All about brows with Annabelle (reviews & swatches) | Annabelle BrowShow, Skinny Brow Liner, Stay Sharp, and Brow-to-Go Kit

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Annabelle brow feature stay sharp pencil before after dark brown

Annabelle Stay Sharp Brow Liner in Dark Brown

This fall, Annabelle took a focus on brows and launched three brand new brow products plus three new shades in an old favourite. All of them retail for an insane(ly good) $9.95 CAD or less, and right now, they’re on sale for $3.95-$4.95, which is… I mean, you have to buy at least two of them, at those prices.

Each product is best for a different set of brow needs, so here’s what I thought of the different formulas! (Spoiler alert: the Skinny Brow Liners are my new brow must-haves, so go grab them for next-to-nothing on the Annabelle site before they sell out!)

Best budget eyebrow products Annabelle review

Annabelle Fall 2015 brow launches

Annabelle BrowShow Brow Liner & Highlighter ($9.95 CAD)

↳ Best for: Unruly brows and tired eyes

The Annabelle BrowShow Brow Liner & Highlighter ($9.95 CAD) was the product that, I’ll admit, I was the most excited to try out of Annabelle’s fall launches. Available in two shades (both swatched here), it features a gel-like pencil on one end that delivers colour and hold to the brows, and a highlighting pencil on the other end to give that wide-eyed, “brow lift” effect.

Annabelle BrowShow review light medium, medium dark

My brows don’t need a lot of hold, so I go easy on the brow liner, but I make very liberal use of the highlighter on the browbone and in the inner corners of my eyes. The highlighter, which is the same shade in both the Light and the Medium pencils, delivers a sheer, pretty pink glow, while the brow liners can be applied sheerly or heavily and really do act as both tint and wax. 

I found Light to be nice and taupey, but a light feathering of Medium suits my brows best — it’s not too warm or yellow at all. Plus, at $9.95 (or $4.95 right now), the BrowShow pencils totally act as a Benefit High Brow dupe ($22 USD/$29 CAD) for just a fraction of the price!

Annabelle BrowShow swatches light medium, Skinny Brow Liner Universal Ebony

Swatched L-R: Annabelle BrowShow in Light/Medium, Medium/Dark, Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Ebony

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner review swatches

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner ($8.95 CAD)

↳ Best for: Natural-looking brows, brow beginners, and on-the-go

If you’re not sure where to start with your brows, start with this pencil. The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner ($8.95 CAD) makes filling in your brows super easy, and because it’s a micro-pencil, you’ll never have to sharpen it or worry about drawing outside the lines.

I’ve been wearing the Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in the new Universal Ebony, and it is the PERFECT shade for Asian brows: not too warm, not too dark, and not too red. It just looks natural, like I rolled out of bed with perfect brows and defined features, and it makes me certain that there’s a perfect match for everyone in the line’s six matte, long-wearing shades. 

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner Universal Ebony review swatches

Plus, the Skinny Brow Liners are an insane $3.95 right now, so they’re ideal for beginners. The formula is dry and sheer (aka exactly what you want out of a brow pencil), and I honestly think that these are just as good (if not better) than the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencils ($21 USD/$26 CAD). Plus, at these prices, they’re cheap enough that you can keep one in your vanity, one in your handbag, and one in the car!

Just in case.

You know, for emergencies.

Keep reading! »

LUSH Bat Heebie-Jeebie Halloween review | Lord of Misrule Shower Cream + Nightwing Shower Jelly

Monday, October 19, 2015

LUSH Halloween 2015 review bat heebie jeebie

The product: LUSH Bat Heebie-Jeebie Halloween gift set

↳ Lord Of Misrule Shower Cream (60 ml) and Nightwing Shower Jelly (full-sized)

Every October, LUSH comes out with a bunch of adorably spooky shower confections and gifts for Halloween lovers small and tall. This year, one of those gifts is the Bat Heebie-Jeebie ($17.95 CAD), a little bat-shaped decoration filled with a Nightwing Shower Jelly and a baby Lord of Misrule shower cream.

