Lashing up with the new Annabelle #ABMascaras range

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Annabelle Expandable mascara

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Annabelle (one of my favourite cruelty-free companies) dropped something BIG: an entire new lineup of mascaras. They released not one, not two, but FOUR totally new mascaras in addition to the three favourites in their old permanent collection.

And that new range? It’s nothing short of stellar.

Annabelle lash launcher, supernova review photos swatches

Why would anyone need seven mascaras?!

My first thought, of course, was “why.” Seven mascaras in a single range seems excessive, but strangely enough, once you try out all of them, it makes sense. Each one serves a very different purpose, and none of these mascaras look alike on the lashes. Even of my two favourites from the new Annabelle lash line (Expandable and Supernova), I wouldn’t dream of replacing one with the other.

There’s very much a mascara for every preference in this range, and I’m quite impressed with the way that Annabelle has curated the collection to have zero redundancies. 

Annabelle blast off, bigshow, outlash mascara review

ABmascaras review photos

Because the effects of a single mascara can differ so much from lash to lash–and even application to application–I didn’t take mascara swatch photos to share with you today.

Instead, I thought I’d go old school and simply describe the wear and application of each. I tested all of them again and again over the course of the month, and my notes on them definitely give a better depiction of the lash than my photos did (at least in my opinion!)

Unfortunately, I lost the photos that I took of Expandable and Supernova on my lashes in an incredibly frustrating computer blip, so I’ve borrowed my old swatch photos of Expandable and will be featuring Supernova in an eye makeup look soon.

Annabelle Expandable x theNotice

The mascaras

The new mascara range is divided into two halves: BigShow Mascaras, with lots of volume and drama, and Lash Launcher Mascaras, with lots of definition and length.

Best for VOLUME – BigShow

BigShow ($9.95 CAD) – BigShow gives a nice, sooty lash, but I find that it smudges on me within 8 hours. It’s a little clumpier and more “traditional” than the rest of Annabelle’s mascaras, so if you like a lot of volume, it’s a good choice.

BigShow Waterproof ($9.95 CAD) – BigShow Waterproof is very similar to the original. It holds a curl well and is super pretty, but I find that it smudges on me every few hours. If I had to choose, I’d recommend BigShow over BigShow waterproof; the latter still smudged on me, but was a pain in the butt to remove on top of that.

Expandable ($10.95 CAD) – Expandable has been my favourite mascara for years, and I still love it. I use it with the wand scrunched-up for more length than volume, and it produces a full, natural-looking lash.

Outlash ($9.95 CAD) – Outlash’s twisted brush does a great job of packing mascara onto the lashes while also giving great separation. It wears for a full 12 hours on my lashes (quite the feat!), but it’s too heavy for my stick-straight lashes – it really takes the curl right out of them.

Annabelle mascara wands - bigshow, expandable, outlash, lash launcher

Best for LENGTH: Lash Launcher

Lash Launcher ($9.95 CAD) – Lash Launcher is very much a length-based mascara, which isn’t really my cup of tea – I need more curl and volume. It offers a lot of length and separation, but I’d definitely recommend it most for those who have naturally voluminous lashes to begin with.

Supernova ($9.95 CAD) – Okay, this green tube is my new favourite thing ever. It gives serious false lash-like length, with good separation and volume as well. The falsie-like length is really natural-looking, too – more like a small set of extensions than a criss-crossed false lash strip. I get anywhere from 8-12 hours of smudge-free wear from this, and I would highly recommend it!

Blast Off ($9.95 CAD) – Blast Off is a little heavy for my tastes, and it brings my lash curl down quite a bit. The formula smudges wildly on me, but might work better for someone with very curly lashes to begin with.

Annabelle Expandable mascara review

Annabelle Expandable mascara review – old packaging (bottom) vs new (top). The brush is unchanged.

The verdict?

If you’re lucky enough to live in Canada and can pop over to your nearest drugstore for a mascara fix, consider yourself lucky. Annabelle has brought its entire game to their new mascara range, and if literally all other brands stopped making mascaras tomorrow, I think I’d feel just fine about it. 

I’ve loved Expandable for years and still adore it, but the new Supernova mascara may be even better. If you’re looking for something with mega volume that still wears well & looks natural, I’d definitely recommend those two to start with!

Availability: $9.95-$10.95 CAD each; permanent as of July 2016. Available at drugstores and mass market retailers througout Canada and online at (US & Can), where the entire #ABMascaras range is currently on sale.

Keep reading! »

Contour & Sway with Rodial and NYX Cosmetics | A bright-lipped makeup look!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Rodial NYX makeup look

Every time I post a makeup look, it’s like, “Hi, I know it’s been a while, but surprise!”

This NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick was a pretty big surprise too, at least for me. I just finished being disappointed by the brand’s Soft Matte Lipstick in Transylvania, so when I pulled out Sway to finish off this Rodial contouring feature, I was really surprised by how lovely it was.

I haven’t given it a day-long test just yet, but it feels awesome – thick and creamy and dense, with the opacity and finish to match.

NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick swatch Sway

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick swatch in LSCL 06 Sway (Emprise)

Rodial makeup look motd products used

Products used

I used Rodial for my base, of course, and their Contouring Powder, Illuminating Powder, and South Beach Blusher on my cheeks. Their lightest foundation matches my summer tan really well, and the contour is nice (if a bit subtle). Then, I threw on my standard eye base/brow combo of the moment: Clarins Waterproof Liquid Eyeshadow and Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner.

Clarins Rosewood new 2016 4 colour eyeshadow palette review swatches makeup

Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette in 02 Rosewood, Marcelle Double Precision Liner in Black, and Annabelle BigShow Waterproof Mascara

To give a little colour to the eye, I used the brand new Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette in 02 Rosewood ($43 USD), which looks… Surprisingly unlike the old Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in 03 Rosewood ($42 USD). I’m not sure why they didn’t just give it a new name – the near-identical packaging and labelling make things a little bit confusing!

(The mascara is Annabelle BigShow Waterproof ($9.95 CAD), which is also new to me. I liked it, but not as much as their Expandable Mascara.)

NYX Sway Liquid Suede review motd makeup look

And, finally, there was that NYX Liquid Suede lipstick. The formula smells a little bit like paint in the tube, but it’s actually super lovely: it has a velvety matte finish and applies so easily that I didn’t even need a lip brush to apply it. I’m kinda dying to add a couple other shades to my makeup collection!

What’s your favourite bold lip colour range?

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Ebony review, swatches, photos | One in, one out

Friday, June 10, 2016

Annabelle Skinny Brow Universal Ebony review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Ebony 

Okay, so this one is a bit of a “cheat post.” I haven’t finished my first Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner yet, but I’ve already bought another one because I’m weak of spirit and I literally could not handle not having one on me at all times.

Does that mean that it: 1) counts as a repurchase, 2) counts doubly as a repurchase, or 3) does not count as a repurchase because you still have your first one; seriously, Rae, what is wrong with you?

Annabelle Skinny Brow Universal Ebony empties

And now, for a quick recap of the week this liner: I recently reviewed the Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in my Annabelle brow breakdown post, but for those of you who missed it (or just need a quick refresher) – this thing is basically the shit. 

Universal Ebony the perfect shade for my Asian colouring, and it gives me hella flawless brows in just seconds. Nothing makes my face look as flawless as perfect brows (no, not even perfect foundation), and literally nothing beats this formula, except maybe liquid brow pens if the colour’s just right.

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner swatches before after tutorial

1. Bare brows: Milani Liquif’Eye liner, Clarins Waterproof Eyeshadows in 01 Golden Peach and 02 Golden Sand (review soon!) / 2. Outlined brows

What I missed in my initial review…

I, in my infinite wisdom, managed to forget to do a before & after for my initial review. Which obviously couldn’t be withheld for a product THIS good, so here you go!

I find that the best way to get perfect-for-me brows with this liner is to sketch the outline of my brows (bottom line first, then the top), fill them in (heavily throughout for “Instagram brows”/more faintly on the inner corners for everyday), and then finish by pulling a spoolie through my brows in an outward motion to blend.

This process is literally so easy that I can finish my brows in under 60 seconds, and they stay flawless and natural-looking all day (and night) long.

(58 seconds and 11 milliseconds, and I don’t even have to rush. I know because I TIMED IT.)

Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner review tutorial

3. Filled in / 4. Finished! 

The verdict?

The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liners are literally so good that I couldn’t bear to be without, and dude, you need to give them a try. If my first review didn’t convince you, then please: let this one sway you in the direction of the light!

Availability: $8.95 CAD at and at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada. (My advice? Get it through Annabelle. I bought my second one at Shoppers, and it was $10.49!)

Check out these silicone-free ingredients! »

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer review, swatches, photos

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer lipgloss review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Big Show Lacquer in Adore Simply, Caress Tenderly, Kiss Swiftly, Enchant Romantically, Love Fiercely, and Hypnotize Deeply

As I’m sure most of you know already, I am a huge fan of Annabelle Cosmetics. They’re Canadian, affordable, and cruelty-free, and all of their products pack an awesome punch of pigments–especially when you consider that most items are $10 or less.

