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 »

Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash, Moisturizing Cream reviews, photos

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aveeno Eczema Care body wash moisturizer

The products: Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash & Moisturizing Cream with colloidal oatmeal

Winters in Edmonton are — well, let’s just say that I run my humidifier pretty much 24/7 and still wake up with dry, cracked skin. So, as soon as I was finished testing that gorgeous Osmia Organics soap, I switched up my shower routine and started testing AVEENO’s Eczema Care Body Wash ($13.99) immediately.

Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash review photos

Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash

Steroid- and fragrance-free, Aveeno’s Eczema Care line is made to help treat the signs and symptoms of eczema — things like itchiness, roughness, and irritation. (They also have Skin Relief and Intense Relief lines for dry skin). It’s estimated that 10-20% of Canadians suffer from eczema, and I recently found out that I was one of them, so I had high hopes for these products!

(I mean, I’ve always had eczema, I’ve just — denial. Denial and years and years of painfully dry skin.)

Aveeno Eczema Care review - body wash, moisturizing cream

Anyhow. I couldn’t test the AVEENO Eczema Care Hand Cream ($9.18) because it has ‘cones, but I am really enjoying using the Eczema Care Body Wash! It uses oat essence, colloidal oatmeal, and ceramides to help soothe itchy, rough skin, and I think it’s doing a pretty decent job of it for $10-ish. It’s very gentle and slippery, and feels kind of like washing yourself with lotion — smells like it, too.

All in all, it’s kind of a weirdly clinical experience, but I’m happy with it. This is not the range to try and treat serious eczema with on its own, but it’s a nice, sensitive-skin-friendly way to round out your skincare regimen without spending a lot of money.

Availability: The AVEENO Eczema Care range is available for $7.47-$12.99 CAD at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap & Tea Bath review, photos | The boy reviews!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SONY DSC

The product: Osmia Organics Oh So Soap and Organic Tea Bath

Today on theNotice, I have a very special surprise for you, dear reader: a review by M. I really wanted to highlight a few products for eczema and psoriasis (Mathew has the latter) this winter, and as someone who hates baths–his words, not mine, though true–I thought you guys might enjoy someone else’s perspective on things for a change.

So, I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope you like the pretty pictures! (How good is that tea bath one??!)

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath review

The Osmia Organic Tea Bath ($45 USD)

The Organic Tea Bath comes pre-portioned in six satisfyingly large cloth tea bags with cotton drawstrings. The tea’s scent is subtle and bright; sharp spearmint notes are balanced by sweet chamomile while dry. Add hot water to reveal a strong citrus element, most likely from the orange peel. The combination is pleasing, if a touch mild. The Organic Tea Bath’s scent is without the usual synthetic sheen I have come to associate with bath products, and for this, I am grateful. [ R: Oops. That’s probably because I keep giving him LUSH to try. ]

When “steeped”, the bags turn the water a surprisingly opaque chamomile yellow. (I recommend holding each tea bag under the faucet as you draw your bath for best results.) After bathing, I find that the tea leaves my skin feeling much softer and less dry than it generally would be, especially if I’m in the tub for a while — but though the tea bath is very soothing while I’m in the bath, the results don’t translate into the next day. That said, these are great for anyone who enjoys a cozy winter bath but might be too lazy to moisturize after, or anyone who takes ludicrously long baths like me but doesn’t want to dry out!

–their skin. Who doesn’t want to dry out their skin.

Osmia Organics Tea Bath review sachet photo

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath

Does it work? Though tea (especially herbal tea) is usually steeped at much higher temperatures than is appropriate for a bath, the organic ingredients used here–like rose, calendula, and bitter orange–are paired with tried-and-true remedies for dry skin, including epsom salt and rolled oats. Each bag is good for 1-2 soothing baths (3 is stretching it), but I found the process of drying out the large sachets to be rather difficult. Those worried about cleanliness can rest easy knowing that this tea bath left only a very fine film in the tub, which rinsed out easily after use.

Osmia Organics’ Oh So Soap ($12 USD)

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap review

Osmia’s Oh So Soap has been a wonderful surprise. The elegance of the bar’s woven top is reflected in its ingredient list, which contains only saponified organic oils and butters, African pearl salt, and buttermilk powder. This velvety soap would suit the most sensitive of the sensitive, yet it still leaves you feeling clean. It’s great both on the face and body, and is unlikely to offend anyone as it contains no fragrance or essential oils.

