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 }

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Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash, Moisturizing Cream reviews, photos

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aveeno Eczema Care body wash moisturizer

The products: Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash & Moisturizing Cream with colloidal oatmeal

Winters in Edmonton are — well, let’s just say that I run my humidifier pretty much 24/7 and still wake up with dry, cracked skin. So, as soon as I was finished testing that gorgeous Osmia Organics soap, I switched up my shower routine and started testing AVEENO’s Eczema Care Body Wash ($13.99) immediately.

Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash review photos

Aveeno Eczema Care Body Wash

Steroid- and fragrance-free, Aveeno’s Eczema Care line is made to help treat the signs and symptoms of eczema — things like itchiness, roughness, and irritation. (They also have Skin Relief and Intense Relief lines for dry skin). It’s estimated that 10-20% of Canadians suffer from eczema, and I recently found out that I was one of them, so I had high hopes for these products!

(I mean, I’ve always had eczema, I’ve just — denial. Denial and years and years of painfully dry skin.)

Aveeno Eczema Care review - body wash, moisturizing cream

Anyhow. I couldn’t test the AVEENO Eczema Care Hand Cream ($9.18) because it has ‘cones, but I am really enjoying using the Eczema Care Body Wash! It uses oat essence, colloidal oatmeal, and ceramides to help soothe itchy, rough skin, and I think it’s doing a pretty decent job of it for $10-ish. It’s very gentle and slippery, and feels kind of like washing yourself with lotion — smells like it, too.

All in all, it’s kind of a weirdly clinical experience, but I’m happy with it. This is not the range to try and treat serious eczema with on its own, but it’s a nice, sensitive-skin-friendly way to round out your skincare regimen without spending a lot of money.

Availability: The AVEENO Eczema Care range is available for $7.47-$12.99 CAD at drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle & Tone Repair: theNotice’s Month of Giving begins!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair giveaway

Happy December, readers! This month, I have a very special surprise for you: a solid month of giveaways, starting with the very dermatological-looking Neutrogena Rapid Repair line. Today, we’re giving away TWO prizes: a Rapid Tone Repair duo and a Rapid Wrinkle Repair trio.

I’ve been pretty much stockpiling Neutrogena Rapid Repair all year, but I haven’t been able to try any of it since I’m allergic to silicones. So, instead, I’m giving two lucky readers the chance to do it for me! The method of entries for this giveaway are the same as usual, but I’m also offering a big bonus entry (10 pts) for anyone who’s up for sharing their Neutrogena before/after results. It’s definitely not mandatory, but we’d love to see those selfies!

(Am I the only one who hates the world “selfie” with a passion?)

The Rapid Wrinkle Repair trio ($90 CAD value)

Neutrogena giveaway wrinkle repair night serum eye

Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair range is formulated with “Accelerated Retinol SA” (the fastest-working retinol the brand offers), and promises results in just one week. Each product is designed to help minimize the irritation that often comes with using products containing retinol, and also contains hyaluronic acid and a glucose complex to help moisturize the skin while making the retinol even more effective.

PS: Make sure to pair these products with a daytime moisturizer that contains sunscreen, like the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30.

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The Rapid Tone Repair duo ($60 CAD value)

Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair serum moisturizer giveaway

For those of you who struggle more with tone than wrinkles (like I do), the Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair line contains both Accelerated Retinol SA and Vitamin C. With a very high concentration of active ingredients, this duo promises results in just one week, too — and again, it should be paired with an SPF 30 moisturizer during the day (even in the winter)!

The Rapid Tone Repair products fight wrinkles just as well as their Rapid Wrinkle counterparts, but also help diminish the look of dark spots. Go for the Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector Serum if you spent too much unprotected time in the sun as a kid.

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Osmia Organics Milky Rose Soap review, photos + 15% off with free shipping!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Osmia Milky Rose review packaging

The product: Osmia Organics Milky Rose Soap

…also known as the perfect gift. Forgot about a Christmas party that you need a hostess gift for? Osmia Milky Rose. Got a mom that’s crazy hard to buy for? Osmia Milky Rose! Spent the whole year working so hard that you forgot to get yourself something this holiday season? Osmia Milky Rose. 

(Or a vacation. If you have not taken a vacation all year, you should probably get yourself one of those, too. Pronto.)

Osmia Milky Rose review

The formula: Like the Oh So Soap that M shared with you last week, Milky Rose is made from a base of saponified oils/butters and buttermilk powder, which make it both super gentle and thoroughly cleansing. It leaves my skin feeling squeaky-smooth, which is kind of like squeaky-clean, except without the stripping, drying half of the equation.

I usually use Dove’s Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar, which leaves my skin feeling a little less squeaky than Milky Rose, but isn’t actually any more moisturizing. The big pull for Milky Rose, however, is that Osmia products never seem to get mushy the way drugstore bar soap does. (You know how it is; you find a great bar soap and five uses in, it’s half gooey-mush-puddle. As far as I’ve seen, Osmia’s bars are quite literally made of sterner firmer stuff than that.)

