Real Techniques Travel Essentials reviews: Multi-Task, Domed Shadow, & Essential Foundation brushes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Real Techniques Travel Brush Set review photos

The product: Real Techniques by Sam & Nic Chapman Travel Essentials brush set

     ↳ Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush, Domed Shadow Brush, and Multi-Task Brush

There are so many reviews out there for the Real Techniques brush range that I’ve been in no rush to write my own. Instead, I’ve been incessantly recommending them in favourites lists, comments, tweets — you name it. So, while there are many Real Techniques review out there, this one is mine.

Real Techniques Travel Essentials review

(I’ll also be reviewing the Expert Face Brush and Setting Brush later this month, and the new Silicone Liner Brush and Miracle Complexion Sponge at some point in the future.)

The Essentials Foundation Brush

Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush review

To be completely honest, I never use this brush. It’s designed to be used with liquid foundation (which I don’t wear), and struggles with cream base products — it really doesn’t hold a candle to the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, or even their Buffing Brush. It’s stiffer than I prefer for blending, and can’t pick up product to save its life.

The Essentials Foundation Brush is stiff and flat, but I can see it working well for liquid highlighter or cheek stains. It’s average in size, and slightly larger than the line’s Pointed Foundation Brush.

Real Techniques Foundation Brush review

The Domed Shadow Brush

Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush review photos

The Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush is twice the size of the Real Techniques Shading Brush, and comes to a nice, domed finish. It’s wider than it is thick, and very fluffy.

If pressed, I can finish a whole eye with just this brush — but I’d never want to. (Who even does that? Do non-beauty-addicts do that?) It’s okay for placement and best for blending, and very much suited toward those with more lid space.

Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush

The Multi-Task Brush

Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush review

Of the three brushes in this set, the Multi-Task Brush is a clear favourite for me. It’s large and well-weighted, the bristles full and flexibly-dense. It’s described as working well for powder, blush, and bronzer, but I use it mainly for blush — it’s a surprisingly good size for it, and it delivers and blends powder products easily. In addition, the white tips of this brush make it easy for beginners to tell exactly how much product they have on the brush, and they’re a great way to remember what you last used the brush for.

I don’t actually multi-task with this brush (do you really want the remnants of a shimmery bronzer in your all-over matte powder the next morning?), but it can absolutely be used for all three purposes — just tweak the way you use it; a lighter hand for powder, a broader sweeping motion for bronzer.

Real Techniques Multi-task brush review photos blush Real Techniques foundation domed eye multi-task brush reviews

Real Techniques Travel Essentials – Essential Foundation Brush, Domed Shadow Brush, and Multi-Task Brush

Real Techniques brush reviews - travel set

The verdict?

Despite adoring Real Techniques brushes, there’s no one “perfect starter set” that I’d recommend. However, their brushes are still my favourite brush range for durability, softness, variety, and price point – I have no qualms about calling them the best budget brush range out there.

From the Travel Essentials set, I really liked the Multi-Task Brush, liked the Domed Shadow Brush, and didn’t really like the Essential Foundation Brush.

That said, if I was on the market for a really affordable, soft blush brush, this set would still be my top pick. At $18 USD, I think many will find the Multi-Task Brush to be better-suited for blush than the Real Techniques Blush Brush — and $18 for two good brushes (and one flop) is a better deal than paying $9 for one awkwardly large blush brush.

Availability: $18 USD/$18 CAD at Ulta, Target, Wal-Mart, Drugstore.com, London Drugs, and Farleyco in North America. Available internationally through iHerb (use code LPW177 to get $5 off this set).

Additional photos & more »

güd by Burt’s Bees Orange Petalooza Shampoo and Conditioner review, photos

Thursday, April 10, 2014

gud burt's bees shampoo conditioner review

The product: güd from Burt’s Bees Orange Petalooza Natural Nourishing Shampoo and Natural Softening Shampoo

It’s not often that I review things as soon as I try them, but this shampoo/conditioner duo from güd (a natural haircare/skincare range by Burt’s Bees) is an exception to the rule. My hair is still shower-fresh as I write this, and I’m altogether smitten with my güd experience so far.

gud Orange Petalooza shampoo conditioner review

gud Orange Petalooza review

The Orange Petalooza Natural Nourishing Shampoo

I gave these products a bit of a “blind” test, running them through their paces before reading what they were (and what they were supposed to do). The clear, thin Orange Petalooza shampoo lathers really, really nicely–much more easily than my usual all-natural shampoo–and leaves my scalp feeling clean, but not tight. 

