My Marcelle recommendations & must-haves (and a 40% off code)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marcelle annabelle 40 off free shipping

With Marcelle and Annabelle featuring 40% off until the 13th to celebrate International Women’s Day, I thought I’d take a minute to go over a few of my must-have from their lines. I’ve linked to full reviews wherever possible, but I’ll do my best to tell you why I love each & every one of these within this post, too.

» Shop Annabelle.ca & Marcelle.com at 40% off with the code WOMEN

As with the Annabelle site, shipping is free on all Canadian orders, and is calculated by weight for all US ones. If you do live in the US, now might be a good time to stock up anyways — 40% off goes a long way in negating the cost of shipping!

My Marcelle favourites & recommendations (see my Annabelle picks here)

Marcelle Essentials 400ml

Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk { review | buy }

Marcelle’s Cleansing Milk was both the first Marcelle product and the first skincare product that I truly fell head over heels for. Sure, there are products that I like more, but so far, I have yet to find anything I love more.

While not flawless (my skin is still not 100%), this cleansing milk made a huge impact on my skin. Because it doesn’t strip my skin of all of its natural oils, it leaves my face feeling less tight and dry than other cleansers (even other cream cleansers that I’ve tried), and it keeps my skin from overproducing oil during the day.

Formulated for normal to dry skintypes, it’s also scent-free and sensitive-skin friendly.

 Marcelle Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water review

Marcelle Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water review | buy }

If there was one “hit product” in the Marcelle skincare line, I think this one would be it. I’ve gone through an entire bottle (which doesn’t sound like much, but this is literally the only makeup remover I’ve ever finished), and I have two more as backups already.

Also scent-free and sensitive-skin-friendly, the Essentials Soothing Cleansing Water does an amazing job at removing makeup without leaving your skin greasy or raw. It’s great for removing eyeliner from the waterline, and while it’s not as hydrating as a straight-up oil (and really, why would you even expect it to be?), it removes makeup beautifully and quite gently.

Marcelle Light to Medium BB cream review

Marcelle BB Cream (original) review | buy }

This isn’t a product that I use in my daily makeup repertoire (it’s full of ‘cones), but I tested it out when it launched & loved it so much that I bought a tube for my mom. It’s great at evening out the skin while still looking like skin, and wears well throughout the day.

Where the Marcelle BB Cream really excels, though, is in covering up large pores. I’m not sure how it does it (magic!), but it makes the pores on my mom’s nose disappear. I basically think that my mom is the prettiest human to ever exist–who doesn’t think that of their mothers, though, really?–but I’m not looking forward to getting her pores when my skin ages!

Marcelle Face Powder review | buy }

An oldie but goodie. Marcelle’s Face Powder is a classic, both in its utilitarian packaging and its velvety-soft finish. It holds up well throughout the day, disappears into the skin while giving it a beautiful satin-matte finish, and keeps a pretty short, ‘cone-free ingredients list.

I’ve had my tub of Marcelle Face Powder for years (at least three, if not four), and I’ve barely made a dent in it despite dropping it all the time. With the exception of Marcelle’s now-discontinued pressed powder, this is the only face powder I will use — it trumps everything else I’ve tried.

IMG_9438-1

Marcelle Lux Eye Dust in Go-Violet buy }

Okay, so this one is kind of cheating. It’s not one of my must-haves, but I posted about Annabelle’s Violet Vibe pigment many years ago, and it apparently resonated with a lot of you! I still have readers writing in and telling me that they bought Violet Vibe, and think of theNotice every time they use it.

Go-Violet is essentially the same as Violet Vibe, but I’m recommending it as an upgrade for one simple reason: the packaging is a lot better. And, with 40% off, you have no reason not to buy the slightly more expensive but far better-packaged version!

