Dreamy lids & blue-green liner with the Lise Watier Expression Spring 2015 collection

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lise Watier Expression makeup look Spring 2015

I’ve been testing a lot of (rather excellent) all-natural skincare products for the blog recently, but this month, I had my first serious reaction to a product: a red, itchy, bumpy rash on my cheeks and jawline. I’m not sure what caused it (though I do have my suspicions), but while I wait for the reaction to go down, I’ll be focusing on testing new makeup products instead.

I don’t want to say that the rash was a good thing–because ouch–but maybe there’s a silver lining to it after all. I have so many pretty things I want to share with all of you this month!

(That rash, though. Take it back, universe. I don’t like it and I’m not having fun.)

Lise Watier Spring 2015 makeup look pastels

I haven’t used any Lise Watier in a while, so this look was a great opportunity to try out a bunch of new things — and I pretty much adored them all. I used an old Lise Watier Crayon Jumbo pencil in Moonlight (the prettiest silvery-white-purple) as my base so that the violet sheen would peek through the shadows, and then paired a few of the shades from the Lise Watier Palette Expression with their Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Fairy Pink, also from the Expression collection.

The two are a match made in heaven, I kid you not. The cool khaki and the peachy pink pair together to create just the prettiest, dreamiest “daybreak” lids, and over the white-violet base, they both pull perfectly grey/blue.

Lise Watier Expression Palette, Vert Feline Liner makeup look

Wearing/EOTD: Lise Watier Palette Expression, Féline Liner in Vert

I’m trying not to put anything on my cheeks until my skin calms down, so I finished the look with some heavy liner (Marcelle Double Precision through the lashes & Lise Watier Féline Eyeliner HD in Vert, which I swear usually looks greener than this; swatches below) and a nude lip. For the lip, I grabbed my Lise Watier Haute Couleur gloss in Rose Vintage, which was a big disappointment for me — I bought it a few months ago and only had the chance to try it today, but I didn’t like it at all.

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MUFE Graphic Liner, Marcelle Double Precision Liner reviews, swatches, photos | High vs. Low: Two pen-tipped liners you need to know

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Marcelle Double Precision pen liner review MUFE Graphic Liner

When it comes to makeup, I sometimes find it helpful to think of things in context of “generations” — like, different generations of eye primers (pre-Urban Decay tone eveners vs post-Urban Decay longevity-improving creams), lip stains (thin liquids vs YSL-type gloss-stains), eyeliner pencils (hard kohls vs waxy gel-creams) and now, liquid eyeliner pens.

These, ladies and gents, are not your mother’s pen liners. They apply like liquid liners rather than markers, they dry down to wonderfully glossy finishes, and–most importantly–they wear absolutely flawlessly all. day. long. with no staining.

PS: Neither of these liners contain silicones, so they’re a great choice if you’re trying to go ‘cone-free but still want something with great opacity and wear time!

Marcelle Liquid Eyeliner Pen review swatches photos

Marcelle Double Precision Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Intense Black ($14.95 CAD)

This dual-ended liner was the very first pen-style liner that I ever fell in love with, and I fell hard. The two tips moderate product flow so that you never end up with tons of liner on your lashes (as you might with a liquid liner), but it wears without smudging or budging for a good 12+ hours — maybe more, but I’ve never needed to test it for any longer.

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches review

Marcelle Double Precision Liner swatches

I like this one for its wear, which I find to be better than the Make Up For Ever Liner, but I think that its dual-ended design has a pretty big pull, too. The felt tip is smaller than that on the Make Up For Ever, and is just firm enough to line the eyes with ease (yes, even for winged liner), while the brush tip is very fine and looks like a delicate paintbrush.

Of the two brush ends, I mainly use the felt end — the brush tip doesn’t dispense quite enough product to deliver a really solid-looking wing, though it is excellent at getting the very point at the end of your liner and fading it into nothingness. Occasionally, I need to make two passes with this liner (either end) to achieve full opacity.

» See it worn here!

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip liner review

Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

MUFE Graphic Liner swatches review, Marcelle Double Precision

MUFE Graphic Liner (thin/thick), Marcelle Double Precision felt tip (thick/thin), Marcelle Double Precision brush tip

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner ($24 USD/29 CAD)

This liner has a significantly firmer felt tip than the Marcelle, which means that it delivers a much more consistent result: the line, no matter how fine, is always the same amount of pigmented and opaque.

On the flip side of that equation, however, is the fact that the Marcelle can achieve lines that are both thicker and thinner than those within the Graphic Liner’s range (even with just its felt end), so you have to choose which is more important to you: width or opacity. (There is no wrong answer!)

MUFE Graphic Liner vinyl pen review swatches

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner

I do think this liner is ever so slightly better than the Marcelle, but (and this is a big but) I have two problems with it. One, the cap doesn’t click on; it just slides into place, and I constantly worry that it’s drying out. And two: the formula smells really toxic. Which is dumb, right? Like, logically, I know that something smelling bad does NOT equal toxic, and vice-versa.

