eos Sweet Mint, Summer Fruit, and Blueberry Acai lip balm reviews, photos | The best lip balm under $5

Thursday, November 6, 2014

eos-smooth-sphere-lip-balm-review

The product: eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Sweet Mint, Summer Fruit, and Blueberry Açai

I don’t typically re-review products, but in the case of eos’ Smooth Sphere Lip Balms, I think I have to change my tune.

When I reviewed these the first time around, I focused on Honeydew Melon — which, as it turns out, is kind of the runt of the litter, scent-wise. But I’ve been leaning on these since my Beautycounter review in June, and they’ve really stepped up to the plate: the 95% organic, 100% natural formula doesn’t make me feel so bad about how much lip balm I probably ingest, and they do their job when it comes to keeping my lips hydrated from day to day.

I have a whole friggin’ bunch of these, but here: these are my three favourites of the moment.

eos sweet mint smooth sphere review

eos smooth sphere lip balm in sweet mint

Sweet Mint

What really started off my current Smooth Sphere obsession is the line’s Sweet Mint variation. No less hydrating than its fruity counterparts, Sweet Mint is, well, both extremely minty and (like all eos lip balms!) sweetened with all-natural stevia. It’s thinner and more slippery than a Burt’s Bees lip balm, with a different peppermint scent — it’s sweeter, and smells less like peppermint patties.

The thing about Sweet Mint, however, is that it goes bad really fast. I’ve gone through two of these so far, and I find that they can only make it through one summer before starting to smell “off” — despite the fact that I’ve had other eos balms for twice as long (or longer). At this price, I’ll keep re-buying anyways, but it’s worth noting.

(Also available in stick form!)

eos Sweet Mint lip balm ingredients:

Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Peppermint Oil, Shea Butter, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Tocopherol, Limonene, Linalool.

eos summer fruit lip balm review

eos smooth sphere lip balm in summer fruit

Summer Fruit

As much as I love Sweet Mint, I have to admit: it’s not an ideal choice for irritated lips. So, on days when my lips are really raw, or when I’m just hankering for something sweet, I’ve been turning to Summer Fruit. Its scent is hard to describe (it’s a blend), but “summer fruit” is a pretty good way to put it.

This lip balm smells bright and fruity, in a delicious way that never strays from juicy into saccharine-synthetic. And, uh, have I mentioned that it smells super, super tasty?

eos Summer Fruit lip balm ingredients:

Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Natural Flavor, Shea Butter, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Tocopherol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Strawberry Fruit Extract, Peach Fruit Extract, Linalool. 

eos blueberry acai smooth sphere review lip balm

eos smooth sphere lip balm in blueberry açai

Blueberry Açai 

Blueberry Açai isn’t the fruitiest Smooth Sphere, but to me, it’s the most believable. Unlike Honeysuckle Honeydew or Summer Fruit, it’s identifiably blueberryish and sweet-smelling, like a blueberry pie or compote. For those who love berries but not that zing! pop! of most fruity scents (which, admittedly, I totally adore), this one is one to own.

eos Blueberry Acai lip balm ingredients:

Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Natural Flavor, Shea Butter, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Acai Fruit Extract, Limonene, Linalool. 

IMG_0657

The verdict?

While I still think these fall short of a superhero lip balm, I’m loving them a lot more than I used to. With regular, generous application, they’re doing a pretty good job of keeping my lips in shape, and the domed shape make them easy to use.

At the same price as a crappy Chapstick, these are the best affordable, all-natural lip balm out there — and they’re a great buy even if all-natural isn’t important to you. They’re not going to fix super-chapped lips, but for day-to-day maintenance care, these are hands-down my top lip balm recommendation.

Availability: $3.99 at most drugstores in Canada & the US or online at drugstore.com and Beauty Bridge.

In other news, I have got to get my hands on the SPF 15 Lemon Drop version of this lip balm! Lemon, you guys. Sun protection and also lemon.

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! »

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