Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser – Foaming Wash review, photos | Currently hooked on…

Friday, March 13, 2015

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser Foaming Wash review

Okay, so you know how I took that trip to Toronto a couple of weeks ago? Well, like an idiot, I totally forgot to bring soap with me — I guess I figured my crazy-dry skin could handle bar soap for a couple of days or something. (WHY, Rae.)

Luckily for me, my welcome basket from Neutrogena just so happened to contain this little gem, which I’ve always passed over for its non-foaming creamy counterpart!

Neutrogena face body wash review

Turns out, Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser is ultra gentle — and the foaming version is AMAZING as a bodywash. It feels and smells super luxurious in the shower, but because it’s an enormous face wash from a drugstore brand, it’s not going to run you $20-30 like a lot of department-store body washes will.

Plus, it comes in totally cute, sensible packaging, and it foams up really easily. (I’ve always found that shower gels are too thick to really enjoy using unless you put them on a shower puff.) So the next time you’re at the drugstore and you feel like treating yourself to something: give this a go! 

I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Lise Watier Expression swatches, reviews, photos | Spring 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lise Watier Palette Expression eyeshadow packaging

The products: Lise Watier Expression collection (Spring 2015)

This year, Lise Watier’s spring collection has been crafted around the idea of “creativity, spontaneity, and individuality” — and so, for today’s review, I’m going to try something ever so slightly different and just kind of… chat about these products. (Let me know if you prefer this format drastically more or something!)

The must-have product

Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD Vert review swatch Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner Vert review

liked a lot of the pieces from this collection, but I loved the Lise Watier Féline Eyeliner HD in Vert ($20 CAD; new shade). I am obsessed with this product — if you buy nothing else from Lise Watier all year, make sure you get this eyeliner.

The Féline Eyeliner HD formula wears really well (which surprised me, based on how easily the black version smudges on your hand), and the long, stiff felt tip makes it easy to get a steady, insanely saturated line. Plus, that green!!

Lise Watier Vert Eyeliner Feline HD

Lise Watier Féline Eyeliner HD in Vert (swatch/wearing)

The nice-to-haves

As always, I was a big fan of the Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême eyeshadow; this time in Fairy Pink ($24 CAD; new shade). The Ombre Soufflé Suprême formula is very bouncy and wet, with a very high-shine finish — this one glows cotton-candy pink in the light, but wears as a sheer, peachy gold straight-on.

Lise Watier Fairy Pink review swatches ombre souffle supreme

Lise Watier Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Fairy Pink

Lise Watier Palette Expression eyeshadow review swatches

Lise Watier Palette Expression Eyeshadows

I also really liked the Lise Watier Palette Expression Eyeshadows ($42 CAD), a palette that you can see worn here with Fairy Pink, Vert, and the grey Expression pencil. It’s not of breathtaking quality (the matte, pastel peach and mint need to be layered quite a bit), but it’s still very pretty — and the shades work together beautifully.

If you really like mint green, I’d say pick up the Palette Expression. Matte mint greens are a dime a dozen, but they’re usually terrible — and this one isn’t. Like, yeah, you have to layer it some, but unlike most, it actually shows up (and sticks around)!

Lise Watier Expression Eyeshadow Palette swatches review

Lise Watier Palette Expression Eyeshadows swatched on lightly primed skin

Keep reading! »

Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie review: Hammam, Gommage, and Deep Tissue Massage | theNotice goes to Toronto!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Toronto spa review hammam Caudalie

The Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie is located on the fifth floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, but you’d never know it by the decor. This spa is a cozy, Middle Eastern-inspired haven from city life decorated with low lights, exquisite dark wood cutouts, and gently curving furniture that warms and welcomes you in from the busy city streets.

Note: I lost all of my photos of this gorgeous location, so unfortunately, you’re going to have to re-live my experience through photos provided by the spa! (And, okay, edited rather extensively by me because when do I not.)

Miraj Hammam Caudalie Alahambra Lounge review

The relaxation lounge within the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie

The Hammam & Gommage (30 min/$130 CAD)

What makes the Miraj Hammam Spa unique is their private hammam (Turkish bath) rooms, which contain a high intensity steam chamber inside of a warm, low mist chamber.

The spa’s Hammam & Gommage treatment begins with 10 minutes in the steam room, which is a really intense experience — it’s literally so heavy and dense with steam in there that I had a bit of a claustrophobic panic going in (and I’m not even claustrophobic). It opens your pores right up, and I was left warm, tingling, fresh-faced, and dripping with condensation! Facials have nothing on this.

