Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac review, swatches, photos

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Eyeliner review

The product: Smashbox + Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac 

Earlier this year, I attended a Smashbox Photo Session in Edmonton that (as some of you may remember) I wasn’t particularly thrilled with. While there, however, I fell in love with a couple of their products — the Photo Angle Gel Liner pens in particular.

I’ve had the chance to test the liner more than a few times since then, so read on for my full thoughts!

Smashbox photo angle gel liner review

Smashbox + Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac 

Smashbox Photo Angle Gel Eyeliner review packaging

This clever twist-on cap keeps the product from drying out!

The packaging: The Photo Angle gel liners come in pen form with a soft silicone-slant tip, much like the Benefit Get Real! Push-Up Liners. After reading a lot of reviews for the Push-Up liners, I can definitely see what people don’t like about this kind of packaging, but I don’t know… I mean, I didn’t mind it.

If you’re really good at gel liner on your own, I think this kind of packaging is going to be frustrating for you. The pen tends to put a lot of product on the lashes themselves and makes it hard to get a super fine line right off the bat (as you have to push the product up by a full click each time), but on the flip side, it’s a one-handed application paired with a formula that wears really well.

For those who aren’t super good at gel liner to begin with, though, I think something like this could actually be quite helpful — just remember to wipe off any excess product first, and apply with a light hand so that the soft tip doesn’t turn into a thick brush.

Smashbox Lilac gel eyeliner pen review

The formula: I was able to wear this from 3:00 to 11:00 during testing with zero wear (I kept going to bed early the week I was wear testing this? I don’t even know), which for my un-primed lids is very impressive — but the product itself does feel a little thick and ungainly on the lids.

I think a lot of my love for this product comes from the excellent wear time (most gel liners only last about an hour on my lids before creasing), so if you really struggle with keeping your liner on all day long, take note of this one!

Smashbox Lilac Photo Angle gel liner swatches review

The shade: Okay, but like, let’s be honest: I really only like this product for the shade. For all of the Photo Angled liner’s faults, Lilac is both beautiful and unique; matte and vibrant with lots of cool blue overtones and vibrant red undertones.

I’ve never come across another liner quite like this one, and for that alone, I think this liner is worth taking note of. It looks a little weird along my lashline, honestly, but it is as of yet unparalleled in my stash!

Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner in Lilac swatches review

The verdict?

This liner format is a rather polarizing one, and if you know already that it doesn’t work well for you, I don’t think this formula will change your mind.

That said, for all of its faults, I really do like the Lilac Pure Pigment Gel Liner. It’s a very unique matte lilac shade, and unlike most non-liquid liners, it wears very well on me. I’d recommend getting it only if this is a colour that you just have to have — it’s a fantastic rendition of the shade, but I don’t think I’d have been as impressed had this liner been black or standard violet.

Availability: $24 USD/$29 CAD at Sephora and ULTA.

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YSL Corail Incandescent Rouge Volupté Shine review, swatches, photos | The perfect summer lip

Monday, July 13, 2015

YSL Corail Incandescent Rouge Volupte Shine review swatches photos

The product: YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in no. 12 Corail Incandescent

There are a few products that really scream summer! to me, and Corail Incandescent (Coral Incandescent, depending on the seller/location) is one of them. It’s glossy, fruity, and coral, and there are few things more summery than that!

YSL Coral Incandescent review Rouge Volupte Shine

The formula: The Rouge Volupté Shine formula feels almost exactly like the YSL Volupté Sheer Candy formula, which is a feat in and of itself — the Sheer Candy balms are essentially clear lip balms, while the Volupté Shines pack quite a pigment punch. Both are lightweight and mango-scented (I get more of a fruit punch impression), and both apply really smoothly with YSL’s “melting formula,” which holds up to the heat but glides weightlessly onto the lips.

If you have dry lips and struggle to comfortably wear bold colours, note that this formula is lightly hydrating and very forgiving.

YSL Corail Incandescent review - Rouge Volupte Shine lipstick

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick in Corail Incandescent

YSL Corail Incandescent swatch review Rouge Volupte Shine

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick in Corail Incandescent swatched heavily, lightly

The shade: The Rouge Volupté Shine lipsticks are a great way to wear a glossy coat of intense colour, and this one is no exception. Corail Incancescent is vibrant and punchy, and can be worn sheerly for that Korean/popsicle-stained look or full-on for extra hydration and full opacity.

