Back to basics: 8 mass-market beauty finds to try this November

Monday, November 2, 2015


They say that everything worth having is worth working for, but by the looks of 2015’s beauty trends, the industry is still trying its darndest to prove that particular old adage wrong.

This year has seen a lot of really cool “instant fix”-type products (like this one from Deciem), and the brightening Neutrogena Healthy Skin Instant Tone Corrector SPF 15 ($19.97 CAD) and vivid orange The Body Shop Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer ($20 CAD) are two more examples of this quick-fix trend–which, can I just say, I am loving.


The Clinique Dramatically Different and Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit ranges are two of the beauty world’s most popular ranges for people (especially teens!) with acne-prone skin. And this year, I am happy to say, BOTH ranges are getting a long-awaited update. 

Clinique is adding a Dramatically Different Cream ($14.50 USD) for those with dry skin, and Neutrogena has created an Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer ($8.78 USD/$12.99 CAD) with 0.5% salicylic acid. Starting at under $15 each, they’re great picks for the teen or tween just getting into skincare — and just as good for those still struggling with acne in their college years.

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Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencil lipstick review, swatches, photos

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Maybelline ColorBlur I Like to Mauve It review swatches photos

The product: Maybelline ColorBlur by LipStudio Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger

↳ in 10 Fast & Fuchsia, 25 Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, 35 Plum Please, 40 My-My Magenta, and 50 I Like to Mauve It

This summer, Maybelline launched a new take on the matte lip that caught my eye immediately: their ColorBlur pencils, which, while perhaps not singular in formula, are entirely unique in execution. 

Maybelline Color Blur Lip Color review swatches

The concept & packaging: The ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencils are twist-up matte lip pencils packaged in thin, matte packaging (which feels surprisingly chic for the drugstore).

On one end is a tapered lip pencil; on the other, a dual-sided, asymmetrical silicone smudger that does a delivers a softly or sharply defined lip without getting a single fingertip dirty. The smudger comfortably creates a “softly blurred look” by blending the pencil from the centre of the lip outwards, and is not anything like the sad little smudging ends you sometimes see on eyeliners — you know the ones.

Maybelline Color Blur photos swatches review

Maybelline ColorBlur silicone smudger

Maybelline Color Blur I Like to Mauve It review swatches

Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencils (L-R) in I Like to Mauve It, My-My Magenta, Plum Please, Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, and Fast & Fuchsia

The shades: There are ten ColorBlur shades currently available, and I got to try five of them. First, two gorgeous pinks: 10 Fast & Fuchsia, a vivid coral pink, and 40 My-My Magenta, an intense, blue-based pink. Next, 50 I Like to Mauve Ita pretty MLBB lip colour that I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of — it’s been living in my purse for weeks.

Finally, there’s the orange-red 25 Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, and 35 Plum Please, a dark plum/red… but more about that in a minute.

Maybelline Color Blur My My Magenta review swatches photos

 Maybelline ColorBlur Matte Lip Pencil swatches in 10 Fast & Fuchsia, 25 Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, 35 Plum Please, 40 My-My Magenta, and 50 I Like to Mauve It

The formula: The ColorBlur formula is vivid, super-smooth, and easy to work with, but after an hour or two (like with all mattes, and many non-matte lipsticks), I do find it to be too drying for me.

However, the formula applies very evenly, without catching on lines or migrating when I press my lips together. The exception to this rule is no. 35 Plum Please, which catches on everything — you can even see it in the swatch. But don’t fret! There’s a fix to this problem.

Maybelline Color Blur Cherry Cherry Bang Bang review swatches

 Maybelline ColorBlur swatches in Fast & Fuchsia, Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, Plum Please, My-My Magenta, and I Like to Mauve It Maybelline Fast and Fuchsia ColorBlur review  swatches

 Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Lip Pencils, from top to bottom: Fast & Fuchsia, Cherry Cherry Bang Bang, Plum Please, My-My Magenta, and I Like to Mauve It

The ColorBlur secret: For some reason, the ColorBlur pencils play very, very nicely with petroleum-based moisturizers. It makes them comfortable, softly glossy, and in the case of Plum Please, both even and absolutely gorgeous. 

I couldn’t get quite the same results with lip balm as I could using German Nivea Creme, which seemed to disturb the formula just enough to make it forgiving and hydrating while leaving the colour vivid and opaque. (For a still-matte finish, I bet they would work brilliantly with a silicone-based mattifying moisturizer, too!)