Marcelle Lux Diamond Eyeliner in Pure Gold see itbuy }

I don’t even have odes left to talk about this one, I write about it so much. Marcelle’s Lux Diamond liners are the same as the Annabelle Glitterama liners that I love, but the Annabelle ones don’t come in this beautiful, beautiful gold. It’s perfect during the holidays, for a dinner date, for an effortless summer evening eye — I could even see excelling at office wear.

It’s beautiful, beautifully packaged, and beautifully subtle. There’s nothing not to love.

Marcelle Lux Metallic, Diamond liquid liners glitter

Marcelle Lux Metallic Eyeliners review | buy }

Finally, I wanted to wrap up with Marcelle’s Lux Metallic Eyeliners. Housed in the same packaging as their Diamond counterparts, the Lux Metallic liquid liners are quite unique: they deliver translucent metallic colour, for a very interesting, almost watercolour effect. They can be layered for more impact, but they hold up well, and make it easy to create an ombré effect from one liner to the next, as well.

What are your Marcelle skincare and makeup favourites?

LUSH Valentine’s 2014 reviews: Tender is the Night, Neon Love, Love Locket

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lush Neon Love alt

The products: LUSH Tender is the Night massage bar, Love Locket bath bomb, & Neon Love soap

Tender is the Night massage bar ($11.95)

A returning limited edition product coming to the permanent line, Tender is the Night is a solid massage bar. It’s very sturdy in its solid state (perfect for travel), and melts immediately upon contact with skin. The oil it melts into is smooth and intensely moisturizing, and I really appreciate that the body of the bar isn’t coloured — it saves me from worrying about it getting on my white sheets.

Lush Tender is the Night review

Scented with Simon Constantine’s Vanilla Orchid fragrance, this bar smells a little sour to my nose. That said, I’m crazy picky about my vanillas — past the initial sharpness, Tender is the Night is kind of delicious and a little bit sexy. Scented with notes of vanilla, jasmine, and ylang ylang, it’s sweet without being nauseating, and I think many will adore its fragrance.

As long as you don’t live in a hot climate, I think this would be a lovely bedside or bathroom addition. If you really love vanilla, it would be a really nice treat for yourself, too, even just for travel or for moisturizing with after a bath!

Tender of the Night is photographed here in LUSH’s Massage Bar Tin ($3.95), which is great for both storage and travel. 

Murumuru Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Fragrance, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Cornflour, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Lilial, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, FD&C Red No. 4, D&C Red No. 27

Lush massage bar review - Tender is the Night

Love Locket ballistic bath bombs ($10.95)

Love Locket is priced a little higher than Lush’s other bath bombs, but for good reason: this thing is MASSIVE. Like, three-baths massive: the heart “unlocks,” breaking into two halves with an additional heart in the centre. It’s heavy, dense, and honestly, the idea behind it is kind of fantastic.

A little macabre (“break your heart”), but fantastic.

LUSH Love Locket Bath Bomb

Lush Love Locket open

Fragranced with vanilla, jasmine, and neroli essential oils, I’m not crazy about the scent — but unlike some of LUSH’s other bath bombs, it’s not a deal-breaker. The outside layer hides paper hearts that will float out to the surface of the water, while the centre heart has shiny red hearts made from agar. Unlike plastic wrap or microbeads, both will dissolve entirely, making them 100% ocean-safe.

Note: my Love Locket “unlocked” in the mail (though all of the pieces are intact), so if you’re going to buy one of these, I definitely recommend purchasing it in person.

Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Jasmine Absolute, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Neroli Oil, Gardenia Extract, Eugenol, Geraniol, Methyl Ionone, Linalool, Limonene, D&C Red No. 33, D&C Red No. 27, Pink Heart Confetti

Red Edible Hearts (Hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose, Glycerine, Gum Arabic, Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, FD&C Red 40)

LUSH bath bomb review - love locket

Neon Love soap ($6.95)

The first thing that came to mind when I saw Lush’s Neon Love soap was Cut Copy’s 2004 Bright Like Neon Love. I still haven’t gotten around to listening to anything post In Ghost Colours, but you guys — they’re pretty great. Not, like, “I love this so much I never want to listen to anything else ever again” levels of great, but there’s something about their light, electro-pop sound that’s sort of smooth, like little fizzy bursts of soft light in a dark room. 