I’d describe Corail Incandescent as almost a fluorescent coral; as orange blended with fuchsia-pink rather than orange blended with red. It’s extremely bright, but wearable even if you’re cool-toned. (I usually struggle with corals, but I can pull this one off without any effort!)

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine

Rouge Volupté Shine promo — the finish of this lipstick looks exactly like that!

The verdict?

I love this lipstick like I love all YSL lipsticks: carefully, but with gusto. The Rouge Volupté Shine range is just as fruity and smooth as the Volupté Sheer Candy lip balms that I love so much, but the Shines come with the added bonus of lightly hydrating, full intensity colour.

$39 CAD is quite a price tag to swallow, but these lipsticks are fantastic: they smell delicious, apply and wear gorgeously, and come in just the most divine packaging. I would absolutely recommend the range!

Availability: $36 USD/$39 CAD

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Stila Waterproof Brow Colour review, swatches, & dupe (Marcelle Eyebrow Pen)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Best waterproof brow pens review

I’ve made a lot of big changes this year, but the most important of them all has been getting my brows in order. (Yes. Definitely.) For the longest time, I had to mix shades and layer powder and pencil products to get my brows just right, and for all of my efforts, the silicone content in the products would still leave me with awkward brow breakouts.

No longer.

At the start of the year, I found the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium, AKA my Holy Grail of brows… and then I found the Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark, which does everything the Stila does, except faster and for half the price.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour review swatches Medium

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium ($21 USD/$27 CAD)

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium (which has since been re-packaged) is pretty much perfect. It’s fine-tipped, sheer, and cool-toned, and I can finish my brows in under a minute using this pen.

The formula wears all day long and can be used to either create fine, hair-like lines or a brow “shadow” (my preferred method), and the shade itself is really well-suited to those with dark hair who don’t want warm “Instagram brows” for their everyday life.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour review Medium

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour brush tip

My only problem with the Stila brow pen is that it’s pretty expensive at $27 CAD, and while I’m not out of product yet, most reviewers say that it only lasts 1-3 months with regular use. Enter: the Marcelle Eyebrow Pens.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour ingredients:

Water, Acrylates Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Honey Extract, Propylene Glycol, Matricaria Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder. +/- Yellow 5, Red 33, Blue 1.

Marcelle Universal Light, Dark, Stila Medium Brow Pen swatches review

Swatched L-R: Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Light, Universal Dark; Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in Medium

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen review swatches Universal Dark

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark ($13.95 CAD)

It’s been a little while since I’ve fallen hard for a Marcelle makeup product, but these brow pens have me swooning. They’re half the price of Stila’s version and double the size, and because I always go for a “shadow” brow rather than drawn-in hairs, I can apply and smudge this one faster and more easily than I can with the Stila.

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen review swatches

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark felt tip

Universal Dark isn’t quite as perfect as Stila’s Medium, but the cost difference more than makes up for it. With the Marcelle brow pens, you still get easy application, a silicone-free formula, and all-day waterproof wear, but you trade off a small degree of control for a quicker application.

I think the felt tip is a more versatile format (the broad side for quick application & the tip for drawing hairs), but it really does just come down to personal preference!

Marcelle Eyebrow Pen in Universal Dark ingredients: 

Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. +/- Red 40, Green 5, Black 2, Yellow 5 Lake

Stila Waterproof Brow Colour dupe

The verdict?

If you like a natural brow, these are the only brow game in town anymore. They’re essentially North American versions of the Suqqu Liquid Brow Pen that Lisa Eldridge loves so much, and they are perfect for anyone who finds most brow products too warm for them.

When I run out (and can I just mention that I went to an actual store and bought the products pictured here), I will definitely be re-buying the Marcelle. Which isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with the Stila; it’s just a little pricey to be re-buying every 3 months! (Assuming 0.02 fl oz will last you 3 months, the Stila comes out to $108 CAD/year; the Marcelle, just $27.90 CAD.)

Availability: Stila (0.7 ml) – $21 USD/$27 CAD at Shopper’s Beauty Boutiques and Murale. Marcelle (1.4 ml) – $13.95 CAD at Marcelle.com (US & Can shipping) and drugstores across Canada.

What’s your favourite brow product right now?