Maybelline Color Blur Plum Please swatches

Maybelline ColorBlur in Plum, Please swatched (L) and swatched with Nivea overtop (R)

I snapped a quick shot of Plum Please before and after the Nivea (above), as well as a full-face shot of how gloriously it pairs with Nivea. My apologies for the graininess; in my excitement, I took these photos late at night!

Also wearing: Annabelle EyeInk2 MistakeProof Eyeliner in Black ($10.95 CAD), Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara in 04 Massive Midnight ($17 USD/$25 CAD — I am obsessed with this mascara right now!!), Lise Watier Ombre Velours Suprême in Pêche Velours and Rose Thé Velours ($25 CAD); Senna Matte Eye Color in Sphinx and Intrigue to contour ($18 USD), applied with the Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush Brush ($40 USD/$46 CAD — I swear, this brush gives the most killer cheekbones).

Maybelline Color Blur Plum Please FOTD swatches makeup look review

Wearing Maybelline ColorBlur in Plum, Please with Nivea overtop — I was surprised by how much I loved this lip!

The verdict?

From the one-of-a-kind smudger to the super-smooth formula, I’ve really enjoyed using the Maybelline ColorBlur lip pencils. They’re not flawless (I wish they were more hydrating), but all matte pencils are at least a little bit drying, and Maybelline totally nailed the colour range with these.

My opinion? Unless you have really dry lips, the ColorBlur lip pencils are definitely worth checking out — if not for the forgiving formula and great colour range, then for the fact that they’re so unique.

Availability: $11.99 CAD at drugstores and mass market retailers. Available online (US) at Ulta & Amazon.

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Seven out-of-the-box drugstore nail picks

Friday, June 13, 2014

I haven’t covered a lot of nail-related beauty recently, so here’s a bit of catch-up: seven drugstore nail picks that all fall beyond the regular scope of “nail polish”.

Skip below the graphic to read more about these unique-but-accessible finds!

June nail feature

Nail HQ Base Coat ($7.99 CAD)

Base coats are base coats, but this newly launched one by Nail HQ describes itself as a “unique rubberized base coat” with a “sticky cushioned finish” to prep the nail for polish. Does it work? I’ll be testing it out this summer to find out!

Nail HQ Ridge Filler ($9.99 CAD)

Like the brand’s base coat, this ridge filler is available at Pharmasave, select drugstores, and It’s designed for weak, damaged nails, and is made to cover up & conceal ridges while conditioning the nail. It’s not a nail strengthener or hardener, though — Nail HQ also makes those, but they’re separate treatments.

Sally Hansen Instagel Strips in Sss-Snakeyes ($15.95 CAD)

Sally Hansen, available at most drug and grocery stores across Canada, makes two different kind of nail strips: these, and the ones below. A little more expensive than the non-gel version, the Instagel Strips are UV-cured, last up to two weeks, and come with a gel coat in the box. (Mini LED lamp must be purchased separately.) Think of them as an at-home gel manicure for the unsteady-handed.

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Nail Polish

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Textured Nail Colour in Wool Lite, Fuzzy Fantasy, Tight Knit, and Peach Fuzz

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Textured Nail Colour in Wool Lite and Fuzzy Fantasy ($7.95 CAD)

Okay, I’ll fess up: I’m extra super not a fan of these Fuzzy Coat polishes. Like crackle-finish and “caviar” manicures, I think they look weird, and left exposed, they catch and pull on everything.

That said, they’re also pretty darn unique, and they’re formulated well — the small strips of “fuzz” haven’t curved or warped at all in the year that I’ve been sitting on these.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Whoopsy Daisy ($9.95 CAD)

If you don’t have a nail lamp at home (I don’t!), Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects polish strips will probably be a better buy for you. They launched last year in eight different prints (and have since added more shades), with a simple peel-and-stick application. no drying time, and no DBP, toluene, or formaldehyde.

Maybelline Polka Dots swatch review Clearly Spotted

Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer swatches: Drops of Jade, Clearly Spotted, Pretty In Polka, Blue Marks the Spot

Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer in Clearly Spotted ($3.99 CAD)

Launched alongside a set of metallic duochrome nail lacquers last year, the Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots range includes five “spotted’ shades in a translucent base. The brand describes it as “high-fashion meets high-art,” but I see it more as indie-meets-drugstore — a spinoff of the e-tailer trend of duochromes & textural overlays, made accessible to more than just nail fanatics and bloggers.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails in Night Fever and Vamp It Up ($10.99 CAD)

These are new to the market this month (find them at Walmart, London Drugs, and Pharmasave), and offer a peel-and-press false nail that lasts up to one week. I wasn’t a fan of most of the designs, but Vamp It Up is pretty cute — a far cry from the classic French manicure falsies, it’s a pop-art, comic-book design done in neons.

Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week SS14 with Maybelline New York

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MNY FW SS14 Richard Chai

I’ve managed to come down with (yet another) cold, so today’s post is something a little different — a bit of behind-the-scenes action from New York Fashion Week, through the eyes of Maybelline.

I hope you enjoy the backstage photos & info, and I’ll hopefully be recovered enough to blog in a few days!

The runway standard: Super-dewy skin at SUNO


(Yes, that’s a Baby Lips balm being applied to the lids!)

To start us off, a look that we see time and time again on runways. Makeup artist Alice Lane created a really flawless, really dewy base with Maybelline Fit Me Foundation and Fit Me Shine Free Powder (though I’ve no idea where on earth the powder went), then added Dream Bouncy Blush in Candy Coral to the cheeks.

As an aside, I love the texture of the Bouncy Blushes, but the pigmentation and wear time have always left me wanting. For a cheap, super-fun fix, though, you can’t do much better than a blush that feels like a happy marshmallow!



On the matte side of things: Satin perfection at Lacoste

Though dewy skin is always a hit on runways, I’ve always been more of the “more is more” camp when it comes to matte and satin finishes. Makeup artist Mayia Alleaume (what a beautiful name) used Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Powder to perfect the skin, then added the blush and bronzer of the same line to add a sun-kissed effect to the skin.

On the eyes, the models wore Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadows in (what else?) Tough as Taupe and Bad to the Bronze, topped with one of the new Master Smoky Longwearing Shadow Pencils in Smoking Charcoal.

MNY NYFW SS14 Lacoste (2)

MNY NYFW SS14 Lacoste (1)

Glowing eyes at Tibi, bold orange lips at DKNY, and a violet haze at Mara Hoffman

These looks need no further introduction.

Okay, maybe just a little bit more of an introduction. The looks at Tibi and Mara Hoffman are both so beautifully ethereal & easy to do at home — I’m really hoping to see them on the streets next spring.

On the other hand, there’s nothing easy about flushed cheeks paired with an orange lip, but can you really fault me for including the look at DKNY it in these photos? If someone drops a photo of Karlie Kloss in your inbox, you post that photo. You post it good.

NYFW SS14 at Tibi

Karlie Kloss at NYFW SS13 DKNY

NYFW SS14 at Mara Hoffman

All images courtesy of Maybelline New York & edited for theNotice.

Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara: review, photos, swatches

Monday, July 23, 2012

The product: Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara in Very Black

The lash: Illegal Length gives exactly the kind of effect you’d expect (and want) it to: long, defined lashes with very little volume in tow.  As someone who isn’t actually crazy about volumizing mascaras (because let’s be honest; 9 times out of 10 that “volume” is simply clumps masquerading as being intentional), it’s right up my alley.

The end result is really natural; intensely black but with “clean” vibe (no sootiness here) and great separation. I find I get the best results with a simple, smooth sweep of the brush; no wiggling or zig-zagging necessary.

Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara on lashes. (…Lash swatch?)

The wear: While I didn’t get the kind of wear I love out of this (which is to say, 18+ hours), it can definitely make it through a regular workday. As long as you make sure you don’t let your lashes droop while applying it, Illegal Length should hold a long, defined curl with no smudging or flaking for a good eight hours or so — just try not to over-apply, mmkay?

Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara brush.

The brush: The brush on this one is pretty basic; straight and spiky and perfect for separation. It’s not the kind of brush (or the kind of formula) that you’d want for volume, so keep your strokes basic — just a few layers, with no drying between coats (as recommended on the Maybelline site), and you should be good to go.

(Honestly, I’ve read a few of the negative reviews online, and I have no idea what people are doing to make this clump and flake. If you were that dead-set on getting volume, you shouldn’t have bought a product called “Illegal Length”!)

The verdict?

Illegal Length Fiber Extensions does a great job of delivering “illegally” long, separated lashes, if you ask me. It’s not perfect–I do get smudges by the very end of the day, but no drooping,– and it won’t deliver anything on the volume front, but it’s good at what it’s been designed to do.

If you’re looking for a really clean, defined lash look, or if you’re on the hunt for a cheap, paraben-free, non-tubing mascara with fibers, then check this one out. (I think it’s the only one that fits in that latter category, to be honest!)

Illegal Length retails for $9.99 CAD, and can be seen on my wimpy Asian lashes here or here.

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