theNotice’s Best of Beauty: 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was a big year for me — or, at least, for my skin. I found out that I have eczema, I kept trucking my way through the silicone-free lands of Clear Complexioniteria, and I tried some seriously cool new products.

So, as the year comes to a close, here’s what I really, really loved this year. These are the products that are both the best in their class and the ones that I reach for time and time again, and all products that were just one or the other (for instance, a gorgeous eyeshadow that only saw use once a season, or an everyday favourite that I think could stand to be better) just didn’t make the cut.

I hope you enjoy the list, and please! if you have time, let me know what products you loved this year!

theNotice skincare favourites 2014

theNotice’s Best of Beauty 2014 – Skincare Edition

Best makeup removing cleanser – NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel, which beat out Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils for the spot! { $15.97 CAD / review }

Best serum for dehydrated skin – Clarins Hydra Quench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase. This one works better for me than Hydraluron, but it really shines when combatting dehydration – not dryness. { $58 USD / review }

Best de-puffing eye cream – L’Occitane Immortelle Eye Care & Mask Duo. This isn’t a fix-all, but so far, it’s the best de-puffing product I’ve tried — and trust me, I’ve looked. Slather on a thick layer of this before bed and puffiness from crying and salt will go way down by morning. { $42 CAD / also seen in }

!!! Best miracle product – Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. If I had to pick just one product to attribute my clear skin to, it’s this! It works wonders on regular blemishes and really makes a difference with cystic acne. 9/10 times, if I apply this early & frequently, this clears up my spots before they even have a chance to come to a head. { $19 USD / also seen in }

Skincare favourites 2014

Best everyday moisturizer for dry skin – German Nivea. Great if you love a heavy moisturizer for dry skin; not so good for dehydration! {  review }

Best intensive moisturizer for dehydrated skin - This category, unfortunately, just has two runners-up: the Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer and the L’Occitane Light Comforting Cream (5% Shea), so neither have been photographed. Both are great for dealing with dehydration, but neither is suited for dry skin — and the Odylique goes bad fast. Expect reviews of both next week!

Best face mask for dry skin - Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (for immediate smoothing, not long-term repair). { $27 CAD / review }

Best hand cream – Weleda Skin Food. This thick, glossy cream smells like citrus, lasts for an impressive amount of time, and really sinks into dehydrated hands. In a pinch, it’s great for extremely dry skin on the face, too, but it will leave your face pretty greasy. { $12.76 USD }

tn Best haircare body products of 2014

theNotice’s Best of Beauty 2014 – Makeup & Hair

Best body oil – Osmia Sunset Body Oil.This luxe body oil is all-natural and smells absolutely gorgeous. I’ve tried a few of the line’s other scents now, too, but this is the only one that I think is a must-have. { $25 USD / also seen in }

Best hair styling product – Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Dual Action Protective Leave-In Spray. Low scent, no silicones, and zero-effort smoothing and hydration. (Literally — this minimizes frizziness even in air-dried hair.) { $10.43 USD / review }

Best hair treatment – Coconut oil. Pure coconut oil is a dream for a dry scalp — even one with eczema. Just warm up about a tablespoon in your hands and work onto your scalp once every week or two!

!!! Best skincare secret - Moisturizer on the lips! M is actually the one who figured this one out. The next time your lips are dry and cracking, apply a generous layer of your favourite intensive moisturizer to the lips, and follow up with a heavy lip treatment 5-10 minutes later to lock it in overnight. Voilà – I promise your lips will be completely healed within 48 hours at most.

theNotice favourite makeup 2014

Best lip balm – Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15. This stuff is stiff, hydrating, and tacky, so it’s perfect for lasting until morning and keeping your lips hydrated overnight. It’s amazing for super-dry lips, comes in a wide pot (so it’s easy to pick up without getting any under your nails), and even works well as a lipstick base. { $23 CAD / review }

Best lipsticksRevlon Lip Butter in 085 Sugar Plum and Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden. Both formulas are super-comfortable, and both deliver my-lips-but-better colour. { $11-ish } { $22 CAD / review }

Best blushers – MAC Powder Blush in Full of Joy (Frost), which is a gorgeous, glowy sheer lavender, and Senna Sheer Face Color Powder Blush in Très Jolie, a really wearable neutral-pink (I love the slim packaging). { $22 USD } { $18.50 USD / review }

Keep reading! »

Clarins Ombre Matte Earth, Nude Bronze review, swatches | Smooth nudes in Clarins’ Fall 2014 Ladylike collection

Monday, August 25, 2014

Clarins Ombre Matte eyeshadow review

The product: Clarins Ombre Matte Cream-to-Powder Matte Eyeshadow in 01 Nude Beige and 06 Earth 

The formula: Like other potted cream-to-powder eyeshadows, these aren’t really a cream, per se — more like a slightly damp, very creamy powder eyeshadow. (Which sounds super gross if you haven’t tried an eyeshadow like it before, but trust me, they’re actually pretty cool!)

(It’s funny because the dampness makes them feel cold.) 