The Decant Index scent sampler review | Frédéric Malle En Passant, Maître Parfumeur Cuir Fétiche, Ineke Field Notes from Paris

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Detox Index perfume sample review

Getting into perfumes is hard. I mean, I’ve been doing it for the past five years, and even still think it’s hard. And scent sampling makes it easier, but generic sampling sets just aren’t an option if you want something a little more unique than a mass-market perfume.

That’s where The Decant Index comes in.

Perfume sample review - The Decant Index

The service

I was contacted by Shana at The Decant Index (@decantindex) to try the service, and… on my god. It was amazing. Shana personally matches people to perfumes based on what they like and what they’re looking for, and there’s none of that generic “if you like woody florientals, you’ll like…” stuff.

Shana looks at feelings, places, and past perfume loves, and despite the fact that I only gave her a quick paragraph of information to go off of, her picks for me were spot on. I literally could not believe how much I liked all three of these — I have NEVER had anyone match me to perfumes this well. 

Maitre Parfumeur Gantier Cuir Fetiche review

The scents

Maître Parfumeur Et Gantier Cuir Fétiche ($117 USD/100 ml)

↳ The Decant Index 3 ml sample: $17.50 USD. Notes listed: mandarin, bergamot, lemon / leather accord, ylang-ylang, rose / musk, ambergris, patchouli, cedar wood, sandalwood.

Cuir Fétiche was the first of this trio that I sprayed, and oh my god is it ever gorgeous. It’s one of the sexiest scents I’ve ever smelled, but sexy in a sort of… literary way, you know? It’s all high collars and first editions without a whiff of “date night perfume” in sight.

I get a lot of bergamot and leather from this one, with a bit of patchouli and lots of sandalwood and ylang-ylang in the delicious, creamy drydown. For a mass market perfume comparison, this one reminds me very much of the Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum — but if Chanel (under Jacques Polge, not Olivier) had created it.

Maitre Parfumeur Gantier Cuir Fetiche perfume review

Cuir Fétiche was formulated to reference the history of the perfume industry in Grasse, which originated to cover up the scent of the tanning process in fine leathers. (Thank you, Lucky Scent, for this little history lesson!) Until the French Revolution, the master perfumers in Grasse were the glove-makers, hence the brand’s name.

If you only sample one of the scents in this post, let it be this one. Cuir Fétiche is absolutely exquisite, and bookishly edgy in a way that would be heart-stopping on both a man or a woman. I hear that the brand’s Santal Noble and Ambre Precieux are also a dream.

Ineke Field Notes from Paris review

Ineke Field Notes from Paris ($95 USD/75 ml)

↳ The Decant Index 3 ml sample: $9.50 USD. Notes listed: coriander seed, orange flower, bergamot / tobacco flower and leaf, patchouli, cedar / tonka bean, leather, beeswax, vanilla

Field Notes from Paris is one of the most interesting scents I have ever encountered, and I couldn’t be happier that I got to experience it. It is immediately delicious, strange, and manly, and transforms completely over the course of 2-3 hours.

Ineke Field Notes from Paris review perfume

This Ineke creation opens with a wall of coriander seed, which I didn’t think I would like but was, for some reason, completely enraptured by. The initial shock fades, but the coriander note remains distinct and astringent for hours. (It smells, to me, almost like tasting a little bit of tea tree and lavender oil simultaneously.)

Field Notes from Paris is bizarre and unisex in a quizzically appealing way, with fresh, interwoven notes of orange flower, tobacco, bergamot, and cedar. It’s not something that I would buy a full bottle of, but if you love perfume, I think you need to sniff this one — it’s very, very engaging and definitely an experience worth having.

Frederic Malle En Passante review

Frederic Malle En Passant ($165 USD/50 ml)

↳ The Decant Index 3 ml sample: $18.50 USD. Notes listed: white lilac, cucumber, wheat, orange tree leaves.

My last scent from the Decant Index was Frédéric Malle’s En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti, a fresh, springy perfume full of fruity lilac and fresh cut flowers. I just have to share my notes on this one with you, because nothing says it better: “Fruity, flowers — but littles ones. Like little lilacs or something. Fresh. Green.”

I don’t know why it’s important to note that this one smells like little flowers, but you know what? It is. And it does.

If $165 USD sounds like way too much to pay for a fragrance, though (because erk!), you can try En Passant in a 10ml refill for $46 USD (Barney’s) or get the 3ml sample from the Decant Index for $18.50. I also love Musc Ravageur from Frédéric Malle (it’s the sexiest scent I have ever smelled in my life).