Miraj Hammam steam room spa review Caudalie

One of the two steam rooms, sans steam

I wasn’t crazy about the gommage, though I know a lot of other reviewers have loved it. For this part of the treatment, you lie (preferably naked) on Jerusalem gold marble in the low-intensity steam chamber, and a spa attendant scrubs you down using tingly, eucalyptus-infused black Moroccan soap on exfoliating gloves — no grit-paste involved.

My gommage treatment left me feeling wonderfully raw and smooth, but… also kind of like a horse. I mean, the woman who preformed my treatment was fantastic, and my back feels suuuuuper smooth, but I’m thinking that getting literally hosed down by a stranger might just be too clinical for me.

Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie services menu

The Deep Tissue Massage (30 min/$90 CAD)

My second treatment of the day was the spa’s 30 minute Deep Tissue Massage, which uses pressure techniques to target stressed muscles and increase circulation. It left me feeling limber but not sore, and my (registered) massage therapist used mostly pushing and pulling movements, not kneading ones.

The finishing touches for this massage were great, too: the table that you lie on is heated (perfect for the winter), you’re covered by a warm, heavy blanket where you’re not being massaged, and a Caudalie candle burns quietly on the side table. You can also choose from unscented, orange blossom, or clove-enriched grapeseed oil for your massage (I chose the clove, of course!), which is great for those with scent sensitivities.

Miraj Hammam by Caudalie spa review gommage massage

The Alahambra Lounge

The Alhambra Lounge

Finally, every visit to the Miraj Hammam Spa ends in their Alhambra Lounge, which is a gorgeous, dimly-lit room walled with what can only be described as relaxation cubicles. The room has a very soothing, intimate feel to it, and you’re served a perfectly-spiced shot of sweet chai tea along with (a hilarious) three grapes and a piece of baklava.

» Can we talk about that baklava for a moment, though? Because I swear, it was the most delicious piece of baklava that I have ever had in my life — it was small, light, and syrupy, and reminded me a lot of jalebi (aka the best thing ever).

Once you’re ready to leave the Alhambra Lounge (if you’re ever ready, that is), it’s back to the change rooms, where the showers are equipped with rain-style and handheld shower heads and the shelves come stocked with Caudalie products.

Caudalie spa review Toronto

The verdict?

I can’t believe I’m saying this about a spa, but: yes, I would absolutely go back. The hammam is a must-experience (you can add it onto any service for $25), and the atmosphere at the Miraj Hammam Spa is just so welcoming and relaxing – even for an awkward twenty-something.

For a luxurious treatment that really will leave you feeling fantastic, I recommend the Hammam & 60 Minute Personalized Massage ($195) as a serious indulgence, or the 30 minute Deep Tissue Massage with a 15 minute Hammam booked separately ($115) if you’re just feeling a little under the weather and want to come out glowing. 

Keep reading! »

Spot the Neutrogena + 2015 launch preview | theNotice goes to Toronto!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

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The big event that I was in Toronto for was Neutrogena’s 2015 Skincare Expert launch party, so today, I wanted to go over (briefly!) some of the Neutrogena adventures that I had while I was in the city… and, of course, talk about some of the new products that they have coming out. (The reviews will come later; this is just a little preview.)

This year, Neutrogena is focusing on what they call the Art of Formulation. They described it like this: if you have a bucket of grapes, you can make grape juice, or you can make wine. So, for 2015, the brand is taking their grapes, adding a twist of innovation, and turning them into a fine wine, accessible to all.

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I don’t know what was in this, but it was amazing and I could drink these every single day. Something about “gilded somethingorother” with bitters, bourbon, and pineapple juice. (But seriously, I’m dying to know how to make this at home, because delicious.)

Tree plate

A tree bark-inspired dish (caramelized foie gras, roasted parsnip bark, and cedar jelly), inspired by one of Neutrogena’s 2015 innovations!

This year, look for three new moisture-boosting products with hyaluronic acid (the Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream looks particularly good), and keep an eye out for the Triple Age Repair with Hexinol line, in purple — that stuff smells really good, and the day cream comes with an SPF of 25. Plus, fans of the Pink Grapefruit line can look forward to the brand’s first-ever Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Pink Grapefruit Moisturizer, which is very fluid and smells just as bright as the rest of the line.