One of the lines that I just haven’t been able to really get behind, however, is their Big Show range. I liked but didn’t love their Big Show Mascara (which is a HUGE fan favourite) and, later, their Big Show Lip Glosses. Similarly, it pains me to say that I liked these Big Show Lacquers, but… I didn’t love them.

Annabelle Big Show lacquer review

The formula: The Big Show Lacquer formula follows on a trend similar to that of the YSL Glossy Stains and Shu Uemura Laque Supremes: high-impact liquid lip colours that have the saturation of a lipstick, the finish of a lipgloss, and the lasting power of a lip stain. 

If I’m being honest, the Big Show Lacquers hit all three of these out of the park. They’re glossy and highly pigmented, and unlike the YSL and Shu Uemura gloss-stains, they’re opaque in just one swipe.

But, while other bloggers seem to just adore these, I’m on the fence about them. There aren’t any MLBB/”no makeup” shades in the range, and I find that once these start to wear away (within 1-2 hours), they become quite tacky and drying. And then there’s the smell: chemically fruity. They’re not any more drying than a Glossy Stain, but I’ve definitely noticed how actual-lacquer-y these can feel.

Annabelle Big Show lipgloss review photos swatches

Annabelle Big Show Lacquer applicator

Annabelle Adore Simply Caress Tenderly Kiss Sweetly swatches review

Annabelle Big Show Lacquers swatched L-R: Adore Simply, Caress Tenderly, Kiss Swiftly, Enchant Romantically, Love Fiercely, and Hypnotize Deeply

The shades: As I mentioned above, there aren’t any natural-looking shades in the Big Show Lacquer range. (I really want to try the Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquers for this very reason; they look to have the exact same formula as these, but they’re unscented and come in only pink/peach/nude shades.)

That being said, if you love colour, then this is a great range to check out. The Big Show Lacquers currently come in six super-shimmery shades, including the particularly-shimmery nude Adore Simply, the orange Caress Tenderly, and two pinks. Kiss Swiftly is more of a milky fuchsia, while Enchant Romantically is a darker, warmer pink with blue reflects.

I’d love to see a purple in this range (it’s the perfect formula for it!) but for now, lovers of darker lip colours can opt for Love Fiercely, a metallic, warm brick red, and Hypnotize Deeply, a purplish berry.

Annabelle cosmetics Big Show Lacquer lipgloss review

The verdict?

The Big Show Lacquers are huge in the blogosphere right now, but I’m just… not a fan. The synthetic fruity scent gives me a headache, and ALL of these shades are punchy and shimmery, which just isn’t my thing.

I also noted a distinct “lacquer” feeling when I wore these (almost like there was a film over my lips), but I have to admit: they definitely make good on their promises of gloss, pigment, and endurance, and they apply with glorious opacity and evenness. When my lips are in better condition, I might pick up a Marcelle Lux Colour Rush Lip Lacquer to see if I’ll like the formula any more without the shimmer and scent, but I think this is about it for the Big Show Lacquers and I!

Availability: $9.95 CAD at (US & Canadian shipping) and in-store at drugstores and mass retailers across Canada. Permanent as of January 2016.

Keep reading! »

Annabelle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner 24H review, swatches, photos

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Annabelle waterproof liquid eyeliner review photos swatches

The products: Annabelle Cosmetics Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Super Long Wear +24H in Blue Spark, Bronze, and Black Star

Annabelle recently re-launched their liquid eyeliners, pulling the old formula from the range and replacing it with a waterproof, 24 hour version of itself. (If the familiar packaging is shocking to you, then so be it.)

But, while the packaging is very similar in these new eyeliners, the formula couldn’t be more different. From the ingredients to the texture, these Super Long Wear liquid liners are a whole other can of chicken-flavoured cat treats from their older siblings.

Annabelle 24h liquid eyeliner brush packaging review

The formula: The new Annabelle Liquid Eyeliner formula is awesome, but… it’s actually not as awesome as the original, which is weird.

I’ve tested it up to 16 hours, and it wears really well throughout the day. There’s no smudging or wearing in that time, but it just doesn’t hold up to friction under water the way the old formula did — like, you can cry while wearing them, but you can’t take a shower. Granted, it comes off more like a pen eyeliner now, which some people might prefer to the old “pilling” version (but I definitely don’t!)

The new formula is also thinner, which makes it super easy to apply without that inky clumping that you can get with some liquid liner formulas. It’s sometimes a little too watery, though, and can apply unevenly if you don’t use consistent pressure (see: the Blue Spark swatch below), so make sure to apply in short, steady dashes.