LUSH Valentine's 2014 review - Neon Love soap

Much like Cut Copy, Neon Love is heartbreakingly bright. It’s sunny and cheery without being too sweet — Lush lists notes of passion fruit, bergamot, rosewood, and cinnamon, and let me tell you: it does not disappoint. The cinnamon leaf oil gives incredible balance to the scent, a spicy base to tether the fizzy passionfruit, and it’s so perfectly mouthwatering that I’m presently using it to scent my office.

(Neon Love is named after 12 Months of Neon Love, a public art project.)

Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Fresh Passion Fruit, Cornflour, Sodium Stearate, Fresh Figs, Fragrance, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Rosewood Oil, Bergamot Oil, Titanium Dioxide,Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Editronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citral, Coumarin,Eugenol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, FD&C Yellow No. 8, D&C Green No. 8, D&C Red No. 27

Lush Neon Love review

The verdict?

Of these, Neon Love is really the only one that I’d call a must-have – but what a must-have it is. Honestly, I don’t even think I’d be upset if it was the only soap I was allowed to use all spring and summer: it’s that good.

The fragrances of Love Locket and Tender is the Night didn’t really hook me, but the delivery of both is stellar. I love that Love Locket breaks open and reveals yet another heart (what a wonderful, romantic-or-platonic Valentine’s Day gift it would be for a bath addict!), and Tender is the Night would make a great bedside addition if you want to subtly hint that you’d like a massage.

And Lush? If you’re listening… please, please, please bring Neon Love into your permanent collection. I think it’d be a hit!

Additional photos & more »

Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair review, photos | The one winter lip balm you absolutely need to own

Monday, January 20, 2014

Osmia Organics Lip Repair review comparison Honey-Myrrh

The product: Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair

Have you met Osmia Organics yet? Until very late last year, I hadn’t — and I wasn’t all that interested in the line. Sure, their packaging was pretty, and everyone else seemed to love them, but niche organic lines seem to be a dime a dozen these days. What’s one from the next one, right?

Wrong. Their range is relatively small, but everything is such a joy to use: naturally-fragranced, packaged in the most beautiful, basic glassware, and run by a small business owner in a mind-blowingly idyllic, dreamy, snowy Colorado nook. I’m a convert, you guys — and this lip balm is a big reason why.

Editor’s note: Win this (and a few of my other Osmia favourites) here!

All natural lip balm review Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics lip balm review natural

Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair review – unbroken surface

The formula: Osmia makes sure to note that this “Lip Repair” isn’t quite the same as your standard lip balm. Formulated with organic manuka honey, myrrh extract, and lanolin, it’s designed to heal dry and cracked lips in a matter of days.

The surface of your new balm needs to be “broken” with the tip of your finger or the back of your fingernail before use (it forms a stiff layer after being poured and cooled, but no product needs to be removed or wasted), which I think is just the coolest thing — as a lip balm addict, anything new and different is always interesting to try. Once broken, the balm is much softer and more emollient, working easily into the lips and forming a comforting layer.

Osmia Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair Review

Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair review – broken/cracked surface

The wear: The Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair isn’t lipgloss-sticky, but it sticks around. While drugstore lip balms like Maybelline Baby Lips & Labello/Nivea have me reaching to re-apply every hour (minimally), Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair lasts from meal to meal, and wears well overnight. Yes, you can really feel it on your lips (it’s a lot tackier than a a tube of Chapstick), but honestly?

For lads & ladies with dry lips, you want your lip balm to stick — that’s what makes it great.