The scent is another really lovely surprise: as it lathers, it smells less and less like what you’d expect from a mass-market product. It’s described as blood orange and hyacinth, and completely nails it in the execution. It’s no Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, but I like to think of this güd scent as Serge’s $7 rendition.

The ingredients: (SLS, petroleum, phtalate, paraben, and silicone-free. Not tested on animals.)

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Bis-Hydroxyethylglycinate Coco-Glucosides Crosspolymer, Rice Extract, Fragrance, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glycerin, Betaine, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower, Peppermint Leaf Extract, Salvia Sage Leaf Extract, Thyme Leaf Extract, Nettle Leaf Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Oil, Thyme Oil, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Lauryl Lactyl Lactate, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sodium Chloride, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Potassium Sorbate, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Polyaspartate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Protein, Arginine, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Alcohol Denat. 

gud Orange Petalooza Natural Nourishing Shampoo review

The Orange Petalooza Natural Softening Conditioner

güd’s Orange Petalooza Natural Softening Conditioner is, like its shampoo counterpart, a little on the thin side — but this is by no means a bad thing. Despite not feeling as thick or slippery as I’m used to, this conditioner left my hair feeling soft, hydrated, and full. 

The Natural Nourishing Conditioner smells a bit different than the shampoo, with more of a “true” bitter orange scent. It’s lighter on the florals, but there’s something in its base notes that I can’t quite put my finger on — it smells a little darker, a little deeper. I don’t think I’d be as fond of this scent in a body lotion or even shower gel, but for my hair, it’s really lovely.

Again, like its other half, this conditioner is silicone-free.

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Ceteareth-20, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower, Peppermint Leaf Extract, Sage Leaf Extract, Thyme Leaf Extract, Nettle Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Alcohol Denat.

gud Orange Petalooza Natural Softening Conditioner review

The verdict?

The güd from Burt’s Bees Orange Petalooza shampoo and conditioner duo is a clear winner in my books. It’s hydrating and softening, without a hint of SLS or silicone – an impressive feat, as I’m sure my fellow ‘cone-free lads and ladies will recognize!

The Orange Petalooza scent is a unique blend of bitter orange and florals, and while it’s far from high-end perfumery, it’s a really lovely drugstore find.

Availability: $6.99 USD/$8.29 CAD at Walgreens, Target, Drugstore.com, and Well.ca.

gud from Burt's Bees review

Keep reading! »

Aveeno Eczema Care App: skincare charting made easy

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Aveeno Eczema Care App 2

I grew up on Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion. There were creams before it (Keri) and creams after it (Olay Quench), but, well. It was the one body lotion that my entire family used and loved, and I think the brand will always have a special place in my heart because of that.

We no longer have four-or-more bottles of Aveeno kicking around through our house at any given time, but my fondness for the brand is still firmly in place. (Did you know they do a ‘cone-free chemical sunscreen? I’ve been meaning to try it for ages). So, when they released an app for charting your eczema flare-ups, I knew I had to give it a mention on theNotice.


Aveeno Eczema Care App

Aveeno and the Eczema Society of Canada have teamed up to create a free app for charting your (or your child’s) eczema flare-ups, and it’s as basic as it is handy. I’m a charting nut, and I think you can learn a lot about yourself, your habits, and your skin just by keeping track of things on a daily basis — whether it’s just raw information to share with your doctor, or something that can help you figure out whether or not a certain product or treatment is working for you. 

App or not, and eczema or not, that’s my tip of the day: chart things. Chart all of the things. Chart everything, because charts are awesome at helping you see patterns you wouldn’t notice going day to day, and because charts are super-secret badass tools of effectiveness.

Revlon Icy Violet Super Lustrous Lipstick photos, swatches | Revlon Legacy Collection

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Revlon Legacy Collection - Icy Violet Super Lustrous Lipstick

Continuing my accidental trend of embarrassingly delayed posts, here’s a lipstick that I swatched and photographed four years ago, good lord.

Revlon Icy Violet was first launched in 1946, but is back temporarily as part of the brand’s Legacy Collection. It’s a cool-toned plum (red, brown, and violet tones) with medium opacity and a frosty lavender finish.

The Legacy Collection by Revlon

Revlon Legacy Collection: Icy Violet, Snow Peach, 5th Ave Red, Jungle Peach, and Sandstorm

Revlon Icy Violet Super Lustrous Lipstick review

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Icy Violet

I have Icy Violet on as I write this, and I have to admit: against my colouring, this lipstick doesn’t look very violet at all. Instead, like most plums, it reads as a neutral colour on me — a little more purple than my natural lips, but in a very subtle way. I don’t love the frost finish (you can see each and every shimmer particle from a foot and a half away), but at “stranger distance,” the effect is very pretty — almost as if my lips are glowingly moist. Up close and in the sun, you can see the ruddy, red-violet base colour and lavender shimmer more distinctly.