LUSH Bat Heebie Jeebie review

LUSH Bat Heebie-Jeebie gift set review

LUSH Nightwing Shower Jelly review

LUSH Nightwing Shower Jelly ($6.95 CAD)

The last thing I expected when I picked up my little Shower Jelly tub was that it would contain, somehow, an entire jelly bat inside of it — but that’s exactly what I got.

The Nightwing Shower Jelly bleeds purple and smells exactly like green apple/lime candies. It’s super wibbly, ultra wobbly, and (presumably) made of magic, seeing as it can unfold entirely and get stuffed back into a plastic tub repeatedly without any wear or tear.

LUSH shower jelly review Nightwing Halloween 2015

Shower Jellies, as I found out just today, can also be frozen for a stiffer experience or used as shampoo to add softness and shine, making Nightwing a great all-’rounder! Plus, it’s hella fun to cut into little pieces and use (seriously, this stuff is like invincible jell-o), and it doesn’t leave a lingering scent the way that the Lord of Misrule does.

The LUSH Nightwing Shower Jelly ingredients:

Glycerine, Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Fresh Lime Juice and Aloe Vera Gel Decoction, Carrageenan Extract, Lime Oil, Carob Syrup, Citral, Limonene, Red 33, Blue 1, Iron Oxides. AND MAGIC, APPARENTLY.

LUSH Lord of Misrule Shower Cream review

LUSH Lord of Misrule Shower Cream ($9.95 CAD)

The Lord of Misrule is a LUSH Halloween classic, available this year in Shower Cream format and as a Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb ($6.95 CAD), which contains little popping candies that fizz and crackle in the bath.

This super-liquidy shower cream is bright green and full of glitter, making it the most interesting shower not-gel experience I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I also found it to be really drying, and for some reason (WHY???), it stains my skin if I leave it sitting for too long.

Even though I know that many love the Lord of Misrule scent (it’s black pepper oil, patchouli, and vanilla), it just doesn’t live up to its promises of being “perfect for dry winter skin.” By which I mean: it’s actually awful for dry skin. Like, it’s cool in theory and feels fine while you’re using it, but… yikes.

The LUSH Lord of Misrule Shower Cream ingredients:

Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Patchouli and Black Peppercorn Infusion, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Stearic Acid, Lauryl Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Lactic Acid, Organic Wheatgerm Oil, Black Pepper Oil, Patchouli Oil, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Titanium Dioxide, Limonene, Linalool, Snowflake Lustre (Potassium Aluminium Silicate, Titanium Dioxide), Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1, Methylparaben.

LUSH Lord of Misrule review shower cream

The verdict?

While I really wasn’t impressed with the Lord of Misrule Shower Cream, LUSH’s Nightwing Shower Jelly is just too cool to pass up. If you’re a texture junkie (and really, what beauty addict isn’t), you totally need to give it a try!

Or, if bats aren’t really your thing, LUSH offers plenty of other jellies, too–but only the seasonal ones come in cool shapes like this one. (I want to try Needles and Pines and 93, 000 Miles next!)

Availability: $17.95 for the set at LUSH stores and online. (Or, buy Nightwing on its own here.)

Keep reading! »

Lise Watier EYEvolution collection review, swatches, photos (Fall 2015)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lise Watier EYEvolution review

The products: Lise Watier EYEvolution Fall 2015 collection

Lise Watier’s fall collection is a bit of a unique one, both for the brand and for the makeup community. It features only eye products, and it was designed by Rachel Ladouceur, Lise Watier’s former public relations manager who now works as their product creator. (For real!!)

Rachel’s quiet transition into her new role has quite a fairytale vibe to it, if you ask me, and EYEvolution is a beautiful first collection to put out. Plus, all of the products are either limited edition or new to the permanent line, so there are lots of new, pretty basics for the rest of us to dig into this season!

Lise Watier EYEvolution eyeshadow quartet review swatches

Lise Watier EYEvolution Eyeshadow Quartet ($37 CAD, LE)

The highlight of the collection, if you ask me, is the EYEvolution Eyeshadow Quartet. It’s limited edition and will likely disappear off of shelves at the end of the month, so make sure to get it while you can.