The (impressively short and natural) ingredients list:

Castor Bean Oil, Beeswax, Cupuacu Butter, Lanolin, Manuka Honey, Tamanu Oil, Gmo-Free Vitamine E Oil, Wild Myrrh Co2, and Bergamot FCF Essential Oil.

Osmia Organics review - Honey Myrrh Lip Repair balm

But does it work?: In one, short, succinct word, yes.

While not quite as effective for my lips as Bobbi Brown’s Lip Balm SPF 15 (my go-to overnight lip hydrator and healer), Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair comes a very close second. It wears just a fraction shorter and doesn’t prime lips in the same way, but I think a lot of people will be more comfortable with Osmia’s version. It’s a little less sticky and much more natural, carrying a strong herby/natural scent rather than a strong synthetic one. I love my Bobbi Brown lip balm, but it feels like slapping a chemical salve on my lips — not exactly pleasant.

Of all of the lip balms I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot), this is my second favourite, falling very close behind the first. It is hands-down the best natural option, and works wonders on very dry, cracked lips! 

Osmia Organics review - Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair

The verdict?

If you’re on the market for a new lip balm, please give Osmia’s a try. It’s a little pricy at $22 USD, but it hydrates and nourishes the lips quickly and beautifully, touting an ingredients list so clean that it’s well worth the cost.

Don’t get me wrong: I wear a ton of non-organic, non-natural products on my lips, but it just feels kind of weird to be doing it overnight. Like, where do nighttime lip balms go? You’re not wiping them off before dinner, but they’re almost always gone by the morning — are they all over your pillowcases? Did they seep into your skin while you slept? Did you eat them by accident while dreaming about cake?

Osmia’s Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair won’t disappear in the dead of night like some sketchy one-night stand, and the most frightening thing in it comes from sheep. I wish it was less strongly scented, but aside from that? Colour me impressed.

Availability: $22 USD/0.28 oz at Osmia Organics. International shipping available!

Keep reading for nitty-gritty photos! »

Five gift ideas for the woman who has it all | The Gift Guide

Friday, December 20, 2013

For the luxury skincare lover: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence

Founded just this past year by fellow blogger Connie Tai, MIYU Beauty is a new Canadian brand that’s stealing hearts across the blogosphere. I’m having difficulties putting together a review of the line (I live in fear of the glycerine ratios in facial sprays, which do wonders for a few days but always seem to break me out after a week), but I can’t find a single bad thing to say about the aesthetic — or the people behind the brand.

Beautifully housed in luxe-but-lightweight packaging with Ladurée-inspired details, the MIYU facial spray serums (!) are innovation at its best. { buy }

For the green girl: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil

Osmia Organics is a company that I was introduced to pretty recently, but I’m completely smitten with their range. Run by a former emergency room doctor who found her calling in all-natural skincare, the entire Osmia line up is exquisitely packaged, all-natural, and beautifully formulated.

While perfumes and skincare can be hard to pick for someone else, though, Osmia’s body oils & soaps are a great way to gift a little luxury without the worry. Sunset, one of Dr. Sarah Villafranco’s newest creations, is a super-sexy (but not at all overpowering) jojoba-based blend that hydrates immediately with absolutely no oiliness left on the skin. { buy }

Osmia Organics Sunset body oil review

Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil (2 oz)

For the best friend: Je Joue MiMi Soft

Here’s your not-so-fun science fact of the day: did you know that only 25% of women report frequently experiencing orgasms during intercourse? We live in a culture that’s so fixated on sex, and yet — from magazines (five surprising tips on how to please your man!) to porn, sex is all about male pleasure, not female.

In the sprit of the season, consider giving someone the gift of self-love. Let them know that, like leaving the house without your makeup, sex isn’t anything to be ashamed of. And if we get to indulge in a bit of high-end tech while on the road to sexual equality? All the better.