But it smells really bad, like a paint or a Sharpie or something, and I’m not gonna lie, it freaks me out a little.

EDIT 11/03/15: This liner has started to smudge pretty badly on me, folks! I think it’s an issue of mascara — if I’m wearing a tubing mascara to “lock in” any stray patches of liner, I’m good; but if I’m not wearing any mascara at all, the Graphic Liner smudges on the top AND bottom. Keep it in mind!

» See it worn here!

Marcelle vs MUFE liquid liner pen comparison review

Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner vs Marcelle Double Precision felt tips

The verdict?

I really love both these liners, so I’m going to leave the final verdict up to you (and possibly where you happen to live), but I think beginners and casual makeup wearers will appreciate the brush tip on the Marcelle, while makeup pros will prefer the Instagram-perfect opacity of the Make Up For Ever.

Whichever one you buy, remember that BOTH are very good — you really can’t go wrong here! Instinctually, I think I like the Make Up For Ever more (for its opacity and firm tip), but the scent-free Marcelle liner freaks me out way less.

EDIT: Note that the Marcelle has better wear time for those with oily lids! It does sometimes fade, but doesn’t really smudge or crease; the MUFE will give me “panda eyes” if I’m not wearing mascara.

Availability: The Marcelle liner is available at drugstores & mass market retailers across Canada or online at marcelle.ca ($14.95 CAD); the Make Up For Ever liner is available at Sephora ($24 USD/$29 CAD) and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

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Lancôme My French Palette review, swatches, photos | This morning, in Paris…

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lancome French Innocence Spring 2015 palette review

The product: Lancôme My French Palette eyeshadow & liner palette

It’s rare that I’m ever ahead of schedule at theNotice, but today, I have a sneak-peak to share with you of a product that launches officially in February. (What can I say? With their recent announcement of Lisa Eldridge as their new Makeup Creative Director, I have Lancôme on the mind!)

Part of Lancôme’s French Innocence Spring collection, the My French Palette was inspired by the Parisian garden — delicately detailed, it reveals three matte and iridescent neutrals when you open it up, but the trio of “secret” blue-greens are hidden behind a lid.

Lancome My French Palette packaging review

The packaging: I’ve seen a lot of the inside of this palette on Instagram, but for some reason, it seems like no one ever shows off its packaging. Sleek and sharp-edged, it houses a dual-ended synthetic eyeshadow brush that’s soft and very springy, and hides an eyeshadow and two liners behind a metal flap.

This little metal door (which very reminiscent of the Dior Garden Clutch palettes) is just as exquisitely delicate as the gorgeous artwork that stole my heart on the lid. I mean, how lovely are those fine lines and the simple, perfectly-undone pink additions? And the dull “tink!” of the flap when you close it makes the palette feel truly special.

Lancome eyeshadow palette review - Spring Innocence collection

Behind the My French Palette door…

The product: The My French Palette contains three creamy mattes (ivory, mauve, and salmon-pink), three iridescent nudes (in light to medium tones), an iridescent turquoise blue, and two liners (dark teal and charcoal grey in satiny shimmers).

Much like the Clinique palette I talked about last week, I did like this palette, but… I couldn’t make myself love it. While the palette itself is visually stunning, the shadows were all just a little too similar and sheer for me to really fall in love with. Yes, they’re all gorgeous, but I could dupe all of this palette’s nude makeup look permutations using a single half-decent eyeshadow trio from the drugstore without breaking a sweat.

Lancome My French Palette swatches

Lancôme My French Palette swatches (swatched dry on primed skin in indirect sunlight)

Lancome My French Palette makeup look

Lancôme My French Palette nudes (shades 2, 4, and 6) and greens (shades 1, 7, and 9) worn dry over primer

That said, I do totally get where Lancôme was trying to go with this palette. Worn together, the nudes create a lovely, transparent rose lid, with the creamy mattes providing a very chic base while the iridescent shades (which apply quite transparently unless foiled) give the canvas a bit of sparkle.

As Syl would say, they lend themselves easily to a “Rae-whale” lid :P

Tip: If you just have to have this palette, it’s gorgeous as long as you foil the iridescent shades. Try layering the turquoise shimmer over black liner, too — you won’t be disappointed!

Lancome My French Innocence Spring review

The verdict?

For a more delicate, refined take on the nude trend (à la Urban Decay Naked), this palette does a beautiful job of encapsulating the feeling of a French spring collection. Like a trip to France itself, however, it doesn’t come cheap, and it’s fleeting — I was disappointed to find that I needed to foil these sixty-eight dollar eyeshadows just to make them show up properly, and they showed significant creasing and wear within 3 hours (over primer).

While I totally agree with Christa that this palette would make a great gift (all wonderful and chic and dreamy), I think it’s best for Muggles, not makeup addicts. Gift accordingly!

Availability: $58 USD/$68 CAD; limited edition. Available online now & at counters from February to the end of March.