Lise Watier EYEvolution eyeshadow palette swatches review

Lise Watier EYEvolution Eyeshadow Quartet swatches (indirect sunlight; swatched over primer)

The formula used for these eyeshadows is described as a “half-cream, half-powder formula,” and it results in a really smooth, creamy pressed powder eyeshadow experience. The peach and charcoal shades have a slightly sheerer semi-matte finish, while the khaki and taupe have a slightly more luxurious, medium-opacity satin finish.

This quad was meant to be the perfect everyday/night palette, and I think it does a great job of it. It looks fantastic both on light skin and on a tan (not my tan; an actual tan), and I think that those with yellow and olive undertones in particular will really like this one!

Lise Watier Ombre Velours Supreme review peche rose the velours

Lise Watier Ombre Velours Suprême Eyeshadow in Rose Thé Velours and Pèche Velours ($25 CAD/each, new)

Next up are the Ombre Velours Suprême Eyeshadows, which are the brand new matte counterparts to Lise Watier’s well-loved (but crazy shimmery) Ombre Soufflé Suprême Eyeshadows ($25  CAD). 

The new Ombre Velours shadows have a gorgeous, marshmallow-y cream texture, and still somehow manage to maintain the same “bounce” that the Ombre Soufflé eyeshadows have. They dry to a powder finish and hold up very well when swatched, but unfortunately, my eyelids decimate these sheer creams within two hours. 

Lise Watier Ombre Velours Supreme swatches peche velours rhose the

Swatched L-R: Lise Watier Ombre Velours Suprême in Péche Velours, Rhose Thé Velours; Extreme Hold CC Eye Primer; Intense Waterproof Eyeliner in Chocolat Intense and Espresso; Dramatique Intense 3D Volume Mascara in Noir

Lise Watier waterproof eyeliner review swatches chocolate intense, espresso swatches

Lise Watier Intense Waterproof Eyeliner in Espresso and Chocolat Intense ($22 CAD/each, new)

Next up, the new Intense Waterproof Eyeliners. Here, Lise Watier has taken a page out of Clinique’s book and updated an old favourite with more pigment — in this case, the Lise Watier Waterproof Eyeliner ($22 CAD).

I tried out Espresso and Chocolat Intense, and both are super smokey and, yes, intense. With this much pigment, though, I would love to have seen a more workable formula — these set almost immediately, and within seconds, they’re locked down tight. They do wear very well, however (much better than the originals!) and still look intense and smokey at the end of the day.

Keep reading! »

5 AHAVA salt & mud products you need to try (& a giveaway to win a set for yourself!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

AHAVA salt mud skincare giveaway

I have something a little different for you today, dear reader: a countdown of my five favourite silicone-free products from AHAVA, plus a giveaway at the end so that you can try out some of my favourite products from the line!

AHAVA is an Israeli brand with a pretty cool origin story (but not the supervillain kind). Founded in 1988, the brand’s products are based around what they call the Osmoter — a concentrated, proprietary extract of mineral-rich Dead Sea water.

Since ’88, they’ve built a brand around the magic of the Dead Sea, with a plant-based Water Return Process that cleans their manufacturing facility’s waste water without chemicals so that it can be returned back to the region and used again. All of their products are paraben-free, GMO-free, and petroleum-free, and the company itself is cruelty-free!

» Skip to the giveaway!! «

AHAVA Liquid Dead Sea Salt review

5. AHAVA Liquid Dead Sea Salt ($22.50 USD)

I wanted to start today with one of AHAVA’s coolest products: their liquid salt body mask, a shower-gel-like detoxifying product that can be used as a 2-minute body mask or as a liquid bath salt. The formula contains vitamin E, Dunaliella Algae, and Grapefruit Oil to enhance the skin’s natural defence system and moisture level — think of it like a transportable soak in the Dead Sea. 

I’ve never used a liquid salt product before, so (of course) I had to make sure that there really was salt in there… And the verdict is that, yup, very salty; would not recommend licking.