Frederic Malle En Passant review perfume

Bioderma Sensibio (Créaline) Tolerance+, Cleansing Milk review, photos | Skincare for intolerant skin

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bioderma Sensibio Crealine tolerance+, cleansing milk review

The products: Bioderma Sensibio (Créaline) Tolerance Plus+ Moisturizer, 3-in-1 One Step Cleansing Milk

Like many of you guys (I’m convinced that theNotice is becoming some sort of hub for the ill and the allergic) and a reported 62% of women, my skin can be extremely reactive. It freaks out in the presence of silicones, it hurts when I touch it too much, and certain sensitive-skin-approved products still make it burn or break out in a rash.

Bioderma Sensibio tolerance plus review results moisturizer

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance + for neutralizing hypersensitivity ($26.95 CAD)

The science: According to Bioderma, there are two types of skin reactivity: sensitive skin and intolerant skin. Sensitive skin only really rears its head when the skin’s tolerance threshold is reduced, but intolerant skin reacts to stimuli nearly constantly. It’s caused by a hyper-excitability of the skin’s nerve fibres, a weakened barrier function, and inflammation (both keratinocytic and neurogenic).

The Sensibio line is aimed at intolerant or allergic skin, and Tolerance + uses a neutralizing hypersensitivity agent to reduce the hyper-excitability of the skin’s nerve fibres and diminish the skin’s inflammatory cascade reaction. It also helps fortify barrier function with Sodium PCA and comes in simple, functional packaging with a 100% airtight hermetic seal (so it’s preservative-free at no risk to your skin.)

Bioderma Crealine Tolerance + review results moisturizer

The formula: Tolerance +  is a simple, fragrance-free moisturizer with a very dermatological feel. It’s thin and smooth, but it leaves my skin feeling velvety and thoroughly protected — and it never makes my face burn or tingle, no matter how dry or irritated it is.

A couple of the products that I’m using right now to help lift some old scars make my skin sting a little, so I’ve been applying them mixed with Tolerance + or in alternating applications. It’s a hard to say quantitatively how much the Tolerance + has helped, but my skin feels less reactive to touch and cleansing throughout the day, and the moisturizer itself is pleasant to use even without the “neutralizing hypersensitivity” aspect.

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance + ingredients:

Aqua, Cocoglycerides, Glycerin, Silica, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Citrate, Capryloyl Glycine, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Sodium PCA, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Undecylenoyl Glycine, Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Hydroxide. 

Bioderma Sensibio 3-in-1 One Step Cleansing Milk ($18.95 CAD)

The Sensibio line now contains a cleansing milk too, which cleanses, tones, and removes eye makeup. (I think it replaced the old Sensibio Lait.) Like the Tolerance + moisturizer, this 3-in-1 milk is gentle and fragrance free, and contains Toléridine to soothe and decrease inflammation.

The packaging sort of reminds me of SACHAJUAN, for some reason, and the cleansing milk itself is made to be a rinse-free, surfactant-free formula. (I totally rinse it off anyways, though. No-rinse cleansers are way too weird for me.) It’s most similar to my Neutrogena Creamy Cleanser (similar), but the two are actually so different that the small price jump feels totally justified.

Bioderma Crealine Lait 3 in 1 cleansing milk review

Bioderma’s Sensibio cleansing milk is a white, milky gel, and it doesn’t have that “cushy” feeling going on that some gel cleansers do — but it washes away leaving my skin feeling more comfortable than almost anything else from the drugstore, and it’s not at all stripping.

Those with really oily skin will probably feel like this one leaves a bit of a film behind, but for my dry, sensitive skin, this is pretty much the dream. 

Bioderma Sensibio 3-in-1 One Step Cleansing Milk ingredients:

Aqua, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Mineral Oil, Polypropylene Terephthalate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium Edta, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hydroxide.

Bioderma skincare for sensitive skin reviews

The verdict?

If you like your skincare simple, the Bioderma Sensibio line is going to be right up your alley. More importantly, however, if your skin is sensitive or reactive, I think you’ll like these products a lot. They’re very affordable for treatment products, and even if you can’t commit to them for a whole month, my skin really loves both of these products when it’s feeling sensitive.

The Bioderma Sensibio cleansing milk and moisturizer are definitely worth having on hand for use when everything else just burns (filed under: things only those with reactive skin will understand), and I’d say I would be quite likely to re-buy them both once I run out!

Availability: Eyelash wishes & drugstores across Canada.

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