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Dreaming in taffeta: A Clinique The Nutcracker Act I makeup look

Monday, January 12, 2015

I may not have been crazy about the (dusty) qualities of Clinique’s The Nutcracker Act I palette, but I’ll be darned if I let that get in between me & my pinks.

Here’s a really quick makeup look that I put together while testing out a whole bunch of new products this month — literally none of what I used here was from my regular “kit”. (Scare quotes because I don’t actually have, like, a makeup artist kit. It’s pretty much just a drawer-full of boring stuff that I use all the time.)

Clinique Nutcracker Act I pink makeup look

See? Not that pink. (I wish it was more pink!)

There’s a proper product listing below, but for this look, I used all four shades of Snowflake Suite shadows from the palette, plus a Stila brow pen (LOVE) and Cover FX Cream Foundation that I picked up with my Optimum points — I’ll work on getting reviews up on both for tN’s silicone-free series, because they’re both really excellent!!

I also used Make Up For Ever’s new Graphic Liner pen in this look, which I’m crazy about (the wear is so good), plus a pair of Esqido Mink Lashes. They’re crazy pretty (also seen here), but I have to trim them down a lot to make the thick band–which is supposed to last for 25 uses–stop making my eyes sting and tear. I haven’t decided if I like them or not yet, but I’ll let you know when I know!

Clinique Nutcracker Act I palette review swatches

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Clinique The Nutcracker Suite Act I Palette & Powder swatches, review, photos

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Clinique The Nutcracker Plie Pink review palette

The product: Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette and Blended Face Powder & Brush in Snowflake Dreams

» Inspired by “the tulles and velvet fabrics in vivid pinks, glittering whites and vibrant purples” in The Nutcracker.

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette ($36 USD/$46 CAD)

The pink Nutcracker Act I Palette (not to be confused with the purple-themed Act II) contains an All About Shadow Snowflake Suite quad in the shades Sugar Cane (available as a single), Crystal PinkMushroom (also in Clinique’s Greys 8-Pan Palette), and Boron, as well as a Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Plié Pink.

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Snowflake Suite review

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette

The shadows were much dustier than I’m used to seeing from Clinique, and apply fairly sheerly but with little fallout. I adored the taupey Mushroom and the Blushing Powder Blush in Plié Pink, which gave my cheeks a seriously gorgeous pink glow, but the other three shades in the palette (a boring shimmery white, a super-sheer pink heaped with silver glitter, and a boring sparkly black) were a big letdown for me.

At $46 CAD, I think this palette is worth it if you really adore those two top performers (all five pans are of middling-to-good quality), but it’s not getting a standing ovation from me. While it’s not like, the worst, I know that Clinique can do a lot better than this in terms of quality — and knowing that, it’s hard not to expect more from the brand.

Clinique Snowflake Suite Plie Pink swatches review The Nutcracker

Clinique The Nutcracker Act I Palette swatches: Blushing Powder Blush in Plié Pink (heavy/light), All About Shadow Quad in Snowflake Suite (Sugar Cane, Crystal Pink, Mushroom, Boron).

Blended Face Powder & Brush in Snowflake Dreams ($24 USD/$29 CAD)

Okay, so this one was another pretty-but-nonsensical letdown. Who, in their right of mind, needs ANOTHER shimmery powder?! I see at least five of these come out each holiday season from brands high and low, so someone must be buying, but this kind of product is just not up my alley.

Clinique Snowflake Dreams review Blended Face Powder

Clinique Blended Face Powder in Snowflake Dreams

Snowflake Dreams, which comes with a non-optional scratchy brush, is intended to add shimmer to the shoulders, neck, and chest, but the glitter is just too big and unidimensional — it’s just chunks of silver glitter in a crazy-sheer pink base. This Blended Face Powder would be great for an actual performance of The Nutcracker (theatre makeup, after all, has to be extremely obvious for the audience to see it), but in real life, it’s way too much.

Unless you were putting on some sort of crazy, Nutcracker-themed party with strobe lights and strippers, I guess? In which case this would probably be an awesome product to dust all over your body. I wouldn’t know; raves aren’t really my thing. (But I bet a Nutcracker-themed one would somehow manage to be really, really cool.)

Clinique Snowflake Dreams swatch Blended Face Powder review

Clinique Blended Face Powder swatch in Snowflake Dreams (brushed on below/patted on heavily over primer above).

The verdict?

As much as I love Clinique, this collection is an act that I would not like to see again. (Aside: what’s the best theatre performance you’ve ever gotten to experience? For me, it was a four-hour-long production of Pride and Prejudice. Worth every damn minute — to this day, I regret not seeing it again before it closed.)

I would love to see Plié Pink released as a standalone blush, and if you can get your hands on Mushroom, absolutely do, but aside from that — skip The Nutcracker Suite, and save your pennies for one of Clinique’s 8-pan palettes instead.

Availability: Online at Clinique and exclusively at the Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

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