Burt’s Bees x Bellavance Tinted Lip Balms & Lip Shimmers reviews, swatches

Friday, January 23, 2015

Burt's Bees Bellavance lip set kit

The product: Burt’s Bees x Bellavance Limited Edition Lip Collection & Holster

↳ Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in HibiscusBlush Orchid and Lip Shimmers in ApricotGrapefruit

I’m suffering from a major case of blogging burnout this week, so today, I have a couple old favourites to share with you in new shades.

My love for Burts’ Tinted Lip Balms and Lip Shimmers is a long and sordid one, stretching through the years and through numerous incidents of Rae cheating on Burts’ balms with Clinique simple definitely mutual infidelity, but alas! It does persist.

Burt's Bees Hibiscus, Blush Orchid, Apricot, Grapefruit review

Burt's Bees Hibiscus, Blush Orchid, Apricot, Grapefruit swatches

Burt’s Bees swatches, L-R: Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus and Blush Orchid; Lip Shimmer in Apricot and Grapefruit

100% of the proceeds from this Bellavance-designed holster will go to Pollinator Partnership Canada, a non-profit that supports lost and solitary pollinator bees by building sustainable bee hotels (direct quote!) throughout Canada.

The holster itself is made from 100% organic cotton and contains four elasticized spots for your favourite lipsticks or Burt’s Bees lip balms. It’s available at burtsbees.ca and boutiques where Bellavance is sold, and contains two Tinted Lip Balms from Burt’s permanent line, Hibiscus and Blush Orchid, plus two Lip Shimmers in Grapefruit and Apricot, which both debut in this set.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm, Lip Shimmer reviews

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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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BPAL x Pretty Indulgent review: Hochelaga, Black Silk, Une Folle Entreprise, Ville-Marie, and Halloween in Montreal

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Pheonix Alchemy Lab Pretty Indulgent review collection

If you haven’t heard of them before, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is one of those alt/hippie companies with a crazy-wonderful following (think Fyrinnae and LUSH) — and I mean this in the most amazing way possible. They’re a small company with an enormous library of super-concentrated fragrance oils that seems to produce one cult hit after another, and after seven years of beauty blogging, I have finally had the chance to try a few of their scents.

Today, I’m covering five fragrances exclusive to Pretty Indulgent, an online store run by Maggie of Maggie’s Makeup (who I have the biggest girlcrush on, but shhh.) These tiny–but potent, seriously–little bottles retail for a mere $23 each, and each scent in this limited run celebrates the rich culture and history of Quebec and Montreal. 

BPAL Black Silk Hochelaga review Pretty Indulgent

The first scent I tried on was Hochelaga, which features dry, warm woods and musk alongside elegant threads of buttery old herbs, spices and wildflowers. It smells like walking into an antiques/thrift store in the winter, surrounded by knitted blankets and knick-knacks in old wooden cabinets that once held metal pots for stew.

Next, I tried Black Silkwhich seems to have been the big hit of the collection — it sold out in less than a day! Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be a second run (one of its ingredients is very difficult to source), but it smells absolutely incredible. While sharp in the bottle, it rounds itself out beautifully on the skin and the tobacco absolute/bourbon vanilla cream notes blend together to create a boozy, almost nutty animalic sweetness unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. Think smokey, smooooth benzoin-tobacco overtones with just a whisper of patchouli for this one.

BPAL Ville-Marie Une Folle Entreprise review Pretty Indulgent

Then came Une Folle Entreprise, which I wasn’t crazy about — but WOW does it ever last. I got a drop (and I mean a literal drop) of this on my sweater, and the base notes stuck around for a week. Thanks to the violet note, it’s sweet like a chocolate martini; sharp but cloying with patchouli, licorice root, and tonka bean.

Next is Ville-Mariewhich was just a treat to experience. It’s bright and sugary (there are so many different kinds of sweetness in this post!), and yet again, I’ve smelled nothing like it before. The cream soda opening lifts within minutes, and the scent blooms on the skin to reveal a lemony bouquet of orchids, lilies, and a whopping five different varieties of lilac, ending in a creamy vanilla-musk.

And, finally, we end with Halloween in Montreal, which covers the final corner of the sweetness spectrum. This one really does smell like Halloween, as promised — it’s bottled-up leaves, snowflakes, chimney smoke, and candy, and you can smell it all by simply closing your eyes. (Weirdly, it also smells like walking into a Pier 1 Imports or something, open-top candles everywhere).

BPAL Halloween in Montreal review Pretty Indulgent

Buying guide

This is a lot to take in, so here’s your SparkNotes version!

If you love smelling things but you’ve never tried a BPAL creation before… you owe it to yourself to experience these beauties. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if you like any of them; they’re an olfactory experience like no other, and that makes them fascinating. Unlike mainstream scents, which tend to be identifiably “perfumey”, these fragrances smell like Things – places, times, memories. Order yourself a few Imps (samples) to get started, and go from there.

And to pick your perfect Pretty Indulgent exclusive ($23 CAD each, and yes, the site takes Paypal), here they are in order of must-haveability!

  1. Try Ville-Marie if you like happy summer days and evenings on the pier. It’s a complete chameleon, starting out so bright and uplifting that it makes me want to giggle, and transforming completely into a musk so soft and vanilla-tinged that I can’t help but go “mmmm.”
  2. Try Black Silk if there is any way you could possibly get your hands on it, because it’s amazing.
  3. Try Hochelaga if you’re secretly a super-cool hippie/alt girl/vegan, but you daylight as the Regular Girl at the office.
  4. Try Halloween in Montreal if you like the way home-store candle aisles smell, because I swear to god, this smells EXACTLY like that. I feel like I’m picking out throw pillows in my office right now; it’s uncanny.
  5. Try Une Folle Entreprise to pair with your flavoured martini and slit-back dress. I both envy and fear your ability to wear four-inch heels.

Happy sniffing, scoundrels!

BPAL fragrance review intro for beginners

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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