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?

Annabelle Lipsies Lip Balm in Grapefruit | Your one-step pink grapefruit fix

Monday, December 21, 2015

Annabelle Lipsies Grapefruit, burt's Bees, Clinique Chubby Stick

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Lipsies Lip Balm in Grapefruit

One of my go-to lip combinations is to apply a swipe of grapefruit-scented Burt’s Bees Refreshing Lip Balm ($3.29 USD), and then top it off with a Clinique Chubby Stick ($17 USD) in either Super Strawberry or Whoppin’ Watermelon.

I’m kind of super bad at the whole “stop being lazy and layer your goddamn products” thing, though, so when I realized that Annabelle made a product that would cover both steps, I immediately made grabby hands at it.

Annabelle Lipsies Grapefruit swatch review

Annabelle Grapefruit Lipsies Lip Balm swatches

Annabelle Grapefruit Lipsies Lip Balm review

Annabelle Lipsies Lip Balm in Grapefruit

Annabelle’s grapefruit scent isn’t quite as bright or zesty as Burt’s Bees’, but it helps lift my mood and my look at the same time with a lovely, juicy-looking swath of colour. And, for less than the price of a cup of coffee, who can say no to a tasty scent and a moisturizing hint of pink?

Availability: $4.95 CAD online at Annabelle.ca (US/Canada shipping) and in drugstores & mass-market retailers across Canada. Read my full review of the Lipsies formula here!

Annabelle Lipsies review

The whole (current) Lipsies range! I think. As of Spring 2015, at least.

See what other bloggers thought of the Annabelle Lipsies:

  • Beauty Infinitum loves Fruit Punch (which looks SO good on her lips) and Cupcake!
  • Workaday Beauty and her super-cute spring hair has Grapefruit swatched alongside Strawberry, Cherry, and Raspberry.
  • Just J reviewed Fruit Punch and Coco-Vanilla, and totally hated the scent of the latter. (It’s okay, MizzJ. I hate the way it smells too.)

Annabelle Glitterama Eyeliner in Milky Way review, swatches, photos | Add a little sparkle to your holiday look

Friday, December 11, 2015


Annabelle Mily Way Glitterama liner review swatches

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Glitterama Liquid Eyeliner in Milky Way

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Annabelle’s Gliterama Liquid Eyeliners. So, when my beloved Night Light liner went off a couple months ago, I immediately ran to the nearest drugstore and picked up a tube of their most similar-looking glitter goop.

(Which I mean lovingly. Very lovingly.)

Annabelle Night Light Glitterama eyeliner review swatches

Annabelle Glitterama Liquid Eyeliners: Night Light, Milky Way

Annabelle Glitterama swatch review Night Light

Annabelle Glitterama Liquid Eyeliner swatches: Milky Way (x2), Night Light (x2)

The formula: Like the rest of the Glitterama range, Milky Way touts a whole whopping bunch of glitter suspended in a glue-like, easy-to-use formula. The formula takes a few moments to dry and re-stickifies itself if your eyes water a lot, but it wears like a champ — all day and night long.

You have to give the Glitterama liners a fair couple of minutes to dry fully, but I promise, it’s worth it once you do!

Annabelle Glitterama swatch review Milky Way

Annabelle Glitterama Liquid Eyeliner swatches: Milky Way, Night Light

The shade: Unfortunately, Milky Way isn’t really a substitute for the glowy gloriousness that was Night Light. It’s still gorgeous and multi-faceted, but it’s more “multicoloured glitter in a clear base” and less “crystalline, angelic veil.”

It’ll still make for a great holiday (or any day) eye look, but I’m really going to miss Night Light. It was pretty one-of-a-kind.

Annabelle Glitterama review swatches - Mily Way vs Night Light

Annabelle Night Light Glitterama Liquid Eyeliner (top), Milky Way (bottom)

The verdict?

If you’re looking for a way to add just a hint of (manageable!) glitter to your makeup look, Milky Way is it. I like it best used sparingly in the centre of my upper liner, or dotted just once or twice at the centre of my lower lashline for a subtle, “was that intentional or do you just cry fairy dust like a magical unicorn cupcake goddess” look.

Plus, at $8.95 CAD (or less if you can catch it on sale), the Glitterama liners make it easy to cry your way through temporarily losing your boyfriend to Fallout 4 get hooked on glitter that’s fallout-free. Good glitter liners are not hard to find, so there’s no need to shell out $20+ for one!

Availability: $8.95 CAD at drugstore and mass-market retailers across Canada, or online at Annabelle.ca (ships to US & Can.)

Keep reading! »

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! »

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Eyeshadow Palette review, swatches, photos

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Annabelle Smoky Nudes review swatches photos

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Smokey Nudes Dark Lights Eyeshadow Palette

Okay, so here’s the thing. This palette? Pretty great. But that name? It is KILLING me! Your palettes can be smokey or they can be natural, makeup world, but they CANNOT BE BOTH.