Osmia soap review - Milky Rose

The look and feel: Most natural soap bars are 3-4 oz, but Osmia’s clocks in at a hefty 5.5 oz — and a whopping 6 oz for their wavy-topped bars. They’re quite stiff, and get quite slick (not soft!) in the shower.

Milky Rose comes topped with organic rose petals and is blended with bitter orange and palmarosa essential oils, and it smells very fleetingly herb-y. Osmia says that this bar “feels like a serious splurge – luxurious, elegant, and so moisturizing,” and I have to tell you — I agree with them on all three counts.

I would, however, totally love to see Milky Rose change into a wavy-topped bar, like many of Osmia’s other soaps. They’re so pretty.

Osmia Milky Rose soap, Sunset body oil

The verdict?

Yes, yes, yes! I know that $12 ($10 today) is a lot to pay for one bar of soap, but if you want something small to “splurge” on (is $12 even a splurge??), get this soap. It feels utterly luxurious, works really well on dry skin, and makes an absolutely beautiful gift year-round.

And, in case you need any more convincing, it’s also cruelty-free, 15% off, and a great way to support a small businesses! Buying it practically makes you a saint. :P

Availability: $12 USD at Osmia Organics, but the entire site is 15% off with free shipping in the US for their holiday sale, so today it’s only $10.50! (And when you buy it, make sure you pick up Sunset, too — it’s generously perfumed with one of my favourite scents ever.)

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Osmia Organics Oh So Soap & Tea Bath review, photos | The boy reviews!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SONY DSC

The product: Osmia Organics Oh So Soap and Organic Tea Bath

Today on theNotice, I have a very special surprise for you, dear reader: a review by M. I really wanted to highlight a few products for eczema and psoriasis (Mathew has the latter) this winter, and as someone who hates baths–his words, not mine, though true–I thought you guys might enjoy someone else’s perspective on things for a change.

So, I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope you like the pretty pictures! (How good is that tea bath one??!)

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath review

The Osmia Organic Tea Bath ($45 USD)

The Organic Tea Bath comes pre-portioned in six satisfyingly large cloth tea bags with cotton drawstrings. The tea’s scent is subtle and bright; sharp spearmint notes are balanced by sweet chamomile while dry. Add hot water to reveal a strong citrus element, most likely from the orange peel. The combination is pleasing, if a touch mild. The Organic Tea Bath’s scent is without the usual synthetic sheen I have come to associate with bath products, and for this, I am grateful. [ R: Oops. That’s probably because I keep giving him LUSH to try. ]

When “steeped”, the bags turn the water a surprisingly opaque chamomile yellow. (I recommend holding each tea bag under the faucet as you draw your bath for best results.) After bathing, I find that the tea leaves my skin feeling much softer and less dry than it generally would be, especially if I’m in the tub for a while — but though the tea bath is very soothing while I’m in the bath, the results don’t translate into the next day. That said, these are great for anyone who enjoys a cozy winter bath but might be too lazy to moisturize after, or anyone who takes ludicrously long baths like me but doesn’t want to dry out!

–their skin. Who doesn’t want to dry out their skin.

Osmia Organics Tea Bath review sachet photo

Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath

Does it work? Though tea (especially herbal tea) is usually steeped at much higher temperatures than is appropriate for a bath, the organic ingredients used here–like rose, calendula, and bitter orange–are paired with tried-and-true remedies for dry skin, including epsom salt and rolled oats. Each bag is good for 1-2 soothing baths (3 is stretching it), but I found the process of drying out the large sachets to be rather difficult. Those worried about cleanliness can rest easy knowing that this tea bath left only a very fine film in the tub, which rinsed out easily after use.

Osmia Organics’ Oh So Soap ($12 USD)

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap review

Osmia’s Oh So Soap has been a wonderful surprise. The elegance of the bar’s woven top is reflected in its ingredient list, which contains only saponified organic oils and butters, African pearl salt, and buttermilk powder. This velvety soap would suit the most sensitive of the sensitive, yet it still leaves you feeling clean. It’s great both on the face and body, and is unlikely to offend anyone as it contains no fragrance or essential oils.

Overall, I found Oh So Soap to be far less drying than regular bar soap, and I really liked how gentle it was. It never left my skin feeling dry or squeaky-clean, but rather like it had been magically cleaned without any soap at all. Hands down, it is the best soap I have ever used.

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap gentle dry skin review

M’s verdict?

While neither of these products made a distinct improvement on my psoriasis, I can say that they were a pleasure to use, especially in the winter. On the whole, they were very gentle on sensitive skin, and far less stripping than other soaps and bath products I have used in the past — both in the bath and coming out of it.

The Oh So Soap in particular was especially luscious, and delightfully simple — I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have very delicate or dry skin. (It is also, as Osmia Organics so succinctly puts it, “perfect for babies, even fresh ones.”)

Availability: $12 USD-$45 USD at Osmia Organics.

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