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?

2015 favourites: My skincare must-haves for dry, sensitive skin!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best of 2015 skincare favourites

As some of you guys might remember, I skipped my 2014 favourites on account of the fact that they were like… 95% exactly the same as my 2013 favourites. My 2015 favourites, however, are a whole other can of fish!

I was lucky enough to not just try out a whole slew of awesome new products this year (mostly skincare), but to find a bunch of new favourites, too. So, I’ve been planning this updated favourites list since October (!), and the list you’ll see is as condensed as possible: these are only my very favourite products; not simply products that I think are the best in their class, but the ones that I use every day, will take with me on overnight stays, and have, in many cases, already re-purchased a couple of times. 

To put it simply, these favourites lists look at a product in relation to its price, packaging, and the other products in its class, unlike my reviews, which examine products on a standalone basis.

My must-have serums for super dry skin

Dry skin favourites

I’ve always really loved makeup, but starting at the end of 2014, I got super into skincare. Everything sort of shifted for me when I tried the Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($42 USD; review), and realized that, oh, my super-dry skin didn’t actually have to be painful and peeling at all times.

This year, however, I stopped purchasing my beloved Po+R. I still love it to bits, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just too expensive of a habit for me to keep up — my last bottle only lasted me about 8 weeks before the serum crystalized in the bottle (thank you, pomegranate seed oil), though I did manage to use up my previous bottle entirely.

I’m using a blend of pomegranate seed oil from Mountain Rose Herbs and pink grapefruit seed oil from Purple Citrus in my Po+R bottle right now (around a 9:1 ratio), and I’m really happy with the blend. I definitely notice a difference in the quality of the oils (the Mountain Rose Herbs pomegranate seed oil breaks me out unless I add a bit of pink grapefruit to clarify), but for the price difference (about $9/oz vs $247/oz), I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Odacité anytime soon.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

I’ve also been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($35 USD; review), which I really love. It’s not thick and comforting the way that pomegranate seed oil is, but it’s lovely. I use two drops of this mixed into my nighttime moisturizer and always wake up with just the most amazing skin–like, since I started using this stuff, I will actually just stop and stare at my skin in mirrors. It’s kind of awkward.

I’m not sure if I’ll re-buy the Paula’s Choice (it’s $52/oz, which I know is still really cheap, but my oil blend is $9/oz) once I run out, but I do really love it. It makes a big difference for my already youthful skin, and if I was five or ten years older, I would definitely re-purchase!

My must-have moisturizers

I’ve got, like, four giant tubs of German Nivea sitting in my basement, and I don’t know what on earth I’m going to do with them because dudes, I have finally moved on.

DHC Extra Nighttime Moistsure review

Right now, I’m switching between two awesome mid-range moisturizers: DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36 USD; reviewin the evenings and Reversa Anti-Redness Soothing Care ($34 CAD; review) in the daytime. Both are excellent delivery mechanisms for other products: they’re scent- and silicone-free and very hydrating, but mix well with whatever serum I’m using or testing that day.

My current mix for Heavenly, Blemish-Free Morning Face™ is a tiny dollop of DHC with two drops of the Paula’s Choice serum I mentioned above — if you have really dry, dehydrated skin, you MUST try these two products!! And, for the daytime, the Reversa stuff is awesome. It doesn’t have SPF (its only failing), but the slight green tint just makes my skin look that little bit better.

My cleansing, acne, and haircare favourites

I’m still loving my Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD; review), which removes my eye makeup without any stinging or hassle, and my Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion ($19 USD at Nordstrom, Ulta, or UO; outside the US, I think Beauty Bay is the cheapest way to get it — that’s where I buy mine). I think I’m on, like, my fourth bottle of each, or something equally ridiculous–the Marcelle is super gentle, effective, and affordable, and the Mario Badescu is just magic for acne. 

-Skin and haircare favourites

I’m also still all over the Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Leave-In Spray (review), which I re-bought this year. It’s a great little drugstore find that makes your hair feel silky and super-smooth, but also makes it seem like you have nothing in your hair at all — it’s not greasy or sticky, and the smell evaporates almost immediately.

Finally, I’ve been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser ($18 USD; reviewevery single day since I tried it for the first time! It’s a rich, “plain” cleansing milk that’s (also) super gentle and effective, and even though it’s harder to get my hands on than a bottle of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, it’s stolen my go-to cleanser spot.

The skincare secrets that I learned this year

SkinCeuticals skincare regimen group

Okay, this is the stuff that you guys really want to tune in for, regardless of your skin type. I learned two big things in 2015: one, that I am way more likely to use a serum if I mix it into my moisturizer, and two, that you should never leave product in your eye dropper.

