Senna Powder Point 33 Brush review | The perfect bronzing brush for beginners

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Senna 33 brush review

The product: Senna Powder Point 33 brush (for bronzer, face powder)

I’ll be honest. The first time I tried this brush, it was with the Senna Brilliant Bronze bronzer/highlighters that it launched with — and, yeah, I didn’t love it. So after about a week of product testing, it got filed away, pushed into the back of a drawer for a while…

But then this week, I pulled it out again on a whim while testing a smoother, less shimmery bronzer. And it was amazing.

Senna Powder Point brush review

Pointed face brush review

Senna’s Powder Point brush has a comfortably large (but light) shimmering seafoam handle with a slightly wider ferrule, and a domed head that tapers off quite a bit at the tip. The effect of all of these things paired together is brilliant: this brush forces you to hold it far back from its head, and ensures that you get light, even pressure with every brush stroke. 

Honestly, I don’t know how I missed it the first time around: this is the perfect bronzing brush for beginners. With its loosely packed bristles and unique shape, it makes it almost impossible not to get an expertly-blended cheek with soft, diffuse edges. (And yes, if you’re guilty of over-applying face powders, it’ll help you get just the right amount of those, too.)

Senna Powder Point 33 review

I do think that the Powder Point brush is a little pricy for the quality of the build, but for anyone who really struggles with making their bronzer look natural, this is going to be your magic wand. It makes it easy to slowly build up product, and it blends as you go.

This brush is similar to the Sigma F25 Tapered Face Brush and MAC 138 Tapered Face Brush, but it has a less pointed tip.

Senna Powder Point face brush review

The verdict?

Senna’s Powder Point 33 brush has your standard-issue natural-hair bristles, soft but not kitten-soft, and it’s not resistant to shedding — overall, its build is pretty standard. But its tapered design and well-proportioned handle are really something special, and if you give it a chance, this is a brush that will do all the work for you.

My verdict? Skip it if bronzing and powdering are easy for you; snap it up if you want a little help. I kid you not, I could bronze with my eyes closed with this baby. (This is a fact; I’ve done it.) (What? I get bored.)

Availability: $38 USD online or in-person at Senna boutiques. { store locator }

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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. 

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, theirbrushes 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 (US), Wal-Mart, Drugstore.com, London Drugs, and Farleyco in North America. Available internationally through iHerb (use code LPW177 to get $5 off this set).

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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.

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?

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