green camouflage bandana, as I had originally thought.

A bright and shimmery “fizzy floral” (my words, not theirs), Floral Rush is a little sharp, but I think it’s more interesting than a lot of celebrity fragrances out there. It smells a bit too clean, which is really too bad, but I think it’s a good scent for its target demographic — there’s nothing aggressively sexy about this perfume, in its notes or in its advertising.

Vera Wang Lovestruck perfume review

The model moment: Heidi Klum Shine

Lauded by bloggers and perfume fanatics as one of the best budget scents at the drugstore, Shine lists fruity top notes of pear, mandarin, and pink peppercorn set against a floral heart and a sweet dry down. This is easily the one I was the most excited about, and it’s not bad — it’s not terribly unique, but it’s clean and very fruity, and I think it’s well-done for the small price tag.

Shine was created by Aurelien Guichard, Jean Guichard and Olivier Pescheux (Pescheux is the nose behind many of Diptyque’s scents, and Guichard is the man behind Issey Miyake’s Pleats fragrances and the Robert Piguet line), and is available for $35 CAD/30 ml.

Heidi Klum Shine perfume review

The Beyoncé effect: Beyoncé Pulse

I’m not a big Beyoncé fan, but I do love the way she’s created her image – while she’s far from perfect, you could do so much worse than telling young girls (and young minority girls in particular) that they can be both popular and powerful.

Her fragrances, though, are one area where I think she could do better. Pulse is described as a “citrus, floral gourmand” (which is cause for alarm on its own), with make-believe notes such as pear blossom, blue curaco, bluebird orchid, and midnight blooming jasmine. Created by Loc Dong, it’s available at Shopper’s and Sears for a rather alarming $59 CAD/50ml. (You didn’t hear it from me, but you can snap this one up easily for under $20 online.)

I think this is one of the better Beyoncé scents out there, but it’s still much too sweet for me. I’d recommend spritzing in-store if you’re a big fan of Queen B, and waiting to smell the drydown before buying — while I can definitely see why someone could fall in love with this, I think many will find it to be too pushy!

Beyonce Pulse review

Do you wear celebrity fragrances? And if so, what are your favourites? (Inquiring minds need to know!) 

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