Skincare travel essentials | Currently in my bag (literally)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel essentials and must haves
So, for all of you who don’t follow me on social media (and why aren’t you? Twitter/Instagram), I’m currently in Toronto visiting friends, seeing family, and checking out what’s new and exciting for Fall 2015.

I’ve been living out of a suitcase for about a week and I have one more left to go, so my travel essentials right now are actually what I have with me — they’re not some theoretical “oh, I’d totally take this with me.” Here’s what I can’t go without… and what I totally should have done differently.

Aveeno fresh essentials moisturizer SPF 30 review


Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 15 ($19.99 CAD) – this is a recent acquisition, but so far, I’m liking it! It’s silicone-free but with a chemical sunscreen component, and while it’s a little heavy (not a problem for my dry skin) and smells quite sunscreen-y, it gets the job done without breaking me out or breaking the bank.

bioderma sensibio tolerance plus review

Bioderma Sensibio Tolerance+ Skin Care ($26.95 CAD) – I reviewed this just this month, and I’m still using it every single day. It’s been doing a great job of minimizing my skin’s reactiveness, and provides the perfect “neutral” base for serums and foundations. Which brings us to…

Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in 02 – I haven’t really talked about this yet, but I’m a total SSE convert. This silicone-free foundation is a good match for my skintone, and I love how pigmented it is — I mix a little bit (just enough to cover my fingertip) into my Bioderma or Aveeno, add a drop of Odacité serum if I’m feeling dry, and apply to my full face for an even, sheer glow.

Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($43 USD/$49 CAD) – yup, still totally loving this one. I’ve actually almost finished my bottle — and will be buying a new one this week at The Detox Market! (Hopefully the King Street location, because I’m dying for a Greenhouse Juice. It’s been like a week since I last ate a vegetable.)

Odacite PoR, Kevin Aucoin SSE review

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion – Always a must-have, whether or not I’m travelling. This is the best thing for treating small spots, small about-to-be-spots, and big AHH! blemishes.


Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water ($19.95 CAD) – I totally should have brought more of both of these, because I’m only at the halfway point of my work-cation and I’m almost all out. HALP.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Facial Radiance Pads ($14.95 CAD) – same with these. I absolutely LOVE the Dragon’s Blood cleansing pads, and I find that they’re particularly strong performers while travelling — they make removing all of my eye and face makeup (including waterproof) a seconds-long process, and I love not having to use an additional cleanser afterwards. I find that I use these a lot when I’m worried that I’m about to break out, and they always get my face super-clean and ready for moisturizer in a snap.

Clarins tonic oil Mario badescu buffering lotion review


Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – a mini size! Because oils are a wonderfully compact way to moisturize (no fillers), and this little guy travels like a champ. I’ve been using it every day for the past seven days and I’ve barely made it to the 1/3 point.

Schick Quattro razor – I’ve actually been using Quattro razors since I started shaving, but I bought this one recently for travel/staying over and I love it! Something about the design gives me a much closer shape than the older models (even though I have brand-new cartridges on both), and I think I might replace my at-home razor when I get back. My favourite thing about Schick razors? The fine bars that run perpendicular to the blades — I’ve never cut myself shaving, not even at the very beginning.

And, finally…

Schick Quattro razor Best review

Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Protective Leave-In Spray – I’ve almost used this one all the way up! It’s silicone-free, practically unscented, and does a great job both of protecting my hair from the heat of my flat iron and moisturizing it so I don’t get fly-aways or dry-looking ends. I probably should have brought the inch of product that I have left in smaller spray bottle, but once this is used up, I will definitely be re-buying it, too.

What are your travel essentials? Are they day-to-day products, or things you only take on trips?

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 }

Keep reading! »

Clarisonic x theNotice: Taking the Mia 2 for a test drive

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clarisonic Mia 2 review

The Clarisonic Mia 2 in Ipanema

When beauty bloggers talk skin care products, the one skin care gadget you’re guaranteed to hear about is the Clarisonic. I’ve been reading rave reviews about the skin care line since its launch in 2004, but to be honest, I never really thought it was for me.