These are drier than similar iridescent formulas I’ve tried, but apply more sheerly and with zero fallout as a result. It takes a bit of time to layer them, but when you do, they create a really lovely satin-matte eye that doesn’t ever look chalky or flat. 

Clarins Ombre Matte Cream to Powder Matte Eyeshadow review

Clarins Ombre Matte Eyeshadows

The shades: The “skintoned” 01 Nude Beige wears more matte than its chocolate-brown counterpart, but while it applies smoothly, I’d skip it if you’re intending to use it as an all-over base — I find that this formula doesn’t wear as well as other eye bases, so it’s not a practical choice. Also, I mean, it’s kind of boring, and at $24 each, I just don’t do boring.

06 Earth, on the other hand, has a more complex satin finish – and an absolutely beautiful tone that makes up for any shortcomings its formula may have. It also feels a bit wetter than Nude Beige, which kind of gets rid of said shortcomings altogether (as it’s easier to pick up and build.)

Clarins Ombre Matte EOTD Nude Beige, Earth

Clarins Ombre Matte Eyeshadows in 01 Nude Beige and 06 Earth worn with the sparkly gold from Clarins’ Odyssey palette

Clarins Nude Beige, Earth Ombre Matte swatches

Clarins Ombre Matte Cream to Powder Matte Eyeshadow swatches: 01 Nude Beige, 06 Earth

The packaging: Like the rest of the Clarins line, the packaging on these is absolutely lovely. It’s chic and sharp-edged, but very lightweight — Clarins has opted to make these out of plastic rather than glass, which sacrifices the luxury feel (but maintains the luxury look) in favour of making them portable and perfect for travel.

Clarins Roly Poly Rosy, Coming Up Rosy review swatches FOTD,  Clarins Ombre Matte

Also wearing Imju Fiberwig, Lise Watier 24Hrs Gel Liner, and Clinique Chubby Cheeks & Baby Tint Sticks

The verdict?

You know how I’m always talking about “the Clarins eye”? Well, with five mattes (two of which are nudes; skip the nudes) and one sparkling finish, the Ombre Matte eyeshadows are perfect for crafting the iconic Clarins eye: that wonderful mix of satin and sparkle that create something special from something very subtle. (Much like the Eye Quartet Mineral Palettes ($42 USD/$42 CAD) that I adore.)

Like all of Clarins’ mattes, the Ombre Matte formula is perfect for layering, and never has any fallout or chalkiness. Skip them if mattes bore you–don’t even front; I know mattes bore some of you–but if you love mattes or if you have yet to find a matte to love, this formula is a gorgeous one to begin with.

Availability: $24 CAD at Clarins.ca & Clarins counters.

Keep reading! »

Three to try: Body oils from L’Occitane, Clarins, and Osmia Organics

Friday, August 1, 2014

Body oil reviews

For something that sprays: L’Occitane Amande Supple Skin Oil ($ /3.4 oz)

With a formula containing over 50% sweet almond oil (and following up with fractionated coconut oil), the makeup of L’Occitane’s Amande Supple Skin Oil is pretty great. It hydrates well despite its lightweight texture, and comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with a spray dispenser — and while I don’t think it’ll make well-hydrated skin any more firm or supple (as it claims), any good body oil will do that for chronically dry skin!

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil

However, despite the fact that I love the feel and presentation of this oil, I personally hate the scent. It opens with just a second of beautiful, nutty synthetic almond, but turns into something sharp and cloying once misted and rubbed in; something that sits in the back of my throat with painful honey-sweetness.

But, to each her own: I adore the idea of honey scents, but for some reason, I just can’t stand them in practice. If you love scents like Lise Watier’s Something Sweet or Marc Jacobs Dot (or anything with honey in it!), I bet the L’Occitane Amande body oil would work beautifully for you.

L’Occitane Supple Skin Oil ingredients:

Sweet Almond Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Oleyl Alcohol, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, Limonene, Coumarin, Linalool, Citral.

Clarins Shimmer Oil

For shine and shimmer: Clarins Shimmer Oil for Face & Body ($ /3.3 oz)

Of these three oils, Clarins’ is the only one I haven’t tested — and for good reason. This beautiful bi-phase oil (the shimmer separates out) has wonderful, chunky-chic packaging and a captivating amount of warm shimmer particles, but it’s actually a silicone-oil: the formula contains plenty of glittering minerals, but its liquid phase is based mainly on coconut oil fractions and cyclopentasiloxane.

For those of you who missed out last year, this is an exact copy of Clarins’ Splendours Body Oil, from the packaging to the ingredients; the packaging simply lost the “Splendours” label and picked up a “face & body” descriptor.

Clarins Shimmer Oil ingredients: 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Isononyl Isononate, Hazel Seed Oil, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bisabolol, Fragrance, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Tin Oxide, Sunflower Seed Oil, Coumarin, Linalool, Farnesol.

Osmia Organics body oil review

For a sexy scent: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil ($30 USD/2 oz)

I seriously need to try out some new Osmia oils, because Sunset still has me smitten – months after the first time I tried it. Their oils are all-natural and beautifully scented, with a luxurious fractionated coconut oil & jojoba base that delivers wonderful, completely lightweight moisture.