AHAVA dead sea mud purifying soap review

4. AHAVA Moisturizing Salt Soap / AHAVA Purifying Mud Soap ($10 USD/each)

For a Dead Sea shower staple product, AHAVA offers two face-friendly bar soaps: a salt soap for dry skin, and a mud soap for oily skin.

The softly-scented Moisturizing Salt Soap is definitely better suited for my skin, and I’ve been enjoying its rich, non-stripping lather in the shower every night. It features AHAVA’s exclusive Osmoter, a blend of Dead Sea minerals designed to replenish and rehydrate the skin.

AHAVA Deadesa Salt moisturizing soap review

The Purifying Mud Soap is definitely the more unique option of the two, though, so I had to give it a try, too! My skin was actually pretty happy with it — it’s an anti-bacterial, oil-free cleansing bar for the face and body, and it got my skin nice and clean without drying it out. The mud soap bar is also made with the AHAVA Osmoter complex, and contains black mineral mud from the Dead Sea region.

AHAVA Dead Sea Plants body oil review

3. AHAVA Precious Desert Oils ($42 USD)

I’ve always been a sucker for a good body oil, and this one — this one is good. It’s not as hydrating as some of the 100% oil blends that I own, but it soaks all the way into the skin for a soft, non-greasy finish (and isn’t that always the trade-off). Its formula includes jojoba, sesame, and desert date oils, as well as a little bit of myrrh oil, the AHAVA Osmoter, and Dead Sea algae extract.

At $42 USD, it’s a little pricier than the rest of the line, but the packaging and subtle fragrance are an absolute treat.

AHAVA precious desert oils body treatement review

2. AHAVA Hydration Cream Mask ($30 USD)

The AHAVA Hydration Cream Mask ties with their Softening Butter Salt Scrub for me, except for one thing: the salt scrub smells inordinately delicious (so, of course, it had to take first place).

AHAVA Time to Hydrate Cream Mask review

I am so, so into this hydrating mask, though! It’s a 3-5 minute mask that’s designed to be used 1-2 times each week, or you can leave it on overnight, as I do. It has a soft floral fragrance and feels very spa-like as it’s worked into the skin, soaking in instantly and making my face feel immediately hydrated and supple.

The formula is loaded up with ingredients like shea butter, Dead Sea water, lactic acid, and aloe, and I always wake up to smooth, fine-line-free skin in the morning — it’s like an overnight radiance facial. 

AHAVA Deadsea Salt Softening Butter Salt Scrub review

1. AHAVA Softening Butter Salt Scrub ($24 USD)

My favourite product, by far, from the AHAVA line is this one: the Softening Butter Salt Scrub. This is one product that I think everybody needs to have in their shower, no matter their skin type or shower habits!

The Softening Butter Salt Scrub smells absolutely amazing (it’s scented with a delicious blend of essential oils; think fruity and floral, not herbs and citrus) and is both super scrubby and gentle on the skin. You take a scoop of this stuff, buff it into your skin BEFORE showering, and then rinse off in the shower to turn it into a light, silky lotion.

For me, this shower butter/salt scrub is the best of both worlds. It leaves my skin feeling SO soft, smells fantastic, and acts as an in-shower body moisturizer or moisturizing shaving cream as long as I don’t scrub it off under the spray.

AHAVA salt mud skincare giveaway

The giveaway

And, lastly, I have something exciting to share with all of you guys: a chance to win your very own at home AHAVA spa kit! (Worth up to $64 USD.)

To enter, use the form below and make sure to tell me if you want a handpicked DEAD SEA SALT SET (for normal to dry skin; includes the AHAVA Hydration Cream Mask, Softening Butter Salt Scrub, and Moisturizing Salt Soap bar) or the DEAD SEA MUD SET (for normal to oily skin; includes the AHAVA Softening Butter Salt Scrub, Purifying Mud Soap bar, and Natural Dead Sea Mud body mask).

This giveaway will be open for two weeks, until October 22nd at 11:59 PM MST, and is open to Canadian & US readers. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but all of the opinions are still my own. I chose, tested, cut, and re-tested every single product in this post, and I hope you like them as much as I do! 