Annabelle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner swatches bronze

Annabelle Black Star, Bronze, and Blue Spark Liquid Eyeliner swatches

The shades: The new Annabelle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliners are available in three shades right now: Black Star, which replaces Black Spark as a glossy black with silver shimmer, Bronze, which is a medium-opaque, glossy, shimmery bronze, and Blue Spark, which is a total superhero colour!

Blue Spark dries matte, despite the fact that it contains shimmer, and it compliments the other two liners really well. It’s definitely my top pick from this line, and it looks awesome paired with a bit of Black Star through the lashline.

Annabelle cosmetics 24h liquid liner review

The verdict?

The new Annabelle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliners are pretty good, but they’re just not as good as the line’s old liquid liners. So, if you already have a tube of Black Spark, I wouldn’t bother updating to this new formula — it’s just not waterproof the way the older ones were.  

If you’re looking for nothing more than an easy to apply, long-wearing liquid liner from the drugstore, though, I still think that these are some of the best. They don’t budge (even on my super-oily monolids), they’re awesome for beginners, and they (can) have a really beautiful, glossy finish.

Availability: $8.95 CAD at (US and Canada shipping) or at drugstores and mass retailers across Canada. Permanent as of January 2016.

Keep reading! »

2015 favourites: My makeup & fragrance must-haves

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 makeup favourites

2015 was, for some reason, a major skincare year for me. I didn’t fall in love with any new makeup products until December, and while I do love those with a passion–well, it makes for a favourites list that is much the same as 2014’s.

Which was the same as 2013’s.

You can see where I’m going with this, right?

My favourite everyday products

2015 must-have makeup products

For me, “the basics” begin with a black eyeliner that never smudges (I rely on Annabelle SmudgePaints and Marcelle Double Extension eyeliners for that — I think I’m on my third Marcelle pen) and an eyeshadow base that can keep you totally crease-free (the cheap-as-dirt Wet ‘n Wild Fergie primer or Pür Mineral’s awesome new Eye Polishes, both of which perform, for me, leaps and bounds better than Urban Decay Primer Potion or NARS Pro Prime.)

You’re only as good as the number of people who fear you, after all, and raccoon eyes don’t usually make for terrified weeping.

Best products of 2015

I also couldn’t live without my Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum (the perfect medium-coverage MLBB shade), a few matte eyeshadows to contour with, and a basic lip balm.

I’m currently fixated on Burt’s Bees’ Refreshing lip balm, which is only moderately hydrating. It smells like pink grapefruit, though, so I mean… Really.

Add in a ‘cone-free face powder (no one does a satin finish like Marcelle) and a flawless foundation (thank you again, Pür Minerals, you radiant, beautiful unicorn) and I’m all set.

My favourite colour products of 2015

Makeup colour product favourites

I discovered a lot of absolutely stellar brow products last year, but only a few made the cut for my favourites: Stila’s, which is glorious but outrageously overpriced, and Annabelle’s, which is as wonderful as it is budget-friendly.

My eyeshadow favourites haven’t changed at all–always Clarins, and always their flaky-shimmer quads–and neither have my lip and everyday mascara favourites: Imju Fiberwig (all hail the glow cloud magic of tubing technology), Burt’s Bees, and Clinique Chubby Sticks.

Cheek and eye favourites 2015

Brow and lip favourites 2015

I did add two totally new favourites to my repertoire last year, though, and I couldn’t be happier to have found them!

Annabelle’s Blush On range is awesome (for some reason, I always reach for them before my Clinique Cheek Pops), and the new blue and purple Clinique Chubby Lash mascaras wear like a champ. I don’t think the black shade is a must, but the blue? Totally.

My favourite tools of 2015

Makeup Brush favourites

My do-everything powder brush, Senna’s Powder Point Brush #33, is my only new favourite this year — but it lives at my partner’s house, so I’m afraid I couldn’t include it in this photo! I feel like that speaks for itself, though: it’s my only powder brush at his place, and it does a good job of applying foundation, powder, contour, blush, and highlighter. It doesn’t do an amazing job of any of them, but for that kind of versatility, I’ll live.

My favourite fragrances of 2015

2015 fragrance favourites

And last but not least… The perfumes that I couldn’t get enough of last year. I looooove Aerin Waterlily Sun (I’m wearing it right now, actually!) and Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, as I’ve talked about at length on theNotice, but I’ve been using Leila Lou by Rosie Jane a lot, too — it’s great for smelling really, really clean in an instant.

(And–ahem–it’s excellent for directing attention to certain areas at close range.)

What were your favourite products of 2015?

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