If you love a good primer, make sure to try the Healthy Skin primers ones when they come out (the Refining one mattes the skin for eight hours, and the Tone Corrector adds super glowy shimmer), and if you’re ‘cone-free like I am, then you can look forward to not one, not two, but three exciting new silicone-free products from Neutrogena this year!

Neutrogena 2015 silicone-free launches

Silicone-free launches coming your way!

The Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser and Exfoliating Scrub are silicone-free and smell really fresh and delicious, with added extracts of white tea and Vitamin E, and the ‘cone-free Neutrogena Naturals moisturizer will be joined by the first silicone-free Neutrogena makeup wipes ever. These wipes are gooood, you guys — they’re super wet, and the ladies hosting the event mentioned that they were their favourite wipes out of the entire Neutrogena lineup. (Finally, an all-natural product that’s even better than its classic counterpart!)

Arianne and Jessica

finally got to meet these girls!!!!! ( Jessica / Arianne )

Arianne!!

Seriously, how cute is this gorgeous mom-to-be??

Spot the Neutrogena

To say thanks to Neutrogena for sending me away on this amazing trip to Toronto, I put together a little series of “Spot the Neutrogena” images while I was in the city. (Which were, largely, lost along with my camera, but I made up for it the best I could). It’s not much of a thank-you present, but it was the most fun one that I could think of: I mean, we’re all adults here, or close enough, but no one really ever grows out of I-Spy.

So I’ll leave you to spot some Neutrogena products in the photos below, and good luck to you all! Let me know in the comments if you find ‘em ;)

Spot the Neutrogena at breakfast

Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Night Cream

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Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Night Cream (in box)

Keep reading! »

Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm, Cleansing Oil review & giveaway

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Avene Xeracalm review

The products: Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm, and Eau Thermale/Thermal Spring Water

The technology behind Xeracalm

Avène (a.k.a. Eau thermale Avène, or “the itchy horse brand”!) has been making products for intolerant skin for years, but this month, they’re launching something just for those with dry skin. The Xeracalm A.D range, which is suitable for infants and adults with moderate to intensely dry skin (my entire life can be summed up in that statement, by the way) was created around “I-modulia®,” a new technology that took a whopping twelve years of research to create.

Avene Xeracalm A.D Cleansing Oil review

The Xeracalm A.D range, which is formulated with Avène’s classic thermal water as a key component, aims to reduce itching while soothing irritations and redness, offering both comfort and softening to the skin — something that those with very dry skin will recognize as a pretty rare find.

The Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil

Unlike other cleansing oils, the Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil is thick and almost “sticky,” and I was surprised to find out that it is NOT made to be a makeup removing oil (though it does that, too). Rather, it’s generously-sized and is designed to be used on wet skin at the sink, in the shower, or as a bath oil.

Avene Xeracalm Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil review

It feels most like a shower/bath gel, with a gentle lather and squeaky-clean (but not too stripping) finish. It cleanses well, but I found that this one really excelled as a bath/baby product. Think of it as a lipid-replenishing bath gel, not a cleansing oil, and definitely give it a try if you have generalized eczema, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis.

The Lipid-Replenishing Balm

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm is thin and non-sticky, for a balm! It’s manufactured in a completely sterile environment and is packaged in patent-protected packaging with a perfect hermetic seal, meaning that there are ZERO preservatives (not even trace amounts) in this product.

Avene Xeracalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm review

The Xeracalm Balm reminds me of a zinc cream, but with a texture more like body lotion: it’s very plain, very soothing, and perfect for skin prone to atopic dermatitis. This one is hard to squeeze out of the tube (so avoid it if you have arthritis in your hands or wrists) and not optimal for dehydration, but it will be perfect for you if you have reactive skin.

Or if you’re a baby. The literal kind — this is very well-suited to itchy babies’ skin.

Avene Xeracalm A.D review balm

The classic: Eau Thermale

I also had a chance to try the cult-favourite Avène Thermal Spring Water (proper name “Eau Thermale Avène Eau Thermale,” which I find to be endlessly hilarious) for this review, and I have to say: I really liked it! The full-sized bottle is enormous, and it dispenses a dense, light mist of calming spring water.

I don’t have an itchy-skinned horse to test this product on, but I do find it to be very soothing on my skin when it’s feeling particularly parched. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go — you might just find (like I did) that this one really does live up to the hype.

Avene Thermal Spring Water review

The giveaway

And now, the best part! One lucky Canadian reader of theNotice will win the ENTIRE Xeracalm A.d range by Avène – just enter using the givewaway widget below. Good luck (and good skin) to all of you!!

Keep reading! »

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