I’ve tested quite a few body oils since falling in love with this one, but Sunset is still my favourite by far. The delicate, feminine scent lasts all day long (it’s a super-sexy rendition of vanilla; slightly spicy and just barely floral), and though the price tag is a little high, it’s an easy compromise to make – it may be sold as a body oil, but it can definitely double as your perfume.

Osmia Organics Body Oil ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Jojoba Oil, Kukui Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa Hemp Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sea Buckthorn Berry Co2 Extract, Rosemary Co2 Extract, And A Proprietary Blend Of Organic And Wild-Harvested Essential Oils And Co2 Extracts.

Clarins Ladylike collection | Fall 2014 preview

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Clarins Ladylike collection Fall 2014 preview

Clarins’ Fall 2014 collection introduces something to the market that I’ve seen only very rarely: wet powder eyeshadows in a matte finish. (I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment for years.) Ladylike pairs subtle mattes with creamy nude lips for an “ultra feminine” look — and the collection looks beautiful.

I know I don’t usually do collection previews, but you guys, this one looks so pretty. I couldn’t help myself.

Availability: August 2014 at Clarins counters & Clarins.ca

Eyes

Clarins Ombre Matte eyeshadows cream to powder

Ombre Matte Cream-to-Powder Matte Eyeshadow ($24 CAD) 

5 mattes & 1 sparkling shade: 01 nude beige (matte), 02 nude rose (matte), 03 taupe (matte), 04 rosewood (matte), 05 sparkle grey (sparkling), 06 earth (matte). New permanent.

Clarins Ladylike 2014 fall

Clarins Be Long Mascara in 01 Intense Black ($27 CAD)

Enriched with matrikine and panthenol to encourage lash growth and help strengthen lashes. Permanent.

Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base ($26  CAD/10 ml)

Enriched with oat extract to both illuminate & improve eyeshadow hold. New permanent.

3-Dot Eyeliner in Brown ($28 CAD)

Exclusive to department stores (not available at Clarins counters in drugstores.) New limited edition.

Clarins Skin Tones eye quartet Eyebrow Kit

Perfect Eyes & Brow Palette ($37 CAD)

Contains three powder shades to define the brow, a nude pink powder eyeshadow to illuminate the eyes, and a transparent wax to tame unruly brows. (Also contains mini tweezers, a brow spoolie, and a double-ended sponge/blender brush.) Exclusive to department stores. New permanent.

Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in No. 13 Skin Tones ($42 CAD)

Contains four wet & dry eyeshadow shades: a satin beige-taupe, an off-white matte highlighter, a warm matte brown, and a cool-toned grey-taupe with a satin finish. New permanent.

Lips

Clarins Ladylike lipsticks

Keep reading! »

Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara review, swatches, photos | For a pretty, pool-ready lash

Monday, July 7, 2014

Clarins waterproof mascara review-

The product: Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara in 01 Intense Black

The formula: Clarins’ Truly Waterproof Mascara is formulated with bitter orange tree wax and olive squalane, and promises 12 hour waterproof wear from not just chlorinated water, but from salt water, too. (Which is great, considering how many mascaras do okay with pure water, but run when you cry!)

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara review

The packaging: Can I just take a moment to say that love this packaging? It’s super sleek, with the little “C” emblem in a handy dip – which I always thought was aesthetic, but it actually makes opening the tube a lot easier.

The brush on this one has a relatively slim profile with traditional bristles (that is, not silicone), and the bottom of the tube has a thin piece of translucent red plastic on the bottom, which is a nice, subtle touch.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara brush review

Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara & brush

The application: I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed applying mascara before, but this one surprised me. It goes on really easily, no lash comb needed, and delivers a natural-looking lash in just one stroke. It gives really good separation with very little clumping, and it holds a curl beautifully — all while leaving your lashes feeling soft and flexible. 

One last thing to note about this formula is that it smells really nice (for a mascara). Like, weirdly nice. I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of, but this formula has a very distinctive, pretty, Clarins-y fragrance to it.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara swatches review

Bare lashes / one coat of Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara in 01 Intense Black

The wear: SO GOOD — but not infallible. While this formula is extremely waterproof (I was able to submerge my lashes in water and rub at them multiple times before I even begun to lose a curl), the oils on my face do make it smudge through the day.

That said, this mascara doesn’t drop my curl or flake, and it removes easily with a good cleansing oil – those who use micellar waters may struggle, however. (This is the only product I’ve ever tried that my beloved Marcelle cleansing water couldn’t get off!) But, for those in a really humid country, or a day at the beach, this one’ll hold up like a champ.

Clarins Truly Waterproof  Mascara eyelash swatch

Bare lashes / Clarins Truly Waterproof Mascara

The verdict?

It’s not quite holy grail material, but Clarins’ Truly Waterproof Mascara is definitely one that I’d recommend. Between easy application, super classy packaging, and a really pretty fragrance, it does a wonderful job of delivering a soft, flexible waterproof lash — and it does it all while holding a curl.

Give it a pass if most mascaras smudge on you, but if not, put this one at the top of your list of waterproof mascaras to try!

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