I know they always tell you to apply serum first, but I almost never do. It’s kind of a hassle, and I hate the way that a lot of them feel — dry and thin and oily all at the same time. If I apply my serum at the same time as my moisturizer, though, I find that I get all of the benefits with none of the icky parts!

As for the other skincare secret? A lot of my favourite serums are stored in eyedropper-type bottles, and I learned this year that you are NEVER supposed to leave product in the actual dropper part! The air in the squeeze-y balloon will oxidize the product while it sits in there, so any actives (ferulic acid, for instance) will degrade before they even make it to your face. (A big, big thank you to SkinCeuticals’ awesome PR rep for this tip!)

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?

What makeup brand would you want to be an ambassador for? | Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol. 4

Sunday, March 22, 2015

bisc-vol4-grp1

If you could be a brand ambassador for a makeup company, what brand would it be and why?

RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog

Marcelle! I’d want to pick a Canadian company that I already know and love, and there’s no one sweeter than the folks that work at Annabelle/Marcelle. It’s the only pairing that I think would really make sense for theNotice, and I couldn’t live without their Cleansing Milk, 3 in 1 Micellar Solution, and translucent face powders. (That said, though, I would DIE if I could be a brand ambassador for Clinique — their makeup line right now is killer!)

Lily | Malaysia | Chloe Ash
I don’t think I’d like to be a brand ambassador. Being a brand ambassador means being employed by a company, having to use everything from that one brand and to promote all the products whether or not you really like it. I love my variety, and there’s no one brand out there that does everything right. That’s the beauty of being a blogger. I get to sample a variety of things and also tell my readers the good, the bad and the ugly. What ambassador can do that?

bisc-vol4-grp1-authors 2

LENA | USA | Lenallure

Hmmm, it is a toughie! I have a feeling that I am not the only one who would choose this brand, but I would have to go with Chanel. Mostly because I have been buying quite a few things from the brand lately, and pleasantly surprised by their recent offerings. Plus I have my respect for their unique yet timeless color compositions. Chanel isn’t a brand that is known to feature Asian faces often, so maybe it would be a nice change in my wild imagination.

AGATA | USA | Her and Makeup

This is a really hard question to answer because there are so many amazing makeup brands out there that I’d love to be an ambassador for. However, I would go with Hourglass Cosmetics. Everything about them says luxury- high quality ingredients, hand made products, beautiful and elegant packaging. Each and every product they release involves a cutting-edge technology and amazing formulas. Although their makeup comes with a high price tag, I feel like you get what you pay for- luxurious packaging, high quality makeup, long lasting formulas and products that quickly become your every day staples (looking at you Ambient Lighting Powders and Blushes!)

bisc-vol4-grp1-authors

ALICE | Belgium | Alice Yeh

That’s an absolute no-brainer. Even though I adore countless brands, Charlotte Tilbury stands out immediately. There’s just nothing not to love about her as a person, her make-up and the philosophy behind it. Her brand reflects her immense passion and knowledge of make-up, which embodies quality and luxury. I have yet to find a product I dislike. She does everything so well, from base to eyes to lip products – she doesn’t disappoint. It’s a brand I’d recommend to everyone – from my closest friends to complete strangers. She deserves to live in everyone’s make-up bag.

JAA | USA/Thailand | Hello Jaa

I shouldn’t have asked this question because I am having a hard time deciding myself! I’d like to say VERSO because I love all the science behind their products but then I realized they are not really a makeup brand! I think I’ll go with MAC Cosmetics because it would be so much fun to present and play with new makeup collections all the time! They have some really nice, good-quality, and affordable staple-worthy products in the line-up, too. Their MUAs are also talented, professional, and friendly which are the type of people I want to be working with.

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution review, photos | A makeup remover to love (even more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution paraben-free makeup remover

The product: Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution

My love for the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water is long and well-documented one, and today, I am happy to share with you that this fan favourite has been re-packaged and re-named in the best way possible. 

I am a little late with this news (the changeover occurred during the fall), but cleansing water addicts across Canada can now easily get their hands on this awesome piece of innovation!

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution flip-top packaging

New Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution flip-top cap

As I mentioned in my original review, the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water (now called the Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution, but I promise that it’s the same stuff) is gentle and super-effective, removing makeup easily without drying out your skin or leaving an oily residue behind. It uses little micelles–an actually legit science thing–which “trap” makeup in little micro-capsules of makeup remover.

I know, the whole thing sounds like a total hoax, but micellar solutions are a real, big thing in the skincare industry right now — and they work really, really well. I find that this one isn’t quite as effective as scrubbing down your whole face with cleansing oil, but it works better for me than any other oil-free makeup remover that I’ve tried.

(It’s more effective than a lot of the bi-phase ones that I’ve used over the years, too. Plus: no mess, and no stinging.)

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution review makeup remover

The verdict?