With my sensitive skin and barely-there skin care routine, I’m not exactly who you’d think of as a prime candidate for a tool like this one. But when Clarisonic asked me if I was willing to try out a Mia 2 for seven days and report back, I had to accept the challenge – in the name of science, of course.

Clarisonic sensitive brush head review

The Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head (I’d recommend buying the Delicate one for sensitive skin!)

As it turns out, the Clarisonic isn’t really what I thought it would be: it’s better. The Mia 2 fits comfortably into my hands, and like the rest of the Clarisonic line, it works on sonic technology rather than rotating brush heads – which, given the name, I really should have guessed. According to the brand, their unique sonic cleansing technology produces over 300 movements a second and uses the flexing action created between the outer and inner brushes to remove impurities from deep within the pores for clear, glowing skin.

Clarisonic Mia in use 2

I have seen the cleansing light

It’s this sonic action that not only gets the pores really, really clean (which is why so many people with acne-prone or oily skin swear by their Clarisonic), but also preps the skin, making face serums, anti aging creams and tinted moisturizers more effective. This is what I’ll mainly be testing: up close, my skin has flaky patches and can be paper-rough, so I’m hoping my results will include softer, more glowing skin.

Clarisonic pLink charger

The pLink charger, attached

The Mia 2 comes in a number of colours – this one is Ipanema – and charges with a cute, magnetic “pLink” charger. It’s waterproof and has two speed settings for normal and sensitive skin. The Mia 2 can be used morning and night on a wet face with any type of cleanser, foaming or milk, and holds a charge for 20 to 30 uses.

This post was sponsored by Clarisonic in association with Elle Canada. All of the opinions in this post are my own — I can now be found happily cleansing my face most nights, chirruping “pLink!” like an excited squirrel whenever the urge takes me. 

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Scrub | Skincare scents you can’t resist

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash review

The product: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash – Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub

Do you ever have skincare products that you want to use, but… don’t really have a reason to? I feel like I run into this problem all the time — I don’t have a ton of skin concerns, but I’m pretty easily swayed by a great fragrance.

Neutrogena silicone-free skin duo

With Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Cream Cleanser, another of their silicone-free cleansing products

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub review

Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit line has always had me wrapped around its little finger, and I started using it again a few weeks back. With super dry skin, however, I’ve never used it on my face: rather, I’ve returned to the Oil-Free Acne Wash lineup by using their Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub on my back. (I used their Body Clear Pink Grapefruit body wash years ago, but moved onto something else somewhere along the line.)

What? It smells amazing, and (overshare alert) my back has a tendency to break out. It’s not exactly pleasant, but I’m not complaining — I’ll take back-acne over the regular kind any day, thanks.

Availability:,, & drugstores

Keep reading! »

An A-okay Solution for the oilies

Friday, March 26, 2010

What it is: Marcelle‘s AC Solution Toner

The bad: After using this for about a month, and then giving it to my sister to try out for another month, I think we can solidly say one thing — this doesn’t help with our acne. It also doesn’t smell great, though it is bearable for both of us, and the scent fades quickly. And I’m not a fan of the packaging; in fact, I affixed a pump-bottle top to this to make things easier for myself! It just felt a little too clunky, flipping it upside down all the time.

The good: Dont’ panic; this toner certainly redeems itself! While it’s not the most fun to put on, and it doesn’t make the skies open up and shine down on you, it helps a ton with midday oiliness. After using it for a week or two, both Ri and I noticed our t-zones didn’t get as slick as they normally do. It didn’t dry us out or “patchify” our skin in the process, so I was pretty happy with it!

Patchify: verb: to dry out some areas of the epidermis, but leave others shiny and oily.

The ingredients:


The verdict? We liked (and are still liking) this toner, and I’d recommend it to someone with normal to very slightly oily skin! However, if you have very oily or very acne-prone skin and you’re looking for miracles… I don’t think you’ll find them here. It’s a very solid skincare staple item in my books, but it’s not the be-all-end-all.

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