Overall, I found Oh So Soap to be far less drying than regular bar soap, and I really liked how gentle it was. It never left my skin feeling dry or squeaky-clean, but rather like it had been magically cleaned without any soap at all. Hands down, it is the best soap I have ever used.

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap gentle dry skin review

M’s verdict?

While neither of these products made a distinct improvement on my psoriasis, I can say that they were a pleasure to use, especially in the winter. On the whole, they were very gentle on sensitive skin, and far less stripping than other soaps and bath products I have used in the past — both in the bath and coming out of it.

The Oh So Soap in particular was especially luscious, and delightfully simple — I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have very delicate or dry skin. (It is also, as Osmia Organics so succinctly puts it, “perfect for babies, even fresh ones.”)

Availability: $12 USD-$45 USD at Osmia Organics.

Annabelle Lipsies review, swatches, photos (Holiday 2014)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Annabelle Lipsies review swatches - tinted lip balm

The product: Annabelle Lipsies Lip Balm (Holiday 2014 edition)

  ↳in Roasted Marshmallow, Yummy Gingerbread, Flirty Candy cane, Grandma’s Peppermint, Cinnamon Candy, and Hot Chocolate

So, you guys know how much I love jumbo lip pencils, right? (Right). Well — Annabelle Cosmetics has come out with a limited-edition range of six for the holiday season, and they smell amazing.

Annabelle Lipsies Holiday 2014 winter review

The formula and wear: I get 2-3 hours of comfortable, moisturizing wear out of these (more moisturizing than a Chubby Stick; less moisturizing than an eos sphere), with clear to medium coverage depending on the shade. They have a soft-shiny finish, and all five shades are quite understated.

The packaging (retractable!) and overall aesthetic makes them a lot less, uh, luxe than most jumbo pencils, but I think they’d make amazing stocking stuffers — especially for a pre-teen or teenager just getting into makeup. (Or a makeup addict who doesn’t take her stash too seriously!)

Annabelle Cinnamon Candy Lipsies review swatches

Each Lipsies balm comes adorned with a cartoon drawing of their scent!

The shades and scents

Roasted Marshmallow is clear with a bit of super-fine, glossy-looking sparkle and a fruity scent — weird, considering its name, but delicious. Yummy Gingerbread is an almost-clear peach shade, and it smells like sugared cereal in milk (or an Urban Decay Rocket Lipgloss; those things were equally gross.)

Flirty Candy Cane is a sheer milky pink with a white frost finish–which makes it look more pigmented in this swatch than it really is–and again, it smells quite fruity. It’s a more standard fruit scent than Roasted Marshmallow, and a tiny bit sweeter, but both are mouthwatering. Grandma’s Peppermint is a pretty, universal sheer pink that smells like peppermint tea rather than your standard minty lip balm, and is the glossiest of the bunch.

Cinnamon Candy is by far the highlight of the group, and smells exactly like cinnamon hearts — but without the burn. It’s a new-to-me lip product scent, with a warm-red tint that sinks in to look like a stain after 15 minutes. Finally, Hot Chocolate smells like your typical chocolate-scented drugstore product, and both it and Cinnamon Candy have good pigmentation — more than Fresh or Clinique tinted balms, and I’d recommend using a mirror to apply.

Annabelle Lipsies swatches - cinnamon, gingerbread, peppermint, chocolate, candy cane, marshmallow

Annabelle Lipsies swatches: Roasted Marshmallow, Yummy Gingerbread, Flirty Candy Cane, Grandma’s Peppermint, Cinnamon Candy, Hot Chocolate

The verdict?

These ones aren’t available online, but if you can pick them up in-store, do it!! They’re a lot of fun, and at $4.95 CAD, they’re a really good price — for yourself or as a gift.

Must-have: Cinnamon Candyespecially if you look best in warmer reds! And Grandma’s Peppermint, if you love peppermint tea — this scent is spot-on. (The shade’s really pretty, too.)

Nice-to-have: Roasted Marshmallow and Flirty Candy Cane — the shimmer in both is very fine, and both are inoffensively fruity. If colour is of no consequence to you, I say go for the marshmallow.

Skip: Yummy Gingerbread and Hot Chocolate. They’re pretty gross-smelling, to be honest.

Available at drugstores and mass retail stores across Canada while quantities last.

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