You need this. I mean, you needed it before, but the new Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution is actually cheaper per ounce than the original and features a very awesome blue flip-top cap, which makes it super easy to soak a cotton pad one-handed.

Also, the new packaging is super pretty, and we all know that that’s the real game, here.

Availability: $19.95 CAD/10 fl oz at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada (or online at Marcelle.com with shipping to the US & Canada).

Keep reading! »

MUFE Graphic Liner, Marcelle Double Precision Liner reviews, swatches, photos | High vs. Low: Two pen-tipped liners you need to know

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Marcelle Double Precision pen liner review MUFE Graphic Liner

When it comes to makeup, I sometimes find it helpful to think of things in context of “generations” — like, different generations of eye primers (pre-Urban Decay tone eveners vs post-Urban Decay longevity-improving creams), lip stains (thin liquids vs YSL-type gloss-stains), eyeliner pencils (hard kohls vs waxy gel-creams) and now, liquid eyeliner pens.

These, ladies and gents, are not your mother’s pen liners. They apply like liquid liners rather than markers, they dry down to wonderfully glossy finishes, and–most importantly–they wear absolutely flawlessly all. day. long. with no staining.

PS: Neither of these liners contain silicones, so they’re a great choice if you’re trying to go ‘cone-free but still want something with great opacity and wear time!

Marcelle Liquid Eyeliner Pen review swatches photos

Marcelle Double Precision Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Intense Black ($14.95 CAD)

This dual-ended liner was the very first pen-style liner that I ever fell in love with, and I fell hard. The two tips moderate product flow so that you never end up with tons of liner on your lashes (as you might with a liquid liner), but it wears without smudging or budging for a good 12+ hours — maybe more, but I’ve never needed to test it for any longer.

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches review

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches

I like this one for its wear, which I find to be better than the Make Up For Ever Liner, but I think that its dual-ended design has a pretty big pull, too. The felt tip is smaller than that on the Make Up For Ever, and is just firm enough to line the eyes with ease (yes, even for winged liner), while the brush tip is very fine and looks like a delicate paintbrush.

Of the two brush ends, I mainly use the felt end — the brush tip doesn’t dispense quite enough product to deliver a really solid-looking wing, though it is excellent at getting the very point at the end of your liner and fading it into nothingness. Occasionally, I need to make two passes with this liner (either end) to achieve full opacity.

» See it worn here!

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip liner review

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

MUFE Graphic Liner swatches review, Marcelle Double Precision

MUFE Graphic Liner (thin/thick), Marcelle Double Precision felt tip (thick/thin), Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner ($24 USD/29 CAD)

This liner has a significantly firmer felt tip than the Marcelle, which means that it delivers a much more consistent result: the line, no matter how fine, is always the same amount of pigmented and opaque.

On the flip side of that equation, however, is the fact that the Marcelle can achieve lines that are both thicker and thinner than those within the Graphic Liner’s range (even with just its felt end), so you have to choose which is more important to you: width or opacity. (There is no wrong answer!)

MUFE Graphic Liner vinyl pen review swatches

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner

I do think this liner is ever so slightly better than the Marcelle, but (and this is a big but) I have two problems with it. One, the cap doesn’t click on; it just slides into place, and I constantly worry that it’s drying out. And two: the formula smells really toxic. Which is dumb, right? Like, logically, I know that something smelling bad does NOT equal toxic, and vice-versa.

But it smells really bad, like a paint or a Sharpie or something, and I’m not gonna lie, it freaks me out a little.

EDIT 11/03/15: This liner has started to smudge pretty badly on me, folks! I think it’s an issue of mascara — if I’m wearing a tubing mascara to “lock in” any stray patches of liner, I’m good; but if I’m not wearing any mascara at all, the Graphic Liner smudges on the top AND bottom. Keep it in mind!

» See it worn here!

Marcelle vs MUFE liquid liner pen comparison review

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner vs Marcelle Double Precision felt tips

The verdict?

I really love both these liners, so I’m going to leave the final verdict up to you (and possibly where you happen to live), but I think beginners and casual makeup wearers will appreciate the brush tip on the Marcelle, while makeup pros will prefer the Instagram-perfect opacity of the Make Up For Ever.

Whichever one you buy, remember that BOTH are very good — you really can’t go wrong here! Instinctually, I think I like the Make Up For Ever more (for its opacity and firm tip), but the scent-free Marcelle liner freaks me out way less.

EDIT: Note that the Marcelle has better wear time for those with oily lids! It does sometimes fade, but doesn’t really smudge or crease; the MUFE will give me “panda eyes” if I’m not wearing mascara.

Availability: The Marcelle liner is available at drugstores & mass market retailers across Canada or online at marcelle.ca ($14.95 CAD); the Make Up For Ever liner is available at Sephora ($24 USD/$29 CAD) and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Keep reading! »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...