The Je Joue MiMi Soft is small, classy, and discreet, with a soft, comfortable silicone finish (the safest material a vibrator could possibly be made from), a fully waterproof body, and a rechargeable battery. And the charger, you guys. The charger is so cool. It magnetizes onto the up/down buttons and supplies the vibrator with power through science magic, and I won’t be told otherwise. { buy }

If you’d like to see a review for the Je Joue Mimi Soft, click here to count your vote anonymously!

PS: This vibe was sent in by SheVibe.com.

Unlike everything else in this post, the Mimi was sent in by a storefront, not a brand. SheVibe.com is an online store that’s a far cry from the stereotypical blacked-out-windows sex shop in the bad part of town — I chose to work with them specifically because their site features reviews, articles, message boards, and tons of original artwork.

Whether or not you’re looking to purchase a new toy this season, their comics and articles are definitely worth a look!

Annabelle Cherry swatch TwistUp Retractable Lipstick

Annabelle TwistUp in Cherry — from this post

For the lip lover: Annabelle Cosmetics TwistUp Retractable Lip Crayon in Naked or Cherry

These lip crayons may not feel super-luxe when you hold them, but oh my – do they ever pack a punch. With a lush, comfortable formula and way more pigment than any drugstore product has any right to have, Annabelle TwistUps are the perfect choice for a bit of luxury on a budget.

Naked is a stunning satin-matte nude that suits my skintone (and a surprising many others) just perfectly, while Cherry is a drop-dead-gorgeous opulent red. Neither have shimmer, and (excuse my French) are classy as hell on the lips. { buy | review | swatches | win one! }

For the luxury makeup lover: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes 

I know I usually put my beloved Cozzette brushes in gift guides, and don’t get me wrong — I still love them. But while the Artisan brush range is just as soft, cruelty-free, and well-made as Cozzette’s S range, Make Up For Ever’s new brushes come with sleek, wood-finish handles and dark metal ferrules that Cozzette’s range just doesn’t have.

I can’t speak for all of Make Up For Ever’s brushes, but the #150 Angled Cheek Brush, #174 Small Concealer Brush, and #304 Lip Brush all get my seal of approval. And, I mean, really — who couldn’t use just one more brush? { buy }

What’s on your wishlist this season?

LUSH Luxury Lush Pud, Candy Mountain, & Melting Snowman | Three wintery bath-time treats for yourself, for others, for stocking stuffers

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lush Holiday 2013 Christmas bath bomb

The products: LUSH Luxury Lush Pud Bath Bomb, Candy Mountain Bubble Bar, and Melting Snowman Bath Melt

Like Lush’s Snowman Invasion gift set (which contains their Cinders and Snowman Bath Bombs), these three Lush bath treats are cruelty-free, Vegan, and returning favourites from past holiday seasons.

Whether you’re picking up a wintery relaxation aid for yourself, or you’re topping up a gift or filling up a stocking — here are three Lush products that really caught my eye this season. They’re all pretty different from one another, so keep reading to find out which one is best suited to you!

Luxury Lush Pud 200g Holiday 2013

Lush’s 2013 Luxury Lush Pud Bath Bomb

Polka-dot pastels: Luxury Lush Pud ($6.95 CAD/200 g)

Okay, okay, okay. I have to start with the Luxury Lush Pud, because — seriously? This thing is so cute.

Designed with a deep purple base, a white “cap,” and the most mind-blowingly adorable pastel polka dots scattered on its sides, this year’s Lush Pud is infinitely more squee-worthy than the dirty-water coloured, Snowcake-scented Lil Lush Pud of the past. 2013′s version is huge–literally; this bath bomb is a massive 200 grams–and is the brand’s holiday interpretation of the permanent-range Twilight.

I’m less crazy about the grape-coloured bathwater and lavender-benzoin-tonka fragrance blend of the Luxury Lush Pud than I am of its adorable design, but you win some, you lose some, you know? And lavender lovers will totally win some with this one.