Except. Except maybe not this one! Sure, the name is an oxymoron, but the shades… somehow, they make it work. The left side is all nudes; the right side, all smoke. It’s the perfect drugstore neutrals palette, with lots of options for both night and day looks and no bright pops of colour.

Annabelle fall winter 2015 collection review

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Dark Lights eyeshadow palette review swatches photos

The formula: If you’re a fan of Annabelle eyeshadows already, the Smokey Nudes Dark Lights palette definitely won’t disappoint. The eyeshadows are on the drier side, like the rest of the brand’s eyeshadows, with not a dud in sight.

The lightest shades are a touch chalky, but all ten shades (even the two mattes on the end) blend well and layer up to medium opacity. For drugstore eyeshadows, I really like Annabelle’s — they’re not as pigmented as something really buttery or crumbly may be, but they have very little fallout and lend themselves well to a shimmery, effortless makeup look.

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Dark Lights palette review swatches photos

The shades: The Smokey Nudes eyeshadow palette was designed with versatility in mind, and Annabelle did a great job achieving that! It contains both warm and cool tones (cool tones in the top row; warm tones in the bottom row), and none of the shades contain too much red — something that I find that a lot of “versatile” palettes mistakenly do.

As usual, I’m completely smitten with the taupe in the top row, but I’m pretty keen on the last two brown shades, too. (Especially that gold-flecked one!)

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Dark Lights swatches review

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Eyeshadow Palette swatched over primer (top row/cool tones)

Annabelle Smokey Nudes eyeshadow palette swatches review

Annabelle Smokey Nudes Eyeshadow Palette swatched over primer (bottom row/warm tones)

The verdict?

For less than the cost of one MAC eyeshadow (and we all know how hit and miss those can be), Smokey Nudes is a steal. It’s an excellent naked/smokey/beginner’s palette, with five cool-toned and five warm-toned eyeshadows that mix and match like a champ and a soft shimmer finish that’ll work well for an expert artist or one that’s just starting out.

Annabelle just put out a Natural Nudes palette as well, but this one seems a lot more wearable to me. I recommend snapping it up before it’s gone, and maybe buying a backup for the holiday season!

Availability: $12.95 CAD at Annabelle.com and in drugstores across Canada.

Keep reading! »

Unusual beauty finds | The Edit

Monday, August 24, 2015

The beauty world has been coming out with some pretty cool new innovations this year, so for the newest instalment of The Edit, I’ve selected nine products that have something different about them. They’re mostly skincare (what? I’ve been on a skincare kick this month), but don’t let that fool you: there’s some really nifty stuff coming out of the makeup department, too!

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click the links!

Beauty Essences

Beauty essences are far from new (they’ve been popular in Korea and the rest of Asia for years), but they’ve been tricky to get ahold of here in North America until just recently. I picked out two for this edit: a classic, the Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence ($42 USD), which is now easily accessible outside of Asia thanks to Peach and Lily (get a $10 off code here!); and a personal favourite, the Canadian-made MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence ($34 CAD), which touts all the benefits of a traditional beauty essence but applies conveniently as a spray.

Mask On, Mask Off 

I also picked out two cool masks for this feature: one for oily skin, and one for dry. Clinique’s new Pore Refining Solutions Mask ($27 CAD) is one of three masks that the brand is putting out this fall, and targets problem skin with its charcoal-based formula — its muddy-charcoal texture looks super cool coming out of the tube.

On the total opposite end of the spectrum is Odacité’s Hydration Masque ($55 CAD; sample size pictured), which is bright white and is a great choice for dry skin. And, still working off of K-beauty trends, it makes an awesome sleeping mask for those inclined!

!NIOD Copper Amino Isolate, Odacite Hydration Masque

Make-Up Shake-Up 

I love a newfangled makeup product, so I picked out the Shu Uemura Laque Supreme ($35 CAD) and the Annabelle EyeInk2 Mistake-Proof Eyeliner ($10.95 CAD) for this feature. I reviewed the Shu just last week, and have been playing around with the Annabelle — the formula hasn’t been working out for my oily lids, but I love the long, thin, reversible (!!) felt-tip applicator and the built-in double-ended touch-up pen!

Cutting-Edge Technologies 

And, finally, the coolest of the coolest. NIOD (by Deciem) has a new Copper Amino Isolate Serum 1.00% ($60 CAD) available this fall, and it packs a major anti-ageing punch — most brands only bother to put a 0.01 to 0.10% concentration into their products, which doesn’t give you the same effects.

Also from Deciem is a range of drinkables from FOUNTAIN, including this bioavailable hyaluronic acid supplement, The Hyaluronic Molecule ($38 CAD). And, from Estee Lauder, something that’s (also!) altogether new: the New Dimensions Expert Liquid Tape ($70 USD), which creates a thin, flexible layer over the skin that tightens over the course of ten minutes to literally lift and smooth the area!

What’s the coolest beauty product you’ve tried this year?

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