(The shimmer in this is gorgeous: micro-explosions of clear shimmer into bursts of lavender. I wouldn’t be surprised if I spent the next ten years trying to dupe it in an eyeshadow.)

Revlon Icy Violet swatch - Super Lustrous Lipstick

Revlon Icy Violet (Legacy Collection) – swatched on skin, lips in indirect sunlight

Like the rest of the Super Lustrous line, I find Icy Violet to be comfortable but not hydrating, with an average wear time. Its formula and packaging is wonderfully basic while still being rather chic, and I think the range is one that every burgeoning makeup addict should have at least one of. To me, the Super Lustrous line is the quintessential starter lipstick: well-priced and well-made, without any scents or frills. It’s not too much of any one thing, and while I’d love to see a more modern colour selection (more creme finishes, please!), the lipsticks themselves are the perfect place to begin.

I’ve gone anti-shimmer since buying this, but if you’re situated in the sparkly camp, Icy Violet is at least worth a swatch. It’s not a must-have, but it’s kind of mind-blowing to wear a colour that was formulated 68 years ago.

These photos are four years old. Please forgive me. 

Annabelle Expandable Mascara Review, Photos, Swatches | Not a gimmick, but a gold mine

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Annabelle Expandable mascara review

The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Expandable Mascara

I mentioned taking sixteen months to review a product a couple of weeks ago (this one!), but I’ve been testing Annabelle Expandable for even longer — yes, really, much to my shame.

I have absolutely no good excuse for why it’s taken me so long to review a product that I’ve had since it was a lab sample in a small, un-labeled black tube, but without further adieu, may I please introduce you to Annabelle Expandable: a drugstore mascara that I’ve loved since the very first time I tried it.

Annabelle Expandable swatches review photos

Annabelle Expandable – short and long wand results, no lash comb

The “gimmick”: What makes the Annabelle Expandable mascara special is that, well, it really is expandable. The wand handle twists at the base, allowing the plastic bristles to expand or contract — not with each bristle getting longer or shorter, but with each bristle getting closer or farther from its neighbour. 

What looks like a gimmick is, in this case, actually really awesome. I love the formula of this mascara, but for those who don’t struggle as much as I do with smudging, this may well be Expandable’s biggest pull. It allows you to have just one mascara that can deliver dramatically different effects: lots of separation and length at the (-) end, or lots of product and volume at the (+) end.

Annabelle expandable short wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara – short wand (separation)

Annabelle expandable long wand

Annabelle Expandable mascara – long wand (volume)

The curl and wear: Like most “wet” mascaras (though Expandable isn’t super wet — it’s just not super dry, either), this mascara drops the curl of my lashes only when I apply it. It’s just enough to give them a bit of a droop, so I tend to apply a quick coat or two of mascara, then “push” the lashes toward my face with my fingertip and hold for a few seconds. This helps the lash to set into a nice curl, and once dry, Expandable holds the curl in place for the rest of the day.

Where Annabelle’s Expandable mascara really excels, though, is in its wear. I get maybe 3-4 hours wear without smudging with your average mascara, but Expandable wears like a champ: I can make it 8 hours without any smudging, and over 10 hours with very minimal smudging. This is the longest-wearing non-tubing mascara that I’ve tried so far, and it comes with a mere $10 price tag.

Annabelle Expandable mascara review swatches

Annabelle Expandable mascara – one light coat short wand, second coat short wand, third coat long wand

Annabelle expandable long wand swatch

Annabelle Expandable mascara – one heavy coat, long wand

The verdict?

Annabelle claims that their Expandable mascara is volumizing, lengthening, anti-clumping, and easy to remove — and you know what? I’d agree with all of these claims.

Expandable is my go-to mascara for both natural, everyday lashes and high-impact volume (it’s outclassed very slightly for photos by Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill mascara, which is gorgeous but not $30 USD worth of gorgeous), and I would absolutely recommend it to a friend. It gives me both better wear and more believable volume than Le Big Show, and I’ll be frank with you: the awesome, unique wand certainly isn’t doing it any harm.

5/5 would-buy-again, Annabelle.

Availability: $10.95 CAD at Annabelle.ca (ships to Canada & the US), or in-store at most major drugstores throughout Canada.

Keep reading! »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...