LUSH Luxury LUSH Pud ingredients:

Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Cream of Tartar, Lauryl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lavender Oil, Benzoin Resinoid, Tonka Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Gardenia Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Coumarin, Linalool, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, FD&C Blue No. 1, D&C Red No. 33, D&C Violet No. 2, D&C Red No. 30 Aluminum Lake, Candy Holly Leaf (Sugar, Water, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Vegetable Gelatin, Riboflavin, FD&C Blue 1).

Luxury Lush Pud review

Bright, pink, and glaringly sweet: Candy Mountain ($7.45 CAD/100 g)

Scented with the same cavity-inducing sweetness as Lush’s Creamy Candy Bubble Bar and Rock Star soap, Candy Mountain definitely has an audience — it’s just not me.

If you love sugary, cotton candy scents and all things pink, then this bubble bar is definitely, absolutely for you. It tints the water a gentle pink, which is why I wanted to give it a go (most Lush bubble bars have a more startling colour), but the scent is just so sweet. I couldn’t keep it in my room, much less bathe with it, and ended up having to give it to the boy — and as such, I can confirm that the scent definitely lingers on the skin all day long. 

Lush Candy Mountain 2013 review holiday christmas

Lush’s 2013 Candy Mountain Bubble Bar

The bar doesn’t deliver a ton of bubbles, and is definitely a one-bath-per-bar kind of product (unlike, for instance, the Luxury Lush Pud). With a hard shell surrounding a softer centre, the boy found it was hard to get all of Candy Mountain to dissolve under the faucet, and though it was enough for an adorable bubble beard, the bubbles disappeared pretty quickly. That said, the shimmer doesn’t linger on the skin after your bath, and rinses just as easily off of the tub, which is definitely a good thing — it was one of my main concerns for this bubble bar.

If you love pink, sweet scents, and shimmer, or you know someone who does, this is the veritable peak of cotton-candy pink products. For most of us, though? I think it’s a pass.

LUSH Candy Mountain ingredients:

Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Cornflour, Snowflake Lustre (Potassium Silicate & Titanium Dioxide), Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Titanium Dioxide, Polyester-3, Methyl Ionone, D&C Red 28, D&C Red No. 21.

A snowman to steal the show: Melting Snowman ($5.95 CAD/60 g)

Lush Holiday 2013 Christmas bath melt, bubble bar

Lush’s 2013 Melting Snowman Bath Melt

This bath melt, you guys. This is the highlight of the holidays at Lush. 

Made with cocoa butter, shea butter, and almond oil, the Melting Snowman has the most comforting, festive fragrance. It’s so good that I have it lying out on my office dresser, letting it gently scent my room with the perfect cinnamon-clove/orange-lime balance. As lovely as it is, I am loathe to use it, because my office hasn’t smelled this good in ever. It is reputed to leave a ring around the tub, so buyers beware, but personally? I’m considering buying a backup, and then pelting LUSH HQ with letters begging them to make a candle or body butter or room spray of the Melting Snowman scent.

Lush Melting Snowman Bath Melt 2013 review holidays

I wish that Snowman and Melting Snowman came in a set together (psst — Lush, are you listening?), because that set would be awesome. I would buy that set for everyone, no fail, every year. Boyfriend’s mom? Bam. Snowman set. Secret Santa gift exchange? No problem: Snowman set. Prof who taught the best psych course ever, but constantly seems to be on the verge of a mental breakdown? Snowman set.

LUSH Melting Snowman ingredients:

Sodium Bicarbonate, Icing Sugar, Citric Acid, Cocoa Butter, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides & PEG60 Almond Glycerides , Almond Oil, Titanium Dioxide , Shea Butter, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Patchouli Oil, Benzoin Resinoid, Sweet Orange Oil, Clove Leaf Oil, Lime Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Cinnamal, Coumarin, Eugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance, Dairy-Free Chocolate Drops (Sugar, Cocoa Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Vanilla), Ginger Stem.

Keep reading! »

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