September Birchbox (CA) review & unboxing! | Davines Sea Salt Spray, Japonesque Eye Shadow, 100% Pure Eye Cream, and more

Saturday, October 3, 2015

September 2015 Birchbox review

The product: Birchbox (Canada), September 2015 box

I’ve always been wary of monthly subscription boxes. I mean, I’ve tried one or two in the past, but subscription boxes tend to be full of silicone-y products that I can’t try and creamy eyeliners that just wouldn’t work for me.

But when I was asked to try the September Birchbox, I had to say yes. It’s the company’s five-year anniversary, and I’m on the site all the time — it’s chock-full of reviews, funny product descriptions, and (most importantly) ingredients lists! I figured I was probably long overdue to try an actual box.

Birchbox unboxing review canada september 2015

The overall box: September is customer appreciation month at Birchbox, so my box came with the usual five products (actually, it came with six by mistake; there was a double of the Japonesque eyeshadow) plus a 20% off code for the store.

For $14.95 including shipping, the contents of this year’s September box really impressed me. The box itself was just gorgeous (I’m using it to store stuff now!) and it contained a sheet mask, a full-sized eyeshadow, a VERY generous haircare sample, and two “regular” samples. I did the math for comparison’s sake, and compared to the full-sizes based on ounces, the samples in this box are valued at $44.20.

Tocca Giulietta scrub review, 100 percent pure coffee bean eye cream

The products: Honestly, the most important factor in all of this was luck. I happened upon a box that was perfect for me, so I got to use all five of the silicone-free, paraben-free goodies — and two of them, again, just so happened to be products that I’ve been meaning to try for a while anyways.

(My mom always tells me that I’ve got horseshoes up my butt, which I can assure you, I absolutely do NOT. That sounds dangerous and also horrifically painful.)

  • 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($26 CAD full-sized) – I had a hell of a time opening this one (it still had that little bud-thingy that needed to be cut off), but it smells JUST like sugary breakfast cereal! It’s smooth and rich, and definitely best for vanilla-lovers.
  • BioRepublic Skincare Aloe Rescue Revitalizing Sheet Mask ($21 CAD for 3) – I’m not really a sheet mask girl, but if I was, this would have been the perfect mask for me! It’s a fiber mask (so it’s all ready to go), and it’s perfect for dry, sensitive skin like mine.

Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray review

  • Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray ($30 CAD full-sized) – Okay, so I maybe actually squealed a little bit when I saw this in my box. The sample itself is practically full-sized, and I’ve been meaning to buy a salt spray for months. Now, I won’t have to: the This is a Sea Salt Spray, which smells deliciously like vanilla and coconut, gives my hair lots of texture and body and makes it feel lush and full. 
  • Japonesque Velvet Touch Eye Shadow in Shade 02 ($12 CAD; this is full-size) – This was the other product that I really wanted to try! It’s a light green/gold with a soft metallic finish, but honestly, I’m glad I didn’t spend $12 on it alone — it’s smooth and blendable, but definitely on the sheer side.
  • TOCCA Esfoliante da Corpo in Giulietta ($38 CAD full-sized) – Am I going to get heckled if I admit to not really “getting” the TOCCA line? All of the scents seem so watered-down and dated to me, and while I love the packaging… I need a little more punch. Giulietta smells, to my nose, kind of like generic green apple hand soap in a mid-range restaurant, but I do really like the scrub itself — it’s a lovely, gritty sugar scrub that leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized.

Japonesque 02 eyeshadow review

The verdict?

With a box whose contents change on a monthly basis, there’s no way that I can tell you that you’re going to love the Birchbox every month. What I can tell you is this: I was really happy with my box, and it contained only full-sized products and deluxe samples — nothing that you could just pick up a sample of at Sephora.

I found two products that I loved, two products that I’m glad I got to try (so that I could learn that they’re not really for me), and one product that I’m still looking forward to trying, which… I mean, isn’t that kind of the whole point of a sampling subscription? To get to try a bunch of stuff that you’re interested in without spending a lot of money, and find some loves and losses along the way?

Availability: $14.95 CAD shipping/month. I would love if you used my friend referral (I’d get “Birchbox points,” but no actual $$), but it’s up to you!

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